If there’s a way to make extra money, you’d better believe that someone is trying it.
Here we’re sharing the real-life stories of all 80+ side hustles ever featured on this blog.
You’ll find everything from worm counting to taste testing, craps dealing, mystery shopping, car washing, and even the most popular of all hustles ever listed here: being a “phone actress” (aka phone sex operator! Haha…). And there will be more to come. :)
Starting a side hustle can help you pay down debt, save for retirement, or discover a new lucrative full-time career where you’re the boss … and ultimately help you reach financial freedom that much faster.
No matter if you simply want to earn a little extra money in your spare time or have big plans to start a thriving business, there’s a lot to consider when starting a side hustle.
First we’ll talk about some basics on how to make your way in the gig economy — with important info like how to pay your side hustle taxes. This guide will break everything down so you can get started.
Why Choose a Side Hustle?
Who doesn’t want to bring in extra cash? Everyone will have a different idea of what extra income means for them and their family, but one thing is for sure — successful side hustles create a path to financial freedom.
Whether you’re making a few hundred extra bucks a month to pay off your car, or a few thousand extra a month so you can quit your day job, side hustles let you build your finances and create a life with more control and self-reliance.
Potential benefits of side hustles:
- Multiple sources of income
- Ability to pay off debt
- Boosted savings for emergencies
- Financial independence
- Increased self-reliance
- Achieve financial freedom
- Max out investment accounts
- Possibility of creating passive income
- Chance to explore new career possibilities
In addition to the perks of having extra money in your pocket (woooo!), side hustles can also let you explore your passions or try out new skills. If you’re not stoked about your day job but need the steady paycheck, there’s no reason you can’t begin to build your dream job on the side.
That’s the beauty of side hustles … they can be whatever you want them to be. They can be an opportunity for a little extra money or the possibility of creating a new full-time job that you love and feel good about.
Side hustles are what you make them, and they’re only as successful as what you put into them. Side hustles for couples are also becoming increasingly popular, working hand in hand with your life partner!
How Much Money Can I Make?
There’s a limitless potential for extra cash depending on the side hustle you choose and the work that you’re willing to put into it.
The extra money you make really comes down to the type of side business you start or get involved in and how hard you’re side hustling. It’s ultimately up to you. Make $100 a month as a weekend delivery driver or $5,000 a month as a virtual assistant — the choice is yours. Or hit the jackpot by developing a side hustle that brings in passive income! If you’re needing money ASAP, check out these ways to make money fast.
Starting Your Own Side Hustle Business
Before you go all in on hustlin’, be clear why you’re doing it. What goal are you trying to achieve? Is it to pay down debt? Is it to be able to afford more vacations? Maybe it’s so you can work from home while taking care of your littles. Whatever the reason, this is your “why.”
Your “why” is important because it will help you decide what type of side hustle idea to go with, and it will serve as your motivation to keep going and building even when things get tough.
Figure out your “why” and post it somewhere (or everywhere!) so it can be a constant reminder of the reason you’re starting this new adventure.
Once you’ve found your motivation, consider your passions and your skills. If you’re going to be working on your side hustle while also handling a full-time job, it’s best to choose something you’re passionate about, especially if you have some skills to back it up.
Working a side hustle will take a lot of hard work and may require odd hours. If you choose something you’re passionate about, it will be easier to keep the momentum going without experiencing burnout.
Make a list of your passions and skills and decide which ones would be the most lucrative. Make sure there’s a real need for the work you plan to do. For example, let’s say you have a passion for writing and marketing. You can offer freelance writing services to local businesses. You could also take your business online and expand to offer virtual assistant services.
No matter what kind of hustle you decide to pursue, prepare yourself to put in some work. You may have to make sacrifices, especially if you’re also working a full-time job. Working on your side hustle may mean waking up extra early or staying up late, missing time with family and friends, or skipping the latest Netflix series that everyone else is binging.
Sacrificing doesn’t mean you have to abandon your social life completely, but you’ll have to be strict with yourself and use your time wisely.
Define Your Business Plan
Once you’ve determined the right side hustle, it’s time to create your business plan and get the ball rolling.
Decide on your goals for your side hustle, and make them specific. Broad goals, such as “make extra money,” aren’t actionable. There’s no way to track your progress without clearly defined goals. A more concrete goal would be something like “earn $1,000 by [date].”
With a goal like that, you can easily track your progress and see whether you’ve achieved your goal, surpassed your goal, or how far away you were from reaching your goal. Setting a goal like this one will also help you figure out how many clients you need to acquire or sales you will need to make per month, week, or day based on your product or service price.
Decide how much time per week you can devote to your side hustle, and create a schedule to stick to. It’s easy to get distracted when you work for yourself. Set a schedule, so you don’t find yourself prioritizing other duties during the time dedicated to your side hustle. You’ll never make progress if you don’t manage your time.
If you have 10 available hours per week to work on your side hustle, schedule them out weekly. Tell yourself that you’re dedicating the hours of 6 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday to working on your business. Write down your schedule, and keep it next to your “why.”
Pursue any necessary training required for starting your business. If you need to brush up on your skills, take the time to do so. Set up your social media and website, if necessary. If you need to learn some particular business skills first, do your research or take a course and get it done.
(Just don’t get caught up in the education trap! Many people will get stuck here thinking they need just a bit more training, and you can easily find more and more areas you want to get better in. Don’t procrastinate for the sake of education.)
You’ll probably never feel completely ready to get started. You can easily get stuck in the planning stages. It’s essential to lay down a good foundation, but it’s impossible to perfect your business before you even get started.
Most skills need real-world experience to hone them properly. You’ll feel better prepared with each client you serve or each sale you make. Remember that it won’t always be as scary as it is in the beginning. There will always be more to learn and more ways to improve, but that shouldn’t keep you from getting started.
