Side Hustle Ideas
That Make Money

Side hustle ideas, particularly in the online space, seem to be a dime-a-dozen of late. But aren’t many of those ideas often unrealistic in terms of making you any real money? We undoubtedly know that to be the case.

However, we also know that side gigs are one of the best ways to not only increase your income, but also to explore potential business opportunities with little to no initial investment, or time commitment.

Side Hustle Ideas - Woman Walking Dogs. Dog walking is one of many side hustles to increase your income

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With that in mind, this article will focus exclusively on side hustle ideas with a good track record and realistic path to generating viable income.

So, here is our selection of side hustle ideas that are potential and credible income builders. They are listed alphabetically to remove any presumption of ranking.

What we purposely excluded in this selection are side hustle ideas that require substantial upfront cash investment, hence a heightened risk of financial loss in addition to the risk of failure inherent to all business ventures.

We also excluded side hustles that require a high level of specialization or skill training excluding a lot of entry-level side hustle seekers.

This is a selection of tried-and-true side hustle ideas with the lowest chance of catastrophic failure or financial fiasco. So, without further ado, here we go.

Assorted Performance Marketing

Description: This encompasses a set of practices where you promote other companies' products and earn commissions on sales. It requires the ability to choose profitable products, build an audience, and apply effective marketing strategies.

This category includes anything from arbitrage marketing to brand sponsorships to display advertising and more.

Performance marketing can be compelling as a side hustle because it offers several potential benefits:

  • Low barrier to entry: this requires minimal upfront investment, making it accessible to virtually anyone, anywhere, anytime, as long as you have an internet connection.

  • Passive income and scalability potential: once established, you can increase your income by expanding your reach and promoting additional products or services with an endless variety of niches.

Choose niches you're passionate about and/or have knowledge in, which will allow you to create more engaging and authentic content.

Any performance marketing side hustle idea can lead to a rewarding business, but it requires dedication, strategic planning, and a commitment to building a loyal audience. You will need consistent traffic generation through SEO, social media marketing, or paid advertising.

Blogging

If you love to write and share content with others, you could start a blog that focuses on a topic that interests you – examples are travel, food, beauty, fashion and finance blogs.

You monetize your blog by posting ads or affiliate links. Ads are paid per click or per view, while affiliate links promote products or services featured by you, and you get a commission on sales.

Many blogging platforms offer easy-to-use design tools and beautiful blog templates, so you don’t have to pay designers or web developers.

Successful blogging or vlogging requires consistent high quality content creation, marketing vigor and audience building, which can take time to gain traction.

Blogging and vlogging have become increasingly popular side hustles ideas, offering ads, sponsorships, affiliate marketing, or selling your own products and services for earnings..

You can create content from anywhere in the world as long as you have internet access and an audience. Income can grow surprisingly large over time, but it does take patience and dedication.

This side hustle might be a good fit for you if you are passionate about a specific topic or niche; you see yourself enjoying writing, storytelling, or video creation; and you are a self-starter with strong organizational and time management skills.

The growth outlook for blogging and vlogging as a side hustle idea is positive. The continued rise of internet usage and social media platforms provides ample opportunities to reach a broader audience.

Additionally, the growing popularity of video content makes vlogging a particularly attractive side hustle option.

Childcare and Babysitting

There’s never a shortage of demand for childcare and babysitting. It’s a great way to make extra money in your free time or on a regular schedule.

This side hustle idea might be a good fit for you if enjoy spending time with children; you have a playful personality; you are patient, responsible, fit; and you have strong interpersonal skills to work comfortably with different personalities or challenging situations such as tantrums, siblings’ rivalries, etc.

There is potential for good income, but location and rates can have significant variance. Working for wealthy or celebrity clients constantly on the go can pay many times the rate of occasionally babysitting for everyday couples on movie nights.

However, babysitting is a great side hustle because it’s low-cost, has low barrier to entry, and is easy to market and manage gigs. You can use apps like Care.com, Sittercity.com, UrbanSitter.com or Square.com to automate your bookings and payments.

By the way, while certification isn’t required in most areas, the American Red Cross has a variety of babysitting certification courses that you can take online and in person for CPR, first aid, and behavior tactics to help build your profile.

The growth outlook of childcare and babysitting as a side hustle is quite positive. While it's not a booming industry with dramatic growth projections, there is a stable and persistently high demand from working parents and busy families always seeking childcare solutions, and it can be very rewarding. It comes down to your time and availability.

Digital Products Sales

Creating and selling digital products is a great side hustle idea to make money. Digital artwork, digital logos, digital music, digital photography, digital video and digital website design templates are in high demand.

