Side Hustle Series – Affiliate Marketing

Have you ever heard someone talk about affiliate marketing? I used to associate affiliate marketing with get rich quick adverts that would pop up, and I wrote it off as it seemed a little shady. In the last few months my opinion of it has changed somewhat as I’ve learnt more about it. I now use affiliate marketing to assist in paying for the costs of running my blog. So in today’s article, I’m sharing my experience with affiliate marketing as part of our side hustle series.   

Please note that we live in Australia so this experience may not be applicable to your situation.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

As per the Investopedia definition

Affiliate marketing is an advertising model in which a company compensates third-party publishers to generate traffic or leads to the company’s products and services.

In general speak those who use affiliate marketing to make an income will use their platform (this may be a blog, social media, website, etc) to link their followers to a particular product (or service) that rewards them for generating sales/sign ups. If a follower uses the link (or code) provided then the owner of the product or service owner will then provide compensation to the person who helped generate the sale.

It’s more than likely that you have used an affiliate code before (sometimes also known as a referral link). I personally like using someone’s referral codes as it usually comes at a benefit to me as the customer (e.g. $10 for signing up with X if you use a code). I often will send out a message to my friends or on social media asking for a referral link to something new I’m keen to try so I can benefit from a discount when signing up.

Why am I using affiliate marketing?

First off I want to make it clear that I never set out to make money from my blog. My blog is an outlet for me and is an expensive form of therapy. It’s amazing how much it costs to run any website/hosted blog: from hosting the site, design/software subscriptions, investing in additional website security, computer hardware, electricity, data charges, and of course the time I put into the content I write.

The opportunity for me to get into affiliate marketing was by accident. After many months of using Pearler I was recently invited to become an affiliate partner of theirs. I already had a personal referral link in place which gave me and any of my followers a free trade, but this was an additional opportunity where I would receive a monetary amount for each new sign up. So before committing to the opportunity I spent some time weighing up the pros and cons.

Pros

  • Continue to provide a free trade to any followers who use my code to sign up at no cost to them at all (Affiliates that I partner with don’t pass on the costs to you).
  • Allows me to invest more into my blog and improve the quality of content (All income earned goes back into the site).
  • Keeps untargeted and spammy advertising off the blog (I don’t want to have advertising on my site that isn’t related to our journey to FI).
  • Continue to provide affiliate links to products and services that can help others on their journey (I only use products and services that I personally use, and that I believe have helped me).
  • An opportunity to share my experiences with readers on Affiliate Marketing as a side hustle.

Cons

  • Some could see this as a shady move and I may lose readers.

After weighing up the pro’s and con’s I decided to go ahead on the proviso that I would be honest and transparent with my readers in line with the Frank on FIRE ethos of “Honesty” and write about it. I also decided that it might also be a subject that people might be interested in learning more about.

How many hours do we spend on this side hustle? 

I don’t spend a set amount of time on this side hustle, and view it as pretty passive as an income stream. I already blog regularly and so where appropriate I use my affiliate link. I don’t write my content with the intention of imputing a link, but if it fits with the subject matter then I will add it.

How much does this side hustle make?  

This month is the first month that I have been paid as an Affiliate Partner and I was paid $260. This amount is before tax and all of this income is taxable. Income for future months is not guaranteed at all, and after this article the income may dry up all together. For those who have used my affiliate link in the last month I really do appreciate it as you’ve helped me keep doing what I love (and I do really believe in Pearler as a platform). I share all my side income amounts in my monthly side hustle income posts.

Will you continue to do this side hustle in the future? 

Yes, however I only believe in affiliate marketing in the following scenarios:

  • Links to products or services that give my readers a direct benefit.
  • Links to products or services that I personally use and have helped me on my journey towards financial independence.
  • Only partner with affiliate marketing partners that don’t pass on the benefit I get at your expense.

Would you recommend using affiliate marketing? 

If you have a blog, site or other platform then I think that there is no harm in affiliate marketing, however I do think you need to be open and transparent about it. I encourage you to come up with your own rules or standards for doing affiliate marketing and stick to them.  

