Have you ever found yourself in need of some extra cash? Up until very recently, that meant asking for extra hours at work or hunting for a second job. And while those options can be decent ways to bolster your bank account, they don’t come with much flexibility.
But today, thanks in no small part to the internet, there are dozens of legitimate side hustles you can use to make extra income. And unlike the more traditional methods mentioned above, these side hustles almost always let you set your own schedule and work as much (or as little) as you want.
We’ve compiled a list of 33 of the best side hustle ideas to help you find one that aligns with your needs, skills and goals.
Our list is ranked alphabetically to make for easy scanning, and you can jump to a specific idea by clicking on the link in the table of contents below.
Affiliate marketing, which is when you earn a commission or fee for referring people to other companies’ products and services, is often associated with blogging (which we’ll discuss more later in the article). However, it’s also a good side hustle for people who don’t want to run a website.
There are many affiliate marketers who leverage platforms like Facebook Groups, email lists, YouTube channels and large social media followings. In fact, affiliate marketing can work on any platform that allows you to connect with people.
However, there’s one thing that almost all successful affiliate marketers have in common: a relationship with their audience that’s built on trust. Because in order to make money, people need to trust your recommendations.
Pros and cons: Regardless of the platform you choose, you’ll need a fairly large audience to do well with this side hustle. And building that audience can take time. So it’s best to think of this as a long-term project rather than something you can start today to make money quickly.
How much you can earn: Many affiliate marketers make well over six figures per year.
How to get started: To get a sense of what types of products and services you can sell, check out our article 35 Recurring Affiliate Programs for Bloggers. Just keep in mind that this is only a sliver of whats out there; you can find affiliate marketing opportunities in almost every product and service niche.
As a babysitter, you’ll be responsible for many child care activities, such as playing with your clients’ children, preparing simple meals, cleaning play areas, and putting the children to bed. Depending on the age of the children, you may also have to change diapers and assist with potty training.
Pros and cons: Babysitting is an easy side hustle to start. Plus, making extra money by hanging out with kids can be fun. You need a lot of patience and understanding to be a babysitter, though. Some of your clients’ kids may have handicaps or disabilities, while others may have a penchant for misbehaving.
How much you can earn: Babysitters make $11 per hour on average, but earnings vary widely depending on experience. A babysitter with years of experience and certifications will earn more than someone without those credentials.
How to get started: Start by asking friends and neighbors if they need someone to watch the kids. If you’d like to expand your client base, sign up for one of the following sites.
- Sittercity: A good starting place for new babysitters. You can sign up as a “Mother’s Helper” to gain experience by watching kids while a parent is still in the house.
- UrbanSitter: Provides busy parents with babysitting and nannying services. Their last-minute sitter feature lets you increase your rate when parents need help on short notice.
- Care.com: Provides all manner of care services (not just babysitting), which allows you to expand your services and acquire more clients.
Have kids of your own? Check out our guide to the best jobs for stay-at-home moms.
Blogging is one of the most popular side hustles. It’s easy to start and requires minimal upfront investment. Whether you’re an expert in a particular field who wants to teach others, a student documenting your journey in learning something, a hobbyist that enjoys sharing your interests, or a writer looking for a creative outlet, blogging can be a fun and profitable business.
Pros and cons: As a blogger, you’ll have the opportunity to research and write about topics that interest you. That can be a boon for your career, as it will help you establish credibility and recognition within your field. If you decide you like the work, blogging has the potential to transform from a side hustle to a full-time job of its own.
Blogging is not easy, though. You have to work on your blog regularly and wait months or longer before your first dollars roll in. There’s a lot to learn, like SEO, keyword research and copywriting. You also have to spend money on domains and web hosting.
How much you can earn: The earning potential for bloggers is virtually limitless (See: The Billion Dollar Blog). Some online entrepreneurs make six figures multiple times over by blogging. They also create digital products and leverage their blog to make sales.
But there’s survivorship bias here: for each rich blogger, hundreds aren’t earning a penny. Others are making a decent side income, but nothing extraordinary. Consistent, hard work is critical.
How to get started: We’ve written several articles that teach you everything you need to know about starting a blog, including…
- The insanely simple guide to setting up a blog: Hosting, domains, themes… starting a blog seems confusing at first, but it’s actually quite simple. Just follow the steps in this article and you’ll have a new blog up in no time.
- How to choose a profitable blog niche: How do you pick a niche? Should you go for passion or profits? This article answers that question and elaborates on the most popular blog niche ideas.
- How to actually make money as a blogger: You can make money blogging, but it won’t happen overnight. Read this article to learn ways to monetize your blog, as well as how to set realistic expectations for your earning potential.
You can also sign up for my free 14-lesson email course, titled “How To Make Your First $1,000 Blogging.” It goes over both the basics and more advanced strategies, with insights drawn directly from my experience growing The Ways To Wealth.
Small businesses often outsource functions to save time and money. And keeping the books is increasingly one of the first tasks that gets outsourced.
Bookkeepers handle financial record-keeping and reporting for businesses. With an online bookkeeping job, you might be tasked with recording receivables and payables, running payroll, creating reports, preparing income taxes and more.