Also remember that your business plan isn’t set in stone. Once you get started, you’ll be able to see what’s working and what could use adjustments. As a business owner, it’s best to do an analysis at least every quarter to identify opportunities, problem areas, and continue to grow.
How to Find and Apply for Local Side Hustles
If you’re just looking to make a little extra money and don’t mind partly working for someone else, you can get started right away.
If you have a car and you’re looking for a side hustle that requires no startup costs, there are many delivery app jobs services you can apply for like, DoorDash or Grubhub.
How to find other side hustle jobs in your area:
- Find out if any local businesses have part-time jobs available
- Search for a local side gig in your area on Craigslist
- Sign up for a service like Steady, Dave, Gigwalk, or SideHusl
- Post your skills and services on social media
Some of these platforms will provide you with one-off side gigs to bring in a little extra cash or more lucrative side hustles, like virtual assistant or social media manager positions, based on your particular skills and experience.
Is That Side Hustle Legit or a Scam?
If an opportunity seems too easy and sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be on the lookout for signs that a side hustle opportunity is really a scam in disguise.
Most well-known companies will be safe, but be wary of companies you come across online or otherwise that you haven’t heard of.
Scammers commonly use mystery shopper job listings and survey sites to scam people out of money and provide you no real work. There are, of course, some real opportunities in these categories, but be careful.
If a side gig requires you to deposit a check and immediately send part of the money back, be cautious. Mystery shopping gigs will sometimes make this request, and it’s almost always a scam. The money you send back comes from your account, and the bank eventually figures out that the original check was fraudulent.
If a side gig requires you to pay a membership fee to receive work, do your research first. Some companies, like survey companies, will take your membership fee and then never send you surveys or send you so few of them that you don’t even recoup your fees, much less make a profit.
Don’t do work for free, either. If a freelance opportunity requires you to write or produce a free sample project before being accepted, make sure they’re legit before you send them anything. Some people will take advantage of you by taking your sample and using it, and then you never hear from them again about real work.
Many people choose network marketing with a multi-level marketing (MLM) company as their side hustle. While there are legitimate MLM companies that you can make a real profit with, if you put in the work, there are scams out there, too. Do your research. If an MLM company puts more focus on acquiring new sellers than they do on acquiring customers for their products, they’re a pyramid scheme and nothing more.
If you choose to work with an established company for your side hustle, be cautious and make sure it’s the real deal. Try to speak to others who already work with the company. Look carefully at the company’s website and social media pages. Also you can search sometimes trust bloggers websites that have lists of services they have tried personally. For example, this list from Millennial Money showing a list of Legit Surveys for Money Sites that have been thoroughly vetted.
Steer clear of gigs that require you to pay for training or equipment, especially if they aren’t a well-known company. If they hire you too quickly or don’t seem to care much about your experience, training, or skills, it’s a red flag. Avoid working for a company where there won’t be a paper trail. Trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
Check Local Laws and Regulations
If you’re forming your own business as your side hustle, find out if you need to acquire any licenses or permits before you begin so you don’t get in trouble with your local or state government. Consider forming an LLC so you’ll be protected from personal liability for business debts.
Be careful when starting a side hustle while you’re working a day job. Ensure your side hustle isn’t a conflict of interest that could get you fired or in legal trouble. If you choose a side hustle that targets the same clients or customers as your full-time job, this could create a problem.
If you’re considering starting a side hustle related to your full-time job, make sure you haven’t signed a non-compete agreement. Don’t steal trade secrets from current or former employers or use the resources or working hours of your full-time job to work on your side hustle.
Make sure there are no restrictions for having a side job in the contract for your day job. You don’t want your new side hustle to jeopardize your full-time job or get you into legal trouble.
Do You Have to Pay Taxes on Your Side Hustle Money?
All income through the year is subject to taxes and must be reported, even if it’s just a small amount of extra income from a side hustle. When you’re employed, your employer reports your income and shares some of the income tax burden.
As a self-employed side hustler, you must report the side hustle income yourself and pay self-employment taxes. Make sure to set aside some of your extra cash to pay the IRS at tax time. If you’re not sure how much to set aside, a good rule of thumb is about 25% to 30%.
The IRS also wants their tax payments throughout the year, and that’s why income tax comes out of every paycheck you receive from an employer.
If the taxable income you make from your side hustle is over a certain amount, you may be required to pay quarterly payments of estimated taxes to the IRS. If this is the case, you can be slammed with a penalty payment at tax time if you didn’t make your payments on time.
As a general rule, if you think you’ll earn at least $1,000 for the year, you’ll need to pay quarterly estimated taxes. As an alternative, if you have a side hustle but still work at your day job, you can choose to have extra taxes withheld from your check by your employer, so you’re covered for your side hustle. The IRS has a handy tax withholding calculator to help you decide how much of an adjustment to do.
For any expenses that you plan to claim, make sure to keep reliable records and receipts. The IRS may ask for proof that you really did buy $1,000 in equipment for your side business. If you have no records, there could be some trouble. Keeping records can be as simple as designating a folder for receipts or getting a digital record-keeping system. Whatever you choose, just make sure you’re staying on top of it.
To make this easier, you can open a separate business or regular checking account just for your side hustle. Doing so will make it simpler to track your extra income and expenses from your side hustle when it comes to tax time.
When in doubt, hire a tax professional, so you know you’re doing it right.
Know When to Call It Quits
Side hustles aren’t always easy extra money. They’re hard work. That’s why it’s so important to choose something you’re passionate about, so you avoid burnout.
If side hustling has become a drain that you’re genuinely not enjoying, don’t be afraid to quit. Take it as a lesson learned on the path to discovering what you’d like to do and what you’re passionate about in life.
