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.
I was babysitting and freelance writing to make extra money while I built up my blog. I did all three at once while working full time. I had a lot going on, and I’m so glad I stopped babysitting and freelance writing, because I was barely making any money blogging at the time. It took stopping these other side gigs to be able to focus on my one side hustle, blogging.
That's why I'm a huge advocate of always starting a side business while working full-time, so that you can test your way into your new product or service, get feedback, validate the business idea, and start generating income before you quit your job. If you can master the art of scaling a side business idea while keeping your day job, you'll have no trouble succeeding once you're fully self-employed.
If you’ve got a camera and some basic Photoshop skills, photography can become your side hustle. If you like taking pictures of your city, you can sell your photography to your local publications such as city newspaper or blog. Sites like Foap allow you to sell your phone pictures on their platform and you can earn money with every photo you sell. If you’d rather not make money with your pictures, you can add your photography to products like canvases, t-shirts, and phone cases to make even more money. And if that’s not enough, you can even seek clients to venture into wedding photography, pet photography or product photography.
Forget content marketing, video is the new king. Creative and video agencies charge gazillions of dollars for high-end production, so there’s a lot of demand for budget services. If you know your way around video editing software, this is a great opportunity to make some extra cash. Combine this skill with a voiceover service and you have the beginnings of a promising online venture. Many businesses and private clients are looking for video editors on freelance marketplaces, such as PeoplePerHour, Upwork and Freelancer, but you can also get extra exposure and generate profit by setting up a YouTube channel and creating some value-driven video content.
People who are passionate about music and can play at least one instrument well may be interested in starting a music lessons business. Music teachers in schools and band members are especially qualified, as they both have credentials and connections to people who love music. People don’t have to be a music teacher or in a band to start a music lessons business, though.
Investing in domains is one of the easiest side hustles. There is no other place where you can get a 1,000%+ return on your money in a pretty short amount of time (less than 90 days in some cases). I buy and sell them at $400+ profit regularly and have been doing so for over 10 years. Domains are the real estate of the internet and they are only getting more and more valuable. I have seen the average price for a mid-tier domain jump from $400 to $3,3000 in the past 3 years alone.
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.
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.
I know of a guy who started out as a handyman. He then took that idea as a handyman and started his own blog to teach people how to fix things themselves through blogging and video tutorial. At the end of every post or video, he would tell you what tool he used to get the job done and would provide a link directly to Amazon for you to purchase that product.
If you love to create art of any kind, you could be making a little side-income with your talent. Custom, one-of-a-kind paintings are popular decorations, and many people are willing to pay for unique works. This side business idea is great, because it takes something you love (and would probably be doing anyway) and turns it into a source of income.
Make sure your intended market is broad enough to sustain the business. Many new business owners mistakenly offer a product or service that only a select few want, without specifically targeting that market. Especially with a side business, it helps to have a broad audience. But even if your market is niche, make sure it’s large enough to sustain your business. Remember, your marketing efforts may be limited and you’ll need to reach more people with less effort.
I didn’t launch Millennial Money to make money. I launched it because I really like thinking and writing about money. I also feel like it’s my personal mission to share sound financial advice and spread financial literacy. It just so happens that pretty much everything I get interested in turns into a business opportunity. The money from the blog is simply a by-product of my passion for writing. If you don’t enjoy writing then don’t start a blog – you really have to love writing.
How can you avoid that? Start a side hustle you can fund through savings -- or better yet, that you don't need to fund. Provide a service that only requires the tools you already have. Sell products you either make or can procure by consignment. Prove to yourself that there is a market -- and that you can serve that market -- before you take on any debt.
The pros of starting a music lessons business as a side business are very similar to a foreign language business. Assuming you know how to play an instrument and enjoy teaching others, you have everything necessary to start giving lessons. Music lessons businesses are easy to run out of your own home, according to your own schedule, so doing it on the side will not hinder the success you may find.
If you have an idea and can help people, pay attention. Whether it is motivating someone, helping them pass a class, or teaching them how to build a website, this can all be done online. Setup you’re pricing, terms, and accept payment through something as simple as PayPal and you are on your way. I recommend using Skype or Google Hangouts since it is 100% free. Help someone and get paid – genius.
Yoga is getting ever more popular, which means yoga instructors are more in demand than ever—making this another physically rewarding side business idea. Link up with a local yoga studio to teach nightly classes or offer personalized yoga in-home at a higher rate to pursue this kind of emotional and physical balance with others, during your free time while helping your bank balance, too.
What are your skills, what is your knowledge base, and how can you channel your areas of expertise into revenue-generating side businesses? A great side business is one that allows you enough flexibility to pursue your dream startup, while still bringing in a sufficient revenue stream. Maybe, like Lori Cheek, you can sell unwanted items on eBay while also renting out a room via Airbnb, or follow Joseph Howard’s example and keep your corporate job while offering freelance services.
A social media marketer provides ideas and content for their clients. Some owners may specialize in a particular type of platform (e.g., Facebook only), but most work with all platforms to create a cohesive strategy for a business. Owners may work with one particular type of business (e.g., social media for real estate only) or with a variety of businesses or causes.
I’ve heard this (okay, I’ve been that person) so many times. There is so much mythology and complexity around what it takes to go from idea to income. In the world of entrepreneurship, the lore has become, “you’ve gotta be all-in, all the time” if you want to succeed. Truth is, that’s a complete fiction. And, what if you don’t so much want to built the next mega-company, but instead would love to just do something you enjoy on the side that also happens to generate a nice bit of extra cash?
