A woman at a computer screen wonders how to start an AI side hustle

How to Start an AI Side Hustle: A Comprehensive 7-Step Guide

Introduction

If you’ve been listening to the hype surrounding artificial intelligence and the various ways it can help you make money, you may be wondering how to start an AI side hustle of your own. There are many ways to generate extra money online using AI if you have the skills, and it seems like a new side hustle is introduced every day.

But let’s take a step back. Yes, it does take some skill to create content using AI tools. It’s not quite as easy as some gurus would have you believe. If you watch enough of their Youtube videos, you’ll start to see which ones are leaving out crucial steps to online success.

For instance, a popular one is the Faceless YouTube channel. Many of the gurus touting various ways of making money are, in fact, faceless YouTubers.

You can use a tool like ChatGPT as a good starting point. It can write a rough draft, create compelling content for a specific target audience, create scripts; you name it. Then you can edit the content if you’d like. Make sure it hasn’t hallucinated any facts (which can be a problem), remove any extraneous information, and make sure it reflects your own voice.

Then you can use AI-powered tools such as video editing software that automatically chooses stock footage and music, streamlining the editing process in just a few clicks.

And while it is possible to make substantial amounts of money from YouTube videos, did you know that YouTube doesn’t monetize channels that utilize AI voiceovers (also known as Text-to-Speech)? Something to know before you make your ritual sacrifice to the algorithmic gods.

So, before you go racing around chasing every shiny object, it’s good to take a step back and look at what’s involved in using AI tools to create your next passive income stream and start making money.

In this expanded guide, we’ll delve deeper into how to start an AI side hustle. We’ll show you how to identify and utilize your talents, skills, and experiences and align your passion and goals to create a successful AI side hustle.

Understanding the Landscape of Artificial Intelligence

Before starting on this journey, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the AI landscape. AI encapsulates a vast range of technologies, from machine learning to deep learning, natural language processing (NLP), and robotic process automation. You’ll need to determine where your interest lies and where you can best utilize your skills.

If you have any experience in programming or prompt engineering, you’ll be ahead when it comes to generating additional income using artificial intelligence. But not all hope is lost if you don’t have that experience. You’ll need to get some background in the basics, enough to leverage AI tools to generate extra income.

Identifying Your Talents and Skills

When considering an AI side hustle, your talents and skills will be the key pillars on which your venture rests. Different side hustle ideas require different AI prompts.

Technical Skills

AI is a technology-intensive field requiring a solid programming, algorithms, and data structures foundation. If you’re going to try to create your own AI-powered tools, Python is the language of choice in AI due to its simplicity and the plethora of libraries available for AI and machine learning. You should also be familiar with AI platforms and tools like TensorFlow, PyTorch, and cloud-based AI services.

A deep technical background may not be necessary for other AI side hustles. ChatGPT and Midjourney are both natural language processors that only require text inputs. The key to getting the most out of ChatGPT is creating a role for it, such as SEO blogger or business coach. Think of them like keywords when you’re searching online for something. These keywords trigger ChatGPT to access those parts of its training data to provide the best response possible.

Midjourney is similar but different. With Midjourney, it helps to research the different artistic styles and prompts to get the most out of it. Every AI tool has its own nuances.

Soft Skills

In addition to technical acumen, soft skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, and communication are equally significant. AI solutions must address real-world problems, and having the ability to understand these problems deeply, brainstorm innovative solutions, and communicate your ideas effectively is essential.

Leveraging Your Experience

Robot goes over his budget
Robot considers his experience

Your previous professional and academic experiences can offer valuable insights and pave the way for your side hustle.

Professional Experience

You’re at an advantage if you’ve worked in roles involving AI, data science, IT, or even in a sector where AI applications are prevalent. Your experience will provide practical insights into the applications and implications of AI.

But other areas of professional experience can form a good starting point. For instance, if you have a background in graphic design or creating marketing materials, those can form the basis for side hustle ideas. So can social media management, video editing, or creating engaging blog posts. Not every AI side hustle involves creating an AI chatbot.

Academic Experience

If your academic background involves AI or related fields, that’s obviously an asset. However, if your educational experience doesn’t overlap directly with AI, don’t let that deter you. The world of AI is open to learners from all fields, and numerous online courses are available to help you get started. (And once you have that knowledge, you can create online courses as a possible side hustle idea.)

