Good news—you don’t have to quit your full-time job to earn a little extra money or start a business! Below, we share 35 side hustle ideas that can legitimately be done while you’re working traditional (or non-traditional hours). Whether you simply want to bring in a little money for Christmas gifts this year or you want to start something that has the potential to turn into a full-time gig, later on, these are the golden tickets.
What is a side hustle?
A side hustle is something you do to earn extra money while you’re working. You do it in addition to whatever your regular gig is, hence the term “side.” But it doesn’t automatically become your main source of income (nor does it ever have to).
The term “side hustle” has been hijacked by people who took the idea of having a side gig and replaced it with building a business so you can quickly quit your regular 9-to-5 job. But not everyone wants to or can risk ditching the day job. Especially not in today’s economy with the current cost of living.
Why consider a side hustle?
Having a side hustle is a great way to make some extra money while working your regular job. It can be anything from selling products online to doing freelance work, or providing services such as tutoring or pet-sitting. A side hustle provides an opportunity to bring in some extra income and gain valuable experience and skills. Here are just 35 of our top side hustle ideas to make money in 2023:
35 best side hustles to boost your income
If your goal is to bring in extra cash while you grow your full-time career or go to school, then a traditional gig on the side is probably what you’re looking for. Ideal hustles are flexible enough that you can do them when you are available and have time.
But not every side hustle is scalable. Some simply serve the purpose of giving you more money in exchange for a little more of your time. The following side hustles are ideal if you just want the extra cash, but you aren’t worried about starting a future entrepreneurial empire.
Make food or grocery deliveries
If you have a car and are looking for something that’s pretty much guaranteed to be available anytime and anywhere (so long as you live in a municipality large enough to sustain it), then consider becoming a food delivery driver.
While not the most glamorous side hustle idea, you can make legitimate cash driving for a company like Uber Eats or Instacart. The convenience of delivery is an in-demand service, especially in 2023 (who doesn’t want their groceries to just show up?). In a large city, chances are this can be a solid stream of income.
The downside to making deliveries is that you do need a car available (or a bike in some cases). But unlike taxiing people around, you don’t have to keep it spotless for passengers. You’ll also need stellar time management skills because the faster you deliver, the more money you can make.
Complete online surveys
It’s highly unlikely that anyone is going to become a millionaire from filling out online surveys. But you can absolutely make a little extra cash in your downtime if you dedicate it to sharing your opinion with companies looking for it.
Online surveys don’t provide a lot of extra income, nor are they consistent or scalable. But they’re a popular way to make money online because they can be done while you’re waiting in line, sitting on the train, or watching the latest bingeable show on Netflix.
Most surveys only take a few minutes of your time, and those that take longer usually pay a tad bit more. This side gig is easy to get into. You simply head to a site like Swagbucks or Toluna, fill out a profile and wait for them to send you surveys that are looking for someone like you.
Drive for Uber or Lyft
Driving for Uber or Lyft isn’t the perfect side hustle for everyone. But if you enjoy driving around and have regular access to a vehicle to pick up and drop off passengers, it can be a great way to bring in extra money.
What makes rideshare driving such an appealing gig is that you only have to work when you want to. Drivers create their own schedules and make money at times that work best for them. There are people who chose to make operating a rideshare car their full-time income.
Unfortunately, this option isn’t available unless you live in a large city that allows services like this to run. In Canada, cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and Calgary allow for rideshare drivers, but not all of those with smaller populations allow for more modern transportation options.
You also have to have access to a vehicle that meets the requirements of the rideshare service that you want to drive for. While this varies depending on the company and city, they often require a newer vehicle with at least five seats that are damage-free. However, there are a number of small business tax deductions you can take when you’re running a sole proprietorship like this.
As opposed to ridesharing (Uber, Lyft, etc) carsharing refers to renting your actual car out to someone else, instead of providing the driving services yourself.
As with the previous side hustle idea, you’ll obviously need a car to make this work — but car sharing is becoming an increasingly popular and viable way to get from point A to point B in a variety of professional and personal contexts.
In its “how to list your car” section of their website, the carsharing app Turo invites you to:
“Share your car whenever you’re not using it and earn an average of $620 per month on Turo, the world’s largest car-sharing marketplace.”
Obviously, there are approval and insurance processes to look into — but most car-sharing apps have streamlined the registration to make it quick and (relatively) painless! So if you have the time, the wheels, and the setup to make it work, carsharing might be a viable option to make a few extra hundred per month.