You make money by creating these digital products and selling them via download on your website, social media platform and many other digital product markets. Here are categories and examples of digital products you can develop:

1. Educational Products

  • Online courses teaching specific skills
  • Ebooks on particular topics of interest
  • Printable workbooks or templates such as planners, trackers, or educational worksheets
  • Video tutorials covering in-demand skills or high-interest software applications

2. Creative Arts

  • Online sale of high-resolution artwork files for digital use or printing
  • Stock photos or videos: Capture and sell royalty-free photos or videos relevant to popular themes or aesthetics
  • Music or sound effects production, meditation audio aids
  • Printable designs like wall art, greeting cards or electronic stationery
  • Planners and calendars

3. Innovative Designs

  • Mobile apps
  • Video games
  • Lookup tablets and presets for photos and videos
  • Graphics, including logos
  • Animations
  • Paid newsletters
  • Resumé templates
  • Virtual planners or calendars

4. Online Subscriptions

  • Nutritional plans
  • Fitness and workout programs
  • Securities trading group access

You can monetize digital products on various marketplaces. For the emerging leader in digital marketplaces of the moment, check out Digistore24.

Dog Walking, Doggie Daycare and Pet Sitting

Birth rates may be on a downtrend, but pet ownership is definitely on the rise, creating a consistent need for pet care services.

If you enjoy spending time with furry friends and providing them with love and care, this side hustle clocks in as an animal lover's dream. While rates can vary depending on location and services offered, income potential is positive.

In addition, no specific qualifications are generally required except a good knack for animal behavior and some basic safety essentials. Just be sure to clearly define your services, such as in-home pet sitting or dog walking. Other side services may include handling pet medication or selling pet insurance.

Some of the demands of the job are self-employment requirements such as finding clients, managing finances, and keeping records.

You should also be prepared to handle potential risks like bites, scratches, or pet emergencies. Other physically challenging efforts include walking, playing with and cleaning after pets.

If you’re an animal lover, you’ll love pet sitting and dog day care. It’s a great side hustle that’s easy to get up and running. It can also be scalable. For instance, you can potentially build a network of clients and hire other people to work, keeping a percentage of revenues.

So, a dog walking service is not just a great way to get some exercise while making some extra money. It is potentially a real business.

If you want to give it a try, check out dog walking and pet care gigs in timetopet.com, or rover.com. You can also manage your own booking and payments using square.com's free tools.

Drop Servicing

Drop Servicing is similar to Drop Shipping but starkly different in some key factors. It also involves finding clients and outsourcing the actual work to freelancers or agencies, but instead of physical products like drop shipping, it focuses on providing services.

Let’s evaluate its potential as a side hustle: While drop shipping is showing signs of saturation, it will likely still be a growth area. However, that probably won’t be for the small operator or average freelancer.

Increasingly, big and established drop-shippers will presumptively dominate the market and freelancers will need extremely specialized niches to survive.

Drop servicing, on the other hand, provides exactly that: a targeted service that small operators can deliver perhaps even better than big brands.

Drop Servicing is a low entry barrier field that requires minimal upfront investment. You can offer various services based on the skills and expertise available in the freelance market, and cater to diverse client needs without possessing those skills yourself.

It is also a highly scalable business by way of taking on more clients and finding additional freelancers to handle the workload.

Compared to drop-shipping, service-based businesses can potentially offer much higher profit margins, depending on the service and your pricing strategy. Remember, you carry no physical inventory, and you have no storage or transportation costs.

Your key considerations in drop-servicing are finding reliable freelancers to maintain consistent quality of service and professionalism.

You also need to effectively communicate with clients and with freelancers, as well as manage deadlines and timely delivery of services.

Likewise, it’s important to invest in effective marketing strategies to attract clients and grow a long-term customer base by showcasing your understanding of their needs.

As far as growth potential, the demand for online services is expected to continue growing, driven by the increasing need for specialized skills and remote work practices. Drop servicing can benefit from this growth and be a viable side hustle option.

Freelancing

Freelancing is one of the most straightforward and reliable ways to make extra money and can be at the top of any list of simple side hustle ideas. The caveat is that you offer a skill in demand, or work at managing individuals with the needed skills.

From graphic designers to writers and editors, as well as website developers, freelancing encompasses a wide array of side hustle jobs online and offline. Virtually any skillset can be parlayed into a freelance job, including SEO, video editor, all sorts of work assistants, event planners, social media and so on...

Free platforms like Fiverr, Upwork and Freelancer allow you to set up shop instantly. Freelancing can be a viable and rewarding side hustle, especially if you're self-motivated, have strong marketing skills, and can manage your time effectively.

