Millennials need more money. According to Bankrate’s Side Hustles Survey, “Thirty-one percent of young adults (ages 23 to 38) work extra hours to boost their savings.” In addition to this information, SunTrust Bank found “64% of millennials said they have a side hustle or have had one in the past.” This means one in three Americans has a gig that provides additional income. Many people within this specific generation need to work extra hours outside their full-time jobs to support themselves and their monetary goals. For instance, CNBC reports, “The average millennial consumer has about $27,251 in non-mortgage debt, and millennial homeowners have an average mortgage balance of $232,372.” With rising debt levels, more people are getting creative about how to make more money. Having an easy side hustle is one of the best ways to boost your bottom line and even grow your talents into a full-time business.
Find out more below about what a side hustle is, eight of the most popular side hustle ideas, and how to increase your income each month.
What is a Side Hustle?
A side hustle is any type of work a person does to supplement how much money they make from their full-time job. Typically, those who take on side gigs do extra work that utilizes existing skill sets or resources. For example, someone with a side hustle might look like a copywriter who works at a marketing agency making $60K a year. Because they have student debt they need to pay off, they work extra jobs as a contract writer after hours or on the weekend to make an additional $2,500 a month.
More often than not, side hustles are also entrepreneurial in nature, and for many, lead to starting a business. Nevertheless, there are many side gigs that can provide extra cash without venturing into the world of becoming a business owner, too.
Top 8 Side Hustle Ideas for Making Extra Money
If taking on a side hustle sounds interesting, you might be wondering what the most common ways are that people earn money outside their day jobs. Here’s a list of good options, how much you can make on average, and how to get started doing each one.
1. Dive into Entrepreneurship by Freelancing
Many people freelance part-time for extra money. This is done with individual 1099 contracts for whatever service you offer. For instance, copywriting, videography, graphic design, and content creation lend themselves well to contract work. It is not unusual for a contractor’s side hustle to grow into a full-time business. Melissa Ng turned her side gig into Melewi, a thriving design company that covers five continents and serves clients like McDonald’s, Samsung, Elle, CitiBank, and Visa. Her business is an example of how calculated growth while still working a full-time job can eventually lead to pursuing your passion full-time.
To start a side hustle as a freelancer:
- Design a business plan. It’s important to think through your goals and the strategies necessary to achieve them if you hope to grow your contract work into a full-time business.
- Develop a unique product or service offering.
- Create a brand message that resonates with your target audience.
- Determine your pricing structure.
- Start finding work on sites like Fiverr, Upwork, 99Designs, and Toptal.
- Build strong relationships with your clients so they’ll think of you first whenever they need services.
- Make it a point to grow your network as an entrepreneur. For example, find a mentor, connect with other business owners on LinkedIn, or get involved in a mastermind.
Average Pay: According to ZipRecruiter $27/hr.
2. Work as a Business Consultant
Another form of specialized contract work that can add to your bottom line is business consulting. For example, if you have experience in scaling companies, business planning, business strategy, marketing, messaging, creative direction, or mentoring entrepreneurs, business consulting might be a great way to earn additional income.
Consulting isn’t a job just anyone with a vague understanding of business can step into. The most successful business consultants have years of experience and impressive results to back their work. Furthermore, company owners are more likely to select candidates with proven track records, educational qualifications such as an MBA, or personal experience as successful entrepreneurs. Without these credentials, finding work as a business consultant will be difficult. However, many people are equipped to successfully guide organizations in the right direction. If this is you, find out how to get started below.
Here are a few tips on becoming a business consultant:
- Feature the best results you’ve accomplished on LinkedIn and social profiles.
- Give specific examples of how you’ve helped previous clients fix and grow their companies.
- Create a sales page (landing page designed to obtain leads) using Clickfunnels or Unbounce.
- Connect the sales page to a marketing funnel that generates and obtains leads.
- Get testimonials from happy customers and generously use them throughout your marketing assets.
- Provide free, valuable content online to demonstrate your expertise and knowledge. For example, make YouTube videos, conduct a Q&A, or host a webinar.
