Side Hustle Guide | 2021 Edition
Updated: Sep 7, 2021
Side hustles are a great way to make extra money. As you know, here at The Saving Dude, we are all about little changes that have a large long-term impact so we are all about the side hustle. No matter what your skill set there are so many simple, easy, side jobs you can take on to make a little extra cash.
In previous articles, here, here, and here, we have shown that a little extra saving can have a huge impact long term. The same goes for a little extra income. As little as $200 extra income per month can lead to $250,000 if invested over 30 years.
Beyond adding to your net worth, side hustles can be used for:
Saving for an upcoming vacation - side note, you can invest that extra cash in short term CDs and put that side hustle cash to work before your vacation
Knock out debt - this is a great way to take control of your finances and a key component of your net worth
You like money - many of us just want more money for whatever reason and I'm about to give you a ton of ways to get some
Some side hustles require sizable investment and can have a huge payout at the end, think replacing your current job. Others can get you some easy money to cover an upcoming expense, can be really flexible, or just line your pockets a little bit. While other side hustle jobs can land somewhere in between.
Whatever you are looking for we have you covered. Follow the side hustle guide to find the right additional income stream for you!
1. Start a blog
Starting a blog easily has the highest earning potential of anything on this list and one of the best side hustles. I started this blog in my spare time as a way to build an additional income stream. There are plenty of success stories of bloggers who quit their day jobs and blog full time and ideally I (and you!) become another one of those success stories.
If you start a blog it can be a ton of fun, you get to write about what you want, you can make money (or not), you can work on it when you want or have time, and you learn new stuff. If you really get into it then you can tap into a huge online community sharing blogging best practices so it really is what you make of it.
As of today, I'm still early in my blogging career, but I'm having a ton of fun writing about all types of topics and have seen a little bit of early success that is keeping me going. If you want to learn more about some of the more technical parts of getting a blog up and running and tracking performance check out my "How to Start a Blog" page.
If you have already read about how to start a blog, or just want to dive right in, head over to Wix to get started. They offer a full suite of tools to help setup, design, and publish an amazing blog.
2. Switch to Swagbucks
I just recently heard about Swagbucks and it is a quick, easy way to save money or make extra money. You can take short surveys to make a little money. You can add the Swagbucks plug-in for Chrome and get notifications when you are shopping if a site can earn you Swagbucks. You can go directly to Swagbucks and see if there are offers you want to take advantage of. You can even play games on the site to earn Swagbucks. It's worth your time to go check the site out.
All-in-all there are a ton of options with Swagbucks to save and make extra money. I'd call this an easy side job from home for sure.
3. Buy/Sell on Facebook Marketplace
Sounds strange, right? Who can actually buy stuff and sell stuff on Facebook? I'll tell you what, I've seen it in action and talked with friends who have seen it as well. How does it work? Think about something you buy frequently and/or something you are really familiar with. For me, I'll go with refrigerators because I was recently in the market for an extra one to put in my garage. During that time I was on the Facebook marketplace multiple times a day to check and see if a new fridge had made its way up. For a lot of us, we are on Facebook at any point during the day and can easily pop over to the marketplace and take a look at a certain category. I paid attention to the sizes, the condition, where it was being sold if they would deliver, and on and on. To the point where I could tell if a fridge that was being listed was a good or bad deal. When I saw a good deal come along, I reached out and got myself a fridge.
I compare this effort to going grocery shopping. There was a time when I could tell you what a loaf of bread, a dozen eggs, and a gallon of milk would cost you. And I noticed if those prices were going up (remember I was living paycheck to paycheck at a certain point in my life). The same strategy can be executed for a ton of other categories. Find a category that works for you, track items within that category, even set up alerts, and when you find just the right item at the right price, pounce. Then turn around, list the item at a fair price, or slightly above fair, and make yourself a profit. You might have to sit on the item for a few days to get just the right buyer, but in most cases, if you can find a steal on the FB marketplace and then relist at a good price you are still going to sell quickly and make a profit. For those that really want to get the next level with this, you can track the pricing of products over time. You can make a spreadsheet, track what people are buying (make sure to keep track of product specs like size, watts, whatever, so you can compare apples to apples), and eventually, if you can't tell right off the bat whether or not something is a steal, your spreadsheet will do it for you!
