You’ve heard the news: the gig economy is booming in numbers and 35% of people now have a somewhat regular side hustle.
Perhaps you have a friend who is a graphic designer by day, and a yoga teacher on the weekends. Or some colleague of yours is selling Etsy goods on the side.
These people are representative side-hustlers – folks create supplementary revenue streams outside of their day jobs.
So, what is a side hustle exactly?
Simply put a side hustle is that cumulative term for all the ways you can make additional money beyond traditional employment.
Some people pursue side hustles to make money to fund hobbies or special treats. Others use side hustles as a way to start a new small business while still maintaining their regular source of income. You can also use a side hustle as a means to profit from a newly acquired skill (e.g. graphic design).
A side hustle can be either:
- entrepreneurial (e.g. running a small e-shop)
- more service-driven (e.g. teaching design workshops)
- or take a shape of a passive income stream (launching and growing an affiliate marketing blog)
In this post, we’ll list up side hustle ideas that fall into all of these three categories. But most importantly, we’ll focus just on those that can bring you some tangible income and has low entry barriers.
How to Start a Side Hustle: A Few Quick Tips
To find and start your side hustle, you’ll have to first figure out what exactly you want and can do. This list should help you get a sense of the general direction.
- Set some goals. Do you want additional bill money, to learn a new skill, or to save some fun money? Perhaps you just want to fill in some spare time with something productive.
- Jot down all your marketable talents – Are you a good communicator? Can you teach anything? Are you an amazing cook? List both professional and more leisurely skills that can be potentially monetized.
- Decide how much time and effort you want to dedicate to your side-hustle (e.g. 2-3 hour per day or just the weekends?).
- Do some internet research to see how other people are pursuing the side business opportunities that interest you.
- Sign up for some forums or discussion groups for people pursuing side businesses.
- Look into online marketplace where you may be able to offer your services to others without doing a lot of marketing or creating an online presence.
- If you decide to market your side hustle, explore your options in terms of creating a social media presence, getting business cards, and networking.
Now let’s move on to the more fun part – the hustle itself.
Viable Side Hustle Ideas Worth Considering
Gig and temp jobs are easy to find these days. The best part? Most employers are more open to contractors than ever. In fact, 66% of large companies are already hiring freelancers and other gig workers to lower labor costs.
So there’s a room for everyone. Now you have to figure what it is exactly that you can do to earn a good income. Below are your options.
1. Event marketing/promotional model
Event agencies are always short on staff. Especially, when it comes to hiring people for promoting the event in question. What exactly does this job entail?
If you’ve ever attended a trade show, you’ve probably mingled with some folks sitting in the brand booths, showing you the products and talking up with the crowd. Working at networking events can net you up to $25-$50 per hour for modelling things. And if you are working as a promoter, coordinator or some junior organizer, you can earn even more than that.
Being a good communicator and having amazing time management skills is a must though!
If you have a few free hours each day, you can offer your services as a caregiver. This includes:
- Caring for the elderly or disabled.
- Providing in home care for an ailing relative.
- Operating an after school daycare or play center
- Doggy Daycare or Pet Sitting
For some of these, you may need to get a special license or certification to run an elderly care small business. You might also need a background check if you plan to work with an agency.
Setting up a pet sitting business is easier though. And it can be rather lucrative too. On average full-time pet sitting business can yield $20,000 to $35,000 in income after expenses. And some popular individual pet sitters and walkers are said to be making:
- $3,300 a month sitting full time
- $900 for part-time work
- And those with just one to two stays a month average about $250
So if you love animals, perhaps this side hustle can be just right for you.
3. House Sitting
If taking care of pets (or people) is too much of a commitment for you, you can “sit” at someone’s real estate.
When people go on vacations, travel for work, or need to be away from home for any other reason, some may hire a house sitter. Typically this involves bringing in the mail, feeding pets, doing some light cleaning, turning the lights on and off, and ensuring that everything is safe. Some homeowners will even pay to spend the night while they are away. The pay typically ranges from $25 to $50 a day and you can ask for more if you live-in or have to pet sit as well.
