If you’re not quite making enough money teaching and performing, you may feel stressed. But before you give up entirely, consider some of the best side hustles for musicians.
A side hustle can help you make some extra cash. Now, I’ll skip over the obvious: teaching private lessons. Without further ado, here are some side hustle ideas.
But first, this post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy to learn more.
1. Freelance Writing
I have to start with the side hustle that’s helped me earn most of my money over the past four years: freelance writing. Sadly, I’ve seen a bit of a drop in this work recently due to factors like inflation and AI writing tools.
However, it’s still one of the best side hustles for musicians. For one, you can take it in a lot of directions, from content writing to copywriting to journalism. So you can write in a style you like and that makes sense for you.
Even with the advance of AI tools, human writers are still needed. Plus, you can also start and monetize your own blog. This route will take longer to become profitable, but you can make more money, and you won’t need clients.
2. Content Creation
A lot of musicians have used their skills to create content and build large followings online. Even having just a few thousand followers may be enough for you to turn your online presence into an income stream.
You can work with brands to promote products you already love. And you get to use your musical skills to your advantage. Plenty of music businesses want to use influencer marketing to reach their ideal customers.
As a creator, you can help those brand. And you can get paid in return for the work and the exposure you give the brand to your audience. If you can grow a larger audience, you can make even more from your content.
Plus, you can do content creation for clients. Pitch yourself and your work to some of your favorite brands. They’ll pay you to create their social posts, and you don’t even need a massive following to get started.
(Need content creation for your business? Hire me!)
3. Social Media Manager
Another one of the best side hustles for musicians is to become a social media manager. We all need to be on social media these days. If you’ve learned how a specific platform works, you can offer your services to others.
You can combine this with content creation, so you do all of the work related to a brand’s social accounts. However, you can also separate it out. They can provide the content that you schedule and post.
Then, you can go in and engage with the brand’s audience and track their analytics. Each month, you might meet with your client to discuss the strategy for the next month.
4. Self-Published Sheet Music
Another one of my favorite side hustles is to self-publish my sheet music for any arrangements or original works. You can publish these on your own website with a plugin like Easy Digital Downloads.
Alternatively, you can publish music through a program like ArrangeMe. They’ll distribute your uploads to Sheet Music Direct and Sheet Music Plus. While you won’t earn all of the profits like on your website, you can get more exposure.
The nice thing about this side hustle is that it can become passive. You create and upload the sheet music once. After that, you just need to get people to buy the music, and theoretically, you won’t have an income cap.
5. Delivery Driver
Most of the other side hustles are things you can do from home. If you want to get out of the house, consider working as a delivery driver. You can freelance with apps like DoorDash, UberEats, or Instacart.
These gig apps are usually pretty flexible, and most don’t have a huge barrier to entry. However, you do often have to schedule your shifts in advance. You also may need to be willing to work peak hours to make more money.
Still, if you have a car and know your area well, it can be a good option. You’ll get to explore new neighborhoods and find new restaurants. Plus, unlike ride sharing, you won’t have to worry about having passengers in your car.
What to Look for in a Side Hustle as a Musician
As you compare some of the best side hustles, you may find none of them quite fit you or your needs. You can look at other income streams. But you’ll want to make sure whatever side hustle you choose meets some criteria.
Personally, I like choosing side hustles that let me choose my own schedule. That makes it easy to fit the side hustle into your current schedule, especially if you’re busy with other things.
For example, as a freelance writer, I can work whenever I want. The only restriction is that I have to submit assignments by the deadline. This was super helpful in grad school when I had a ton of rehearsals and concerts.
Option to Scale
Depending on the side hustle, you may want something that you can grow. That way, you can make more money without having to work more hours. So look for a side hustle that either can become semi-passive or where you set the rate.
For example, you can make more from sheet music over time. And if you find individual social media clients, you can set the price. You can then raise your rates every year or so to keep up with the cost of living.
Use of Your Skills
Another thing to keep in mind is whether you’ll have to learn new skills before starting a side hustle. In my case, I’d already had a blog for five years before I started freelance writing.
That made it super easy for me to get started with client work. My blog served as my portfolio and helped me land my first client. So think about your music and non-music skills that you can turn into a side hustle.
How Much Marketing Is Required
Depending on the side hustle and platform, you may have to do more marketing. If you launch your own writing business, it’s up to you to get clients. But if you freelance through an agency, the agency should bring you work.
Similarly, selling sheet music on your site puts all of the marketing on you. If you use ArrangeMe, the platform algorithms may help you make some passive sales.
Why Musicians Should Have a Side Hustle
It can be easy to feel like you’re not a “real” musician if you do anything outside of music. But in this day and age, a lot of us need to do work outside of the industry to make ends meet.
Having a side hustle allows you to diversify your income streams. So if you suddenly lose a bunch of students or gigs, you won’t be left totally in the dust.
You may also be able to earn more money with your side hustles. And if you choose something semi-passive, it could eventually outpace your earnings from performing or teaching.
The best side hustles for musicians can vary significantly. Be sure to consider your personality, skills, and lifestyle. That way, you can choose a side hustle or two that meets your needs.
And if you want to make content creation a side hustle, enroll in Affiliate Marketing Superstars to learn how to make money.