There is some risk to this strategy. You may not know what a good price vs bad price is, so it will take a bit of research. What you will find is that there are plenty of good opportunities out there waiting for a savvy shopper like you to take advantage of. It's easy, you don't need anything but a Facebook account and a little extra time to execute on this. Also, if you don't have access to a truck you might want to pick a product category that will fit in your car!
4. Pinecone Research
This is one of many market research companies and a pretty good side hustle. They send you stuff, you test it out, and they pay you to provide feedback. If you search market research companies you can sign up to participate in a ton of them. If you want a simple, easy way to make some extra money I'd have to say this is on my shortlist of easy ways to make money.
The only problem with Pinecone is exclusivity. They are very picky about who they let test our products and rightfully so because it's a pretty sweet gig. Hit up the links below to learn more or apply. Let me know if you make the cut and how that goes!
Has your company sent you to work from home for a while? No use for your car right now? Well someone out there might need to borrow it and if you don't have any issues loaning your car out you can sign up for Getaround. Hand over the keys and get paid. It's as simple as that!
Well maybe not that simple. I'd first check with your insurance company to see if your covered in a situation like this. You will also want to ensure that your coverage costs don't go up because if they do, then you will have to utilize Getaround enough to cover that added expense. All-in-all it is an easy hustle and you can get started with a phone call and filling out a form online.
6. Proofread for a living
This is one of those side hustle jobs that isn't for everyone. If you are someone who loves to read, has a knack for the English language, and takes pride in noticing the little things, then this is definitely the best side hustle for you.
It is super simple to get started.
1) Google Proofreading jobs and follow any of the numerous links
2) Check out Upwork and search for proofreading
3) Check out Writerswork and click "Get Started Now"
If you want to give it a test run feel free to read through this article and give me some feedback and maybe I'll hire you!
7. Work as a personal shopper
While this might not sound glamourous, like be a personal shopper to the stars, at least it is an easy way to make some money and you don't need any special skills to make it happen.
For anyone working and living in a more "urban" area, this will be easier to come by. Folks living out in the country don't really need a personal shopper. for this hustle to really work you need to be in a highly-populated area, with plenty of folks who have the extra income to pay you for getting things on their behalf. Not quite a personal shopper to the stars, a bit more like a personal shopper to the rich.
Either way, you can make a decent amount of extra money just by running errands (sometimes errands you would already be making on your own).
8. Clean houses
In today's environment, this might not be the most desirable side job idea, but on the flip side, there might be more need and less available staff than in the past. You can absolutely set up your own website (pretty cheap and easy with Wix) and you can start using that site to attract customers.
If you have a job where you work in the evenings this would be the perfect side hustle for you because most house cleaning happens during the day. If you have a day job then consider cleaning offices because that work typically happens in the evenings. I know when I was growing up and my folks were hustling they would clean office buildings in the evenings. Every now and again my brother and I would tag along to follow them around. It was a great way for us all to be together while my folks made some extra cash. For my brother and I, it was an adventure to see the office space. It was totally foreign and at that age, with our vivid imaginations, it was easy for us to stay busy and entertained.
9. Deliver food with Doordash or Postmates
Food delivery has been booming during 2020 and one of the best side hutles. I know for a fact my family has significantly more food delivered to our door than any year past. We also cook from home more, but that isn't a good side hustle unless you become a personal chef.
One of the best parts about food delivery is the demand isn't going away any time soon. One of the other awesome parts about food delivery is the pay is pretty decent at $15-$20 per hour.
There are other options beyond Doordash and Postmates, I've just found these to have the best pay scale so we will focus here.