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We are going to Airbnb our house!! (Well part of it any way)

If you’ve been following along either on the blog or on Instagram you’ll know that we are renovating our downstairs, and plan on turning it into an Airbnb. Today I’m posting a little more about it on the blog, and where we are up to in our plans. For all our Airbnb related posts click here.

So why are we going to Airbnb part of our house?

For two reasons.

First reason is we would like to create another stream of income that isn’t our main wages. We would love to use this income to help us cover some of the costs of renovating our home (and once that’s finished maybe even help us pay off our mortgage).

Second reason is until mid last year my mother in law lived with us, and contributed to the household. It was lovely having her with us, but she now has a lovely home of her own. Since then the downstairs has been underutilised and so we thought it was a good opportunity to turn it into a self contained Airbnb.

How are you going to Airbnb your home if you live in it?

Good question. We have a split level home and have access to each level from the ground level (sounds weird but it’s accurate). This means that our family of four can live in the upstairs 3 bedroom house (with bathrooms and kitchen), and downstairs can be it’s own self contained 1 bedroom house (with bathroom and kitchenette).

What renovations are you doing on the Airbnb?

Currently our future downstairs Airbnb isn’t ready for guests. We purchased our home 6 years ago and underestimated how long it would take to complete. We’ve been cash flowing our renovations which is why it’s taking us so long. That said we are dipping into our savings and prioritising the renovations to get downstairs ready for guests so we can boost our cashflow.

What Airbnb related renovations have we finished?

  • Sectioned off the downstairs so that we guests can’t come into our upstairs area and they have their own private space (and vice versa).
  • Pulled up and removed the old flooring that was water damaged.
  • Replaced the flooring with new tiling.
  • Replaced the skirting boards.
  • Furnished 80% of the downstairs.

What Airbnb related renovations are still to be done?

  • Completely demolish the bathroom and toilet.
  • Put in a new bathroom and toilet.
  • Put in a kitchenette ourselves.
  • Put in 6 new doors.
  • Touch up paint the walls.
  • Finish furnishing the rest of the Airbnb.
  • Put in 3 plantation shutters.

What is our budget?

As close to zero as possible, but will likely come in between 15-20k.

If you would like to see how much we have spent each month feel free to review our monthly expenses posts here. We have a category called renovations.

When are we aiming to start listing our Airbnb?

Spring 2021 (so less than 3 months).

What does it look like now?

Here are a few current photos of the space.

When we do get around to listing on Airbnb I’m going to rope in an amazing friend of mine who is a real estate photographer to assist.

We also have a whole heap of financial and taxation considerations to work our way through before we officially start hosting.

Throughout this journey of becoming Airbnb hosts I’ll be sharing via our blog and via Instagram. It would be great if you followed along.

We have so much to learn about being hosts so I would be keen to hear from any Airbnb hosts in the comments. What are your tips for being an awesome hosts?

Alternatively I would also love to hear from those who use Airbnb for accommodation. What makes an Airbnb awesome, and what are some of the unexpected awesome things hosts have done to make your stay special?

If you would like to follow our renovations on Instagram feel free to follow via @TheBoathouseStirling

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Side Hustle Series – 3 Side Hustle Podcasts you should be listening to

As part of my Side Hustle Series I’m covering off on a different side hustle every week. If you want to go back and read all of the series click here. To mix it up a bit I’ve decided to list my 3 Top Side Hustle Podcasts.  

1.       Side Hustle Pro – By Nicaila Matthews Okome

OMG if you’ve ever wanted to learn more about side hustles, or want to be inspired whilst starting your own side hustle then look no further. Nicaila is an amazing podcaster, and it’s no surprise her podcast was named ‘the perfect entrepreneurship podcast‘ by Mashable. Nicaila is also a TED talk speaker and I encourage you to view her TED Talk here called ‘This is the side hustle revolution’.

So this is my number one for so many reasons but ultimately its because Nicaila has a presence that makes you feel like she is talking to you (and just you). At the end of each episode you will feel inspired, ready to take action, and feel that you have found someone who has your back.

