The best side business ideas work whether you want to make extra cash fast or you need a gig with flexible hours that complements your day job. Or maybe you’re hungry for an exit strategy from corporate America. You can launch your creative outlet part-time for now and eventually trade your desk job for your art studio.

Whatever drives you, you’re not alone. The side gig economy “is expected to be worth $455 billion by the end of this year,” according to Zippia, which tells you it’s not just popular, it helps millions of people pay off debt, gain financial freedom, and find work they love.

To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of the best side business ideas for 2024.

1. Deliver Food

Food delivery is one of the most popular side business ideas out there because it’s flexible, requires no special skills, and pays fast. DoorDash is the largest service in the U.S by far, controlling nearly 65% of the total restaurant delivery market share. 

DoorDash drivers are able to schedule their hours in advance or drive when they have extra time. Drivers are also paid weekly, and DoorDash has an option to cash out instantly if you need to make extra money fast.

To get started with DoorDash, you’ll need to be at least 18, have a reliable car and smartphone, and pass a criminal background check.

Learn more in our full DoorDash Driver Review.

DoorDash logo

Be your own boss with DoorDash

Get paid to deliver takeout in your spare time.

2. Digital Marketer

Running Facebook and Instagram ads is simply digital marketing through two of the world’s largest social media platforms, which continue to be some of the best platforms for small business owners to reach new customers. Business owners pay digital marketers because they often lack the time or knowledge to run an effective ad campaign.

This is one of the best side hustles because you  don’t need a degree in marketing or have a background in advertising either — these are skills you can learn, and you can make $1,000-$2,000 per client working just a few hours a week. 

Make $1,000 to $2,000/month as a digital marketer

Want to learn more about running Facebook ads and how you can make $1,000+ every month? Just click on that link below.

3. Virtual Assistant

If you’re the glue that keeps everybody going in your household, working as a virtual assistant (VA) could be one of the best side business ideas for you. Busy people hire VAs to manage their email, appointments, to-do lists, and keep their business organized. 

VAs can typically set your own hours and work from home, especially if you manage your time well and excel at communication and planning. You can learn about all of the options and how to get started in our article on how to become a VA. 

Fast track your VA side business

Get the FREE resources you need to start a successful side business as a virtual assistant.

4. Blogger

As a blogger, you get the joy of writing about something you’re passionate about and sharing it with others. You make money by attracting followers and advertisers.

Blogging is a long game. Getting started comes pretty quickly, but you need to set a schedule and publish new content frequently to build consistent site traffic. Once you’ve got your rhythm and a solid fan base, you can keep expanding through channels for passive income like affiliate marketing, online classes, and merch. 

Interested in starting a blog? Check out our step-by-step guide to starting a blog in 2024.

5. Freelance Writer

Freelance writing is one of our favorite side business ideas, because it combines creativity, versatility, and the flexibility of working on your schedule from any location. Freelancers write or ghostwrite blog articles, email blasts, website copy, product descriptions, technical guides, social media posts, and more. 

You will need strong communication skills, but you don’t need an English degree or vast experience. To learn the basics like how to get clients, set rates, and build your reputation, search for free courses or click the link below to learn more.

Freelance Writing Course

Make $1,000 to $5,000/month as a freelance writer

Go from beginner to landing your first client fast!

6. Proofreader

Cleaning up errors in typing, spelling, grammar, and sentence structure turns amateur content into a sleek, professional product. You can get paid proofreading gigs based on your eye for detail and perfection.

Like the other side business ideas in this list, you can work from home or anywhere you like, and usually set your own hours. Start by creating your professional profile on a freelance site like Fiverr or Upwork, but to really take it to the next level, we recommend a proofreading course.

Want to become a highly paid proofreader?

This FREE training teaches you how to start making 4 figures a month from home as a proofreader.

7. Bookkeeper

If you like the sound of managing a client’s payroll, paying bills, keeping track of incoming payments, and producing tax documents, check out bookkeeping. Put your head for numbers together with your organizational skills for a side hustle that is always in demand.

You don’t need to be an accountant or have a finance degree for bookkeeping. You do need to be able to use financial software such as Quickbooks. To fast track getting your business established, consider taking a course that teaches you step by step how to launch and expand your business.

Brilliant Bookkeeper

Make up to $5,000/month bookkeeping!

Learn the skills and strategies necessary to start a successful bookkeeping business from the comfort of your home. 

8. Rent Your Space

Consumers who need a spot to park their truck or a place to store their overflow can pay you to rent your space. I love this idea for people who live simply and have more garage space, driveway area, or storage closets than they could possibly need. 