Pros and cons: The fact that bookkeeping is always in demand make this one of the top side hustles. Clients keep you around for the long-term to maintain their books. You don’t have to leave home, yet you get the stability of a 9-5 day job.
However, bookkeeping is not without challenges. For one, liability issues are always on your mind — such as if a client asks you to process a fraudulent transaction. There’s also continuing education; financial regulations change, and as the bookkeeper, it’s your responsibility to keep up.
How much you can earn: Bookkeepers can expect to start at around $17 per hour. Once you gain experience and client testimonials, that rate can climb. Niching down into particular software programs and gaining certifications can increase your earning potential further, although the latter isn’t necessary for success.
How to get started: As long as you’re decent with numbers and know your way around a computer, you don’t need a CPA or prior accounting experience to launch a bookkeeping hustle.
If you need guidance on getting started, check out Ben Robinson’s free three-lesson course on running a bookkeeping side business. Ben’s a CPA with a lot of experience in the field — he and his team have helped thousands of bookkeepers succeed.
Delivery driving is no longer just a summer job for high schoolers, thanks to the rise of gig economy jobs and improvements in mobile technology. Many services deliver restaurant food, while others hire people to grocery shop for their customers. Some have you deliver packages.
Pros and cons: The best delivery jobs are flexible, allowing you to work around your busy schedule. But these jobs burn through gas and put miles on your vehicle, adding costs and taking up time. Plus, consistent work isn’t guaranteed. You may have a constant stream of orders or none at all, depending on the real-time demand in your area.
How much you can earn: Each delivery service has a different earnings formula, so it’s hard to pin down an average pay rate. You can expect to make around a minimum of $11 per hour and a maximum of $25 an hour. Most services also let customers tip you, so your earnings can increase with excellent service.
Still, the amount you can earn is limited by the amount of time you can work. So while this can be a solid way to start earning extra money quickly, it’s not a scalable opportunity and thus shouldn’t be viewed as a good long-term option.
How to get started: Have a valid driver’s license and a car that’s safe to drive. You may have to have your vehicle inspected by a mechanic before being allowed to work (but not always). Some of these companies let you use your bicycle, but your delivery range will be limited.
You’ll also have to submit to a background check. If any of the services require you to purchase items, such as insulated shopping bags, do so before you start working.
- DoorDash: Offers a great balance of reliability and pay. However, you have to schedule shifts (called “dashes”) ahead of time, making it harder to work driving into your daily life.
- Postmates: As a Postmates driver, you’ll deliver a wide variety of items — from groceries to personal goods to restaurant meals. Postmates is available in over 400 cities across all 50 states, though it’s most popular in the western United States (its biggest market is Los Angeles).
- UberEats: Currently the largest delivery service overall (and one of the biggest in New York City), but they pay slightly less than most competitors.
- GrubHub: Has a lot of orders available, but the pay is usually quite low.
- Instacart: Pays you to do other peoples’ grocery shopping and deliver it to their door.
- Shipt: Shipt is very similar to Instacart in terms of pay, but has a more rigorous interview process.
- Amazon Flex: Amazon uses Flex drivers to deliver packages to customers, as opposed to sending them through UPS or FedEx. You also have the option to deliver Whole Foods, Amazon Fresh and Prime Now orders. The hours are flexible, and you can earn tips.
Amazon also offers a handful of non-delivery work-from-home jobs, though they can be hard to get.
Businesses need to bring traffic to their websites to increase revenue, but they don’t always have the time or know-how. That’s where digital marketers come in.
One of the most lucrative forms of digital marketing is paid advertising. Paid ad specialists drive traffic to their clients’ websites using ads on Google, Facebook, Instagram and other sites.
Pros and cons: Paid advertising is highly scalable once you gain experience. You can automate many tasks and drive up your rates to earn more with less work. You can replace your day job with this side hustle if you’d like.
It’s not easy at first, though. You have to understand each client’s respective target audience to effectively tailor ads and drive sales. Additionally, landing clients is tough when you have no data to back up your skills. If that’s the case, your options include applying until something sticks, or driving paid traffic to your own landing page to demonstrate your proficiency.
As someone who has pursued this as a side hustle, the way I earned experience was working for free for friends and family who ran small businesses (a home remodeler, a chiropractic clinic, and a wedding venue).
In my experience, finding local businesses that generate a large amount of revenue off of one client are the best prospects for managing ads. You can easily pay for your services with just one referral every month.
How much you can earn: Paid advertising has a high income ceiling, as it’s close to the sale. Expect to start at around $20 per hour. However, if you can dramatically increase your clients’ profits, you’ll quickly find yourself in a position to charge $100+ per hour. Then, you can delegate and automate tasks to free up time.
How to get started: The best way to get started is to take a course or two to familiarize yourself with paid ads — especially Facebook Ads. Bobby Hoyt’s Facebook Side Hustle course provides an excellent introduction to the topic.
Bobby ran a Facebook ad business on the side of his full-time teaching job. But he worked hard, and his side income eventually overtook his teaching salary. In the course, Bobby shares what he did to turn some side hustling into a full-time income on a part-time schedule.
As much as dog owners love their canine friends, life can get in the way of their daily walks. Consequently, you can offer to walk dogs for pay.