How to Make Your Side Hustle a Full-Time Job
You may know from the second you start your side hustle that you want it to become your full-time job. That’s great, but don’t expect to start side hustling and be able to quit your day job right away. Everyone’s heard stories of people who were able to do this, but that’s not the norm. If you get started and see your business take off immediately, that’s one thing (yeehaw), but don’t expect it happen so fast.
Work hard on your side hustle, but make sure you view it for what it is so you don’t get disappointed if it takes a while to grow. It’s a side hustle, meant to supplement income, allow you an avenue for pursuing your passions, and enable you to develop new skills. Dream big, but you’ll also have to start small. In most cases, it’s going to take a lot of hard work and time to build it up to a full-time job if that’s what you want to do.
Even if it takes a while, take pride in the fact that you’re investing in your future and building the life you desire. Let it fuel you when you’re working late hours after a day at your full-time job.
If you’re ready to turn your side hustle into your full-time job, make sure you check at least a few boxes before you put in your resignation letter. Make sure you’re receiving steady cash flow from your side hustle, not inconsistent bits here and there.
A good goal is to aim to be earning, at the least, 75% of what you make at your day job. Try to have at least six to eight months’ worth of personal and business expenses saved up as a cushion if things don’t work out as planned.
If there are setbacks or it feels like it’s taking a long time to build, remember your “why,” your motivation for starting your side hustle. The sacrifices you have to make and the long hours you have to put in will all be worth it when you focus on the reason you set out on this adventure.
Time to Start Hustlin’!
Whether you’re considering a side hustle to make extra money or because you want to start a business while you still have full-time income coming in, the best time to start is now. Most people who have successful side hustle businesses all say the same thing — they wish they would have started sooner!
Starting a side hustle isn’t a track to easy extra money. It’s hard work. It will require sacrifices, learning new skills, and potentially late nights and early morning work hours. But a side hustle is something you do for yourself, to help you build the life you want — so have faith in yourself, find your “why,” and get to work!
80+ Side Hustle Ideas (Real-Life Stories)
Finally, without further ado … here’s our side hustle series of all the stories we’ve shared on this site over the years. If you’ve got an interesting side hustle job of your own, let us know!
Hustle #83: Food Delivery With Postmates, DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub (~$40/hr – without a car!)
Meet a full-time lawyer who regularly picks up $40/hr making food deliveries — on his bike — as he commutes home from work.
Also check out these Best Delivery App Jobs compared side by side with added details, pros/cons of each company, and eligibility requirements.
Hustle #82: Start a Food Blog ($1,000-3,000/mo, after a few years of work!)
Are you a foodie who wants to blog about it? This hustler shares what it’s really like running a food blog on the side, annual revenue numbers, ups and downs, and advice on starting this type of business if it’s something you’d like to try.
Hustle #81: Productize Your Knowledge! ($50/hr, turned into passive income!)
There are only so many hours in the day, so if you’re trading your time for money, there’s an upper limit on how much money you can make. But if you have specialized knowledge that you can turn into an online product — such as a webinar, book, or online course — then you can start earning money from your product even when you sleep! As an example, a woman who lives in a camper sells books and online courses about tiny living. She’s taken her expert knowledge on minimalist living and found a way to share it with others via an online product. The best part: There’s no upper limit on your passive income opportunity here.
This is a great side hustle if you want to build something once and keep the cash coming in over and over and over …
Hustle #80: Cleaning Up Poop! ($60-$80/hr)
You can get paid to be a professional pooper scooper. (Sometimes money is dirty, right?) Turns out there are plenty of dog owners who’d like to have a tidy yard and are willing to pay someone else to do the tidying. If you like pets and being outside (and setting your own schedule), this is an easy side hustle to get started thanks to the low startup costs and big base of potential customers.
Hustle #79: Flipping Guitars! ($10,000/year)
If you’re an instrument collector or guitar geek, then you know a great price when you see one. One couple made almost $10k/year by buying and reselling guitars at a profit. Because guitars are high-price items, it’s easier to make a bigger profit off them than reselling things like clothes. If you love instruments and don’t mind shipping bulky items, then flipping guitars could be music to your ears. Heads up that it will take some cash to build your inventory at first — try stalking eBay and specialty music stores like Reverb and Sweetwater to get started!
- Pro tip: You can apply this flipping strategy to anything you want to sell.
Hustle #78: Being a TV/Film “Extra” ($200+/day)
Casting call! You can get paid for being an extra on a TV show or movie. You’ll need to get an agent and have some professional-looking headshots … but no acting experience is required. There can be a lot of downtime on the set — which you can use to get other freelance work done. Win-win! Plus, the catered lunches are the same as the stars’, so you know the free food will be good.
Hustle #77: Online Proofreading/Editing ($1,600/mo)
Hey, word nerds — this one’s for you. If you flinch every time you see a typo on the Internet, you can become part of the solution by parlaying your grammar skills into an editing gig. You’ll have to meet deadlines and juggle your clients’ various style requirements, but you’ll be learning something new with each piece you read — and you get to pick your clients.
Hustle #76: Selling “Printables” on Etsy ($250+/mo)
Etsy is a great platform for getting your craft on. But when you make a sale, you have to pack it up and ship it — effectively trading your time for money. What if you could make your buyers deal with the receiving end of things? You can, my side-hustle friend! Just create a digital file of your design/product on your computer, upload it to Etsy, and let customers buy and download it … with no more work on your part. Printables/digital downloads are a great way to make passive income.
Hustle #75: Being a Lice Picker! ($25-$30/hr)
So … lice technicians are a thing. It takes a long time to de-louse someone’s head, and plenty of frazzled parents are willing to call in the calvary if their munchkins have a lice infestation. This is a good part-time side hustle for a stay-at-home parent who’s great with detail.