There are so many options here. Not all of them involve being an expert photographer. First, if you know your way around a camera, you can make money photographing weddings, sporting events, and more. Buy a drone, and you can do aerial photography for real estate agents, property owners, and insurance companies. You can even specialize in beautiful product photos for e-commerce companies. Or sell artistic prints on platforms like Etsy.
Not an expert? You can still make a bit of side cash. Consider uploading your pictures to stock photo sites. You’ll get a little money when people choose to use them.
5. Personal Services
There are a lot of busy, overwhelmed people who are willing to pay money for you to do small tasks for them. This includes:
- Picking up dry cleaning and other errands.
- Grocery shopping.
- Home and office organization.
- Assembling furniture, bicycles, and other objects.
- Installing computer software or configuring new devices.
- Cleaning or housekeeping.
Some people want these tasks done on an ongoing basis. Others simply need one time help. You can advertise for these services yourself, or use an online marketplace such as TaskRabbit.
6. Customized Tour Guide
Can you get around all the best places in your city by bike? Are you a microbrewery expert? Are you a fanatic when it comes to the local sports or music scene? Out of town visitors need people like you.
Rather than paying a large tour company to show them places that aren’t all that interesting to them, people want a personalized experience. You can offer that to them. Sign up at site like Tours by Locals to get connected with interested people. Or pitch your tour idea to Airbnb Experiences collection in your city.
7. Freelance Writing
You don’t need to be a master writer in order to make side cash as a freelance writer. Small business owners, digital agencies, and online writing services need people who are simply decent writers to produce blog posts, website content, product reviews, and more.
If you have a specific area of expertise, that’s even better, as you can charge more for writing about niche subjects such as blockchain, medicine or law.
According to an industry survey, 22% of new writers earn $100 and up for short blog posts, including 4% who earn north of $300 for short posts.
8. Drop Shipping
If you’re like most people you’ve probably purchased at least one item online. There’s a good chance that you bought that item through an ecommerce shop that simply sells goods for others. Such e-commerce sites simply display products, take orders, and collect money. Someone else handles all of the manufacturing, storage, and shipping.
In a nutshell, that’s what dropshipping is all about. The startup costs are relatively low and such income can go well into six-figures per year if you are good at marketing your business.
9. Affiliate Marketing
If you have a popular blog, you can monetize that through affiliate marketing. You simply sign up with an affiliate network, then link to relevant products you are mentioning on your blog. Whenever one of your readers clicks a link and makes a purchase, you receive a small commission.
Some of the top affiliate marketers such as Pat Flynn earn over $2 millions per year from a host of affiliate properties. Clearly, you’ll need to put in a lot of work to get to that income. But building a smaller, niche affiliate website can bring in you a couple of hundred dollars per month with little work involved.
10. Virtual Customer Service
Car rental companies, moving van services, even some tech firms no longer have call centers. Instead, they use home workers to handle tasks such as customer support or taking orders. If you have a reliable internet connection, computer, and headset/microphone, you can go to work providing customer support from your living room. The pay isn’t that great though unless you have a niche expertise e.g. can troubleshoot for specific camera models.
Flipping is simply buying a product, and reselling it at a profit. The term is often associated with real estate, but you can literally flip anything. You can hit up thrift stores for clothing, electronics, and toys to be resold at a profit. You can also flip websites, vehicles, even tools.
Do you ever buy those monthly subscription boxes with toys, clothing, snacks, dog toys, or cosmetics? It turns out there’s a pretty big market for reselling those products individually on Ebay or other sites. Sometimes you can flip items simply by reselling them. In other cases, you’ll need to clean things up repair them, or add some modifications.
12. Hobby Monetization
There are so many things that fall under this category that it would be impossible to list them all individually. Do you sew or knit? Do you bake and decorate cakes? Can you rebuild a small engine, or detail a car? What about refinishing furniture? The list is endless. If you have a hobby that you can use to create a sellable product, or offer a valuable service, you have the potential for a great side business. You can offer your services through an online marketplace, or sell your products through Etsy or your own website.
Are you ready to make some extra cash, make productive use of your time, or learn some new skills? Consider taking on a side hustle. After all, the gig economy is booming, and you may as well make a bit of money from it!