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Finding The Perfect Side Hustle After Age 40

You’re not limited to the five or 10 you hear about all over the place.

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Womans boots on a cobblestone street with a pack of dogs shes walking
Dewey Nicks/Trunk Archive
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Having a buffer in your bank account is essential. It allows you to comfortably afford your necessities, even with the occasional handbag splurge or after ordering that second (or third) mimosa.

If you’ve found your buffer looking a little thin lately, a side hustle might be just what you need to get back in the safe zone. But I get it, choosing a side hustle can be intimidating, especially when all you hear are horror stories in the news.

The truth: You’re not limited to the five or 10 you hear about all over the place. There are hundreds of different side hustles — with options so diverse, anyone can find one to fit their needs and comfort level.

So, when you’re ready to find a side hustle, here are three questions to ask yourself to wade through the choices and pick the right one.

What’s your personality? It is possible to earn extra money without boring yourself to death. Whether you want to rent or work, identify as creative or intellectual, or prefer dogs over kids, you can find side hustles that fit your personality.

Kathy Kristoff, the creator of, set up a quiz on her website for people to discover unique side hustles based on who they are and what they enjoy doing. She recommends women find a side hustle that suits both their hearts and their heads.

“I'm an extrovert who loves animals, people and entertaining. So, I can watch dogs for Rover, cook for Eatwith or design tours for Viator,” Kristoff says. “They're all really fun — and really lucrative.”

Write down your passions and hobbies, and then see which ones are most closely related to the side gigs out there.

What are your time constraints? If you’re still attending high school football games and track meets, you’re not going to have the same amount of free time that your empty-nester friend has. And whatever amount of time you have, you want to make the best use of it.

If you’re short on time, try renting out things you don’t use often. There are online marketplaces where you can rent out your car, boat, swimming pool, even driveway. Renting things is easy to start and requires almost zero-time commitment.

Tasks like walking dogs, charging scooters and picking kids up from school can be done in as little as an hour and pay pretty well!

When you have more time, you can start a small business teaching a skill or selling something. Websites like Wyzant, Lessonface and Wonderschool connect you with students looking for tutoring or music lessons. You can also sell a variety of products through Amazon, eBay and Ruby Lane.

What are your goals? Why do you need extra money? If you want to supplement your income or invest more for retirement, you’ll want to pick a side hustle you can do long-term. If you’re saving for a vacation or helping your kids pay for college, then you can pick short-term gigs.

When you have your goal in mind you can get clarity on the side hustles that are best for you. Decluttering your house is a great way to improve your surroundings and make money for short-term goals. You can sell unwanted clothes, electronics, books, jewelry and more online.

Work-at-home jobs — like virtual assisting, customer service and being a seasonal travel agent — are great to do long-term. They give you reliable income and the flexibility to work when you want, as much as you want.

Remember that while side hustles are a great way to earn extra income, they should be a fun addition to your life, not something you dread. If you don’t like one, try another.

“The thing about side hustles is you don't have to pick just one. A dozen might suit you, and you might decide to do them all at different points in time,” says Kristoff.

So, when trying to pick the right side hustle, play the field a little while. You’ll make some extra money — and eventually, find your perfect match.