10. Teach English online with VIPKid
VIPKid that connects English speakers with Chinese students looking to learn the language. Like many of the best side hustle jobs in this article the hours are flexible (those are the best types of side jobs). The pay is also pretty solid with the ability to earn up to $22 per hour.
Getting started is pretty straight forward. Go to www.vipkid.com/teach, enter an email address and password or use the handy "Continue with Facebook/Google" links. There is an application and interview process, they need to know you can speak the language, set up a computer, and so on. Pretty basic and not really a big deal to work your way through that process. One of the best parts is you don't have to be certified to teach, but they do prefer you have experience working with children. They try and make that qualification fairly easy. If you have raised your own children, worked in a daycare, tutored in the past, or have babysitting experience that all qualifies.
After getting set up on VIPKid they make things as easy as possible on you. You will see a list of sessions you can choose from and they provide you with a plan.
11. Sell things on Ebay
Having personally sold about $1000 worth of items on eBay in my lifetime I've found it to be one of the easiest ways to make a little extra money with very little effort. I've sold all types of stuff on eBay, an old coat that didn't fit, electronics, clothes, and all types of other stuff. That is what's great about eBay, you can sell almost anything as long as you hit the right price point.
If you don't want to worry about shipping something to the buyer than you can pivot and sell locally on Craigslist where all the same parameters apply. List your stuff, whatever it might be, at the right price point and surely someone will find it and buy it from you.
There are ways to make selling on eBay a scalable business:
Start small, in price and in size/weight - building experience and reviews under your eBay account goes a long way to attracting buyers in the future
Buy a postage scale - this helps you hit the lowest possible price while also making money
Pack lightly - buying a really fancy box isn't necessary so be mindful of how you are shipping your items
Do research - learn as much as you can about the item(s) you are selling so you can market and list them correctly
12. Start flipping furniture
Our family has yet to actually flip a piece of furniture, but we did buy a cheap table/chair set and spray paint it. Then we sold our old table and chairs for way more than it cost us to fix up the dining room set we are using today.
That same concept could have been used to list the set on Craigslist, Trove, Chairish, or the Facebook Marketplace. Then you could really consider it a good side hustle idea. The fact that sites like Trove and Chairish exist lends credence to the potential of a good side hustle like flipping furniture.
To find great items that you can flip I suggest the Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, maybe you are even a local newspaper ads person, or your local Goodwill. If you want to really extend your profits I suggest being frugal. We used spray paint on our table/chairs because it was cheaper overall vs buying regular paint and all the supplies that goes along with that process. Spray paint also gets into all the nooks and crannies of furniture plus it can look really polished and finished if done well.
13. Start a consulting service
Starting a consulting service sounds daunting, but really it is pretty basic. If you have developed expertise in a particular field (3-5 years of experience can do that), then you can start offering consulting services.
One site I found while researching this article was Clarity.fm. You can sign up as an expert in about 10-15 minutes and start getting gigs shortly their after. You fill in a short bio, enter a resume, and your hourly rate. From there, Clarity will guide you toward those in need of the expertise you provide. It's just a platform that connects those with a skill (you), with those that need advice. Pretty basic and you can make great money doing it in your spare time.
14. Find a part-time job
This is easier said than done. This would be something outside of all the suggestions made up to this point. Things like being a waiter/bartender, working as a sales associate (generic term for a person who walks around the floor in a retail environment and helps customers), being a cashier, working at the front desk of a gym, or anything else that might come to mind. While the earning potential from a part-time job is typically pretty limited you might be able to find something fairly easy (for you at least) that doesn't totally suck to do. Like we have said time and time again just a little extra money every week can really add up over time and that is our focus, the longer-term goals!
15. Write an ebook
Similar to starting a blog, an ebook can be a great way to make recurring income, potentially a large income, after putting in some effort upfront. What's more is you can now write and publish on Amazon Kindle Publisher with the click of a few buttons.
