There are numerous side income ideas with the potential to generate hundreds of dollars a month. But what about side income ideas with the potential to generate $10,000 a month?
The list of ideas narrows (significantly).
In the book The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business, author Elaine Pofeldt researched which U.S. entrepreneurs have created a business with over $1 million in revenue with just one employee. Pofeldt found that these one-person, $1 million businesses fell into six categories:
- Informational content creation
- Real estate
- Personal services firms offering expertise
- Professional services and creative businesses
This is a great starting point for ideas that can earn $10K a month. Below you’ll find 27 business models, broken down into the six categories listed above.
Informational Content Creation
#1 — A Personal, Niche, or Authority Blog
Quick summary: Start a website that generates income from advertising, affiliate marketing, sponsorships and more.
Where to learn more: “How To Make Your First $1K Blogging” free email course (below).
A blog is a wonderful online business to own. You can earn over $10K a month, the hours are flexible, the start-up costs are low, and when done right you can generate passive income.
With these wonderful advantages, there is competition. But there are many people who are successful in this space.
From there it takes the persistence to create valuable content, the commitment to learn marketing, and a willingness to test different monetization models.
#2 — Virtual Assistant
Quick summary: Perform various administrative tasks for executives and small business owners.
Where to learn more: Over 150 virtual assistant niches to choose from
When you’re looking for business ideas, try Googling the phrase “six figure +your niche.”
For example, type: six-figure +virtual assistants.
By doing so, you’ll find multiple case studies to learn from, like these three virtual assistants who have taken their businesses to six-figures.
#3 — Kindle Direct Publishing
Quick summary: Publish and market digital e-books on Amazon.
Where to learn more: How to Go From $0–$40,000 a Month Writing From Home
Self-publishing your own e-book is a trend that’s not slowing down. Many writers are making over $10K per month. James Altucher did a wonderful podcast with a writer who is earning $40K+ per month.
#4 — Podcasting
Quick summary: Create and publish a podcast, earning revenue from advertising and affiliates.
Where to learn more: How to Start a Podcast in 2019: Pat’s Complete Step-By-Step Podcasting Tutorial.
Podcasters can command good money from sponsorships. And similar to blogging, there are a number of additional revenue models podcasts can pursue, such as affiliate deals, subscriptions, and coaching.
#5 — Affiliate Marketing
Quick summary: Sell other businesses’ products and services for a fee.
Where to learn more: Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing School
Being an affiliate marketer is like being a 100% commission salesperson. And while it’s closely linked to blogging, there are many ways to generate revenue as an affiliate marketer, such as through social media and YouTube.
As this blog generates a majority of its revenue from affiliate advertising, this is a business model I’ve taken a deep dive into. The course that really helped me understand the practice was Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, where Michelle Schroeder-Gardner goes into great detail about how she consistently earns over $40,000 per month via affiliate marketing.
#1 — Real Estate Investing
Quick summary: Purchasing, renting, and managing real estate for a profit.
Where to learn more: Get Started Investing In Real Estate For $500 With Fundrise
You can choose your own adventure as a real estate investor. From flipping homes, to investing in rentals, to commercial real estate, there are endless niches to get into.
One option I recommend before diving in head-first is Fundrise, which is a crowd-sourced real estate investing site where you invest in deals alongside others. The minimum amount to invest is just $500.
This is a fantastic way to start getting a feel for the market. You’ll be able to look a lot of deals, pick out which ones to invest in, and track your returns.
See Also: My In-Depth Fundrise Review
#2 — Airbnb
Quick summary: Renting out real estate you own to others.
Where to learn more: The Airbnb Rental Income Calculator
Airbnb gives anyone with an extra room (or even a spare couch) the ability to generate income by listing it. Use the Airbnb rental income calculator to see how much your place is worth on the marketplace.
Personal Services Firms Offering Expertise
#1 — Tutor
Quick summary: Share your knowledge with eager students around the world.
Where to learn more: Best Online Tutoring Jobs and Websites
Can you really make $10K a month teaching English online? The highest-paid teacher on VIPKID, a website that connects tutors with children looking to learn English, earned $9,000 in a month. So, you can at least come pretty darn close.
#2 — Resume Writer
Quick summary: Prepare a professional resume that helps your client land a job.
Where to learn more: How 4 Freelance Resume Writers Earn Money (One Made $320k Last Year!)
Resume writing is a high-end niche in freelance writing. If you’re able to land clients a 10% or 20% greater salary, your value is high in the market. And that’s just what quality resume writers can do.
#3 — Job Recruiter
Quick summary: Help others land a job.
Where to learn more: How to Start Your Own Recruitment Business
If you can find the best candidate, you can create a lot of value for your client. Commissions get as high as 50% of the candidate’s first-year salary in specialized fields.
#4 — Dog Walking
Quick summary: Walk and care for dogs.
