Do you want to find the perfect side hustle idea?
If so, then you came to the right place.
Whether you want to start an online business or learn how to make money on the side.
This list of side hustles has everything you need to learn how to make money fast – even if you don’t have a clue where to start or how to choose. Heck, even if you feel like you don't have a business mindset, this list will help you get started.
Before we get any further, let's answer one simple question.
What is a side hustle?
Side hustle. An activity or business
you do to earn extra money – on the side – while
working a full-time job. You can start a side hustle
from home or offline, and ranges from driving for
a rideshare company to being a virtual assistant.
Now let's jump straight into the list of 176 side hustles you can start today!
Press the buttons to filter the list and see only the best ways to make money today.
Identify your skills, resources, and experience.
Want side hustles from home or offline ideas?
How to make money now or think long term?
Best Side Hustle Ideas for 2020
Part-time bookkeeping is a good side business you can do from anywhere, with cloud accounting software like Freshbooks (check out our interview with the founder of Freshbooks) or Xero. Find local small businesses to pitch your services, or use freelance sites to find your first clients.
Categories: credential, online, make money now
Have a professional accounting designation? Take your skills online. You can pick up short-term side jobs or regular monthly clients on Upwork.
Many startups and small businesses use accounting consultants to help them make financial decisions, rather than investing in a full-time CFO.
Categories: credential, online, make money now
Prepare tax returns
Preparing tax returns for individuals is a great seasonal side hustle. You’ll get the most clients during tax season. If you have experience in accounting, bookkeeping, or finance, register with your tax authority to start this side hustle.
Categories: credential, online, make money now
Decluttering and organizing service
Help people get rid of their clutter and enjoy an organized living space. Use social media, local listings like Craigslist and Kijiji, or posters in your neighborhood to get your first clients.
Categories: offline, make money now
If you have a talent for putting together a gorgeous room, or work experience in styling for retail stores or film sets, why not use your skills to make some extra money? In-home consultations can be booked around your schedule, so it's a perfect side-gig.
Staging houses for sale
Staging a house for sale requires a combination of decluttering and interior decorating. Many people selling their home, especially if they are living in it, hire a staging professional to make it perfect. Try partnering with real estate agents to get a steady stream of clients.
Remote workers and freelancers get paid to do administrative tasks that would have been done by full-time employees in the past. This is excellent news for people with office admin skills.
Instead of working in a cubicle, take advantage of this opportunity with virtual assistant side hustles from home. VA's can make money on the side with one-off tasks, regular part-time work, or as a full-time career. You can decide your level of commitment.
One of the best places to find virtual assistant jobs is FlexJobs. It's a curated job board focused on remote work opportunities, including part time as well as full time gigs.
While it does cost a small monthly subscription fee, FlexJobs doesn't take any percentage of the money you make. You keep the full payment from the client. This stands in stark contrast to Upwork, which takes a startling 20% of each payment. That's one out of every five dollars you make.
The jobs are also vetted by actual human beings. Not just anyone can post a job there. This means you won't find the kind of insidious scams you'll run into on Fiverr or Upwork.
Check out this interview with Trivinia Barber to find out how she leveraged her experience as an executive assistant into a VA side hustle, and a successful business.
Resume and job search consulting
If you’ve worked in Human Resources, you likely have insights on what makes a resume stand out, how to sound brilliant in a job interview, and hiring practices in your industry. Turn these skills into cash by helping job-seekers prepare resumes, find job opportunities, and prepare for interviews.
Customer support and engagement
Do you have experience in customer service, community engagement, or a public-facing service job? Many companies offer 24-hour access to customer-service reps and social media engagement, so you can choose your hours and work from anywhere with an internet connection.
Create presentation decks
If you make awesome slide presentations, this is a side hustle idea you can get up and running quickly. Fiverr is a good place to find your first customers. You'll need to build up your reviews and portfolio to charge higher rates.
Copywriting is any writing used for promotional or advertising purposes. That includes text for websites, email marketing campaigns, social media posts, traditional advertising, and even product descriptions. Check out freelance sites like Upwork, Fiverr, and PeoplePerHour to get started.
As with many of the ideas in this list, you don’t need to start out having already mastered the skills. Copywriting is an endless process of learning, improving, and writing more and more copy.
For less than five bucks, you can't go wrong starting with the classic book on copywriting Scientific Advertising, by Claude Hopkins. If you want more business books, make sure to check our our list of the 101 best business books of all time
Top Online Side Hustle
Writing for blogs, print, and content marketing agencies is one of the best side hustle ideas to make money quickly. It’s free to get rolling and can be done from anywhere at any time.
You will see many low-paying gigs on freelance sites, but an experienced and talented writer can make serious money through premium content services like nDash. Or you could build a business and brand around your freelance writing, like podcast guest Bryce Bladon.
Is it still possible in 2020 to make money blogging? Yes, it is a proven online business model.
Just take a look at these personal blogs, started as side hustles and creative outlets, that have become full-fledged businesses:
Steve Kamb started a blog called Nerd Fitness and grew into a 10-person full-time business.
Yes, it will take time to get rolling, build an audience, and start earning money from a new blog. But writing about topics you are really into, building a community, and getting paid for it can be very rewarding.
Do you want to know how to start a blog? If so, the first this you need to start with is great website hosting. Check out our SiteGround Hosting review to get all the details and save up to 70% of hosting!
You can monetize a blog with advertising, affiliate marketing, or creating products around your topic. To get started, all you need to do is build a cheap website.
If grammar and good writing come to you easily, you can pick up jobs proofreading essays, e-books, and articles whenever you have time. You can also take on larger projects like editing novels, screenplays, or technical manuals.
This side hustle can grow into a more significant source of income as you gain experience, credentials, good reviews, and repeat customers.
