Your side hustle can help you make some extra money each month. But it can also help you develop new skills, build your personal brand or portfolio and help you achieve more freedom. So, have fun with it! Take a risk by starting a business or pursue a new hobby you’ve always been curious about. A side hustle is your best opportunity to live life on your own terms. And with some more money in your pocket, there’s nothing stopping you from making your dreams come true.
The good news about starting a side hustle online is there’s no age cut off, no employment reference check, no having to get dressed for a job interview, no having to ask for a raise, no having to work around people, no having to get dressed for work, and you can take as many breaks as you desire all while still getting paid. Only thing is, you have to put away your own money for retirement (if you do decide to later on), pay your own healthcare, and money for additional costs.
While I recommend you start with one side hustle at first so you don’t spread yourself too thin, because you are your own boss, you can test out a lot of different side hustles to find one you really love and/or that makes you the most money. That’s the beauty of side hustling – you aren’t stuck with any idea. Use every opportunity to learn, build new skills, and make new connections. You can’t even begin to imagine the doors that will open as you explore new ways to make money.
This article is excerpted from U.S. News money senior editor Kimberly Palmer’s book, “The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life,” which was released this month. Copyright © 2014 Kimberly Palmer. Published by AMACOM Books, a division of American Management Association, New York, NY. Used with permission. All rights reserved
Consider whether you'll need to lease office or retail space, or whether you can operate your business from your home. If you're thinking of running your side business out of your home (whether long-term or just at first), you need to check the zoning regulations in your city or county and make sure home-based businesses are permitted. This may be a problem particularly if you plan to invite customers or clients into your home on a regular basis.
Although you can still build a niche website around your personal passion, it is typically a more calculated affair. You gear all your efforts towards establishing multiple income sources and earning money rather than getting the satisfaction of following your hobbies and interests. You might be a huge fan of Queen’s music, but if there’s no money to be made off this, you won’t pursue the idea as a side gig.
We all wear clothes (at least some of the time). Which, of course, makes the business idea of cleaning soiled laundry an obvious hit. In fact, the self-service laundromat industry in the US is worth more than $3 billion, with many related businesses such as a mobile app laundry service, a real rolling mobile laundry service, and home laundry pickup & delivery services springing up each year. Here’s one way you can cash in on the trend as a side business idea.
A recent Bentley University study found that over 66% of millennials want to start their own businesses. Yet, as of 2013, only 3.6% of businesses in the U.S. were owned by those under the age of 30. Clearly, there’s a large disparity between the number of young people wanting to be their own bosses, and those who are actually managing to pull it off. Many young people are naturally entrepreneurial, but without a steady flow of income it could prove challenging to jump into starting a new venture. There’s where side hustles come in.

This is where you decide on your target audience. Do you want to come up with plans for people who are concerned about their cholesterol; people who follow a certain type of diet (vegan, etc.), or do you want to go in the direction of weight loss? Eventually you can cover a range, but when you are first building your business you want to focus on one particular niche. Once this is established you can build your business to include other niches as well.

Now that you’ve thought through the myriad of reasons to start a business on the side, the next step is to know what to expect. Some people think a side business will be easy and won’t take much effort. After all, it’s a side business right? Unfortunately, that’s simply not the case. A side business has many of the same challenges and issues a full-time business has. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind.
Last year the online learning industry hit $107 billion dollars. That’s billion with a B. Tons of 9-5ers are realizing they have unique skills sets that other people want to learn. Getting started is simple too, all you need is a copy of Powerpoint, a pair of headphones with a mic and some screen recording software. Then you can either drop your course on Udemy or you can build your own site and save the royalty fees!
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.
People love their pets, and many pet owners want to memorialize their non-human friends through artwork. Pet portraits businesses create custom portraits of pets for customers. Many businesses are run by a single artist, but businesses can also have several artists on staff. The mediums these artists create offer a different feel than photographs -- which pet owners can take themselves -- provide.
As I already mentioned, I started a blog while working full time, babysitting, and freelance writing. Eventually, I wanted to build a scalable business, so I quit babysitting and freelance writing, but I initially used money from those jobs to help grow my blog. I needed that income for the side jobs (babysitting and freelance writing) to help me grow my side hustle (my blog). So, you can find ways to grow your side hustle by adding in a side job to the mix while you need it. I highly recommend it!
Pet photography, like many other types of photography, can be done on one’s own schedule. You will have to be flexible in order to work with clients and find times that work for both parties, but you can pretty much set your own availability in a pet photography business. Best of all, there aren’t many ongoing expenses, so you could run a pet photography business from your home without very much upfront investment.