Where to learn more: This Dog Walker Probably Makes More Money Than You Do
The above-mentioned article tells the story of Ryan Stewart, who earns over $100K walking dogs part-time in New York City.
While Ryan certainly benefits from being in one of the most affluent areas in the U.S., the bigger takeaway is that many niche personal services businesses are in high demand today. And whether you’re looking to earn some extra cash or want to start a legit side business, looking at these outliers can help you learn a lot about starting your own profitable business.
#1 — Amazon FBA
Quick summary: Source, list, and sell products on Amazon.
Where to learn more: Everything You Need To Know To Start Selling On Amazon
There are many ways to make money online with Amazon, but one of the fastest growing is with Amazon FBA. (FBA stands for Fulfillment by Amazon.)
With Amazon FBA, you source a product — which can be a product with your own or a private label — and send it to Amazon. From there, you’re done. Amazon takes care of all the fulfillment needed to get your product to the customer, and even handles returns.
What’s great is that it doesn’t require a lot of money to get started. Your inventory can be as small as a few units you get from Ali Express. You’d then resell the product online on Amazon for a higher price.
#2 — Retail Arbitrage
Quick summary: Buy an asset and sell it for a higher price on an online marketplace like eBay or Amazon.
Where to learn more: How Robert & Melissa Make 6-Figures Flipping
Do you love going to flea markets, garage sales, or browsing thrift stores? If so, you can make money flipping items you find for a profit with retail arbitrage.
Successful side hustlers in retail arbitrage have a superior information advantage. This means understanding the market for what you’re buying better than the person selling the item.
#3 — Etsy
Quick summary: Etsy allows anyone to create and sell handmade, custom, vintage and unique gifts.
Where to learn more: Inside Mrs. Money Mustaches Six-Figure Etsy Shop
Selling and marketing unique homemade crafts used to be very difficult. That was before Etsy.
Total sales on Etsy nearly eclipsed $4 billion in 2018, which was up 20% from 2017.
#4 — Launch a Shopify Store
Quick summary: Easily create an online store, selling anything from digital products to drop shipping others’ products.
Where to learn more: How to start a profitable drop shipping store
Shopify allows you to easily create and sell all types of products online via your own store. The options of what to sell are endless.
A few ideas include:
- Consultations. Have a skill where others would benefit from your expertise? Consider selling your time via a consultation. Examples include interior design, bookkeeping, and SEO.
- Digital products. Shopify allows you to sell digital downloads like PDFs and graphics. Example of this might be a personal trainer selling training plans, or a passionate home chef selling meal planning templates.
- Drop shipping. Drop shipping is a fulfillment method where you don’t keep or hold products in stock. Instead, whenever you sell a product, you purchase it from a third-party who ships it directly to the customer. The big advantage to drop shipping is that you never see or handle the product.
Professional Services and Creative Businesses
#1 — Bookkeeping
Quick summary: Produce financial statements and keep track of transactions for small businesses.
Bookkeeping is a business that’s consistently in demand. And just like freelance writing, it’s not hard to break into.
While rates start at around $30 an hour with basic training, you can advance quickly in the field.
One consistent theme among high-earning, one-person professional service and creative businesses is that they specialize. In bookkeeping, many industries have their own financial software. For example, I spent 10 years working for an insurance agency where everything was run on a system called Vertafore, which had its own accounting method (as well as a certification program). It’s these types of niche certifications — combined with working in a high-growth, high-margin business — that will allow you to become one of the high-earners in the field.
#2 — Freelance Writing
Quick summary: Create written content such as blog posts, web pages, and newsletters for other businesses as an independent contractor.
Where to learn more: How To Build a Six-Figure Writing Career (scroll down to watch the free workshop)
One of the most popular ways to make money without a traditional job is to freelance. And one of the best ways to start freelancing is writing.
Six-figure writers are more common than most think. We’re in a content boom. Businesses of all sizes are looking for quality writers and are willing to pay a good price.
What’s also nice about freelance writing is that it’s easy to break into, as no experience or certifications are required. You can find freelance writing jobs on sites like Upwork and Fiverr.
#3 — Copywriter
Quick summary: Promotional writing for businesses.
Where to learn more: Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting
Copywriting (which has nothing to do with the legal term “copyright”) is simply promotional writing for businesses. This could be anything from writing a brochure to web content. And as skilled copywriters are highly in demand, it’s also one of the fastest ways to quit your day job.
One of my favorite copywriting success stories is that of Mindy McHorse. She went from zero experience to paying off over $100,000 of debt by freelancing as a copywriter. She credits her success to taking the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting offered by American Writers & Artists Inc. (a course I took and highly recommend as well).
Top copywriters can earn six figures. For a project, a typical fee might be a base rate plus a percentage of the revenue generated. Good copywriters can earn $10K a month, as their impact on revenue can be large.
