Lead Generation is NOT a Good Side Hustle in 2024

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Let’s be real. These days, a side hustle isn’t just appealing—it’s practically a necessity. 

With the rise in living costs and the uncertainty the world throws at us, having a second source of income can provide a much-needed safety net.

According to the Bankrate 2023 survey, 42% of side hustlers with a household income under $50,000 a year say they need side hustle income for day-to-day expenses!

Now, you might have heard of lead generation as a lucrative option. 

It’s obvious that it’s profitable, but does it tick all the right boxes for a worthwhile side hustle in 2024? 

Let’s find out.

What is a Good Side Hustle Anyway?

Before we start evaluating lead generation as a side hustle, let’s outline the criteria that a successful side gig should meet

These are the benchmarks we’ll be using to assess whether lead generation makes the cut as a good side hustle for 2024:

  • It Must Make Money: This is a no-brainer. The primary goal of a side hustle is to generate extra income. Therefore, it needs to be profitable and provide a decent return on your investment of time and resources.
  • It Must Have a Flexible Schedule: A side hustle is typically something you do in addition to your main job. Hence, it needs to offer a flexibility that allows you to work on it in your available time, without interfering with your primary responsibilities.
  • You Must Be Capable of Doing It: Nobody wants to be stuck in a side hustle they can’t handle. You should have the skills, knowledge, and capacity to perform the tasks required by the job.
  • Should This Just Be Your Job: Does the side hustle have the potential to replace your full-time job? If it does, it might be worth considering whether you want another job rather than a side gig.

We’ll be using these four criteria to determine whether lead generation is a viable side hustle choice for digital marketers and beginners in 2024.

Not Every Lead Generation Gig is Fit for a Side Hustle

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty, let’s quickly define what we’re talking about. 

Lead generation, in the simplest of terms, is the process of attracting and converting potential customers, known as leads, to a business’s products or services.

In the digital world, this often involves using marketing strategies to capture the interest of your target audience, guiding them towards a particular business offering. 

This could be through engaging content on a landing page, enticing offers sent via email campaigns, or targeted advertising on social media, to name a few techniques.

For the purpose of our discussion, we’re going to focus primarily on the pay-per-lead model

Here, businesses pay for each qualified lead generated, rather than a monthly retainer fee that you might see in traditional marketing agencies.

The pay per lead model offers more flexibility than other models, which is why it’s often favored as a side hustle.

However, it’s worth noting that lead generation isn’t limited to the pay per lead model; it can also include affiliate marketing or the retainer agency model. But for the context of side hustles, we’ll stick with the pay per lead model as our main focus.

Is Lead Generation a Good Side Hustle?

When we’re talking about side hustles, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the options out there.

Right off the bat, let’s address some of the common objections to lead generation as a side hustle.

Maybe you’ve heard that it’s too competitive, or that it requires significant upfront investment. Or perhaps you’re concerned about the steep learning curve, especially if you’re new to digital marketing.

These are valid concerns. And as we go through our checklist of what makes a good side hustle – profitability, flexibility, capability, and scalability without turning into a full-time job – we’ll tackle each of these issues head-on.

But here’s the kicker, not all niches within lead generation are brimming with competition. 

Some are crowded, yes, particularly those related to solar, personal injury, and debt consolidation to name a few.

At the same time, there’s a vast expanse of untapped potential out there, niches ripe for the picking for those willing to look beyond the obvious choices.

So, where does that leave you? 

If you’re willing to think creatively, to step outside the well-trodden path and veer away from the mainstream, there are a wealth of opportunities waiting to be discovered.

Here’s a fundamental truth: following the herd won’t do you any good in the marketing world. 

Those “done-for-you” courses and “follow-my-lead” programs might seem tempting, but they’re unlikely to help you stand out from the crowd. 

The market is full of people doing the same thing, so to succeed, you need to carve your path, create your unique approach.

So, is lead generation a good side hustle? Buckle up, because we’re about to dive deep into this topic.

Does it Make Money (Fast)?

The bottom line is, any worthwhile side hustle should turn a profit. And if we’re being honest, we like it even better when that profit comes in quickly. 

That’s part of the allure of side hustles like Uber or Dogwalking – you put in the work and the money shows up in your pocket almost instantly.

But when we discuss lead generation, things start to get a bit more complex. This side hustle doesn’t quite offer that immediate gratification.

On one hand, lead generation can be profitable. On the other hand, it requires investment. 

You have to fork out for the right tools and software, maybe even shell out for advertising, and don’t forget the time you’ll need to invest. For digital marketers, and especially for beginners, these upfront costs can stack up and weigh heavily, and it can take some time before you see any returns.

Now, here’s a twist. If you step away from mainstream niches and come up with a unique angle, you might be able to cut costs and increase your chances of success, perhaps speeding up that route to profit. 

But that requires outside-of-the-box thinking and an ability to resist following the crowd, which is easier said than done.

To illustrate the point, consider this strategy that reportedly brought in a 60% response rate to cold emails: The proposition was, “If you don’t make money, I’ll give you a full refund plus send $1k cash for wasting your time.” 

