12 Best Side-Hustle Jobs to Make Money
Do you find yourself running out of money often or worry that your 9 to 5 job is not as stable as you'd like? Perhaps you want to earn a bit extra to set aside for college tuition, a vacation or some other big goal?
In today's tough economy, a lot of people are taking it upon themselves to be proactive and earn money in non-traditional ways. Why put yourself in the position of depending solely on traditional employment when it's anything but reliable?
The ease of internet access has made small side businesses aka “side hustles” attainable for many people. There are a variety of things you can do to earn money on your own terms. All you need is a little creativity and initiative. So, are you ready to tackle a new challenge and earn some money? If so, here are the best 12 side hustle ideas for earning a decent secondary income.
Nothing here is a get rich quick scheme – and anything worth doing requires effort. I also don't feature ideas like content mills or Mturk where you spend hours working for way less than minimum wage. These are actual real ideas for decent secondary income that could, over time, potentially develop into full-time income.
If you're willing to learn a skill or two and can be patient and persistent, consider the ideas below.
1. Start a Website/Blog
Not just any old blog. If you are an expert at something (and nearly everyone is passionate about at least one interest/skill) start a tightly focused niche blog (or two) that focuses on your specialty. Take time and really develop top of the line content and keep it updated. Ideally, your blog/website should be hosted on its own domain, but you can start for free with a blogger blog.
Once you have your domain and custom website/blog established there are several ways to monetize it. You can use a program like AdSense or Medianet to serve contextual ads. You can also sign up for affiliate programs like Amazon Affiliates and earn commissions on items you recommend. Love to make videos? Connect your YouTube channel and site together and earn from both!
Tomoson is another great site where you can sign up to receive free and deeply discounted items to review on your blog. Niche websites with blogs are a great way to receive a bit of residual money constantly.
I recommend taking the time to learn WordPress. It is the easiest way to learn how to develop websites without having to know how to code. Not only that, but WordPress websites are search engine friendly and most themes are responsive (meaning they display properly on all devices). This helps your site rank well.
Also, focus on social media by developing great content that people will want to share.
2. Test Websites
You can sign up to test websites. The pay is generally around $10 per test and each test lasts around 20 minutes or so. There are a few sites you can audition to do this. You will need to use screen recording software and a microphone to do the assigned tasks.
As you go through the tasks; your job is to speak continuously about what you are doing, the impressions you have of the site etc. It helps companies better understand end users. You won't get rich doing this, but even a few tests per month adds up and it's an interesting way to spend some free time.
Whatusersdo.com is one site where you can sign up for free to become a website tester. There is an application and audition process that takes approximately 5 minutes. If you are approved they will let you know via email within a few days and will mail you tests when they come available.
Other usability testing sites include:
3. Build Websites/Blogs for Others
If you take the time to learn WordPress; not only can you create your own website/blog for your own products, services or content – you can make a good side income developing and setting up sites for others. You can create full sites and sell them domain and all using sites like Flippa.com.
Or you can advertise your services and set up a site for your client with their own hosting etc. People with basic web design/development skills can market this locally and help small businesses who perhaps don't have the time/resources to invest in building a website from scratch.
Using WordPress allows you to build responsive, beautiful websites for clients in very little time. As a website designer myself; I resisted WordPress for a long time because I actually enjoyed coding and designing (yes, I'm weird like that) Once I realized how much simpler it is to throw a site up on WP though; I have to admit, that's the route I've taken the past few years.
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4. Develop Content
Write articles and sell them on Constant Content or offer to do short blog posts or plugs using services like Fiverr. I prefer Constant-Content because you can name your price and assign specific usage rights; but it is also time consuming to get your articles approved.
Fiver will earn you a lot less money, but a few extra bucks here and there for writing quick 300 – 500 word blog posts isn't bad if your fast about it. You can also find content development gigs on various freelancing sites. There are always businesses looking for people to write their content.
If you are an expert in a specific field, you can even solicit site owners directly with offers to ghost write their content. I have done this and earn directly from my clients. No middle man means I get the full amount of the sale and I also make more working directly. You need to be very good at what you do to make this work. People aren't going to pay you $25 per blog post if they can get the same or better quality on Fiverr, for example.
