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I’ll spare you the gushy sales speak.
If you’re reading this, it’s because you’re looking to make money with a side hustle.
I’m not here to convince you that you should.
Instead, I’m here to tell you how you can and that it can be quite profitable.
I started my side hustle by looking to reduce financial stress.
I figured if I had a steady and solid side hustle, I could pay off outstanding debt, get some toys and trinkets, and maybe even save some money (I didn’t think that was even possible!).
Within a short time, my side hustle became my primary income, and the world, well, became my oyster.
But it was not without heartache.
Any online guru telling you otherwise is lying through their teeth.
I wasn’t able to skip the nonsense.
I went down a few rabbit holes that took a lot of time and didn’t produce, which is one reason why I’m writing this post.
I want my readers to avoid the traps.
So let’s start with the criteria; even if this is all you read, you’ll be better off than casting your net in fishless waters.
The Side Hustle Criteria!
- High Earning Potential (or steady earning)
- Flexible (don’t paint yourself in a corner)
- Scalable (begin with the end in mind and ask yourself, “can I grow this into something?”
The criteria help ascertain the overarching value of the side hustle.
But that’s not all that matters. I’ve honed the process to match you with the perfect gig.
The Side Hustle Vetting Process
In my experience, for a side hustle to be a success, you need to be motivated.
It takes immense self-discipline, specifically in effort and time management, so don’t skim over these considerations.
I’ve designed this four-fold vetting process for two reasons:
- To make sure a side hustle is right for you in general.
- To help you find one side hustle specifically.
It takes a great deal of time, energy, and determination to build a successful side hustle.
The above statement is remarkably accurate when your side hustle is a legitimate supplemental income to your primary job.
If you don’t have passion for what you’re doing, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to endure the sacrifice.
So, when you peruse the following list, try to find the one you envision yourself doing and enjoying.
It’s also crucial to outline your goals upfront to avoid getting into an undesirable mess and wasting time.
Not all side hustles are created equal; some require costs upfront.
If you need a website for your hustle, this will cost money.
If you want to do e-commerce, you’ll need a website and advertising funds.
If you’re making physical products, well, you need to purchase those materials.
The following list has relatively low startup costs. However, it’s prudent to see what budget you are working with to inform your business strategy.
How much time do you have to set aside for this side hustle? Discipline is critical here.
Most of us launching a side hustle do it while we maintain a full-time job. I’ve heard some people say, “I’ll do it whenever I have time.”
That’s what I call a tragedy-strategy.
Successful people optimize their time.
I recommend either an hour or two in the morning or at night. Make it the same time every day – a “working hour” as it were.
Maybe you work every morning from 4:30 am to 6:30 am.
Maybe it’s an evening time frame from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
Whatever you choose, plug it into your schedule and consistently do it the same time every day.
If you don’t have time for this, you may not be able to do a side gig.
(4) Day Job
It is vital to consider: does your side gig conflict with your day job?
You want to make sure you’re not starting a side hustle that attempts to reach the same clientele as your day job.
It would be a conflict of interest, and most employers prohibit this; consult your employee handbook to be on the safe side.
The first fifteen side hustles on this list pass the side hustle criteria, but I recommend leveraging the fourfold vetting process to find the side hustle that’s right for you. The last six gigs that don’t pass the side hustle criteria can offer high supplemental income but are just not scalable.
The 21 Best Side Hustles of 2021.
People consistently underestimate blogging, which is likely due to the time and the effort it can take on the front end to build momentum.
However, when I tell you this business model has one of the highest profit margins, I’m not even slightly exaggerating.
Blogs have recently been selling at 40x their monthly revenue!
In case you missed that, if your site makes $1000 a month, you can potentially sell it for $40,000!
For most of us (who make a full time living using this business model), blogging started as a hobby.
Being your own boss is a strong enough selling point for most of us.
Making your hours, traveling whenever you feel compelled, owning your time is a pretty incredible feeling, no doubt about it.
But when the prospect of making loads of money is not only a possibility but an imminent reality, it’s outlandish to consider, let alone imagine, doing anything else.
Blogs monetize via advertising and affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is the process by which an affiliate earns a commission by marketing another person or company’s product.
