I have worked as an SEO and digital marketing consultant for over 10 years and booked side gigs ranging from $500 to over $100,000. This has been by far my most successful side hustle. And even though SEO has become more of a commodity service – it feels like everyone and their mother does SEO these days, I have built a referral network that continues to generate new clients.
If you own a camera, starting a freelance portrait photography business could be a very natural way to turn your skills and passions into a profitable business idea. Start with doing free shoots for friends and family to build up a strong online portfolio, get familiar with your gear and the editing process, then you'll be able to get paid for photographing professional head shots and celebratory family moments as your side business idea. Get started by checking out this men's portrait photography class that regularly broadcasts for free on CreativeLive. Plus, once you have all the photography gear, you can earn a little extra side income by renting it out when you're not using it through online marketplaces like Fat Lama.

15 Become a DJ It goes without saying that you need a deep love of music and an extensive collection of tunes before you can even consider DJing, but as much of the work is at evenings and weekends, it could make a perfect side business. Be ready to cater for a range of crowds and musical preferences, not just your passion. Learn the ropes by concentrating first on weddings and birthday parties or by doing roadie work for an established DJ, which will gain you useful contacts.
Client-based: These photographers are hired by different clients and charge a certain rate per hour or per session. Their clients range from individuals, couples, families, advertisement companies, fashion brands, travel agencies, schools and corporations, etc. For instance, wedding, portrait, and headshot photography are all client-based business models.
In many states, completing a driver’s education program is a requirement for getting a new driver's license or a learner's permit. Every state has different driver’s education requirements. Instead of paying a fine for a traffic infraction, many states offer the alternative of attending traffic school and the courts may also mandate that a person must attend a driver’s education program. Moreover, attending a defensive driving program may also entitle a driver to have lower vehicle insurance premiums.

Being a Loan Signing Agent is a great side hustle because you can make $75 to $200 per hour-long appointment working for yourself on your own schedule. Retired people, working professionals, and students can be signing agents and earn extra cash when they want. The best part is you need nothing more than a notary commission (which can often be attained by simply filling out an application)!


To market yourself as a consultant, you will, of course, have to be an expert in something. But, as Brett rightly says, “most people starting a business are.” What are you good at? What skills from your career can translate over into a viable consulting business? Think about your previous duties and areas in which you have excelled, and go from there.
Naturally, it helps if you already have an online audience you can tap for listening to your regular podcast (like I did), but that hasn't stopped thousands of people from building successful side business ideas into lucrative podcasts—including Alex Blumberg, founder of Gimlet Media who teaches how to use storytelling and launch a podcast. You can also check out this class from podcaster and entrepreneur, Lewis Howes, about how to make money podcasting as a side business idea, which regularly broadcasts for free on CreativeLive.

The ideal candlemaker should love the craft of candle making and have skills involved with sales and marketing. Candlemakers can begin modestly—in the kitchen and storage space of your home or apartment, and with a limited budget and inventory. Since candles are often thought to be commodity products, you must constantly seek ways of branding your line to differentiate yourself from competitors. Showcase your product line attractively through excellent image photography, a strong online presence and savvy sales skills.

Much like a live streaming business, a podcasting business takes a hobby and turns it into a profitable business. You might really enjoy talking about a certain TV show, a sport or hobby, or any number of things. As long as you can dedicate enough time to write and record your podcast, this business can serve as a great way to make extra money while doing something you really enjoy.

No matter where you're from or what you do for a living, thanks to the conveniences afforded to us by the internet, making money is no longer a constant and never-ending struggle. With the proverbial world at our fingertips, as long as you know how to tap into the vast amount of opportunities found in the digital ether of cyberspace, you can earn some extra income, even if you're in a tight bind. 