Hustle #74: Tutoring People on Standardized Tests ($100-$160/hr)
You don’t have to work with kids to be a tutor: Plenty of grad-school hopefuls need help preparing for exams like the LSAT and GRE. And when you’re working with adults, they’re usually spending their own money, which means your incentives are more aligned (so it doesn’t feel like babysitting). Pro tip: Find your niche. If you’re tutoring “GMAT math” as opposed to just “math,” you can charge a much higher rate to students who need the more specific help.
Hustle #73: Selling Crickets Online! ($1,200/mo)
Here’s a real-life example of setting up a business simply because it has very little online competition. Find a product or topic niche that no one else is really talking about, optimize your online content like hell, and watch your hard work pay off after a few years. As our favorite cricket seller, Jeff of TheCritterDepot.com, can attest, “Although [search engine optimization] is a grind, fighting through it can reap many rewards as long as that foundation is properly built with a popular topic and low competition.”
Hustle #72: Finding Hidden Money as a Forensic Accountant ($300/hr)
If you enjoy research, you can make decent coin by locating other people’s lost investments or bank accounts — like when a relative dies and you want to find all the assets she squirreled away. Most sleuths charge by the hour, and a typical search can bring you a few thousand dollars. If you have more accounting experience and other training, you can even help small businesses uncover embezzlement schemes!
Hustle #71: Picking Up Trash in Parking Lots ($30-$50/hr)
This side hustle is as easy as taking a walk outside (with a broom and trash collection bag, of course). You can get paid to handle the daily litter removal for almost any kind of office or retail building — although commercial real estate companies will be your best source of business. This gig lets you spend time outdoors, doesn’t require special skills or training, and helps the environment. It’s also easy to fit around your full-time job.
Hustle #70: Making Rings and Jewelry From Coins! ($20-$100+ an hour)
It takes money (OK, pocket change) to make money when you’re creating handmade jewelry from coins. But for one artist, the nominal start-up costs were worth it. After teaching himself how to make a ring out of a penny, he was able to quit his job within a year and now has his own jewelry line. You can try the same with any of your artistic creations and sell them wholesale or at craft fairs.
Hustle #69: Making Frozen Meals ($10/meal profit)
If you’re already making meals for yourself, why not do a double- or triple-batch and sell some to your friends? This side hustle doesn’t require much extra time beyond your own food prep and has the added benefit of getting a good casserole to a good home. :)
Hustle #68: Running a Christmas Tree Stand! ($7,500/season (5 weeks))
If can you rustle up some muscle, a vacant lot, and some evergreens, you could become an independent Christmas tree stand for the season. You’ll have to invest in some supplies and work long, cold hours — but the money’s not bad for a month’s worth of work.
Hustle #67: Craigslist “Gigs” ($18+/hour on avg)
Accepting Craigslist jobs for manual labor can be a great, low-commitment side hustle. In this real-life story, the hustler’s gigs during one month included yardwork like mowing and mulching, demolishing furniture, and helping take down an art display. He earned more than double the minimum wage for his efforts — with no long-term strings attached.
Hustle #66: Amish Taxi Driver ($0.60/mile + $10/hour waiting time)
Yep, this is like Uber for Amish people, but it’s a little more low-tech. Amish people don’t own vehicles, so when they need to get somewhere farther away than their feet or horse can carry them, they call an Amish Taxi Driver and ask to go to a specific spot and be picked up at a specific time. You get paid by the mile and for waiting time, too. The best part: Getting a front-seat glimpse into another culture. Downsides: Insurance and gas add up.
Hustle #65: Mechanical Turk Worker ($150-300/week)
Amazon-owned “mTurk” calls itself a “marketplace for work.” Businesses can post tasks they want done for a specific price, and side hustlers can check out the available opportunities and claim the ones they want. This could be something like categorizing items in a spreadsheet or transcribing handwritten notes — but all the tasks require a human to think through it (the tasks are called “human intelligence tasks.”) All the tasks can be completed online and typically don’t take much time, so this is one way to earn pocket money during your downtime. It’s easy to get started, but be aware that mTurk’s typically low pay isn’t gonna help you quit your main job.
Hustle #64: Freelance Bartender! ($25-$50/hr)
If you know how to mix drinks — or are willing to go to bartending school — then you have everything you need to start your own freelance bartending business for private events. By cutting out the middleman of an agency or caterer (where you can also get bartender gigs), you keep more of your hard-earned money. This is a fun hustle if you like meeting new people and attending sweet events!
Hustle #63: Animal Poop Professional (aka Pet Sitter) ($15-$85/visit)
When it comes to keeping their fur babies safe and happy, there’s nothing most pet owners won’t shell out for — so pet-sitting can be a lucrative job for animal lovers. The work is easy enough — taking dogs for potty breaks, making sure everyone has food and water, cleaning litter boxes, etc. — but we’re not gonna lie, there is a lot of poop involved. If that doesn’t bother you, launching an in-home pet-care business could be just the thing.
Hustle #62: Brand Ambassador ($15-$50/hr + free swag)
Hey, extroverts! You can get paid to hang out with other fun people at big events as a brand ambassador. Brand ambassadors are freelance contractors who help companies with in-person marketing — stuff like wearing branded shirts and giving out free samples in places with a lot of foot traffic. To break into the promotional marketing biz, you’ll need a resume tailored to ambassador gigs, and it’s helpful to get extra certifications like for food handling and the TIPS alcohol certificate (these will help you stand out in the competition). If you love being in the mix at big events like sports games and music festivals, this side hustle could literally be your ticket in the door.
Hustle #61: Patent Researcher ($100-$1,000+ each)
Did you know there’s a whole kinda sleazy industry calling “patent trolling” where people exclusively make money by suing others? Patent trolls try to sue companies for infringing on their patents (which they usually obtain rather dubiously), so the companies try to combat this by proving that they didn’t. If you’re into researching, especially in niche topics like technology, you can help the companies shut down the patent troll’s claims and save the day. No legal background required.