For example, someone searches in Google “what is the best electric guitar.”
The query brings them to my site, where I review a list of my ten favorite guitars.
As a result, they click through one of my links to Amazon and buy a guitar. Consequently, Amazon pays me a commission for the sale.
It’s not unheard of for bloggers to make six figures a month leveraging affiliate marketing.
Advertising usually consists of Ad networks like Adsense, which place display ads on your blog, and you typically make money by the number of impressions or clicks you get.
⇒Check out my ultimate guide to launching your blog.
⇒I recommend Authority Hacker for those with a bigger budget and want a super-comprehensive course.
⇒If your budget is a bit tight, I recommend CreateAndGo or FatStacksBlog course bundle.
(2) SEO Agency
This side hustle requires some SEO knowledge, but if you are willing to take a few courses on Udemy, you can quickly launch an agency.
The best part is that there is endless growth with this business model.
You can start by helping small businesses perform SEO website audits, for example:
- content audit
- keyword research
- content marketing
- local SEO
Namely, you employ anything and everything to increase their performance on the SERPs.
Small businesses are in dire need of digital marketing.
If you have some knowledge of the subject, you are pretty indispensable.
Most other agencies offer oversized packages that small businesses often can’t afford. They build the sites by themselves, resulting in an SEO heart attack (e.g., random content, no strategy, and an utter lack of optimization. )
You step in to optimize their site, focusing specifically on SEO auditing and content marketing optimization.
Most agencies charge between $2,500 – $3,500 for a full site audit. Since these local businesses will unlikely have developed a rich and layered site, I usually charge $1000 for an SEO audit and $500 to continue monthly audits.
I primarily use Ahrefs for auditing sites in general and SEOSurfer for content more precisely.
The possibilities are endless with this because there are so many sub-niches within this niche.
I’ve even run a backlink analysis on random sites searching for broken links. Once I find them, I email the owner and offer to correct them for a few hundred bucks, depending on the number of broken links I find.
Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
==> To learn more, take this course on Udemy: Start Your Own SEO Agency From Home – The Complete Blueprint.
This side hustle is super lucrative but not for everyone.
Have you ever been called a pedant? Do you always correct people when they use “there” instead of “their.”
Are you super annoying when it comes to grammar?
Do you get vicarious embarrassment when someone uses a word poorly? Like a passenger seat driver with your pen reconstructing sentencing and pissing off the driver.
Yeah, if that’s you, you can crush the proofread game.
It’s not uncommon for a proofreader to reel in 40k a year if full-time was the desired route.
Two excellent resources at your disposal to teach you every nook and cranny of this side hustle are ProofreadAnywhere.com and ArtofProofreading.com.
What’s fantastic about these two courses is that they also provide coaching.
So, whether you’re looking to be a generalist or niche-specific, these platforms can help you move in the right.
If proofreading is your fancy, turn your passion into profit, become a proofreader.
⇒Check out ProofreadAnywhere’s course here.
⇒ Check out the ArtofProofreading here.
(4) Facebook Advertising
Facebook Advertising is one of my favorite on the list for two primary reasons:
- It’s underutilized and therefore in high demand
- It’s a significant moneymaker and takes little time (if you value your time, this one is a doozy)
The truth is that small businesses often pour thousands into google ads and fail to get a decent return on their investment.
Facebook ads, though, really deliver.
For starters, it’s cheaper.
Additionally, you can use ad chat-bots and optimize customer interaction conversions.
Moreover, most small businesses still fail to leverage it!
Enter the scene of small business desperation: you.
You can easily make a few extra grand a month with this side hustle.
There is a caveat, though.
Sure, it’s common sense, but worth mentioning. You need to know what you’re doing.
Facebook Ads can seem mysterious and leave you feeling confused and mentally contorted, like Alice in Wonderland.
Fortunately, Facebook Side Hustle can turn you from victim to hero.
I’ve taken this course and am still active in their coaching group.
They teach everything you need to know about managing pixels and converting your ads.
It’s hands down the best course out there, not just because it hyper targets Facebook advertising, but the price is astonishing manageable for most of our budgets.
