Side hustles are awesome and my business is basically a combination of a few different side hustles but not all side hustles are good!
This is why I have made a list of what I think are some of the best side hustles out there based on my experience of trying quite a few different things and honestly, some that are regularly mentioned are a complete waste of time and energy.
As part of this list, I will give the pros and cons (as no side hustle is perfect), what you need to get started and how you can make money from them, so let’s get into the list…
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1: Start A Blog
My favorite side hustle is starting a blog and even though it has become more challenging over the years, there are still plenty of opportunities to make money.
I spend most of my time working on my blogs (I currently have 3, including this one and I’m starting a 4th) and the reason why I like them so much is there are many benefits to starting one, including:
- Flexibility – not only can you start a blog about pretty much anything but you can also work on them around your schedule and from anywhere as long as you have a laptop and an internet connection
- Scalability – you can scale a blog to a 4 or 5 figure monthly income without the need for any additional staff, especially with the tools that are now available
- Monetization – there are many different ways that you can monetize a blog but I’ll cover that more below
If you build a branded blog, not a personal one like my site, you are building an asset that you can potentially cash in on at a later date.
Sounds great but what are the cons of blogging?
- Some niches are very competitive – it can be difficult to rank in some niches just down to the competition, which is why niche selection is very important
- Blogging is changing – with AI and search engine algorithms, blogging is changing and becoming more difficult
But I still think that there are plenty of opportunities out there, especially if you can find a niche that you have expertise in and enjoy creating content for.
What Do You Need to Start a Blog?
You don’t need much in terms of equipment to get started as along with an internet connection, you will need:
- Computer – you can use a phone or tablet but building a site and writing posts is much easier on a computer
- Web hosting – the foundations on which your site is built
- Domain name – this is the digital address of your website
- WordPress – this is the self-hosted version, which offers more control and flexibility
From here, there are many different plugins and tools that you can use to help you create content and grow your site but these are the basics.
I’ve created a full guide on How to Start a Blog, which covers this in much more detail.
How to Make Money from a Blog?
One of the most appealing aspects of starting a blog is the variety of monetization options that are available, including:
- Display Ads
- Affiliate Marketing
- Memberships and subscriptions
There are many different options when it comes to monetising a blog but the niche does play a big part as to the number of options that are available to you.
2: Start A YouTube Channel
One of the best online businesses to start is a YouTube channel as the potential growth and earning potential are huge, there are many channels making over $1 million a year!
I love YouTube, not only as a consumer but also as a creator and there was a point where I made most of my money from YouTube and I still think it is a great opportunity, which is why I am going to be putting more effort into my personal channel soon.
And there are a few reasons why I like YouTube as a side hustle:
- It’s easy to get started – you can literally take out your phone, record a video, upload it and you have started
- It’s scalable – there are many creators who have built 6 or 7-figure channels on their own or with an editor or very small team to help them
- Monetization – there are many different ways to monetize a channel, which I’ll cover more below
And as with starting a blog, you can fit creating videos around your existing schedule, which is how most creators get started.
So what are the cons of starting a YouTube channel?
- Some niches are quite saturated – but there are still opportunities if you think outside the box
- It can take time to see results – YouTube is not a get-rich-quick scheme, it took me over 6 months to get my first affiliate sale and over a year to get monetized with ads
Many people give up after a few videos but like any business, it takes time and effort to see results (even though the gurus out there will tell you different) but there are some things that can increase your chances of success, which include:
- Choosing the right niche
- Creating the right type of videos
- Creating good thumbnails and titles
- Creating videos with good, engaging content
But what if you don’t want to be on camera? Well, you don’t have to be as there are many successful no-face YouTube channels that generate the owner of the channel a very good income.
What Do You Need to Start a YouTube Channel?
What you are going to need is very much going to depend on the type of content you are going to be creating but for many channels, they will need the following:
- Camera – you can get started with your smartphone or opt to buy a dedicated camera
- Microphone – audio is important on YouTube, so a decent shotgun or Lavalier mic will give you a vast improvement over the built-in microphones on your device
- Lighting – good lighting can make a video much more aesthetically pleasing, some cheap LED light panels off Amazon and a couple of nice background lights will usually do the job
If you aren’t going to be on camera but are doing voiceovers for your videos, then a good audio recorder can be a good investment.