You know those voices on TV, the radio, and podcasts that are trying to sell you something? Or the voice warning you that the subway door is closing? That voice could be yours when you’re getting paid just for speaking. There’s a lot of competition in the voiceover acting industry, but the work is flexible and can be very lucrative. If this sounds fun, you should think about speaking up!
Hustle #59: Working NFL Stadiums ($100’ish/game)
You don’t have to have the physique of a bouncer to snag a job working security at Sunday’s big game — and there are plenty of other jobs at the stadium, too, like usher and ticket-taker. This can be great weekend work (but not every weekend, which is a plus for your social life) that pays you while you root for the home team. And stadium work isn’t limited to football season; you can get in on gigging for concerts, trade shows, and conferences.
Hustle #58: Skydiving Drop Zone Worker (min wage + $ per chute packed)
Ever thought about the logistics of skydiving? Like how the parachutes magically fit into those backpacks and how there’s always someone there to meet you on the ground after you jump? You can make money and meet some fantastic people by working at a drop zone — repacking parachutes and shuttling jumpers to and fro. You won’t get rich at it, but the atmosphere is full of positivity and you get to spend your workday in the great outdoors.
Hustle #57: Production Fit Modeling ($150-$250/hr)
If you’re into fashion and are one of those lucky people who always stays the same weight and size, you could have a modeling career! Production fit models are like real-life mannequins for clothing designers. You just need to have the proportions that match industry standards. For work, you go to a designer’s workspace and try on their new clothing design ideas — moving around in them to see how they fit and feel. Production fit models get paid very well to try on clothes, but you have to remain the exact same size, which can be a challenge.
Hustle #56: Emptying Septic Tanks ($12/hr)
Was your childhood dream to be the guy who gets to ride on the back of the garbage truck? A side hustle pumping septic tanks is kinda close. As one expert puts it, “I truly think that waste removal is the backbone of society. … Wait for your septic to backup and let me know what the most important job in the world is lol!” This is a good side hustle if you enjoy helping people, like being outside, and have free time in the summer, which is the high season for portable toilet and septic tank pumping.
Hustle #55: Playing Santa Claus ($1,000-$2,000/season)
Yes, Virginia, you can make real cash playing Santa Claus. If you like kids and have that holiday spirit, this can be a fun side hustle that can help cover your Christmas expenses. Invest in a quality Santa suit (or elf outfit!) and start ho-ho-ing at private family Christmas parties, company events, and church activities. You can charge big-time extra bucks for visits on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day — some families like to have Santa personally deliver their presents. Not bad money for an hour’s work!
Hustle #54: Selling Junk Mail ($14+/coupon)
The coupons in your junk mail may be worthless to you — but someone else might be willing to buy them. Try posting your unwanted coupons for sale on eBay or Craigslist and see if you get any bites. One hustler got $14.51 just for selling a single coupon she didn’t want!
Hustle #53: Children’s Book Author ($1,000/mo)
Once upon a time, a guy turned his passion for bilingual learning into a profitable side hustle creating dual-language children’s books. Wanna try, too? Can’t draw? No problem. Hire a freelance illustrator. Don’t speak another language? Hire a translator. You can self-publish and start selling on Amazon in a matter of months. Tim’s making about a thousand dollars a month now without doing any more work. (We love a happy ending!)
Hustle #52: Lyft and Uber Driver ($20-$40/hr)
You know you’ve thought about this one! You directly control how much money you make by deciding how long you want to drive, and the flexibility you have over your work hours is awesome. Another nice benefit is that you can drive for both Uber and Lyft to try to snag as many riders as you can. Be aware that you need a clean driving record and a newer car that will have to be checked out by a mechanic.
Hustle #51: Sim Card Mogul ($10,000 profit)
Sometimes you can find a great deal in bulk pricing (think: 700 SIM cards for cellphones) and then turn a big profit selling the items individually. This hustler ran his business selling SIM cards out of a shoebox and made 600% profit! Try applying his methods (he learned a lot and made improvements as time went on) to other products and see what you can do.
Hustle #50: Teleprompter Operator ($20/hr)
Here’s one way to make the news: You can actually help … make the news. A teleprompter operator uses a machine to scroll through the script that news anchors read when they’re on the air. Pro: It’s great supplemental income. Con: Most stations are using newer technologies now, so these jobs are harder to come by than they used to be.
Hustle #49: Virtual Assistant ($8-$100/hr)
This popular side gig involves doing work for companies/people who don’t have the time or talent to do it themselves. The variety of tasks is huge (this hustler ended up typing an erotic novel that a 70-year-old had written by hand) but they can be anything that allow you to work remotely using just your computer or phone. Being a virtual assistant is a steller side hustle for people who want to work from wherever. As long as you have connectivity, you can be in business!
Hustle #48: Playing in a Band (% of bar tab)
Bar managers love it when bands bring in extra customers, so if you’ve got a groovy thing going, see if you can turn your musical hobby into a paying gig at a local watering hole. Hit up bartenders and managers and let them know you can pack the house … and ask if you can play for a percentage of the bar tab. Be sure to tell all your friends to come hear you play. ;-)
Hustle #47: Bakery Cake Decorator ($12/hr)
Morning person? Consider getting a part-time job at a bakery as a decorator. It’s physically demanding work but a good creative outlet, and the pastry perks are sweet.
Hustle #46: Photo Booth Operator ($100/hr)
Everyone loves a good photo booth at a party. They’re a tidy little rental business, too. If you can afford a few thousand dollars in start-up costs and don’t mind working weekend nights during the wedding season, you can snap up some serious cash with your photography hobby.
