Side hustles are one of the best ways to increase your income so you can pay off debt, save up for a big purchase, grow your retirement savings, or reduce your financial stress.
That means you can use these side hustle ideas when…
- You’ve gotten so fired up about destroying your debt that you are ready to find a way to earn an extra $500-$1,500 per month to put towards it.
- You want to save up for a vacation that’s just a few months away.
- You’ve crunched the numbers for retirement and have realized the impact of adding a few hundred dollars more each month to your retirement fund.
And if you want to know what makes a side hustle a good one, I’ve got you…
The best side hustle ideas are flexible and pay well for the work you’re doing. I personally like side gigs that are scalable (as in ones you can build into a much larger business), but not everyone is looking for a new career. In fact, if you're just looking for something simple to make some extra money in your spare time, you might consider doing surveys for Survey Junkie instead.
But if you're looking for serious money (think $1,000 per month or more), you'll want to keep reading. No matter what’s driving your need to find a side hustle, I’ve got 11 of the best side hustle ideas for 2021.
1. Run Facebook ads for small businesses
After I quit my job as a high school band director to run this site full-time, I started running Facebook ads for small businesses in my area as a way to supplement my income. My first client was the jeweler who sold me my wife’s engagement ring.
That client turned into another, then another, and pretty soon I was out-earning what I made as a teacher.
Running Facebook ads for small businesses is simply digital marketing through Facebook, which continues to be one of the best online platforms for small businesses to increase their traffic and visibility. And, you can make around $1,000-$1,500 per month/per client with just a few hours of work each week.
Digital marketing on Facebook includes:
- Finding and acquiring clients
- Creating effective ads
- Testing your ads
- Maintaining client relationships
The reasons this is hands down, one of the best side hustles is because Facebook has a massive reach that small business owners are just starting to tap into. Big companies have been doing this for a while, but many small business owners lack the resources and time it takes to run an effective ad strategy.
When you learn how to run Facebook ads for local business owners, you’re helping them strategize and grow their business.
Sounds like a side hustle you’re interested in? I teamed up with my friend Mike Yanda (lawyer turned digital marketer who’s now bringing in $30k/month) and created the Facebook Side Hustle Course to help others start one of the best side hustle ideas of 2021.
We love watching our students grow this side hustle. It’s just as exciting to see people hit the 5K Club (scaling this side hustle to $5,000 of extra income per month) as it is to watch people just starting out and realizing that it really does work.
2. Deliver items and food with Doordash
In an article by U.S. News, it has been reported that the average person has two to three food delivery apps on their phones, using them around three times per month. Grocery and food delivery apps are making life much easier for many people right now.
That growing market makes this one of the best side hustle ideas out there. The work is there, the pay is good, and it’s very flexible. Drivers for DoorDash average around $15-$20/hour delivering food in their spare time.
Instacart drivers average $100 for a 6-8 hour shift.
But out of all the available options, there is one that stands out as the top food delivery side hustle that you can expect to make about $20/hour with:
Founded in 2013, DoorDash delivers food directly from restaurants in over 4,000 cities across the U.S. Customers place an order in the DoorDash app, and a Dasher accepts the order and delivers it.
DoorDash delivers food from both your favorite chain restaurants and local spots, and there are currently over 300,000 restaurants that have partnered with DoorDash. Dashers pick up pre-paid orders from restaurants or place the order and wait, and then deliver directly to the customer's door.
DoorDash uses the Dasher Pay Model, which is base pay + promotions + tips, and that equals your total earnings.
Your base pay is the amount you keep no matter what, and it ranges from $2-$10 and will vary by order.
Promotions from DoorDash include Peak Pay, which is when certain areas are in high need of drivers. These areas light up red in the driver app, and you’ll see the additional amount you’ll earn for each delivery you make in a Peak Pay area.
DoorDash also has Challenges. Challenges give drivers additional pay for completing a certain number of deliveries in a set amount of time.
3. Get paid to grocery shop with Instacart
Working a grocery shopping side hustle is a growing side hustle – Instacart alone added 250,000 shoppers to its roster already this year. Part of that is that more and more consumers are wanting safe and convenient shopping options.
Instacart is the most popular on-demand grocery services for side hustlers. They let you set your own hours and have pretty minimal requirements for shoppers – you just have to be 18 years old, have a clean driving and criminal record, and access to a car and smartphone.
Shoppers average $15-$20 on average. You can learn more about the differences and how to sign up in my Instacart Review.
4. Start a blog
Blogging easily has the highest earning potential of anything on this list. I started this blog in my spare time after coming home from my job as a band director, and now I run a seven-figure business from my laptop just a few years later.