Pros and cons: Walking dogs requires minimal skill, and you get some exercise while you earn. Plus, you get to hang out with plenty of dogs. Not only are dogs fun, but they can ease stress.
With that said, you’re responsible for someone else’s pet — both what happens to it and what it does to other people/animals/property. Some dogs might also be apprehensive of new people.
How much you can earn: Dog walkers make around $14 per hour, on average. Rates can increase a bit with experience, but walking dogs has a low ceiling unless you start a business and hire other walkers. You might be able to charge more if you walk on weekends or if you target wealthier clientele.
How to get started: Similar to babysitting, start out by looking for clients within your network. In addition to that, there are dog-walking sites that will help you expand your client base beyond your circle of friends.
- Rover: Lets you create a profile and set rates. Owners can then find your profile and request a walk from you.
- Wag: Operates like Uber. Owners can request a walk, and all nearby owners are alerted. Wag takes a 40% commission, but you can earn more with in-app tips.
Related reading: Not a dog person? Here’s a list of other apps that pay you for walking.
Want to start a product business, but without having to create a product or hold inventory? Start a dropshipping store.
How it works is that you set up an online storefront and list products that are available from your suppliers. Then you only order those products once a customer makes a purchase. The supplier handles the shipping.
Depending on the product niche you’re in, this can be one of the absolute best ways to make money from home.
Pros and cons: Dropshipping is one of the most inexpensive product-based businesses, as you don’t have to purchase inventory upfront. You can scale your store by hiring virtual assistants, copywriters and more.
Getting there is not an easy process, though. You need money to pay for your store platform and a way to drive traffic, and you might fail a few times before you start a winning store.
How much you can earn: Dropshippers can make six-figure profits, but it takes a long time and plenty of trial and error to get there.
How to get started: You’ll need to sign up for a store platform. Shopify is the most popular and one of the best for dropshippers.
Shopify’s free How to Start a Profitable Dropshipping Store webinar is an excellent resource for getting started, as it teaches you a blueprint for building a profitable dropshipping business, including where to source the best-selling products and more.
People often confuse editing and proofreading. Editors help improve the quality of writing by cutting unnecessary words, altering sentence structure, and ensuring a consistent tone of voice, among other tasks. Proofreading (covered later in this article) is a surface-level check for technical errors.
Pros and cons: As an editor, you can express your creativity without creating an original piece of writing. Helping a writer improve their work can be satisfying, too.
You must be willing to give constructive criticism. But keep in mind that some writers don’t take criticism well, and you’ll have to deal with angry clients from time to time.
How much you can earn: Freelance editors make about $20 per hour, on average. Editing scientific and technical material tends to pay more than books, newspapers and similar media.
How to get started: Upwork is the best place to go to land editing gigs. On Upwork, clients post jobs you can apply for. If a client picks you, you negotiate terms, and then the client extends an offer when you reach an agreement.
Learn how to set up your Upwork account and start working in our guide to landing your first client on Upwork.
Pro tip: If you’re looking to run a profitable blog of your own, take a part-time editing job with a website in your area of interest to get an inside look at a successful operation.
Many online businesses generate a healthy income selling paid subscription newsletters. Some entrepreneurs — such as email copywriter Ben Settle and SEO expert Marie Haynes — make it a large part of their business (if not the main product).
The business model is simple: you write a weekly or monthly newsletter containing valuable information about a topic, then charge interested customers a subscription fee to receive the newsletter.
Pros and cons: You don’t have to be an expert to start a newsletter, as long as you have some knowledge of the niche. Startup costs are minimal, too.
Getting subscribers is the hard part. Without an established web presence you can use to guide readers to your newsletter, you’ll have to create a landing page and drive traffic to it with either SEO or paid ads.
Additionally, your newsletter has to actually be worth money. If you re-hash free content that’s easily found on the web, your subscribers will catch on and ditch you.
How much you can earn: Earnings depend on your subscriber count and newsletter price. Settle charges $97 per month for his copywriting newsletter, meaning he can earn $100,000 per year in revenue with just 86 subscribers.
What we can tell you for sure is that email marketing has a median ROI of 122% — higher than any other digital marketing channel.
How to get started: All you need is an idea, subject knowledge, and a platform on which to write your email newsletter. Try the Substack platform — it’s very easy to get started, and it only charges you when you earn money from subscribers.
Focus groups are demographically diverse groups of consumers that participate in in-person or online guided discussions about products or brands for market research.
They’re like deep-dive versions of paid online surveys. In focus groups, you’ll interact with other participants as well as the person guiding the discussion to share your ideas and perceptions of the product or brand in question.
Pros and cons: Focus groups can be a fun side hustle because everyone shares opinions. You might even walk out with new friends or acquaintances. Plus it’s exciting to have an impact on the marketing strategies of companies.
But the time required is a considerable drawback; focus groups usually last 60 to 90 minutes. In-person focus groups involve travel time, as well.
How much you can earn: Focus groups have a wide range of payouts, from $50 to $150 or more depending on the company and discussion length. More specialized focus groups — such as those that target professionals — pay hundreds more.