Features: 

  • Female Focused
  • Telling the stories of amazing black women
  • Focusses on turning your side hustle into your main hustle
  • Longer style episodes  (+ 30 minutes)
  • Large back catalogue to listen to (launched in 2016)
  • Very little advertising (or you won’t notice it at all – well aligned with the podcast)
  • Additional resources available on website

Other comments: 

By all means listen to the Podcast, but take a look at Nicaila’s amazing website Side Hustle Pro. The website has a tonne of awesome FREE resources to help you grow your own side hustle or passion project into a fully fledged business.

Favourite Episode 

231 : How to Decide What Your Side Hustle Should be in 2021 – This is a rewind episode and straight after this one it leads to an awesome Side Hustle Pro Bootcamp podcast episode series.

2.       The Side Hustle Show – By Nick Loper 

This is a podcast I stumbled upon recently following a google search where I found found Nick’s website aptly named Side Hustle Nation. This podcast has quickly become a favourite. To date there are over 434 episodes available in the back catalogue to keep you busy.  

Features: 

  • Longer style episodes (+ 30 minutes)
  • Large back catalogue to listen to 
  • Diverse side hustle stories from a range of different narratives
  • Case study style of podcasts
  • Additional resources available on website

Other comments: 

Nick also runs the website Side Hustle Nation and I encourage you to take a look at the site to read the blog, and some awesome free resources including the free guide ‘The 5 fastest ways to make more money’. I also really enjoy using the back catalogue feature to find podcast episodes that align with what I’m wanting to learn about (each episode also has an accompanying blog post which offers additional information about the podcast content).

Favourite Episode 

6 Low Start Up Cost Business Ideas from Side Hustle Nation link to blog post and episode via site – (or link to Spotify episode here)

3.       Side Hustle School – By Chris Guillebeau  

Side Hustle School was the first Side Hustle Podcast I found, and I’m still a fan. Chris has a huge back catalogue which is great if you’ve never listened to this podcast before. At the time of publishing this article Chris has published 1529 different episodes on Side Hustles. Each episode focusses on a different side hustle or alternatively a Q&A session on side hustles (from listeners).  

Chris also runs a website named Side Hustle School which contains a number of free resources, and show notes for each episode.

Features: 

  • Short punchy episodes (Under 15 minutes)
  • Great for finding side hustle ideas (big and small)
  • Large back catalogue to listen to 
  • Case study style of podcast
  • Additional resources available on website

Other comments: 

Whilst no podcast is perfect I will warn you that the advertising on this podcast gets very repetitive due to the short length of the podcast.

Favourite Episode 

1474 : Q&A: How can I increase my conversion rate? – This was a really punchy episode which I found really helpful, and on a subject that most small businesses / side hustles should take a look at.

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Side Hustle Series – Gardening Business

Have you ever wanted to start up a lifestyle service business like a gardening business? My husband has run his gardening business on the side for almost 5 years, and in today’s article, we are sharing our experiences as part of our side hustle series.   

Please note that we live in Australia so this experience may not be applicable to your situation. I encourage you to seek professional advice when starting a business. 

Background  

In 2016 my husband was the primary caregiver of our two boys and studying full time at University to become a teacher. He was keen to take on a part-time/casual job to help with our bills however it seemed an impossible task as his availability changed so often due to university, placements, and kids’ activities. This is not an unusual predicament, and I know many parents and students who have struggled to find casual/ part-time work that fits in with other commitments.  

To get around the availability issues he and I discussed setting up a gardening business in our local area. We live in an area with large gardens and had noticed that a high percentage of our neighbors outsourced their gardening tasks so the market was already there. The idea also sounded perfect because we didn’t need to spend a lot of money to get started as we already had all the equipment (thanks to maintaining our own large garden).  

Setting the Business Up Legally 

Setting up the business was straight forward, we decided on a name, double checked the business name registers to ensure it wasn’t already taken, and then booked an appointment with our local accountant. Our accountant did the heavy lifting for us in terms of setting up the business and structure (we rang around for prices before proceeding to get the best rate). For us getting a professional to set up the business was worth it, and it was under $200 for what we needed. Our accountant was also important in providing us with additional information as to record keeping and other important legal requirements from a tax perspective.  

