When it comes to personal finance, there’s plenty of advice out there to budget and control expenses. But I think it’s equally important to pursue multiple sources of income. Let’s face it, there’s a ton of benefits to having more than one income stream: security from a job loss, additional income to pay off debt or to save, opening the door for new opportunities, and so many more.
Frankly, I find that I just have difficulty saying “NO”. Combine that with the fact that I’m a complete busy body and a finance nerd and I can’t help but get my hands into a number of side hustles. Trust me, I’ve jumped into quite a few opportunities that haven’t panned out; but here are 4 side hustles that have paid off:
1. Construction Accountant/CFO
A friend of mine recently got out of the military and started a construction company in 2013. Initially, I was pretty apprehensive to take on the accounting and finance strategy for his budding business. Not only was it a fairly large commitment, I really had no experience in the construction industry.
I’m technically a contract CFO for the company and oversee all things financial. But the employment relationship is very informal. I get the payroll and tax filings done in a timely manner and handle the bookkeeping throughout the month on my time.
In the end, this has turned out to be a great opportunity. The income isn’t significant, there isn’t even a set pay schedule. I’m typically paid once jobs are completed depending on the profit margin. However the knowledge that I’ve gained is incredible. I had no idea all of the ins and outs of job costing, required filings, and accounting specifics for the construction industry.
Income: Ranges from $2,000 – $4,000 a year.
2. Adjunct Accounting Faculty
Back in 2012 I saw an opening for a part-time accounting faculty at the community college in my area. It was one of the few positions that didn’t require a Master’s degree as long as I had a CPA license.
With no prior teaching experience, I figured I didn’t have a great shot at landing the job. Luckily for me they recently had a resignation and really needed someone to step in on short notice. I was hired on a probationary period beginning fall quarter and I’ve never looked back. Since then, I’ve been teaching the Accounting 200 series (1 class each quarter).
Class is held twice a week for 2 hours, so it’s definitely not a passive income. But it’s an evening class which allows me to teach outside of my 9-5. The greatest benefit to me (besides the additional income) is that I’ve been able to improve my public speaking and coaching skills (which helps as a Manager). I’ve also discovered a big passion of mine and who knows? Maybe I’ll pursue teaching as a career.
Income: $3,100 per quarter x 3 quarters = $9,300 a year.
3. Tax Work
I will be the FIRST person to tell you that I HATE taxes. I never became a CPA with the intention of being a tax accountant. Let’s be honest, I’m way too awesome to be one of “those” guys.
But when you have a certain expertise, clients seem to naturally come. By clients I mean friends and family typically. Although I’ve always turned away tax work, this is the first year that I’ve agreed to do some taxes for a few of our friends. One of which recently started a kid furniture business.
Income: I have no idea! Much of this will be pro bono, but so far I’ve scored Seahawks tickets! We’ll see how the tax work expands over the years but it could be a lucrative side hustle down the road.
This is the side hustle that I’m really excited about growing over the coming years. One thing that I know about myself is that I love to solve problems. Especially when it comes to accounting and finance. I also pride myself on being very personable with clients and really being able to grasp their pain points as business owners.
One of the clients I’ve had so far was a startup accounting App Company in Canada that engaged me to assist in designing their tax pilot program. They plan to add a tax module to their accounting app which is scheduled to launch this year.
My most recent client is a startup coding school that needs to transfer their books from Quicken to a full functioning accounting system. So far we’ve moved the company’s financials to Xero and are working on building out their financial processes.
I definitely get the most enjoyment out of consulting. I love engaging new clients, identifying their root problems, and determining effective solutions. Although I just started advertising my consulting work, I really think that it’s a side hustle that I can grow in the coming years.
Income: Last year was $3,600 but the possibilities are limitless.
When it comes to side hustles, the biggest challenge for me is to find opportunities that are suitable to my skill set that are flexible enough to work around my primary job. It’s not easy pursuing jobs that can be done outside of normal business hours.
Even though it’s difficult to motivate yourself to get after those side hustles, the benefits are too great to pass up. There are so many opportunities out there no matter what your background or skill set. Everyone has a passion or expertise in something. So get out and pursue it! You never know what doors will open if you’re not willing to knock.
photo cred: Flazingo Photos