How to get started:
- Respondent: Matches business professionals, such as software developers and marketers, with focus groups that want their professional opinions. Pay is at least $100 per hour, and Respondent only takes a 5% commission.
- Mindswarms: When accepted to a Mindswarm focus group, you record yourself answering their questions and submit the video for your compensation. Pay averages at $50 per 10-question survey.
Graphic designers create visuals by hand or computer to communicate ideas to consumers. They work on a wide range of projects, including:
- Album art for musicians
- Mobile apps
- Product packaging for companies
- And more
Pros and cons: Graphic design is a rewarding job for creative people. Unfortunately, your creativity may be hampered by client expectations — which also means having thick skin when it comes to criticism of your work.
Fortunately, graphic design isn’t hard to pick up. You can take some free or inexpensive online courses to get the basics. Clients are abundant, too — you can work with marketing/design agencies, publishers, businesses, musicians and more.
How much you can earn: The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that graphic designers make about $24 per hour on average, although you might start a little lower. Niching down into a specific type of graphic design or client can also increase your rates.
How to get started: Ideally, you’ll have a few portfolio pieces (they don’t have to be from previous client work). Once you have them, here are some sites to try.
- Fiverr: Has a wide array of graphic design work opportunities.
- GraphicRiver: A marketplace where people can buy designs and templates. An excellent site for creating a passive income stream with your graphic design skill set.
- 99 Designs: A graphic-design-specific freelancer marketplace. They connect you to clients around the world that need designers.
Learn more in our guide to starting a freelance graphic design business.
Host On Airbnb
Airbnb lets you rent out your home (or a part of it) for extra money. You don’t need a fancy house to earn a healthy side income, as people book accommodations of all sizes and types.
When guests request to book your home, you can screen them before accepting the reservation.
Pros and cons: You can list accommodations of any size, from a couch to an entire home. You have total control over your rates and add-ons. Plus, Airbnb only takes 3-5% in commissions.
Not everyone can be a host, though, with renters being a prime example. Many landlords include clauses in leases that forbid Airbnb-style hosting arrangements. Plus, for homeowners in some areas, local laws and homeowner’s association rules may prevent you from hosting on the site.
How much you can earn: Your earnings will vary depending on your home size, location, availability, and additional services you provide.
How to get started: Getting started on Airbnb is free and doesn’t take long. Airbnb provides a calculator so you can estimate your earnings before signing up.
Mystery shopping is another fun side hustle. One of the The Ways To Wealth’s contributing writers has mystery shopped over 100 times, scoring a range of free (or nearly free) products and experiences, from dining at a nice restaurant to taking her family to water park — along with a decent per-assignment commission.
There are quite a few scams out there, so make sure to educate yourself. However, it’s a very legit side hustle that can earn you a nice side income.
Pros and cons: Mystery shopping can’t scale into a full-time job. Instead, it’s more of a way to spend 5-10 hours per week, make some extra money, and maybe even have a new, interesting experience or two.
How much you can earn: Your hourly rate is typically below $20. However, you can often get free stuff from the places you mystery shop at.
How to get started: Check out our mystery shopping guide to learn more.
Related: Another great way to get free items is through product testing. We compiled a list of 40+ legit product testing sites (including a few that will pay you cash on top of the free goods you receive).
Sometimes you have a spare hour or two and just need some extra cash. Instead of launching a new business, picking up odd jobs might better suit your schedule. Any random chore-like or handyman task could be considered an odd job, from assembling boxed furniture to taking care of one-off yard work tasks.
Pros and cons: Odd jobs are flexible, and they don’t take much skill. You get to move around a lot, too, keeping things fresh. And they’re always in demand.
But with that said, odd jobs aren’t very predictable, nor are they scalable. This type of work is best if you need to make money quickly but don’t want to build a business or learn new skills.
How much you can earn: Pay depends on what you’re doing. If you’re helping someone move out of their house, you’ll probably make some good cash for the day. If you’re picking up someone’s dry cleaning, earnings will be much lower.
Earnings are also dependent on the platform you use to find odd jobs, as discussed below.
How to get started:
- Check out our roundup of the best gig economy odd job apps.
- TaskRabbit: On TaskRabbit, you’ll help people with literally every type of random side gig imaginable. It works similar to a delivery service such as Postmates, but for odd jobs.
- Handy: A place to find cleaning and handyman tasks. Popular services include home cleaning, TV mounting and furniture assembly.
- Dolly: Are you physically strong? Dolly connects you with people who need help moving. You can also help with the disposal or donation of large items.
- TaskEasy: On TaskEasy, you can find homeowners and businesses in need of lawn care services.
- Craigslist: The largest online classifieds site still gets plenty of daily ads asking for help with various tasks.
Online education has exploded in recent years. Looking ahead, the research firm Research and Markets predicted the industry will rise to $350 million per year.
You can get in on this budding industry by creating and selling online courses. You don’t need to be a recognized expert in your course’s subject, but you need a certain degree of skill and knowledge for prospective students to take you seriously.
Pros and cons: Online courses are scalable since they’re digital products. They make for fantastic supplemental income, and a semi-passive income stream if you have a blog.
On the other hand, courses aren’t completely hands-off — especially if you’re in a rapidly-changing field. You may have to refresh information and add bonuses to keep the course accurate (and your customers happy).
