Forecasters are cautious with their fiscal projections for 2019.

But you can plan now, to start a smart side hustle and turn that inflation-busting side gig into your major source of income. Now, as we wind down 2018, competition has created new challenges for all of us. As the “gig” marketplace grows, you’ll need to put new strategies in place in order to make good money from a side hustle.

I’ll be honest; it’s harder than it used to be. In the past, a successful side hustle meant you’d use the built-in promo tools to advertise yourself and target the right audience. Then you’d get listed on the gig platform and with virtually no competition, you were off and running.  Uber was new, Etsy promotion tools drove traffic, and you didn’t need to be a super-host to get bookings on Airbnb. 

The key to your success in 2019 will depend on a side hustle strategy that leverages your abilities or resources, not your time.  There are many ways to do this and some gig platforms are better suited for this than others. First, consider what assets you have that you could use right now? Is there a car in your driveway that you don’t use a lot? Rent it out on Turo (a much better option than Uber or Lyft because someone else will drive it), and you’ll earn money without spending any time in the car. Do you have a spare room? Rent it out on Airbnb and bring in more income without working more hours. Or, employ your skills in new ways. If you’re a people person, organize and manage others in personal service roles: cleaning, pet care, shopping are just a few.  

Give yourself a reasonable timeline to establish a profitable side hustle. In the beginning, rely on your traditional income, or bank enough capital to cover your monthly expenses. With the right side hustle, you can expect to have the business up and generating the same cash flow in 180 days. Use this strategy to develop a side hustle, earn enough income from that activity to cover what you’d lose from your day job. Then develop other activities.

Once you’ve developed that successful side gig, you can use the extra time you’ve gained to develop more hustles. Renting one Airbnb? Use your additional income to rent more Airbnbs to yield even more income. Keep leveraging resources rather than time. Look at getting a virtual assistant, who can handle emails, schedule meetings and keep you from getting bogged down in details. Use software and time management tools to save time.

Once your side hustle becomes a main hustle, your income stream will snowball. You’ll grow income while you pursue projects you feel passionate about, and you’ll reinvest your additional time to increase revenue you wouldn’t have earned in the first place. Instead of working a $5,000 per month job, you’ll make $10,000 or $50,000 per month following your passion projects. You’ll quickly see it’s a smart and satisfying way to grow your personal wealth.