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 the ones 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 40 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 Postmates and 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 of 2020. The work is there, the pay is good, and it’s very flexible. Drivers for UberEats, Postmates, and DoorDash average around $15-$20/hour delivering food in their spare time.
But out of all the available options, there are two that stand out as the top food delivery side hustles that you can expect to make about $20/hour with. We recommend downloading both of the following apps and using them at the same time, which allows you to choose which deliveries you'd like to make based on how well they pay:
Since 2011, Postmates has been delivering “anything, anytime, anywhere.” Customers can place orders with Postmates 24/7 for everything from toilet paper, Taco Bell, or Chinese takeout.
Postmates pays different rates based on dropoff, pickup, minutes spent in-store, and rate per mile.
New Postmates drivers can earn sign-on bonuses after completing a certain number of deliveries by a specific date. You can also earn referral bonuses when you get other people to start driving for Postmates.
Postmates also offers other incentives like Blitz Pricing, orders with higher payouts, and Hot Spots, very in-demand delivery areas. There are also Crushers, which are bonuses for completing a specific number of deliveries in a set time period.
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. 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 ($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).
4. 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.
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.
5. 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!).
6. 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.
7. Start flipping furniture
We’ve all seen furniture just sitting on the curb around our neighborhoods. The thing is, a lot of it is in pretty decent shape structurally and really just needs a fresh coat of paint or some new hardware. I honestly think that most people don’t want to take the time to fix or even donate this stuff.
You can also source your inventory at Goodwill, other thrift stores, Craigslist, and garage sales. The point is to keep your costs low so that you can maximize your earnings.
You can learn more at: How to Make a Full-Time Income Flipping Furniture From Home
8. Sell things on eBay
I have a reader who made nearly $85,000 in one year from selling things on eBay. That’s wild.
Now, there are no guarantees on the amount you’ll make, but this is one of the side hustle ideas that’s insanely easy to start because you can literally start selling what’s sitting around your house.
Here are a few tips to get this side hustle up and running quickly and on the cheap:
- Start small by selling items for around $10 or less – you’ll keep your costs down and bank some good reviews
- Invest in a postage scale
- Watch what you spend on packing materials
- Sell what you know, which helps you market and list things correctly
- Learn more through online reseller communities, like blogs, YouTube channels, and social media
9. Walk dogs or pet sit
Whenever my wife and I go out of town, we rely on a pet sitter to come and stay with our dog Strider… he’s a special snowflake and needs the right person to tolerate him. Now that we’ve found that person, we’ll be using them for as long as possible.
This is exactly what can happen with sites like Rover – an online platform that is dedicated to connecting pet owners with dog walkers and pet sitters in their area. This goes unsaid, but you have to love pets for this side hustle.
Pay varies depending on where you live. You’ll be paid more if you live in an urban area, which can be around $25 per walk or $70 for an overnight stay.
Rover can help you find clients, but you can also list your services on social media. Because trust is such a big part of this side hustle, referrals go a long way.
10. 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 $135 billion in sales.
Using ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft give customers a comparable or even less expensive option to cabs. They also feel very millennial-friendly… easy to use apps, interacting with fellow side hustlers, and rides within minutes.
Rideshare drivers get to set their own hours, and I’ve met a lot of drivers who genuinely love meeting new people and being able to side hustle whenever they want.
There is a lot to understand about rideshare driving before you get started, like the average pay often being less than advertised. But, I’m including it on this list because I’ve heard legit reviews from a number of very happy rideshare drivers who love making money on their own schedule.
If you have a marketable skill, working as a freelancer is a super legit side hustle. Now that more and more companies, including big ones, are outsourcing to freelancers, there is a lot of work even for new freelancers.
There are freelancing jobs for:
- Sound design
- Graphic design
- Film editing
- Web development
A lot of freelance work can be done online, which makes this flexible work that fits pretty seamlessly in with the rest of your life. You can find your first freelance jobs on sites like Upwork and Freelancer. I also highly recommend starting your own website once you’ve gotten your feet wet and are ready to grow your client list.