Did you know you that many guides, course handouts, and even blog articles are re-branded, customized copies of already published content? You can make money by selling private label rights (PLR) to your content. Your customers will get non-exclusive rights to personalize and republish your work for their own use.
Listen to this interview with Ronnie Nijmeh to learn more about building a PLR content business.
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing
Writing books, while not traditionally thought of as a business, can indeed become an excellent side hustle.
With Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, anyone can quickly publish their work and have it available for sale, on demand, all over the world. It’s free — the only cost is the time (and some blood, sweat, and tears) to create your literary gems.
Check out these interviews with writers who have side hustled their way to a full-time writing career:
Start a publishing company
Although self-publishing has leveled the playing field, many authors and thought leaders need help getting their work from idea to finished product — and into the hands of readers. Here are two interviews with passionate entrepreneurs and writers who have created a business in publishing:
- Angela Lauria helps coaches, writers, and entrepreneurs publish books through Author Incubator.
- Joe Biel turned his passion for zines and punk rock culture into a thriving publishing business, Microcosm Publishing.
Publishing a book is seen as a credibility booster in many fields, which is why celebrities, speakers, athletes, and change-makers want to do it. However, many do not have the time or writing ability to complete a book, so they outsource.
If you're a writer who has already published a body of work, it will be easier to get your first ghost-writing gigs. And a quick search on UpWork revealed some fascinating projects up for grabs, including romance novels, personal memoirs, and historical essays.
While voice-recognition software is improving, there is still a market for real people to accurately transcribe audio. In fact, using transcription software enables you to bypass the typing, so you can focus on providing added value with accurate, well-formatted transcriptions.
With all of the audio content being produced, from podcasts to YouTube videos to academic lectures, you’ll never run out of side gigs. Freelance sites like Fiverr is a good starting point, for this and many other side gig ideas.
I first learned about this side hustle idea from Caitlin Pyle, who left a career in court transcribing and quickly replaced her income by proofreading legal transcripts.
She now teaches people how to make money proofreading. Besides courtroom transcripts, there are freelance proofreading gigs available for every kind of writing.
Data entry “work from home jobs” are heavily advertised online, but many are scams. If the job requires that you pay money up front or purchase something before you can start earning, be wary.
That said, there are some ways to make money online with data entry. People who are good with spreadsheets, accuracy, and typing can find easy side hustles to do from home. Look for one-off jobs like pulling information from a pdf into a spreadsheet, researching online to create a list of data, or compiling a variety of sources into one database.
Teaching English to kids online
If you have a certificate to teach English as a second language (or you are willing to get one), you can start making money teaching to young students in other countries — without leaving home.
Here are a few sites to start looking for part-time side hustle jobs teaching English online. Each platform has different requirements, hours, and compensation, so be sure to do your research.
Freelance Language Lessons
Teach individual lessons online in your native language, or a second language in which you are fluent. Formal teacher training will help you earn more, but you can make money without it.
If you live in a big city, advertise locally to tourists, visitors, or newcomers to teach the local language.
If you want to work from home and teach through Skype, try an online service like iTalki. You can set your rates depending on experience and credentials, and charge more once you have some positive reviews.
Online language classes
Individual lessons are easier to get started, but to create passive income, you need a product to sell.
Using a platform like Udemy or on a simple website, you can sell online courses in any language you are qualified to teach. Build an audience over time with SEO and content marketing to get on the first page of Google.
Like all successful businesses, a unique approach helps you stand out in a crowded marketplace. Check out my interview with Gabby Wallace to hear how she developed a business specializing in helping people sound more like native English speakers. Now she runs Go Natural English as a full-time business.
If you’ve ever tried to translate something from a foreign language into your native tongue using Google Translate, you know that machine translations do not yet replace human translators.
Are you fluent in more than one language? Start translating and making some money with those valuable skills. In a bigger city, you may be able to find in-person translation jobs in tourism, international business, or immigration settings.
A quick search on Upwork showed almost 300 translation jobs available as I am writing this article, both audio and written work.
How to Make Money Fast
Review calls with Humanatic
When you call a business with a customer service request, you have probably heard the phrase, “This call may be recorded for quality control.” Have you ever wondered whose job it is to listen to all those recorded calls and rate the quality?
Well, this flexible job is now outsourced with services like Humanatic. Work from home, choose your hours, and increase your earning potential as you gain experience.
Drive for a rideshare service
If your city has Uber or Lyft, this side hustle is how to make money fast. Consider signing up and earning money driving passengers where they need to go. If you have a vehicle, this is one of the easy side jobs you can start fairly quickly. Drive as little or as much as you want, whenever you have time.
Rideshare income boosters
Cargo provides products for sale and consumer samples for another boost to your bottom line while you drive.
Be sure to check your local regulations, and make sure your ridesharing apps allow these services in your car.
Rent out your car
Did you know there is an Airbnb, but for cars? In about 10 minutes, you can sign up with Turo and start renting out your vehicle. With enough renters, you could cover your car loan payments, insurance, and even create a positive cash flow.
This side hustle works best if you have a newer car in good condition, and especially if you have a higher-end car.
If you drive often in a high-traffic area, try turning your car into a billboard on wheels. If you qualify, a service like Wrapify will pay you to do what you are already doing — driving where you need to go.
Beware of any car-wrap advertising company that requires you to pay them to get started. Legitimate advertisers will have an application process to determine if your driving habits meet their criteria, and will not ask you to fund the installation of their ads.
Delivering food is a go-to starting point for many people learning how to make money on the side.
One of the great side jobs you can start to make money fast with your car is delivering food for restaurants. With so many food delivery platforms available, very few restaurants employ in-house delivery staff anymore. You can work with a flexible schedule, whenever you want.
I've seen food delivery people bringing their deliveries on the bus in my city, so don't rule out this side hustle if you don't have a car!