Also, with more people creating online courses to reap the benefits of scalability, standing out from the crowd is becoming a challenge.
How much you can earn: You could make $0 with your course, or you could make seven figures… although only a few people reach the latter.
Marketing plays a substantial part in your revenue potential. Most course creators will earn $1,000 to $5,000 per month through course sales, but a good marketing strategy can push those numbers higher.
How to get started:
- Udemy: Marketing is easy on Udemy, as they promote your course to their massive audience. In exchange for the exposure, Udemy restricts customization options and takes 50% of the revenue earned through organic sales.
- Teachable: Teachable is the better choice for personalization. Everything from pricing to the course’s domain is up to you. You’re in charge of marketing your course, but Teachable only takes up to 10% of your revenue in commissions.
Note: Providing educational content and training is one of the most recession proof business ideas.
Thanks to the online education boom mentioned above, online tutoring has also seen extensive growth. You can tutor in any subject, but one popular area of online tutoring is teaching ESL (English as a second language). China is the largest market for ESL tutors.
Pros and cons: Online tutoring is a flexible and fulfilling side hustle. There will always be demand, especially as the economy continues to globalize. Plus, you typically don’t need a teaching degree or certificate.
However, you do need to be a patient person to teach others — especially when teaching ESL. English is already not the easiest language to master, and it’s your students’ second.
There can also be timezone issues when teaching ESL online. China’s day is opposite to ours, so you might have to tutor in the late evening to align your hours with your students’.
How much you can earn: Online tutoring pays well, starting at around $15-20 per hour. Many tutoring marketplaces/sites pay per lesson.
How to get started: Learn more in our complete guide to the best online tutoring jobs.
Proofreaders scan final drafts for technical errors such as typos, grammatical issues, inconsistencies, formatting problems and more. As a proofreader, you can work on blog posts, books, technical content, academic papers and every other type of written content imaginable.
Pros and cons: Proofreading has a low barrier to entry, and the high level of scheduling freedom makes it a great side hustle that’s easy to combine with your day job. But poring over long or boring work can be tedious, and your client won’t be happy if you miss errors.
How much you can earn: Proofreaders will start at around $15 per hour, although that can climb to almost $30 per hour with experience. Similar to editing, you’ll earn more by niching into proofreading technical material. You’ll need to specialize in a particular topic to land technical proofreading jobs, though.
How to get started: Read through our detailed post titled “How to Become a Proofreader,” and then consider signing up for the excellent free webinar offered by Proofread Anywhere.
Many of the most successful (and wealthiest) individuals in real estate today started out with real estate as a side hustle. Popular real estate side hustle ideas include owning rental properties, house flipping and vacation rentals.
If you don’t have money to invest today, but think you may want to get into real estate investing down the road, your options include becoming a part-time real estate agent or working for a successful real estate investor.
Popular real estate side hustle ideas include owning rental properties, house flipping, vacation rentals, and even becoming a part-time real estate agent.
Pros and cons: If you’re looking to own properties, you’ll need cash for a down payment and a good credit history in order to obtain a loan for your first investment.
Similar to investing in the stock market, real estate as a side hustle has both great potential and great risk. The potential comes from being able to use leverage — e.g., other people’s money — to buy property.
But therein lies the risk: when you’re highly leveraged, you can lose money just as fast as you can make it.
How much you can earn: Has the potential for both significant gains and losses.
How to get started: You don’t need to buy an expensive course that was advertised on an informational. Check out BiggerPockets, a well-respected real estate company with a great blog, a podcast, and a top-notch forum.
If you’re short on cash, consider working for a successful real estate investor. You can start as a virtual assistant, handling a variety of admin tasks — ideally adding skills such as market research and negotiation while growing your overall knowledge of the industry.
Has someone ever told you to “Google it?” Online researchers make that possible to a large degree. If you have expertise or qualifications in a subject, several websites will pay you to research and respond to their users’ questions. For example, someone may inquire about a historical fact on one of these sites; you would then research the answer and respond to the user.
Pros and cons: If you love learning new things, especially in your field, online research will be an exciting job. You get to research and write about subjects you enjoy, help others learn, and earn money.
However, most sites require you to have credentials in the field for which you want to provide answers. And you won’t earn a ton of money with this side hustle.
How much you can earn: Pay varies by platform, subject and question complexity. Depending on these factors, each question could pay from $2 to $16.
How to get started: Learn more in our article 13 Legit Ways To Get Paid For Searching The Web.
Bartending, bussing, dishwashing and serving are typical second jobs, but maybe you don’t want to commit to working at a single restaurant, or don’t want be locked into an ongoing commitment.
There are now apps that fill short-term staffing gaps at restaurants (such as when a server misses their shift due to sickness). You can sign up for these apps and land short-term food service gigs.
Pros and cons: The flexibility is a big plus, as you don’t have to stick with one restaurant. However, if you end up wanting to work there full-time, the restaurant can offer you a job through the app.
On the other hand, the work is unpredictable and you’ll have to adjust to a new environment every time you start at a new restaurant. Plus, the available shifts may be at undesirable hours, such as during your workday or late at night.