Hustle #45: Public Speaker ($750- $6,500/gig)
We’ve all been to a conference where the speakers were less than inspiring. Bet you could do them one better? Do you have personal experiences you can draw on to tell a relatable story? Are you cool with public speaking? You can get paid serious cash to fill a speaker slot at a meeting or conference. Look up associations, colleges, and businesses in your area and see if there are opportunities to be a paid speaker for them. Many will pay speaker fees, so dust off your fantasy TED Talk and hit that conference ballroom.
Hustle #44: Women’s Handkerchiefs Dealer ($100,000+/year)
This hustlin’ couple went into the business of selling handkerchiefs for happy-weepy brides after trying to find one for their own wedding. So they opened an online store selling them. Turns out they weren’t the only people searching for wedding hankies. It’s a classic example of making money by providing a product that everyone else has overlooked.
Hustle #43: Money Planner Maker/Seller ($200/mo)
This hustler created digital workbooks that help people focus on their financial goals, like affording a baby or starting a business. Selling these digital downloads on Etsy brings in passive income each month — not enough to replace an income, but enough to provide some nice padding.
Hustle #42: Taste Tester/Focus Group Participant ($30-$200/gig)
It’s legit possible to get paid to eat French fries … if you’re part of a taste test focus group. See if there are any market research companies in your area and ask if you can join their database of testers — check out GreenBook to search in your region.
Hustle #41: Chick-fil-A Cow Mascot ($20-$30/gig)
Being a mascot won’t let you quit your day job, but it’s a fun way to interact with people and earn a little extra money. You can usually apply through a regular job application at a restaurant, sports stadium, or any other business that has a mascot. Fair warning that it’s great exercise but also realllllly hot inside those suits!
Hustle #40: Group Cruise Planner (15% -18% commission and/or free cruise)
If you’re always the friend who organizes your crew’s outings, you can turn that skill into a side hustle by becoming a group cruise planner. You can score a free cruise or a commission by organizing a group trip. You can plan the logistics yourself (a ton of work), or you can also partner with a travel agent and simply deliver the guests while the agent does the planning. Most agents are happy to pay you a portion of the passengers’ fare if you bring them people ready to set sail.
Hustle #39: Referee ($30+/game)
You’re gonna get yelled at. But if you can handle that (it’s great for beefing up your conflict-management skills), being a referee is a fun way to earn extra money while staying in shape and participating in a sport you love. Expect to take classes and clinics to qualify, and you’ll probably have to buy a uniform and gear. The start-up costs can be worth it if you’re going to spend the weekend watching sports anyway … why not get paid to do it?
Hustle #38: Substitute Teacher ($80/day)
Subbing doesn’t pay a ton, but it’s super flexible: You get to decide where and when you’re willing to work. It can be a good option if you have days free and don’t want to give up your nights for a side hustle.
Hustle #37: Car Washer ($8-$55/car)
Hand-washing cars can be a lucrative and fun side gig if you’re into automobiles and are a stickler for detail. The start-up costs are low: You just need a bucket, a sponge, some water, and car soap. Clients love it because you can provide a better wash than the drive-throughs for less money. And you can charge more if you get into detailing and waxing.
Hustle #36: Human Guinea Pig ($40/hr)
Places like hospitals and universities are always conducting clinical research, and they need subjects. You can get paid to participate in these clinical trials (even if you don’t want to test medications — there are lots of other types of studies)! You’ll probably need to have appointments at the institution during the workday, so this is a good hustle only if your workweek hours are flexible.
Hustle #35: Estate Sale Host (20%-50% commission on sales)
You can get paid to help other people sell stuff they don’t want anymore. This side hustler started his own estate sale company that let him get first crack at the best items (and a cut of their resale profit) while also helping his clients make a profit off the whole inventory.
Hustle #34: Classic Video Game Flipper (3x profit (on avg) per game)
Hey gamers, all those years you spent staring at the screen just might pay off. Tons of people are getting rid of old-school video games, and most of them don’t have any idea what they’re worth. If you have a good grasp on how much a classic video game is worth, you can probably flip it for a tidy profit. Power up!
Hustle #33: Collectible Sneaker Reseller ($50-$300/shoe)
Shoe dogs can clean our their closets and clean up, too. Special edition or limited release sneakers can have high demand, especially if you never wear them and have the original packaging. The older and rarer, the better.
Hustle #32: Frequent Flyer Mile Specialist ($80-$150/itinerary)
Lots of people have airline points racked up and are eager to do some travel hacking but aren’t sure where to start. You can make extra cash by helping people figure out how to maximize their frequent flyer miles. Bonus: All the warm fuzzies you get from clients who have awesome trips because of you.
Hustle #31: Watch Dealer ($2,000-$7,000/watch)
Certain super-high-end watches can be impossible to find, even if you can afford them. But if you have an in with a retailer, you can buy rare watches even when the general public can’t — and then resell them for a handsome profit.
Hustle #30: Freelance Copywriter ($500-$1,500/mo)
Marketing copywriters can charge a pretty penny for content that helps a client win more sales. If you get a rush from converting prospects to customers, then freelance copywriting can be a lucrative side hustle for you. One downside (as with all freelance writing) is that the work may come in waves, so you never really know when you’ll have assignments.
Hustle #29: Building Websites About Graphic Design ($20,000 profit)
Rather than continuing to build websites for other people, this entrepreneur with design skills turned his know-how into his own business: creating websites geared toward graphic design professionals. Proof that if you’re a subject matter expert, you can profit from it.
Hustle #28: Running Coach ($85/mo per client)
Seasoned runners are often asked for advice about how to get started or how to get faster. If you’ve been running for a long time, answering these questions is easy because you intuitively know how to help. So if you’ve been around the block a few times, why not get paid as a running coach? You can take on clients from anywhere if you limit your services to creating training plans and occasional phone calls (no in-person meet-ups on the track). One downside: You know exactly how needy some runners can be.
