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If you're sitting there, trying to figure out what side hustle to start or what business model is right for your side business, take heart and understand that the process is a (frustrating) part of the journey into successful side hustle stardom.

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Whatever side hustle you start with, doesn't necessarily mean it's the one you end up going full time in.

I feel it's important for you to understand this because I get emails all the time from people saying they don't want to do this skill or that skill, but it's the easiest one for them to get started with, but still they resist…

The whole point of starting a side hustle is because you may need extra income, or you want to expand your skills or you're looking to grow retirement savings. Whatever the reason, the side hustle you start with should always be the one that's easiest to get going, not the one you think you should be doing.

Once you've had some success, you can then pivot and move into another area that your heart calls you too.

Choosing the Right Side Hustle

How to choose the right side hustle business. #sidehustle #freelancingtips

To help illustrate this further, I reached out to my lovely side hustling community and spoke to some amazing women about how they picked their side hustle businesses. Learn from them and then take action and start your own side business today!

Amber from Thrifty GuardianMeet Amber Temerity

You can find out more about Amber by checking out her journey and her site, Thrifty Guardian.

#1: How did you get started in your business and how long have you been doing this?

I’ve been blogging since MySpace and Xanga were a thing (remember those days?)

I started my current business (ThriftyGuardian) in November of 2015 and officially launched on January 25th 2016. It’s been quite the whirlwind since then and I love it!

#2: How did you decide on your business model/topic/niche?

I’ve always been great at time management so that was a given for me, but I really wanted to go beyond that. It was important to me to be seen as more than “just another mommy blog.”

I also really enjoy working with numbers. I’ve always been a budget manager of some sort in my professional life, but I wasn’t great at applying it to my personal life until after my children were born. Tackling our household debt (which at one point was over $215,000!) has become quite the enjoyable adventure and I knew I wanted to share my tips and tricks with others.

So I combined the two – as time and money are so tightly intertwined anyway – and started a blog on not just budgeting your finances, but budgeting your life.

#3: What keeps you busiest during the day?

It depends on the day. I manage my days fairly carefully and have it all balanced throughout the week so I don’t get overwhelmed or burnt out. Sundays are probably my busiest days when it comes to my website-related work, because those are the days I spend scheduling out the rest of the week.

I’ve also recently finished up a time management program specifically for bloggers so that was my biggest “time suck” up until a few days ago.

#4: For people who are just starting out with their side hustle, what is your number 1 all-time tip and why?

PLAN IT OUT. No money to outsource? Not a big deal if you’ve got a solid plan in place. When I started blogging, I created my own blog planner (that I now offer for free to my blogger buddies!) and it made all the difference. Make lists and set goals – daily, weekly, monthly, even yearly! If you try to tackle it all without a plan, you’re going to get overwhelmed and will probably want to quit before you even really get started.

#5: What is your favorite podcast or book to listen to/read and why?

I read a lot of self-help books as a part of a book review program I’m in, so while there are quite a few of those I enjoy, if I’m reading for pleasure, it’s usually a fiction book. I’m a big fan of Gregory McGuire’s works (Wicked, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, etc.) There’s an interesting motif of social mobility – and whether it’s even possible – woven throughout his books.

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Tiina WilenMeet Tiina Wilen

You can learn more about Tiina by checking out her full journey and her other site:

#1: How did you get started in your business and how long have you been doing this?

I think I've always dreamed of running a business and in 2008, I launched my blog where I shared inspiration and tips about interior design.

I quickly connected with a lot of interesting people around the globe, and my idea of launching a collection of interior design products started to take off.

A few years later, I was travelling in the USA with my husband and we started talking about the future and our dreams. Once he learned how much thought I had given to my company, he pushed me to just-do-it. Encouraged by his support, I registered a company and got started with my brand!

#2: How did you decide on your business model/topic/niche?

I went totally with my passion, which is interior design, but since I come from a business and management consulting background, I've always had a focus on the business side too. It's great to see when passion and profitability meet! For sales and distribution we chose a traditional wholesale based business model.

