Nov 15, 2023
Jordana A. & Yoga K.
20 Best Side Hustles: Business Ideas to Make Money on the Side
Knowing how to start a side hustle is a great way to achieve your financial goals in this gig economy. If you can do a side hustle without negatively affecting your work and personal life, there is no reason why you shouldn’t try.
You must learn which side jobs are profitable and require the least investment when starting out. Also, consider what jobs you would enjoy – the best side hustle is the one that doesn’t feel like work.
To help you find the best side hustle for your needs, consider the following criteria:
- Passion and interests. Start a side hustle that aligns with your skills, interests, or hobbies. You would gain more money and enjoyment from doing the side hustle.
- Profitability. Make sure to estimate the potential earnings within an industry before committing. Sites like Firsthand and ZipRecruiter are great places to start your research.
- Viability. Your side hustle should not clash with your full-time job. It must work around your current schedule.
- Growth prospect. Consider the job’s long-term potential and whether it provides room for growth.
- Legitimacy. Avoid jobs that offer unrealistic payment terms. You can check whether a company is listed under a fraud watch via Better Business Bureau or a scam tracker.
With these criteria in mind, let’s look at various creative side hustles that can help you earn extra money.
Top 10 Quick Side Hustle Ideas for Extra Money
We have compiled a list of the best offline and online side hustle ideas to help you earn extra money quickly:
- Participate in paid online surveys
- Offer pet-sitting services
- Sell stock images or music
- Be a rideshare driver and do deliveries
- Flip items for profit
- Get paid to review books
- Take up handyperson jobs
- Accept drawing or graphic design commissions
We’ll look at each side hustle idea individually and discuss who they would be best suited for.
1. Participate in Paid Surveys
Participating in online surveys is one of the easiest online side hustles to do in your spare time. Businesses and research institutions on survey websites pay participants in exchange for feedback for products and services.
Although this side hustle will not make a fortune, you can earn a decent amount of extra cash if done frequently.
How much you earn from filling out online surveys depends on the project you take. Generally, the payment ranges from less than $1 to more than $20. Some surveys pay you with gift cards or sweepstakes instead of cash.
2. Offer Pet-Sitting Services
All you need is a passion for animals and a basic knowledge of pet care. To boost your credibility and hiring rate, try getting certified by Pet Sitters International.
Based on the increasing pet adoption rate and average animal health spending, the pet-sitting industry is expected to grow by 10.4% from 2022 to 2030. This means the demand for pet sitters will likely increase in the upcoming years.
Before joining a pet-sitting platform, read the fine print thoroughly and expect a service fee. For instance, Rover charges a 15% service fee for each booking.
As with many side hustles on this list, the earnings vary considerably. However, expect an average pay of $20-$30/day.
3. Sell Stock Images or Music
Start earning from your photography and music-making hobbies by selling your work through microstock websites. While this isn’t the fastest way to make a fortune, it can generate a decent passive income over time.
You’ll need to be dedicated and consistent to succeed in the stock photography or music industry. Master the basics of stock photography or music-making while paying attention to the current stock photo and music trends.
Since microstock websites don’t exclusively buy your work’s rights, we suggest selling your work on multiple platforms to maximize earnings. For example, you can build an online store or sell products through your social media accounts.
With stock images, you can earn around $550/month if you have a portfolio of at least 2,000 highly marketable photos.
For stock music, it’s possible to earn between $3-$499/song, depending on the license type and the music library. Some of the best places to sell stock audio and make decent cash are TunePocket, Pond5, and AudioJungle.
4. Be a Rideshare Driver and Do Deliveries
If you have a vehicle, you can earn a few extra bucks from giving people a ride or delivering groceries and food. Being a rideshare driver or a courier is a lucrative side hustle that allows you to make extra cash.
Prior working experience isn’t necessary, but the driver and the vehicle must meet the rideshare platform’s requirements. Prepare the necessary paperwork beforehand, such as your driver’s license, insurance proof, and vehicle documents.
While the pay dramatically depends on location, tipping, working hours, and age, a rideshare driver can earn around $15-$17/hour.
