8 November, 2017
Lifestyle

Gig It ‘Til You Make It: 8 Side Hustles You Can Do In Hong Kong

8 November, 2017

Rise & Grind

 

The world is changing. Celebrity baby news now appears next to headlines about nuclear weapons testing. Last week, my 16-year-old brother was casually throwing around terms like ‘dividend yield’ when the farthest I’ve gone with wealth management is putting all my bank statements into an accordion folder (and a cute one at that).

Gone are the days of the 9-to-5 grind and saying yes to any job that would allow you to jet off to the beaches of Koh Samui at least twice a year. The workforce is smarter, and more and more people are moving away from traditional roles, and entering into flexible work arrangements allowing for autonomy and time to pursue personal passions.

Let’s start by defining what the ‘gig economy’ really means. According to Diane Mulcahy, who wrote The Gig Economy, it can be defined as ‘a source of income that doesn’t require full-time work, and not officially tracked by the government.’ Unsurprisingly, it’s a sector of the economy that’s growing much faster than traditional employment.

For those who are sceptical as to just how mature the gig economy is: 44% of people of those aged 25 to 34 now have a side-hustle, and there appears to be little discrepancy in interest among industries and income. In other words, the gig economy is here to stay. Knowing your way around all the opportunities the gig economy has to offer not only opens doors for additional income, but allows you the freedom to shape your own life.

That being said, it’s important set out your objectives before making a commitment. Do you want to earn some extra cash, or is it a stepping-stone to a permanent arrangement? Do you want flexibility to travel more, or more time to start a family? Understanding what you want out of your side gig will help you decide what type of work to pursue, and help gauge what kind of income you can strive for as well. For instance, Airbnb hosts earn a median income of USD 440 per month (average: USD 900 per month), with a range of USD 200 to USD 10,000 depending on your level of commitment.

Keep reading as we share some side gigs you can explore in Hong Kong, and delve into the pros and cons of each, so it best fits into your lifestyle.

Gig It 'Til You Make It: 8 Side Hustles You Can Do In Hong Kong

Sell Your Handiwork

Making it work:

  • Create a curated collection and specialise in one product to start
  • Ask friends and family for feedback first to make sure you’re selling a good product
  • Offer exceptional customer service and slowly build up your social media platforms after

Pros:

Cons:

  • You’ll need to be more than just crafty to succeed (cue Portlandia clip)
  • It requires more of a time commitment (i.e. sourcing, production, marketing, shipping, customer service, etc.)
  • Requires some initial investment

Platform(s) to use: Etsy, Big Cartel, Handmade at Amazon

Gig It 'Til You Make It: 8 Side Hustles You Can Do In Hong Kong

Try Amateur Photography or Sell Your Photos

Making it work:

  • Join photography clubs to meet other fellow amateurs and learn from each other
  • Start by photographing your friends, and slowly build up your portfolio from there
  • Offer your time for free as a photographer’s assistant to gain more experience

Pros:

  • You take a lot of photos anyway, why not make some money from it?
  • Seasoned amateur photographers can quickly turn their Instagram accounts into a portfolio and sell photos to stock image platforms like Dreamstime or Shutterstock
  • With perseverance, you can slowly increase your rates and earn more as you go

Cons:

  • Extremely competitive industry, and it will be tough to compete with professional photographers
  • It’s a huge time commitment, and you will likely have to work around other people’s schedules
  • Some initial investment may be necessary if you don’t already have the equipment you need or need to take photography classes

Platform(s) to use: Snappr, 500px, Dreamstime, Shutterstock

Gig It 'Til You Make It: 8 Side Hustles You Can Do In Hong Kong

Setup a Private Kitchen

Making it work:

  • Start by organising dinner parties with friends and have them test out your dishes
  • Refine and slowly begin to work with small parties, and increase your capacity as you go
  • Start with a simple website or Facebook Page, and ask past clients for testimonials

Pros:

  • Make use of those impressive cooking skills – foodies of the world unite!
  • You can make pretty high margins, especially once you’re more established
  • A great way to meet new friends, and ideal for social butterflies

Cons:

  • Be prepared to sacrifice your downtime (i.e. evenings, weekends, holidays, etc.)
  • You may need to find a partner or find other to help for larger parties
  • Initial investment for equipment may be needed

Platform(s) to use: MobiChef

Gig It 'Til You Make It: 8 Side Hustles You Can Do In Hong Kong

Be a Content Writer, Copywriter, or Proofreader

Making it work:

  • Start by collecting your best pieces and organise everything into a portfolio
  • See which areas you’re lacking in, and pursue different projects so you can show clients that you have scope and are adaptable
  • Make Copyblogger your new bible, as it’s one of the best resources out there