It’s free to list your space on a platform like Neighbor, and you can learn more in our full Neighbor Review. Or list the RV that you only use twice a year on a site like RVShare or Outdoorsy.

9. Seamstress/Tailor

Repairing everything ourselves has become a dying art, so if you can hem, alter, and repair clothing, you are in demand. Ateliers are a niche to themselves, but you can set yourself apart even further.

You can specialize in luxury clients who want a custom wardrobe or go for quick fixes and volume for busy people with no time to fix a tear or sew on a button. You can list your services on Facebook, Taskrabbit, or get referrals from high-end boutiques and wedding dress shops. 

10. Life Coach for Children

Life is coming at kids (and parents) so fast these days. To help them learn critical skills like time management, standing up to bullies, keeping themselves safe on social media, and more, parents and guardians can hire a coach for their kids. 

You’ll need to complete a background check and have some level of experience working with children, so this side business idea works well if you have a background in school counseling, teaching, or coaching, for example. Check out Kids Life Studio for more information.

11. Tutor

Put your education in math, Spanish, history and more into the market, and you could be making $15 to $20 an hour. If you have the subject knowledge, you can find individual or group tutoring opportunities for just about any topic. 

You may need a degree in the topic you want to teach, or consider teaching English to elementary school students, which you can often do with a degree in any subject. Sometimes a parent just wants a high school student who’s good at math to help their struggling kid. 

Put the word out on social media and tap into those families who used to hire you to babysit. Or look into online tutoring platforms like BookNook.

12. Create E-Book

For strong writers, you can expand your tutorials, blog, or freelance writing business by offering an ebook. Sites like Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) print, assemble, and ship your book when it’s purchased, saving you any upfront cost of self-publishing. 

Writing and marketing an ebook requires a solid time investment — learn more in our article on how to sell ebooks online. But once you’ve got a great product out there, it can generate passive income. While you’ve moved on to other aspects of your business, your book sales bring in extra cash. 

13. Teach an Online Course 

You’re not the only one looking for a side business. If you’ve figured out how to hack the side hustle market, think about teaching others your secrets by offering an online course.

Students will pay to learn how to become a writer, blogger, photographer, or an influencer, and the list goes on.  You can read about how to sell online courses here. 

14. Pet Sit/Dog Walk

Pet sitters can make $25-$50/day checking on pets while their owners are traveling or at work. The job often requires feeding, letting the dog out, and possibly walking and light grooming. 

Some owners pay more for sitters who can stay overnight. 

If you’re an animal lover, this is such a fun side gig because you get to work with so many different breeds and pet personalities. It often pays in cash and fits into schedules for college students who stay home over holiday breaks when most people travel.

Rover is a platform that connects pet owners with caregivers near them, or you can put the word out on social media. 

15. Senior Care

For kind, responsible people who love looking after others, consider senior care. Our elders need help with tasks like grocery shopping, house cleaning, or even just keeping them company while their regular caregivers take a much needed break.

You can list your services on caregiver job sites for added credibility and to complete a background check. Or you can generate business through your social media accounts and word of mouth.

16. House Sitting

House sitters can earn around $25-$50/day on average and can often do this side business without much disruption to your schedule. You can also combine house sitting with pet sitting, being a virtual assistant or working on your e-book. You’re just doing your work in someone else’s home. 

You’ll usually be asked to bring in mail, take out the trash, water the plants and provide an obvious human presence to someone’s home while they’re away. You might be surprised how fast you get booked once the word is out among your friends and family. If you want to take your scenery to the next level, look into Trusted Housesitters. It’s a platform where you can find homeowners in beautiful areas — think wine country or the beach — where you swap house sitting services for a stay in different parts of the country. 

17. House Cleaning

House cleaning might be the perfect side gig for people who love cleaning other people’s homes even when they don’t feel like cleaning their own! Bonus — you can often get paid in cash and on the same day you complete the job.

Level one is establishing respectful relationships so people trust you to come in and touch their things. But you can distinguish yourself by offering special services like only using green products or organizing pantries and junk drawers. 

You can advertise and set your own rates and hours on platforms like TaskRabbit, but similar to house and pet sitting, word of mouth works amazingly well. 

18. Seasonal Decorator

Seasonal decorators do the hard work for homeowners and business owners who want the holiday lights up, the wreaths on the doors, or the faux cobwebs strung from the porch beams but don’t have time to do it. 

This type of work pairs nicely with other seasonal side businesses like lawn care, helping you keep your income going all year. Find opportunities through Facebook, Craigslist, Fiverr,  Taskrabbit, or through friends and family. You may also find work through local boutique stores who go all out for the holiday shopping season.

19. Declutter

If you constantly find yourself with the urge to declutter your entire house. This is a great moment to get online and sell your stuff, or even resell items you thrift at second-hand stores.