You can be sure to find at least one of these platforms operating in your area:
- Uber Eats
- Just Eat
- Skip the Dishes
- Door Dash
Airbnb is one of the quickest ways to monetize your existing real estate. You can rent out a vacation property, a guest room in your house, or even your entire home while you’re away.
Get creative with your property to create unique vacation experiences, especially if you live in a desirable active tourism area.
Manage vacation rentals
Many real estate investors don't have the time or interest to manage the hosting responsibilities of vacation rentals. Dealing with check-ins, cancellations, cleaning staff, and maintenance is not for everyone.
This is an opportunity for someone who enjoys hosting and has a knack for looking after all the details of a comfortable stay. Start by finding your first clients with advertisements on forums or groups in your area.
Passive real estate investing
Side business ideas can come and go, but this one has stood the test of time. If you have money to invest in a rental property but you are looking for passive income, you can invest in turn-key rental properties.
Ali Boone of Hipster Investments started her side hustle in turn-key investment properties while working full time as an aeronautical engineer. When she had created enough side income to quit her job, she built a business helping others invest.
Don’t give up on your athletic skills just because you’re working full-time. Although many coaching positions in schools and non-profits are volunteer-based, you can gain experience and test the market for a business opportunity.
A martial arts school, a swim club, or any sport-specific after-school training, can be great side income ideas for those who work full-time during the week.
For those who have babysitting experience, great references, and enjoy hanging out with kids, part-time, occasional child-care work can be a great side hustle. Check out platforms like Care.com to connect with families in your area.
New baby consultant
New parents are desperate for sleep, and in a brand new world of challenges. They need help. If you have expertise in baby-wrangling, here is a side hustle you can try.
Offer services to new parents through bulletin boards or local listings online. You can create a suite of consultation offers, like nursery set-up, cloth diaper systems, breastfeeding support, and sleep coaching.
Your business will gain traction through word of mouth. The more active you are in your local new parent scene, the faster your business will grow.
Rent out baby gear
Parents can spend a small fortune on baby gear — strollers, carriers, car seats, and playpens, to name a few.
When you find yourself with a garage full of baby gear your kids have outgrown, look into becoming a trusted partner at BabyQuip. Once you get approved, you can rent and deliver your gear to families visiting your area.
If you enjoy dealing with people and providing excellent customer service, you can grow this service into a successful side business. Your business will grow as you earn good reviews.
Classic children's entertainers like clowns, magicians, and musical acts can get paid to perform at parties, busker festivals, street fairs, and public events cities around the world.
By setting up a simple website, you can establish your talent as a business, and help party organizers find what they are looking for.
Teach fitness classes
Local community centers, senior centers, gyms, and school boards hire fitness instructors to teach weekly classes. From boot camps to yoga, martial arts to ping pong, pitch your sport as a weekly class in your community.
Create workout plans
Every day, people look to the internet for help with their fitness routines. Using freelance sites or online fitness forums to find clients, create customized workout plans for individual goals and physical limitations.
Increase your earning potential by creating courses or ebooks to sell through your website.
Custom nutrition and meal plans
If you know how to achieve health goals with nutrition, you can help others figure out this complex world of diet. Besides weight-loss, common dietary goals include paleo, plant-based, anti-inflammatory, or athletic performance.
Find your first clients within your community, online forums, or as a freelancer.
If you are the type of person who doesn't need motivational quotes to get themselves to the gym every day, then this side hustle may be for you.
Personal training enables you to make money while staying active, helping people get fit, and choosing your own hours. As you get results for your clients, word of mouth will be your best advertising.
Here's how to make money on the side as a referree.
Did you spend years building up your athletic skills and knowledge of the game in high school or college sports? Then you may be able to get paid as a referee for school sports tournaments, recreational league games, and even at the semi-pro level.
Games and tournaments usually take place during evenings and weekends, so this side hustle idea can work well even you have a full-time job.
This hustle is ultra-specific, in terms of skill, interest, and geography. But if you are a hockey goalie, and you live near an active recreational hockey community (called “beer leagues” where I come from), you could be a goalie-for-hire.
These sites are limited to specific cities, but do some digging to see if there’s one near you, or start your own:
Teach a class on Skillshare
On this list alone we have 176 ways to make money on the side. Yet so many people still feel like they don't have the skills. I'm here to tell you that you're wrong and that you should look into teaching online.
Many people love the accessibility and ease of learning online. You can create passive income just about any interest or skill by creating an online course with Skillshare.
From knitting to playing the piano, building furniture to vegan cooking, start teaching your skills, knowledge, and passion to online students.
While you're there, get your first month of Skillshare free and start learning all the skills you need to grow your side business!
Start a YouTube Channel
By creating video content in your hobby or niche to inspire, educate, or entertain your desired audience, you can build up your viewership and start to make money. It doesn’t happen overnight, but you can make money once you build up a base of subscribers.
Generate income with the in-platform advertising on YouTube, affiliate marketing, selling courses, or creating your own branded products.
Start a podcast
A quick browse through iTunes will demonstrate that just about any niche topic can become a successful podcast.
To learn more about how to start a podcast with meaningful results (drawing listeners and creating revenue), check out The Showrunner.
Start a membership site
Adding a membership area to your blog enables you to get paid for premium content and resources around your niche hobby. And the best part? It’s recurring monthly revenue.
Some of the ways to add value for members and entice them to sign up could include:
- Members-only webinars
- Access to your expertise in discussion groups
- Premium video, audio, or printable content
- Free access to all future courses you publish
Local school boards, community centers, senior centers, and libraries often have a suite of classes for adults who want to learn new skills. For example, the school board in my city offers classes on woodworking, laughter yoga, making pasta from scratch, and playing guitar.
Books, guides, and planners
Spend some time putting your knowledge, skill, and talent into a book format, and make money selling it on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, or through an e-commerce site.
Depending on what your topic is, you could publish how-to guides or collections like pattern books for makers, or recipe books for a cooking specialty. If your interest is a particular culture or region, you could write travel guides, memoirs, or custom journals.