5. Flip Items for Profit
Flipping is the practice of finding and buying low-priced items to resell them at a higher price. The goods are typically sourced from second-hand markets like thrift stores and garage sales.
What makes item flipping one of the best ideas for online side hustles is that it requires little investment and is highly scalable. You can do this on a small scale or turn it into a full-time profession and make a fortune.
To succeed as an item flipper, find pre-loved goods that are either unique or branded and resell them on marketplaces like eBay, Mercari, and Poshmark. You can even create your own online store to sell clothes or other items you bargained for.
When purchasing goods, pay attention to product quality and price. Repair costs can add up, so it’s better to look for second-hand items that don’t need much fixing.
When setting up a resale rate, appraise it at no higher than 10% of the original price. That said, take the brand, item condition, and listing fees into account too. You can also base it on the average cost of similar items sold in the market.
Another great way to make extra money is by flipping websites on marketplaces like Flippa and WebsiteBroker. This side hustle has principles similar to item flipping but requires website optimization and traffic improvement to increase value.
When flipping items, many factors should be considered, such as the time invested and the items being sold. In the first year of flipping items for profit, expect to make $500-$3,000/month.
6. Get Paid to Review Books
Book reviewers get paid to share their professional opinions on books. Becoming a book reviewer is one of the profitable side hustle jobs from home.
Several websites where you can find book reviewing gigs include Online Book Club, Kirkus Media, and Women’s Review of Books. Alternatively, become a book blogger and earn extra bucks from sponsorships.
The average salary for book reviewers is approximately $21/hour, depending on the demographics, the book genre, and the reviewer’s expertise.
Catering is a great side hustle for people who enjoy cooking. There’s no shortage of food-related products to sell, especially since the industry’s compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is projected to increase by more than 6% by 2026.
Before starting, you need to decide on a suitable business model. Consider the human and material resources required to run a catering business. Aim for commercial-grade equipment for better durability, safety, and overall quality.
Then, get the cooking supplies in order. Partner with wholesale suppliers like Chef’s Store or local markets.
On average, a caterer can make around $28,000/year. Since you can run this side hustle idea from home, you can minimize operating costs and maximize profits.
Housekeeping is another easy side hustle to make extra money. The starting costs are low, and you can do this job hustle with little to no experience. As a housekeeper, you can get paid around $44,000/year on average.
Consider the type of cleaning services you want to offer. Then, pick a model that fits your schedule because housekeeping is time-consuming and physically exhausting.
Most housekeeping businesses offer regular and deep cleaning services for one-time or recurring appointments. Decide which option works with your day job, and determine how much time you can dedicate to this side hustle.
Additionally, set aside a budget to purchase cleaning supplies. Opt for cleaning equipment that is efficient, durable, portable, and has a good warranty policy. Look for the ones with safe ingredients, as well.
Another factor to consider before starting is your cleaning time. It generally takes at least one and a half hours to clean a 1,000 square feet space. Add more time if it’s a one-time deep cleaning, and subtract some if it’s a regular place you tend often.
Then, multiply your hourly rate by the cleaning time estimation. If you need help creating the estimates, consider using estimation calculators.
This side hustle’s payment varies depending on many factors, such as the location, size of the rooms, and cleaning type. You can generally charge your cleaning service for around $50-$90/hour.
9. Take up Handyperson Jobs
If you’re good at constructing or repairing items, taking a handyperson side gig is a great way to make extra money.
Pay attention to how you market your service. Customers tend to prefer specialists, so be particular about all the skills you excel at, no matter how menial they may seem.
Polish your handyperson skills by doing personal projects, helping a community, or enrolling in a vocational school. Alternatively, turn to online resources like The Family Handyman, eHow, and YouTube tutorials.
If you know someone who has been in the industry longer, request to be their apprentice. Hands-on training under professional supervision can help improve your skills faster.
The best way to find a mentor is by joining a handyperson organization like The Association of Certified Handyman Professionals or a handyperson network in your area.
Although this kind of side hustle can be physically demanding, you can earn about $44,000/year on average or around $21/hour.