Don’t freak out about not being able to code just yet – you can build and sell websites on Flippa without any coding experience. Flippa is a marketplace for buying and selling web businesses, apps and domain names. It’s a godsend for savvy entrepreneurs that are always brimming with ideas for new hustles. In essence, this is how it works: you brainstorm a startup idea, secure a catchy domain name, use a WordPress theme to build it out and make it look appealing, and then sell it in an auction on Flippa. Alec Larson has been doing this for some time, and claims to be making $1,000 to $1,500 on Flippa every month. There’s no clever secret behind this – you come up with compelling ideas, flesh them out and sell them to eager entrepreneurs. The essential upfront investment is minimal: starting a website will cost you $2.45 a month, including a free domain name registration, plus your time and effort to put the pieces together. Certainly worth a try.


With nearly 100,000 different custom extensions both free and paid available in Google Chrome's marketplace, there's a huge opportunity for creating a useful extension for people to use while browsing the web as a low effort business idea. One of my favorite Chrome extensions, Yet Another Mail Merge, which enables you to send bulk customized emails from within Gmail, gives you 50 free credits to send emails and gives you the chance to upgrade to a paid account to unlock more sending—a great upsell for the people who are getting value from the extension. Even free Chrome extensions like SVRF Tabs by SVRF, which replaces your new tab with stunning VR and 360º images, have the potential to bring in new users and eventually drive revenue for the startup's core business. Another fun example from a friend of mine, Kathleen Garvin, is Hide images with NOPE, a Chrome extension that hides images on the web pages you're browsing—to help eliminate distractions and keep you from seeing images (like those of certain politicians) that you may want to hide. This side business idea is particularly great because it also allows you to showcase your development skills—which can be put to work as an adjacent side business idea on a freelance basis alongside the Chrome extensions you launch.
In the last few years, I’ve created online courses, launched a self-published book (under a fake name—not proud of this one), done marketing consulting, launched an email course, Airbnb-ed my apartment, traded stocks, bought cryptocurrency (my best investment to date), bought a condo and put it on Airbnb, wrote a book (a better one), bought a business, put affiliate links on my site, given paid talks, written book summaries, and built an affiliate site for a basketball dribbling course I never took (also not proud of this one).

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.
Web designers are incredibly valuable for technology companies—which is why becoming a freelance web designer is a top side business idea today. Web design is all about mastering the art of creating a beautiful, value-driven experience for the people using a website or app. There are always new websites popping up in need of professional web design, and foundational books like HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites by acclaimed web designer Jon Duckett and Don't Make Me Think by user experience legend Steve Krug will get you started down the right path to quickly determining whether or not becoming a web designer is a viable side business idea for you.

Etiquette training gives lessons to people of all ages on the proper way to conduct oneself in a variety of settings, especially in the professional world. Etiquette can cover how to act in both international and domestic settings, from a formal dinner in Japan to a debutante ball in Georgia. As globalization becomes more common, these types of lessons can be invaluable for many companies and professionals. Etiquette trainers may give online lessons or in-person lessons, depending of their budget and location. The instructions may be anything from cell phone etiquette for teenagers to the best way to send a thank you letter after a job interview.


There is a subscription box for just about anything you can imagine these days. As an entrepreneur getting started, this means you will have some stiff competition. Think about a unique niche that consumers want and need in their lives, and consider ways to make your product stand out from the competition. Are your prices lower? Is your shipping quicker? Do you include goodies and bonuses that other businesses don’t?
A greeting card business sells greeting cards to customers. These greeting cards can be for a number of occasions, including birthdays, holidays, reunions and even funerals. Cards can either be sold directly to customers or to retail dealers. If they’re sold to a retail dealer, the dealer then sells the cards to customers. Some greeting card businesses operate online, selling cards to shoppers and shipping them.
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People love their pets, and many pet owners want to memorialize their non-human friends through artwork. Pet portraits businesses create custom portraits of pets for customers. Many businesses are run by a single artist, but businesses can also have several artists on staff. The mediums these artists create offer a different feel than photographs -- which pet owners can take themselves -- provide.
If you plan on launching an eCommerce startup, eBay is also a great way to test the waters with your business idea. Before launching his vintage T-shirt business Defunkd, James Applegath sold his vintage tees on eBay, as a way to determine if there was a market for the business. “EBay and other marketplace platforms are an excellent way to test how your business will perform prior to launching a startup,” he says, and adds that the funds you generate through this avenue will also help you in starting your business.

