If you listen to many personal finance gurus out there, you know that having a side-hustle is one of the best ways to set yourself for financial success. In today’s digital world, the options for side hustles are nearly endless! In this post I’ll review what I think are really great ideas for you to consider as you look for the side hustle(s) that are best for you and your lifestyle.
Start an Online Business
If you are an entrepreneur at heart, starting an online business may be the best option for you. This will be more labor intensive than many of the options that I will mention later, but will provide the opportunity for the greatest returns.
Income Potential: $1000 – $30,000+ / month (Highly dependent on your niche and effort)
1 | Starting a Profitable Blog
You’ll hear plenty of people mention today that blogging is dead or that blogging is “too hard”. But Starting a Blog is still one of the best ways to get what eventually will be passive income. The primary way that most blogs make money is through affiliate income and through ads. If affiliate income is a new term to you, it essentially means that you get paid when someone clicks on a special link to a digital or physical product that you have listed on your website.
If starting a blog / niche site is for you and you want a straightforward and simple way to start a blog, I recommend that you register for the Niche Site Academy. I used this site to set up my second site, and it’s honestly the best course I’ve taken so far. There is no fluff, and if you need proof points, the course instructor, Mike Pearson, regularly makes $5000+ each (!) from his sites (yes, that’s plural). Check out the course here!
2 | Create a Membership Site
If you are interested in taking monetization of your blog / website to the next level, I recommend considering an option like Memberful. This will allow you to turn you site into a membership-based site. You’ll be able to charge users a fee each month to access your content. The only downside to this vs. a regular blog is that the expectation for new content will be quite high, so upkeep will almost certainly be more intensive.
3 | Start a YouTube Channel
Are you a YouTube binger like me? It seems like you can learn pretty much anything my by watching the thousands of videos featured there. Well it’s not too late for you to be a YouTuber too! If you have a specific area that you can speak about better than anyone you know, then starting a channel may be a good idea.
The key way that most make money from YouTube is through ads. To give you a sense of earning potential, you’ll need to reach about 12,000 video views / day to get $1000/month in income. So, it’s a bit of a long game, but can become quite lucrative if you do it right. This channel gives a lot of great tips on starting a YT channel. Check it out for more info!
4 | Start a Podcast
Podcasting has become so popular in recent days, and it’s easy to see why. How great is it to have radio that allows YOU to choose the topic that you want to listen to. Often you’ll see podcasts that are extensions of successful websites or YT channels, but you can certainly do them as standalone options as well.
Like many of the options above, the way that people make money from Podcasting is through ads / sponsored partnerships. And the more downloads you have the greater money your sponsors will pay you. To be a bit meta, here is a podcast on how to start a podcast from a super successful podcaster and businesswoman, Jenna Kutcher.
5 | Dropshipping
So what is Dropshipping exactly? To put it very simply, dropshipping is a retail fulfillment method that allows stores (i.e., you) to purchase merchandise directly from a third party supplier, in lieu of needed to stock the items in their own stock rooms. It’s relatively easy to start drop shipping and it doesn’t require a lot of initial investment.
One thing to note is that the profit margins here will not be directly as high as they could be for the first four options in this section. However, there are many who work quite hard at this and do very well. Learn more about dropshipping here.
Teach What You Know
Believe it or not, it’s highly likely there is at least one thing that you know better than anyone else. Why not take that knowledge and teach others about what you already love to talk about? Here are a few options:
Income Potential: $1000 / month
6 | Teach English Online
Just being a native speaker of English is so valuable – there are people all over the world who want to learn conversational English from you! Here are a few options for how you can start teaching English online today:
- iTalki – This is my all-time favorite language learning website. I’ve used it on several occasions when trying to improve my Spanish before a trip. You can sign up to be a community tutor or a Professional teacher. To become the latter, you must upload your certifications to the site. You have the ability to set your own price by the hour. Working regular hours, you can expect to make $1000+ per month over time
- VIPKid – Another great option for teaching online. Like the name suggests, the focus is teaching kids English. With incentives, teachers make $14-$22/hour.
- SayABC – Teach kids English online with pay at ~$17/40 minutes. There is also an affiliate program, which you can use to add to your income.
