There are many side hustles with the potential to generate a few hundred dollars of extra income per month.
But what about side income ideas with the potential to generate $10,000 a month or more? While the list of possibilities narrows, such opportunities do exist.
For her book The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business, author Elaine Pofeldt researched U.S. entrepreneurs that have created a business with over $1 million in revenue and no more than a single employee.
Pofeldt found that these businesses fall into six categories:
- Informational content creation
- Real estate
- Personal services firms offering expertise
- Professional services and creative businesses
In this article, we’ll highlight 10 of the best low-cost side businesses within these six industries that can create a side income of $10K a month.
How to Make $10K per Month on the Side
#1. Start an Agency After Successfully Freelancing
Start by first successfully selling your own skills as a freelancer. Then, once you have clients, build out systems that allow others to do the work.
If you don’t have a specific service in mind, you can start with a basic service such as working as a virtual assistant, a proofreader or a social media manager.
Learn more: Check out our in-depth series on How To Start Freelancing.
#2. Start a Blog
A blog can be a wonderful source of side income for many reasons. You can earn well over $10,000 a month, the hours are flexible, and the start-up costs are low.
Plus, as a blogger you’ll learn skills that are highly-paid and in-demand. So even if your blog doesn’t surpass $10K a month (which is difficult but not impossible), you’re still building valuable career capital. In turn, you can go out and freelance with these skills, or use them to land a higher-paying job.
Learn more: Sign up for our free 14-lesson email course, which teaches you how to successfully start and grow a blog that brings in over $1,000 a month.
#3. Become a Highly Paid Expert
When you’re freelancing on the side, it’s hard to accrue enough billable hours to reach $10K a month.
Even if you charge $100 per hour, you’d have to bill 100 hours a month to hit that mark (roughly 25 per week) — and those hours are on top of your primary job.
But here’s the secret of the highest paid freelancers: they don’t charge based on hours, they charge based on results.
Your hours are limited, especially when you’re working on the side. But results have a much higher ceiling.
There are many services where the client cares little about how much time you actually invest. For example, marketing specialists often get paid a base rate plus a percentage of revenue, and resume writers often charge 1-2% of someone’s annual salary (as their work can result in a 10-20% pay increase for their clients).
The strategy you want to get familiar with here is called value-based pricing, which you can learn about in the video below.
In other words, start your freelance business by considering the maximum value you can provide to a client, then find a way to make $10K a month without working 100 hours a week.
Learn more: Similar to freelancing to start an agency, becoming a highly-paid expert is all about choosing the right niche. The important thing to keep in mind is that your goal is to create a business where you deliver exceptional results that are not tied to your time.
#4. Create an Online Course
You have knowledge others would benefit from, and there are now numerous online platforms that make it easy to offer online courses that help people level up their skills and expertise.
One such platform is Teachable, which exceeded $1 billion in sales in 2020 alone.
In other words, it’s an understatement to say there’s massive opportunity here.
What’s to like is the variety of courses that are best-sellers on the platform, one of which is a course on baking sourdough bread.
Learn more: Tiago Forte, who created the wildly successful Building a Second Brain course (which generates over seven-figures a year) gave a wonderful interview (see the video below) that dives deep into the best strategies for getting started.
#5. Create an E-Commerce Store
More people than ever are shopping online. In fact, e-commerce sales grew by 44% in 2020. That has created massive opportunities for all types of online sellers.
Some of the most popular options for building an e-commerce business include:
- Selling your own goods. You can sell physical products on marketplaces like Etsy. Top sellers on the platform include jewelry, crafts and art. Learn more in our post about how to make money on Etsy.
- Selling digital products. Sell digital downloads like PDFs and graphics. Examples include a personal trainer selling customized workout plans or a passionate home chef selling meal planning templates.
- Dropshipping other people’s products. Dropshipping is a fulfillment method where you don’t keep products in stock. Instead, whenever you sell a product, you purchase it from a third party that ships it directly to your customer. Learn more in our guide to setting up a dropshipping business.
- Amazon FBA. Source products and send them to Amazon. Amazon takes care of all the fulfillment needed to get your product to the customer, and even handles returns. Your main focus is building your brand.
Learn more: Check out Shopify’s free introductory webinar on dropshipping — which acts not only as a great resource for understanding the current e-commerce landscape but also dives into the details of dropshipping — and read our post on how to make money on Amazon.
#6. Start a Podcast
There’s a reason why everyone is starting a podcast these days: because it’s a phenomenal way to grow a business.
Podcasters command very 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.
