In these hard economic times, many individuals all over the world have opted to look into additional forms of income outside of traditional jobs. Even those who have high paying careers are now exploring the possibilities of side hustles. Some have even left high paying jobs at reputable companies to become self-employed!
Whether you want new challenges, extra dough, or just plain hate your job, a side hustle can be just the thing to set the wheels in motion for financial liberation!
What is a Side Hustle?
A side hustle is any asset that can be used to generate supplemental earnings beyond one's main source of income. Whether it is mowing a lawn for extra beer money, running a popular and lucrative Youtube channel online, or selling your grandmother's precious heirlooms at a flea market, it is all considered a side hustle.
There are limitless possibilities and a plethora ideas that can bring in extra money. Whether you're just starting out and have very little or you're seeking to expand your wealth, a side hustle can indeed be your ticket to an exciting new life!
Why Start a Side Hustle?
Some people wish to start a side hustle temporarily to save up for a dream vacation with the family while others simply want to augment their daily expenses without the added pressure of following a tight budget.
Some use side hustles to pay off debts or loans while others have a deep desire for financial independence and a vision to be their own bosses. Whatever your motive, a side hustle is a powerful instrument to realize your goals.
Can Anyone Start a Side Hustle?
One of the biggest and most unfortunate obstacles to starting a side hustle is the limitation of one's own mind.
It is a myth that in order to invest or start a business one has to have vast generational wealth or knowledge, access to large amounts of capital or loans, or some kind of privilege beyond what every day people have available.
While it is certainly easier for some to get started, rest assured, side hustles are realities that the critical mass of individuals can start today with little to no startup funds. Side hustles are for everyone!
We spoke with inspirational entrepreneur Natasha Puente who started off as a waitress in Celaya, Guanajuato before traveling to the U.S. as a babysitter prior to embarking on her journey to become a digital nomad.
While working as a nanny and a teacher, she learned graphic design, websites, and screen printing on the side. Today Natasha travels the world and works remotely helping others succeed where ever there is a wifi connection and good coffee. You can read her truly amazing story here.
Natasha inspires others interested in side hustles to pursue their dreams in the digital realm due to the low barriers of entry and limitless potential. As she notes, there are many free tools available for everyone to learn how to start an online business.
You do not need piles of money to get started, just dedication and proper time management and a desire to never stop learning.
Her message to aspiring side-hustlers just starting out is to believe in yourself and never surrender:
"As your own boss, you're the driving force of your business. You'll need to set your own goals and push yourself to achieve them. Your drive and ambition are integral to your success. Time is one of your most valuable assets. Effective time management allows you to prioritize tasks, maintain productivity, and balance your work and personal life. Your ability to stay determined in the face of obstacles and persevere when things don't go as planned is key to your long-term success. The ability and desire to constantly learn and grow is crucial. Stay curious and keep learning. This trait will keep you ahead in your field."
Now, we understand that not everyone is computer savvy or wants to be a graphic designer. That's okay. There are a multitude of options to explore to achieve supplemental income and financial independence.
Side Hustle Ideas
Below is a few of the most common types of side hustles that people are currently working on. The reality is that there are infinite number of ideas and combinations of existing ideas ready to be discovered.
The list for side hustle ideas is ever-expanding and growing. You are not ever limited in any capacity.
People are coming up with new and interesting ways to earn extra money all the time. Some people have even been able to make money selling their used underwear online. Entrepreneurship is only limited by your own imagination.
If you haven't heard of Uber or Lyft, these are great companies to start getting your name out there for ridesharing. If you have some extra time to spare, being a taxi driver is a great way to meet new and interesting (sometimes drunk) people and earn extra cash. A friend on mine used to taxi people at music festivals back to their cars (sometimes they'd have to park very far away from the event) for free but accepted tips. He'd make $200+ in just a few hours.
2. Online Affiliate Marketing
If you have a Youtube Channel or social media page or blog that gets a lot of traffic, you can consider becoming an influencer. Influencing is basically affiliate marketing, where you can promote a product or service of a company for a set commission. Feel free to check out Libertarian Country's Affiliate Program. It's a great way to earn extra cash!
3. Online Reviews & Surveys
There are websites who will pay you to watch videos online and to take small surveys or questionnaires afterward. If you enjoy giving feedback and telling companies what you think of their products and services, you might as well get paid for it. You can check out websites like MyPoints or Survey Junkie.