But whichever method you choose, you will need:
- A computer for editing your videos
- Editing software, popular choices include DaVinci Resolve (which is free) or Adobe Premiere Pro (which is paid)
- Software for creating thumbnails, Canva is great and they offer a free plan which is ideal for people just getting started
It is also best to spend some time learning to use the editing software (there are hundreds of great tutorials on YouTube), so that you not only know what you are doing but can speed up the process of editing your videos.
How to Make Money on YouTube?
One of the reasons why YouTube is such a great business opportunity is the number of ways you can monetize your channel and below, I have listed some of the main options:
- Ad Revenue – from running ads on your videos, once you have met the partner requirements (1,000 subs + 4,000 hours of watch time in a calendar year)
- Affiliate Marketing – this is by adding unique referral links to products in your video description, you then earn a referral commission from everyone who buys that product
- Sponsored Videos – this is where a company pays you a set fee to sponsor that video. Generally, all that is required for this is to promote the product at some point during the video and place a link to them in the description
There are numerous other methods of monetizing your channel and some creators can get very creative.
3. Selling Digital Products
My background is ecommerce and the only type of product that I get excited about are digital products and it is something I am going to be putting a lot more effort into.
If you want to go down the ecommerce route for your side hustle, then I think that digital products are a great option as they offer some advantages over physical products, which include:
- No inventory, so no problems with supply chains
- No shipping as they are automatically delivered
- Profit margins can be very high
This makes them a great option for a side hustle and as a business, there are some advantages, including:
- Scalable – in most cases, it will be the same process whether you sell 10 or 1,000
- Flexible – because you don’t have the restraints of physical products, you can run it from anywhere
When it comes to digital products, there are many different options available including digital downloads (the easiest to get started with), services or software and they all have their own quirks to running them.
What are the cons of selling digital products?
- Limited monetization – your primary income will be from the sale of the product and there are limited additional monetization opportunities
- You need to choose the right product – some niches are heavily saturated and margins are very small
I think many of the opportunities will be found in creating niche-focused digital products as this is where I’ve found success because many of the ‘digital product’ lists that are published everywhere often list products that are highly saturated as everyone is trying to sell them.
What Equipment/Skills are Needed to Sell Digital Products?
The basic equipment you need for selling digital products is:
- A computer or device to create the product
- Any specialist software
- An outlet to sell your products (your own website, marketplace account etc)
The equipment needed will vary from product to product but many people who create these types of products will probably already own or subscribe to the tools that they need.
When it comes to the skills required, there are two main ones:
- The skills to create the product
If you are exclusively using marketplaces to sell your products, then the marketing skills aren’t as important as the marketplace will do a lot of that for you but if you are selling through your own website, then you will need to know how to get traffic to the site.
4. Create an Online Course
One area that is going to see continued growth is the world of online education as it becomes more accepted as a way of learning new skills.
I’ve learned a lot from online courses and I’ve also made a decent amount from my own online course and this way of learning is going to become more popular, especially as it gets adopted by more ‘traditional’ educational establishments, which is why it can be a great side hustle.
Starting an online course isn’t going to be for everyone but if you have a skill that people would like to learn, then this can be a great way to start making money out of it without actually doing it (if that makes sense) but why are they great side hustles?
- You put the work in upfront – unless you plan on constantly updating the course, you plan and create the course once and then benefit from that work
- You can create courses on pretty much anything – some of the most successful courses are teaching things that aren’t taught in schools (or poorly taught in schools)
- They can be very profitable – as you can have hundreds or thousands of people taking the same course, they can be very profitable as creators
One thing that stops a lot of people from creating a course is that they feel that they don’t have enough knowledge or experience to create a course around a subject but there are courses aimed at people at all levels, with courses aimed at beginners being very popular.