Pros:

  • Perfect for those who always got an A in English class
  • You can easily manage your own time and the work you take on
  • Every industry needs writers, so you can pick and choose topics you’re interested in

Cons:

  • Doesn’t always pay well in the beginning, especially if you have a small portfolio
  • Proofreading can be tedious and requires serious attention to detail
  • Difficult to increase your income up to a certain point unless you decide to go full-time

Platform(s) to use: Copypress, Copify, Peopleperhour, Fiverr

Gig It 'Til You Make It: 8 Side Hustles You Can Do In Hong Kong

Tutor Students in Almost Anything

Making it work:

  • First decide which subject you want to teach, and which age group you want to work with
  • Start by asking people you know if anyone is looking for a tutor and start from there
  • Speak to some friends who are full-time teachers for advice

Pros:

  • Some websites allow for all skills, so you can even be a life coach, or teach students how to play an instrument
  • Enjoy the flexibility of being able to work with students via Skype
  • Due to the demand for English tutors in Hong Kong, you have the opportunity to turn this into a more permanent job

Cons:

  • It can be tricky for someone with no teaching experience to take this on
  • With a full-time job, it can be difficult to keep up with students’ schedule and course work
  • Popular subjects can be very competitive, so you need to be able to differentiate your skillset

Platform(s) to use: Skooli, Wyzant, Clegg, Udemy

Gig It 'Til You Make It: 8 Side Hustles You Can Do In Hong Kong

Become a Pet Sitter

Making it work:

  • Consider which animals you have the ability to care for, and will fit into your lifestyle (i.e. the size of your flat, any pets you have, etc.)
  • Be prepared to invest in basic necessities such as pet food, medication, etc. in case of emergency
  • Market your service out on platforms or within your own network, and make sure to get testimonials as you go along

Pros:

  • Do we even need to say it? You get to spend time with animals and get paid for it
  • Ideal for those with a more active lifestyle
  • The most fun side gig on this list by far!

Cons:

  • Experience may be needed to care for pets with special needs or exotic pets
  • You may need to make changes to your home and schedule to accommodate
  • It’s huge amount of responsibility, and a job that can’t be taken lightly

Platform(s) to use: HelloToby.com, Pawshake

Gig It 'Til You Make It: 8 Side Hustles You Can Do In Hong Kong

Try Your Hand at Voice Over Work

Making it work:

  • Decide what type of voicework you want to pursue (e.g. voice acting, commercials, audiobooks, etc.)
  • Record yourself and work on breathing and pacing without sounding too flat or try-hard
  • Attend an improv class or attend an acting meetup in your area to better prepare for your demos

Pros:

  • There’s a lot of work out there regardless of the type of work in Hong Kong, especially for native English speakers
  • If you like talking, then you’re sure to have a blast
  • Voice over work can open doors to greater voice acting opportunities for those who show talent

Cons:

  • Voice over work isn’t as easy as having a conversation – expect to practice a lot
  • Initial investment into voice recording equipment may be necessary
  • Auditions can be time-consuming and stressful due to rejections

Platform(s) to use: Voice123, Upwork, Voices.com

Gig It 'Til You Make It: 8 Side Hustles You Can Do In Hong Kong

Work as a Virtual Assistant or Freelance

Making it work:

  • The key is to have an eclectic skillset, so make sure you’re familiar with all the common administrative (e.g. transcribing, scheduling, bookkeeping, etc.)
  • Then pick one area you excel at and really hone in that skill, so you can market it out as your specialty
  • Decide whether you want to take on one task at a time, or work with an individual or company on a longer-term basis

Pros:

  • Most roles will require that you have some commercial experience (i.e having worked in a traditional company / organisation)
  • There’s a lot of great earning potential, especially if you’re working with a larger company
  • You can capitalise on your existing skillsets

Cons:

  • You’ll be competing with the likes of Siri, Alexa, and Cortana (but they have nothing on you)
  • A diverse skillset is needed, and every job is different, so it may take some time to learn everything you need to excel
  • As with a real personal assistant job, things can get stressful and you’ll likely have to work on many monotonous tasks

Platform(s) to use: Worldwide 101, Fancyhands, Guru, Freelancer

Note: Be sure to check the terms and conditions of your current employment contract before getting started – there might be a clause that prevents you from side-hustling! If you have any uncertainties, there’s no harm in speaking to your employer directly.

Featured image sourced via Unsplash, images #1, #2, #3, #4, #5,#6, #7, #8 sourced via Unsplash

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