To get inspired, check out The Songwriter's Planner, a side hustle e-commerce business created by a musician to share what he knows about creating music and achieving his musical goals.
Organize a bundle sale
Organizing a bundle sale is a way to monetize your niche interest blog, reach a wider audience, and sell more copies of your ebook or course. This side hustle idea is a great way to make extra money if you already have an email list.
Bundle sales typically include digital products like ebooks and online courses from some content creators in the same or related niche. Your peers will contribute their product to the bundle. In exchange, you will pay them an affiliate commission for any sales they make to their audiences.
Consulting as an expert in your field can be a lucrative side hustle as you continue your existing career. It's a great way to leverage your existing knowledge and experience while helping others accomplish their goals.
Check out these interviews on the podcast with people who have created successful businesses with consulting:
Start a business teaching your professional skills online. Here are examples of professionals in public relations and accounting who have monetized their industry experience with online courses:
Corporations bring in experts to run workshops on team-building, leadership, sales, wellness, and countless other topics. Leverage your business skills to create and pitch workshops for corporate training events.
This side hustle can not only earn you extra money, but provides a boost to your reputation by positioning you as a leading expert.
Whatever your specialty, crafting a motivating, inspiring, and educational presentation can get you on stage and earning extra money. Besides motivational speaking, there are industry conferences, corporate events for employees, and business groups that will pay for presentations with more specific content.
Your current job, as a freelancer
If you have no idea where to start, or if it's even possible to monetize your existing career skills as a side hustle, spend some time browsing through Fiverr, Upwork, and PeoplePerHour. Fiverr alone has more than 100 categories to search.
I've mentioned Fiverr several times throughout this post, but this time I want to clarify — it's difficult to build a business using only Fiverr. But it's a great place to learn what skills people are willing to pay for and to get your first freelance gigs, even if they don't pay top rates.
A productized service charges a flat monthly fee for services, rather than billing on a per-job basis. For example, Design Pickle offers unlimited graphic design as a productized service.
I’ve seen this work for many types of service providers, including design, WordPress development, and accounting. With this model, you can scale up by outsourcing services as you grow.
To learn more, check out our list of the best business books of all time.
Teaching and tutoring online
This list mentions online courses elsewhere, but I want to narrow the focus to side hustle opportunities for those with an academic specialty or experience in the education field.
- Check out distance education universities for opportunities to design curriculum in your field of study.
- Search for online tutoring platforms and offer homework help.
- Coach students preparing for SAT exams, or professional exams like LSAT and CMA.
On-demand consulting calls
A great to learn how to make money fast is to sign up as a consultant on Clarity.fm to start a consulting side hustle — add to your bottom line while sharing your knowledge and experience.
It can be tough to build a side business in consulting, but Clarity enables you to start small, with on-demand consulting calls. As you learn more about your ideal clients through these calls, pay attention to their biggest challenges. You can use this knowledge to expand your business.
Start a forum
Start a forum site for your industry. By creating an online hub around your expertise, you can build an audience and a business.
Patrick Curtis created Wall Street Oasis as a side hustle while he worked full-time in investment banking. Check out this interview to learn how to monetize a forum build it into a full-time business.
According to modern portfolio theory, the best way to minimize risk and maximize return on the stock market is to hold a diverse portfolio over an extended period. It's much harder to make money timing the market.
With services like Betterment and WealthSimple, you can put your stock market investing on autopilot. Your portfolio is based on your risk tolerance, and the goal for your savings, which could include long-term growth, or regular income payments.
These loans enable you to help people start businesses, get an education, or pursue their dreams while you make money through interest payments.
Real estate crowdfunding
Crowdfunded real estate gives you access to real estate investing without the hands-on commitment, and for smaller investment amounts. Some platforms only accept accredited investors, but others are open to anyone and have lower minimum investments.
Do you want a proven online business idea, but don't have the time to start from scratch? If you have money to invest, consider buying an existing website.
Using a service like Empire Flippers, you can buy a website that has already established a base of traffic and sales. Make sure you do your research, so you know the business you buy is profitable and has growth potential.
Maybe you’re good at getting websites onto the first page of Google but terrible at monetizing websites. If you have a well-established website you’ve been neglecting (one of your previous side hustle ideas), you might have some residual traffic.
Investors will pay good money for a site with consistently high traffic. Empire Flippers can help you prepare your site for sale, and find a buyer.
To make flipping websites into an ongoing business, look for sites with good traffic but poor monetization strategy to invest in. If you get them profitable, you can flip at a much higher price.
The vending machines you see in offices, schools, rec centers, and shopping malls are in most cases, owned and serviced by an off-site vending business — making passive income. You’ll need to invest in buying the machines and inventory. But once in place, vending machines do the selling for you.
School Spirit Vending started as a single vending machine and grew to a nationwide franchise.
Flipping vacant land
Buying and selling vacant lots and acreages can be a long-term moneymaker. Because there are no buildings to maintain or renovate, this side hustle investment idea is hands-off.
Invest your extra money in undervalued land, hold onto it and sell for a higher price when the area starts to develop. As more people move into an area, the market for building lots starts to increase. This is a long-term strategy and only for those who are comfortable taking investment risks.
Large canopy tents, inflatable play structures, foldable tables and chairs, and specialty decor items like chair covers or decorative plants — these are all items commonly rented for large outdoor gatherings.
Do some research to find trending themes in kids parties and weddings, and what is popular in your area. You want to be sure there is a market before investing.
While it's not exactly passive, most large outdoor events will take place over the weekend, so you can start this side hustle and keep your day job.
It can be a frustrating experience when you want to start a business, and the domain name is already taken. But to the person who owns the coveted domain, it’s a source of extra cash.
Buying domains is like buying real estate, but for websites instead of homes. Look for low-priced property where you think people might want to build a website someday. Then hold on to it and sell when it becomes desirable.