An out-of-the-box approach like this stands out and can bring in customers, but it requires careful client selection to avoid the risk of overcommitting to difficult customers.

So, can lead generation make money? Definitely. But does it provide instant cash-in-your-pocket like driving for Uber or walking dogs? That’s a bit more complicated.

Can You Have a Flexible Schedule?

When it comes to side hustles, flexibility is crucial. 

Ideally, the hustle should fit around your existing obligations, letting you work when and where it’s convenient. 

This is where side jobs like dog-walking or online tutoring shine – they allow you to set your schedule based on your availability.

Now, for the most part, lead generation can offer this flexibility too. Being a digital endeavor, there are no strict location requirements, and you can often choose when you put in the work.

However, there are exceptions and cases where lead generation demands more specific commitment. For instance, if you set up pay per lead seo rank-and-rent in industries like emergency services (think plumbers or locksmiths), you might need to be on call to respond promptly when leads come in. 

Similarly, if you’re targeting a global audience in different time zones, you might need to adjust your schedule to align with their peak activity times.

Moreover, lead generation requires consistent attention. It demands ongoing monitoring of campaigns, making necessary tweaks to strategies, and responding swiftly to leads, especially in pay-per-call. While it’s not round-the-clock work in most cases, it does require a certain degree of time commitment.

So, while lead generation can offer some scheduling flexibility, it’s not always as accommodating as it might seem. 

Consider your niche carefully and understand potential time demands before jumping in.

Are You Capable of Doing It?

A good side hustle should be something within your wheelhouse—a gig that you have the skills and knowledge to handle efficiently. 

That’s one reason why hobbies often make excellent side hustles; you’re leveraging skills you already possess.

When it comes to lead generation, though, the capability requirement flies a notch higher. 

Effective lead generation demands a comprehensive understanding of digital marketing, analytics, and often sales. It’s not necessarily beginner-friendly and might present a steep learning curve if you’re just starting out in the field.

For instance, you need to understand how to target and capture the right audience, how to craft a compelling offer, how to optimize a landing page for conversion, and how to analyze campaign results to make meaningful improvements. 

These skills can be acquired over time, but it’s worth noting that it might not be the easiest route for a beginner looking for a quick side hustle opportunity.

And let’s be honest, if you’ve found your way to this article, chances are you’re still in the process of acquiring these skills. There’s no shame in that – we all start somewhere – but it does highlight that you may not be able to jump into lead generation and start making money immediately.

A great starting point would be our guide: 7 Step Guide To Get A Strategic Marketing Edge for Building a Longer Lasting Sustainable Business

Moreover, some clients can be quite demanding and require a meticulous approach to meet their expectations. Handling such clients successfully often necessitates a high level of expertise and experience in the field.

In short, while lead generation can be a fitting side gig for experienced digital marketers, it might be a tough hill to climb for absolute beginners.

Should This Just Be Your Job?

Ideally, your side gig should have the potential to grow—the ability to bring in more income as you put in more effort. In this regard, lead generation shines.

Lead generation has a considerable growth potential. With the right effort and strategy, it can turn into a significant income source, sometimes even equalling or surpassing the earnings from your full-time job. This scalability is particularly appealing for those looking to maximize the return from their side hustle.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean it will demand full-time attention. 

It’s possible to automate many aspects of lead generation and maintain it as a side gig while enjoying the benefits of scalability. There’s a balance to be found between growth and time commitment, and the beauty of lead generation is that it allows you this flexibility.

For digital marketers looking for a side gig with solid income potential without encroaching on their full-time job, lead generation can be an excellent choice.

Lead Generation: A Good Business Model and a Bad Side Hustle

Alright, let’s conclude: lead generation is a stellar business model, but as a side hustle? Not so much.

Lead Generation as a Side Hustle
CriteriaEvaluation
It Must Make Money (Fast)
It Must Have a Flexible Schedule
You Must Be Capable of Doing It
Should This Just Be Your Job

Here’s the thing. Lead generation has potential – lots of it. 

The money is good, the opportunity for growth is there, and if you’ve got the chops for digital marketing, you can really make a go of it. If you’re thinking about a full-time gig or maybe even starting your own business, lead generation can be a powerhouse.

But a side hustle? That’s another story. 

The very things that make lead generation shine as a business can be exactly what trips you up when you’re looking for a side hustle. 

The return on investment could take some time, there’s a steep learning curve for beginners, and you might have to put in more time than you’d like.

Not saying it can’t work. If you’re up for putting the time and effort into mastering lead generation, you could still make it work as a side hustle. 

But let’s be real. If you’re looking for something to get started fast, bring in quick money, and doesn’t feel like a second full-time job, you might want to explore other options.

So, that’s the long and short of it. 

Lead generation as a side hustle? Perhaps, but be ready to roll up your sleeves. 

Remember, the best side hustle is one that suits you—something that fits your schedule, plays to your strengths, meets your financial goals, and most importantly, feels enjoyable and fulfilling.

Crossing my fingers life gets better for you to the point where you don’t have to think about side hustles!

Article By

Aleksandar Pesich

SEO aficionado by day, gym enthusiast by evening, and home chef by night, I expertly balance keyword strategies with deadlifts and delectable dishes.

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