Sell or flip used products
Chances are, there are a ton of things in your house right now that you aren’t using. They’re tucked away in a box or on a shelf, gathering dust instead of making you money.
Savvy side hustlers use platforms like eBay, Craigslist, Kijiji, Facebook Marketplace, and even Amazon to offload used merchandise for a pretty profit. This isn’t restricted to items you already own either—you can scope out products that you can buy cheap and flip online for a higher profit. Or even use Amazon’s Fulfilled By Amazon program to resell inventory.
The beauty of selling secondhand goods is that you can work in any niche you’re interested in, from books and clothing to kitchenware and vintage furniture. While this is mostly a part-time, off-hours gig, there could be potential to scale if you get savvy with it.
The downside to a side hustle in secondhand sales is that there is a lot of heavy lifting involved. You need to source, store, and market your business and products. You’re also restricted to the rules that the platform you choose to use has which could include the type or quality of the item.
If you’re knowledgeable about a particular subject (or several subjects), offering to tutor can be a great option to bring in money. Tutoring can pay via session or hourly, and you can easily bring in a few hundred dollars a month.
You can take on private tutoring clients on a local or international level through an online platform like Skype. Or you can connect with a company like VIPKID or Brainfuse that pays an hourly or contract rate but helps you obtain clients.
Teaching English is a popular tutoring gig for those who want to work and travel. The online experience could potentially lead to in-person jobs in other countries if that’s something that sounds appealing to you. However, there are often specific requirements to teach English.
Tutoring is not a great option if you’re looking for future scalability simply because tutoring usually happens in a one-on-one or small group setting. Unfortunately, we have a finite amount of time available, and we simply can’t create more to take on additional people.
Sell scrap metal
First things first: temper your expectations. Scrapping metal can make money, but it’s a lot of work.
On the scrap metal subreddit, one user writes:
“I’m at like $500-800 a month and I’ve been doing it for 7 years..my suggestion is to invest in an SUV, rip out the back row and passenger seat. Start gathering plastic bins, buckets and milk crates, and also invest in a trailer — most people won’t pick up washers and dryers, but they are a lot of weight. A small trailer will maximize your profits, also make sure you have sufficient closet and car space. Your car has to be literally packed to the brim.”
If you want to dive into the rough world of scrapping, we suggest this article: “How to Scrap Metal for Money: $400 a Month on the Side”. If you live in an area where the opportunity is realistic, then start scrapping!
Provide pet services
If you love pets, providing pet services is definitely on the table when it comes to side hustles. The potential is definitely there, from running a little pet daycare to overnight stays and grooming and walking services.
Services like walking or overnight stays are bound to be a little less flexible when it comes to your schedule because most owners will ask for a set time (or a window of time) where they want the task performed. However, something like grooming services can be booked on your schedule.
This is definitely a side hustle where you’ll want to look into the specific insurance required to watch and groom pets. But it could be a fun part-time way to make money for those that could use a little cuddle time with pets.
Start walking dogs
And, on the above note, have you ever seen someone walking down the street with a pack of pooches leashed to their waist? There’s a good chance those dogs weren’t all theirs, and a just-as-likely chance they were using a dog-walking app to monetize their love of canine companionship.
Understandably, these apps require candidates to follow an approval process — but once that’s in the bag, you can very quickly begin applying to local dog walking and/or pet sitting jobs.
Host with Airbnb or Vrbro
Using Airbnb to host a space for a little extra cash can be a good source of passive income for those who want to keep their time free but want to make extra money. Of course, you need a space to host—a room, house or apartment space where people can stay. But if you have one, you’re golden.
Vrbro is a similar service but only allows listings of independent houses, whereas Airbnb allows rentals as small as a bedroom. There are other differences between the platforms, so if you’re renting an entire house, consider investigating both options.
You could absolutely cut these platforms out of the deal and list your space privately, but there are some serious benefits of using sites with a big reputation. Marketing is significantly easier, and new buyers are more trusting of well-known companies. Guests searching for somewhere to stay have a much greater chance of coming across your listing on a popular platform.
Plus, there is the added benefit of damage insurance which the company provides, the convenience of using their platform to collect deposits and payments, and customer support access.
Provide an Airbnb “Experience”
While obviously best-known for the abovementioned room hosting services, Airbnb also offers its more recently launched “Experiences” services, which it describes as “One-of-a-kind activities hosted by experts”. Among its most popular experiences are cooking ( “make and eat meals with locals who treat you like family”) and animals (“magical encounters hosted by animals and their advocates”).