Like any investing, do your research first, and make sure you don’t spend money you can’t afford to lose.
Risky, yes. But if you missed the great Bitcoin bubble of 2017, there are still plenty of opportunities to make small investments with big potential.
Investing in cryptocurrencies takes a bit of learning curve, and tolerance for unpredictable price swings. But if you have time to watch markets closely and react quickly, you can profit from the volatility.
Similar to day-trading in the stock market, you can make (or lose) a lot of money day-trading cryptos in your spare time.
If you have money to invest in a mining rig (it’s not heavy machinery, just a powerful computer), you can create coin out of thin air. In exchange for loaning out your server to process blockchain transactions, you'll receive a small amount of cryptocurrency.
While the value of the currency fluctuates, this is truly a passive source of side income. Your server does the work while you go about your daily life.
My interview with Ameer Rosic, founder of Blockgeeks, is a good place to learn more about business opportunities in blockchain technology.
With Amazon FBA, you can source your products from anywhere you want and have them shipped directly from Amazon warehouses. All you have to do is find the best products to sell, invest in inventory, and get to work promoting your Amazon store.
Similar to Amazon FBA, dropshipping enables you to sell physical products online without handling logistics like storage and shipping. Instead, you purchase goods from a wholesale manufacturer. The wholesaler brands and packages the items, and ships directly to your customers.
Invent and sell a product
Have an idea for a product to sell, but lacking the tools to physically produce it?
This isn't the easiest side hustle idea on the list, but if you can get it to work, it's awesome. Check out this interview with Nathan Resnick of Sourcify to find out how to connect with manufacturers around the world for prototypes and production. While you wait for your first shipment, get to work setting up a killer website for your e-commerce business.
You may have already heard of affiliate marketing as a passive income stream.
Is affiliate marketing it a legit method for a side hustle? Yes.
Is there a lot of trashy and scammy information out there about how affiliate marketing will make you rich overnight? Unfortunately, yes. And please avoid it.
Affiliate marketing plays a big part in a lot of people’s online businesses – myself included. If you are just getting started, we wrote an updated guide to help you understand the question: what is affiliate marketing?
Merch by Amazon
This one is easy to get started with, but it’s hyper-competitive and involves a lot of tedious work to keep sales coming in. Some people are into that type of work — maybe that’s you.
All you have to do is create designs for t-shirts, upload them to your account, and hope they sell!
To get started, you can apply here.
Ranking in search engines and getting traffic is something every business needs. That’s why search engine optimization (SEO) is a massive and growing industry for freelance work and digital agencies.
Whether you want to boost traffic for your business or offer SEO services as a side hustle, I highly recommend learning the basics.
To my astonishment, niches sites are still a somewhat viable way to earn some extra money online. Full disclosure, the first site I ever put up was a niche site about RC Cars.
Low and behold, it didn’t even make me a penny. But it did teach me some of the fundamental skills I needed to build a truly viable side hustle.
The basic principle is to create a website around a small, but hyper-focused niche. Create free resources, like blog articles, ebooks, and other content, then monetize by selling information products or affiliate marketing.
Local business online marketing
Many of the shops you pass on the street and interact with every day are struggling to create an active online presence. Business owners know they need it, but don’t have the knowledge or time to upgrade their websites and implement a lead generation strategy.
Mike Arce got his first few clients by helping local fitness studios with online marketing and lead generation— now he’s running a successful full-time agency around this specialty.
Social media manager
Yes, being able to use Instagram and Snapchat is a viable career — and managing social media accounts is a lucrative side hustle idea.
Again, the usual marketplaces such as People Per Hour, Upwork, and Fiverr can help you land your first few clients.
Although this can start (and stay) as a side hustle, the potential here is vast. In this interview I did with Laura Roeder, she explains how she went from social media manager to founding a software company.
Google Adwords Manager
Does setting up ad campaigns, writing copy, testing, and monitoring results sound like something you can do? If you have experience in digital marketing (or you are willing to learn), offer your services managing ad campaigns.
Facebook Ads Manager
Many businesses don’t know how to get the most out of their Facebook advertising. They spend money on campaigns, but give up when they don’t get results right away. If you know Facebook Ads, this is the side business for you.
Marya Jan learned how to get big returns on her Facebook ads as a side hustle to her previous job as a lawyer — she’s now a full-time strategist helping her clients succeed with Facebook ads.
Digital marketing agency
Running a digital marketing agency is a synthesis of many of the skills already covered in this section — building websites, social media management, running ad campaigns, and SEO.
I’ve interviewed many entrepreneurs who make a full-time living with a digital marketing agency. Many started out side hustling with only a few clients.
If you’re already doing work like this for an employer, strike out on your own (not on company time). Start building something for your future, like these two:
Cleaning homes or offices in your spare time is an active way to make extra income. Businesses usually require cleaning after hours, so you can work around your day job.
Residential cleaning is a good side hustle idea for stay-at-home parents, while the kids are in school. It's flexible, and you can choose how many weekly clients to accept.
You may need to invest a small amount of money up front for licensing and bonding, to legally operate in your jurisdiction. Having those things in place will help you appear professional enough to get your first contract.
Put up an ad in the service section of the local Craigslist or Kijiji for a carpet cleaning service. You can rent a carpet cleaning machine once you get your first paying gig.
With referrals and advertising, you could get regular service contracts for commercial buildings, schools, or homes. You can offer different service bundles and repeat cleaning packages. Scale up as your side business grows by hiring sub-contractors once you get busy.
Car wash and detailing
Like any time-consuming and labor-intensive task, many people put off cleaning their vehicle. Often, they don’t have the time and energy to do it, but are willing to pay for it to get done.
Is there a market for a mobile car washing and detailing service in your area? Put up some ads and find out.
This is a maintenance task that homeowners dread each spring — climbing a ladder to clear debris from the eavestroughs.