10. Accept Drawing or Graphic Design Commissions
Graphic design and illustration services are a profitable and fun side hustle for people with a knack for aesthetics. You can get paid for creating various visual designs for artistic and advertising purposes.
To become a graphic designer or illustrator, you must be creative, artistic, and organized. Since many graphic designers and illustrators juggle numerous projects, you must also be good at multitasking.
To enter this field, take digital media courses, read design books, and brush up on the fundamentals of color theory and composition to improve the quality of your work.
Use your spare time to learn how to use digital media tools like Sketchbook, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Photoshop. Familiarize yourself with graphic design and illustration resources, such as joining a graphic design online course.
The salary of graphic designers and illustrators varies depending on your experience and the project’s size. However, it is estimated to be $48,000/year on average.
Top 10 Best Long-Term Side Hustles
After covering quick side hustle ideas, let’s look at the 10 best long-term side hustle ideas to make extra income.
The hustling ideas in this section require a decent investment of time and sometimes money. Nonetheless, they are worth considering if you want to broaden your skills or develop them in a business setting.
1. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a way to earn money by recommending other people’s products or services. As one of the most popular online business ideas, it was predicted to hit $8.2 billion in spending by 2022.
This business model is a perfect side hustle due to its low entry barrier and great flexibility. There are tons of affiliate niches to choose from, making it one of the most diverse income sources.
Affiliate marketing is especially profitable for people with a large following, making it one of the most common monetization methods for bloggers, influencers, and content creators.
Choosing an affiliate program that fits your niche is the first step. For example, if your small business website revolves around the web hosting industry, apply for programs like Hostinger Affiliate and include unique links in your content.
When selecting affiliate programs, consider the commission rate, the merchant’s reputation, and the product quality. Additionally, try the products first. Speaking from experience helps convince customers better.
The payment is performance-based, depending on how many sales, clicks, or leads an affiliate generates. An average salary of an affiliate marketer in the US is around $78,000/year. Some high-profile affiliates can even earn more than $10,000/day.
2. Blogging About a Topic You Know Well
Consider making money blogging to get paid writing about what you love. As of 2022, there are over 600 million blogs, making it one of the most popular side hustle ideas.
Blogging provides an outlet for creative minds and helps people build online communities. Additionally, blogging has a high monetization potential.
A good example is business coach Melyssa Griffin’s blog. Her blog posts create a sense of community and convert readers into customers.
Anyone can become a blogger by following these steps:
- Pick the right niche. Choose a promising blog idea you enjoy writing about.
- Set up your blog. Use a content management system (CMS) or a website builder to create a blog.
- Personalize your blog. Personalize your web design to suit your branding and connect the blog to a memorable registered domain name.
- Start creating content. Create a guide to keep your content creation style and tone consistent. Use tools like Google Trends and Keyword Planner to gather relevant keywords for better search engine optimization (SEO).
- Promote your writing. Share your blog posts on multiple social media channels to introduce your blog to a broader audience.
- Monetize your blog. Once you have a decent following, sign up for a Google AdSense partnership or try other website monetization methods.
This side hustle income is around $52,000/year on average. With the right strategy, it’s possible to earn quick cash from blogging.
3. Become a Social Media Influencer
Social media influencers are public figures who influence an audience within a specific niche. They can be industry experts, content creators, or traditional media celebrities with a remarkable social media presence.
Many businesses collaborate with social media influencers because they can affect people’s buying decisions.
According to Invespcro, 40% of consumers buy products recommended by influencers. The same study found that 94% of respondents trust influencers more than friends and family when making purchase decisions.
Influencers make money online mainly from sponsorships and advertisements they add to their content.
Follow these steps to make money as a social media influencer in your spare time:
- Find a niche. Start with a subject you care about or have some expertise in. Research the topics and learn who your audience is so your content can attract the right people.
- Select a platform. Make sure your chosen social media platform fits your content type and is frequented by your main demographics.
- Maintain constant engagement. Stay ahead of the curve with the right content marketing strategy. Use tools such as Loomly or Hootsuite to plan and schedule posts.