Top-rated experiences can fetch a hefty sum. In Toronto, a top wine tasting experience runs from $125/person, while a night photoshoot in the photogenic Chinatown district can run from $200/person.
Some platforms similar to Airbnb Experiences include GetYourGuide, Klook, and Viator. If you’re looking for an online alternative, Onsite. Fun has the solution. Almost all experiences are vetted for quality, so be sure to offer something you’re proud of — and if you’re not there yet, start practicing!
Take gigs on Upwork
Upwork is a popular place for people looking to make some extra money online. Whether you can write blog posts, enter data, edit audio, create social media posts, or proofread, chances are there is someone on the platform looking for you.
What makes Upwork a great side hustle for people with full-time careers is that there is plenty of work to be done for almost any skill or experience. You bid for projects you’re interested in and breeze past ones that don’t interest you. And, best of all, you can complete projects on your own schedule.
The big downside to Upwork is that they take a pretty significant cut of your pay. While the exact percentage they take depends on how much work you get from a client (the more you do, the less they take), Upwork freelancers just starting out can expect to see 20 per cent go to the platform. They also charge a fee to transfer the money they collect on your behalf to you.
You also need “credits” to bid for jobs on Upwork. While you get credits on a monthly basis, you can pay for more. Freelancers also receive additional credits for getting “interviews” or replies to proposals they send.
Similar sites to Upwork include Freelancer, SolidGigs, and Toptal. You can sign up for an account (in some cases, you need to be accepted) and start looking for contract work you can finish on your own terms.
Start a blog
If you’re interested in the long-term online side hustle game, blogging can be a good choice. While making a profit off of a blog on the first day is highly unlikely unless you already have an audience, starting a blog has a high potential to bring in a steady stream of cash if you’re strategic about it.
Profitable bloggers use a variety of means to create income. From affiliate marketing and advertising to paid partnerships and products, there is ample opportunity to make this a lucrative side hustle. The key is to build a solid brand that your audience connects with and trusts.
Blogging is easy to balance with a full-time workload because you can create content in advance and schedule it to go live at your desired time. It has the potential to earn you a few hundred or thousand dollars a month, depending on the work you put into it.
The best news of all is that blogging is incredibly easy to get to. The internet is full of easy-to-access guides that can help you set up your first blog. It’s also relatively inexpensive to get off the ground. The downside is that you’ll have to put some work in before you see a profit.
While affiliate marketing can be done as part of an income stream for a blog, you don’t necessarily need to have one to make money. When it comes to affiliate marketing, the only thing you really need is an engaged audience who trusts your opinion.
The idea behind affiliate marketing is that you team up with companies you love and share trackable affiliate links to their products provided by them (or through an affiliate platform) with your audience. When someone makes a purchase with your affiliate link, you get a small commission.
You don’t need any experience to become an affiliate marketer—for example, the Amazon Associates program is open to anyone who wants to give it a go. You simply need somewhere to share links for Amazon items you love.
Affiliate marketing can be done on a part-time basis while you’re working a full-time job. Or it can be scaled into your full-time work, depending on how much time and effort you put into it. However, in most cases, it takes a while to see significant results.
Start streaming on Twitch
Twitch is a video live streaming service that initially catered mostly to gamers and esports, but now hosts a wide variety of content. You can watch everything from Fortnite to live music to homework sessions and sports on Twitch. Some streamers even build a following simply by being themselves and talking to the camera.
One of Twitch’s most appealing features is that anyone can watch or create their own streaming channel for free. Lots of people stream on Twitch for fun to to engage themselves more in the community. Twitch streaming can also be a lucrative side hustle, but it requires a solid marketing plan to attract and monetize an audience.
Streamers who can earn through Twitch fall into two categories: Affiliates and partners. Becoming an affiliate only requires a small commitment; you must get at least 50 followers and stream at least 500 minutes on 7 unique days within a 30 day period. You must also have 3 or more average viewers.
Twitch affiliates earn 50% of subscriptions (often called “subs”) on their channel as well as 50% of revenue from “bits”, which viewers can use to tip streamers. They can also promote other products and services and accept donations. Some streamers build their entire content strategy around encouraging their audience to donate certain amounts.
Partner’s previously earned a greater share of their channel’s revenue, but they were recently reduced to the same rates as affiliates. Both streamer categories can also earn ad revenue, and partners have access to some additional features which may help them maintain and grow their audience.