Get Insured 

Once we had the legalities set up, we organised business insurance. Getting business insurance wasn’t as easy as getting car insurance and is a little more tailored to your individual business requirements (e.g. there are a few more questions to answer). Due to our existing home and car insurance being with a certain insurance company already and our discounts for multi policies we opted to go with them.

Marketing and Sales Funnels 

We have kept our marketing very simple from the start with our gardening business.  

  1. Created a logo thanks to my awesome mum and graphic designer.  
  2. Purchased some simple business cards (lowest spec available) from Vista Print using a coupon. 
  3. Canva to create a flyer to place on community notice boards.  

We don’t have a social media presence for our business. We would’ve happily created this if we needed it but have found enough work with our current sales funnels.  

Getting our first customer 

Our first customer came from a flyer we printed from home and placed at our local community board in our shopping centre. The flyer had the details of the gardening services we provided, and the business cards attached to the bottom to be taken by customers. My husband got a call within 2 days of putting up the flyer.  

Growing our customer base 

Our first customer became a regular customer straight away opting for a weekly gardening service. My husband was upfront from the start with all his customers that he was a student and that there may need to be changes to the scheduled time of a service. Being upfront from the start set up the right expectations for everyone.   

Our first customer quickly turned into two and three thanks to the power of referrals. This continues to remain our best sales funnel. Our community is extremely tightknit, and people in our community want to employ locals which is why referrals have been so successful for us.  

Over the years our customers have remained pretty stable with a number of regular customers, and a number of repeat once off customers. We still get new customers from our referrals and these have often coincided with our existing customers moving and no longer requiring our services. When we do want more customers, we revert to our usual strategy which is putting up a single flyer on the community board. We find that for every flyer we put up it returns one customer back to us.  

How many hours do we spend on this side hustle? 

My husband sets aside one day a week for gardening work which equates to approximately 6-8 hours. There is very little time spent on admin related tasks as we use an app for invoicing customers (Joist – we use the free version), and have outsourced our tax requirements.  

How much does this side hustle make?  

It generates approximately 15k per year in income prior to any tax and expenses. Due to the tax deductions, we are legally able to claim (again make sure you talk to a certified tax agent) this side hustle has been more financially beneficial for us than getting an additional part-time/casual job as an employee.  

Will you continue to do this side hustle in the future? 

The short answer to this is yes so long as my husband still enjoys doing it. He enjoys doing it as a back up to his regular job, and it’s a side hustle that can be scaled up very quickly if needed (by upping our non-existent marketing).  

Would you recommend starting a lifestyle / service business? 

100% yes. Dependant on the service you provide costs are often quite low to get started, and the demand for lifestyle services such as gardening and cleaning continues to grow as our lives get busier.  

I would love to hear about your experiences feel free to add them in the comments. 

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Side Hustle Series – Airtasker

Have you ever thought about joining Airtasker? Or do want to know what it’s all about? Then this is the article for you. This article is part of a series of articles on Side Hustles view all articles here.

What is Airtasker?

Airtasker was started in Sydney in 2012 by two Australian Entrepreneurs who wanted to build an online platform that lets users outsource their tasks to other users who are better known as ‘Airtaskers‘.

To use Airtasker users simply list their task and budget, and ‘Airtaskers’ make an offer on the task or ask for more information before making an offer. Airtaskers can offer above or below the task’s budget depending on what they believe the task is worth. The task poster then assigns the task to the Airtasker they want to do the task. Once the task is assigned the poster can privately message the Airtasker through the app, and exchange information about the task to ensure completion. Once the task is complete the Airtasker marks the task as complete, and requests payment.

How do I make money from Airtasker?

To start earning money on Airtasker you need to set up an account (this also allows you to post tasks as well). Setting up an account takes only a few minutes and doesn’t cost anything.

You can set up an account through this link here.

Once you have your account you can then view the tasks in your area, and set up notifications. I recommend setting up notifications as you don’t want to spend all day in the app, and getting tasks can be quite competitive. For example I assist people with lifestyle tasks such as cleaning so I have a notification for any tasks with the word ‘clean’ in it within a 10km range (you can customise this however you like).