- Start networking. Actively pitch to brands and fellow influencers for partnerships and collaborations. If you aren’t sure where to start, join an influencer network like Collabfluence or The Room.
4. Start a Dropshipping Business
Dropshipping is a cost-effective side hustle idea. It lets you make money online by selling products without dealing with inventory management and shipping.
Identify current trending products to sell. Alternatively, opt for niche, high-value items, such as hobbyist products and handmade crafts. Don’t forget to pay close attention to general eCommerce trends as well.
Once you’ve decided on a niche and which products to sell, secure a reliable supplier. To narrow down the options, evaluate them based on price, manufacturing resources, delivery time, and service quality.
Then, start selling online products through various marketplaces, such as Shopify and Amazon. Alternatively, set up an eCommerce website for more flexibility when growing your online business.
5. SEO and Social Media Advertising for Small Businesses
If you like to help people turn their profitable idea into business, starting an online side hustle as an SEO and social media manager is an excellent choice.
Being an SEO and social media manager allows you to influence the future of small businesses. Your skills can help drive traffic to their websites and increase conversion rates.
This line of work requires advanced knowledge of web analytics and SEO tools to craft the best digital marketing strategy. You should also master content planning, audit, and delivery. The ability to follow current trends and social media marketing tactics is also a highly valuable skill.
An SEO and social media manager can expect an average base salary of around $43,000/year.
6. Become a Content Writer or a Copywriter
Content writing and copywriting are perfect online side hustles for people who are passionate about writing and learning new things.
These freelance writing job fields are available in all sorts of industries, from entertainment to technology and science. The best part is that you can often do these jobs from home.
Like many other side gigs in this list, the income can be higher when combined with other monetization methods, such as affiliate marketing and online mentoring.
You don’t need a degree to be a successful freelance writer or copywriter. There are many accessible resources, such as copywriting classes on Udemy and free content writing certification courses on HubSpot.
Once you’re ready to start working, pitch your services on freelance marketplaces for writers like The Write Life and Constant Content. As your brand grows, you can collaborate with other writers and even start your own freelance business.
While the job’s earnings may vary between different industries, the average income is around $58,000/year.
7. Be a YouTuber or Streamer
With the rise of video-sharing and streaming sites like YouTube and Twitch, pursuing a video-making career is worth considering.
Research predicts that the video streaming market’s compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2022 and 2030 will reach 22.4%, making it a steadily growing industry with lots of monetization potential.
Content creators on video and streaming platforms get their income from ad revenues, sponsorships, and donations. People with a large following may also earn extra money from selling merchandise and offering memberships.
Anyone with ideas and decent recording equipment can become a content creator. Hence, the industry is becoming more saturated. To increase your success rate, build your channel with a solid plan.
Start by picking a niche you like and research the market thoroughly. Observe its trends and see how your competitors are doing.
When you begin producing the content, make sure it’s always top quality. Offer unique, fresh takes and slowly grow your list of subscribers.
A well-known example of a successful video content channel is PewDiePie. Run by YouTuber Felix Kjellberg, it has around 111 million subscribers. PewDiePie started as a gaming channel, but it has since broadened its niche to comedy by producing different skits and commentaries.
Whatever niche you choose, you must be consistent. Post regularly and continuously improve your content. Once you have a decent following, upgrade your equipment, video editing software, and videography skills to increase the production value.
To learn more about how to succeed in this line of work, learn from YouTube Creator Academy or other online courses.
The income varies depending on the audience size and monetization methods. On average, a channel with 1 million subscribers can earn up to $60,000/year. If you already have a following on YouTube, estimate your channel’s potential income using the YouTube Money Calculator.
8. Start an Online Side Business
Once you have enough capital and audience, scale the business by hiring independent contractors.
The salary will vary depending on the industry and the business, but it comes up to $43,000/year on average.
9. Be a Freelance Website Designer
Web design is one of this list’s most lucrative and high-demand hustle jobs. It’s also one of the best side jobs that pay well the more you dedicate your time to it.
The work revolves around designing website interfaces to deliver a great user experience. It’s a job that requires knowledge of user interface (UI), user experience (UX), and graphic design.
