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If you’re currently an athlete, or facing retirement soon, there are dozens of side hustles you can do to add interest and extra cash to your life.
Most athletes have outside interests besides the sports they excel in.
Why not explore your inner entrepreneur — or endeavor to learn something totally out of your comfort zone — as a way to earn an income off the field?
Athletes With Unique Side Hustles
Everyone has seen the retired athletes who have started restaurants, perfume brands, and retail stores. There are Peyton Manning with his Papa John’s pizza stores, golf and tennis stars with their own clothing lines, etc.
But what about athletes who want some side income before retirement?
Let’s take a look at some athletes who didn’t wait until retirement to get started making side money.
World-famous baseball star Alex Rodriguez started a rental property side business during his career.
It began with a duplex purchase that was rented out for passive income. This side business ballooned into a full-fledged real estate investment company.
There’s also Cal Berkeley-turned NFL player Justin Forsett who founded a skin care company along with two college football buddies. Seeing a need for an easy clean between workouts for himself and other athletes, they developed a line of antibacterial wipes called ShowerPill.
Professional triathlete Nicole DeBoom also saw a need for something different in her sport and created the first-ever running skirt, which she debuted in her final Ironman competition. From there she’s gone on to create an entire sports clothing line.
As you can see, many athletes take an opportunity to develop a product while they’re still in the game. When you see a need unfulfilled, that’s a perfect hint to figure out how to fill it.
Why Is It Smart to Have a Side Hustle as an Athlete?
Athletes who are forward-thinking about their lives outside or after sports have a leg up on those who don’t plan ahead.
When Alex Rodriguez bought a rental property while he was earning good money in baseball, he was able to easily qualify for a mortgage and then leveraged that investment to pay into his future.
It’s always wise to begin thinking about passive income streams during your sports career so you’ll have dependable income later. Side hustles are extremely useful for athletes who aren’t on the professional level and need extra cash to live comfortably.
Starting a side hustle as an athlete doesn’t have to be hard. Look for opportunities when you’re not in the middle of your season or on your off days.
Quick Income Streams for Athletes
There are a variety of ways for athletes to earn a side income while remaining active in their sport. Many successful side businesses run by sports stars were born out of a need in their industry. And others were discovered through hidden talents or continued education.
Side hustle ideas for athletes:
- Invest in real estate: either physical properties or real estate investment platforms
- Invent a product or service that could fill a need in your area of expertise
- Start a coaching or personal training business on the side
- Offer consulting for sports teams, coaches, or high schools in your area of expertise
- Use your physical strength to offer moving services or other heavy-lifting services
- Train for a side job in a tech or trade field — online education and training keeps it flexible for your sports schedule
Don’t Underestimate Social Media
Good old social media. It isn’t only for wasting time. There are also vast benefits by becoming an influencer — especially if you’re an athlete.
YouTube is the fastest-growing search and entertainment venue online. If you’ve got a flair for talking with people, YouTube is a great tool for building an audience and earning money from ads or selling your own products and information.
Don’t get too worked up about being on video. There’s really no need. If you’ve ever had a great talk with a friend about what you do, that’s all you need to focus on.
Treat the camera as if you’re talking to that ONE friend (tape a picture above the lens if you need to), and the episode you film will be engaging and casual, as it should be.
Talk about your game, other interests, and any special talents you have that you’d like to share. Most people are just fascinated by the normal lives and interests of people they admire.
Instagram can be a perfect launching pad for building a massive following. Many famous athletes are sought out by big-name brands to represent their offerings.
If you’re a lesser-known athlete, this could be the ticket to becoming well-known and marking your accomplishments.
Share stories, photos, clips from games or competitions, and other interesting facts about your life and what you’re up to.
If you make it engaging and connect with other athletes and influencers, you’ve got a good chance of attracting their followers as well.
LinkedIn is the largest business social gathering place online. It’s a good idea to have a solid presence there if you’re searching for interesting side hustles. LinkedIn enables you to build a great network of connections, and it’s full of companies who are hiring.
Networking is often the key to finding really interesting opportunities and jobs you may not have even heard of.
Who knows when that perfect connection will lead you to an amazing side job that brings new purpose into your life AND earns great cash? Cha-ching!
TikTok is churning out country music stars and models by the minute, it seems. Don’t ignore this incredibly popular social media venue.
With a regular following as an athlete, or ex-athlete, there’s a good chance of attracting brand opportunities. TikTok is also full of loyal fans who occasionally throw their cash at the people they’re crushing on.
While this isn’t technically social media, plenty of influencers add podcasts to their list of offerings. I think many sports fans would tune into one of their favorite players or knowledgeable athletes who talk about their sport and interview other great players.
Podcasters can earn money by promoting brands they partner with (affiliate income) or by selling their own products.
How to Get Started With Your Athletic Side Hustle
Getting started with a side hustle as an athlete or retired athlete may take some self reflection and research.