When you set up your profile you will need to provide your bank details. Once you complete your task you mark the task as complete, and the task poster will provide you a review. Then your funds will be deposited to your account within 2-3 business days.

How do Airtasker fees work?

Airtasker is free to join, to set up an account and to post tasks; however it does take a cut of any task you are paid to complete (Airtasker calls this a Service Fee). The service fee that Airtasker deducts from your task income depends on the amount of money you earn from Airtasker each month (a tiered pricing fee).

At the time of writing this article there are 4 service fee tiers:

  • Bronze Tier – 20% Service Fee (Airtaskers earning less than $1000 in a month)
  • Silver Tier – 16.4% Service Fee (Airtaskers earning $1000+ a month)
  • Gold Tier – 12.7% Service Fee (Airtaskers earning $2500+ a month)
  • Platinum Tier – 10% Service Fee (Airtaskers earning $5000+ a month)

Do I have to pay tax on any earnings?

Yes, any Airtasker earned income is considered taxable by Australian law.

What if something happens whilst I’m doing a task? Am I covered by insurance?

Airtaskers are primarily responsible for the work they carry out under a Task and as per the current Airtasker website they may be liable for consequences that result from their activities when performing a task. Airtaskers are automatically covered by a third party liability policy that insures them for their liability to third parties for personal injury or property damage whilst performing most tasks (Not all activities are covered so check with Airtasker if you are unsure).

How much money do I make from Airtasker?

I have been using Airtasker for the last 18 months and have completed a number of different tasks. I’ve completed Mystery Shopping, Cleaning , Computer/IT, and Research tasks. I’ve made on average $50 a month via Airtasker over this period of time. I’ve also had repeat customers that I have managed through my personal business (and not Airtasker to avoid the fees).

What are my tips for side hustling on Airtasker?

  • Set up notifications for tasks
  • Make sure you add a clear and appropriate profile photo (people want to hire a friendly face)
  • Create a task template so you can easily submit it for a role (or have a couple of templates saved on your phone in notes eg one responding to a cleaning task)
  • Don’t be afraid to offer more.
  • Don’t undersell yourself (always check the actual price you will be paid after the service fee).
  • Ask questions if the task poster hasn’t added enough detail.

The future of Airtasker…..

Like most side hustles you are not going to get rich quick from Airtasker, but the freedom to find your own work is pretty liberating. In the very near future Airtasker is adding the ability to list your own services to the marketplace with your market rate. This is quite an exciting development and I look forward to hopefully finding more work through Airtasker in the future.

The final word

The side gig economy is getting bigger whether we like it or not. I’m a big fan of Airtasker as you are in charge of your schedule, and you don’t have to take a job if you don’t want to. Its a great way to make a little extra money when you know you’ve got a big expense coming up, or if you have some savings goals you want to hit.

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Side Hustle Series – Bottle and Metal Recycling

This is my second article in my side hustle series posts, and it’s a side hustle I’m quite passionate about….. recycling.

I’m a millennial so from birth its been hammered into my brain that we need to recycle and reuse as much as possible to minimise our impact on mother earth. So for me making a little cash whilst doing something that I love like recycling makes me feel a little warm and fuzzy inside.

How do I make money from recycling?

The ability to apply this side hustle to your own situation will depend on where you are located.

In Australia at the time of posting the following states offer $0.10 per bottle recycling.

Coming Soon

Additionally metal and other paid recycling will again depend on your rules and regulations in your state. Check them out online or head on down to your local recycling plant to get the full story for yourself.

How does the bottle refund / recycling scheme work and what are the benefits?

The bottle refund / recycling scheme works by adding a small extra deposit on top of the price of a beverage. This extra deposit is then refunded when the purchaser returns the empty drink container for recycling.

The benefits of the recycling scheme for bottles are:

  • Reduce bottle / container related litter by encouraging litter to be picked up with the reward being the $0.10 per bottle/container.
  • Improved Recycling through more effective capture and sorting with reduced risk of contamination.

So how do I know what bottles or containers are part of the bottle refund / recycling scheme?

Bottles in your state or territory are marked with a stamp which indicates their ability to be recycled as part of the bottle refund / recycling scheme. Some bottle types are not able to be recycled and will not result in a refund being paid. More information on the types of bottles and containers that are recyclable under the scheme is available in the links provided above.