⇒Check out their course here.
⇒For a super-comprehensive course, check out Facebook Ads Ninja Masterclass by Kevin David. Warning: the price is steep.
(5) Teach English Online
This side hustle is reasonably straightforward.
Are you a teacher? Or do you enjoy teaching children?
This side hustle can be great for stay-at-home moms and dads; teach a few classes while the kids are napping and stack that bank account.
A friend of mine leveraged this platform to bring in an extra $15k a year in revenue by teaching a few hours every morning.
Not too shabby, right?
The best company I’ve found is VIPKID.
This company hires U.S. teachers primarily, but they have recently begun to branch out.
The majority of the students are between 3 – 12 years of age, most of which can speak English to a degree.
The pay varies from $14 – $22 per hour depending on a host of issues such as experience, education, performance, and monthly incentives.
They previously have a more robust incentive program including raises for veteran teachers on the platform but have since discontinued it, and this ruffled some feathers.
You don’t have to have teaching experience, but a bachelor’s degree is required.
Mikeandlauratravel.com offers an exhausting exhibition of information on VIPKID to start cranking out paychecks on this platform. The best part, they offer everything for free.
(6) Freelance Writing
SEMRush found out that in 2019 40% of businesses outsourced their content creation processes, and it’s is only growing more and more.
Freelance Writers make up 34% of the U.S. workforce, contributing a massive 715 billion to the U.S. economy.
All the prominent publications continue to outsource to freelance writers, The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Forbes, etc. (a common word employed for a freelance writer is a contributor).
But it’s not just significant publications that need freelance writers; it’s every business, whether the mom and pop shop down the street or multibillion-dollar corporations.
The customer journey is far too nuanced and complex now to avoid content marketing and other digital strategies.
If this something that interests you, I want to give you a tip on the front end to avoid frustration.
I know people who have had success as a generalist. Still, if you want to quickly scale your writing business, the easiest way to gather social proof and authority in your niche is to hyper-target a specific topic.
Just like blogging, you want to be the one the dominates your specific subject.
If you want to kick start your writing career, I would recommend the following:
⇒Jon Morrow’s Content Marketing Certification Course
⇒Carol Tice’s Freelance Writers Den
==>If you want to write and preclude all business aspects, platforms like WriterAccess, iWriter, and TextBroker handle the business elements; you only write.
(7) Launch a Shopify Store
E-commerce is a fan favorite.
The startup costs are low, and the profit potential is seemingly limitless.
Let’s face it. Online business is the future, and now is the time to get your piece of the pie.
Whether it’s Etsy, eBay, Amazon FBA, or Shopify, you can build an online business and make a heck of a lot of money doing it.
In my experience, dropshipping (e-commerce) has the most upfront costs out of everything else on this list.
However, what’s great about this model and all the other models mentioned is that you don’t need to do anything original.
Instead, you copy what works.
==>I recommend Dropshipping Lifestyle or, for more budgeted entrepreneurs, Build Assets Online.
Both courses offer a step-by-step process to assist in launching a successful Shopify store.
Additionally, with the speed that Shopify is exploding and it’s the ease of use, I highly recommend this route.
I spent a short time dropshipping high ticket products and producing $3k in profit by my second month.
Like blogging, an e-commerce site has a valuation between 18x to 36x it’s monthly value.
So, if I want to, I can quickly sell that store for $50k+
(8) Start a Flipping Side Hustle
It’s funny how little you value all the miscellaneous stuff lying around your house.
At least, I know I did.
But the laughter ended when I was able to sell $2.5k worth of what I considered junk in my basement.
I used eBay, but Facebook Marketplace and Etsy work just fine.
I met one gentleman who does this professionally.
That is, he goes from garage sale to garage sale (tag sale or rummage sale depending on your location) and just picks up a variety of things and sells them for profit on eBay.
And he crushes it!
He cranks out $70k a year just traveling to garage sales and reselling items with a higher markup.
Admittedly, $70k is a huge profit. Most people I know cash out at around $30k a year. However, if you focus on flea market flipping, you can capitalize on this model’s potential.