If you have a good-quality smartphone, you already have the equipment needed to launch your podcast. Yes, there are investments you’ll need to make down the road — like a high-quality microphone and audio editing software. But those can be purchased later.
Or better said, don’t be the person who obsesses over equipment for months instead of getting something out there.
#7. Real Estate Investing
If you’re looking to invest in real estate, it’s going to take capital to get started — especially if your aim is to make $10K per month on the side. Plus, there’s risk involved, because more often than not it requires using borrowed money.
Yet there are many very wealthy people who live off of the passive income their real estate investments generate.
Thinking outside the box, there are other ways to make money in real estate for those who don’t have the capital to invest today. Examples include becoming a part-time real estate agent or working as an assistant for a successful investor.
These are great ways to build your knowledge in real estate investing, so that you know a good deal when you see one when you’re finally ready to start investing yourself.
Learn more: When it comes to real estate investment courses, there are plenty of scams and time-wasters. I highly recommend BiggerPockets, a reputable website and community of real estate investors that provides very helpful information for beginners.
#8. Build a YouTube Channel
Like many ideas on this list, there is explosive growth potential on YouTube: the platform paid its content creators close to $8.5 billion in 2020.
As with blogging, it takes a while to build an audience on YouTube that’s big enough to earn $10K a month. That means newer YouTubers often leverage additional monetization streams, such as affiliate deals and sponsorships, to supplement the amount they make from ads.
Learn more: In 2018, Miles Beckler was tired of seeing entrepreneurs buy overpriced marketing courses. So that year, he launched a YouTube channel dedicated to teaching viewers everything he knows about online marketing, with a big emphasis on growing a YouTube channel. His channel now has more than 174K subscribers and is a great starting place to learn how to get started on the platform.
#9. Social Media Influencer
The top names in social media — think the Kardashians, Ariana Grande, Dwayne Johnson, etc. — get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for a social media post. As a result, the only businesses that can afford to partner with these mega influencers are the ones with very deep pockets.
Smaller businesses that want to utilize the power of influencer marketing use micro-influencers, who often have a very loyal following — even if it’s a small fraction of the size of the household names mentioned above. This means they’re able to give brands access to a valuable niche audience (and get paid a good amount for doing so).
Additionally, the skills you learn while building your social media presence enable you to freelance for others — a role that can pay handsomely, as these skills are in high demand.
#10. Luxury Service Based Business
This article tells the story of Ryan Stewart, who earns over $100,000 per year by walking dogs part-time in New York City.
Ryan certainly benefits from being in one of the most affluent areas in the U.S. However, what you should zero in on is the potential for a high-margin business when serving the affluent.
Legendary copywriter Dan Kennedy had this to say about the mindset of affluent buyers:
“[…] pressed for time and eager for efficiency, competence, and convenience to be provided to them — and they’re very willing to pay for it.”
Beyond designing a service that saves the affluent time, also consider services that make them feel unique. A good example here is red-carpet services, a business idea that involves setting up a red carpet event at private parties.
$10K Side income Ideas FAQ
Create a high-end service based on your existing skills that solves a specific and urgent problem, and then sell that service to people who can afford to pay (and who, ideally, you’ve already built trust with).
The truth is that any business can be turned into a passive income source when you set up the right systems and hire the right people. So, first things first: don’t limit yourself to passive income businesses. Instead, focus on ways to create the most value for other people. Long-term, you can turn this into passive income through systems and the team you build.
If you’re not sure which idea is right for you, choosing one based on the existing skills and resources you have available will make you money the fastest. Long-term, you can always pivot — e.g., going from a blog to a YouTube channel or podcast, or from a freelancer to selling courses. But up front, it’s vital that you test your idea as fast as possible to see what the market actually thinks.
Best Side Income Ideas To Make $10K a Month: Final Thoughts
A lot of people who want to make $10K a month on the side look for shortcuts.
Instead of focusing on creating value for others, their thought is to do the least amount of work that will provide them the most amount of income. It’s for this reason that the people selling day trading courses and multi-level marketing programs do so well.
Everyone wants to make $10K a month, but few people want to put in real effort.
As M.J. DeMarco said in his excellent book The Millionaire Fastlane:
“Wealth eludes most people because they are preoccupied with events while disregarding process. Without process, there is no event. All events of wealth are preceded by process, a backstory of trial, risk, hard work and sacrifice. If you try to skip process, you’ll never experience events.”— M. J. DeMarco
Earning $10K a month on the side isn’t easy. There is no sure-fire system for doing so.
The side income ideas listed here provide you a real opportunity to accomplish your goal. It will take work, and some sacrifice outside your full-time job; but then again, you may just surprise yourself when you commit to a good idea and put in the time.