For marketing, however, we are slightly less traditional by European standards.

#3: What keeps you busiest during the day?

Probably creating content and managing my team of 5 sales representatives. I do a lot of content, images, social media, and PR.

I'm also building my second business right now, it's a business consulting services for entrepreneurs like me, who want to build a product based business and run it from home or any other location.

I'm busy with getting my offering together and serving my audience with real inside knowledge and many years of experience in building a product line, sourcing and production, branding, selling and launching it internationally. 

#4: For people who are just starting out with their side hustle, what is your number 1 all-time tip and why?

Keep going, no matter what. It's tough, and many times it feels like it's not worth it or it never takes off… but it will, just keep going. For a long time, I was looking for some miracle tactics for growing my business, but I eventually found out, just like so many entrepreneurs before me, that the only way to get anywhere is just by doing a lot of work and less procrastination. 

#5: What is your favorite podcast or book to listen to/read and why?

My favorite podcast is Smart Passive Income by Pat Flynn and my favorite book right now is Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday

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Amanda from The Golden Girl DiariesMeet Amanda Hughes

She runs a website called The Golden Girl Diary and you can learn more about her journey here.

#1: How did you get started in your business and how long have you been doing this?

I began The Golden Girl Diary in June of 2015, so I am nearing my one-year anniversary soon! I’ve always had a strong interest in the fashion industry since I was a little girl. I worked in retail since I was 15 years old, which is truly when I discovered my passion. I began sitting in on buying meetings and designing visual displays, then suddenly I took over the assistant buying and visual merchandising responsibilities.

I furthered my education by studying Fashion Merchandising & Management at Philadelphia University. After I graduated I felt a huge void, like I wasn’t doing what I was meant to do. Nothing seemed to be falling into place. With the support from family & friends I decided it was time to share my insights with the world and The Golden Girl Diary was born.

#2: How did you decide on your business model/topic/niche?

Based on my personal interests and my strengths, I determined that fashion/style was the right choice for me. I’m full of lots of other useful information too! So on occasion, I’ll share tips about beauty, organizing or a DIY project that I’m currently working on.

#3: What keeps you busiest during the day?

Sheesh! I’m always in my office working. When I began The Golden Girl Diary, I worked full-time and I thought that was hard to balance between my full-time position and blogging.

After I decided to work as a blogger full-time, I thought “I’ll have SO much time to actually work on all of the other things that I’ve been wanting to do,” and that is true, but it has been challenging. My lists are so big, so I pick and choose based on urgency what needs to be done first.

Currently, I’m busiest with creating blog content. Aside from shooting the outfits, I have to upload photos then pick which photos are keepers. After that I have to create widgets to link the items that I’m wearing and write a few couple of paragraphs describing my topic of the day. Although it is fun, it is very time consuming!

#4: For people who are just starting out with their side hustle, what is your number 1 all-time tip and why?

My #1 tip is to never give up. There were plenty of days that I’ve wanted to quit because I wasn’t seeing the response that I had hoped for. But then I always try to remember, I’m happy with what I’m doing and I always keep in the back of my mind that Things. Take. Time. You’re not going to see amazing results overnight. It’s takes lots of time to build relationships that will lead to growth in your business. Be patient and stay hopeful.

#5: What is your favorite podcast or book to listen to/read and why?

This is a funny question because I’m sure most people wouldn’t expect my response. I’m currently listening to Serial, which I love. I’ve always been interested in true stories and have taken a serious interest in criminal shows.

If I’m ever looking to read, I will always grab a Harry Potter book because they are my favorites!

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Sara from Nymph in the WoodsMeet Sara Letsch

Sara runs a blog called “Nymph in the Woods” and is transitioning as we speak into her side hustle! You can learn about her journey here and here.

#1: How did you get started in your business and how long have you been doing this?

I got started blogging in May 2015 and it really was something I felt pulled to do. I had undergone a huge life change a couple years before. After taking a while to pick myself back up, I started trying to figure out what my life was now…who I was, what I wanted to be, and all the things I hadn't really explored before.