Hustle #27: Air Force Reservist ($259.56/weekend + benefits (“Active” = $1946.70/mo + benefits)
This side hustle is actually like having a second career while keeping your first one going. Take it from Erin, a high school teacher who’s also in the Air Force Reserve — enjoying amazing benefits while working only one weekend a month (plus 15 days a year) in the Reserves. If you keep at it for 20 years, you even get retirement benefits.
Hustle #26: IT Freelancer ($50-$100/hr, up to $800/mo retainer)
If you’re good with computers, you already know that everyone around you will ask for help, so you probably won’t need much marketing for your IT side hustle. Remote connection software makes it easy for you to work from anywhere and still be able to tap into your client’s machine.
Hustle #25: Online e-Commerce Store Owner ($810/day *revenue* (later shut down))
Tools like Shopify make it much simpler to set up your own online store and sell whatever you want. Read how this hustler opened an online shop for luxury women’s clothing.
Hustle #24: Yoga Instructor ($15-$40/hr class, $60+ private)
If you’ve fallen hard for yoga (or spin, or Pilates, or any other studio fitness class), you’ve probably dreamed of becoming an instructor and earning money by teaching rather than spending it to take a class. You’ll need to get certified to become a yoga instructor, and this can be expensive and time-consuming, but it’s easy to make the money back, and the fitness industry just keeps on growing.
Hustle #23: Standardized Test Question Writer ($20-$30/question)
We all love to hate standardized tests, but they’re not so bad if you’re the one writing the questions. If you know your stuff in a specialized field, like Chinese language or chemistry, you can get paid to help test others’ knowledge of it. You usually get paid per question and have a few weeks to complete your assignment.
Hustle #22: Food Truck Worker ($8-$10/hr + tips)
If you’re really into a certain truck’s food, try befriending the staff and asking if they need help. Food trucks almost always do, from taking orders to working the grill to picking up supplies at the grocery store. You can learn all kinds of new job skills depending on what role you end up playing that day, and you’ll save money on your own food costs by eating your favorite stuff off the menu for free.
Hustle #21: Bouncer ($50-$90/night)
It helps if you look the part here because you’re probably gonna need that muscle on the job, at least eventually. As a bouncer for a club or a bar, you’ll also need the abilities to read people, stay super sharp and observant, and to say no. If you can do all that, you have a ton of earning potential (it’s easy to pick up extra shifts) and can end up meeting some cool people in your side hustle as a bouncer.
Hustle #20: Starbucks Barista ($400-$700/mo)
Working at Starbucks is a tempting side gig thanks to the generous benefits — health care, stock and savings options, paid time off, and free tuition to Arizona State University — that you just don’t find with other side hustles. The pay’s not great but the benefits make up for it.
Hustle #19: Sample Passer-Outer ($54-$75/demo)
Those mini chicken tacos don’t sell themselves … they’re pushed by independent contractors for in-store marketing companies. If you’re friendly and can be on your feet for many hours at a time, try becoming a product demonstrator. The work is flexible; if you’re offered a job on a date that doesn’t work for you, you don’t have to take it.
Hustle #18: “Phone Actress” (AKA Phone Sex Operator) (25¢-30¢/minute of *live* talk time)
How’s this for a $exy side hustle?!! As one actress puts it: “It doesn’t matter if you are old or young, black or white, or heavy or skinny; it is the voice that counts the most.” If a recruiter likes the sound of your voice and you pass a background check, you’ve got yourself a job! And a flexible, at-home one with good job security — because this industry doesn’t experience recessions.
Hustle #17: Dog Walker ($16-$24/hr)
Talk about grateful clients! You’re always greeted by a furry friend who can’t wait to get outside for a walk. Other job perks: fresh air, exercise, and adorable customers. The hours are short, too, so this is a good side hustle if you don’t want a huge time commitment.
Hustle #16: Worm Counter (8¢ per dozen night crawlers)
As long as there are fishermen, they will need bait. And someone needs to package it up to be sold. If you’re a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-dirty sort of hustler, sifting through the dirt to count worms could be just your thing. You get to wear gloves and the work is literally as easy as counting 1-2-3.
Hustle #15: Book Seller (a few thousand a year)
Selling second-hand books can be a fun way for readers to flip a profit. You can build up an inventory by shopping at used bookstores, garage sales, and even sometimes the library and then re-sell your books on book sites, eBay, or private Facebook groups. It’s an easy way to make some spare change and you can even read the books before shipping them off to a buyer.
Hustle #14: Tutor ($10-$200/hr)
If you love to teach and have special knowledge in a field, you can make extra money while you help someone out — a win-win! Post an ad on Craigslist or use the site UniversityTutor.com to find students. Word of mouth and social media advertising work great, too. This side hustle has no start-up costs and tons of flexibility, as you choose when and how often you want to work.
Hustle #13: USA Triathlon Official ($90/event + mileage)
If you or someone you love is into tris and you enjoy the culture and hanging out on the scene, why not get paid for it as a race official? After some training, you’re eligible to be paid for your help during races. The work can mean getting up very early on the weekends, but you’re usually done around 11 a.m. or noon and have the rest of the day ahead of you … with some more money in your pocket.
Hustle #12: Lifeguard (minimum wage?)
Not just for high schoolers in the summer! Pools are open year-round and you can cash in on that. This hustler picks up early morning shifts to watch people swim laps before heading into her primary job. The biggest perk? Free gym membership, which is a huge savings.