4. Ecommerce & Drop-Shipping
With websites like Shopify, you can start your own private label and brand and sell products online. Whether you make your own products or buy in bulk, you can pick a theme or niche and begin selling almost instantly. There are also websites like Amazon Merch on Demand and Etsy that allow for fully automated product development. All you have to do is come up with the designs for the products and list them on these platforms!
Another route is drop-shipping, where you make the sale for bigger companies without having to touch any inventory and collection a commission for making the sale.
If you live near a city or town that has a bustling night life or a lot of daytime foot traffic and you have some musical talent, you could always consider busking. What is busking? It is simply playing music on the streets for tips. If you've ever seen the guy with a guitar case full of money filling the area with lively culture, that's a busker. Check local laws on busking before you begin.
I met a guy in Tampa, FL once who played a saxophone outside of the performing arts center. He lived in a tent and had no other job. 20 years later, he co-owns resorts in the Caribbean and lives like a king!
6. Selling Art & Designs
Ecommerce is great, but you don't always need your own shop or brand. If you have artistic talent, you can consider freelancing for other companies. You can make handmade products or design apparel or anything that they need. You can work with them to agree on a price and even collect royalties for your artwork! Alternately, you can take your physical artwork to art festivals and farmers markets to reach interested clients directly in person.
7. Deliver Food/Groceries or Packages
There are apps you can download such as Grubhub, Doordash, and Ubereats where you can make extra money getting tips for delivering food. You can pick the jobs you want and reject the ones that you don't want. Instacart is another app where you can get people's groceries and deliver it to their doorsteps. Alternatively, there is Amazon Flex, where you can deliver packages with your own vehicle and get paid by Amazon without having to work there fulltime.
8. Renting Spare Rooms
It's the wild, wild west for some people who have real-estate in hot locations. They're renting their houses out on the weekends for almost as much as their monthly mortgages! If you have a second property to rent out, consider using airbnb, as you may be able to make more than with conventional renting. Also, you do not need to rent your entire house out. Some people are simply renting out their spare bedrooms for extra cash!
I have a friend who lives in Berkley Springs, WV who owns a historical property from the year 1900. Beautiful home that she lives in full time. However, she rents it during the peak tourist season on the weekends and stays with a friend. She earns a lot of extra income!
9. Sports Coaching
If you have any sports talent and leadership skills, consider investing your time in coaching little league or semi-professional sports. You don't need any upfront money to start and the payouts can be substantial! If you want to check out some more information on soccer coaching side hustles, here is a great resource: 9 Best Soccer Side Hustles.
10. News & Blogging
Many people are glued to the news these days, which is big money for legacy media. Now, you don't need to have a multi-million dollar ad agency or affiliates with thousands of employees to cash in on the news. All you need is a computer and a blog.
There are many free blogs such as Wordpress and Wix. If you've ever heard of newsjacking, it is essentially the art of finding what's hot in the news and writing a short opinion piece about it. You just need to be quick and creative and you can generate a lot of traffic! Once you get enough traffic you can sell ads or consider affiliate marketing.
11. Website Design
Many companies are looking for people to customize their websites to personalize the brand. If you have graphic design skills, you can network with sites like Shopify who will connect you with people who need custom work done on their websites. Freelancing brings in never-ending clients.
12. Build and Sell Stores
Another option if you have design skills and a creative inclination, you can build stores on Shopify and sell them. You can purchase a store for less than $25 a month on Shopify. Give it a name, a theme, and a personalized coating, and there will be many people willing to buy your stores.
13. Buy and Sell Website Domains
If you're quick, you can swoop up website domains very cheap on websites like GoDaddy and once the demand for them grow, you can sell them back to interested parties. Some domains can be purchased for less than $100 a year and be sold for thousands. Think of valuable keywords and interesting names that will bring in high quality traffic.
14. Provide a Local Service
Can you paint? Mow a law? Power wash windows? Sew clothing? Repair electronics? There are a plethora of local services people want and they sometimes don't know where to look. Let your friends on social media know you're offering your services. I know a guy who started mowing lawns for friends and neighbors and got his name out there. He now has 15 employees after only a couple years in business.
You can also try apps like Thumbtack who can promote you as well, but there will be finders fees involved. Nevertheless, you can still make a lot of extra money.
15. Digital Nomadism
Like Natasha, you can explore the idea of digital nomadism. The great thing about that type of work is that it is almost entirely 100% remote. You can work anywhere in the world and find clients anywhere in the world. As long as you can get online, you can find customers. See more details here.