I found a few blogs that really inspired me and helped me start putting my life back together! I hadn't really read blogs before that, but they made such a huge difference! As I figured things out more and started feeling more sure of myself, I realized I wanted to share those things with others. My hope is that my blog can make that difference to someone else.

As for the business that I am about to launch, that kind of goes along with the blog story. When my life fell apart, I had to frantically search for a job. The first one used my education, in a vague way, but was not a good fit. The second one was found when I talked to the business owner about my search, as I had known her for many years. This business was a paint-your-own pottery and glass fusion art studio!

During my time there, I learned a lot, especially about glass fusion. I had been away from my art, of any kind, for many years at this point and I just fell in love with glass fusion! I now make wire wrapped fused glass jewelry and am getting ready to launch an Etsy store in the next two months.

#2: How did you decide on your business model/topic/niche?

For my blog, I think I'm still finding that somewhat. It's an overall wellness blog, with an emphasis on fitness, food and self improvement, along with some DIY projects and other random topics. I have found that exploring life and the many things out there to try and learn have made such a difference to me, and I want to pass that on to others. One thing that I have learned through this journey is that it's okay to invest in yourself. I want my blog to inspire others to do that.

For my jewelry business, it was just pure love of the art. I'm still learning a lot, especially when it comes to wire wrapping. But it makes me so happy and I love seeing others wear unique jewelry that I made! 

#3: What keeps you busiest during the day?

That really depends on the day. In the most general sense, the blog and business do. I work full time outside of those, and when I'm not working at my day job, I'm working on the blog or making jewelry. I try to schedule out different tasks for different days, so that I'm focusing on one or two major types of tasks for that day. 

#4: For people who are just starting out with their side hustle, what is your number 1 all-time tip and why?

Schedule everything! When you are going to work on what, deadlines for projects, everything. Up to and including time spent for yourself, like working out or taking a break. Scheduling is so important to keeping track of everything that needs to be completed and staying productive! It also helps to lessen time wastage. When I sit down at my computer to work, I usually know what it is I'm going to work on. There is no thinking about it because it's already planned out.

#5: What is your favorite podcast or book to listen to/read and why?

Oh wow…This is actually a really hard one for me! I am lucky enough to be able to listen to podcasts and audiobooks at my day job, so I listen to a lot of them! I'm going to answer this with two:       

Podcast for fun – Storywonk, particularly their Dusted series! They are so entertaining and they go over some of my favorite books and shows. I just started listening to them in the last month or so and I'm addicted!       

Podcast for business – The Fizzle Show! They provide so much useful and real information, while still keeping it engaging and entertaining. I've listened to almost every episode they have put out.

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Winn CreativeMeet Katie Winn Sarbacker

Katie runs a website called Winn Creative Co where she helps budding businesses bloom via social media. You can learn more about Katie's journey here.

#1: How did you get started in your business and how long have you been doing this?

I got started in this industry first in college and then as my 9-5 career.

The cubicle life left me feeling so unfulfilled and like I was wasting skills on companies I wasn't 100% in love with. I really wanted to use my skills to help female entrepreneurs and business owners boost their business through social media. So when my current job went downhill with financial issues, I took it as the sign to jump into my own business.

Ever since I've been helping girl bosses rock their social media and grow their business. Being able to use the skills I've developed over the years to help the people/businesses I'm passionate about is so much more enjoyable and fulfilling.

#2: How did you decide on your business model/topic/niche?

I decided on my model/niche by really taking into consideration what skills I excel at and which ones businesses are in need of most.

You have to be great at what you do and people have to need what you provide if you want to be successful, right?

After deciding on what I do best and is most wanted, I thought about who I really want to work with and developed and ideal client. I put it all together and now I have Winn Creative Co.!

#3: What keeps you busiest during the day?

Since I'm still technically new to running a business, the development and content creation is what keeps me the busiest. Client work is fun and easy because it's what I'm best at, but building a website and filling it with content is definitely time consuming.