While some Twitch enthusiasts may insist that you shouldn’t start streaming “for the money”, the reality is that few professional streamers earn monthly payments by accident. While the fact that anyone with the internet can stream on Twitch makes it appealing, it also means there’s a massive amount of competition.
That said, professional streaming is not a good side hustle or career if you don’t enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy the process of creating content live and interacting with your audience, making money on Twitch would be extremely laborious.
Start freelance writing
Freelance writers are those that write on a contract basis for a variety of platforms, from companies and blogs to news outlets, depending on the niche area they specialize in.
Freelance writing is unique in that while many do it as a full-time job, there are just as many that do it to supplement their income. Some writers even choose to focus on pieces specific to their full-time job to help compliment their resume (and pad their wallet).
Freelance writing is a good opportunity for those that enjoy writing, are good at it and are deadline-oriented. The startup costs are quite low, and you have a chance to make your own hours and work when you have free time. In most cases, you simply have a deadline to deliver content, and until then, you’re free to work when you want.
Sell services on Fiverr
Fiverr is another platform popular for freelancers of varied skill sets to make a bit of money online. It has a similar model to Upwork, except that it functions as more of a marketplace instead of a job board.
Instead of bidding for projects, freelancers on Fiverr sell their services. You have the autonomy to take on projects you love and reject those you aren’t interested in. And you can also set the prices of your services at whatever rate you choose.
Some freelancers and gig workers end up using the platform as their main source of income as there is no limit to home much work you can take on or the money you make. That said, while there is no monthly fee, the platform does take a 20 per cent cut of any money you earn.
Become an editor or proofreader
If you have a knack for spelling and grammar, proofreading might be the right side hustle for you. Proofreaders provide the final check on a variety of projects from manuscripts to blog posts, depending on their specialty.
Like proofreaders, editors also need a knack for the finer details of writing, but there tends to be more facets and specialties within the realm of editing. You can be a development editor who looks for plot holes and questions that need to be answered. Or you can edit all of the above for a particular section on a website.
Whether you want some holiday cash or you’re looking to pay off your student loan debt, there is a lot of work for both editors and proofreaders out there. Some jobs can be obtained through platforms such as Upwork and Freelancer, or you can find a part-time side hustle by searching on your own.
For side hustlers that dream of running their own online retail business but want to keep it part-time, dropshipping is the answer you’re looking for. You run an online store, but you don’t have to keep a physical inventory on-hand or deal with pesky little tasks like shipping.
You can open a dropshipping store with little-to-no experience. All you need is a platform like Shopify or WooCommerce (both of which you can access for an affordable rate) and a niche that you’re interested in selling in.
Once you have a platform to sell on, you’ll want to track down suppliers of products you want to sell. With Shopify, this can be done via plugins right on their platform, or you can source your own products if you have something else in mind. When your shop is set up it’s time to market and watch the sales roll in!
Dropshipping tends to have slightly higher costs than side hustles like starting a blog or creating digital products, but it’s still relatively cheap on the scale of internet businesses. How successful your business is will depend on how much work and strategy you put into it, but it can absolutely be done on a part-time basis.
One of the easiest types of dropshipping is Fulfillment by Amazon, otherwise known as Amazon FBA. This allows you to sell products on Amazon (or elsewhere) with Amazon’s massive infrastructure taking care of most of the work.
Teach online courses
While we mentioned tutoring earlier in the post, it’s not a terribly scalable way to teach because it tends to require you to offer sessions on a one-on-one or small group basis. But creating your own online courses can be a great solution for side hustlers.
The beauty of teaching your own online courses is that you can focus on topics that you love and are an expert in. You’d be pleasantly surprised by the kind of online courses that are successful—they’re not always the “how to grow your business” courses that you’d expect.
Knitting, yoga, traveling, and lifestyle topics are all fair game. The real gold in running your online course business is in your passion for and knowledge of the topic and your strategy when it comes to promoting it.
This is the ideal side hustle for those looking to work when they can and want to because it is a one-and-done model. You can make a course once and continue to promote it to future customers for as long as you’re willing to put in the effort.
You can create your own online course using a marketplace like Udemy, a platform like Thinkific, or an eCommerce app such as Shopify.
Create digital products
Digital products, much like online courses, run from that same one-and-done model. Products can essentially be a lite version of a digital course like an e-book or worksheet, though courses are also “digital products.”
The benefit to creating smaller digital products is that you can often create them faster than a whole course (depending on the size). However, you will most likely want to have your own platform to promote and sell them like a website.