I have a number of freelancers on my team here at M$M, including an editor, virtual assistant, and web developer. They’ve told me that they love freelancing because it gives them the flexibility to take care of their families, travel when they want, and work on their own schedule. And, at least one of my freelancers scaled her side hustle into a full-time job.
I will be explaining how to get started with several specific freelance options a little further down.
13. Rent out your car
If you like the idea of Airbnb (renting out a room or your entire house to make some extra income) Turo is like that, but for cars.
Turo is an online platform where you can list your car, the dates it’s available, and then rent it out to prescreened customers. Don’t worry, Turo also offers up to $1 million in liability insurance and coverage in the event of theft or physical damage.
Turo pays you 65% to 85% of the trip price, and they have a nifty Carculator to tell you what you can expect to rent your car for. If you haven’t ditched your car payment yet, Turo would be a great way to offset that monthly cost.
14. Side hustle as a tutor
If there is a subject that you know well and can teach to others, tutoring is a great side hustle idea. I know this because when I was working as a teacher, I learned that parents are always looking for tutors for math, science, writing, foreign language, history, etc.
Tutoring is actually one of the best side hustles for teachers because the hourly pay is pretty high, around $30-$60/hour depending on where you live.
If you can do SAT or ACT prep, you can earn $45-$100/hour. You can find tutoring jobs by connecting with local schools, advertising your services on social media, or through an online tutoring platform like Wyzant.
15. Complete tasks on TaskRabbit
For a low commitment side hustle, as in one that you can pick up and earn through whenever, doing one-off jobs with TaskRabbit is a great way to make extra money in 2021.
Here’s the gist of it… you use TaskRabbit to find individual tasks/jobs that people have listed. It can be moving furniture for $75, mounting a TV for $30, or cleaning a house for $60.
The reason this is one of the best side hustle ideas is that you can literally pick it up when you want to make money and put it down when you’re done. You’re not locked into a completely new career; it’s just fast cash when you need it.
16. 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 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success. Also, read How to Become a Freelance Writer: The Ultimate Guide for 2021.
17. 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.
18. Creative and artistic services
A lot of the best side hustle ideas you’ll find on lists like these are for online work or using an app to find work. Not many ideas are for leveraging your natural abilities, but those side hustles do exist and can be a great way to make extra money.
Some of the ideas here can be learned, but the people who are best at these side hustles typically have some innate artistic ability or creativity.
Here are a few ideas of how people are flexing their creative muscles while they side hustle:
- Make-up artist- M$M reader Amanda does wedding make-up as a side hustle and makes around $300-$600/day plus tips. She’s even been flown out for a destination wedding in Aruba.
- Knitting instructor- Ariel, my editor, teaches knitting lessons and classes on the side. She makes $30/hour for private lessons and makes up to $100/hour teaching group classes.
- Private music lessons- Music teachers can make around $25-$40/hour giving private lessons in their home. When I was a high school band teacher, parents were always asking me for names of instructors in the area.
To get one of these side hustles up and running, having a website or social media presence is incredibly helpful. You can also promote your skills to your friends and family – word of mouth goes a long way.
19. Teach English online with VIPKid
VIPkid is a website that connects its teachers to young Chinese students with the goal of helping them learn English. The hours are flexible, you work when you want, and you can earn up to $22/hour with VIPKid – making it one of the best online side hustle ideas.
To start teaching through VIPKid, you start with an application and interview process that involves doing a practice lesson. It’s less stressful than it sounds, trust me. Also, you don’t need to be a certified teacher to teach through VIPKid – you just need experience working with children, which can include:
- Raising your own children
- Working at a daycare
As a former teacher, I really appreciate how easy VIPkid makes it for side hustlers. You use VIPKid’s platform to schedule 25 minute long lessons, and there’s zero lesson planning.
20. Create a course to sell
Next to seeing so many people get out of debt, one of the most rewarding things about running this site is teaching people such a valuable skill (see #1)... as much as I disliked working in a school, I freaking loved teaching.
But, the great thing about creating and selling an online course is that you don’t have to deal with angry parents or school politics. You just get to help people learn something really useful.
I know what you’re thinking. Am I even qualified? What would I even make a course about?