A great place to start learning every nook and cranny about Flea Market Flipping is Udemy ==> Ultimate Guide: Garage sales, Craigslist & Dumpster Diving at a low price.
==>Fleamarketflipper.com also has killer content and thorough courses
(9) Print on Demand T-Shirts
This model is a bit more competitive than it used to be; however, you can still make an absolute killing if done right.
A few platforms worth mentioning are Teespring, Merch By Amazon, Spreadshirt, and Printful.
You simply custom design your shirts, or any merch, and sell them through their site.
Do you struggle with design?
Fear not! Canva and/or PlaceIt can help you by drawing out your creative genius – even if you feel it’s non-existent!
What’s also excellent about this model is that most of these platforms are non-exclusive, meaning they don’t own the rights to your design.
What’s this mean for you?
It means you can upload your designs to every single one!
Syndication is a beautiful thing, folks.
Let them do the legwork (marketing, shipping, customer service, etc.), and you sit back and collect.
==> You can take Udemy and Skillshare courses. They offer plenty on this subject that can get you started quickly and effectively.
(10) Become an Influencer
In the past, when I thought of an influencer, I thought it was a professional athlete or celebrity whose reach was seemingly endless.
However, this isn’t necessarily the case.
Look at all the YouTubers and Podcaster’s crushing it.
They are influencers.
I have plenty of friends who have built six-figure businesses off social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.
Just like Youtube, the same principles apply.
Brands pay for the exposure you provide.
Nike may not be on the radar when you’re starting. But if you do some outreach within your niche, you’ll be able to get some small-time sponsors.
It’s not uncommon to craft a full-time income out of this, particularly when you couple it with other advertisements and affiliate offers.
==> If you want to dive headfirst into becoming an influencer check out JumpCut, Udemy, and Hubspot Academy.
(11) Create an Online Course
The “E-Learning Market size surpassed USD 200 billion in 2019 and is anticipated to grow at over 8% CAGR between 2020 and 2026.”
I’ve seen many bloggers who took their revenue from five to six-figures by adding an online course to their model.
I’ve also networked with plenty of people who have seven-figure incomes by selling courses alone.
This model is so profitable and easy that it’s silly not to hack into at some point.
Just find the niche, get specific as possible, educate others on a particular topic via an online course.
You don’t need to be a fantastic film editor, either. If you have a decent microphone and PowerPoint, then you’re well on your way.
==>Even if you don’t have a blog to sell it on, you can begin with Udemy or Skillshare because they will manage your marketing.
==>If you do have a blog or can partner up with someone who’s has a following, you can use teaching platforms like Teachable, Thinkific, and Kujabj and optimize the heck out of it.
(12) Become a Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant (VA) is an independent contractor, typically operates remotely, who provides administrative services.
There is a massive demand for VA’s.
A telltale sign you’re crushing it with your online business is when you hire your first VA.
Assistant doesn’t necessarily entail mundane tasks, but I’m not going to lie to you; this is often a significant component.
For example, on my e-commerce site, I used a VA to upload images and galleries.
I’ve also used a VA to oversee in-house freelance writers and assist in keyword research and publishing.
That’s the neat part, a VA’s work is broad and isn’t always super time-consuming, as many imagine it to be.
My VA spent an hour a day uploading images, Monday – Friday. This amounted to roughly $100.
Not bad, right?
What’s excellent about this side hustle is it’s effortless to find work.
The demand is that high. It’s a job that you can secure work for pretty quickly, especially if you are looking in the right places.
The nuances of the job will shift per clients needs, namely taking on tasks the business owner doesn’t have time for:
- Social.Media Management
- Email Marketing
- Scheduling appointments
- Graphic design
- Writing (newsletter, brochures, blog posts, etc.)
The following list is all companies that help you land a VA gig:
- Time Etc.
- Virtual Staff Finder.
- Fancy Hands.
- Task Rabbit
- VaVa Virtual
==>If you feel like you need a bit more guidance, FullyBookedVA.com offers a course and coaching to meet your goals.
(13) Freelancing (Design)
I discussed freelance writing above, and this is very similar only you freelance other talents: web design, website coding, voice-overs, etc.