I've been doing social media and marketing for years, so I have to put in a bunch of time to build a web presence that reflects that. 

#4: For people who are just starting out with their side hustle, what is your number 1 all-time tip and why?

My all time tip is to really have a plan. Write the business plan and write down goals for each month. Having those goals and a plan for the future is soooo important. There are a million different things that go into building a business and it's so easy to get distracted by all those little things, only to realize you aren't really moving forward. Having a business plan will help you determine what is most important for that point in time. 

#5: What is your favorite podcast or book to listen to/read and why?

Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie (the founder of TOMS) is by far one of the most influential books I've ever read. It is a fantastic source of inspiration. Even if you aren't starting a socially focused business, just learning how TOMS and other businesses were built will be incredibly motivating.

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Wordpress BaristaMeet Cathy Tibbles

Cathy runs a website called WordPress Barista, where she'll help you with all your WordPress needs! You can learn more about her journey here.

#1: How did you get started in your business and how long have you been doing this?

I really fell into doing this. I originally thought I'd be a blogger. In fact I was going to be the next Ree Drummond. My grand total the first month was $0.83. 

That was 10 years ago. Since then I've been vigorously procrastinating any blogging activity by fixing websites. And it turned out I really enjoyed the fixing and coding part.

And then I learned that good coding skills are worth a lot more than my blogging skills!

#2: How did you decide on your business model/topic/niche?

I'm not sure I ‘decided' on a business model – I decided I needed money! And since then I've been learning how to do that. 

At first 100% of my work was from referrals. At the time I was offering services to friends and family for $20 here and there. It was difficult to put together a $1000. Then I read E-Myth and decided to run my business as a business. I put in time on the business as well as in the business every day. Or tried. Then I made around $1,000/mo regularly. As a second income that was ok.

For the next few years I struggled to put together a meager wage and studied like crazy. I read Seth Brogan, Michael Hyatt, John Jantsch, Chris Brogan and a dozen top WordPress developers. It was tough but I learned a crapload. 

Still only barely making a part-time salary, I went through a divorce. Isn't it great (< sarcasm) how life gives you poop-or-get-off-the-pot moments? 

That was my wake up call to become the business woman I was afraid to be. I had to take risks. I hired staff before I had the income to pay them. I worked as many hours as it took to get the clients that I needed to get the money that I needed to pay the staff that I needed. I did not take a paycheque for nearly 3 months.

That my friends, is the ugly side of entrepreneurial life.

Somewhere after that, things just started looking up! I have a wonderful team. I get to work with wonderful people who pay rates that I'm worth and I still give them better value than anyone else. My service is the best investment you'll make if you make your living based on a website. I can say that now with 100% confidence, instead of putting a bunch of asterisks after it. 

Currently, I'm in another huge learning phase – how on earth to scale this little operation and work with more entrepreneurs, serving more clients and combining our marketing efforts…

And then there's figuring out how to un-glue myself from Facebook. Or Instagram. Or Both!

#3: What keeps you busiest during the day?


Seriously – I'm not terribly organized. It's a total weakness! My ideal goes something like this:

  • 25% research and development,
  • 25% client retention and customer service,
  • 25% marketing and
  • 25% website work.

Reality? 75% marketing + 25% work one day and then the day before my post is due 99% marketing and then I'm working to catch up on customer service… etc etc etc.

Key takeaway: Don't do what I do! 

#4: For people who are just starting out with their side hustle, what is your number 1 all-time tip and why?

Do what you need to do to be good and confident at your skill. If it's lessons, take 'em. Practice? Do it. Confidence? Talk to a coach or therapist. It's worth every penny – your future depends on it.

#5: What is your favorite podcast or book to listen to/read and why?

I've lately started listening to Chris Brogan – of Owners Media. I really like how short and succinct his tips and tools are. He calls them ‘plans' and they take no more than 20 minutes.

My current plan is about how to lay out my day and be organized in a do-able fashion!! We'll see if it works, I'm a tough case.  