E-books are a great example of a digital product, and many topics do well on platforms like Amazon. You can even use Kindle to create the final book, which takes a fraction of the time it would to do it manually.
This is a great option for hustlers that don’t have a ton of time but have the knowledge to share. Creating a single product doesn’t have to take a ton of time but if you market it correctly it has the potential to be wildly lucrative.
Become a virtual assistant
Starting a side hustle as a virtual assistant can help you flex muscles you already have, work on projects you’re passionate about and the hours you want to. It’s a good pick for those that have varied skills and want to add to their resume.
What this hustle entails varies—it can be performing the part-time role of an executive assistant, or it could mean that you specialize in a certain area, like email marketing, and help entrepreneurs connect with their audience. What services you offer are up to you.
Some virtual assistants work full-time, but there are plenty of opportunities to take on flexible, limited-hours contracts for your clientele. The beauty of this type of work is that you can pick up your own private clients, or you can find clients on platforms like Upwork. You set your own hours and rates.
Create social media content
Social media is big business. But it takes a lot of time to create a well-curated social media feed, and there are plenty of businesses out there, small and large, that need a little assistance in this area.
Whether you’re passionate about Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tik Tok, Facebook, or something else entirely, there’s someone out there that’s looking for a content creator. Why not create content as your side hustle?
The best part about creating social media content is that, in most cases, it can be created and scheduled ahead of time. That means if you happen to have three hours on Sunday and you have a client who needs Facebook content throughout the week, you can make and schedule it early.
It’s a great side hustle for those that can create engaging visual and written microcontent and know their way around the social platform of their choice. There is plenty of opportunity in this field, both on platforms like Upwork or through private contracts.
Offer marketing consulting services
If you have a particular set of skills in marketing, offering your services as a consultant might be a good potential side hustle option. This isn’t the gig for everyone—you need to have knowledge and experience to sell your clients. But if you’re really interested, you can learn.
Marketing consultants have varied backgrounds and specialties. Some work as generalists to help clients create strategies and plan to grow their businesses. Others work in specialized areas like email marketing, social media, or content creation and only perform services in those areas.
Clients for these types of services can be found through your own contacts lists, on marketplaces like Upwork and Fiverr, or you can approach those that you’re interested in working with.
Build websites for clients
Website designers could be considered an off-shoot of the marketing consultant side hustle, but many of those that perform these services have more technical knowledge. This is good if you have a knack for design and skills with website builders like WordPress or Squarespace.
You can work with clients one at a time if you have limited hours, or you can take on multiple projects. It’s a good gig if you want to make your own time—you sign a client, give them a timeframe and work when you’re able to. So long as you deliver good work on time, there’s often the opportunity for more work.
Offer photography services
If you’re a skilled photographer, offering your services as a side hustle can be lucrative. Whether you specialize in landscapes, portraits, food shots, or product photography, there’s always a need for quality images. You can take on projects from individuals and businesses alike—from wedding photos to headshots to product images and more.
You don’t even necessarily need a camera – if you have a high-quality smartphone you can use it to take the photos and easily send them to your clients. If you frame your services as being “for social media”, the smartphone can even become a selling point if it has the best recent camera features.
Become a personal trainer or online fitness instructor
If you’re passionate about fitness and have the knowledge to share with others, being an online personal trainer or instructor might fit nicely into your spare time.
To offer online fitness services you don’t need much: A computer and a webcam and microphone are ideal, but a smartphone will do in a pinch. Beyond that you just need a little extra space for demonstrations and excellent customer service.
Fitness content does well on social media and many people are looking to buy related services, but there’s a lot of competition. If you have a specific skill set or passion, drill down into it and create something unique enough to be the most appealing option for your ideal customers.
If you want to sell your own fitness courses then platforms like Kajabi, Thinkific, or Shopify are excellent. If you want to offer live coaching you can register on marketplaces like Exercise.com and TrainHeroic. Working with clients is less scalable than selling a course, but has low upfront costs and is a great way to get testimonials and refine your process.
Design and sell custom merchandise
In a world of mass-produced merchandise, selling unique and custom items appeals to many buyers. Whether you’re embroidering cushions, silk-screening shirts, or crafting art installations, shoppers are always looking for merch with personality.
You can offer existing items for sale on places like Etsy, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace and include a “custom order” option if you like. Depending on your area, you might have some luck offering items on Kijiji or even Craigslist. When you’re ready to get serious, you might consider setting up your own Shopify store or listing items on Amazon.
