I Never Knew You Could Make Money This Way

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(This story was originally published in NextIdea, our weekly newsletter on side hustles and pursuing financial independence. Sign up for it using the box below.)

More Americans are working multiple jobs to make ends meet.

That’s the takeaway from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest jobs report. Last month, an additional 165,000 Americans began working multiple jobs, the highest uptick since June. 

“There’s always a holiday uptick from October until February or March by people who do these jobs to pay for holiday gifts, parties, and clothing,” said Kathy Kristof, editor at SideHusl, in an interview with USA Today.

Every time I think I’ve seen every side hustle in the book, someone comes up with a creative, inspiring way to make money that I’ve never seen before. Here are three profile stories I edited this past week that humbled me yet again.

Spotify Wrapped, But Make It a Side Hustle

Robin Young, a musician, reviews songs for his popular Spotify playlist, a side hustle he says makes him up to $150 an hour.Courtesy of Robin Young

This one was completely new to me!

Robin Young, a musician, has a popular Spotify playlist. It’s so popular that artist managers pay him to consider their clients’ new tracks. Using platforms like SubmitHub and Playlist Push, Young gets paid per song review, and makes up to $150 an hour doing so. 

The catch? You need a playlist of at least 1,000 followers. Young ran ads to his playlist to get over the threshold, and now makes over $1,000 a month from his popular rock playlist. Here’s how the weird, wild world of paid playlist curation works:

Dream Side Hustle Alert: How This Musician Earns $1,000 a Month Curating Playlists on Spotify

Is It Cake? Even Better, It’s a Side Hustle

Then there’s Michelle Heston, a marketing executive by day who discovered her passion for bespoke baking while whipping up a custom birthday cake for her niece. Her business has no funnel, no email list, and no advertising campaigns — just an Instagram and a dream, and she plans to keep it that way. 

Heston makes one commission cake a week, and brings in about $1,000 a month. She doesn’t want to scale into a full-blown confectionery, but is pursuing product partnerships to rev up monthly revenue. The sugary scoop is here:

Is It Cake? Even Better, It’s a Side Hustle. How She Makes $1,000 a Month Baking One Cake a Week

Fund Your Passion

Sam Laird uses the profits from his niche reviews website to finance his passion for rock climbing.Courtesy of Sam Laird

Don’t tell anyone I said this, but… you can spend your side hustle money on whatever you want, as long as the numbers work out at the end of the day.

For some, the whole point of having a side hustle is to bring in cash that can be used to fund hobbies, passion projects, or other life pursuits.

That’s what Sam Laird does. The social media manager loves climbing. But specialty climbing shoes are expensive — up to $300 a pair, according to the athlete. So he developed a niche reviews website, ClimbingShoeReview.com, that reviews industry gear.

Despite it being “a terrible niche” (Sam’s words, not mine), it makes over $1,000 a month in affiliate link commissions, which fund Sam’s climbing pursuits. Writer Chi Odogwu profiled the climber here:

This Rock Climber Turned His Hobby Into a $1,000+ Per Month Side Hustle. How He Did It

Feeling inspired? Be sure to check out our side hustles roundup for 2023 here.