If you own a car but barely use it, you can make some easy cash as an effortless side business idea by renting it out on Turo. Before you freak out, know that there’s a $1 Million insurance policy on all cars, plus drivers are prescreened, so you can have peace of mind. Closely related to renting out your car is another new service I recently came across (available only in the UK at the moment) called YourParkingSpace where you can sign up to list your available parking space through the app, and earn when people decide to use your spot.
Top side hustles have one big thing in common: there’s a high demand for it. A virtual assistant is an assistant who works in a remote location. They can help with tasks such as administration, social media, bookkeeping and more. There’s been a growing demand for virtual assistants from business owners who need help on various projects. As a virtual assistant you can specialize in countless areas. In the past, I’ve hired virtual assistants for social media and customer service. And there are countless other businesses around the world who rely on virtual assistants to grow and maintain their brands.
It sounds too good to be true—getting paid to represent your favorite brands at events across the nation. But, if you have a friendly and outgoing personality (a growing social media following helps too), you can forge a potentially paid relationship as a brand ambassador with companies who want to reach other people within your community with this side business idea. As a Brand Ambassador, you do anything from demoing the latest technology, to passing out free swag at music festivals, to going on nationwide tours, to pumping people up as a mascot, and more. Depending upon the gig, you can expect to earn anywhere from $18-$100/hr. You can get started as early as this weekend by joining the Brand Ambassador Facebook group for your nearest major city (e.g. join the "Brand Ambassadors of Seattle" group if you live in/near Seattle). Once you've been approved to the group, you'll get access to daily job postings from big brands and agencies with opportunities in your area. All you need to do is submit your resume and headshot to apply. For a step-by-step guide on how to get hired for the best gigs and the highest pay rates, I recommend checking out The Brand Ambassador Blueprint.
Those with a thirst for knowledge and who are passionate about helping others will excel in this profession. Your team’s primary focus will be to get to know these young adults on a personal level, using this knowledge to identify their strengths and weaknesses. Once you’ve tapped into this, you’re equipped to assist them in determining what schools are best for them and how best to proceed from there. Since colleges consistently change their admissions process, you must be committed to keeping up with these changes. A love of traveling is also important, as you’ll want to spend a portion of your time visiting college campuses, building relationships with individuals in the admissions office.
Almost everyone uses Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest these days, but did you know that many companies will pay people to help them manage their social media accounts — sometimes even part-time from home? To find social media jobs, you can start by contacting businesses with a social media presence and scanning sites like Upwork.com for opportunities.
I made this mistake in the beginning of blogging. I didn’t have a six-month goal, let alone an end-goal, so I made a lot of choices that led me down the “popularity” path (more of an influencer) instead of the “profitability” path (specifically for making money blogging). I could’ve saved over a year of time if I focused on the end goal of profitability from the beginning. It’s really easy to get distracted when you start a blog (something I talk about in my blogging course) – something I learned the hard way!
As a freelance writer, you are largely in control of the amount of work you do and the time you put into writing. Whether you use an online writer platform or another system for getting clients, you have a say in the number of pieces that you do, and, as long as you meet any deadlines set for you, you can work on these pieces whenever you have time. Therefore, it is easy to successfully manage a freelance writing business on the side of whatever else you spend time doing.
Imagine this scenario: You’re at work and a customer from your side business calls your personal cell phone. He has a problem with a product you delivered the night before and needs you to fix it immediately. If you don’t, he’ll refuse to pay for it and you’ll have to eat the expense. But you also have a project that’s due in a few hours at work that can’t be late. What do you do?
I struggled with creating spreadsheets to track my progress because it’s the least sexiest thing about blogging (for me, anyways!). But since I started doing it the right way, and checking in to update my progress every Sunday night, I can evaluate what’s working and what’s not. The results have been amazing. I wouldn’t be able to get this type of insight without tracking my numbers.
If you had a knack for standardized tests and had no trouble acing the SAT, ACT or other college exams, why not start tutoring high schoolers as a side business idea? Parents of all economic backgrounds are more than willing to shell out upwards of $100/hr to the right tutor, if it means their son or daughter will get admitted to the college or university of their choice. See this quick checklist for starting an SAT tutoring business from the Work At Home Mom. Whitney over at Rookiemoms also has a cool story to share about a stay-at-home mom making $40/hr helping kids out with homework and turning it into a profitable side business idea.
If you have something you're skilled at and very passionate about, you can turn that winning combination into offering your services with one-on-one online coaching as a solid side business idea. Just be sure to implement your own opportunity management system so you don't get caught up working with clients that you can't measurably help. Elmira Strange will give you a step-by-step plan for putting your skills and experience to work by developing an online coaching business—even as a side business idea in the time around your full-time job—so be sure to check out her course on Udemy for a jump start on this side business idea.
To be clear, providing care for the elderly often requires a broader set of credentials (as it should) so this business idea isn't one most people can get started with this weekend. These credentials may include licenses, training certificates, business permits, and tax forms depending on which state you wish to operate, the level of care you intend to provide, and whether you plan on running a formal business or just hiring yourself out as an independent worker as a side business idea. If you’re already giving unpaid care to an elderly relative or friend, you may want to review Medicaid provisions for some compensation. In all cases, you need genuine affection for the elderly, a lot of common sense, and good knowledge of first aid, CPR, and elderly care basics to excel with this side business idea.
Actually I brought my Son N Law with me to work the Men’s Restroom AND HE Always made more money than me! That’s because Men always have their wallets on them and sometimes Ladies are “on a Date”..Ladies Night and get drinks free and didn’t bring cash..etc..Men need breath mints combs nice smelling colognes..Offer a hand towel and Smile and give personal service. Know the regulars by name! Bigger Tips!