Are side hustles one big scam?

“Nothing awakens the conscience like a lot of money.”
― P. Sainath

I often read through FI blogs and literally become green with envy (ok so not literally) with how much they make with side hustles. I remember when I was working (wow I really get to say that now!) I would search the internet googling “ways to make quick money” and feel almost energised by the amount of “opportunities” that I could make easy, quick money from. The reality? Erm very different. I do wonder if they are really what I have in mind when I think of “side hustles”

When I first left I threw myself into matched betting and eBay. We all know how my matched betting turned out and whilst I did make some small change selling on eBay. It was just that. Small change. Maybe I was expecting something else, something more. Possibly my imagination and hopefulness got away with me and I expected an empire?

I’m really fascinated by side hustles and it really does seem like people make a decent sized extra income from them. I have decided to split them up into groups. This grouping isn’t perfect by any means so I’m sure I’ll tweak it as time goes on.

The other job
Everyone knows about Jay Leno, He has always had two income coming in. This was so successful that he never touched a penny of his “tonight show money” With one income being saved, its easy to see how FI is achievable and relatively quickly. Ironically, that was myself and Mr Fire’s original FIRE plan. We would “bank” my income and live off his. Obviously we couldn’t predict the future and how ill work would make me. Now we need a new plan!

The common way of adding an additional income is usually to provide a part time service in addition to your full time day job:


I’m a complete introvert, so to me most of these seem like torture! We do have some ideas along this line though that I will be blogging about under my “tried and tested” series that I planned to start a while ago. The online ones appeal to me the most obviously, as being online is like being visible and invisible all at the same time!

Selling Services
The prospect of selling your unwanted goods has always appealed to me. A simple online search shows how popular eBay and Etsy are. I underestimated how bitty eBay was when I started but soon seemed to get on top of it.


The investment
Usually the really good (aka lucrative) side hustle ideas are the ones were people already seemed to have a bit of money to begin with! I remember reading a blog describing their plan to make x amount of money in a year from a side hustle. I was so excited to read it only to find they owned twelve properties that had all be rented out for the year.


Is it weird I think blogging is networking? What would you call it? I have always found it hard to understand how people make money from blogging. I mean I understand the principle of it but I find it hard to see how it converts into cash.


There are some interesting ideas that don’t fit into any of my neat little categories. Notice how I have included online surveys? Even though I don’t believe they work after my little test, people still claim they are a nice little earner.


So are side hustles a scam? I still have no idea, however I am going to chose some of those listed above that I’m most interested in and test them out.

What side hustles do you do? Which ones are you most interested in?


  1. I never thought of p2p as a side hustle merely another investment. I use ablrate and lending works. Split 50%each both in isas (just opened lending works). Gives a rough 9%tax free returns half of which is insurance backed the abl bit is money i could lose. You can start with 10 quid so no huge start up capital needed

  2. Here’s a question – what is your definition of a scam, and why do you think these ideas could be scams?

    For all the idea you’ve explicitly laid out above, they are all perfectly reasonable ideas in my opinion. Some are much more profitable than others, some need capital and some are just a lot of work.

    • Hi Ms Zi You,
      Thanks for your comment. I use the term “scam” as in I always assumed side hustles would be get rich quick schemes which they are not. Also one size does not fit all in the world of Side Hustles. Selling Lego for instance, I could never spend hours cleaning and storing individual Lego blocks to them sell later on.
      Do you do any side hustles?

      • Ah, our definition of scam varies, mine is scam = someone dishonestly tricking someone else out of money under some pretense. Whereas you go for the scam = hard work disguised as less hard work?

        I don’t really do any side hustles nowadays, it’s too much effort for little reward. And then the taxman wants his 40%.

  3. Speaking from experience, I can say that property and matched betting are not scams and I’m sure the fact that Huw from FFB40 was able to become FI at age 32 from Kindle Publishing shows that isn’t a scam either.

    The Mini Millionaire makes a load of money selling on Ebay and has several guides on her website ( which you might find useful, as well as other ideas.

    I think online surveys have had their day – years ago, you could make decent money from them but there are too many now offering just pennies (if that).

    You can make some money from switching bank accounts but that’s limited and I for one wouldn’t want the hassle of having my bank details changing all the time and also not knowing what kind of service you’re going to get when you have switched.

    • Hi Weenie,
      Thanks for your comment. WOW I didn’t know that about Huw.
      I agree with you about online surveys having their day/ I think its way too over saturated now to make more than a few pence a time.
      Mr Fire is doing rather while with his matched betting and I would love to have the funds to invest in property.
      LMF x

  4. I think for me, it is wise to always be sceptical about money making schemes in general as many are indeed scams. It took me a lot of research to finally see that matched betting was genuine as I was very dubious. P2P lending I would not class as a scam however some sites offering it can be of course. Always better to be cautious on any get rich quick schemes of course. Chris

  5. Online surveys really seem to only make people money these days from referral fees, or they are just pennies for the hour. The rest of these are side “hustles” for a reason – even if someone is making a big income from them now, it generally took a LOT of work on the front end to get there. Very different from true passive income.

    • Hi,
      Yes I see so many referral links now for online surveys and that’s usually a sign that taking the surveys themselves doesn’t pay that much.
      I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and work hard at some of these side hustles!

  6. Yeah I think after re-reading my post. I would add the qualifier that get rich quick or make money with little effort schemes are often scams. Matched betting requires effort albeit not that it’s too hard doing the sign up offers etc. I think the best thing to do when looking at different methods is deliberately try to find people debunking them or having an opposite view which might help balance the truths. It might discourage you that you are not making loads of cash from kindle publishing for example when others have but if you read about all those others that also didn’t get rich, it will makes you realise it’s not always a guarantee. That’s not say it can’t be done though :).

  7. Great post, I also think that side hustle is no way to get rich quick. But definitely more like good pocket change. Maybe a 2nd part-time job can bring in big money if you have the extra time.

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