You'll need a ladder and a truck for this side hustle, and you must be comfortable with heights.
While you’re up on the ladder cleaning the gutters, you may notice the upstairs windows need washing. A few extra supplies and you can have a window-washing side hustle to combine with other home services.
Depending on where you live, pool cleaning can be a great seasonal side gig. When it’s warm, and swimming pools are in use, they need regular cleaning.
Many homeowners don’t want to spend their weekends cleaning the pool — they want to be using it. Get a few regular customers, and you’re on your way to a business in pool maintenance.
Another seasonal side job, this idea is for those in snowy parts of the world. If you already have a snow-blower for your driveway, flyer the neighborhood and get a few customers.
If you have a truck with a plow, you can go further and clear more driveways in less time.
Landscaping and yard maintenance
Mowing lawns, raking leaves, and maintaining gardens is a great business to start if you enjoy being active outdoors. Depending on what tools you invest in, you can offer a variety of services and change up your advertising each season.
For example, in the spring, many people want the lawn aerated, grass fertilized, and gardens tilled. In the fall they need yard clean up, shrubs pruned, and leaves raked.
Got a truck? Junk removal services are a no-brainer to make money fast. If you have entrepreneurial tendencies, you just may end up creating a junk-removal franchise like Brian Scudamore of 02E Brands.
In fact, Brian was so successful with 1-800-GOT-JUNK, he expanded into other services homeowners regularly need, such as gutter cleaning, painting, and moving.
Helping people move is not easy work, but it’s a good side hustle if you like physical labor, and you have access to a large vehicle.
There is plenty of room for value-added service in this area. Try offering packing materials, taking unwanted items to charity, doing the post-move cleaning, and installing tvs and shelves at the new place.
Get creative to stand out from the competition.
Making money while you get exercise and fresh air is a win-win for cycling enthusiasts. There are many options to start getting paid while you ride your bike. Food delivery services like UberEats and Postmates operate in most major cities.
It's hard to make a full-time living as a bike courier, but this side hustle idea has flexible hours, and you can get started quickly.
Wear a helmet!
There is a continuous demand for addictive games, apps to improve life, and new ways to use mobile devices.
You don’t need to have an idea for a killer new app. You can be a developer and partner with someone who does. Entrepreneurs often have great ideas and marketing skills, and partner with a developer to handle the technology.
You can build custom websites as a side business if you have skills in HTML and CSS coding. And you will never run out of customers who need an attractive, well-functioning website.
If you want to learn to code, start today and practice making your first website. Free coding courses like Code Academy enable you to learn at your own pace. Start building your own site today – check out our Siteground hosting review.
WordPress is, in my opinion, the best tool for building websites. One of the reasons I like it so much is that you can customize and add functionality in countless ways with plugins.
WordPress is built on a programming language called PHP. Learning it enables you to develop and customize plugins for WordPress users.
Simple Press Plugins founder, Hani Mourra, worked full-time while he built his plugin business to a full suite of products.
Build a software platform and charge a monthly service fee to create an ongoing source of passive income. I’ve interviewed many SaaS (software as a service) founders over the years, so there’s no doubt it can be a profitable side hustle idea:
- Garrett Moon, creator of social media marketing software platform CoSchedule
- Freshbooks, an accounting platform for entrepreneurs
It takes programming skills, marketing chops, and a marketable idea. But you don’t personally need to have all three. Work with a partner, or hire out the tasks you don't know how to do.
Computer & mobile device repair
For people who enjoy tinkering with tech gadgets, a repair side business could be the perfect idea. With a little research on YouTube, you can find fixes for many common problems. Fixing laptops, cell phones, and tablets in your local area can be done from your home or garage.
Cryptocurrency mining rigs
Create a side business assembling computer components into cryptocurrency mining machines. You can help newbies get into crypto-mining while making a profit on the markup.
Beyond setting up hardware for your customers, you could offer a full-service set up for a higher fee.
Using online listings, posters and flyers in your neighborhood, or services like Rover, you can make money walking dogs while their owners are at work. Scale up by creating a brand, and a website to promote and manage your services.
Looking after a dog or cat while the owners are away can be an easy way to make a side income. If you already have pets, you’re doing the work anyway — adding another one to the mix is almost like passive income.
Check out Rover to find out more about starting a pet-sitting side hustle.
There is a range of options to make extra money washing and grooming pets. From setting up a U-Wash station to running a full-service doggy spa on weekends.
To grow any side hustle idea into a scalable business, always be on the lookout for opportunities to fill a demand in your market. For example, you might expand into selling pet gear, food, or branded clothing to the pet owners you serve.
Dog food delivery
Bags of dry dog food are large and heavy — and a necessity for most dog owners to purchase on a monthly basis. This product is a perfect candidate for a monthly delivery service.
Special diets for pets are also becoming more common, like raw food, grain-free, and organic. You can see the possibilities here to specialize (and charge a premium).
Love creating the perfect dance mix for a party? You can do this as paying freelance gig at weddings, parties, school dances, and public events.
Most venues have a PA system and music licensing, but investing in your own will give you more opportunities and flexibility.
Freelance musician services
A quick search on Fiverr reveals a variety of musicians, from amateur to professional, making money online with their talent. With relatively inexpensive recording gear, musicians can contribute remotely to projects and get paid well.
It’s tough to make a living as a performing musician, but with an internet connection and a basic recording set-up, you can get paid to do what you love.
Mixing and mastering music
With digital platforms so accessible, everyone from DIY garage bands to professional artists can record albums at home. But making the final product sound awesome takes a professional ear and some skill.
Recording artists and producers will hire a mastering engineer to make their raw audio tracks sound amazing. This is money you can make from anywhere, on a flexible schedule, without owning a pro recording studio.
