In times of uncertainty – like now, with the COVID-19 pandemic and related job losses – it can be good to have a side hustle. Even when things are good, being able to bank some extra cash is never a bad idea. Here is our comprehensive list for different types of side hustles and how you can use them to make extra money, whether you’re working a full-time job or not.
What is a Side Hustle?
The phrase “side hustle” is basically a modern way of saying a part-time job. It’s a euphemism – something that sounds better than the original name. Like “sanitation worker” instead of “garbage man”.
A side hustle comes in many forms, from the traditional service-oriented jobs like cutting grass, to more modern ideas like managing social media for someone. We’ll discuss many of the possible side jobs in this post. But first, you might be wondering why you’d want to have a side hustle rather than just spending your free time having fun.
Why Have a Side Hustle?
There are as many reasons to have a side hustle as there are side hustles themselves! Why might you want to start a side hustle? Here are some possibilities.
First of all, you’re probably looking for extra money on top of what you earn at your regular job. A side hustle can be temporary, if you just need extra cash for something special, like a wedding or a vacation or putting in a pool. Or it can be permanent, if your lifestyle requires more money than you make at your main job.
A side hustle can also be a way to move from your 9-5 job to becoming your own boss. Most entrepreneurs who start a business don’t go from employee to CEO in one fell swoop! They usually start a business on the side, hustle, and grow it until it can support them full-time.
You might also work a side hustle if you want to gain experience that you can’t get elsewhere. Perhaps you want to make a move at work but the job you want requires experience you don’t have. For example, you’re currently a graphic designer but you want to learn to code HTML and CSS. So you can learn that on the side and work some independent gigs to gain experience in your new skills.
Likewise, a side hustle can help with job security. Take the example above. If you think your skillset is becoming obsolete, or merely expanding, you may wish to gain new skills so you are more likely to keep your existing job.
Whatever your reasons are, there are definitely benefits to having a side hustle!
Side Hustle Types
There are tons of traditional services that you can provide that take time but bring in cash. Many of these will depend on your schedule, and whether you can work them around your normal job. But these are tried-and-true jobs that people have made money with for a long time, and they’re just as viable today…if not more! People are so busy that many are interesting in outsourcing certain tasks.
Here are some ideas of traditional services you can offer in your free time:
- Babysitter – watch someone’s children in their home or yours
- Lawncare – mow the grass, edge the beds, and pull weeds
- Clean houses – clean someone’s whole house, or offer specific services like window cleaning
- Pet sitting – watching someone’s dog, cat, or other pet in their home or yours
- Event planning – plan weddings, birthday parties, and more
- Shovel snow – clear the snow off people’s walkways, driveways, and sidewalks
- Notary Public – sign legal documents as a notary public (note that you must complete training and become certified before you can do this!)
- Personal shopper – buy clothes or other goods for people who don’t have time to show themselves
- Substitute teacher – fill in at local schools when a teacher has to be absent
- Grocery shopper – sign up with a service like Instacart to get paid to grocery shop and deliver for others
- Miscellaneous – sign up with a service like Taskrabbit or Handy to offer any number of services, from moving furniture to data entry
Side Hustles that take Little to No Thought
Are you more interested in something you can do on your couch while the TV is playing? These aren’t likely to bring in as much money, but every little bit helps.
- Take Surveys – participate in surveys from various research companies. Here is a great resource to find survey companies!
- Scan Your Receipts – use Ibotta to get cash back on your purchase. For some stores you don’t even have to scan your receipts, just link a rewards card. This one is a bit of a no-brainer because it’s so easy.
- Participate in focus groups – sign up for Cashback Research to participate in trials and focus groups
You can also use your spare time to make money driving, so long as you have access to a vehicle. Here are some side hustle ideas that involve driving.
- Drive for Uber or Lyft – set your own taxi-driving service by signing up as a driver for Uber or Lyft.
- Make Deliveries – become a delivery person by driving for Amazon Flex
- Deliver food – Drive for Doordash and earn money delivering take-out food
- Rent your car – have a car but don’t want to drive? Consider renting it out through a site like Turo. Useful if you rarely drive or have a spare car that doesn’t get much use
Do you enjoy writing and find that you have a particular talent for it? Then you have a skill that is in high demand! Here are some great writing-based side hustles you can offer.
- Freelance writing – Sign up for a service like Upwork or WritersAccess and accept commissions to write blog posts, articles, and more
- Proofreading and Editing – Offer proofreading and editing services if you like to read but don’t consider yourself a full-fledged writer
- Self publish a book on Kindle – did you know you can publish your own book on Kindle? Whether you like to write novels or nonfiction, Amazon makes the publication process easy. (The book writing? Might take a big more time!)
- Write book reviews – offer to write book reviews for authors and publishers through a service like US Review of Books
- Transcriber – offer a service to transcribe videos, providing a written copy of the words spoken in the video
- Resume writing – help people craft their resumes so they stand out when interviewing for a job
Rent Out Extra Space
Do you have extra space in your home? If you have a spare bedroom, consider taking in a renter to earn some money. Or, if you have storage space or room in your garage, offer it up as storage for someone who can use the space.
You can also use AirBnB to rent a room, your entire home, or an extra property such as a condo or apartment. These are usually short-term rentals, and you need to make sure you’re legally allowed to do this with your property. But if you are, it can be a great source of income.
Start a Website
If you like writing or working on a computer, then you might consider starting a website or blog. There are various ways to monetize a website, but you have to build an audience first. Once you’ve done that, here are some ways to make money from your website.
- Ads – you can run ads on your website and make money when they’re shown and/or when people click them. The easiest is Google Adsense. Some of the better ones are Mediavine and Ezoic. But for those, you have to meet a minimum amount of sessions per month (e.g. you have to get enough traffic) before they will allow you into their network.