The answers are probably and anything. See, we all have something that we’re really good at. Maybe you’re an awesome graphic designer, an excellent bookkeeper, or darn good at editing videos. You can leverage those talents or nearly any other skill to create a course.
How well your course sells will depend on the demand for what you’re teaching, and courses with marketable skills tend to do better. The number one tip for success is to provide value to your students. Know exactly what you’re talking about and give them more than they came for.
While this is one of the best side hustles, it takes a decent amount of work to create, market, and launch your course. The flip side of that is that you are in complete control of a product you’ve created while earning fairly passive income.
One of my readers has been earning side income from her own graphic design courses, and it’s been fun to hear about her progress in my M$M Facebook group. She’s gone from earning a few thousand extra each month to more than $80,000/month selling courses on a few different platforms. Here’s one of her most recent payouts.
Laptop Empires has some excellent information about creating and selling an online course at How to Structure Your Course & Create a System to Sell the Hell Out of it All Year Long.
21. Start a consulting service
I remember when I first started this site and wish I had someone to answer about a million different questions I had. That’s what it’s like for the vast majority of entrepreneurs I’ve talked to. And the quest for valuable insights extends well beyond those first few months or years.
Clarity.fm saw that need and created an easy way to connect with experts in your field. As an expert, you can get paid for your knowledge, with rates starting at $60/hour but averaging closer to $100-$300/hour.
Here’s how it works:
- Someone comes to Clarity.fm and searches for an expert on a specific topic
- They find you and schedule a call
- You both receive confirmation from Clarity
- You get on your call and receive payment for your time
You can consult for Clarity on a huge list of topics related to business, funding, product and design, technology, skills and management, a variety of different industries, and more.
Even Mark Cuban thinks this is one of the best side hustle ideas… he consults for Clarity at $166.67/minute.
If you’re interested in earning at least $60/hour, here’s their list of expert standards, and you’ll also need to fill out an application. Clarity will review your application and assess it based on demand and the completeness of your profile.
22. Get cashback when you shop
Ibotta is a cashback app that lets you collect offers and bonuses for shopping in-store and online like you normally do. They’ve partnered with over 1,500 different brands and companies and pay cash via PayPal or Venmo.
Now, you’re not going to get rich from Ibotta, but it’s an easy side hustle that will help you earn a little extra cash.
After you download the free Ibotta app, here’s how you can start earning cash back:
- Shop in-store by adding offers to your Ibotta account, and after you upload a photo of your receipt, cash is added to your Ibotta account within 24-28 hours.
- Redeem offers instantly by linking your store loyalty accounts. There's no need to upload your receipt.
- Use the Ibotta app to pay at over 50 retailers and redeem instant offers.
Ibotta also pays you $5 when you refer new users. You can learn more at Ibotta Review 2021: Is It Worth It?
23. Find a part-time job
Side hustles are notoriously flexible, but who’s to say that a regular part-time job won’t fill that need for you? One of my readers recently shared that he got a part-time job delivering pizzas for Dominos.
His post got over 500 likes and 80 comments from readers, so it clearly struck a chord with people. Matt said it wasn’t uncommon to average $17/hour once tips were factored in.
Next to delivering pizza, here’s a list of other part-time jobs to check out:
- Working as a restaurant server
- Work the front desk at a gym (you’ll probably get a free membership)
- Customer associate at a boutique clothing store
- Barista (Starbucks is one of a handful of companies that offer benefits for part-time work)
- Work at a bookstore
- Local museums/theatre/zoo
- Golf shop attendant
One way you can approach a part-time job is to think about things you enjoy doing or what the perks of the job might be. For example, working in a golf shop means you might get discounts on gear or tee-times.
24. Start flipping cars
If I weren’t a blogger, I could see myself flipping cars for profit. I’m very familiar with buying used cars. It’s all my wife and I drive, but hers is a super boujee newer Mercedes that looks like we bought it new.
I’m also capable of doing basic maintenance and repairs on my own, which is a valuable asset if you want to make the most money flipping cars.
