Q: I'd love to earn some extra cash in addition to what I make at my 9-to-5 job, but I'm not sure where to start. Any ideas?
A: You may want to try one of the many "sharing economy" apps that will connect you with gigs. But you don't have to chauffeur people around if you hate to drive or take on work that won't move you forward in your career. A side job can bring not only extra dough, but fun and fulfillment, too. Take these steps to turn your need for cash into a labor you can love.
Start with a hobby
Pick a hobby or skill you enjoy and you're really good at -- two things that don't always go hand in hand, says Susie Moore, a life coach and author of "What If It Does Work Out?: Turn Your Passion Into Cash, Make an Impact and Live the Life You Were Born To."
You can start a side gig that's related to your current job. Work in marketing? Consider social media consulting, Moore suggests. A human resources pro? Offer interview training. Or create a list of activities you've been doing as favors for friends, such as editing cover letters or playing violin at weddings.
Start up a mini business
If no online platform exists for the gig you want to pursue, consider ways to forge your own path. Don't let the idea of starting your own business scare you. Make it your goal to get just two paying clients, Moore says.
Ivonne Ackerman, 30, recently scored her first client for her side hustle: teaching private barre fitness classes. Ackerman moved to New York five years ago to pursue a professional dance career, but took an administrative job at New York City Ballet after getting injured. Barre, a workout method inspired by ballet, kept dance part of her routine.
She got certified as a barre instructor and teaches in her free time. She also shares her fitness enthusiasm on her blog, The Sweat Glow, and plans to start a full-time business creating fitness programs for subscribers.
Leverage your side gig into a better 9-to-5
A good side hustle doesn't have to be something that you want to turn into a full-time job. It can also open doors to an entirely new 9-to-5 that will bring you more joy -- and ideally a higher salary. Include your newfound experience on your resume if the skills you're honing are transferable to your dream role.
"From a recruiter's standpoint and a potential future employer's standpoint, they want to see all your experience," says Paul McDonald, senior executive director at recruiting firm Robert Half. Relevant part-time jobs, and even pro bono and volunteering experience, count.
Eventually, you might be able to wind down the side job altogether. But the first step? Just get started.