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Tracey from Course DezineMeet Tracey Meyer

Tracey runs a website called Course Dezine, where she helps business owners create their own online courses. You can learn more about her journey here.

#1: How did you get started in your business and how long have you been doing this? 

I started working in learning and development for a college writing academic materials, assessments and courses. Then I moved into online learning and courses and I used various learning management systems (LMS) to build courses. 

I’ve been an instructional designer and course writer for over 7 years mainly in the academic industry. And I’ve been blogging since 2010 so it was a natural process for me to start blogging about a topic I loved and knew so well – online courses!

#2: How did you decide on your business model/topic/niche? 

There has been an education explosion recently and as a course designer and writer, I knew I had to contribute and share my knowledge. It also suits my lifestyle as I’ve been keen to leave the formal academic industry and work with creatives and startups. 

#3: What keeps you busiest during the day?

Writing courses and blogging! The writing part is the hardest as it requires creativity, so some days are harder than others.

Blogging; as my posts are in depth and often require lots of research and surveys to support my arguments. 

#4: For people who are just starting out with their side hustle, what is your number 1 all-time tip and why?

Set aside dedicated time to work on your side hustle and be consistent. You’ll need to invest regular time, money and effort into your side hustle in order for it to work. 

#5: What is your favorite podcast or book to listen to/read and why?

My favourite book is the 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. It’s motivational but with a great practical element to it.

And my favourite podcast at the moment is Good Life Project – I love the variety of inspirational guests on the show and enjoy listening to it on the way to work. It’s a great way to start the day! 

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MarciaMeet Marcia DesRosiers

Marcia is an artist that loves colours and brings these to life on her site Hearts and Hands Quilts. You can check out her journey here.

#1: How did you get started in your business and how long have you been doing this?

I thought about turning my hobby into a business for a long time but I just didn’t know how to do it. I percolated on the idea from 2009 until buying the domain name in 2012 to actually starting my business in 2015. I wish I had started right away! I have found some great help with blogs, online courses and podcasts so now I have the confidence and knowledge to really make it happen.

#2: How did you decide on your business model/topic/niche?

I have quilted for years and have always loved animals. I know how important our pets are to us and I really wanted people to have an opportunity to celebrate their pets in a special way. I decided to combine the two and create one-of-a-kind portraits made of fabric.

#3: What keeps you busiest during the day?

Learning the ropes of running a successful business. I also schedule in time to create my products.

#4: For people who are just starting out with their side hustle, what is your number 1 all-time tip and why?

Listen to a lot of podcasts and read a lot of helpful blogs but don’t jump at everything you see – it can seem like the right thing to do at the time but then you feel pulled in a million directions and don’t do well at any one thing.

I would say to start with a good book or an online course that will guide you from the beginning and do the work. Use a mentor or coach to help guide you over those rough patches. Invest in yourself and your business.

#5: What is your favorite podcast or book to listen to/read and why?

I love Tara Swiger ( Her podcasts “Explore Your Enthusiasm” have helped me so much. She gives a lot of great tips and advice. She is right on target for getting your business off the ground. Her book “Market Yourself” is fantastic with step-by-step instructions and worksheets to keep you on track. I love her because she is a bit quirky and yet she is concise not flaky.

I also really like Melyssa Griffin over at the The Nectar Collective ( and her webinars because she gives a lot of value and is really down to earth and so helpful.

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Phew, I know that was a long post, but I felt it was important for you to hear from others, not just from me, about what it really looks like to start a side hustle and then how that manifests into something you truly love to do.


Find your side hustle in the next 7-daysIf you need help starting your side hustle, make sure you check out the Side Hustle 7-Day Challenge. It's FREE and will help you discover your most profitable side hustle skill to hit the ground running with!


Lise Cartwright
Lise Cartwright

Founder of Hustle & Groove and your creative business strategist. If you want to get notified of new posts just like the ones you see here, then make sure you join the awesome H & G community — Join Now!

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