Sound editing and post-production
There is a huge demand for audio post-production services. If you know how to use a digital audio workstation like ProTools or Logic (or you're interested and willing to learn), start freelancing. A side gig in sound editing can grow into a good business as you build up some regular clients.
A quick search on UpWork reveals job postings to edit podcast episodes, clean up audio tracks, and add sound effects and music to video.
Write and license music
Songwriters can monetize their work by licensing songs. Your work could be used in advertising, film, video games, and tv content. In the age of the internet, traditional gatekeepers in music publishing are not your only option.
Take a listen to my interview with Paul Wiltshire, founder of SongTradr to learn more about making money as a songwriter.
Online dating consulting
As online dating has grown in popularity, so has the demand for relationship and dating experts. Let’s face it — some people need a little to put their best foot forward.
If you have a knack for matchmaking, try starting an online dating consulting service.
Counselors and psychotherapists can run a fully remote, online counseling practice with clients all over the world. Online counseling platforms can enable you to practice without the expense and effort of finding clients, collecting payment, and maintaining office space.
BetterHelp is one popular service that requires counsellors to have professional certification, but there are others with fewer requirements.
Planning a wedding is an overwhelming task. That’s why wedding planners can charge a premium for consulting with the happy couple to create a memorable and stress-free event.
If you’ve recently gone through the process of planning your wedding or helping a friend, you may already have knowledge and connections you can use.
This side hustle idea is excellent for those who know how to throw a great party, are very organized, and can manage a lot of moving parts.
Not only judges and religious officials can perform marriage ceremonies. In many states, you can become ordained by an online ministry (many are non-denominational) to legally officiate weddings.
Wedding officiants charge from $500 – $800 to perform a ceremony, and more for customized ceremonies, rehearsals, and pre-wedding counseling.
The gig economy for personal support workers is great for those who don’t want to commit to a full-time position. You can make extra money working only when you want to.
Check out Care.com and connect with families in your area who need in-home care for a loved one.
Doula and birth support services
For those passionate about bringing new life into the world and supporting new mothers, a doula service can be a gratifying side business.
You will have to invest some time and money to get trained and certified, and you will have to be flexible with your time.
With the contacts you build in your community, you can branch out into childbirth classes, lactation support, or baby and toddler groups.
Put your artistic side to work with freelance design projects. Quick jobs like creating logos or designing pdf’s don’t pay much to start but can add up to a decent side income.
As you build your portfolio, you can charge more and get bigger projects. With your graphic design skills, there’s no excuse not to have an impressive website to showcase your work.
Put your designs on merch
Way beyond t-shirts, you can sell your designs on everything from backpacks to phone cases to wallpaper. All the manufacturing, shipping, and customer service is managed for you.
All you have to do is upload your designs, and make them available for a variety of products. You’ll get paid a percentage every time a customer chooses one of your designs.
Although so many people have high-quality cameras on their phones, we still need a pro (or a part-time side hustler) to do the job when it counts.
A good camera and some photo-editing chops enable you to cover events like weddings, concerts, or conferences. There are also many opportunities to set yourself apart as a specialist in custom photo shoots for families, sports teams, or bands.
Stock photo licensing
Photography enthusiasts tend to produce a large volume of images, but don't know where to sell their work. Take some of those perfectly composed photos and make them available for stock photography sites like Twenty20 or Shutterstock.
Sure, there are plenty of sources of free stock photos, but many content creators pay for unique, high-quality photos to use in their websites and printed media.
Many of the online survey ads are scams, so do your research on these before you sign up.
However, there are companies that seem legit and will pay you in the form of small amounts of cash or gift cards to participate in online surveys. Check out Swagbucks and find out if you can make a little cash with fairly low effort.
Online focus groups
Focus groups are more specialized than online surveys and require detailed feedback on your experience using products, or your behavior as a consumer. However, they pay a lot more than a typical survey.
Take a look at Respondent and see if you qualify for any of the studies.
Kind of like being a mystery shopper on-demand, Gigwalk lets you choose when and how much you want to work. If you can find gigs nearby, this seems like a low-effort way to get some money in your pocket.
Once you sign up, you make money by going into stores or attending events. You then use an app to verify information, such as availability, display, or pricing of a product or checking if marketing events are happening correctly and on schedule.
Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is a marketplace for work that requires human intelligence — in other words, digital work that needs a real person to do it. Jobs include identifying images, spreadsheet work, or rating podcasts and videos.
Because micro-jobs don't require much skill or time commitment, they don’t pay much. But as you build experience in the platform, you will have access to higher-paying HITs.
Crowdtesting is how developers ensure their apps and software are bug-free and functional. And it’s a way for you to make some extra money, working when you want on projects that you choose.
Here are some user testing sites where you can find out more about getting paid to be a digital tester:
Credit card rewards
A word of caution here: opening multiple credit card accounts is not going to help your bottom line if you use them to make unnecessary purchases or if you carry a balance.
But if you use them wisely, you can profit from credit card rewards. Take advantage of sign-up bonuses, and make the minimum spend by purchasing essentials like groceries and gas — just be sure to pay off the balance at the end of the month.
As soon as your bonus points or cash-back rewards come through, you can look for your next rewards deal.
Hosting dinner parties
Culinary enthusiasts can make some extra money hosting dinner parties through Eatwith.
These platforms will take care of finding guests, processing payment, and insurance, so you can focus on making fantastic food and creating a memorable experience for guests.
This side hustle is not just for professional chefs — local food experts and home cooks also have unique dining experiences to offer.
Start a food truck
You don't have to jump full-time into the restaurant business to find out if you can make a profit — start with a food truck side hustle. With summer festivals, weekend street fairs, and sporting events mainly occurring on weekends, you can choose to sell at events that fit your schedule.
It will take some initial investment to get the equipment, vehicle, insurance, and permits, but much less than a traditional restaurant. And with a part-time food truck, you can fine tune your recipes and test products with real customers.