- Qkids – Another site for teaching kids online. Pay is slightly lower, offering teachers $8/hour + incentives.
7 | Online Tutoring
If you have knowledge to impart to young minds, you can tutor on a variety of topics (outside of English) as well! Perfect for those who have specific qualifications and/or degrees in education.
Here are a few options:
- Chegg – Top tutors can make up to $1000/month. You’ll get paid weekly, and by being a top tutor, you’ll continue to get additional students.
- Wyzant – This site allows you to set your own rate as a tutor, based on your qualifications.
8 | Create an Online Course
If you are enthused by the idea of teaching, but don’t want to always have to trade your time for teaching, then exploring the idea of starting your own online course may be the right one for you. With platforms such as Teachable, you can easily set up your lesson plan, payments, and sales pages to attract people to your course. Pricing for your course is entirely up to you, and I’ve seen prices as high as $5000+. Note, most prices for courses average around $200, so you should examine potential competitors for ideas here.
9 | Write an eBook
If a course seems like a bit much right now, you can also just write an eBook. Put all your specialized knowledge into a book and then set your price. To put your eBook together, I recommend to draft all the content in a standard word processor, like Google Docs or Microsoft Word, then moving it into a nice looking template. You can find many cool existing templates on Canva to get you started there.
Once your eBook is complete, you can host it also on sites like Teachable, or find lower cost options with sites such as Gumroad or Shopify.
10 | Experiences on AirBnb
Something that you may not have thought of is selling your expertise and/or cool experience via Airbnb Experiences. Just to give you an idea of the options that exist out there today, you’ll often find options such as teaching calligraphy or doing a photography walk or a virtual cooking class. The options are nearly endless. You’ll need to get your idea vetted by Airbnb, but once that’s set you are on your way to making money on what you already love to do.
11 | Start Your Tour Guide Business
If you are VERY interested in starting a tour guide business, you should check out ToursByLocals. This platform provides all the marketing, tools, and security you need to set up a successful side hustle offering tours. There are no upfront fees – the company simply charges you a percent based on your bookings. Just to get your creative juices flowing, there are tours focused on archaeology sites, food tours, and even folks who simply offer their times to nanny kids so that adults can take some time away during the vacation.
12 | Create a Coaching Business
If you know that you prefer teaching on a 1:1 basis, give your hand at coaching. To get started you’ll need to determine what type of coaching that you plan to offer, your pricing strategy and how you’ll plan to market it. To manage your business I recommend checking out Teachable again, as it easily allows you to manage the business side of your coaching business in one place.
Make Money Renting Out Your Stuff
If you’re like most Americans, you probably own plenty of stuff that you don’t actually use on a day-to-day basis. So why not make a profit off of what you already own? Below are a few options for renting out the items (or space) that you own.
13 | Use Fat Llama to Rent Out Your Belongings
You can rent out nearly any item through Fat Llama. To get started, all you have to do is list your items online, name your price, then wait for someone to reach out to borrow your item. You’ll be paid via PayPal, and are covered by up to $30,000 in the event anything happens to your item. Learn more here!
14 | Use Neighbor to Rent Out Storage Space
Neighbor is an online storage marketplace that allows you to rent any free space you own for the storage of others’ belongings. This can include storage space for things like furniture, or even just parking space – prime real estate in certain city centers! Like Fat Llama above, you can set your price for your space, then list it on Neighbor’s marketplace.
You can list for free, and only pay a percentage on the amount you earn. It’s a great way to get to know your neighbors and add more to your pockets. And as an added bonus you’re covered for damages of up to $1M.
15 | Rent out your Car
Did you know that you can rent out your car to others if you don’t use it often? Sites such as Turo and Getaround offer you the tools, marketing, and protection you need to do just that. The main difference between the two companies is that Getaround offers a standard insurance plan with $1M of coverage, while at Turo you can choose your preferred level of coverage, with $750K being the highest option.
Just doing some simple math on my old 2011 Acura TSX, assuming my car is rented for 16 days/month, I could earn up to $536/month in my area. Check out the math yourself for your car / your area to see how much you could make.