What are you good at, and what do you enjoy?
Those are two great questions to answer when looking into ways to make money on the side as an athlete. Are there products or services that you’d like to offer?
If so, do some research and seek opinions from those in your area of expertise — or the field you’re considering. Find out if your idea is a viable money-maker.
Maybe you’d just like to work for someone else for some steady side cash. There are many platforms you can use to start a job search online. And don’t forget to make the most of LinkedIn.
Side Hustles That Don’t Require Much Prep
Once you’ve chosen the right fit for a side job, you’ll want to go into the prep phase.
This involves the basics of creating a business plan if you’re going to work for yourself, or a job search if you’d like to be employed.
Quick-start side hustles
- Moving help
- Handyman help
- Private lessons in your field
- Assistant coaching
- Employer-based side jobs
Think of who your clients will be, if you’ll be offering services or goods. Get out into your community and meet them, interact with them, and ask them questions about what they want.
Or hop online and find where your potential customers hang out. Ask for feedback about what your offerings are. Find out where the needs are so you can fill them.
If you’re offering something like moving or handyman help, attract your first customers with low pricing on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
You could also use Instagram if you’ve got a big enough reach. If you do a good job, word of mouth will spread and you’ll win more business (and can raise those prices).
If you’re a respected athlete, there are likely thousands of people and athletes in training who would pay for one-on-one lessons or coaching with you.
The prep for this side hustle will be a matter of making sure you’ve got the proper equipment for your lessons, a way to advertise your services, and a set schedule when you’re available to take on students.
Check with local schools for positions in assistant coaching or consulting. There may also be opportunities with city leagues or adult leagues who’d value your help.
Employer-based side hustles
Check out Indeed or LinkedIn for companies and recruiters who are looking for help in your area of interest.
In today’s labor market, in which almost every business needs help, it shouldn’t be hard to find a few great companies to work with — and you can take your pick.
Side Hustles That Require Training or Education
There are plenty of side hustles that don’t require further education or training. But several good options for athletes either require extra training, or it’s highly recommended.
Extra-prep side hustles
- Personal training
- Investment and real estate
- Trade jobs such as HVAC, welding, etc.
- Influencer positions on YouTube etc.
Although personal training does not require certification in the U.S., it’s a good idea to become certified anyway. You won’t be hired by fitness companies unless you are, and if you’re offering services on your own, you’ll be far less competitive without certification.
You could also consider an undergraduate degree in physical education or something similar. A degree isn’t required either, but you’ll earn more and have a leg up on the competition.
Investing and real estate
While you can definitely invest money in the stock market or jump into real estate investing, you’d be wise to study up.
Your hard-earned money will be at risk with any sort of investment side gig, no matter how much you know. That’s the nature of the beast.
However, there’s good money to be made by growing your funds with quality investments or finding that perfect rental property for passive income.
To maximize success and minimize risk, learn all you can before sinking major funds into these avenues. There are many ways to educate yourself about investing.
Investment education tools:
- Hire a financial advisor
- For real estate investing, find an agent who’s experienced
- General investment education can be found on most brokerage websites
- Take an investment or economics course online
An obvious education tool is a financial advisor with an investment specialty. This is someone who can sit down with you to discuss risks and walk you through your first several investments.
For real estate wisdom, find an agent who invests in rental properties and has been a landlord for a while.
Perhaps they’d allow you to pay them for some consulting time. Pick their brain about the mistake they’ve made, and the ways they’d do things differently as a beginner.
If you’ve got a knack for fixing things, or would like to start a company of your own, a trade job might be a perfect fit.
There’s an initial investment to be educated in these fields, but many of these trades can be practiced anywhere. They’re valuable skills that not everyone can do.
As a bonus, plumbers, mechanics, HVAC specialists, welders, etc., can make awesome money. And you aren’t stuck working for someone else unless you want to.
Once you’ve been through a training program for one of these specialties — as long as you have the right tools — you can keep all of the cash you earn.
Unless you’re already a YouTube, TikTok, or Instagram star, you’ll likely need some training or practice with videography and/or how to attract an audience.
There are multitudes of training courses online that specialize in various social media platforms for building large audiences. Just Google it and you’ll find dozens of options.
Of course, you can always wing it — but big brands will notice and respect you more if your media outreach is really polished.
Don’t underestimate the money-making possibilities of representing name brands for sports products and services in your field.
The Bottom Line on Side Hustles for Athletes
There’s never been a better time to start a side hustle. If you’re well-known or great at your sport, there may be brands who’d love to work with you.
And if there are industries you’ve been dying to try out, take a few days to explore what interests you most and make a plan.
Anyone these days can jump into something different to give it a try. There’s a wealth of information, courses, and specialists you can take advantage of to make your side hustle dreams come true.
Whether you’d like to master investing, build a rental property empire, or start your own line of products, the lessons and dedication you’ve learned as an athlete prepare you for just about anything you set your mind to.