How I Started My Own Successful Side Hustle After Trying and Avoiding Several Popular But Risky Ones

Side hustles are all the rage these days, with many claiming they make easy money through dropshipping, multi-level marketing, day trading and more. However, most of these are not sustainable long-term and could end up costing you.

In this article, we will explore the top 7 side hustles to avoid, why they don’t work, and how to tweak them to increase your chances of success. You’ll also discover how I built multiple million dollar businesses after ditching several failed side hustles.

#1 Multi-Level Marketing Schemes – Stay Away

Multi-level marketing (MLM) companies encourage you to recruit people under you and earn commissions off their sales. The promise of high incomes and lavish lifestyles serves as motivation.

However, you’re simply generating profit for the parent company while taking on all the risk yourself. Few people actually make money in MLM, with many losing money over time.

My advice is simple – avoid MLMs altogether. Focus your energy on building assets and income streams you fully own and control instead.

#2 Being a YouTuber Requires Years of Hard Work

Many aspire to earn thousands simply filming YouTube videos on their passions. But overnight success is rare, even for top creators.

I started my channel as a passion project with my son years ago. We funded production costs ourselves and didn’t monetize until much later.

It takes 5-7 years of consistent hard work to gain a sizable audience. If quick money is your goal, YouTube may disappoint. However, if you’re passionate about it regardless of pay, then it could work.

#3 Dropshipping Has Serious Drawbacks

Dropshipping allows you to sell products shipped directly from the supplier to customers. You don’t hold any inventory.

This seems easy, but customers won’t tolerate long shipping times anymore. Low quality products also plague dropshipping, since you have little control.

Tweaks like local warehousing and white label branding help. But dropshipping alone likely won’t sustain you long-term.

#4 Low-Skilled Service Businesses Face Global Competition

Online surveys, writing captions and other simple digital services are touted as easy side hustles. But you compete with anyone across the globe, driving fees down drastically.

AI also threatens many basic services already. Focus on building a scalable, agency-style service company instead. This removes the ceiling imposed by trading time for money.

#5 Day Trading is Risky for Amateurs

Contrary to perceptions, day trading successfully requires immense skill and experience. Sitting with a laptop doesn’t guarantee profits.

I tried trading myself and lost money within 8 months. Avoid “signals” services making big claims but aren’t trading themselves.

Start only if you have sufficient capital to absorb losses and a high risk tolerance. Even pros struggle beating the market consistently.

#6 Real Estate Takes Significant Time and Money

Many see rental properties as the ticket to passive income. But real estate takes substantial upfront funding and ongoing expenses.

Expect regular maintenance and repairs too. I had to replace roof tiles on a property myself due to high cost. It took 4 years before I saw good returns.

Real estate can build long-term wealth if you have capital to tie up. But it isn’t a quick and easy side hustle.

#7 Ecommerce Puts You at the Mercy of Platforms

Selling products online through Amazon seems straightforward. But the platform controls your customer data, not you.

I was once banned from listing new products over a trivial issue. You must play by their rules.

However, marketplaces can work as lead generation. Use them to drive traffic to your own site with discounts and special offers. Retain control while benefiting from their reach.

How I Successfully Escaped 9-to-5 by Tweaking Side Hustles

So are all side hustles doomed to fail? Not if you’re smart about it. Here are some of the keys that helped me build multi-million dollar businesses:

  • Start as a passion project first before focusing on monetization. This ensures longevity and motivation.
  • Understand your target audience deeply before attempting to sell. Customer data is invaluable.
  • Be wary of “easy money” pitches around side hustles. Sustainable success requires effort over years.
  • Pick a scalable model that isn’t limited by your time. Build an agency instead of freelancing skill.
  • Gradually take control of all aspects of your business. Don’t rely on external platforms and suppliers indefinitely.
  • Reinvest profits to improve quality, service and branding. These set you apart from competitors.
  • Stay lean and avoid premature scaling until your offering is proven. Minimize risk especially at the start.

Remember, patience and persistence pay off when starting a business. Stay focused on delivering real value instead of chasing quick bucks. Your hard work will be rewarded over time.


Side hustles can be a path to escape your 9-to-5 and achieve financial freedom. But most “get rich quick” schemes marketed online lead nowhere.

By learning from experience and tweaking unsustainable models, you can develop a successful side business that stands the test of time. It takes consistent effort over years, but the rewards make it all worthwhile.