If you have the gift of gab, public speaking is a worthwhile side business idea for you to pursue. Many authors, medical practitioners, scientists, artisans, politicians, and other subject matter experts earn extra income by delivering speeches, seminars, and presentations. Professional motivational speakers earn an average annual salary of around $90,000 with just that portion of their income, making this a very realistic side business idea while you continue practicing your craft.
Look specifically for how your competition built their side hustles. Use Google, Pinterest, and Amazon for this. Try to find out exactly what they did, or take a look at their websites and analyze their business models. There’s no need to re-invent the wheel. Of course, you’ll make it your own – you’re not stealing anything from them. But everyone learns business from everyone else (something this took me a long time to learn). So, take a nod from the best in your niche and start there to research how you can start your side hustle.
Affiliate marketing is one of those side hustle ideas that can either make you a lot of money or nothing. It’s not just about finding the right product to sell, but also finding the right brand to partner with. If you chose to be an affiliate marketer for ecommerce stores, your commission will likely be a lot lower than if you were just to dropship them yourself. However, there are tech companies who will pay a hefty price tag to affiliates who bring them new customers.
Public notaries primarily serve as validators of, and impartial witnesses in public legal documents, especially those related to affidavits, oaths, deeds, estates, special-powers-of-attorney, and business agreements. Depending on the state, a full-time notary public earns an average annual salary of $36,000, which makes it a great business idea to do as a side hustle as you bring in money through other ways. If you want to get started with this business idea, here are the requirements and steps you need to consider in the US.
Knowing your goals for your side business enables you to prioritize your side business and your day job more easily. If you intend to grow your side business to the point that you can quit your day job, you might take a day off work so you can shoot the event. However, if you need the stability of your day job and its benefits more, you'd probably want to turn the event down.
Furniture flipping is actually a really fun business. I’ve dabbled in this myself a time or two, and it’s a great way to make a few extra bucks if you don’t mind putting in the time. What you do is scour garage sales, Craigslist, or even the side of the road on trash day looking for furniture that’s in need of a little TLC. Then, take the time to fix, refinish, or paint the furniture, and resell it for a profit.
From crafting to home repair to website design and more, if you've ever wanted to turn your hobby into a business and watch your passion generate cash, Running a Side Business is the book for you. Packed with tips, legal resources, start-up success stories and USA TODAY snapshots and infographics, you'll learn the life cycle of a business and get answers to important questions along the way. Find out how to:

The good news about starting a side hustle online is there’s no age cut off, no employment reference check, no having to get dressed for a job interview, no having to ask for a raise, no having to work around people, no having to get dressed for work, and you can take as many breaks as you desire all while still getting paid. Only thing is, you have to put away your own money for retirement (if you do decide to later on), pay your own healthcare, and money for additional costs.

Suzanne lives in Texas and has been a full-time freelance writer for 20 years. She’s written for numerous business and financial publications, both online and in traditional print media. She also owns her own small business and has a passion to help others achieve their dreams of financial independence. Her goal is to eventually work from a remote island that is equipped with Wi-Fi.
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Many small companies and startups now outsource jobs that aren’t part of their core business (such as HR, admin, and accounting), which makes this skill set a great opportunity for starting a side business idea that engages your number prowess. Because companies always need to track their cash flow, freelance accountants and bookkeepers can really benefit from the increasing demand for part-time help.
Drop shipping is an eCommerce model where you buy products from a supplier who then ships the items directly to your customer. This is ideal because it mitigates the age old problem of sinking $5,000 in your first batch of inventory that may end up collecting dust in your garage (while you eat the cost). Instead, you list your supplier’s inventory on your site and when an order rolls in they handle all of the shipping and logistics while you collect the profits.
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.

Next you will want to create and display your pins. The Selz store builder makes it easy to show off your work, while the stylish web design options will help your store to stand out from the competition. You can choose to sell hard enamel pins or soft enamel pins, or both if you desire. In the beginning, though, it’s generally best to choose one or the other to avoid being overwhelmed.
If you are looking to spread information, improve the human condition and help others, you should consider starting a YouTube business. YouTube businesses provide informative and helpful videos that benefit others in countless ways. Though anyone can start a YouTube channel, the channels that provide useful and insightful content amass plenty of viewers. Such successful channels are legitimate businesses.

Do you search the Internet? Want to get paid for it? Swagbucks is a site that rewards you for doing various online tasks like taking surveys, watching videos, and using their search engine. When using their search engine, you get reward points after several searches, usually in the amount of 10-15 points. You can start cashing out rewards at the 500 points mark.
Starting a podcast and building authority within your specific niche is an exciting way to grow a personal audience of listeners who regularly engage with your content. Since Apple's podcast store has a built-in audience and ranking system, you may be able to launch your podcast with a high volume of listeners. If that's the case, you'll rise to the top of the rankings and gain a huge amount of exposure.
If sales and marketing isn’t your forte you can use a platform like Upwork or Freelancer.com who have large active audiences already looking for your skills. The kicker there is that these platforms tend to take a significant cut of your fees. If you want to keep 100% of your dough you can handle the sales process yourself and start by reaching out to local businesses or focus on a specific niche.
My events are seasonal (May-December here in Massachusetts) and some vendor fees need to be paid months ahead of time to secure a space in a well attended show. This is a great opportunity for peer to peer lending! My best fairs cost between $125 to $250 to get in, but I can make $1200 or more at those shows. My 2 sisters invest in my biz early in the year so I can pay those vendor fees during my slow season (Jan-May) when I don’t have much income from my biz. I pay 10% interest on their investment, which is usually about $1500, and pay them back by the end of December. 10% is much more than they would get leaving that money in their bank account. If I had the funding, I would go to farmers markets and fairs and talk to the crafters/vendors about my peer to peer lending services because most of the vendors I know struggle with paying those fees which are due during their slow season.
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