#4 — Social Media Manager
Quick summary: Manage the day-to-day social media activities for small to medium-sized businesses.
Every small business needs more customers. And one of the best channels right now for gaining new clients is through social media.
Good social media managers charge $2,000 to $4,000 per month per client. Expert social media managers, who can typically run paid social campaigns for a profit, can charge over $10K (plus a share of the revenue) per client.
If you commit yourself to learning the fundamentals and are able to show results, managing social media is one of the fastest paths to working from home (or anywhere in the world).
Social Media Manager School offers a free starter kit that will teach you how to break into the market, how to score new clients, and which tools can help you maximize your efficiency to earn more money for your time.
#5 — Graphic Designer
Quick summary: Design visual images using computer software.
Where to learn more: Free Graphic Design Workshops at CreativeLive (live classes are free, you only pay for recordings)
As much as we’re in a content boom, we’re in an image boom. The internet is becoming more image-friendly thanks to fast-growing platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.
Higher-paid graphic design niches include UI/UX design, landing page design/optimization, and branding.
#6 — Web Design
Quick summary: Create attractive and functional websites.
Where to learn more: How To Make Money Building Websites
A close cousin of graphic design, web design is another fast-growing side income idea. Web designers who make $10K a month understand conversion and user experience, as these have a significant impact on revenue.
#7 — Marketing Automation Specialist
Quick summary: Implementation of automated marketing systems
Businesses of all types are using marketing automation software. A close friend of mine took a certification program provided by Ontraport, a popular marketing automation software solution. Upon certification, he was charging $75 an hour. A few years later, he’s billing at twice that and is turning clients away.
#8 — Paid Media Specialist
Quick summary: Manage paid advertising campaigns on Google, Facebook and other sites.
Where to learn more: Perpetual Traffic Podcast
This is another side income idea I’ve tried myself. While working a full-time job, I took on local business as clients and managed their Google, Bing, and Facebook advertising campaigns.
A lot of the work is up-front. Then, it’s about small tweaks going forward.
Experienced PPC managers can charge $2K+ a month, meaning you only need five clients to hit your $10k goal.
If you’re a beginner and in the right niche (I recommend local, high-priced service providers like cosmetic dentists and high-end remodelers), you can earn $1K a month per client — and most importantly, clients can see the ROI in the first month.
As for resources, I listed my favorite podcast above. From there, you’ll want to dive into the specific platform, such as Facebook or Google.
#9 — SEO and Content Marketing
Quick summary: Increase visibility in search engines through the production of content.
Where to learn more: Stupid Simple SEO
Search engine optimization is the skill of gaining visibility for clients. SEO goes hand-in-hand with content marketing, as it’s through content like blog posts that a site gets found.
Having both skills is rare. As such, the skillset is highly in demand and pays a very high rate.
A course that really taught me a lot (this site gets most of its traffic from search engines) is Mike Pearson’s Stupid Simple SEO. Mike opens the course only a few times a year. Sign up for the waitlist to get an alert when it opens, which also gives you free access to Mike’s five-day SEO Bootcamp.
Quick summary: Production of physical goods.
I have to admit, manufacturing as a side income idea sounds very odd. But as I read through The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business I started to see how one person could run a successful manufacturing company. In the book, Pofeldt profiles a husband and wife team who run a million dollar honey company from Hawaii. They essentially outsource everything but the production of the honey itself.
A lot of converging technologies are coming together to make manufacturing a viable option for a side hustle. From 3D printers to fulfillment centers like Amazon’s, it’s now possible to produce your own goods and sell them all over the world.
Other Side Income Ideas
The downside to the side income ideas that have the potential to generate $10K a month is that going from zero to $10K can take time.
- Online focus groups: Online surveys are a simple way to make a few bucks and don’t take a lot of energy. When we ranked the best survey sites, the two that rose to the top were Swagbucks and Survey Junkie.
- Swagbucks: Rewards sites like Swagbucks allow you to make money by watching videos, through cash back shopping, by taking surveys, and more.
- Lyft: If you’re in need of quick cash, consider signing up as a driver for Lyft.
- Mystery shopper: Mystery shopping is a form of market research, where companies will pay you to physically shop a specific retail store.
- TaskRabbit: TaskRabbit allows you to choose from a number of different jobs, from running errands to lawn maintenance and everything in between.
- UserTesting: This site allows you to review and offer feedback on websites, and pays instantly via PayPal.
- Care.com: If you enjoy kids and have experience babysitting, consider signing up as a caretaker at Care.com, a marketplace to find local jobs.
- Data entry: There are multiple ways to make money with data entry. To earn cash quick, consider going with a company like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk
- Turo: Turo is a creative side income idea, as it’s a marketplace to rent out your car for extra money.