You can fine-tune your craft by attending industry events, connecting with other freelancers, and building relationships with potential clients to expand your network.

Building a strong reputation and delivering high-quality work will lead to repeat business and referrals, helping you establish a thriving side hustle.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is the process of building a brand through the posting of engaging content on multiple platforms. This can include websites, blogs, podcasts, social media accounts, YouTube channels, and so on.

Influencers can make money through all kinds of content, including product reviews, tips and suggestions, videos, tricks and hacks, social commentary, and much more.

An influencer's side hustle can be launched virtually for free, and you can earn money by selling affiliate links, advertising, and sponsored content. You can also monetize your videos notably on YouTube when they reach a certain number of views, subscribers and time watched.

YouTube accounts are free to create. In addition, you can start a free/low-cost website and blog with WordPress or other website platforms like SquareSpace, Wix, etc. Then, as your business grows, you upgrade your storage and features.

Influencer marketing can be an appealing side hustle, offering the potential for establishing yourself as an authority in a niche and building a loyal following.

However, maintaining a consistent content flow is crucial and requires time and dedication needed to build a large and engaged audience. And because the market is competitive, choose something you’re so passionate about that you can talk about it endlessly.

This will be challenging to your competitors and help you stand out to attract brands and followers.

Obviously, you’ll also need to be very active on social media, particularly on platforms frequented by your audience. For helpful resources, check out Social Blade, Hype Auditor, or Influencer Marketing Hub.

Photography/Videography

Photography and videography can be a viable and rewarding side hustle individually or, better yet, as a double whammy.

The future for photography/videography among side hustle ideas is a promising one as the demand for high-quality visual content is expected to continue growing across various sectors like marketing, social media, and e-commerce.

This spells opportunity for photographers and videographers, especially with technological advancements like drones, 360-degree cameras, and virtual reality (VR). But niche specialization and continuous skill learning should be a focal point to ward off competition.

Product photography, events, portraits, weddings are not waning for the least in terms of need for skilled photographers or videographers. You can also make money with additional services like editing, prints, stock photo and video selling or licensing to agencies, social media content creation, etc.

The future outlook also includes demand rising in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) for applications and all-encompassing experiences such as product visualization, 360-degree renditions, training simulations, or immersive storytelling.

This is a side hustle for you if you are prepared to keep gaining experience, investing in new technology, networking and marketing yourself continuously to build a clientele.

This side gig requires good equipment and editing skills. The market is competitive, but offers potential for recurring income.

Podcasts

Podcasting as a side hustle offers great growth potential. Podcasts are a popular low to no-cost side hustle that is easy to start and build.

Podcasts are prerecorded audio files that you can record, edit and send to podcasting services for your listeners to listen to at their convenience.

You can monetize your podcast with ads, sponsored content and affiliate links added in your podcast descriptions.

Podcasting does show signs of potential for growth as a side hustle, but with some caveats:

The podcasting space continues to experience steady growth, attracting new listeners and creators globally. This expanding audience base increases awareness of the medium and a larger potential pool for your podcast to reach.

Podcasts also cater to a wide range of interests, allowing you to connect with a passionate audience around specific topics. Ads, sponsorships, subscriptions and even merchandise are a combo of effective monetization options if you manage to grow a substantial audience.

Similar to YouTube and social media, podcasting requires minimal upfront investment and offers scheduling and production flexibility, allowing you to record remotely, manage your workflow to suit your lifestyle, etc.

However, an important consideration is that podcasts sometimes struggle to achieve financial sustainability in the initial stages. So, besides creating as professional sounding a broadcast as you can, it’s also critical to diligently grow your audience and keep it engaged.

Podcasting as a side hustle is for you if you are passionate about specific topics, you enjoy taking part in engaging conversations or discussions, or you have a knack for storytelling.

Platforms like iTunes, Anchor and Buzzsprout, just to name a few, offer packages from free to premium paid-plans with revenue and operations dashboard to work on.

Self-publishing for Writers

If you are a writer, self-publishing is a natural off-shoot of your craft. In fact, you don’t have to be an expert writer to make money from self-publishing these days.

If you can tell a great story or explain how something works, you can hire a ghostwriter, or an editor to complete or polish your book. Then, you can publish your book to a platform like Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing, for example.

Moreover, with the advent of A.I. in the public sphere, writing is no longer reserved for the skilled elite educated in this noble art. All you need is compelling narration and the right tools.

Self-publishing can be a rewarding side hustle for writers, offering several potential benefits:

  • Wider reach: You can utilize various platforms to reach a global audience, independent of established publishers' distribution channels.