The premise for flipping cars is that you find an undervalued used car, make sure it doesn’t need any serious repairs, buy it, make the necessary repairs, and then sell it for a profit.
One of the people on my team is very familiar with it – her husband has made thousands of dollars in side income flipping scooters and mopeds in his spare time. She shared her tips for getting started in How to Flip Cars for Cash. This guide explains:
- Whether or not you need a dealer’s license
- How to tell what cars sell well in your area
- Buying the car – where to look and how to inspect the vehicle
- What paperwork you need to fill out
- Getting the car ready to flip – diagnosing and repairing the vehicle
- Listing your car for sale
25. Sell your lesson plans online
The reality is that lots of kids around the world are learning remotely these days, which means teachers and students are looking for new ways to engage their kids.
If you’re a teacher who has gotten creative with their lesson plans or made unique printables, you can try selling them online at Teachers Pay Teachers. The site currently has lots of distance learning resources, and there are lessons organized by subject matter and grade level.
Like other kinds of digital sales, this could become a fairly passive source of income because you’re not creating and shipping out each item you sell.
It’s fairly easy to set up an account on Teachers Pay Teachers, and there are two options for selling:
The site pays out via PayPal once a month, you can upsell with bundles, and some teachers have quit their teaching jobs because they’ve made so much extra cash with this side hustle.
26. Rent out your pool
Pools can be both an asset and a burden for homeowners. There’s a lot of maintenance and upkeep, and if you’re not using your pool often, they can become a pretty big headache.
That’s the idea behind Swimply. This online platform lets pool owners rent out their pool to cover operating expenses and some extra cash.
Hosts (the people with the pools), create listings with pictures and amenities, like if you also have a hot tub, fountain, lounge chairs, pool toys, etc. Then you list when your pool is available.
Swimply takes 15% of any rentals, so if you list your pool for $50/hour – this is not an uncommon price – and someone rents it for 2 hours, Swimply gets $15, and you make $85.
Swimply is also in the process of creating another platform called JoySpace, where homeowners can rent out their tennis courts, super cool backyard, basketball court, etc.
One warning: If someone has rented your pool and gets hurt, Swimply doesn’t insure you or the guest. You’ll need to check with your insurance company to see what your options are.
27. Work as a personal shopper
In the past few months, I’ve noticed some listings on Facebook for personal shoppers. These are people you pay to pick up your groceries or make a Target run. This is similar to what you would do working for Instacart or Postmates, except you're self-employed instead of working as a contractor for a big company.
There are pros and cons to that. On the upside, you can set your own prices and build relationships with long-term clients. The major downside is that you’re responsible for marketing yourself and building trust.
If you’re interested, the listings I’ve seen ask for $20-$25 per shopping trip. That’s approximately the extra someone would pay if they ordered their groceries through an app for delivery.
You can share your post on Facebook and ask your friends to share. Include a friendly picture of yourself, a little background info, and why someone should trust you to shop for them. Make sure your post is shareable – not set to friends only.
28. 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.
29. Make money as a transcriptionist
Working as a transcriptionist is a side hustle you’ll find on lots of blogs that focus on work-at-home jobs, but it’s a new one to me. Mostly because I was pretty unfamiliar with it until recently. Now that I understand the work, let me explain…
Transcriptions take audio files and convert them into text documents. They listen very carefully and type up exactly what they hear.
They might work on general transcription jobs like transcribing podcasts, interviews, web conferences, lectures, or instructional videos. Some transcriptionists specialize in legal or medical transcription.
All transcriptionists will have to type what they hear and go back and proofread it for accuracy. You can imagine how important accuracy is for legal or medical transcriptionists.
What people like about this side hustle is that it can be done remotely, has low start-up costs besides needing good headphones, and you can earn $15-$30/hour.
30. Clean houses
My editor, Ariel, has always had several side jobs going on at a time, including cleaning houses for extra cash. She hasn’t done it for several years, but here’s what she has to say about it:
“I started cleaning houses part-time when I was looking for a fast way to make extra money. My husband was in school, and we had a baby, so I needed a flexible option. A friend’s mom cleaned houses for extra cash and let me join her one day to see what it was like.