16 | Rent Out a Room (Or Your Entire Home)
If you have an extra room in your house or have an extra home lying around :), you should certainly consider renting out your space on Airbnb. This is typically a better option than most home rental services as the standard fee is only about 3-5%.
The coverage that Airbnb provides is top tier, and includes up to $1M each for both property damage and liability. And that’s completely included in the fees that you pay to them. Some folks use this as a form of “house hacking” ultimately reducing the amount of money they have to pay each month to live, whether it be the mortgage or rent.
Sell Your Stuff
Getting back to basics, take a look at the items you have in your home that you know you will never use again. In this case, it’s likely that you’d be better off selling the item rather than renting it. I recommend going through your home, especially those rooms that you frequent rarely, to see what you can get rid of.
17 | Sell Your Items Online
I’ve had great personal success in selling stuff on eBay that I didn’t need anymore. For example, I’ve sold 2 old MacBooks online to cover the cost of upgrading to a new one and made a nice chunk of cash each time.
If you want to keep things easy and sell locally, there are many great options out there now. A few of these examples include:
- Facebook Marketplace: I’ve used this recently in support of an estate sale, and things sell fast on FB Marketplace! You can even pay a bit to “boost” your posts to get more eyes on it. (In my experience, this is not necessary as posts can rack up 100s of view a day).
- Poshmark: If you have a lot of fashion items that you want to let go, Poshmark has become the go-to resource for selling your clothes, jewelry, and more. The site works particularly well if you have name brand items to sell.
18 | Conduct Furniture Arbitrage
The idea behind furniture arbitrage is that you buy low and sell high specifically for furniture purchases. The best place to start is to identify any furniture that you already own and want to sell. Next, scour places like yard sales or thrift stores to buy furniture for cheap. After that, take time to refinish the furniture / pretty it up a bit. Finally, take time to sell this furniture at the appropriate online marketplace.
In addition to the online marketplaces listed in the above section, here are a few additional options:
- Profit Bandit: You can use this nifty app to scan barcodes and access retail value pretty much instantly. It does cost $9.99/month, but worth it if you plan to take furniture arbitrage seriously.
- Amazon FBA: Profit Bandit provides information on how successful you’ll be selling your items on Amazon through their seller’s program, so the two go hand-in-hand.
Investing Your Money
There is a reason why the wealthy keep getting wealthier – and that reason is investing, to put it quite simply. Investing for most of us “regular” folks is often a somewhat scary term, as most of us automatically equate high risk with any type of investment. Well I just want to quickly dispel that rumor by stating that it’s nearly as risky to keep all of your money in cash, as your money will never beat inflation rates over any period of time. That means – you have to invest to keep up!
19 | Invest in the Stock Market
In my opinion, this is the best way to start investing – you don’t need to put much money down and the barriers to entry are quite low. To hedge against risk, start by investing in either Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) or Index Funds. These funds represent a collection of stocks instead of just one company, so they help hedge you against any risk. As a general note, the stock market always goes up (over time), so by investing in funds your wealth will grow with the rest of the market.
A great place to start is by investing in the funds VTSAX or VTI to get exposure to the entire stock market. Just for reference, the average rate of return for the stock market is about 8% /year. In 2019, the return was 15%, so you can see why investing in the total stock market makes sense. Interested in learning more first? Check out The Simple Path to Wealth by J.L. Collins.
20 | Invest in Real Estate
So in speaking of real estate investing, I’m referring to adding income properties to your investment portfolio. At the simplest level, this works by buying properties that allow you to make a monthly profit through rental income. It does take effort and strategic planning, but is a great way to start working towards building wealth. I’m not an expert here by any means, but do recommend checking out The Book on Rental Property Investing by Brandon Turner to start learning more.
21 | Alternative Investing Options
Already have the basics of investing down and want to explore more options? Here are a few interesting options that you may not have heard of before:
- Fundrise: This platform is a great way to get started in real estate investing, especially if you don’t have the capital for larger real estate purchases yet. For just $500, you can participate in crowd-fund real estate investing, and get pretty great returns while doing it. Average annual returns are about 9%, with dividend payouts around 3.13%.
- Kiva: This peer-to-peer lending platform helps you fund entrepreneurs around the world. You give money in increments of $25, and can diversify amount borrowers to reduce your risk. This platform is unique in that it does not charge a loan servicing fee.