Dogs are amazing. But, owners aren’t always at home to take them for a walk. If you’re a canine fan like I hope you are, this great side business idea can net you a regular profit by just taking some adorable pups for a stroll around the park. With pet-crazed, yet busy Americans having more pooches around, dog walking services have become a thriving industry in some U.S. cities. In fact, there’s already an app called Wag that links up dog walkers who want to exercise this business idea with the pet owners who need a helping hand.
To market yourself as a consultant, you will, of course, have to be an expert in something. But, as Brett rightly says, “most people starting a business are.” What are you good at? What skills from your career can translate over into a viable consulting business? Think about your previous duties and areas in which you have excelled, and go from there.
According to a report published by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food in Canada, the jam and preserve industry in the United States brings in over $1 billion annually. Most impressively, it’s grown steadily -- even through the Great Recession. The market for jams, jellies, and preserves is strong, growing, and has many opportunities for new start-ups.
For example, you can promote yourself as someone who is available when others usually aren’t – after regular business hours and on weekends. Get your clients used to your schedule by listing your hours on your business cards, stationary, website, and voice mail. If they know in advance not to expect a return call until after five, they won’t be irritated when it happens.

Network marketing (sometimes referred to as multi-level-marketing) can sometimes have a bad connotation if you have ever been scammed in the past. However, there are very reputable companies out there that you can start working for today with very little buy-in or overhead. A member of our family started off her network marketing business as a side hustle and has turned it into a part-time gig with full-time income. Warning: if you are told it doesn’t require any actual work – run away!
An Airbnb is a great way to add some extra income, especially if you have unused rooms or lots of space in your house. You will have guests staying in your home, so you should be comfortable talking and interacting with guests. Some homeowners, who travel often, will also rent out their homes when they are out of town. This allows them to receive income and have someone watching their home when they’re not around.
“A Side Hustle isn’t about making a few extra bucks selling lemonade to your neighbors. Chris Guillebeau has created a step-by-step methodology for imagining, building, and launching side projects that can earn real, serious cash. In my years investing on Shark Tank, I’ve seen firsthand how side hustles can take off and grow into some major profits. Whether you want to supplement your pay check,  or jumpstart a full-fledged business, Guillebeau will show you how to get your hustle going in just 27 days flat.” - Daymond John, star of ABC’s Emmy Award winning business show Shark Tank
Tutoring pays quite well, and many clients will refer you to others, especially if their son or daughter shows significant improvement or finishes a class with a good grade. People want to know what they are paying for, so advertise your skills by having previous clients give testimonials and providing information on your own educational background.
Anyone can start a blog, but monetizing it is a different story. However, if you are experienced and passionate about a certain subject, or have an existing blog that you can turn into a money-making endeavor, consider focusing your energy there. Blogging can be a great way to turn your passion into a side business, and blogging is—you guessed it—incredibly flexible. With no time constraints, the ability to work for as long or as little as you wish, and the freedom to work from virtually anywhere, blogging is an excellent side business option.
Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which MoneyCrashers.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they appear on category pages. MoneyCrashers.com does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers, although best efforts are made to include a comprehensive list of offers regardless of compensation. Advertiser partners include American Express, U.S. Bank, and Barclaycard, among others.
Then you can move into more actionable online courses like Modern Web Design on CreativeLive and Learn Web Design and Profitable Freelancing on Udemy will teach you everything from foundational web design knowledge to earning your first freelance income as a web designer. On top of that, you can take even more immersive courses and learning experiences with access to direct instructor feedback and personal mentorship with platforms like Treehouse, LinkedIn Learning and General Assembly to get up-to-speed even quicker with this career path and listen to my podcast interview with Ian Paget about how to become a freelance designer as a side business idea.
On a more casual level, there are a variety of service businesses that make great side businesses. Sites like Craigslist can be a great way to put your skills to use and piece together revenue. Do you know what interviewers look for? Consider offering resume building help. Know multiple languages? Put your skills to good use and offer tutoring or language conversation lessons. Do you love animals? Advertise yourself as a dog walker for your neighborhood.
If you speak like James Earl Jones or Scarlett Johansson, quite a number of digital publishers (including game developers, animated film-makers, and training video producers) pay good money for voice talent and the time investment isn't too intensive—making this a great side business idea. You can find these publishers looking for voice-over artists on sites like PeoplePerHour, Freelancer and Upwork, as well as their calls for talent directly on their websites or through voiceover agents. If you do pursue this as a side business idea, be prepared to invest for the long-haul as it can be a very competitive industry.
However, suppose you've always been interested in photography and want to start a side business offering your services as a photographer for weddings and other special events. Depending on your work schedule, this could potentially interfere with your day job – and your day job also could interfere with your side business. For example, you might get offered a well-paid and prestigious photography gig to shoot an event that takes place at a date and time when you're scheduled to work.