She averaged $60-$75 for 3 hours of work and said she enjoyed working quietly by herself at a job that had clear expectations. That was 100% the case for me.
I put flyers up at the library and in grocery stores and listed my services on Craigslist. Within a couple of months, I had around six clients and was making an extra $1,000/week. Eventually, I landed a really good client – an NFL player who had just moved to town to play for the Rams. He paid extremely well (like $100/hour) and shared my contact info with his teammates.
Eventually, I quit after getting pregnant with my second child. It became too physically demanding to clean 20-30 hours a week.”
Looking to your inner circle is one of the best ways to find a job like this, but there are also platforms like Tidy or Care.com.
31. Get paid to grocery shop with Shipt or 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 and Shipt are two of the most popular on-demand grocery services for side hustlers. Both 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.
Shipt, which is owned by Target, is available in far fewer locations across the U.S., but it’s growing fast. It’s also moved away from a membership-only model which is allowing it to really compete with Instacart.
This was a non-existent side hustle idea not too long ago, but these days brands and companies need someone to manage their social media presence. Plus, where would we be as a society without gems like this that have been strategically crafted and shared by social media managers from major companies:
I know those tweets are old in internet terms (dated 2012), but the exposure those brands earned from those viral moments hasn’t really aged. We will forever think of Old Spice and Taco Bell as brands that are willing to make fun of themselves, and I bet money that’s part of their social media strategy!
Social media managers who are just starting won’t be working for big brands like that, but you can still be responsible for developing a brand identity online through tasks like:
- Setting up accounts
- Scheduling and creating posts
- Replying to comments
- Creating images
- Running reports and analyzing data on traffic, reach, engagement, etc.
- Creating ads
- Ensuring brand consistency
The work can change from client to client, and you can develop your skills as you work. New social media managers can make anywhere from $15-$40/hour based on services you offer, and experienced ones can earn upwards of $150/hour.
33. Write an ebook
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing has made it easy for new writers to start publishing ebooks without any previous experience. This platform breaks down the barriers to traditional publishing – finding a publisher, negotiating rates, working under deadlines, etc.
It doesn’t pay as well (some ebooks sell for just a couple of bucks), but successful ebook writers can make a decent living selling ebooks on Amazon.
Romance is the most popular genre of ebooks, and sci-fi/fantasy and mystery books do well too. One thing I found interesting is that ebooks can be much shorter than traditional novels, which makes it even more approachable for new writers.
34. Housesit for extra cash
Most people think of house sitting as a side job that you do on a very temporary basis netting you $100-$200/week. While that’s true, some people do it as a full-time job and housesit internationally.
Platforms like House Sit Match, Trusted Housesitters, and Nomador allow you to create profiles after going through a vetting process. You’ll have to pay an annual membership fee, and then you can search for listings all over the world.
This is an ideal side hustle for digital nomads who want to make extra cash while they travel.
Or you can go for a more local approach and find jobs on Learn More. Rover is also used to find pet sitting and dog walking gigs (as mentioned earlier in this article)
35. Start a YouTube channel
Making money on YouTube is a lot like starting and monetizing your blog – you need to start with a niche and grow your traffic. But after that you can make advertising income, affiliate income, create sponsored content, and sell branded merchandise.
The top YouTubers earn crazy money. For example, Ryan Kaji is 8 years old and made $26 million in 2019. Insane, right?
But even new YouTubers can start a channel and begin to make money. I know about this personally as my wife, Coral, started a YouTube channel last year. She focuses on home decor, reviews, and tutorials.
Coral’s channel has nearly 5,000 subscribers, and her highest watched video has over 129,000 views. You’d be doing me a solid if you clicked on that link and hit the subscribe button.
I asked my wife to share what it was like to start her channel and tips for new YouTubers for the article How Much Do YouTubers Make?
36. Start a mobile auto detailing business
More and more people want convenient ways to take care of everyday tasks – it addresses a pain point. This is why grocery shopping and food delivery side hustles have taken off. And it’s why starting a mobile car detailing business could be a profitable option.
Mobile detailing services come to wherever the car is, typically the owner’s house, to wash and clean the car.