16. Manage Ads for Businesses
If you have skills in marketing and advertising, you can always find a client who needs someone to run their facebook ads. Since the IOS 14.5 updates and regulations being enforced by congress on social media companies, online advertising is more difficult than it ever has been before. Businesses are willing to pay a lot for good paid traffic management.
17. Build and Sell Social Media Pages
If you're a worldly person who can come up with a themed social media page and start getting exposure right away, you have an never-ending supply of customers. Private businesses, Etsy shops, and local venues are always looking to have someone build a social media presence for them. Some people who are looking to start a business or project do not even have a name picked out yet, and would love to see your inventory of social media pages to choose from.
If you can invest in a decent camera and have some photography skills, there's always someone who will be willing to hire you for an event or photoshoot. Despite everyone having cameras these days, people still tend to hire outside help for birthday photos, weddings, graduations, and music festivals. You can also take pictures and sell them online for royalties.
19. Editing and Proofreading
Now that self-publishing has become so popular online, it has given individual writers immense options to publish their works without having to go through the labyrinth of obstacles often associated with traditional publishing. Writers are always looking for someone to read their works to help them check for errors or give them advice. If you have experience with proofreading, check online apps such as Fiverr and Upwork who can plug you into the freelance scene.
20. Junk Or Metal Hauling
If you're like me and you have a pickup truck, you'll know that whenever a family member or friend needs something moved or picked up, you're the person for the job. It's the curse of having a pickup truck. However, you can also put it to good use to make a lot of money on the side.
People are always in need of someone to come haul their junk away, and they usually pay well. Another option is to scrap metal. A friend of mine collected old pallet jacks and warehouse equipment and took them down to the metal recycling plants and made a decent profit for his time.
Freelancing is really an umbrella term for any form of independent self-employment where you contract with an existing company. Whether it is medical coding or graphic design or anything in between, you can sell your time and services to other companies without taking on a full-time position with them.
If you have a sellable skill, you can get a contract with bigger companies which tend to pay more, have more flexible hours, and easier to negotiate terms. You're also typically at liberty to have more than 1 client in the same field unless you sign non-disclose agreements.
22. Treasure Hunting & Garage Flipping
Some people can stop by a garage sale or second-hand shop and see something of value from a distance. They know what things are worth and what they can be sold for. If you're like one of these people, you can consider treasure hunting/garage flipping. Essentially you find valuable items that people sell at yard sales or thrift shops cheap, clean them up if needed, then resell them for profit either online, at your own shop or sell them back to another boutique.
23. Tutor Online
If you're proficient in mathematics, language, science, philosophy, art, or history, you can tutor online with apps such as Tutorme or Studypool. You can also consider starting your own local tutoring sessions where you can set your own prices and build your own schedule.
24. Guided Yoga & Meditation
As our world becomes more technologically innovative, our ability to cope seems to lag behind on foot. In our stress filled daily lives, people are always looking for ways to increase their mindfulness and purge themselves of negativity. If you're familiar with sound healing, mediation, or yoga, you can host guided meditation sessions at your home or rent out a small space. Some clients are willing to pay $35 - $200 per session! It pays to give people peace!
25. Pet and House Sitting
The average family in the U.S. spends approximately 10% of their earnings on traveling. If they have pets they may travel with them but eventually they're going to need to leave them home. Many people now are skipping the shelters and boarding facilities to have trusted strangers come to their homes and watch their furry companions while they're away. With apps like Rover you can get hooked in and find clients easily. Once you get some good ratings, you will be in high demand!
Another thing we like to spend our money and time on is leisure. Going out for a night of drinks isn't easy if you have little ones and no family around to watch them. Babysitting isn't just for teenagers anymore. With apps like Sitter anyone can make some decent extra cash by watching people's kids while they go out partying!
27. Medical Testing
Johns Hopkins and other scientific institutions are always looking for participants to be involved with studies and medical testing. If don't mind the risks involved, you can contribute to the advancement of science by singing up for medical studies! If you're a science lover and like to make extra cash, this is one good way to do it.
28. Mystery Shopping
Mystery shopping has a great potential for extra income. Some people with experience can earn up to $400 for an 8 hour day, and the hours and times are usually flexible. It has been thought to be one of the most lucrative side hustles that does not require any upfront cash at all.
29. House Cleaning
While not passive income, house cleaning can be quite profitable. If you have knack for cleanliness and want to make some extra cash, house cleaning is very viable and doesn't cost much to start up. You can get a few business cards printed up online cheap and pass them out to people at parties or gatherings. Once you get the word-of-mouth going, you'll have people lined up wanting their houses cleaned!