Harnessing Your Passion and Goals

Passion and clear goals are the driving force behind any successful side hustle. These are the factors that will keep you motivated and focused.

Uncovering Your Passion

Find the AI field that resonates with you the most. Maybe you’re intrigued by machine learning algorithms, or perhaps AI’s potential to revolutionize healthcare fascinates you. Identifying your passion will help you stay committed and also assist in finding a niche for your side hustle.
A popular starting point is creating AI-generated art using tools like Midjourney. Playing around with the prompts to generate beautiful art can be very satisfying. Just be sure you sign up for a paid Midjourney account before you start selling AI-generated images.

Setting Clear Goals

Establishing clear goals is crucial. Is your side hustle intended to bring in additional income, build your portfolio, or provide a creative outlet for your skills? Clear objectives will guide your decisions and align you with your vision.

Another aspect to consider is that what you may have as an initial goal can evolve. You may start just wanting to create engaging blog posts and social media posts using AI tools and end up with such a solid online presence that companies with less experience reach out asking if you offer AI consulting services. (The answer is always yes. An AI-powered Yes.)

You may find yourself writing the occasional blog post about AI technology, in charge of social media accounts providing ready-to-publish tweets, or providing video editing services to YouTubers who don’t feel like doing it themselves.

You can offer your new talents on freelance platforms (like Upwork or Fiverr), setting your prices for high-demand services. It all depends on how you utilize AI tools to offer personalized content for small businesses that may not have the time, budget, or desire to figure it out independently.

Budget Considerations for Your AI Venture

Robot sits at a table with a task light and coffee mug
Robot learns about budgeting. Sorry, robot.

Every business venture requires some level of investment, and starting an AI side hustle is no different.

A ChatGPT subscription, with access to GPT4 and its beta tools, runs about $20 a month. Midjourney, for their basic subscription, costs about $10 a month. Depending on which AI side hustles (plural? Why not?) you intend to pursue, other AI-powered products may require more money. Just be sure your new online business model is in high demand, and the extra expense will result in extra income or will allow you to earn passive income.

Learning Resources

While many free resources are available, some paid courses offer structured learning paths and certifications that can be worth the investment if you plan on going for a more technical role, such as prompt engineer.

As mentioned above, YouTube can be a good resource and may help you save time during your learning curve. Just be sure to watch enough from different sources, so you have a clearer idea than just absorbing video content from one source. Some of them lack the technical expertise and deep understanding of their subject matter because, you know, social media platforms. Interesting content delivered with authority doesn’t always mean accurate. (The same can be said of ChatGPT, unfortunately.)

Hardware and Software

Depending on your specific field within artificial intelligence, you may need to invest in hardware with high computational power or cloud computing services. While most AI development tools and platforms are open-source, some specialized tools may come with a cost.

Fortunately, and due to the complex process behind AI tools, many are accessible with a web browser or Discord server application (in the case of Midjourney).

Building a Business Plan

Now that you understand your skills, passion, and budget, it’s time to build a business plan. Identify your target market, understand the competition, and devise a unique value proposition. Consider the scale of your side hustle and plan your time and resources accordingly.

Implementing Your Ideas

A woman sits at a computer learning how to start an AI side hustle
A woman puts her AI side hustle plan in motion

Start building! Use your skills and creativity to develop AI-generated content that reflects your unique value proposition. Keep learning, iterating, and improving. Consider reinvesting in your business for growth and sustainability as you generate income.

Conclusion

Embarking on an AI side hustle is an exciting journey that marries innovation with opportunity. It’s about utilizing your skills and passions to create something that generates additional income and contributes to the rapidly growing field of AI. The journey may be challenging, but perseverance and a well-thought-out plan can undoubtedly be a game changer.

FAQ

Q: I’m new to AI. Can I start an AI side hustle?
A: Absolutely! With a passion for learning and consistent effort, you can acquire the necessary skills to start an AI side hustle. Many online resources, both free and paid, are available to help you get started.

Q: Can I start an AI side hustle while working full-time?
A: Yes, a side hustle is meant to complement your full-time job. However, it’s crucial to manage your time effectively to balance both commitments without sacrificing your well-being.

Q: How much should I budget for starting an AI side hustle?
A: The budget can vary greatly depending on the scale and nature of your projects, the resources you need for learning, and how much you plan to spend on marketing your services. It’s wise to start with a modest budget and scale up as your side hustle grows.

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