So what are the cons of creating an online course?
- You really need an audience – to get the most students you can, it helps to have an existing audience that is receptive to your content as it is easier to market
- You need to actively market it – unless you use a platform like Udemy that will promote your course (who take a decent chunk for doing so), you need to really be actively marketing it to get new students
While online courses can be done as a standalone side hustle, I often think they are best when combined with another one such as a YouTube channel or blog as you can use these to promote your course.
What Do You Need to Create an Online Course?
For equipment, you will need the following, especially if you are going to be on camera:
- A decent camera (most modern smartphones will do)
- A good microphone for clear audio
- Good lighting so that your students can see you clearly
- The thing you are making the course about
- A computer + editing software to create the finished videos
- A platform to upload your course to
This may sound like a lot but when you are just getting started, you can buy most of it relatively cheaply from somewhere like Amazon.
When it comes to skills, there are a couple of different ones that you will need to have or learn, including:
- Knowledge around the subject you are creating the course (obviously)
- Planning the content for the course
- Scripting/planning the content for each video
- Editing to make the videos both informative and engaging
You may also want to create additional resources for the course such as downloadables etc, so knowing how to plan, write and create these is also helpful.
How Do Online Courses Make Money?
The most obvious way that online courses make money is by people enrolling on your course and in most cases this will be a one-off fee but there is also the option to create a subscription-based course, which is great for subjects/niches where you plan to continually release new courses.
But there are some additional ways that you can make money from online courses, including:
- Ecommerce (physical products) – there may be the option to sell products that people may need in order to do some of the things that you cover in the course
- Ecommerce (digital products) – similar to the physical products but you may be able to sell things like templates or designs to your students
- Affiliate Marketing – if you don’t want to stock the products yourself, you can refer students to your chosen suppliers and take a commission on every sale (if they have an affiliate program)
The secondary income methods for online courses can be quite lucrative depending on the subject/niche of your course.
5. Start a Newsletter
This is something I am just getting started with but there are huge opportunities in this space and there are people making a killing from building a newsletter.
Newsletters were always seen as an extension of a business, rather than one itself but there are many successful businesses, such as Morning Brew that started out as a newsletter and grew to be million-dollar companies.
So why are newsletters a good side hustle?
- They are easy to start – you can use things like Substack, which I use for my newsletter and these can be set up in a few minutes
- You can create a newsletter about pretty much anything – as with the other side hustles mentioned, you can start a newsletter about anything and at any level, whether it is something you have expertise in and give advice or share your journey of learning something
- You communicate directly with your audience – unlike things like blogging or YouTube, with a newsletter you are contacting them directly and this can help build a relationship with your subscribers
I personally like it as I can create content around things that I’ve been thinking about or others find interesting that wouldn’t work as a blog post.
But what are the cons of starting a newsletter?
- Building an audience – building an audience from scratch can be challenging as you need to be actively trying to get people to subscribe, with being spammy
- It can take time – if you don’t have an existing audience, then it can take time to see results and start making money from it
But I still think they are a great side hustle to consider and as with the online courses, you could combine these with one of the other methods so that you are making the most out of your audience.
What Do You Need to Start a Newsletter?
Email newsletters can be some of the simplest side hustles to start as all you need is:
- Computer – you could also use a tablet or phone
- Newsletter software – you can use things like Substack to start a simple newsletter
The main thing outside of this will be creating content for your newsletter.
How to Make Money from a Newsletter?
There are many ways you can make money from a newsletter (depending on the platform you are using) and these include:
- Memberships – you can create a paid-for version of your newsletter, which can generate recurring revenue
- Sponsorships – some companies are now sponsoring newsletters
- Affiliate Marketing
- Selling your own product/s
There really are lots of options out there and the larger your audience, the more money you are likely to make from your newsletter.
6. Sell Niche Products
When it comes to selling physical products as a side hustle, I think the best option is to sell niche products.