How much money do I make from recycling? and is it worth it?

We make about $50 bi-monthly on returning our bottles. Its not huge dollars, but it’s money for jam. Additionally due to the set up of the scheme you might as well do it as you are paying for the scheme through increased drink prices.

We additionally make money from recycling metal that my husband picks up from his side hustle business. This is infrequent but our last visit nabbed us $80 for recycling a heavy metal frame (it pays to know your recycling rates).

I track all my side hustle income in my Income and Expense Tracker.

What tips do you have for bottle recycling?

I separate my paid recycling items from my normal recyclables by placing these in a separate bin (similar to my garbage bin). I bought an additional bin for this purpose off of Gumtree for $10 many years ago. Having an additional bin is really handy as you can just load it in the car when it’s full, which makes dropping off and collecting the cash at the deposit centre a breeze.

Not everyone around you is going to want to take part in this scheme, and that’s okay. If those close to you don’t participate I recommend taking the opportunity to ask them if they would collect them for you, provide them a bin, and pick them up when full.

Also don’t be afraid to pick up a can / bottle off the side of the road. It’s helping yourself, and helping the environment.

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Side Hustle Series – Market Research

I’ve just booked my first market research gig for 2021, and it’s prompted me to start a new blog series here on Side Hustles. The first of which will be outlining the in’s and out’s of doing Market Research as a side hustle.

My experience doing Market Research?

I’ve been doing Market Research as a side hustle for many years now. I think its likely over 5 years (way before Frank on FIRE). On average I do a large market research opportunity every other month, and I’ve averaged about $500 a year (likely more). I also do a tonne of little market research jobs which I don’t really keep track of.

What does ‘Market Research’ as a side hustle entail?

Every single session of Market Research I’ve done has been completely different. I’ve completed group market research eg: in a large room with a group of people providing feedback on products to the researcher (often these are also filmed and / or there are mirrored windows with people watching you). I’ve completed 2 minute video tasks answering a question. Since Covid-19 there has been more emphasis on online tasks, and these have been via zoom usually (my last opportunity was testing a new website).

How much money can you make doing ‘Market Research’ as a side hustle?

The amount really varies. I’ve completed 2 minute filmed videos to answer one question for $5 (taking under 5 minutes work). I’ve also been paid $150 to do a 2 hour in-person group session that also provided free food and drink (pizza/sandwiches). More frequently I’m paid between $60-80 for between 30 minutes to a 1 hour session. The latest gig I’m doing next week is a 1 hour online session for $80.

I track all my side hustle income in my Income and Expense Tracker.

How do you get paid?

I’m paid by the companies I’ve signed up to in two ways either gift cards or via bank deposit (once I was given cash in an envelope which felt a little odd).

I also declare my side income at tax time so make sure you talk to your tax agent about your own requirements.

What is the time commitment?

One thing I love about doing Market Research over doing surveys for example is that I don’t spend a lot of time on it. You do have to typically apply for an opportunity, however this process usually takes under a minute (especially if you use pre-fill). The majority of time on this side hustle comes from when you are actually participating in the research itself, and this time you are remunerated for.

Is this a reliable source of side income?

No, unfortunately Market Research isn’t typically a reliable source of income. That said I seem to pick up a gig fairly frequently.

How do I sign up?

The best way to get started in Market Research is to register with companies to get on their mailing list for opportunities. You will be asked to complete a profile initially, which the company will use to line you up with appropriate opportunities. Below is the list of Market Research companies in Australia in recommended order (if you are from outside Australia I would recommend doing a search for some reputable ones in your local area):

  1. Askable
  2. Research Connections
  3. Focus People
  4. Paid Focus Groups
  5. Farron Research
  6. Realtime Research
  7. KB Research
  8. Stable Research
  9. DML Research
  10. Chitchat Research
  11. The Purple Corporation

Some of these companies have Facebook sites, and I recommend following these as well. I’ve often found additional opportunities that were not sent to my email from the Facebook posts.

Feel free to add any other recommended market research companies in the comments below.

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