There are numerous online resources and classes to help you learn about the basics of web design.
Once you’re ready to start working as a professional web designer, market your services on online marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork. But first, create a professional business website where you can showcase your portfolio.
The average full-time income of a website designer is around $64,000/year on average.
10. Offer Virtual Assistance
Virtual assistants are independent contractors who perform remote secretarial duties. Their responsibilities range from managing appointments and bookkeeping to customer service and marketing.
Many companies and entrepreneurs hire virtual assistants to cut expenses. A report by OutsourceWorkers shows that hiring one can decrease annual operating costs down to 78%.
This is one of the side hustles from home anyone can try. However, you must have excellent communication skills, be proficient with technology, and have multitasking abilities. On top of that, a virtual assistant must be eager to learn as you are expected to perform many duties.
You should also be organized and punctual when keeping up with clients. A productivity course is a good idea if you lack skills in that area.
To become a virtual assistant, you must pick a niche and find what sort of secretarial or administrative tasks it requires. Then, brush up on your existing skillset or learn new skills by taking online classes.
Finally, create a professional portfolio website and promote your service online. Don’t forget to network with various entrepreneurial communities and fellow virtual assistants. VA Networking and Zirtual are two great platforms for this purpose.
How to Start and Run a Successful Side Hustle That Makes Money
Side hustling can pave the way for better career opportunities. It can also help you start your own business, especially for people who want to be their own boss.
However, the road to establishing financial independence isn’t always easy. As with any venture, you will face challenges along the way.
Here are general pointers to help you turn a side job into a long-term profitable business:
- Manage your own schedule well. The most challenging aspect of doing a side gig is keeping up with your day job. Use timetable tools like Workflow or Timely to track your responsibilities and prioritize your workload correctly.
- Learn the basics. This includes knowing business fundamentals, financial management, and marketing strategies. Such knowledge will help prepare you for the challenges ahead, define realistic goals, and make informed decisions.
- See the big picture. Slow and steady growth is better than fast and risky when it comes to business. You may not earn good money immediately, but if you take the right steps, your side hustle can grow into a stable, profitable, ever-expanding business. So don’t rush, and always see the bigger picture.
Overall, it’s crucial to think ahead and keep up with market trends. We recommend keeping track of various business news websites and exploring learning resources like Business Insider, Fast Company, and Harvard Business Review.
Whether you want a side job to make extra money, create a stream of passive income, or simply explore your passions, here’s a quick recap of how to get started:
- Note down all of your hobbies, interests, and talents.
- See which ones are in demand and could be monetized.
- Explore different channels through which you could reach your potential clients.
- Start working on your portfolio and build credibility.
Whatever your plans are, it’s your responsibility to ensure that the side jobs don’t interfere with your professional and personal life. Having a side hustle also doesn’t necessarily mean you have to quit your day job.
You’ll need to take extra time and effort to bring your side hustle ideas to life without negatively affecting your current routine. It all depends on your approach, commitment, and the reasons why you want to start a side hustle in the first place.
Frequently Asked Questions About Best Side Hustles
Not all side hustles are worth pursuing. We have provided you with options to get you thinking, but you may still have questions. Here are the most common questions people ask about starting a side hustle.
What Is a Side Hustle?
A side hustle is a way to earn income on the side while keeping a full-time job. It offers opportunities to explore other career options and earn money on the side without making a full commitment. It also lets you improve existing skills, gain new knowledge, and explore untapped passions.
Which Are the Best Side Hustles?
The most profitable side jobs we’ve included in this list are freelancing and consulting, online business, eCommerce, investing, local services, and content creation.
Which Are the Easiest Side Hustles?
Some of the easiest side hustles include pet sitting, paid surveys, rideshare driving, housekeeping, dropshipping, and data entry. Keep in mind that easy side hustles generate less income compared to high-skill gigs like consulting and programming.
How Can I Make an Extra $1000 In a Month?
Side hustling offers many ways to make an additional $1000/month. Beginner affiliate marketers, for example, can earn between $0-1000/month or around $30/day.