As a blogger, you’re in complete control of when you work, how you monetize your blog, and what you blog about.
I had no clue how life-changing my site would be. I’ve traveled a ton this past couple of years, my wife was able to retire early, and we both work from home now and choose our own schedules. That’s all because I had the wild idea to talk to people about their money.
This trajectory isn’t guaranteed with blogging, of course, but you get out of it what you put into it. You can grow your blog in the evenings, on your lunch break, and on the weekends.
If you’re interested in starting a blog, a WordPress blog hosted through Bluehost (as low as $2.95 per month) is the way to go for new bloggers, and if you’re feeling like the setup and installation is a little too overwhelming, check out our free blog setup service: Launch That Blog.
Why do I recommend Bluehost for Blogging?
Paying for hosting services with Bluehost is my favorite option for new bloggers because it’s designed specifically for bloggers who are just starting out but still want to take their blogs seriously and make money.
- Bluehost has a ton of themes to choose from that will make your blog look professional without paying for web design services.
- You’re going to get stellar customer service.
- You get a free domain name for the first year.
- WordPress is included with Bluehost (which is the platform that THIS blog is built on).
5. Proofread for a living
If you cringe when someone uses the wrong verb tense or can’t tell the difference between their/there/they’re, proofreading might be one of the best side hustles for you to try. Proofreaders are responsible for polishing written content for bloggers, content writers, website owners, and more.
We have multiple proofreaders that work here at Millennial Money Man, so I can tell you from experience that this is an in demand skill to learn that will only continue to grow over the coming years.
This is another super flexible and good-paying side hustle, so much so that Caitlin Pyle of Proofread Anywhere left her day job to work as a proofreader. You can learn how to start proofreading and find paying clients in Caitlin's free Proofread Anywhere Workshop.
Read more at Proofreading Jobs: Make Money Pointing Out Mistakes.
6. Become a Pinterest virtual assistant
You’re probably already familiar with Pinterest – it’s a great place to find recipes, workouts, DIYs, etc. But, did you know that online business owners and bloggers have a high need for Pinterest virtual assistants?
This is one of the best side hustles of 2021 because Pinterest VAs make an average of $500 per month/per client doing things like:
- Creating pins
- Optimizing images
- Developing a Pinning schedule
- Doing keyword research
You can learn how to do all of this and find your first client in the Pinterest Virtual Assistant Course by Kristin Larsen.
For more side hustle ideas with Pinterest, read How to Make Money on Pinterest in 2021 (Earn $1,000 Extra Per Month!).
7. Sell printables on Etsy
Founded back in 2005, Etsy has turned into the go-to online marketplace for all things crafty. And in 2018, Etsy saw its highest-grossing year with over $3.9 billion in annual merchandise sales from over 33 million buyers.
But what most people don’t know is that millions of these sales come from printables and digital downloads. Products like…
- Wall Art
- Printable Games
- Business Cards
And that’s just a small sample of printables you can sell on Etsy.
The best part?
Since it’s a digital file that you’re selling, all you have to do is create the product once, and then you can sell unlimited copies with no additional overhead. You don’t have to spend hours handcrafting an item just for one measly sale. Each digital item you create is potentially a new passive income stream!
But just like with anything else, you need to understand the supply and demand of the market. You need to know which products to sell and when.
There’s a fantastic free ebook called the Seasonal Products Secret that outlines printable ideas for each month of the year and how you can capitalize on them. We highly recommend checking this out because you actually aren’t able to open an Etsy shop until you have a product to list.
After you’ve created your first product though, you can open your Etsy shop in a matter of minutes and list your first item for just $0.20. It’s an insanely low price to pay to try your hand at a new side hustle that could earn you hundreds or even thousands of dollars per month.
8. Become a freelance writer
Freelance writing is a broad field that can encompass a number of different jobs including:
- Marketing campaigns
- Blog posts
- Email newsletters
- Online and print articles
- Catalog descriptions
- Web copy
- Grant writing
- Technical writing
- Content mills
As a freelancer, you own your business and contract your work out to companies or solopreneurs. You work on your own schedule and can set competitive rates, making this one of the best side hustles to grow into a full-time job.
Many types of freelance writing work don’t require a specialized degree, but if you want to jumpstart this side hustle, check out Write Your Way to Your First $1k. Also, read How to Become a Freelance Writer: The Ultimate Guide for 2021.
9. Work as a virtual assistant
As this site has grown, I’ve started leaning on a team of people who help me with jobs that I don’t necessarily need to do… okay, some tasks are better if they’re not done by me, like web design. But one of the most valuable behind the scenes people here is my virtual assistant.
