Summer side hustles for tech professionals
Business is winding down for the season. As co-workers, suppliers, partners and other key stakeholders prepare for vacations, projects are pushed to the fall, deadlines become less frequent, and you find yourself with more free time than usual.
Summer is here, and what better way to spend your spare time than earning a few extra dollars while flexing your skill set through a side hustle?
For people who work in tech, or consider themselves tech-savvy, there are plenty of opportunities to earn cash on the side. Technical skills have never been more in demand, and these days more professionals are balancing their full-time roles with entrepreneurial endeavours.
Making some extra cash requires a lot of motivation and discipline to build and maintain momentum. Everyone’s habits and characteristics are different – you may find yourself waiting to start a project because you work better under the pressure of a looming deadline, or you enjoy tackling them as soon as the opportunity arises. However you work, be sure to honestly reflect on whether your tendencies like procrastination, for example, will create a barrier to doing your best work.
Once you’ve established a positive environment and productive workflow, it’s time for the real work to begin. If you’re struggling to think of the perfect side hustle, we’ve pulled together a few ideas to help you get started.
Flip trash into treasure
Online “buy and sell” platforms and apps, such as Ebay, Kijiji, and Facebook’s Marketplace, have changed the game when it comes to flipping one person’s trash into another’s treasure. Buying and selling secondhand items can be a lucrative side hustle. You will need a bit of cash to get started, but if you’re diligent and committed, you’ll start making money in no time.
Ensuring you have a large profit margin will be key to success. This will require some killer negotiating skills and a good eye. Always try to bargain for what you are buying. It may feel awkward offering less than an item is worth, but keep in mind that most people are flexible with their asking price and would rather get something for clutter than not sell it at all. If they are firm on the price, be prepared to walk away if you don’t think you’ll make much of a return. It’s better to move onto the next deal than waste time trying to flip something that won’t bring in much profit.
Buy and sell apps are a great place to get started. But, once you’ve built up a small inventory and products are moving well, consider setting up an Instagram page to showcase what you are selling. The key to success on Instagram is great product shots. Make sure your photos are aesthetically appealing by using a quality camera and positioning items near lots of natural light. Leverage local hashtags and engage with other buy and sell pages in your area to generate traffic for your posts.
Embrace the gig economy
The gig economy isn’t going away anytime soon. These days, all you need is a reliable smartphone with a decent data package to start earning cash on the side. Apps like Uber, SkiptheDishes, Fiverr and TaskRabbit have literally put opportunity in the hands of those looking to embrace freelance work.
The growing popularity of gig-based apps and online platforms means it’s easy to start a side hustle, but increasingly difficult to stand out among competition. Embracing a customer service mindset will help you set yourself apart from the crowd. In cases where users can choose the freelancer or professional they work with, maintaining a high rating and inspiring positive reviews are crucial to gain more clients. Users will rely on the platform’s rating system to determine who is credible and trustworthy.
Keep in mind that not all apps have the same market demand for service providers. For example, if you find your area is saturated with SkiptheDishes drivers, try UberEats instead or think about adjusting your schedule to when there are fewer drivers available.
Make sense of technical jargon
Technical people are often great at communicating with each other, but struggle when it comes time to translate their technical knowledge into words that everyone can comprehend. If you happen to be someone who understands technical topics and enjoys writing, then working as a technical writer may be the ideal side hustle for you.
Excelling at technical writing requires a strong sense of the document’s purpose and a deep understanding of the audience you’re writing for. Your job will be to ensure complex ideas or processes are easily understandable for the intended audience. This means you must use language that transcends time and culture. In other words, aim to write in a way that is timeless and transferable across cultures.
Teach the next generation of tech pros
Passing on wisdom to the next generation is an investment in our future – but it can also be a wise investment of your time. With school out and parents scrambling for extra curricular activities that get kids out of the house, summer is the perfect time to host a workshop series or day camp designed for youth.
More parents are looking for activities that are both educational and fun for their kids. Coding, creative or entrepreneurial workshops and camps for kids are becoming a popular choice, especially with the growing focus on inspiring youth to developing an aptitude for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) early on in life.
Crafting an engaging workshop or camp can be challenging. Be sure to tailor the topic and subject matter you teach to the age group you’re instructing. Also keep in mind that summer programming for kids that is expensive, is not inclusive. To ensure high number of youth have a chance to participate, charge an affordable amount for registration or offer a “pay what you can” option. You can balance the costs of running a workshop or camp by contacting organizations with values that align with yours, and ask to partner or sponsor the learning experience you’re creating in exchange for brand exposure and recognition.
If teaching large groups of kids isn’t really your thing, consider providing one-on-one tutoring to youth instead. Either way, sharing your knowledge with the leaders of tomorrow is sure to be rewarding in more ways than one.
Launch that startup idea
If none of the above ideas appeal to you, maybe it’s time to dust off that brilliant idea you’ve been sitting on and launch a startup of your own.
There is a lot of support available for new entrepreneurs, but before you begin building a product or knocking on investors’ doors, you must start with a solid understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve. Once you’ve identified a problem, you need to dig deeper to uncover insights for the solution you should build. Research best practices for customer discovery, including user and buyer persona development, interview styles and questions, information recording and note-taking.
Many successful startup founders began by working on an idea in their spare time. A great example of this is the story of Proposify Co-founder, Kyle Racki. Racki started his career as a designer and soon realized the pain felt by many creative agencies: proposal writing. Working as a designer by day, he spent some of his spare time planning and creating wireframes over the course of several years for what would later become a successful company with $10 million in annual recurring revenue.
If you are looking for a break from the tech world, you can always rely on more traditional summer side hustles like landscaping or dog walking. Whatever summer side hustle you choose, make sure it’s something you enjoy. If you don’t see the results you’d hope for in the first few weeks, remember it takes consistent effort before a side hustle starts to pay off.