How to start a side hustle

Have you got a passion or special skill that could earn you money? We spoke to people with successful side hustles about what it takes to launch your hobby into a source of secondary income.

Annie-Lea Rowley officiating an outdoor wedding
Annie-Lea Rowley loves her side hustle as a marriage celebrant. 

Side hustles are becoming more and more common as a way for people to earn a little extra cash while doing something they enjoy or are good at. 

But where should you start, and what do you need to know? We spoke to two hustlers to get their top tips for launching a successful side gig. 

Why should I start a side hustle? 

There are loads of reasons why you might start a side hustle, but two of the biggest motivators are to do something you love, and to make some extra cash. 

Han Worsley turned their public speaking and tutoring experience into a side hustle that earns a supplementary income and helps others. 

Public speaking and debating were a big part of my life throughout school, and I often took on mentoring and coaching of younger students. Over time, I've taken steps to monetise that alongside academic tutoring I have provided for students.”

Annie-Lea Rowley’s love of performance, public speaking and celebrating people’s happiness led her to a more unusual side hustle—as a marriage celebrant. 

“I became a marriage celebrant because it truly is an incredible joy to be able to craft words together, and use my stage presence to make someone's ceremony a memorable experience. I love that I can help make someone's wedding day even more wonderful than it already will be with just my words, my voice, and my presence.” 

Like Annie-Lea and Han, if you have a natural talent, special skill or passion for a hobby that can be monetised, you could be ready to start your side hustle. 

Do I need an ABN to start a side hustle? 

Before you can start reeling in the customers, you need to be aware of your tax obligations! If you are intending to earn an income from your side hustle, you may need to register for an Australian Business Number (ABN). It’s a good idea to seek financial advice before you set up your business structure. 

“This was one of the most daunting parts of becoming a sole trader,” Annie-Lea says. “I met with an accountant who was recommended by fellow celebrants to discuss [the financial side] of the business.” 

Related reading: How to write a business plan 

There are plenty of useful resources on the Australian Taxation Office website that can help you get started. 

It’s also useful to gain knowledge about business finances more broadly, to inform your decision making. You can study Financial Decision Making online to increase your understanding of financial statements and accounting. 


Han Worsley
For Han Worsley, word of mouth has been everything while establishing their side hustle as a tutor.

Top tips for starting a side hustle

Be ready to market your services 

The most important element of a successful side hustle is effective marketing. Getting the word out there about your service or product is vital, and understanding what your potential customers want is a big part of that. 

Annie-Lea says that social media is an excellent tool for marketing. “I strongly believe that your digital presence is very important in communicating your brand to attract the type of couples you want to work with. I cannot stress enough how important branding and communicating your point of difference is!”

Related reading: How do I start freelance copywriting? 

For Han, nurturing positive relationships with existing clients is a big part of reaching potential new leads.

“Word of mouth has been more than enough for the small amount of public speaking coaching and tutoring I provide. I really value the students and families I work with and am really open with them about when I am looking for more work, or when my books are full. This has helped me maintain really strong relationships with my existing students, and create a good network of returning and new clients.”

If you want to get an edge on marketing your side hustle, you can study Consumer Psychology online to understand what drives customer behaviour. 

Have a point of difference

Depending on what your side hustle is, being able to offer a unique value proposition to potential customers is one way to stand out in the marketplace. Think about what makes you and your product or service special, and make that a focal point in your marketing. 

Annie-Lea says that she was drawn to being a marriage celebrant because she could see a gap in the market.

It was clear that couples were wanting the party to start at the ceremony, and were over the heavily sentimental, mono-toned, and generic ceremonies that we all know too well."


"People were also wanting to connect personally with their celebrant and choose someone who shared their values. I am a queer woman myself, and my values of inclusion and equality, reconciliation and authenticity are at the forefront of my business.”

By knowing exactly what she could offer couples that other celebrants couldn’t, Annie-Lea has been able to carve out a niche in the market. 

Look for opportunities to further demonstrate your skills

Han says that beyond experience, having a qualification that can back up their skills has helped them gain and retain clients. 

“Studying a teaching degree and continuing to speak and present at events professionally gave an extra level of legitimacy to my tutoring!”

Whether it’s a full degree or single subjects, you can study a range of online courses through Open Universities Australia to enhance your skills and support your side hustle. Explore what’s available in your area of interest. 

Be realistic about your capacity 

The biggest piece of advice? Don’t take on more than you can manage—otherwise your side hustle can quickly become stressful. 

“You have to be really careful and intentional with how much time it takes up,” Han says. “Side hustles often come out of passion, and it can be easier to find yourself doing so much work that the money isn't worth it. Keeping a clear log of hours, being upfront with my students about the time I could offer, and still making my study and full-time job a priority has helped me keep a good level of work-life balance (most of the time!).”

Annie-Lea agrees. “The biggest lesson I've learned has been learning how much capacity I have. In the beginning I was so excited and determined that I took on too much. In my second year as a celebrant, I delivered 40 ceremonies and had a full-time job! I learnt quickly that 40 weddings in 52 weeks was way too many. I now limit how many couples I take on.”

Like Annie-Lea and Han, with the right planning and forethought, you can start a side hustle and turn your passion into income.


> Return to the blog


Not sure what to study?

Take our 2-minute quiz to find the right course for you.

Get matched

Related blogs

How to nail your personal and professional development goals

Ready to live a life you’re excited about? Career coach Kate Richardson has the lowdown on how to define your personal and professional development goals.

Career changeSelf improvement

Want a career change from teaching but not sure how?

Spoiler—you have more transferable skills than you think. By the end of this article, you may even have a game (not lesson) plan to go on.

Career changeSelf improvement

How to negotiate a higher salary

Not sure what to say when negotiating your salary? Follow these tips from career strategist Kelly Magowan next time you need to make your case with an employer.

Job tipsSelf improvement

What do recruiters look for?

Recruitment manager James Stewart lends his expertise on how to get ahead in the ever-competitive job market.

Job tipsSelf improvement