30. Helping The Elderly
Unfortunately not every elderly person has family nearby, but they still need to get to doctors visits, grocery stores, and bingo nights. You can help them by offering them rides, cleaning, organizing, cooking meals, or odd tasks here n there. It's great if you can donate your time to help them but it's also understandable that your time is valuable!
31. Rent Clothing
If you've ever seen Parks n Rec (with the great Ron Swanson), you probably remember the episode when Tom was renting his swanky clothes to young teenagers whose parents didn't want to invest a whole lot in clothing they'd likely outgrow. This is a great idea if you have a lot of unique clothes that you don't want to sell.
32. Make & Sell Pet Treats
People love their pets and many of them are beginning to question the dried kibble and mystery treats that are available at pet stores. Being a dog lover myself, I can attest to the fact that we spend an inordinate amount of money on high quality dog treats.
If you have good baking skills and a circle of pet lovers who would love healthy, homemade dog treats, they can be immensely profitable! Another good thing about dog treats is that you usually do not need a mountain of legal paperwork to get started.
33. Nutrition and Diet Coaching
In our world of fast and highly processed foods, people are starting to wake up to the potentially deadly side-affects of such a lifestyle. More people are getting into clean and whole-food eating for their health. If you have experience in nutrition and dieting, you can coach others to help them lose weight, get in shape, and reclaim their lives!
34. Personal Trainer
In addition to nutrition, there's always a market for helping people get started at the gym who do not know what they're doing. You can help create meal plans and exercise regimens for people locally or online. It's always great to help people take control of their health!
35. Flea Markets and Farmers Markets
Usually on the weekends there are farmers markets and flea markets you can set up at for a small fee. If you grow your own vegetables or microgreens, bake your own artisan bread, craft your own soap, assemble your own jewelry or want to sell art, farmers markets are where you need to be!
In many states there are cottage food laws that allow you to sell homemade baked goods at farmers markets without having to go through expensive licensing. Check your local laws first.
How To Start a Side Hustle
Yes, there are challenges to starting your own business, but do not be daunted. Start off small and it will all come into focus! These steps below will help you get into the mental framework of side-hustling.
Take your time and don't rush it, you can always revise as you need to. A basic understanding of what you will need to get started might be intimidating at first, but trust us, it will become habit and you will have a lot of fun with it once you get through the initial phases!
1. Change Your Belief Structure and Mindset
As we explained in "What it takes to be a successful entrepreneur", the first step to work toward is changing our thinking and our attitude. We need to accept that anything is possible. We need to prioritize the positive over the negative and challenge myths that may be detrimental to our true potential.
We also need to refrain from accepting the derisive and manipulative nomenclature that holds us back from greatness.
If you are employed by another company, you are not a "worker". You do not have "a job". You are an entrepreneur who has a client. You can have as many clients as you want (just check your contracts with existing customers)
You can negotiate and charge whatever you want for your services. If you are not satisfied, you can always expand, you can always grow, you can always venture into other territory. You are free.
Never accept that you are just a worker with a boss. You have a plethora of options available, especially today. Revolutionary people have paved the way for us in the past so that we no longer have to accept mediocrity. You need only to open the doors and let yourself in. With the proper guidance and knowledge, you will thrive.
2. Identify the Best Possible Side Hustles For You
If you look at the list of side hustles above, you should be able to immediately detect at least three that would interest you. If they do not, they should at least prompt you to think of something that would be a better fit. The list of ideas is always growing.
Explore your passions in life. Many people have erected profitable and successful side hustles simply by doing what they love to do. Rarely do we love our day jobs. A friend of mine was obsessed with her dog's health.
She couldn't find commercial dog treats anywhere that were acceptable to her strict criteria. She started making her own dog treats for her 3 dogs. Then she realized that she had a knack for the craft.
After a few years of giving them away as gifts, she started her own business. Now she runs a full time operation called Puppylicious Gourmet and we love them!
In short, you may have already identified your side hustle. You need only to think creatively about what you love to do and how you can transform it into a venture beyond a hobby.
3. Define Your Side Hustle Goals
What do you want out of your side hustle? At the beginning of this article we briefly touched base on why people start side hustles in the first place. What you need to do is critically think about why you want to start your own project and where do you want to see it go.
As we said, some people just want a little extra money for vacations while others want to find a way to spend some of their spare time to kill the blues. Some want to save up for their kids college by augmenting their salary while others want to completely work for themselves.
Any of these goals are possible.