I also recently wrote a blog post on Free SEO Tips for Bloggers that has been viewed over 100,000 times and is bringing in an additional stream of SEO clients. If you happen to want to take your traffic to the next level, hit me up if you are are in need of SEO consulting. This is a really in demand side hustle and can be done from anywhere in the world. In total the SEO work I’ve done has resulted in hundreds of millions of additional traffic, which I’m super proud of.

Then you can move into more actionable online courses like Modern Web Design on CreativeLive and Learn Web Design and Profitable Freelancing on Udemy will teach you everything from foundational web design knowledge to earning your first freelance income as a web designer. On top of that, you can take even more immersive courses and learning experiences with access to direct instructor feedback and personal mentorship with platforms like Treehouse, LinkedIn Learning and General Assembly to get up-to-speed even quicker with this career path and listen to my podcast interview with Ian Paget about how to become a freelance designer as a side business idea.
Websites aren't too dissimilar to stocks. Many are junk, but some can generate value for you, making it a strong potential business idea if you have an eye for spotting the diamond in the rough That’s why, like stocks, they are bought and sold all the time. You can buy and sell websites as a side business  idea in the hope of generating future earnings based on their user traffic, current revenue intake, domain name, or some other factors that might be a hidden cash cow everyone else has overlooked. Interested? Check out marketplaces like Flippa and Flipping Enterprises to learn more.
Thank you so much for this list. I have been deliberating on starting a consulting/coaching business for so long now (2 years). I am not working at the moment as I took a career break after my MBA to start a family and now look after my child. Consulting for SME’s has always been my passion, it was actually my MBA long term goal but since I am yet to attain my short term goal (getting a job and more experience) I am hesitant to start my coaching business. My fear of not starting has been around how a new employer will perceive me when I am ready to go back to work. Are there people who openly run a side hustle and their employers know? I am in the UK and currently starting to look for a job but it is taking longer than expected, I also would like to know how this applies in the USA as I will be moving over in two years. Can you advice, anyone with experience in both markets please advice.
For example, you can promote yourself as someone who is available when others usually aren’t – after regular business hours and on weekends. Get your clients used to your schedule by listing your hours on your business cards, stationary, website, and voice mail. If they know in advance not to expect a return call until after five, they won’t be irritated when it happens.
I started this blog in February of ’08 simply as a hobby, and two years later it became my full-time “job.” when I realized there was money to be made (a total fluke that I jumped all over!) Now, 4 years after that, here we still are and having the time of my life. So you really never know what opportunities are around the corner when you start hustling. But you do need to grab them when they cross your path.
Great post, MM! Incredibly inspiring, I really only grasped the side hustle concept since starting my blog about 6 months ago, after reading sites like yours. Already, apart from my blog, I’ve put my personal recording studio into use and started a music production side hustle, and a friend and I have launched a boutique logo design start up, called BroGoLogo, as an quality alternative to commodity products/services that you mention in this post.
Like recycling, this side business idea requires the willingness to get your hands a little dirty. If you enjoy working outdoors, then you can make a pretty good side income cleaning up litter outside retail, office and industrial properties—especially for businesses that have large parking lots that need regular cleaning. Property management companies need their properties maintained litter free and you can do so with an on-foot service using inexpensive equipment like this cheap pick-up tool and a broom. Charge for your time at $35 - $50 per hour and bill your clients the same contract price each month. For even more on how to get started with a litter removal side business idea, check out Cleanlots.
The type of business that requires active owner participation at all hours of the day may not be the best if you’re working a full-time job. For example, if you open a service business and customers want to see you during daytime hours, you’ll be limited to only your lunch break. In addition, it’s typically a bad idea to take phone calls during your full-time job or communicate via email. The best type of side business is one where you can dictate your own hours. After all, you don’t want your side business to endanger your full-time job or vice versa.