- Affiliate Marketing – If you run a website, you can sign up to promote other people’s products through their affiliate program. This allows you to put a link to their product on your website. If someone clicks your link and makes a purchase, you get a fixed amount or percentage of the sale in return. Many websites are affiliates for Amazon, but there are lots of other networks as well. And these don’t have to be physical products. They can be courses, eBooks, or similar digital products that others sell.
- Sell a course or eBook – if you’re willing to put in more effort and have knowledge you can share, then you can make more money by writing your own eBook or creating your own digital course to go along with your website. When you promote an affiliate product, you get a small percentage of the sale. When it’s your own product, you keep the entire amount – or if you have your own affiliates who promote your products, then you keep most of it and pay them out a small commission.
If you prefer social media to running a website, then these ideas might be for you. You’ll need background knowledge in one or more social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. Good organization skills are also helpful.
- Social Media Manager – this is where you manage other people’s social media accounts. This may include photography, caption writing, and scheduling. You may also reply to other people’s comments on your client’s posts. Additionally it can include thing like researching hashtags, growing the followers for the accounts, or managing a group tied to the account (such as on Facebook).
- Social Media Influencer – if you have your own social media accounts with a decent following, particularly on Instagram or YouTube, you can begin to work as an influencer. This is where brands pay you to post about them. For example, if your Instagram account is about crafts, then a craft brand might pay you to create something with their products and provide your opinion about the products you used. Or if you have a YouTube channel with makeup tutorials, a cosmetics brand may pay you to create a tutorial using their products.
- Amazon Influencers – this one is tough to categorize, because it’s not social media, and it’s not e-commerce, and you’re not running your own site. I’m putting it here to go along with social media influencers. With the Amazon Influencers program, you create a “storefront” on Amazon with products you’ve written recommendations for. When you promote products and people make a purchase through your storefront, you earn a commission on the products.
You can also sell items online, which might be more up your alley than blogging or running a social media account. There are several ways to sell items online, ranging from using existing marketplaces to running your own e-commerce website. Before you start, you need to find and obtain products you want to sell, or find a business who will stock the items and drop-ship for you. Here are some examples.
- Ebay – You may think of Ebay as an auction platform, but there are also products available for sale that aren’t an auction at all. Many individuals and companies use Ebay to sell goods online. Almost anything can be sold on Ebay
- Amazon – yep, you can also sell products on Amazon. In fact, many people use Amazon and Ebay together to reach a larger audience.
- Etsy – Etsy is mostly known for selling crafts and handmade goods. If you are a crafter, Etsy can be a great place to sell your items. They also have a vintage section for antiques, so if that’s something you like, consider them instead of crafts.
- Ecommerce Website – if you want complete control over your sales, you may choose to create your own website. Then you aren’t paying fees and commissions to a marketplace. Of course, the amount of work to get started can be a lot higher, depending on any special features you may need, and what platform you want to use. If you are just getting started, Shopify is a great entry-level shopping cart to use. (They also have a pro version with additional features for those who need it.)
Sell Your Stuff
Maybe you don’t want to start your own e-commerce business, but you have some items lying around your house you’d like to get rid of. I’ve found minimalism to help my focus and emotional health so much, and selling items you no longer want is a great way to achieve minimalism and recoup some cash!
If you have clothes that no longer fit but are still in good shape – or if you’re just tired of them – you can use a company like ThredUp or Poshmark to consign those items. Those companies will sell the items for you, take a commission, and send you the balance.
Gazelle is another option if you’re looking to sell used phones instead of clothes.
You can also take a more DIY approach (or would that be SIY – sell it yourself?) and list your used items on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or Decluttr.
Do you have a knack for graphic design or art? Then you can probably earn money by doing some design work! For example, you can:
- Take beautiful photographs and sell them on stock photography websites like 123rf.com or Dreamstime
- Create unique t-shirt designs and sell them on Threadless
- Offer graphic design services for logos, icons, website templates, social media graphics, and more. If you’re not interested in marketing your services yourself, consider a marketplace like Fiverr, in order to find new clients.
If teaching is more your style, consider an online teaching position. Some services that offer paid positions are tutor.com (for tutoring) and vipkid.com (for teaching English to children in China.)
You might also start a coaching or consulting business. Think about what skills or knowledge you have, and whether you can confidently teach that to others. Perhaps you’re good at SEO and can teach other bloggers how to increase their traffic from search engines? Or maybe you know auto mechanics like the back of your hand, and can teach others your skills or offer consulting services to diagnose a problem over Facetime or Skype.
Chances are, there’s at least one skill that you know really well and can share with others. If you really want to expand your reach, consider making a course through Udemy or Teachable. You can build the course content once, then sell it to as many people as are willing to purchase it! Then all you have to do is sit back and wait for the cash to roll in. (That’s a joke. You have to market it and update the course content when needed.)
How to Decide Which Side Hustle is Right for You?
Figuring out which side hustle to start with may seem overwhelming with all of these possibilities. But if you answer a few questions, it will help you narrow down your choices. For example:
- Do you have money to invest? If not, you will need to limit yourself to ideas without any startup capital. For example, if you don’t own a lawnmower and can’t purchase one, that removes lawn care as an option.
- Are you a technical person or are you willing to learn technical skills? If not, you probably don’t want to start a website.
- Are you risk averse? If so, you may want to do something that doesn’t take initial legwork or have initial costs.
Also don’t fret if you try one side hustle and find out it’s not for you. You can always switch it up whenever you want!
Finally, keep in mind that a side hustle is a business. With almost no exception, you should declare any money you make as income and pay income tax on it. In some cases you may also need to pay sales tax. To make sure you’re on the up-and-up, check with your accountant or the Small Business Administration (SBA).