How much you can earn: Restaurant workers using apps to find work can earn a bit under $20 per hour on average, although exact pay will vary by position.
How to get started:
- Pared: Its goal is to be the Uber of restaurant staffing, specializing in finding work for cooks and dishwashers. Pared is growing rapidly and is utilized by some of the world’s top restaurants.
- Jobletics: A food service staffing agency that can help you find short-term work as a busser, cook, dishwasher, host or server.
Driving for a rideshare company is the classic side hustle. Your job is to safely transport passengers from their pickup location to their destination. As long as your car is in a safe condition and you can pass a background check, becoming a rideshare driver is easy.
Pros and cons: Rideshare driver jobs let you clock in and out whenever you want, so you can earn on your own schedule. But just as with delivery jobs, your car will rack up miles. There’s also the chance of unruly passengers, which can be stressful at best or damage your car at worst.
How much you can earn: Rideshare drivers typically earn between $15 and $25 per hour. Pay per ride is generally based on the market in which you drive, distance traveled per trip, current ride demand, and sometimes the number of passengers. You can earn more through tips and an array of bonuses that each rideshare company offers.
How to get started:
- Uber: The largest rideshare company. One notable Uber feature is Instant Pay, letting you withdraw your earnings the moment you earn them up to five times per day.
- Lyft: Uber’s biggest competitor is gaining market share, and you may want to sign up for both to see which has the best balance of jobs and payouts in your particular area.
Selling On Amazon Via FBA
If you want to start an e-commerce business, you can take advantage of Amazon’s powerful fulfillment network and global audience by leveraging Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA).
With FBA, you choose the products and create the listings. Then you ship your products to an Amazon Fulfillment Center. When customers order them, Amazon takes care of the rest.
Pros and cons: Your FBA business has access to Amazon’s vast audience. Combine your reach with a scalable business model and you have a profitable venture on your hands.
At the same time, FBA is more costly than some other product-based side hustles (like dropshipping) because you have to purchase inventory upfront.
On top of that, if you have inventory in other states, you may also have a tax “nexus” — meaning you’ll have to collect, file and pay sales taxes for sales made to that state.
How much you can earn: Your earnings will be limited by the amount of capital you have available to spend on inventory.
How to get started: As a product-based business model, Amazon FBA has a lot of moving parts. Read our article about how to make money selling on Amazon for guidance on launching and growing a successful FBA business.
Social Media Management
Social media is a function that many small businesses don’t have the time or desire to handle on their own. Instead, they’ll outsource to an agency or a freelancer (such as you). Larger companies often still hire for in-house social media roles, though.
Both freelance and in-house social media managers will be responsible for posting on various social platforms, responding to customers, crafting strategy and handling analytics.
Pros and cons: Social media management opportunities are everywhere. You can opt for an in-house role if you prefer stability and benefits, or you can strike out as a freelancer for more flexibility and earning potential.
No matter the job, social media management can be nerve-wracking. Mistakes can go viral and make you and your client look bad. Also, spending too much time on social media can negatively affect you if you aren’t careful.
How much you can earn: In-house pay depends on the position. Entry-level social media assistants can make $30,000 to $40,000 to start, while a director of growth marketing can make $120,000 or more.
Freelancers can start out earning $20 to $30 an hour. Demonstrate results for clients, and that can climb. Starting an agency can help you command higher rates, too.
How to get started: Social media management jobs come in numerous forms, and responsibilities aren’t always clear, as social media is a relatively new field. Complicating things is the choice between joining a company in-house or working in a freelance capacity.
Our article on the best social media jobs breaks down the various job titles you’ll encounter and the tasks each one is responsible for, as well as how to find these jobs.
Survey sites will pay you to answer questions about almost anything, from your morning routine to your favorite genre of book. These sites then pass your answers on to companies, who use the data to make marketing and product decisions.
Dozens of these sites exist. Each one operates differently, but they all make it extremely easy to pad your wallet by answering questions.
Pros and cons: Surveys require no skill, and you have tons of sites from which to choose. It’s a fairly passive activity, too; you can take surveys during your commute, in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, when you’re sitting in front of the TV or whenever else you have a few minutes of spare time.
It’s also nice to know that you’re influencing the products and marketing efforts of companies large and small.
The most significant drawback is that surveys provide low returns on your time investment. Plus, you won’t qualify to complete every survey you start, which can waste your time.
How much you can earn: Earnings depend on the survey site, as well as the length of each survey. No matter the survey site, though, you won’t make a lot. Surveys exist to give you a bit of fun money, not a significant stream of extra income. Also, keep in mind that most survey sites don’t let you cash out until you reach a threshold amount (such as $10).
How to get started:
- Swagbucks: Has plenty of surveys, but you can also earn by watching videos, playing games, signing up for services, shopping online and more.
- Survey Junkie: Matches you with more relevant and lucrative surveys based on your demographic information. If you don’t qualify for a survey, Survey Junkie still awards you a small number of points.
- InboxDollars: In addition to surveys, InboxDollars pays you to read emails. Complete enough tasks on InboxDollars, and you can also unlock scratch-off cards for more earnings.