Sellers have more online choices than ever before with platforms like OfferUp, Craig’s List, Facebook Marketplace, Decluttr (for gently used tech/electronics), that have made listing items user-friendly and fast. Do your homework to set a fair price, and make it easy for people to do business with you through good pictures, descriptions, and fast responses to messages and offers.

20. Sell Your Closet

Last year’s jeans, that dress with the tag still on, the Doc Martens you had to have but actually rarely wear…these items have value to shoppers looking for a deal and make for a great side business. 

You can sell your higher-end, like-new fashion through sites like PoshMark. For pieces that are still name-brand but not necessarily couture, ThredUp offers a simple business model. They send you a shipping kit and you send them your items. They take the photos, list your items, and ship them directly to the customer, taking all that work off of you. You share the profit, but this business model can make selling clothing super accessible for busy people.

21. Sell Your Photos

When you take the kind of pictures that make people say, “Ooh, send me that!” you know you’ve got a gift. You can upload your photos to sites like Shutterstock, Twenty20, Adobe Stock, Getty Images, and Alamy which let you license your images to be used as stock photos. 

You typically don’t get paid until one of your photos is used, but it can be a source of passive income that you can manage alongside your day job.

22. Sell Handmade Goods on Etsy

Having your own Etsy shop can be so empowering for a creative person. You can showcase your artistic flair for making jewelry, wreaths, pet tags, cutting boards — whatever you make.  

A variation on selling objects you make is selling printables such as invitations, checklists, calendar/planner pages, and other stationery items that buyers can download for a fee. Once you’ve got your electronic file ready to go, you can make money passively as each user downloads your item. 

23. Airbnb

Renting out your spare bedroom, garage apartment, houseboat, or glamping tent can be a lot of work, especially up front. You’ll need to provide a clean, well-maintained property and demonstrate responsiveness to customers and potential customers to get good reviews.

But as a side business, it can definitely pay off.  Read more about what you need to know to get started in our guide to building our Airbnb rental.

24. Social Media Manager

Companies hire social media managers to set up their profiles on Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, and Twitter. You will also be expected to plan a schedule for posting and may produce videos, shorts, or visual content like Pinterest boards or infographics.

Social media managers also analyze data to see what types of posts are getting results, so you’ll need to be familiar with tools like Google Data to see what’s trending. To get started, first make sure you are marketing yourself in an appealing and consistent way across your own social profiles. 

If this is one of the side business ideas you’re interested in, you can set up a profile on job sites like FlexJobs, Upwork, or Fiverr. Check out our reviews of FlexJobs and Upwork to learn more. 

25. Invest in Real Estate

Don’t let the idea of real estate investing intimidate you. With several apps and sites to choose from, beginners can learn how to turn it into a side business that doesn’t require major hands-on management. 

Once you get the hang of it, it can be a real thrill to watch your investments earn money!

26. Buy Fractional Shares

If investing in the market conjures images of slick-suited professionals shouting buying orders from the floor of the stock exchange, it’s time to update your thinking. Getting into investing through fractional shares lets you commit as little as $10 a month to buy portions of S&P 500 stocks.

This side business helps you buy partial shares in blue-chip stocks with comparatively lower risk than buying expensive full shares. You can get started through programs like Charles Schwab Stock Slices and stay on top of your investments through their award-winning app.

Final Word on Best Side Business Ideas

It’s gut check time. Researching the possibilities gets you started, but now it’s time to ask yourself some questions to help you take action:

  • Which of these side business ideas sounds like the most fun to you? If you dread working on your side gig, it’s probably not a good fit. But if you’re excited about it, even hard work feels like a labor of love.
  • Which option matches your goals the best? Some side business ideas like blogging can take longer to monetize but often have the highest earning potential. If you’re prioritizing fast cash, look for jobs like pet care and food delivery that often pay you the same day or just a few days after you do the work.

FAQs

To be successful in a side business, do I have to quit my day job?

No. Most of the jobs on this list let you control how much or how little you work and set your own hours. You can work remotely from any location for several of these or aim for passive income to help protect the time you need for other priorities.

Bear in mind that side businesses that require heavier time commitment to build your brand and client base — blogging, freelance writing, etc. — may still be your best income-generators, especially if you love the work.

Do I have to have money to start my business?

No. Many of the jobs on this list let you get started with little to no up-front investment, including caregiving jobs and renting or selling your stuff and space.

Other jobs like bookkeeping or proofreading will be worth a little up front investment in an online class, for example. Because you learn tips from successful teachers, you can save yourself the headache of figuring it all out on your own and potentially get your first clients faster.