I’m always going on platforms like Fiverr and Upwork for one-time operations, like hiring someone to create a logo for me or to edit HTML on one of my sites.
If you have a talent like this, it’s worth throwing yourself on Fiverr or answering some gigs on Upwork; you might find your talent is a profitable one.
(14) Notary Public Service
I thought becoming a Notary Public was hard and tedious, but it turns out each state grants a certification and usually less than $100!
Once you’re certified, you witness and authenticate the signing of:
- mortgage documents
- powers of attorney
- adoption papers
- advance medical directives
- other dealings central to our lives and the economy.
Let’s look at a notary public that acts as a loan signing agent. If each signing is roughly $100 to file, and you have five clients a week, you’re making $2,000 a month and likely doing less than 10 hours of work.
With good marketing, you could take this gig full-time and kill it.
(15) Pets & Stuff
When I go out of town, I use Rover’s website to ensure my dogs get walked.
Why I never thought of this as a legit side hustle is beyond me.
I did some research and found plenty of folks stacking an extra 10k on to their yearly income by hanging out with animals 🙂
The SavvyCouple even interviewed this woman, Taylor, who pulled in 20k with Rover!!!
==>Check out Rover here.
(16) Food & Grocery Delivery
Delivery services are exploding!
Services like Instacart, Doordash, Grubhub, UberEats, and Postmates, have ushered in a new generation of side hustlers.
You can earn between $10-$25 bucks an hour, depending on how populated your area is.
I know quite a few people pulling in an extra $500 a week.
It’s easy; apply and start driving.
(17) Online Surveys
Online surveys don’t meet the criteria I presented because they’re impossible to scale, at least in my experience, but they can still make you a few extra bucks if you need it.
It’s a nice little supplemental income that you can break into on your downtime.
- Survey Junkie
- Pinecone Research
- Opinion Outpost
- American Consumer Opinion
(18) Renting Out Your Space
Do you have extra space in your house or garage?
You can use Neighbor, a self-storage platform that will connect with people’s needs in your community.
In short, you list the space you have available, and people rent it out for storage.
According to the site, hosts are earning up to $15,000 a year. If you are interested, you can start operating your mini self-storage center today.
(19) Renting Out Your Car
These apps don’t seem to be available everywhere and appear to be more prevalent in urban areas, but Turo and Getaround are apps that help you rent your car.
They handle all of the insurance mumbo-jumbo so you can feel safe and protected.
So, while you sleep or work for eight hours, someone just rents out your car.
That’s about as passive of a side hustle as you can get.
(20) Kindle Publishing
Self-publishing is another market that has been making ridiculously considerable strides in the last few years.
You can write a book and, with ease, publish it on Amazon, which is literally like having your book on the self of the biggest bookstore in the world.
Mike and Joe of Build Assets Online have writers crank out fictional book series and take care of the marketing, mostly via email subscribers, and make an absolute fortune.
We are talking $10k per month in passive revenue for months on end.
==>You can get access to their course here.==>Another big player in the arena is Mark Dawson’s and his vaunted Self Publishing Formula; his course is way more robust and rich but more costly.
(21) Vehicle Advertising
If you have no shame, Wrapify will thoroughly saturate your car with sticky advertisements.
According to their website, in select areas, you can earn up to $500 a month.
Not scalable, but super passive and an excellent revenue stream for basically no work whatsoever.
A side hustle is a term that has been around for a long time - a lot longer than you'd expect.
Historical, side hustles have been the avenue to financial freedom.
How? By turning your passion into a profitable business.
Most folks have their primary day job and use their side hustle to help achieve their financial goals.
Listen, one commonality between millionaires is they have multiple streams of revenue.
So, in short, a side hustle is your first step to becoming a millionaire.
Well, it's straightforward.
You make a decision and follow through.
Set your goals, use the criteria above, follow the fourfold vetting process, and take action.
It is that simple.
As the hustle gets more involved, you just set new goals and continue to take action.
Are you a college student looking to take in some extra cash?
Are you a stay-at-home mom or dad looking to earn in your spare time?
Are you sick and tired of being a slave to the 9-5 grind?
The side hustle is waiting for you.
The real question is, "what are you waiting for?"