- Prosper: This is another peer-to-peer lending platform that offers an average rate of return of 5.2%. There is a annual servicing fee of 1%, so keep that in mind as you consider investment options.
- Crypto Currency: Now, I would recommend putting all your money in this basket (yet), but as crypto currency has matured, I believe that there is a place for it in your portfolio. An easy way to get started is through Celsius, which offers returns of up to 21%, based on the currency you select.
- Worthy Bonds: A very easy way to get started investing, you can buy bonds for as low as $10! They guarantee a return of 5%, so it’s a great way to get a stable return.
22 | Website Investing
So this is definitely the most “unique” investment option here, but if you really love building and maintaining websites, this is a pretty option gig. I’m honestly not sure why more people don’t talk about this one. But referring back to the top of this page, one thing we discussed was building Niche sites. Once your niche site is established and starts making a regular income, you have the option to keep taking in monthly income or to sell the site for a profit.
As of 2020, the going rate for most websites is 3x the annual income of the website. As an example, if your site brings in $5000/month of income ($60,000 / year), that means you could potentially sell it for up to $180,000. And that is no amount to laugh at!
On the opposite side of things, you can also purchase websites as well. This is great if you’re interested in getting regular monthly income. Check out this blog marketplace for some additional insight.
Hands-on or Manual Work Ideas
Do you enjoy working with your hands or doing things that get you moving? Then you may want to consider one of the options in this section. I’ll note that it’s a bit tougher to scale the amount of money that you make doing the activities listed. But if you have time on your hands, check them out!
23 | Delivery Groceries via Shipt / Instacart / Go Puff
If you love grocery shopping and are efficient in doing it, why not put those skills to great use? You can work with one of the following popular companies to deliver groceries to other people that are in your local area:
- Instacart: By signing up with instacart, you can become either a Full-Service Shopper who shops in store and delivers the groceries. Or you can work as an In-Store Shopper and only focus on the shopping part of it. Both are flexible positions that allow you to work when you want. You’ll be paid $5 – $10 / order + tips.
- Shipt: Very similar to Instacart, you’ll sign up to to shop and deliver groceries. Experienced shoppers have been known to make up to $22/hour. A bit odd, but the lifting requirements are 10 lbs heavier than Instacart (40 lbs), but otherwise requirements to start are essentially the same.
- Go Puff: Go puff focuses on convenience items, think snacks and drinks, and as such, requires that all drivers be older than 21. You can expect to make $13 – $15/ hour by working there. One caveat, go puff is not as established as the first two options, so you should double check that it’s available in your city.
24 | Drive Your Car for a Ridesharing App like Uber or Lyft
If you really like driving and own a car, then you may want to consider becoming a 1099 for the ever popular ridesharing apps. I don’t think I need to break down both options in detail as these are very popular companies, but here is an interesting study on which service provides better earnings for its drivers. Spoiler alert: It’s Lyft.
Note: If you don’t have a car, services like hyercare have options to let you rent a car to drive for ridesharing apps. You can learn more about that here.
25 | Deliver Food to Customers
So after reading the options above, perhaps you prefer to deliver food from a variety of restaurants instead of groceries (or driving people around)? If that’s you, here are a few popular options:
- Postmates: Make around $19/hour delivering food from any restaurant to customers.
- Uber Eats: Make up to $12/hour delivering food from uber eats partners to customers.
- Direct restaurant / pizza delivery: You can, of course, work directly with a single restaurant to deliver food. Note, you won’t have as much flexibility, but will be able to have more standard pay and potentially better tips.
26 | Help People with Manual Tasks
This category is great for those of you who really like doing activities that help you build muscle ;).
- Dolly Helper: Like the title suggests, dolly allows you to work as an on-demand delivery and moving service. You’ll own same-day asks as well as those that are scheduled. Your ability to earn depends on the type of vehicle you own. If you have something like a pick-up truck, you can earn $30/hour, if you have a regular car, you can expect earnings to be about half of that. You must be able to lift at least 75 lbs for each.