You’ll want to learn the basics of auto detailing before you get started. A quick Google search will tell you what customers expect.
From there you’ll want to come up with a list of services and price them based on what’s available in your local market. The basic services would be exterior and interior cleanings, but you can upsell with add-on services like:
- Scratch removal
- Shampooing carpets
- Leather conditioning
- Pet hair removal
- Engine cleaning
- Headlight restoration
Most people will be able to store the equipment they need in a truck, van, or SUV. You can save space if customers are willing to let you use their hose, otherwise you’ll need an 80-100 gallon water tank.
You can advertise your services on Facebook, Craigslist, put up flyers, reach out to your local Chamber of Commerce, and ask friends to share your new business venture.
37. Invest in rental properties
This side hustle is something that will take a much larger initial financial investment, but it can be a pretty lucrative option. It’s actually something my wife and I have been thinking about for a while.
Buying and renting a home or multi-family units can increase your monthly cash flow, but it’s also a good long-term investment as your property will likely increase in value over time. And you can consider it a part of your retirement planning strategy.
Many of my readers who are working towards FI (Financial Independence) have added real estate investing as part of their strategy.
Many new real estate investors leverage their potential earnings to purchase their properties, but you’ll still need a downpayment and a considerable amount saved for repairs and periods when the property isn’t occupied.
Because this requires such a large investment, I recommend checking out BiggerPockets. This is a free online resource for investors and includes a rental property calculator to help you decide if a rental is worth the investment, along with tons of blog posts and educational content to help you get started.
38. Take online surveys
This isn’t the most lucrative side hustle, but it’s worth mentioning because it’s one of the easiest ways to make extra money.
Taking online surveys means you’re providing companies with valuable market research, and there are tons of reputable (read: legit) survey sites out there. One of my top picks is Survey Junkie. It’s free to sign up for the site, and you make money filling out short surveys about products you use and shopping habits.
Survey Junkie matches you with surveys based on your demographic information, what you provide after signing up for the site. You’re paid in points that convert to cash via PayPal, bank transfers, or online gift cards.
Despite what some sites claim, you only make around $1-$3/hour taking online surveys. But think about it as a way to make extra money while you’re chilling out on the sofa watching Netflix or waiting at the doctor’s office.
It’s low stress, mindless work. Just don’t go in with the mindset that you’re going to make a ton of extra money.
39. Offer childcare services
Listen, I’m about to have a baby, so I’m starting to realize how valuable a good babysitter or nanny will be. Okay, I can’t imagine leaving my kid alone with anyone yet, but I’m sure my wife and I will eventually want someone we can trust.
That’s exactly what parents are willing to pay for – knowing their kids are safe and being taken care of.
There are a couple of ways to make money offering childcare services. You can work as a babysitter in the evenings, as a nanny who works regularly, or setting up an in-home daycare service.
The last option may require special licensing, so check with your state’s Department of Health and Senior Services to find out what the requirements are. All of these are services you can list online or use word-of-mouth to find families.
There are also sites like SitterCity and Care.com. where you can create a profile, and then families browse the platform and contact potential caregivers. These sites require a background check to vet sitters.
Care.com costs $20/month to list your services, and SitterCity is free, but you can pay $9.99/month to be listed as a featured sitter. SitterCity says featured listings are 4x more likely to land a job.
40. Start a landscaping side hustle
I feel like an old man for saying this, but I’ve recently become passionate about lawn care. I want my grass green, trimmed, and free of weeds. We also had someone come in and do some landscape design and plant flowers and bushes.
Like me, there are lots of people out there who are willing to pay good money to have our yards maintained.
This is a very hands-on and physical side hustle that can include services like:
- Trimming bushes
- Raking leaves
- Cleaning gutters
- Shoveling snow
If you have yard tools already (mower, weed whacker, etc.), you can start with those and then upgrade your tools as your business grows.
You’ll have to check the rules for these groups, but local Facebook groups would be a good way to advertise your services. Most municipalities and townships have Facebook groups. You can also put flyers up around different neighborhoods and pass your contact information around to friends and family who are willing to share it with others.
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.