If you want to work for yourself with the hopes of starting a multinational business, that is totally feasible. However, before you begin, define those goals and be realistic with them.
Write down what you want, then write down why you want it. After that, write down why you want that as well. Continue those steps until you can see the big picture and truly feel your motivation. After that, the rest will get easier.
4. Create of List of What You Need to Get Started
Once you've narrowed down which side hustles you would likely want to attempt, then comes the part that's even more fun. Figure out exactly what you need to get started and what it will cost.
Remember, it is completely fine to start as small as possible with the least amount of investment.
1. What supplies will I need?
Create a spreadsheet or digital list of items that you will need for the project. It doesn't matter if you can afford them all at first or not, just write them all down, not just what you think you can obtain.
2. How much time will it take to gather these items?
Calculate the amount of time it will take to gather and organize all of your items. Also, calculate how much time it will take to get customers, make products, get legal paperwork finished, etc. Budget the time and make sure you have it available to use. Tweak wherever necessary to save time.
3. How much funds will it take to gather these items?
As Robert Kiyosaki says, never say "I cannot afford this", always ask "how can I afford this?" instead. One is an assertion that closes the doors, as the other is a question that opens doors.
You may not have all of the money upfront to start the side hustle of your choice, but by asking the right questions, you can begin to discover new paths to get you closer to your dreams. Can you get a loan? Can you borrow money from your parents? Do you have a savings account? Do you have collateral? How much risk are you willing to take?
If money is an issue that are groups who will help fund startups. There is also the reality that you can begin many side hustles with very little upfront cash. Know that you can always start small and expand later.
4. How much time am I willing to commit to the project?
Do you have a family? obligations? boy scouts? girl scouts? The PTA? do you like to party on the weekends? go out each night of the week? have a lively social life?
Even a side business can get in the way of all the things that already occupy your time. However, you do not need to be a hermit who has no friends to start a side hustle, but you do need to figure out how much time you're willing to commit to the idea.
Communicate with family and friends and let them know that your side hustle is important to you and that you will be devoting some of your time to its success.
5. What legal certificates or licenses will I need?
Do you want to start your side hustle with others or by yourself? Do you need a single member llc or a multi member llc? Do you need a business license? Do you need to have insurance for what you're thinking about doing? Do you need legal assistance? Check your state laws and make sure you're in compliance. Fly under the radar at your own risk.
6. What skills will I need to learn to complete the project?
You may have the perfect idea to start a side hustle, but you may need help learning a new software or brushing up on your second language. Identify where you may need to add or hone some skills and begin working on them so that your side hustle has more chance of success!
7. Create an Action Plan.
Once you've identified the materials, skills, and time you need to put the entire puzzle of your side hustle together, get a plan together for how and when you want to execute it. Remember, it's perfectly okay to just start doing it and learn as you go. An organized plan is not completely necessary but it will help mitigate stress and increase the odds that you will benefit from your side hustle in multiple ways.
Even if you're not a writer, try creating a story about your life. You can start off with some actual facts, but leave some space at the end of the story to write down what your dreams will look like and how you accomplished your goals. It may not go entirely as planned, which it almost never will, but you'll have a vision that you can strive to create.
You can always revise your plans, your visions, and your goals.
Now that you know a little bit more about what a side hustle is and what they're capable of doing for you, it's time to spring into action! Start seeing the world through the lens of the entrepreneur.
Stop doubting yourself. Stop accepting myths about how it is impossible to break free of the corporate rat race. Learn to value yourself and your time. With the mere change of thinking you set the wheels in motion for a personal revolution. Become disciplined and start believing that you're capable of doing anything!
Once you have the confidence you need, start working on your ideas. Think about how you can take a hobby or passion and turn it into a profitable business! Don't rush things and don't think that you will be an overnight success.
Know that you don't have to work for somebody else permanently. It is your choice if you keep a job. If you accept that your fate is unchangeable, you will never even enter the ring.
Be prepared to get dirty and, most importantly, to lose a fight or two (or dozens). Losing propagates wisdom. Be resilient and get used to failure. Failure will force you to learn, it will force you to dig into new ideas and new concepts. It will force you to evolve and take bigger risks.
"This thing we call "failure" is not the falling down, but the staying down." -Mary Pickford
Be prepared to cultivate a life of intrigue. Learn about new cultures, travel, and break down the walls in your mind that separate you from a world of limitless joy. Meet new people, taste new foods, and become a better person. The more you think like an entrepreneur, the more success you will have.
Happy Side Hustling!