If you’re already craft and enjoy custom work, this might be one of the best side hustle opportunities for you.
Offer event planning or party planning services
If you know how to create a fun atmosphere and love socializing, event and party planning can be a natural side gig. This is a great choice because it’s easy to make your services different from your competition, and your main clientele will be folks with fairly deep pockets.
You can also completely customize how you plan events. While some potential clients may prefer a complete done-for-you service, others might like to be involved in the process. You can offer prebuilt planning packages or custom consulting based on your preferences and your target audience’s desires.
Party planning also creates opportunities for lucrative partnerships with other local businesses.
For example, imagine if a client paid you to plan a party in a rented space with cupcakes, catering, decorations, and a DJ. You can either charge an administration fee for connecting them with those services or offer to recommend local vendors in exchange for a commission on referred sales. If you build your partnerships right, you can even get the vendors you use to promote your business in turn.
Rent out your equipment or tools
If you have a couple hundred dollars or more worth of tools and other equipment in your home or garage, your stuff could be earning semi passive income for you. Many people don’t use things like power tools or painting equipment often enough to buy their own, but may still need them from time to time. You can provide an affordable rental option by making your equipment available.
You can list tools for rent on places like Kijiji, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and any local groups or forums that allow advertising. Depending on the value of each item you may want to require a deposit along with up-front payment, and make sure to keep track of who has each item and for how long.
Before considering this check for any local regulations regarding the specific items you plan to offer, and inspect everything before and after a customer uses it.
Start a YouTube channel or Vlog
Even though most people know what YouTube is and use it at least occasionally, many don’t understand its power as a source of income. In addition to being an online streaming platform like Twitch, YouTube is also the world’s second largest search engine, and its videos are often built into the largest search engine (Google), whose parent company also owns YouTube.
Add YouTube’s smart content recommendation features on top of all that and you get one of the best modern marketing platforms in the world. You can use YouTube to sell your own products or services, or to promote affiliate offers, or you can focus on attracting as many viewers as possible and earn ad revenue and premium subscriptions.
If you want to build a big following, you’ll likely want to focus on education and/or entertainment. Popular YouTube niches include personal development, sport and social commentaries, film and series reviews, gaming content and discussion, podcasts, and short comedy.
In addition to creating consistent content that your audience loves to watch and share, you’ll need to focus on optimizing your uploads for YouTube and promoting them elsewhere. A good place to start is with attractive titles and thumbnails, detailed descriptions and tags, and linking to new videos from Facebook and Twitter.
YouTubers with large channels often receive sponsorship deals from companies with products their audience might like, or they create a monthly membership using a platform like SubscribeStar or Ghost.org. These sites allow you to charge a recurring fee to your biggest fans in exchange for bonus content, group calls, or whatever else will encourage them to pay.
Creating a podcast might be the easiest way to reach a broad audience across many different platforms.
One of the biggest advantages of podcasting is the flexibility and control. You can work when it suits your lifestyle and focus on topics that are important to you, your co-hosts, and your audience.
To start a podcast as a side hustle you’ll need to budget your time by batching your work. For example if you want to do three 30 minute episodes each week, it will be more efficient to record them all in a single two hour period, and then batch the editing process as well. If you have more money than time, you can outsource things like editing, management, and promotion/marketing.
Popular podcasts can make money in all the same ways as YouTubers. While there isn’t built-in ad monetization like YouTube, lots of companies offer sponsorships to niche podcasters in exchange for ad reads.
There are many publishing platforms such as Libsyn and Podbean where you can upload your episodes and push them to the majority of major distributors. Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, and many others will all list your show for free and make it available to their massive audiences.
Because your podcast goes to so many different places it’s important to tell listeners where they can learn more about you (and support your show). This can be a free or premium group or membership, a website, a landing page, or even just your favorite social media.
Include a clear verbal call-to-action for listeners to visit your digital property at the beginning and end of episodes or mix it up as you see fit. Also, add the URL in episode descriptions or wherever you can on other websites. Most social media platforms and forums allow you to have a link in your profile, and they can all potentially send traffic to your hub.
Self-publishing eBooks and print-on-demand books
eBooks and print-on-demand options have completely revolutionized the sale of fiction and nonfiction. eBooks can be electronically stored and distributed very cheaply, so even retailers like Amazon that take a chunk of your earnings leave plenty for you to pocket. Print-on-demand is less profitable, but it removes the burden of investing in stock up front for new authors.
