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  • Ryan tests side hustles and shares his findings with 100,000 TikTok followers.
  • He recommends user-generated content as a potential side hustle since it can be a low lift.
  • He doesn’t recommend trying to start a YouTube channel or voice work if you’re looking to make money quickly.

If you’re looking for a side hustle, but overwhelmed by the options, Ryan can help you sort through the noise.

Ryan, a millennial with a full-time job and two kids, spends a few nights a week, weekends, and some lunch breaks trying out side hustles. Under his handle @sidehustlereview, he tells 100,000 TikTok followers what he learns, including what makes money, and the time involved. 

“I’m in this side hustle wormhole. My For You page is just side hustle after side hustle,” Ryan told Insider. He asked that his last name and full-time employment be withheld for privacy, but they’ve been verified with Insider.

“In this wormhole, there are legit side hustles there, but they kind of leave out the hard work it takes to actually make it,” he said. “I just focus on what’s cycling through social media or on TikTok and just tackle them one by one.”

He became interested in side hustles because his new home needed some repairs and he could use the extra income. He was seeing ideas online, but said it was unclear “how much you’re going to make or how long it will take for you to get to the numbers that they said.”

Because of this, he decided to document his experience and become a resource for others.

“I just figured there’s probably a lot of people like me just looking at these, but really lost on what ones are practical or ones that’ll turn some money faster,” he said.

Ryan, who has made a lot of content around side hustles over the last few months on his TikTok, defines a side hustle as “something that you can do outside of working hours with flexibility.”

He added that he thinks the goal is spending minimal effort and a few hours while earning high revenue.

User-generated content made Ryan hundreds of dollars with minimal time investment

User-generated content, or UGC, is when “brands are looking for you to make content for them,” per Ryan. This can include simply taking photos or videos of a product that will most often appear on the brand’s page or as an advertisement.

Ryan’s first user-generated content was of a photo and video of a Christmas tree stand.

“Really, all I had to do was give them a photo of my foot on the ratchet and they paid me 15 bucks,” he said, adding he got the roughly $60 product for free, too.

“UGC was the easiest to get started with little time spent and a good amount of return,” Ryan said, adding that it’s the side hustle “with the most payoff right now” for him.

He has made over $400 from user-generated content gigs he found through JoinBrands, a UGC platform. He also made money from the referral program on the platform. Another UGC job he did was a video about a bike lock, from which he made $60.

Others have similarly shared their success with creating user-generated content with Insider. Content creator Giselle González averages about $5,000 a month, and Kelly Rocklein made over $100,000 in 2022. Rocklein says she specializes in what is known as paid media.

“There are two types of UGC: organic, which is posted to a brand’s feed to grow its following; and paid media, which is a concept that’s launched as an ad to create sales,” Rocklein said in as-told-to essay at Insider.

Others may be interested in UGC if they like taking photos.

“If they’re okay with taking photos, somewhat decent with taking photos and can speak on camera, like they’re not completely shy in that way, UGC seems to be pretty low lift and it doesn’t take a lot of operating capital,” Ryan said.

Affiliate marketing, hauling junk, and being a virtual assistant also have good potential 

While Ryan has been able to make some money with UGC, it’s not the only side hustle he is interested in.

“I am really interested in affiliate marketing as it seems to have big potential to be more passive, but from my research it certainly takes much more upfront work in terms of effort and community building,” Ryan told Insider.

In fact, it may take more effort than what he’s seen about it online.

“On social media it’s often pitched as an easy way to make money,” he said. “That may be, but it seems only after you put in a lot of work upfront and a very good strategy to build an audience.”

For those interested in affiliate marketing, Ryan advises focusing your content on a niche that you are passionate about.

In addition to UGC, the other top side hustles Ryan recommends are hauling junk and being a virtual assistant. He said he knows people who have found success doing the latter, but he hasn’t pursued it as an ongoing gig.

“If you’re a super organized person or something like that, then a virtual assistant is certainly something you could be good at and that could be a good side hustle as well,” Ryan said.

Voice work, creating a YouTube channel, and uploading photos are a skip for most people

There are some side hustles Ryan recommends skipping, such as sharing photos on ClickaSnap, per one of his videos.

ClickaSnap’s site notes that “payment rates are currently 0.4 cents per view ” and “once your payment reaches $15, you can request to get paid.” There are both pro and seller accounts that cost money.

“It doesn’t seem to be worth your time unless you’re like a really good photographer or artist maybe,” Ryan said.

Voice over work is a similar case. Ryan said, “just for your average person that’s not trained or taking classes and stuff or is not going to, doesn’t want to do that, I would skip that one as well.”

It may also be expensive if the platform charges a membership fee, and you might need a portfolio of work to land jobs. 

YouTube may also be a good side hustle for some, but Ryan tried it out and didn’t find much luck. He started a music channel that used AI to create the music and art for the videos. However, he hasn’t made money from this channel. He noted in one video this isn’t a side hustle that allows you to quickly make money as you need 1,000 subscribers and also 4,000 hours watched in the last year or 10 million views in the last 90 days from public YouTube Shorts first, as explained in his TikTok video.

“I think a YouTube page has great potential with the right idea, content or strategy,” Ryan said. “However I would not recommend it to anyone who has gotten guidance to open one and rely on pure AI content to populate the page and strategize.”

“The AI approach is being pitched as an ‘easy way to make money’ however it does not seem to be a viable option without a really good strategy developed by a human,” he added.

Side hustles might not be for everyone

Ryan has amassed over 100,000 followers sharing his experience on things like selling a digital product on Etsy or starting a YouTube channel.

“I get so many personal messages saying they are so thankful that I’m trying these things and letting them know the truth and that really makes me feel good,” Ryan said. “I am also told I’m helping many people save time and continue to do the things they want to with their family which is very awesome and a motivating factor for me.”

According to Ryan, a “side hustle might not always be right for everyone,” but there are other ways to boost the money you make outside of side hustles.

“A side hustle is great if you’re looking for some type of project to get you out of the mundane, but you could also get more focused on your personal budget management and see if you can cut some expenses to free up income,” Ryan said. “You can also ask for a raise or find a job that pays more. This is what I convey to my fans right now.”

Have you made money from side hustles? Reach out to this reporter at [email protected].

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