Hustle #11: High-Fashion eBay Reseller ($7,000 profit)
Have an eye for fashion (and a cheap-ish way to score designer brands)? You can make extra money flipping high-fashion clothes and handbags. This side hustler lives in an affluent area and discovered she could buy name-brand cast-offs at local thrift stores — many just one season old — and re-sell them on eBay for a nice profit. She says the trick is to find trendy cuts by popular designers, so if you know what those are, maybe you can hustle your way toward affording those yourself. :)
Hustle #10: Mystery Shopper ($200-$500/mo)
Hey, shopaholics, you can get paid to shop: Companies hire anonymous shoppers to shop in their stores. This helps them better understand their customers’ experiences. You have to take lots of notes and deal with your taxes, and it’s very low pay at first … but this hustler shares some tricks on increasing your income. Sign up at MysteryShop.org.
Hustle #9: Etsy Seller ($50-$100/mo)
So many crafters have turned their hobby into an extra income stream by selling their projects on Etsy. This entrepreneur shares how she got started selling jewelry on Etsy and what to expect when you’re just starting out (it’s slow going but worth it if you love crafting).
Hustle #8: Meal Plan Helper ($5-$8/mo per client)
This entrepreneur found a way to make extra money from a task her family was already doing: creating healthy meal plans. Once she realized that meal-planning isn’t something everyone has time to do for themselves, she built an online business around it!
Hustle #7: Gun Permit Instructor (“decent chunk”)
Here’s another (very different) example of turning a hobby into a business. After this hustler and his friend took training to get a permit to carry a pistol, they figured they could provide a better training experience. After getting several teaching certifications, they launched their own in-person business that teaches people what they need to know about legally carrying a gun.
Hustle #6: House Cleaner ($1,000/mo)
Okay, scrubbing toilets will never be sexy, but the extra money you can get from it is very $exy. Here’s how one self-starter went into the cleaning business for herself and makes about a grand a month (and gets exercise while she works). This side hustle has low start-up costs, and unlike some other gigs, there’s no downtime that you end up not getting paid for.
Hustle #5: Craps Dealer (“good”)
Dealing craps at corporate events or holiday parties is a fun side hustle that works well if you have a regular 9-to-5 job. Most of this event-based work comes in December, so it’s not a good option if you need additional income year-round — although you can also work at casinos during the rest of the year. Watch for ads from event companies saying they’ll train you at craps (or blackjack or roulette!).
Hustle #4: Babysitter ($30-$45/sitting)
For the young at heart who like kiddos, playtime, and toddler snacks, consider providing childcare to a local family. Get the word out about your babysitting availability on Craigslist or Sittercity and at places of worship. Getting a background check can help you stand out from the crowd and put potential clients’ minds at ease. Bonus: You can learn a lot of life lessons from little people.
Hustle #3: Live-In Landlord (free graduate school!)
This hustler rented out two spare bedrooms in his home, and the income allowed him to pay for graduate school without taking out any student loans. As he put it, “this really isn’t a skill, it’s more like an asset that is not being utilized to its fullest potential.” So if you’ve ever thought about — and hesitated — renting your space on Airbnb, here’s a story about the power of using all your available assets.
Hustle #2: Restaurant Server ($100/shift)
Hustling as a waiter or waitress can really pad your budget and has the added benefit of free exercise — this waitress walks at least 5 miles on a busy night. You can also get good at reading people’s moods, which is an awesome life skill.
Hustle #1: Chicken Farmer ($89 1st test + free food!)
Most people who raise chickens use them for the eggs. Here’s the story of a side hustler who tried raising them not only for the eggs but also their meat.
Side Hustle Fails
Although we love to highlight gigs that WORK OUT and help earn you money, we have also featured some stories that didn’t go so well (to help keep things in perspective since not everything can obviously be rainbows and lollypops ;) )
- I failed at being a sperm donor (-$127.00)
- I couldn’t part with my art ($0.00)
- I hated working a phonathon (minimum wage)
- I failed at buying a rental property ($0.00)
Hey, no one ever said making money on the side was easy! And then here’s something to keep in mind too: When to Quit a Side Hustle
Other Interesting (Full-Time) Jobs
Side hustles aren’t the only ways to be creative in your employment. Check out these unusual jobs people have done full-time for a living:
- I used to work in the Circus! ($38,000/year + benefits)
- I used to work (and live) on a Cruise Ship ($90/day-$126/day + travel)
- We are House Sitters (free rent!)
- I work in Guantanamo Bay (tons of benefits!)
- I’m a Mortician ($60,000/year)
- Confession of a Professional Poker Player (part 1) | (part 2) (Crazy fluctuations)
- One-on-One with Hip-Hop’s Financial Advisor (A lot)
Other Job-Related Resources
- Why You Need a Side Hustle
- The Best, Worst, and Craziest Jobs
- The Jobs That Get You The Biggest Tips
- 10 Jobs That Make at Least $100 an Hour
- How To Pay Rent By Volunteering For Science Experiments
- Awesome Compilation of the Weirdest & Craziest Jobs E-V-E-R
Gigs for Goals
Before we go, just wanted to share a great mindset to help motivate your side hustlin’ even more. We call it the “Gigs For Goals” mindset and the idea behind it is that you attach all gigs of yours to a specific bill or a future want/need. If you can match them up to break even, you’re golden! If you fall short, you need to re-arrange your wants and/or start bringing in higher income streams to match ’em. It looks like this:
Something to keep in mind, anyway :)
We’ll keep adding to our side hustle series over time,
but as you can see there are a TON of different ways to make money on the side during your free time. And hey, you never know – it could always turn into a full-time job too if you get lucky! (That is, if you WANT it to, haha.. some of these are purely for the extra cash, as you can probably tell ;)).
If you have any interesting jobs yourself you’d like to share, hit us up here.
Keep on hustlin’!
PS: If you’re interested in learning which of these hustles are the most popular, and other fun comparisons, check out this post I wrote up on it: Side Hustle Nation, Represent!