If you like writing fiction or have something to share in nonfiction, self-publishing eBooks is an accessible side hustle. Most people can write around 50,000 words if they dedicate four hours per week to writing for six months.
That’s on the low end of what you can produce if you have a plan and type with all of your fingers. If you’re not a good typist, you can use a voice-to-text software. Voice typing is available for free inside Google Docs, and Apple, Amazon Alexa, and other tech companies offer their own free or paid services.
Editing is a less common skill than writing, but there are still plenty of freelance editors and agencies that can help you for a fair price. There are also plenty of writer communities on Facebook and Discord where you can exchange free advance reader services with other authors.
If you’re going to invest the time it takes to write and publish a book, you should get it a custom cover. Despite the old adage about not judging them, the cover and title determine whether many people will even consider reading the blurb and synopsis. You can find skilled cover designers in online communities or via Google, or on a freelancing board like Fiverr.
Childcare and babysitting
Most neighborhoods contain families with parents who work odd hours or like to go out without their kids from time to time. This kind of as-needed child care can be ideal for side hustlers who want to put in a few extra hours of work whenever possible.
If you’re going to offer childcare its a great idea to have first aid and CPR certification (including certifications specific to children) as well as a recent criminal record check. First aid classes are available through some local job agencies and other community organizations, and you can get a criminal record check through the nearest police department.
There are also skill-specific babysitting and childcare courses and certifications you can take, although many parents care more about who you are than exactly what you know.
Some parents will go by local word of mouth by asking friends and neighbors for referrals, but many will likely turn to apps like Sitly.ca and Babysits.ca. You can add value to babysitting services by offering to teach or tutor the kids or other special activities.
Car washing and detailing
Many Canadians rely on cars for their daily commute or other work-related and personal travels. Having a clean, beautiful vehicle is important when you spend a lot of time in it or if it’s part of your professional presentation.
While detailing and particularly car washing are things most people could do themselves, they require special tools and a significant effort so outsourcing them is appealing.
If you detail your own car and keep it extra clean, you could add a decal or a bumper sticker or put a flyer in your windshield when parked advertising your services. You can also make them available on Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, and other local community web pages.
A good strategy would be to offer inexpensive washes during regular hours to get customers, and then offer a detailing upsell to your best customers.
How to find a side hustle that works for you
Decide what time you can dedicate to it
If you work a 40-hour workweek and want to dedicate 20 hours to your side hustle, you’re suddenly working 60 hours in a week.
There are 168 hours in a week, including weekends, assuming you have an eight-hour sleep schedule that leaves you 112 hours to play with. Minus your 60 hours of working time, you have 52 hours left to commute, eat, run errands and binge your latest Netflix show. That’s not a lot of time.
Some people thrive on 60+ hour work weeks, while others need extra downtime to simply recharge. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to figuring out how much time you want to spend on a side hustle, but time management is key.
Figure out how much side income you’d like to make
You might be an entrepreneur at heart, but most people start a side hustle because they want to make a little more money. Before you get started, you need to decide how much a little more is to you.
Setting goals is an important part of running a business. You might not achieve your income goal in month one, but it gives you an idea of the pricing scheme you should set up and how many clients you need to get.
Choose something you’re passionate about
With a realistic view of how much time you can dedicate to your side hustle and an idea of how much money you want to bring in, you can narrow down what you want to do.
In an ideal world, you want to pick something that you’re passionate about, good at, works within the time frame that you’ve set for yourself, and will bring in the money you want.
If you only have six hours per week and the times vary, but you can write fast and would like to pick-up projects as you go, bidding for gigs on Upwork might be a good route. Likewise, if you want something where you know there’s almost guaranteed to be work and you have access to a vehicle, delivering food might be a good option.
You might not be able to check everything off the list right away, but it’s important to know where you’d like to head. Just because you’re planning on adding a side hustle on top of whatever you’d normally do, doesn’t mean that it should be a burden.
Side hustles to be cautious of
Some business activities are too difficult to make a realistic side hustle, or are bad ideas due to the quality of products and partners.
Licensing or certification requirements
While some licenses and certificates are easy enough to obtain, others are too expensive and/or time-consuming to be practical if you’re just starting a side hustle. One example is massage therapy, which would make good part-time work if it didn’t require 2+ years of schooling.
Multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes
Multi-level marketing (often called MLM) is a business structure where individuals become vendors for a company and are compensated for selling its products and recruiting new vendors. While there is nothing technically illegal or “wrong” with the MLM model, it does tend to encourage poor marketing practices and by default it creates a massive advantage for the company and the first few vendors.