Average Pay: According to ZipRecruiter $34/hr.
3. Help Busy Entrepreneurs as a Virtual Assistant
Another way of working a side hustle from home is as a virtual assistant (VA). Online assistants do a variety of tasks from bookkeeping, scheduling, interacting with customers, writing presentations, and answering emails. The more qualified a person is to be an assistant, the more likely an entrepreneur or executive will hire them. For instance, many virtual assistants receive training from universities or obtain certifications from online courses. Additionally, references and past work experience are also extremely important factors when it comes to finding work as a VA.
To earn extra income as a VA:
- Highlight your specific skills and areas of expertise. For example, are you proficient with scheduling content using Hootsuite? Have you helped business owners become time management aficionados? Don’t be afraid to let potential employers know what makes you stand out in a crowd.
- Sharpen your talent as a VA with free online training programs.
- Have former employers write letters of recommendation that discuss your top qualities.
- Discover opportunities for work on sites like FlexJobs, Remote.co, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn.
- Post content to LinkedIn describing the importance of entrepreneurs working on their business, not in it. For example, explain how virtual assistants help business owners find the time to focus on the work that matters most. Then offer your assistance with a free consultation call. You never know who will hear your message and need your services.
Average Pay: $15 to 20+ per hour.
4. Start an Ecommerce Shop
Another one of the best side hustle jobs is to become an eCommerce shop owner. Whether flipping old furniture, selling antiques, opening a vintage clothing store, or providing custom art or designs, there’s a variety of ways to make money online with this method. Like contract or freelance work, this type of side hustle can also turn into a full-time business, creating passive income for years to come. For example, Alicia Shaffer, a well-known eCommerce entrepreneur, turned her Etsy store Three Bird Nest into a six-figure organization. She initially began in 2011 selling only hats and scarves. By 2015, she was making $80,000 a month in sales. She tells Business Insider the key was deciding to, “stop treating it [the store] like a hobby and start treating it like a business.” For those with similar ambitions, opening a small business on an eCommerce platform is a great starting point.
To open an eCommerce store, start by:
- Deciding upon a niche. What type of customer do you want to attract? For example, are you selling to moms? If so, offering men’s clothing is not going to bring in what your ideal buyer wants. Instead, focus on selling products and goods that complement your customers’ lifestyle.
- Learning to speak your clients’ language. A great sales tactic is to develop a brand message in item titles, product descriptions, your “About” page, and social media posts. When customers emotionally connect with your message, they’re more likely to make purchases, become repeat buyers, and tell their friends and family about your shop.
- Taking clear photos that attractively display your product.
- Figuring out which platform you want to use. For example, many popular ones include Poshmark, Mercari, Etsy, ThredUp, The RealReal, Depop, eBay, and Amazon.
- Signing up for an account with the website(s) you choose.
- Developing a plan for shipping out items.
- Uploading products to your shop so you can start making sales.
Average Pay: According to Convome.com, Etsy shop owners’ earnings commonly range from $1K to $5K per month.
5. Trade Stocks for Cash
Another form of side hustling is getting involved in trading stocks to generate income. In terms of making extra money, this has become a popular choice for many Americans. For instance, CNBC reports trading app Robinhood increased from 1 million to 10 million users from 2016 to 2020. Yet, day traders beware—this same app has been criticized and sued for the “gamification” of trading. Many inexperienced investors have lost their life savings because they don’t understand the risk involved. This is why it’s essential to educate yourself on potential investments, learn from the pros, and stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the markets. Nevertheless, there’s nothing wrong with taking educated risks. Plenty of people become millionaires trading stocks.
To get started trading:
- Do some research on the best investments to make. Watch YouTube videos made by experienced traders, read up on market trends, and listen to business podcasts that discuss the topic.
- Find an app to use. Some of the most popular ones include Robinhood, Acorns, E*TRADE, and TD Ameritrade.
- Invest in people and companies you truly believe in. For example, choose an entrepreneur you love and buy some stock in their company.