5. Sell Handmade Creations
I love to create various things. In fact, crafting and art has become a bit problematic for me because I have less room to store all my art supplies I keep amassing. I do several craft shows per year and have sold on Etsy and will soon be setting up my new shop on Amazon Handmade. That program is by invite only. If you haven't been invited and would like to give it a go; be sure to visit my article, “How to Get an invitation to Amazon's Handmade Program.”
Put together a few of your handmade items and take your time taking very high quality photographs. If you are able to customize handmade items that's even better. I do wine bottle lights and lamps with custom designed labels. People love them and I sell them locally through craft fairs and via word of mouth as well as through my specialty blog and website.
6. Sell Digital Art and Designs
A lot of digital artists and Photoshop hobbyists sell products with their custom designs on them through sites like Zazzle. A Zazzle shop is very easy to set up and you can put your images on dozens of different items from phone cases to mouse pads and T-shirts.
You'll need eye catching and original designs in high definition. If you are a Photoshop junkie this could be a great side hustle and hobby.
Need to learn some new skills in a hurry? Udemy has regular specials on all kinds of courses often for only $10 and they are full, video enhanced hands on courses. I taught myself several skills this way!
7. Start a Cleaning/Errand Business Locally
This is a relatively inexpensive home business to start. All you need to do is apply for a sole proprietor business license and get basic liability insurance in most areas. Advertise your services locally in papers or on community bulletin boards. If you do a great job, word of mouth can keep you very busy.
I ran a side cleaning business doing only a few clients per month and it brought me in an extra $500. I only stopped when I went back to school again, but it's definitely an easy start up. Don't feel like cleaning? Run errands like picking up groceries and dry cleaning for busy folks. If you are well organized you can make a daily trip to town really pay off.
8. Refurbish Furniture and Resell on Commission
Do you love making old things new again? Does the thrill of the hunt at rummage sales and flea markets make you giddy? If so, refurbishing items and then reselling them can be a great way to make some money provided you have the space.
I've seen many lovely redone pieces sold on consignment in local shops and even advertised on Craigslist.
9. Dog Walking
A lot of people have made quite a chunk of change taking on this task. It does require a lot of physical effort, but the payoff, particularly in urban areas can be really worthwhile. Place an ad in the local paper or advertise your services with local veterinarian’s offices or groomers. This is a great way to network and build clients with others.
10. Tutoring/Teaching Online
Are you a grammar Nazi or Math geek? Put your skills to good use helping students improve their grades and make decent money doing it. Many tutors online make $20 per hour or more. Sites like Tutor.com match you with students needing your skills. You are required to be available a minimum of 5 hours per week.
Instead of tutoring, you can also try your hand earning residual income by teaching a course online. Udemy is a great way to teach a class on anything you are an expert in. They do have strict criteria for their classes, but they have excellent and completely free resources to teach you how to develop a top of the line course. Many teachers on Udemy are making $1000 or more per month – not too bad for a residual income side gig!
If you are a fast typist, incredibly accurate and have the right equipment; it is completely possible to earn a full time living from home doing transcription work, especially if you are certified. Medical and legal transcribers make very good money if they are accurate and fast.
There are several online sites where you can apply for transcription work, or you can advertise your services locally. Word of mouth is often your best friend when it comes to finding more clients.
Online Transcription Websites
- TranscribeMe. Anyone can join; pay is $20 per audio hour to start for regular transcription. Specialized transcribers (legal or medical) get paid higher per-page rates.
12. Virtual Assistant
Are you super-organized with great social media and customer service skills? If so, working as a virtual assistant may be the gig for you. Virtual assistants are just that – assistants who take on many tasks. You may do data entry, set appointments, manage calendars, handle social media posting etc. There are many things a savvy assistant can do and the pay can be good too with the right skill sets.
This is another area like transcription where you can work through other sites (and make less usually but have more jobs to choose from) or advertise and work on your own. You can often find virtual assistant jobs on Freelance websites like Upwork (formerly Elance).
Another idea is to use a site like peopleperhour.com where you can list your services and name your hourly fee. This site gives you a bit more freedom and flexibility by allowing you to set your own rate and post a custom profile.
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© 2015 Christin Sander
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