Transcriptionists convert live or recorded audio into text. Medicine and law are the largest transcription fields, but you can also work for general transcription companies. If you’re a fast typist, this will be an easy hustle for you.
Pros and cons: Thanks to online platforms that connect you to jobs, little skill is required to launch a transcription hustle. You can get a large volume of work with ease.
However, transcription has a low earnings ceiling, and it’s not the most exciting work. Also, you likely won’t be able to access live transcription work unless you can type at least 70 words per minute. Keeping up is hard during live transcription gigs, as the average person speaks at 120 to 150 WPM.
How much you can earn: Pay depends on the field you choose and the company through which you work, but you can expect around $15 per hour to start. Rates increase as you gain experience and increase your typing speed.
How to get started:
- Ubiqus: Although most of Ubiqus’ opportunities are part-time, they offer full-time transcription jobs with benefits on occasion. You can earn $1 for about 170 words.
- Appen: Helps companies use machine learning to enhance business operations. Your job is to transcribe human speech so that Appen can help train its clients’ speech recognition systems.
- Scribie: Has both automated (software) and manual (you) transcription services. You can earn $5 to $25 per hour of audio transcribed.
- Some micro jobs sites offer transcription opportunities.
More options: Check out our list of the best transcription jobs for beginners.
Foreign language skills are invaluable in our globalized economy. If you’re fluent in two languages, you can work as a translator. Spanish, Arabic and Russian are the most in-demand languages, but there’s no shortage of jobs for many others.
Pros and cons: Translators are highly sought, and that demand will only increase. One language is enough to land plenty of work, but becoming trilingual leaves you with endless possibilities.
Translation work isn’t suited for creatives, though. You need to have a high level of attention to detail to ensure content is translated entirely and accurately.
How much you can earn: Translators earn $29 per hour on average. You can expect to start at around $16 per hour, but if you know languages that are in high demand, rates may be higher.
How to get started:
- Fiverr: An excellent place to land your first few translation clients. Check out the current side gigs being offered to get a sense of what kind of work you can do (and how much you can charge).
- FlexJobs: This site is aimed primarily at people looking for part-time or full-time remote employment, but it also has freelance postings. You have to pay to access their job board.
Do you consider yourself an artist with an entrepreneurial streak? A t-shirt or merch design business can connect your creative and business sides.
With this side hustle, you’re in charge of picking designs and setting up your online store. A printing company then handles the production of your shirts.
A print-on-demand business model is the most accessible form of apparel business idea. In this business model, you only print shirts or merch when you receive customer orders, instead of carrying inventory.
Pros and cons: Startup costs are low, there’s a large degree of scalability, and print-on-demand frees you from carrying inventory. In addition to being a lucrative side business, you can express your creativity and build a brand of which you’re proud.
But a low barrier to entry means plenty of competition. You need a strong brand to survive. And since a third party ships and handles the product, you don’t have full control of the operation.
How much you can earn: T-shirt/merch design is a lucrative side hustle idea, as the earning potential is unlimited. However, you either need to spend time building a brand identity, or find a way to drive potential customers to your products (such as through paid Facebook ad campaigns).
How to get started:
- Merch by Amazon: One of the easiest t-shirt/merch business platforms. Just upload your design and product description, and they handle listing and fulfillment (using Amazon Prime). You get access to Amazon’s massive audience.
- Teespring: Smaller than Amazon, but once you have an eligible design, you can access their boosted network. This network consists of customers from Walmart, eBay and even Amazon.
- Threadless: Has hundreds of print-on-demand items you can add to your store, and it only takes minutes. Plus, it’s free to use. You can also submit designs for others to use and earn when they end up on a product.
- CafePress: Pays a flat 10% royalty fee per sale, but you can earn more with enough sales through their Shop Performance bonuses.
Video is one of the internet’s most popular forms of content, becoming more favored with each passing day. As a video editor, you might work on films, explainer videos, YouTube channels and more.
Pros and cons: For the artistic, video editing can be a fun side hustle. You have a fair degree of creative latitude with each project, as long as you meet client expectations. But watching the same clip several times can get old. You also encounter tight deadlines, having to work odd hours to deliver a project on time.
How much you can earn: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, experienced video editors start around $28 per hour. Rates can climb to over $55 per hour with experience and software proficiency.
How to get started: Besides understanding the basics of video and having editing software, you’ll need a place where you can land clients. There are a lot of video editing jobs on sites like Upwork and Fiverr, where clients come to you. You can also see what people are charging to get a better idea of your potential earnings.
Virtual assistants handle the various functions business owners don’t have time to complete.
These could include:
- Content creation/publishing
- Customer service
- Data entry
- Digital marketing/social media.
- And more
This is a popular position for those looking for easy work-from-home side hustles, meaning you’ll face competition. But if you think outside the box, you should be able to stand out and land excellent clients.
And if you enjoy wearing multiple hats (and know how to manage your own time effectively), this might be your perfect side hustle.
Pros and cons: Virtual assistant tasks can differ from client to client, keeping things fresh and interesting. There are no set requirements, so you can make this job whatever you want (within reason).
Plus, due to the nature of the work, virtual assistant jobs can lead to long-term working relationships — which means less marketing work on your part once you have a client roster.