- Task Rabbit: The variety of services that you can provide with Task Rabbit is greater than Dolly Helper. For example, in addition to moving services, you might also help with handyman services, yard work, or even some virtual tasks. Great for those of you who haven’t finished building up your strength yet :). Your earnings will depend on the task that you offer support for.
Participate in Online Testing, Surveys and Focus Groups
Do you love giving your opinion on anything and everything? Then I recommend that you consider participating in online tests, surveys, or focus groups. The pay differs by what option you select – check out the details below:
27 | User Testing
With the User Testing platform you get paid to test out products, websites, and more online in exchange for cash. Pay is MUCH better than the survey option – you get about $10 for a 20 minute test and more for interviews.
28 |Beta Testing
Beta Testing is a similar platform to User Testing, that focuses on testing mobile apps and websites primarily. Pay is $10-$20 per test in most cases.
29 | Complete Online Surveys
While not the most profitable way to make money (earnings are typically less than minimum wage), this is a pretty popular way for folks to make some cash on the side. A few popular survey sites include: Swagbucks ($10 sign up bonus), InboxDollars ($5 signup bonus), and Survey Junkie.
30 | User Interviews
User Interviews allows you to provide feedback on new products online and get paid! Compared to other sites where you provide feedback, the pay for User Interviews is quite nice. You’ll be able to make upwards of $40/hour for the focus groups that you participate in.
Other Digital Work Ideas
If you are like most people today, you probably spend a LOT of time online perusing the internet. Why not put some of that idle time to work? Here are some ideas that you might want to try out! For most activities listed below, getting started is quite simple.
31 | Become a Fiverr Freelancer
Fiverr is great because you can pretty much sell ANY skill that you have to help out others with your expertise. The categories that you can offer your services under include: Graphic Design, Digital Marketing, Writing and Translation, Video and Animation, Music and Audio, Programming and Technology, Business (Consulting Gigs), and Lifestyle.
With Fiverr you can set your own price for your skills, and if you do good work, you can start upping your price! Per Fiverr, With Gig Packages, you set your pricing anywhere from $5 – $995 and offer three versions of your service at three different prices.
32 | Flexjobs
The Flexjobs site provides gig work and full time work for mostly “white collar” jobs. Unlike most sites listed here, the service isn’t free – you pay a monthly subscription fee. But with that fee, you do get career and resume services in addition to access to job listings.
33 | Virtual Assistant
One option that is becoming quite popular in recent years, is to serve as a Virtual Assistant. This job lets you help pretty much anyone with (typically) their online business. The variety of work that you can do in this bucket varies greatly – but that’s the best part, you can do exactly what YOU want to do. VirtualAssistants.com is one easy way to get started looking for this type of work.
34 | Mechanical Turk
Amazon’s mechanical turk program crowdsources for completion of specific tasks. This can include activities like transcription services and other, typically short, tasks. Similar to online surveys, Mechanical Turk doesn’t pay great (average $2/hour), but it is another way to make some side bucks if you’re short on cash.
35 | Transcription Services
If you really like transcribing, there are a few sites that can hook you up with those exact gigs. Babbletype is one option that pays around $14/hour. In addition to transcription services, you can also provide translation services if you speak a language outside of English. Scribie is another option for provided transcription services.
36 | Ask Wonder
On Ask Wonder you get paid to research the answers to tough questions. You can be paid up to $30/hour for your work, depending on your experience and the difficulty of the question asked.
37 | Twitch (Streaming Games)
This option is a bit more complex, but if you love gaming it may be an option for you. As you work to grow a following, you can request donations from your followers. As your followership grows, you can do brand partnerships and sell your own merchandise. As an add on, you can also make money by becoming an affiliate partner of Twitch and promoting signups.
38 | Brand Ambassador
As a brand ambassador, you’ll make money by promoting a brand that you (hopefully) love. Here is a list of possible options to start work as a brand ambassador today. Just so you know, this is the way that many IG influencers make money.
Really Easy Money
Okay, at this point you’re probably thinking, all these options sound great, but what can I do to make money more easily? Well, I’ve got you. Here are some SUPER easy ways that you can earn some pretty good side cash.