If you love decorating party cakes, creating specialty pies, or baking holiday cookies, your artisanal baking could be a fun and profitable side business. To find your first customers, set up at a local farmers market or craft fair, and start selling.
Like any business, having a website will help customers find you for repeat orders. You may need a permit or license, so be sure to look up the regulations in your area before you start selling.
Check out my interview with Michelle Green to learn more about running a home baking business.
Monthly box subscription service
Subscription box services are a popular gift, and a growing industry. If you have a special interest or knowledge around a food or beverage market, consider whether there’s an opportunity for a monthly service.
Mantry, a box service catered to men who love to cook, was started by a former chef as a side hustle with only a handful of customers. Check out the interview to find out how they started and scaled.
Your culinary speciality could be making you money if you start offering classes and sharing your expertise with aspiring cooks. Not just for individuals, specialty cooking classes can be sold as corporate team building events, part of local food tours, and much more.
Makers and artisans
This section is a little different. If you are a crafter, builder, or maker of beautiful and useful things, I bet you already have a long list of projects you'd love to make. I know you don’t need me to give you ideas.
But just in case you can’t decide, here is a list of handmade you could start selling.
After the list, I’ll give you some ideas about how to market your hand-made goods.
- Hand knit clothing and accessories
- Upcycled vintage clothes
- Dog sweaters and outfits
- Pet collars and leashes
- All kinds of bags
- Screen printed shirts, tote bags
- Throw pillows
- Patterns for knitting or sewing projects
- Potted plants
- Pickled vegetables
- Fruit preserves
- Dog biscuits
- Dry pasta
- Sauces or soups
- Chocolates and candy
- Tea blends
- Spice blends
- Essential oil blends
- Organic or natural skin care products
- Bath products
- Wood stools
- Coffee tables
- Garden kits
What I’ve found is that many talented artisans start a side hustle business around their hand-made goods, but they quit when they don’t make enough money. The problem is they have skipped some important steps in moving from idea to making sales.
Before you can sell your handmade products for what they are truly worth, you need to know who your customers are, what they need or desire, and what makes your products unique.
I’m working on a course called Idea From Scratch to help you clarify exactly that — what to sell, who to sell it to, and how to reach them. But you don’t need to wait for the course to start testing your ideas and moving closer to a profitable business.
Here are a few ways to reach potential customers:
Local craft fairs and markets
The advantage of booking a table locally at a craft fair or market is that you get to see first-hand how people interact with your goods. They might pick it up, comment on the quality and price, or pass it by altogether. Don’t take it personally. Use the information to adapt your products and your marketing efforts.
Pay close attention to the demographic who is most interested in your products, how they perceive value, and why they decide to buy or not.
Etsy is the go-to online market for buyers of handmade goods. According to their seller's page, they had 30 million buyers last year purchase on their platform. But they also had 1.93 million sellers.
So it’s not enough to throw together an Etsy shop and make products based on what you enjoy making.
Like with any business, you have to know your market and keep your ideal customer in mind as you customize the look and branding of your shop.
Use high-quality photographs to showcase your work, and keep your costs down as you test products and find out what works best. Also, any additional marketing you do will help drive traffic to your store.
Shopify is a platform that enables you to quickly and easily set up an online shop for your handmade products. Rather than having products listed on a third-party platform like Etsy, you will own your website and domain.
They also take care of the payment system, security, and tech support, which all take some time and learning curve if you do it yourself.
With your e-commerce site up and running, you can focus on marketing your products through social media, content marketing, and SEO.
The best side hustle ideas for short-term cash needs are easy to start, have flexible hours, and require no commitment. That's why so many students, under-employed professionals, and even aspiring entrepreneurs turn to the service industry for hourly work like serving, bartending, security, or valet parking.
With new online platforms, you can now work by the hour, only when you want, without signing on for multiple part-time jobs and juggling commitments.
Travel guide / local tours
Not a great idea if you are wondering how to make money fast, but an excellent way if you are thinking long term.
Share your knowledge of local hot spots, history, food scenes, or cultural sites with a tour business. Set up a simple website, and attract customers with content marketing, advertising, and SEO.
Get specific about who your ideal customers are, and what kind of experiences they desire when visiting your area. This will help you stand out and specialize so you can build your reputation as an expert and get more customers through word of mouth.
Starting a travel agency in this age of DIY online bookings and discount airlines may seem like a risky proposition. But there will always be travelers who will pay for unique trips and expert help in planning them.
Boutique Japan is a perfect example of a successful independent travel agency, started as a side hustle idea and grown to a full-time business.
Your specialty, whether it's personal development, songwriting, yoga, or anything that people want to learn and practice, could be monetized by organizing retreats. Think of this as another side hustle idea that works in conjunction with a blog, speaking, coaching, or consulting in your field.
If you don't have a subject you can teach, organize an event and hire experts to do the teaching. As long as you can bring in enough people from your community, you can pull off a successful retreat.
A great example of this is Dan Andrews. He started Tropical MBA as a networking meetup for digital nomads, and has created a business around helping this community connect and learn at events all over the world.
What side hustle ideas will you choose?
It's time to stop saying, “I need a side hustle” – and start taking action.
If you need extra cash to get out of debt, save for a vacation, or fund a passion project, this list has plenty of ideas for you to make extra money while working.
Some of the list covers part-time flexible jobs that don’t require much education, skill, or commitment. Those gigs can help you with your short-term financial goals.
But if you want to increase your earning potential, permanently and exponentially, at some point you need to stop trading your time for money.
You need to think bigger.
The best way to increase your income is to free yourself from the employee mentality and learn to harness your entrepreneurial mindset.
In 2020, it’s easier than to find ways to make extra money online or offline – even if you work full-time. With a computer and an internet connection, you can work on a side hustle from home, using the skills and resources you already have, to create a second stream of income.
Over time, a side hustle you build in your spare time can bring you the success and freedom you crave.