Can side hustles be a source of additional income?

If you won’t borrow money to help you tide over the next few months, side hustles can help bring in extra cash. Here are some tips for you to get started:

  • Do an audit of your skills and see what services people need.
  • Go online and connect with a community of freelancers.
  • If you’re fully employed, talk to your bosses about your side hustles.
  • Weigh your own time and resources. Do you have the headspace to do the extra work?
  • Prepare yourself and see if your work-home space is ready.
  • Be patient and listen to feedback.


Nearly three months of being locked down in your home has made you sit up and consider your financial standing in this time of uncertainty. People are more concerned about their financial and employment security if another similar event like the recent lockdown happens.

For some people, having side hustles is a way to help them build their savings to sustain them for future events or to cover expenses if they lose their jobs.

Here are some tips from people who took on side hustles during the lockdown and what they suggest should be done to ensure they are able to commit.

Know your skills first

Some skills can prove beneficial to others. All you need to do is ask what they need.

During the recent lockdown, some people have turned to food for comfort, either by eating or by making them.

Megan Rejano, a part-time sales assistant for a motorbike shop, lost her job during the lockdown. While her employer provided some cash to help her, she knew it wouldn’t be enough. So, she started selling her homemade cookies to neighbors in her condominium.

“I took baking lessons before. Since I didn’t have work, and there’s nothing much to do, I started baking cookies and selling them. It helps me get by,” Rejano said, recalling how her cooking skills paid off during lockdown.

Ask your community for freelance work

Freelance work can be a form of side hustles. Some of these you can find online. There are freelance job offers and projects posted on the Internet and social media networks. At the height of the lockdown, there was a surge in short-term projects in freelance platforms. Companies here and abroad relied on project hires to continue operating during the lockdown.

Jay Lazarin, a writer for a hospitality firm, was among those who was able to work from home when the community-wide quarantine was imposed in Manila. Afraid that he might be among those retrenched by his company he took short-term work on an online freelance platform, which brought in additional income that he immediately converted to savings for his family.

Lazarin cautioned that while there are opportunities in freelancing, you have to remember that is just part-time work. There is no job security in freelancing, and the benefits are short-term.

“You might enjoy it, but once the project is done, you’ll need to find others,” he added.

Take on hustles that you enjoy doing

Side hustles or freelance work still requires your full attention. You must ensure that you will enjoy the work, and that you have the headspace for it.

Journalist Erik Palino works as a part-time teacher at a local college. His savings from this work helped him tide over his financial needs during the lockdown. He plans to continue teaching as a side hustle after the lockdown both as a means to generate extra income, but also because he loves teaching.

“It would be easy for me to toss this if I didn’t like this. If you’re looking for extra work, make sure you already love what you’ll be doing,” Palino said.

Inform your employer that you have a side hustle

An important part of getting a side hustle is letting your current employer about it. Some companies have policies that prohibit employees from doing some form of work that generates income. Such a policy prevents conflicts of interest and that the side hustles do not affect the employee’s performance in their main employment.

Juan Sebastian, a freelance writer who used to be a full-time editor for an online news organization, said that fully employed persons should discuss their side hustles with their bosses. He emphasized that companies are also protecting themselves from employees abusing their time at work or even using company resources.

“Be sure that your side hustle is very different from your current work. If the side hustle is not in any way related with or involves your main employer, then that should be fine,” Sebastian said.

Manage your time and workspace, too

Side hustles require you to manage your time and physical workspace. The challenge of working on the side during a lockdown is greater, because it adds to the daily distractions of family life and your primary job.

Sebastian said that the lockdown added a new complication to his daily routine. While he normally works at home, his young children, who are also home because schools are closed, often got in the way of his projects.

To help him finish work, he and his wife devised a system to manage their time between work and play with their children. Whenever he and his wife are working, his children are assigned tasks to complete within a specific hour and are given rewards if they are able to complete on time. This kept the children busy while the parents worked.

For those planning to consider side hustles, it is critical to figure out creative ways to manage your time. It may be difficult at first, but once a system is in place, you can work and play from the comforts of your small home-office.

Be patient and listen to feedback

If there’s any tip that you should take to heart, it is this: Be patient. Side hustles are hard to come by, and you should learn to work to your strengths.

According to Lazarin, who has been doing freelance work long before the lockdown, it can be difficult to find available side hustles. When you get a project, you’ll have to deal with tight deadlines and even difficult clients.

You need to be very patient and ready to take in feedback, and to act quickly. Good communication skills will come in handy in dealing with clients or customers.

“Who knows, you might deal with the same people again, and they can even recommend you to others. You’ll establish a network of potential clients in the future,” Lazarin said.

Managing your income from side hustles are made a lot easier with mobile banking. Learn more about it on metrobank.com.ph/mbs-how-to

This article is part of a collection of stories and practical financial tips that are published with the goal to help people learn from the experiences of others, and to pick out lessons on personal finance and sound money habits beyond the pandemic.