- Stay informed—just because it’s a good investment today, doesn’t mean it will be tomorrow.
Average Pay: According to ZipRecruiter $39/hr.
6. Invest in Cryptocurrency
If you want to work a side hustle from home, some are turning to is cryptocurrency investing. Like trading stocks, a rising number of Americans are giving this method a try. Data from Statista shows that in January 2014 there were 2.85 million blockchain wallets versus 66 million in January 2020. Also similar to day trading, there are significant risks involved with investing in cryptocurrencies. For example, popular digital cash systems like Bitcoin and Ethereum experience volatile price swings. On March 12, 2020, Bitcoin dropped 37.5 percent in one day. Yet, it also experienced a 300 percent gain from January 2020 to January 2021. With that being said, for those who don’t mind riding the wave of cryptocurrency value changes, this side hustle could be a viable way to make some extra cash.
To start investing in cryptocurrency:
- Choose a trading platform. For instance, some of the most popular ones are Robinhood Crypto, Coinbase, Coinmama, and Binance.
- Check in regularly to make sure the market isn’t suffering tremendous losses. Remember, the future of cryptocurrency is uncertain and its market swings can be costly.
Average Pay: Entirely dependent on market value and how much a person invests.
7. Rent Out Your Personal Possessions
If risk-taking with investments isn’t your thing, a safer bet is generating money with what you already have. One of the best ways to do this is by renting out personal property or real estate. This is a great method for paying a portion of your bills each month or adding to your savings account. There’s a lot of options when it comes to this type of side gig. For example, many homeowners rent out an extra bedroom in their house. Others might rent out equipment or tools they own. Another choice is renting your car to vacationers in your city. Also, there are a few websites and apps that allow those with designer clothes and handbags to rent out parts of their wardrobe.
To rent out your personal property, look into these categories:
- Home: Airbnb and VRBO.
- Auto: Hyrecar or Turo.
- Storage Space: Store at My House or Neighbor.
- Tools and Work Equipment: RentMyEquipment.
Average Pay: The two top forms of renting personal property are renting one’s home or car. According to Earnest, Airbnb renters make $924/mo. Turo brings in around $200 to $700/mo.
8. Tutor Students Online
Finally, a good side hustle option while working from home is teaching or tutoring. Online learning is a rapidly growing industry, making it an appealing source of additional income for educators. For instance, in 2020, startups in the educational technology (ed-tech) sector raised a record $2.2 billion in capital, which was a 30 percent increase from 2019. For those seeking full-time remote work, teaching a few hours a month is an effective way to see whether this career path is right for you. With plenty of companies on the rise and increased interest in online educational development, this could be a great opportunity to generate some extra income in the comfort of your own home.
To find a job as a remote teacher or tutor:
- Think about who you want to teach. For example, do you want to teach MCAT-prep to pre-med students or maybe English as a second language to children?
- Research the required qualifications for teaching the subject you’re interested in.
- Look into a variety of tutoring businesses such as VIPKid, Tutor.com, Skooli, Kaplan, and Chegg.
- Follow the application process for the service you choose.
- Decide how much time you want to dedicate to teaching online and develop a schedule of teaching hours.
Average Pay: VIPKid pays $840 to $1300/mo. Kaplan’s median rate is $21.38/hr.
What to Know Before Committing to a Side Hustle
Once finding the side hustle that’s best for you, it’s important to remember a few things. First, don’t put yourself in jeopardy of burnout. Making a few extra hundred dollars a month isn’t worth destroying your work-life balance. The best way to ease into a side hustle is to set a schedule for hours you can dedicate to working outside your full-time job. For instance, this might look like Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. or weekday evenings from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The point is: don’t risk overworking and burnout, as this can drastically affect your health, productivity, and happiness. Learn more about burnout, here.
An important factor to be aware of is that side hustlers are almost always contracted workers. To ensure you have the necessary cash when it comes time to pay your taxes, make sure to put back 30 to 35 percent of your profits in a business or savings account.