3 reasons why you absolutely need a side hustle

5 Side Gigs Almost Anyone Can Do

You always need to be investing in other opportunities outside of your main money source. Here's why

Entrepreneur Chris Guillebeau, on tour supporting his new book, Born For This, recently talked with leadership expert Susan Cain about the art of the side hustle. Here's his definition from the conversation, followed by why you need at least one:

A "side hustle" is an additional income source that is separate from your paycheck. It's not a part-time job as much as it's something you create, and it's disproportionately satisfying. Chris strongly recommends side hustles--they help you build confidence and security, especially if you've always been an employee and have never worked for yourself. Even a small amount of extra money feels great because you made it happen.

A side hustle isn't being an Uber driver or another sharing-economy gig - that is a part-time job. No, a side hustle is an money-earning activity that fuels your passion. It can be your side hustle rather than your main career for a variety of reasons:

You need more time to prove the concept is viable: AirBnB, Twitter and countless other startups began as side hustles to the founders' main gigs. In fact, in the case of Slack, the side hustle actually was discovered within the main gig. By doing it on the side, you have the opportunity to develop the minimal viable product and find out if the idea is worth more of your time.

You need more funds: Side hustles often put passion over profit, so it is reasonable to do them as a moonlighting (or, in my case, pre sunrise) project. There may even be a point where your side hustle becomes a cash cow: My first self-published book, Damon Brown's Simple Guide to the iPad, was an experiment that ended up hitting the Amazon tech best-seller list. I ended up making more on it some months than my main work.

You need another outlet: Awful leadership, unsupportive organizations and limited growth opportunities drain employees every day, yet having a side hustle means that your main source of productivity and joy isn't just tied to one company. It doesn't mean a side hustle equals complacency at your job, but it can represent a well of creativity that encourages you to fight one more day and, ideally, get motivated to find a more supportive position.

Check out these 20 out-of-the-box ways to make a few extra bucks:

20 unusual ways to make quick money
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3 reasons why you absolutely need a side hustle

Dog-sitting, babysitting, or house-sitting

These jobs are always in high demand, and the best part: you can name your price and create your own schedule! Post an ad on craigslist, or use your friends' and family's connections to get your name out there. 

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Rent out your space 

List your apartment on Airbnb or another rental site, and make some easy cash by staying at a friends and renting out your place for the weekend.

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Share your space

Just as you can rent out your full apartment or house, you can also post a free room (or even just your couch!) on sites like Craigslist or Airbnb. This way you can split your living expenses -- and maybe even make a new friend!

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Sell your body parts

Now here's a weird one: Donate your hair, breast milk, or even plasma for a profit. According to Grifols, if you're healthy and weigh above 110 pounds, you can earn up to $200 a month donating your plasma to life-saving medicine. 

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Sign up to participate in medical tests and clinical trials. 

Universities constantly need volunteers to test new medicines and treatments -- and because the pool of willing participants is limited, there is typically a large compensation for being a guinea pig. 

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Participate in a focus group

Companies and organizations will pay you to join a focus group. These can be conducted in person, online, or via phone. You will most likely be reimbursed in cash or gift cards -- plus, you often get to test out fun new products! 

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Take online surveys

Similar to focus groups, you can get paid to give your time and insights on an online questionairre. Plus, you can do this from the comfort of your couch. 

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Bank on your sperm

Although we don't necessarily recommend this option, there is a very high demand for healthy sperm donors. Keep in mind some of the obvious drawbacks, but sperm donation is non-invasive and highly compensated. 

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Crowdfund your dreams

Crowdfunding allows you to raise monetary contributions from a large group of people who want to support your venture. Post your project or idea on a crowdfund site, like GoFundMe.com, and see the cash pile up.

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Become a tutor

If you're qualified, post an ad online or on a community board to tutor children on their school courses or for the upcoming SATs.

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Get a part-time job

Capitalize your free time (on the weekends or after work hours) by working a part-time job. A bartender, waiter, or Uber driver are all great options for an additional source of income -- and great tips! 

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Resell tickets

Take this suggestion at your own risk: If you're staying within legal limits, buy tickets low and sell high as an effective way to source additional money. (Just make sure to check your state and local laws first!)

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You can sell anything on the internet these days... including your companionship! Get paid to go on a platonic outing for a few hours and enjoy your afternoon with a new friend. 

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Rent out your parking spot

Make sure to check with your landlord first, but if you have the option to park your own car further away, lend or share your parking space or driveway for the hour, day, or even month! 

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Keep a coin jar 

This one takes patience before a big pay out, but keep a spare jar or drawer for loose change that you usually toss anyway. It will keep it all in one place -- and those quarters do add up! 

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Make something to sell 

If you have a knack for arts & crafts, create jewelry or other handmade gifts to sell on sites filled with other thrifty vendors like Etsy

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Sell items online

This effective strategy requires low effort with a high return. Post photos of your used or non-used items on sites like eBay or Craigslist, and let the bidding begin! 

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Have a yard sale

Sell clutter you've been meaning to get rid of right in your front yard. This simple tactic is convenient, and guarantees a wad of cash right to your pocket.  

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Return past purchases

This tip may seem obvious, but is often overlooked: Take your recently-purchased items that are laying around back to the store for either store credit or a full refund. 

Recycle scrap metal and cans

Collect cans and scrap metal out your own garbage, basement, and street and bring to your local recycler to exchange your findings for money.  

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