  • Faster turnaround: You can publish your book on your own schedule, bypassing the traditional publishing process's time constraints.

  • Higher potential royalties: Compared to traditional publishing, you typically earn a higher percentage of royalties on each sale.

On the other hand, self-publishing can require some initial investment to cover professional formatting, proofing, and cover design; then, sustained paid or free marketing can also be needed to push the finished product.

That said, you can leverage book clubs especially, but also author websites, specialty blogs, and other online communities to build your brand.

In addition, the advent of A.I. enables writers to quickly build a body of work and establish themselves as a bonafide author in record time. Just be sure that your content is authentic and engaging - not robotic regurgitation.

Senior Sitting and Companion Care

Senior sitting is considered a growing field due to several factors: By 2030, the last of the Baby Boomer generation, born between 1946 and 1964 will be 65 or older, significantly increasing the demand for senior care services.

Seniors would rather remain in their homes as long as possible in their sunset years, which creates a demand for in-home care services like senior sitting.

Furthermore, busy adult children may not be able to provide all the care their parents need, thereby adding to the demand for professional senior sitting services.

This includes companionship, light housekeeping, medication reminders and so on.

You can tailor your schedule to fit your availability and have a positive impact on seniors' lives while providing invaluable companionship and support.

This side hustle generally requires no specific qualifications and the potential for income is good depending on circumstances. There is also opportunity for social entrepreneurship, and creating a team under your supervision, etc.

Senior sitting is one of the most affordable side hustles you can find to get started on. With care-based apps like Square, Care.com, Papa.com or Sittercity you can manage your services, bookings and payments.

This side hustle is a good fit for you if you enjoy interacting with and helping others; you’re patient, compassionate, and have strong interpersonal skills; you’re physically fit and comfortable with potential physical demands; you’re also adaptable and comfortable working with a diverse range of personalities and needs.

The future growth outlook for senior sitting and companion services is a positive one. In addition, technological advancements could create new untapped opportunities such as remote monitoring and support services, which will potentially expand the reach and scope of senior care solutions.

Lastly, this might be a scalable business for entrepreneur-minded individuals with an eye on growing it into an agency for example. Just remember, it’s essential to put strong emphasis on being a reputable, untarnished and trustworthy service provider.

YouTube Channel

If you are passionate about creating video content, willing to learn and adapt, and are prepared for a potentially long-term investment of time and effort, YouTube content creation can be one of the best side hustle ideas for you, with the potential for growth and income.

YouTube is a free platform where you can share your knowledge, discuss current events or provide entertainment. It is the second largest search engine in the world, only surpassed by its owner, Google.

Depending on your format, it may take some time to get your YouTube channel up and running, but if you put in the effort, you can potentially make thousands of dollars a month.

As a matter of fact, a lot of dedicated YouTube side hustlers make their YouTube channel a full-time job. Some even create their videos using just a smartphone or a good camera with free video editing programs like iMovie, loom, Canva and Adobe Spark to edit the videos.

You monetize your YouTube channel through YouTube ads and sharing your videos on blogs and social media. You can also monetize through sponsorships, or selling products and services.

YouTube remains a dominant platform for online video content, attracting billions of users globally. This large user base presents a significant potential audience for your content.

Some wonder if the platform is not saturated, but as new content creators come on board, so does an ever-growing audience. More importantly, the diversity of niches allows creators to find their select niche and build an audience around specific topics or themes.

However, important considerations exist: Income generation takes time and effort. Building a large enough audience to achieve significant income can be a slow and challenging process. This must be something you have a passion for and are ready to fully commit to.

YouTube monetization also involves getting to 1000 subscribers and 4000 watch hours to be eligible for the YouTube Partner program – or 1000 subscribers with 10 million Shorts views in the last 90 days. If countless individuals can do it, so can you…

Therefore, whether YouTube content creation has "growth potential" as a side hustle depends on your individual approach, dedication, and understanding of the necessary effort involved.

Are These Side Hustle Ideas a Good Fit For Me?

In thinking about side hustle ideas, it becomes clear that the right side hustle can be a great way to make extra money, while following a passion or starting a business in your free time.

Because there can be so many side hustle ideas to choose from, it’s a good idea to explore and see which one suits your skills, objectives, budget and time.

There’s no such thing as a “get-rich-quick” side hustle, despite what some savvy marketers and coaches can tell you. A side hustle needs attention, dedication and follow-through just like any other business.

However, when done correctly, side hustles can provide excellent profit and growth opportunities, and they can even become a full-time job or standalone life-changing career.

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