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The food industry can be hard to break into (and hard to break even!). However, if you are a passionate foodie, there are a number of tried and tested side hustles to indulge your interest and create additional incomes.
Sure, they take more time and energy than things like online surveys, but they also have the potential to be much more profitable. If you love food – you should love these (most of the time!). If you’ve struggled to break into the food industry before, or the lifestyle of traditional restaurant work does not suit you, then these are some fantastic options.
Start a food blog
If you like reading blogs then you would probably enjoy writing one! This is a great side hustle option as it requires very little initial investment. You can focus on your favourite type of recipes and build up your readership and then integrate advertising or sell products, such as recipe books or meal plans. Alternatively you could go down the route of kitchen product/gadget reviews and bring in your income through affiliate marketing. Rather than appealing to as many people as possible, focus on a niche and becoming a go-to resource for people in that niche.
One small step: Think about your niche area, and see if you can think of 50 blog posts you’d like to write in that area. If you feel excited about writing these, then you are on to a good thing.
The giant leap: Sort out your domain name and hosting. I chose Green Geeks (affiliate link) because their servers run off renewable energy and they were also very affordable.
Food photography for stock images
This one is very compatible with starting a food blog, as you’ll be building up your photography skills and taking food photos for that anyway. You could start out selling pictures to stock photo agencies. If your photos are approved you can post them onto the site. Then, each time they are bought you earn a commission.
There are also stock agencies that offer photos for free (and also do not pay for them) but it might be worth it to increase exposure to your photos. For example Foodies Feed is an example that specialises in – you guessed it – food photos.
Then when you’ve built up a portfolio you can get paid to take pictures for specific projects, like a sponsored post.
I want to caveat all of this with a warning that this is a very saturated market so it’s definitely not a “get rich quick” scheme or something that you would want to invest any money into if you don’t already have suitable equipment. You would be competing with professional photographers so it really suits somebody who is already accomplished and wants to branch out into the food world.
One small step: Sign up to a few site to see if your pictures are approved.
The giant leap: If you need to improve your food photography and stylist skills, I recommend this book (which I have) Pixel to Plate (affiliate link).
Starting a food You Tube channel
This is another hustle idea that is really compatible with having a food blog, as you can drive traffic back to the blog if people want exact recipes.
To monetise your channel you will need 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watch time. So, there’s quite an investment in time before you start seeing rewards, so not one to start unless you think you would enjoy the process. You don’t need to get lots of fancy equipment at first if you have a smartphone. If your channel did grow, you could then invest in a better camera.
One small step: Watch different styles of channel to see what you like watching. Like with starting a blog, think about 50 videos you would like to make.
The giant leap: Film a video on your smartphone and try editing it. Film a few until you start settling into a style. Then, start your channel.
Baking specialist cakes
If you like baking and decorating, this is a great option for something you can do to boost your income. The rise of veganism and “free from” diets has created a huge opportunity in this area. Whereas five years ago people may not have thought about providing a vegan or gluten free cake at a wedding or party, now it’s a much more common consideration. In fact, I’ve noticed these are often the first cakes to get eaten at events I’ve been at.
One of the nice things about this is that if you only want to do it a few times a year you can focus on big events like weddings. If you’re look for a more regular income you could also visit local cafes and arrange to deliver cakes throughout the week.
One small step: Start taking pictures of the baking you are doing anyway and set up an instagram account. Then, offer to bake a cake or two for a friend’s event and leave some business cards with details of your instagram account there. The guests will have tried, and loved, your cakes already, so the chances of making an onward sale are much higher than if they had only found you online.
The giant leap: Visit local cafes with samples of your cakes. Research local events planners and arrange to do the same. Sign up for a stall at a local farmer’s market. Local partnerships with other businesses will be really critical to your success.
Knife sharpening service
You can start a knife sharpening business for local households and businesses for a low initial investment and low overheads or commitments. A professional knife sharpening kit like this one starts at under £250 and you can charge around £1 or $1 an inch. However, it’s really important to hone your skills first (geddit?). Good quality knives can be expensive and your business won’t go anywhere if your service isn’t impeccable. For more details, see this article on the Side Hustle Nation website.
One small step: Start practising with your own knives and see if you can borrow a kit before you invest (or share the cost with a business partner). Then offer the service to free or discounted to people you know to start building up a client base.
The giant leap: Visit local restaurants to offer your services. Set up a stall at a farmer’s market (next to your cake stall!).
So, there are five ideas of how to use your foodie skills and passions to create one or multiple side hustles. If you have experience of these and other tips for beginners, please comment below!