But with the wide range of responsibilities, it can be hard for you to set rates and manage your time effectively. Juggling multiple clients with different needs can be tough, too.
How much you can earn: There’s no set pay scale for virtual assistants — it depends on the clients, their needs, and your skills.
How to get started:
- Upwork: The largest freelance marketplace on the web, and virtual assisting is one of its most popular job offerings. All you have to do is make a profile and get approved before you can begin applying for gigs.
- 90DayVA: This is a popular VA training program that has helped hundreds of people get started in the field. Created by former military wife Esther Inman, the course offers a free online workshop titled “How to work from anywhere as a virtual assistant.”
As mentioned previously, internet content is shifting towards video. That doesn’t always mean being on camera, though. Many videos consist of slide shows or animations, both of which need voiceover artists.
Combined with the expanding popularity of podcasts and audiobooks, there’s a substantial market for voiceover work.
Pros and cons: Little experience is needed to get started, and working your way up in the voiceover industry can gain you access to interesting projects.
Unfortunately, you don’t get complete creative freedom when narrating. You must adhere to client expectations.
You’ll also need to invest in a quality mic and recording software, which together might cost over $100.
How much you can earn: Voice actors start at around $15 per hour, but your exact pay varies based on the type of voiceover work. For example, audiobook narrations may get paid in royalties instead of by the hour.
How to get started:
- Fiverr: Has an entire section dedicated to voiceover work.
- ACX: On Amazon-owned ACX, you can audition for audiobook narration gigs. They’ll pay you per finished hour, but you can opt to receive 50% royalties instead.
Web Design And Maintenance
Businesses can’t survive in today’s environment without a website. As a web designer/developer, you’ll be in charge of crafting smooth, intuitive websites that reflect your clients’ respective brands and earn them more revenue.
Pros and cons: Web design and maintenance are in high demand, and with programs like WordPress, you no longer need coding knowledge to get started. After building the sites, you can spend a few hours each week maintaining them and earn a lot of nearly-passive income.
With that said, you may not be able to advance far without learning to code. Your creativity will also be stretched to its limits as you try to generate unique ideas for each client, and you’ll have to do a lot of repetitive testing.
How much you can earn: Most web designers earn $20 to $45 per hour. You’ll earn towards the lower end with little experience or coding knowledge, although it’s still good money. Learning to code and becoming proficient in certain software programs will drive that rate up.
How to get started: The best way to showcase your skills is to build a portfolio site. You’ll have a portfolio piece to show clients as well as a place to add more samples and case studies as you complete client work.
Popular niches include Clickfunnels, Shopify and WordPress. Clickfunnels is a sales funnel builder, while Shopify lets you create online stores. WordPress is for designing general websites (including this one).
Writing is one of the broadest and most accessible side hustles available. Businesses in all industries often don’t have time to create content, so they hire writers to do so.
Blogs also employ freelance writers to a large degree. If you’re passionate about a topic, there are plenty of blogs in that niche looking for writers.
Pros and cons: You don’t need previous writing experience to get clients — just a portfolio of samples. You can choose any niche that you want, but work experience in a particular niche can help you secure clients faster.
With that said, landing that first client is still challenging. When you do get work, the subject your clients task you with writing about might be boring, even if it’s in your niche.
Plus, there are clients out there that will try to low-ball you or let scope creep occur (which is when they slowly add more responsibilities to your plate without adding more pay).
How much you can earn: Writing has a wide pay range, as there are many types. Beginners can expect around five cents per word for blog posts and other relatively straightforward forms of writing.
As you gain expertise in your niche, you can raise your rates. Additionally, you can take on more advanced freelancing projects and earn up to 15 cents per word or more. Whitepapers, sales pages, and email campaigns are a few forms of writing that pay well.
How to get started: Read through our collection of resources for beginning freelance writers.
- Freelance writing jobs for beginners — the best sites and strategies: Which sites should you sign up for? How do you land the best clients? This article runs down the details.
- Five freelance writing sites that pay daily: Want your writing earnings fast? This article details several sites that pay you daily for writing.
- How to get your first job on Upwork: Securing your first job on Upwork is one of your biggest challenges as a new writer. Learn how to do so in this article.
Side Hustle FAQs
A side hustle is a way to make money outside of a primary job. Some refer to side hustles as a second job or side gigs.
The fastest way to make $1,000 outside of a traditional job is to sell an existing hard skill, like freelance writing, web design or graphic design, to a person or business. If you’re not sure what hard skills you have, consider what an employer has paid you for in the past.
If no skills come to mind, then consider selling your time by checking out the various gig economy jobs.
If we define a passive side hustle as one in which you do the work upfront, which then produces a consistent stream of income down the road, the best passive side hustles would be starting a blog, investing in real estate, creating an educational course or selling on Amazon FBA.
While none of these are completely passive, they do allow you to get away from working by the hour and allow for long-term potential.
Side Hustle Summary
Side hustles have always been possible, but thanks to the internet, almost anyone can create an extra income stream that generates a solid amount of money.
Whether you have one or two free hours each day for a side job, a few minutes here and there for short gig work, or plenty of time to launch a full-scale side business, try one of the side hustle ideas above to earn some extra cash.
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