Side Hustle University

Chapter Three:  Analyze and Select Opportunity

Now that you have your master list, it is time for the fun part — actually picking out what you are going to do!

The amount of effort you put into determining the best side hustle for you will greatly impact your chances for success. That’s because your circumstances, skills and priorities are unique, and something that may be a great success for one person could be a complete failure for you — and vice versa.

Step one: Decide what’s most important to you

The first step to choosing your side hustle is deciding what is most important to you. 

Some basic factors you might want to consider are:

  • Are there any start-up costs (low vs. high)?
  • What are the potential earnings?
  • How time consuming is it?
  • How passionate about it are you?
  • How much competition is there?

Feel free to add to this list as you need to. If you are struggling to come up with factors, go back and look over the list of priorities and goals you wrote in step one.

If you are feeling especially motivated, you could even create a simple rating system to help you objectively compare factors.

Step two: Get rid of list items that don’t stack up

Before you go through the hard work of analyzing each and every opportunity based on the factors you have chosen, take a cursory glance through your list and eliminate any options that don’t stack-up. Don’t really want to be a dog walker? Kill it. Not sure you can spare the time to make elaborate hand-made crafts? Cross it out. In many cases, you may already know when something isn’t going to be a fit for you. Trust yourself and make some cuts. This will save you time (and sanity) later.

Step three: Calculate level of returns 

Chances are, money made it onto your list of factors. Whether you want to make a little or a lot, most people considering a side hustle do hope to make something. Otherwise, it would be called a hobby!

Unlike some of the other factors you will be considering, money is rather concrete. Because of this, it would be worth your time to figure out just how much you can expect to make, should everything go according to plan. You also may want to take into account how much you will need to invest into each side hustle. 

There are a lot of ways you could go about uncovering this information, but perhaps the easiest way is through a quick Google search. Write down the estimated earnings potential and start-up costs next to each item remaining on your master list. Next, perform a simple calculation to find your potential profit.

(Earnings Potential) – (Start-up Costs) = Potential profit

Write this number down as well. You will use these numbers later when you rank and compare the items on you master list.

Step four: Scan the market

Another piece of data you will want to gather before starting to compare your options is the current state of the market within each of your potential side hustles. Unlike your earnings potential and start-up costs, this factor isn’t very concrete, but you are unlikely to know all the details off the top of your head, so it is worth looking up. Somethings to consider are:

  • How much competition do I have in this side hustle? Too much competition is usually bad (unless there is an extremely high demand), but too little competition can point towards low demand.
  • How much opportunity is there for new hustlers? Is it in high demand? This can offset the negatives of an overcrowded market.
  • Is this side hustle so niche (or rare) that I might have trouble marketing it?

It might take some digging to uncover the answers, but the payoff is well worth the effort involved. Make sure you jot some notes down beside each option so that you can remember what you discovered.

Step five: Rank your master list

Finally, you are going to systematically compare each item on your master list and rank them. You can make this process as simple or as complicated as you like — what matters is that you get a general idea of which options on your master list would be the best for you, and where each option stands in comparison with the others. Ideally, the factors that you’ve decided are most important to you will carry more weight than factors that are less important, but there may be times that you have to make compromises.

Step six: Create top 5 short list

After you have ranked your full master list you should have a good idea of where each item stands. You should have already ordered your choices from most preferred to least preferred, so your job now is easy. Simply pick the top five contenders and you are done! You can discard the rest of your list, but keep your top five handy. We will be analyzing them further in the next step.

Step seven: Analyze top 5 list

The next step to choosing your side hustle is analyzing your top 5 list based on the key criteria listed on our hustle meter that you used in chapter two.

While the key criteria above are important, don’t overlook the power of your gut and intuition. When it comes down to it, this is your side hustle. Picking a side hustle that you truly enjoy and want to do will go a long way in propelling you towards success.

Step eight: Choose and commit

Now for the moment you’ve been waiting for! The final step, of course, is choosing a side hustle from your top five list and committing to it. At this point you should already have all the tools you need to make your selection, but we will leave you with a few tips and pointers just in case you are still struggling.

  • If you are having trouble picking between two close calls, review your priority and goals lists. Which choice best fits your priorities? Which one best furthers your goals?
  • If you still can’t decide, take another look at your list of constraints. Would any of these options be difficult because of your personal situation or lifestyle? Be honest.
  • What single thing is most important to you? Which of these side hustle options cater to it?
  • We’ll say it again, trust your gut. Your intuition is, above all, your most powerful tool. Combine it with the knowledge you’ve gained through this course, and you will be unstoppable!


Congratulations! You have picked your side hustle! 

There is a lot of hard work ahead of you still — really, the hard part has only just begun — but you are well along the road to starting up a successful side hustle.