MLMs are often compared to pyramid schemes, but while pyramid schemes exclusively take money from new “investors” (vendors) to pay previous investors, MLMs must also generate revenue by selling products or services.
While there are some examples of MLMs with legitimate products and proper vendor practices, this business model mostly appeals to companies with inferior products that don’t want to invest in improving or marketing their wares. All in all, we recommend avoiding MLMs.
Side hustle scams
The term “scam” is overused in a digital world full of low-effort offers. A scam technically requires intentional deception. If you pay for something and the seller intentionally sends you nothing or something different than what was advertised, that can constitute a scam. Low-quality products are not scams, but they can certainly feel the same if you had your hopes set on a specific result.
Common side hustle scams and “scam-like” offers usually have some common elements: They hint at guaranteed or promised results, they suggest that making money using their “unique system” is easy, fast, or happens on autopilot, and they have little to no online presence other than their ads.
The first way to test a scam is to wonder whether it sounds too good to be true. If you’re not sure, go to Google and type in “[brand name] reviews”, “[brand name] scam”, and “[brand name] [social media platform]. If they have any web presence at all you should be able to get a feel for it with 3-6 searches.
Next research some similar offers. If the possible scam is much cheaper, faster, or “easier” than its competition without a really good justification, it’s likely not as good as it sounds.
Tips for Choosing and Starting a Side Hustle
To choose an ideal side hustle you need to assess your relevant skills and passions, decide how much time you can dedicate to hustling, and project your budget and revenue.
Assessing your skills and interests
If none of the ideas on this list jumped out at you, try making a chart with three columns. The first column is “skills”, the second column is “interests”, and the third column is ideas. Spend half an hour writing down all of your skills and interests in the first two columns, and then try combining them in different ways to discover potential side hustle ideas.
Another common method is to contact your friends and family and ask them what you’re best at, or what they think they’d have paid you for if they found a receipt from you for $100. Sometimes the people closest to you will think about your skills and interests completely differently than you, so they may see a good gig idea where you see only hobbies.
Time management and commitment
If you already have a job or run a business, most of your best work hours will probably be spoken for. That means it’s important to estimate how much time you can dedicate to your new hustle on a weekly or monthly basis and commit to it. Most small business ventures require some initial effort before they start to make money, so if you’re inconsistent or give up early you may never make it to profitability.
Financial planning and budgeting for your side hustle
Many side hustles can get started for free, but if you choose one that requires a budget you’ll want to make sure you quickly earn enough income to replace it. Even some modest sales projections and goals can help ensure your success, and it’s always a great feeling when you know for sure you’re making money.
Ready to start your side hustle?
With the important decisions made, it’s time to start hustling.
One thing that tends to get lost in the conversation topic when it comes to side hustles is that even something done on a part-time basis is still a business. That means you need to take into consideration whether you want to start a sole proprietorship or incorporate a business.
That’s where Ownr comes in.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about side hustles
Here are our best answers to some common questions.
How do I start a side hustle?
To start an effective side hustle, figure out how much you want to earn and what you’d like to offer in exchange for money. Once you’ve done that, research where to find your ideal customers online or in person and find ways to connect with them.
As mentioned in the sections above, most side hustles can be promoted on social media and local websites or offered on niche apps that will help you find customers. Use these and other resources to expand your marketing efforts until you achieve a desirable number of regular customers.
What is the best side hustle for me?
The best side hustle for you will be an intersection of your skills, interests, and available time and resources. Use the list and processes provided in this article to create a list of 3-5 ideas you like, and then consider the pros and cons of each until you decide where to start.
How much can I earn from a side hustle?
It’s reasonable to aim for $200-$1000 per month within 3-6 months of starting a side hustle, and with the right plan you can potentially exceed that and work towards replacing or doubling your main income. Of course, there are no guarantees, and you won’t really know if you can succeed at something until you’ve put a solid effort into it for at least a few months.
What are the most successful side hustles?
Affiliate marketing, self-publishing, and online freelancing are three of the most accessible side gigs that can reliably supplement your income or eventually replace it. All of these can be done with nothing other than an internet connection, a computer and/or a smartphone, and a little hustle.
Choosing a profitable activity with a low up-front investment that you will enjoy doing consistently in your spare time is a great start to creating a successful source of income that can grow with your life.
This article offers general information only, is current as of the date of publication, and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by RBC Ventures Inc. or its affiliates.