I have sold a lot of stuff online (I ran an ecommerce business for 7 years) and in my experience, the best products to sell, especially as a side hustle are niche products, which can include:
- Collectibles, rare or vintage products – these types of products have people actively looking for them, meaning that sales can be quick and easy
- Bespoke or custom products – people like things that are unique and bespoke or custom products fit this perfectly
- Repairing and reselling products – I did this with iPods many years ago and made a good side income to my job, can be great if you know what you are doing
- Upcycling products – giving something a new lease of life can be quite profitable
The thing with all of these products type is that they are different from mass-produced products, which means that they aren’t as likely to be in a race to the bottom, meaning that profit margins are better.
I’ve done a couple of these myself and have done very well out of it but there are some cons with these that aren’t faced by the other options above:
- Limited supply – with many of these products types, there will be a limited supply available and it won’t be a reliable supply
- Logistics – with physical products you have to store and ship them, which can cause problems in itself
- Difficult to scale – not only due to the potential supply issues but you may need to storage space or staff in order to grow
I’ve known many people who have turned a physical product-based side hustle into a full-time business by selling niche products and it is something I may go back into at some point in the future.
What Do You Need To Sell Niche Products?
In order to sell these types of products online, you are going to need:
- A computer – to create listings, edit photos etc
- A camera – this can be your phone but you want to take good quality pictures
- Somewhere to sell – this can be marketplaces, your own website or through Facebook groups or forums
But by far the most important thing you need is knowledge around whatever you are selling as you need to know whether you are buying the right thing.
A second important skill is going to be the ability to make bespoke/custom products, repair or upcycle them.
How Does Selling Niche Products Make Money?
Unlike other side hustles mentioned above, the primary way you are going to make money is by selling your products or getting orders for bespoke products and there aren’t many additional monetization options available.
Side Hustles I Haven’t Tried
I am just one man and there are lots of side hustles that I haven’t tried and I’ll list these below:
- Dropshipping and Amazon FBA – I’ve researched these a lot based on my time in ecommerce and neither really appeal to me (I have one idea for dropshipping but that’s it) and I’m not rushing to deal with physical products again
- Print-on-Demand – similar to dropshipping but I may try this as an extension to another business as they could work quite well
- Consulting/teaching – I could have done this very easily but I don’t really have the time
- Selling digital services – Other than building websites, I don’t really have a sellable skill
- Podcast – this one is on the list at some point but I haven’t got round to starting it yet
If I do any of these, I will of course update this post.
Side Hustles I Would Avoid
This post isn’t just about the side hustles that I think are good, I also want to highlight the ones that I think aren’t worth doing.
Selling Handmade Products on Etsy
Etsy used to be an awesome marketplace for small businesses selling unique and individual handmade products but unfortunately, this is no longer the case and I would avoid doing this because:
- Etsy is now flooded with mass-produced cheap tat
- It is now a race to the bottom in terms of pricing in order to try and get a sale
- The fees can be high, they are also quite confusing
This means that profit margins are being squeezed and when you factor in the time and effort required to make the product, it simply isn’t worth it.
Selling on Ebay
I had an Ebay store for the whole time I had my ecommerce business and as a place to sell it just got worse every year and the reasons why I would avoid starting an Ebay store as a side hustle are:
- It is very competitive, with price often being the differentiating factor for many products
- Ebay fees are quite high
- Ebay policies are constantly changing and they never favor the seller
- Ebay will nearly always side with the customer in a dispute and many customers know this and play the system
I’ve actually got to the point where I try an avoid Ebay at all costs as a seller, even when just looking to sell off some stuff.
So there they are, my list of what I think are some of the best and worst side hustles out there and of the ones I like, I am actively doing 5 of them.
And I hope that this list has given you a little bit of inspiration for your own side hustle as it is one of the best ways to increase your income and potentially become your full-time income, which could help you on your way to financial independence.
One piece of advice I would give is to do something that you enjoy because you will be working on this in your spare time and this may be first thing in the morning or last thing at night and if you aren’t into it, you won’t put the work in and this is why most side hustles fail.
Whereas if you enjoy it, it doesn’t feel so much like work and you will have more drive to become successful.