That prob helps, yeah :) Also if you hustle hard during holidays and weekends and rush hours, at least from what I’ve read… I’ve never tried it as I’m always glued to my online hustles, but if you could actually do both at the same time that would be even better! Haha… Just bring a laptop and wifi hotspot with you while you’re waiting around town :)
There's a huge growing market for mobile phone accessories, and plenty of handmade sellers are raking in 6 and sometimes 7 figures from their phone case businesses. You can get your own phone case business up and running as a side business idea in a matter of days with turnkey solutions from Case Escape, my previous company, and you can now get ready-to-go kits that'll give you everything you need to start a phone case business. Once you're up and running, you can sell cases on Etsy, Amazon Handmade, and Fancy. During our first year of selling phone cases as a side business idea on our Etsy store, we made around $60,000 in revenue from that selling channel alone—not to mention additional sales from fairs, trade shows, promotional products vendors, parties, events and other online marketplaces. From there, the sales only continued growing and we graduated from side business idea to full-time company that I ran with my best friend for multiple years.
Home tutoring allows you to offer individualized lessons to students of all ages regarding any special skill sets that you have. A good home tutoring business is flexible because your students will have very different needs: some are struggling with classes in school, some are studying for college entrance exams, and others may be adult learners who need to master certain skills to benefit their employment.
Similar to selling on Amazon, eBay is a place to make money selling just about anything you can think of as a side business idea, with the added excitement of using the auction selling model to sometimes get way more than you expected for that antique baseball card you picked up at a local street fair. To turn your eBay selling into a legitimate business idea, look for opportunities where you can buy in-demand products at a discount—and later sell them for a profit. Eventually, you can even take the lessons learned from your eBay store and build a full on blog or eCommerce business like what the team over at Gear Hungry has done.
Every website owner (including myself) hires copywriters to write content for things like about pages, FAQ's, or blog posts. Hourly wages for novice copywriters are not very high, but with some experience and a growing portfolio, you can become a freelance writer today and soon be charging more than you make at your full-time job if you find the right clients and brand yourself as an expert with this side business idea. Check out one of my most talented friends, Jory Mackay, for an example of someone who's doing a great job of positioning himself as a premium service-provider with his freelance writing side business idea. Then when you're ready to start cold emailing potential clients, pick up my free downloadable freelance proposal template and get started today.
If you have a fondness for taking pictures of smiling families or laughing children blowing bubbles, consider becoming a stock photographer and selling your images to a stock photo company like Unsplash, ShutterStock and iStockPhoto as a side business idea. You’ll get royalties every time someone licenses an image you’ve submitted. To really be successful, build your own photography website to be able to showcase your portfolio and start getting higher-paid private corporate work.
Although it is called Fiverr, you will only be netting just under $4 after Fiverr takes the first 20% and Paypal takes a few more pennies. However, there are many things you may be able to do quickly for $4. A quick design, a quick voice over if you have that deep sexy voice, or creating a quick intro video for a company in a matter of minutes for you techy type may get you some quick and painless cash. Also, if you sell enough, keep a good rating, and Fiverr likes you, there are levels you can advance inside Fiverr for higher cash payouts and more gig offers.
Obviously, everyone has different things going on in life, so if you’re in a season where you can’t focus on your side hustle, it may not be a good time to start one. You could wait to start one until a better time for you (although I recommend putting a date on the calendar for this if there’s ever going to be a chance you follow through). If you’re just “busy” in life but it’s a normal season, they just go for it and give yourself a set schedule of when you’ll work on it every day.
Grant, you’ve got a lot of info in here that I LOVE! I swear to god, if I read another blog post telling me about a side hustle and I read the word “fiverr” I’m going to implode. You bring up an AWESOME point about not trying to compete in market places where your only advantage is price; eventually you’re profit will be ground down to 0. I’ve heard of domain reselling before; there might be a course there for you… (I’d buy). Great post!
