12 Best Side-Hustle Jobs to Make Money

Updated on November 28, 2017
ChristinS profile image

Christin has been successfully self-employed for over 17 years. Her passion is helping others hone their skills and find good opportunities.

12 best side hustles to earn extra money
12 best side hustles to earn extra money | Source

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.

Helpful Hint!

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!

11. Transcription

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

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.

Has this hub given you any new ideas for your next side hustle?

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© 2015 Christin Sander


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    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 13 months ago from Midwest

      Thanks Anita, glad you enjoyed it.

    • Anita Hasch profile image

      Anita Hasch 13 months ago from Port Elizabeth

      Thanks for sharing. Very interesting hub.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 15 months ago from Midwest

      Thanks for the read and comment kellywil much appreciated :)

    • profile image

      kellywil 15 months ago

      Great article. I've been someone who "thinks" of doing so many different things. I think for many people, it's just a matter of taking that deep breath and going for it. "It" being whatever your true passion and desire is. Take the first step, then the second....and before you know it, you're achieving something amazing. The ideas in this blog are wonderful and legit. Nice article.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 21 months ago from Midwest

      Hi, sorry I haven't been around much lately - a lot going on outside of HubPages :) I appreciate the comment and support.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 21 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Hadn't stopped by in awhile (neither have you) but this caught my eye and is well worth getting it back into today's "Feed" exposure.

      Helping each other is one thing HubPages is certainly good at doing. Keep sharing.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 23 months ago from Midwest

      Thanks for the read and comment bydojo. Bogs are great for monetizing in several different ways, but it does take patience and persistence for sure.

    • bydojo profile image

      Ramona Jar 23 months ago from Romania

      Really cool ideas. While blogging takes time to be worth the effort, there's a lot of gaining potential there, as long as you're doing your 'homework' well and are consistent in your efforts. And, most important, choose a high-paying niche.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 2 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks Abhimanyu for reading and commenting - glad you enjoyed the hub.

    • Abhimanyu gaur profile image

      Kshitiz Gaur 2 years ago from India

      Amzaing hub and your hardwork on this hub is evident.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 2 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks RJ - I appreciate the read and comment. The world will be a better place when people realize there are no "get rich quick schemes" that actually work.

    • RJ Schwartz profile image

      Ralph Schwartz 2 years ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

      Some great ideas to inspire folks - I like the fact that they are realistic and not get rich quick, scheme-like jobs. Nicely done.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 2 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks for the feedback breathing - so glad you enjoyed the post.

    • breathing profile image

      Sajib 2 years ago from Bangladesh

      Absolutely brilliant post on freelance jobs to make money!! Indeed these jobs are really worth of making money if done in the proper manner. The most amazing thing is most of these jobs can be done easily. You need not to invest money or much time in order to become successful in any of these fields. You can earn money by just simply sitting at home with most of these jobs!!! Most of the people don’t even know about these jobs. That’s why they don’t try these out and hence go on with the normal jobs. With this post, you can definitely think of something different.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 2 years ago from Midwest

      Cool bluesradio, thanks for the added tips and ideas :)

    • bluesradio profile image

      Marc Lee 2 years ago from Durham, NC

      I work in NC and I can tell you that of course if you are in the arts, bartending and restaurant work are good side gigs, and of course, there is always Voice Over work....and, one we really love in NC is working for Measurement, Inc. which grades end of the year tests for various states and requires a college degree..

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 2 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks Flourish, volunteerism is great too :) Just find some balance. Thanks for the read and comment.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      You certainly have provided some ideas here! I wish I weren't volunteering so much and giving away my labor for free!

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 2 years ago from Midwest

      You're very welcome drbj I appreciate the read and comment :)

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      Thanks for these interesting 'side hustle' suggestions, Christin. Most folks need all the help they can get.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 2 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks bdeguiulio for the read and comment and I hope you have much success with your travel blog :).

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great suggestions Christin. I have often thought of starting a travel blog but have just never executed on the idea. Perhaps this will inspire to look into it. Thanks.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 2 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks Bill - I appreciate the read and comment. It's always good to have a few different ideas for making money in a pinch.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      All great suggestions, Christin. People I know are all looking for ways to make a dollar stretch and taking on odd jobs....very helpful.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 2 years ago from Midwest

      Hey Eric, long time no see :) Hope life is treating you kind. Thanks for reading and commenting - much appreciated :)

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 2 years ago from Midwest

      Great Ann,

      I hope you find some good opportunities and do let us know how you do if so :)

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 2 years ago from Midwest

      You're very welcome sallybea do let us all know what you discover and how you like it :)

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 2 years ago from Midwest

      Thank you swalia for reading and commenting :)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Very interesting. These are really cool ideas. I am not looking now but I would look to you if I were.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Some great ideas here, some of which I didn't even know existed. Keeping this accessible for reference!


    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Very interesting hub with some great ideas which I hope to explore over the next few days. I am a great believer in not having too many eggs in one basket. Thanks for sharing.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 2 years ago

      A very useful and informative hub!