39 | Credit Card Cashback
This is my favorite way to get “free money”. It’s as easy as signing up for a credit card that offers great rewards, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited. The card has a great sign-up bonus, giving you $200 if you spend $500 after opening. Then, you will start collecting points at the standard rate for the card.
There is one trick though – you CANNOT keep a balance. The only way you actually make money is by never having to pay interest on your card. Once you start keeping a balance, you would negate the points earned. So be smart with how you use your credit cards.
40 | Wrapify
If you don’t mind having an add on your personal property, you can sign up to get your card “wrapped” in a brand ad by using a service like Wrapify. The money you’d make ranges from $180 – $500/ month, depending on how much of your car you cover in the ad.
41 | Get Cashback While you Shop
If you like to shop, or just “find yourself” in stores a lot, then why not get money while doing it? Sites like ibotta, Rakuten, or Fetch Rewards allow you to upload your receipts from specified retailers, and then get some cash back for doing it. Not a bad deal, right?
42 | Mystery Shopping
Mystery shopping is another easy way to make some side cash. Here are a few options that you might consider:
- Call Center QA: This option offers $5 per 10-minute conversation. That’s right, you can do this one completely online! It offers one of the highest payouts for mystery shopping in the industry. A very easy way to do mystery shopping is to do it online.
- Bestmark: One of the OG mystery shopping companies, this gives you the option to do mystery shopping in person or online. Typical pay can go to up to $20/hour for each shop.
Sell Your Stuff Online
Are you creative with your hands or have a brand that you’d like to physically get into the hands of more people? Well then you should try selling your stuff online!
43 | Create and Sell on Etsy
Etsy an online marketplace with the mission of providing creatives an opportunity to sell directly to their customers. Most people I know automatically think of selling jewelry or or home decor on Etsy, but there are many more options, such as clothing, toys, and wedding items.
44 | Sell T-Shirts You Design
Merch by Amazon is a newer platform where you can get your brand printed on T-Shirts by Amazon so that you can sell to the public. Amazon supports you by printing your merchandise just-in-time, and of course, provides the platform for you to sell on. This is more niche than Etsy, but great if selling T-Shirts is where you’d like to focus.
Get Paid for Your Skills
Rounding out our list, I can mention side jobs without discussing the possibility for you to just monetize the things you love to do – the old fashioned way. Here are a few ideas:
45 | Start a Baking Service
Are you an excellent baker who really would do better by not eating all your own cakes? Then I recommend starting your own baking service on the side! The great thing about baking is that profit margins are rather high, or in layman’s terms, you don’t have to spend a lot to make a lot. Need some inspiration? Check out the video below about Courtnee Futch, who makes a nice sum of money each month by selling cakes.
46 | Start a Photography Business
Do you have great photography skills and/or always play with your camera? Then why not consider taking up photography on the side? A good way to start is by taking event pictures of people you know, then expanding your business from there. Learn from Jenna Kutcher, who used photography to launch her million dollar business.
47 | Start a Neighborhood Lawn Service
If lawn maintenance is something that you love, something to consider is starting your own lawn service. Start your pitch with the neighbors you know, do a great job, and then expand from there! This is a pretty hands-on gig, but as you grow, you can always hire more help. Learn more about starting a lawn service here.
48 | Become a Notary Public
The process to become a notary public varies by state, but most often includes taking an exam for your license. Once you are confirmed as official, you can start your side hustle of service as a notary public. Average income is around $13 / hour, but the work is pretty easy. Learn more about starting as a notary public by clicking here.
49 | Start a Web Design Business
If you are great at putting together beautiful webpages, then why not help others with their websites. Many people struggle with the technical aspects of website building, so this service is always in demand. Learn more about starting a web design service here.
50 | Become an Adjunct Professor
For those who love teaching others, becoming an adjunct professor might be a great gig to consider. Typical requirements include having a college or masters degree, teaching, and/or work experience in a given area. Requirements will vary by school, so make sure you do your research before applying.
In Summary | Side Hustles to Make Money in 2020
As you can see there are SO many options for making money, especially given advancements in the internet in recent years. The difference between those who are successful with side hustles is really just the difference between those who take action and those who don’t. If you need extra income to save more money, why not start your side hustle today?
If you have other great side hustle ideas, be sure to let me know in the comments below!