She helps manage my social media accounts, handles billing, does inbox management, schedules meetings, and generally keeps me focused and on task. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I couldn’t run this site without her.
That’s the kind of work and responsibility that comes with being a virtual assistant, and with a growing number of online business owners, VAs are even more in demand. To work as a virtual assistant, you’ll need to have good time management skills, be highly organized, and communicate well.
Additional virtual assistant tasks include:
- Data entry
- Responding to emails
- Project management
- Blog management
- Preparing reports
- Simple digital marketing tasks
- Content creation
- Event management
That’s a pretty wide range, and what you do will depend on the clients you take on and how you niche down your work. Some business owners have multiple virtual assistants who are all highly experienced and trained in different areas.
What you’ll love about this side hustle is that it’s extremely flexible – with just a laptop and an internet connection, you’re able to work. Working as a virtual assistant is so flexible that my VA is able to work from home while she raises her four young kids.
If this is one of the side hustle ideas you’re interested in, I highly recommend checking out this course 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success. You’ll learn:
- How to establish yourself as a VA
- Pitching clients
- Launching your business
- How to set your rates
- Where and how to find clients
- Building effective client relationships
And a lot more, including access to a Facebook community for support, tech support for your website, and on-going education.
10. Become a bookkeeper
First of all, bookkeeping is different from accounting. Bookkeepers record daily financial transactions for a business and accountants interpret the transactions. A bookkeeper is responsible for things like:
- Collecting business payments
- Updating financial records
- Checking records and transactions for accuracy
- Manage payroll
- Reimburse work-related expenses
Accountants analyze things, prepare tax documents, and do financial forecasting, among other things.
This difference is what makes bookkeeping a low-cost business idea that you can start with very little experience. Freelance bookkeepers can earn around $30-$40/hour, and many can work remotely.
To start a bookkeeping side hustle, start with our article on How to Become a Bookkeeper. It outlines the necessary skills, what kind of training you need, and how to find clients. I also highly recommend the course Bookkeeper Launch. It teaches you the necessary skills to launch your own bookkeeping business.
11. Sell on Shopify
Shopify is an easy to use platform for setting up and running your own eCommerce store. And if you’re thinking that it sounds like a lot of work running an online shop, it can be surprisingly passive if you use Shopify for dropshipping.
Let me explain…
You use Shopify’s platform to build your eCommerce site — there are over 70 customizable themes, a drag and drop editor, and custom domains. You select items to sell on your site that can be drop-shipped (You don’t touch, store, or ship these goods. You’re listing them for sale, then connecting the customer with supplier).
After your site is built, it’s pretty passive because you’re not actively managing or shipping orders — Shopify does this for you. You will need to run traffic to your site, and check in to maintain it. You can start your Shopify side hustle for as little as $29/month.
There are already over 1,000,000 businesses powered by Shopify (they also manage point of sale technology for brick and mortars), with over $135 billion in sales.
How do you start a side hustle?
When I started my blog, I had no freaking clue that it would turn into a 7-figure business. I just really disliked being a teacher and knew I wanted more than a teacher’s salary could ever allow me.
That was why I start a side hustle. Your reason or goal is an incredibly important part of this process.
A hustle means it’s work, and your why is how you motivate yourself to make it happen.
After you have your motivation, start looking into side hustle ideas by thinking about what you’re good at, things you enjoy, and your availability.
Say you just want to make a little extra cash here and there with something pretty mindless. Why not walk dogs for Rover or find jobs on TaskRabbit?
Or, if you’re really motivated to find something you can scale and maybe one day leave your 9-5 for, running Facebook ads has done that for a lot of people.
Best side hustles 2021 – the final word
There is no magic pill that you can take to earn more money, and I see lots of so-called magic pills online. That drives me to produce lists like this. I want my readers to have the best options available.
For example, you're never going to see me promote Multi-level marketing schemes on this site. They just aren't worth your time and will ultimately waste your money as well.
Point being, not all side hustles are created equal. Do your research, read the reviews, and find the best side hustle ideas to make your goals happen.
A side hustle is an entrepreneurial activity outside of your normal day job that generates extra income so that you can reach your financial goals faster.
Ideally, a side hustle should be scalable, flexible from a time perspective, and high paying. Be sure to check out our top side hustle list for the best options!
The easiest way to start a side hustle is to look at our definitive list of quality side hustles, select the option that seems like the best fit, and then jump in! We put together the best side hustle options that will allow you to make money in a way that you enjoy and fits your lifestyle.
Our readers generally like side hustles that have low startup costs. Running Facebook ads for small businesses, Virtual Assistant work, driving for Uber or Postmates, and working as a virtual proofreader are among the most popular options.