A sports photography business owner should find excitement in watching all types of sporting events. An owner should get a thrill from capturing awesome action shots that freeze important moments in sporting history. If you share these passions and would like to share your excitement with all those who see your photos, then starting a sports photography business is perfect for you.
31 Online trading Sites such as eBay and Amazon make it easy for people to dabble in e-commerce. "Start with a clearout of your attic," suggests Dan Wilson, author of Make Serious Money on eBay. "If you start to sell other goods, focus on things you can get hold of easily, or are passionate about. And have an eye on the Christmas market: think about what will be selling well in a few months' time."
Detailing cars is a great way to make a few extra dollars. You can start this business with a few supplies and some networking. You can start in your local neighborhood, advertise on Facebook, and offer discounts during holidays. This is a great gift people can give new graduates or dads for Father’s Day so be sure to mention this when trying to sell people on your service.
Driving for one of the two globally expanding app-centric taxi alternative services, Uber or Lyft can still be a fairly lucrative way to earn money as a side business idea on nights and weekends—working only when you want. But before you dive head first into this side business idea, do your homework and calculate the costs of extra gas, mileage, tires, wear & tear and usage on your vehicle—it's not a guaranteed business idea that'll turn a huge profit every weekend.
That’s where Chris Guillebeau’s Side Hustle steps in. The term “side hustle” has become all the rage these days, but for Guillebeau, it’s the way he’s lived his life and earned his income for more than a decade. As a friend and colleague, I’ve watched from the sidelines as he’s repeated the process many times, getting better and faster with each iteration (and often looked on in awe). And, I was excited to receive a copy to dive into and learn from.
If you know a thing or two about paid internet marketing and are comfortable with Google, a great way to make some extra income as a side business idea is to sign a freelance contract to manage a company’s Google Ad Campaigns, and gradually start bringing on more clients as your consulting business grows. Just be sure to brush up on all the right business slang and industry jargon that's pervasive in the online marketing world before you launch unprepared into this side business idea.
If you already have expertise in the technical and artistic sides of web development from your day job, then picking up extra clients on the side is a relatively easy way to start earning extra cash. Since everyone from large corporations to small-time freelancers need websites these days, web designer services are in hot demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 28,500 web developer positions will need to be filled by 2022.
While having a formal background in graphic design is absolutely going to be helpful, it’s also relatively easy to learn the foundations of graphic design on your own. An increasingly easy-to-use Adobe Illustrator and even more easily accessible tools like Stencil and Visme are making it so that just about anyone with two opposable thumbs, a bit of creativity, and motivation can earn a side income doing things like designing (and selling) images like these motivational quotes that can be printed onto posters and sold on platforms like Etsy. Or you can find a local startup, small business owner, or photographer who could benefit from some extra help designing or altering images.

If you have a fondness for taking pictures of smiling families or laughing children blowing bubbles, consider becoming a stock photographer and selling your images to a stock photo company like Unsplash, ShutterStock and iStockPhoto as a side business idea. You’ll get royalties every time someone licenses an image you’ve submitted. To really be successful, build your own photography website to be able to showcase your portfolio and start getting higher-paid private corporate work.
I just had to double back one more time and really take time to read your post here on side hustle business ideas. I really love the fact that your blogging about the side hustle which is my line of work just like yours. I’m one of those people that don’t believe working for a company for 20 to 40 years and retiring on a can of beans. Where so much more than that, right? Entrepreneurs a full of creativity. Thought leaders. Leaders for change. Leaders that are positive in your thinking process and inspire people to unleash their full positive potential by getting into side hustle entrepreneurship. And with all of this said, anyone can put their creative ideas they’ve had on the back burner into action at full strength and start a side hustle business just like us and become more successful than hoped for. Isn’t that right, Nick? :-)
×