Another amazing benefit of Amazon Kindle Publisher is even short stories can be published so you can start out small and work your way into something longer and more "novelly". You can choose to publish in any genre, but there are certain genres that sell better than others.
When all is said and done if you ever wanted to be a published author it really doesn't get much easier than the tools for publishing there are today.
16. Make money as a transcriptionist
My first thought was, "what is a transcriptionist". Well, I'll tell you, a transcriptionist is someone who listens to audio files and types them out. There are a few differnet industrie that always have a need, medical and legal being the most common industries in need. If you are fast and accurate with your typing skills there are at least 5 different websites where you can be connected with someone or a company in need.
For many of you (count me out on this side job) the ability to type quickly and accurately has been honed over your lifetime. If that is the case then this could be an awesome way to make some extra money and would probably be pretty easy for you as well. For those of us with terrible typing skills, I suggested finding another side hustle idea from this list.
17. Answer questions on JustAnswer
This is another side hustle idea that does require very specific skills. JustAnswer is geared toward doctors, lawyers, vets, mechanics, tax experts, etc. It doesn't hurt to check out the site. They do have quite a few categories that are in need of specialists so there is a shot that you fit into one of those categories. Signing up is pretty simple, go to their site, click "log in" at the top left side of the screen, select "I'm a new user" and get your profile filled out.
They do go through a verification process to ensure you can answer questions intelligently, but if you are who you say you are, then you are all set to answer questions in your spare time and make some money.
Another way to make money using JustAnswer is f you already have a website in one of the available categories you can become a partner. That means you can utilize the JustAnswer plug-in on your website. If someone visits your site and ends up getting a question, or two, answered via the JustAnswer plugin you get a cut of what that individual pays. Because JustAnswer is offering expert advice the service isn't free to someone like me who might need legal advice. I pay, you take a cut, and JustAnswer gets the rest. Pretty great service to offer if you are running a site in one of these verticles.
18. Sell services on Fiverr
Fiverr has been around for quite some time and many think of the birth of Fiverr and the Gig Economy as one and the same. Whatever your take on Fiverr's influence it is without a doubt a great place to apply your professional skills in a freelance environment. You can find a job in graphics and design, general business, digital marketing, and the list goes on.
Joining is simple, building a resume takes a little longer, but you can create a nice revenue stream on the side by sticking with it and building up your cred! One of my favorite things about Fiverr is their dedication to the artists and creators that put their work out there. It is almost like a graphic art gallery when looking through the list of graphic artists available to partner with.
I love this quote from Kay Kim, the Co-Founder of rooted. It speaks to the "side" in side hustle for sure.
19. Be an online mock juror
I've read a lot about side hustles and when I came across this I couldn't believe it was real. After checking in to it further it really is a thing. Basically, you act as a juror so lawyers get practical experience when preparing for a case. The concept is pretty neat and I'm not surprised that it exists it just caught me off guard when I first read about it.
To get started you can go to Online Verdict, Virtual Jury, or eJury. From there it's just like signing up for anything else. You do have to meet certain requirements, over 18, be a US Citizen, have a sound mind and good moral character, you know the typical things that are asked/required to qualify for jury duty. The pay rates vary so be sure you vet them before diving in, but like all the side hustle jobs here, it can be done in your spare time and it'll make you some extra money.
20. Freelance Bookkeeping
This is another one of those side hustles from home that I just wouldn't be good at, but I know there are folks out there that have these skills and are happy to share them with the world to make a little extra cash. If you fall into the bucket of those folks with the skills, a little extra time, and a desire to make some extra money, go find yourself a gig as a freelance bookkeeper.
Sites like Upwork and Flexjobs have a ton of options for those looking to take advantage of extra time and the skills they have built up. You can even reach out to small local businesses and offer up your services. Have a local bar or restaurant you really love? Offer to help them out in the evening or on the weekend to help settle their books. Great at doing taxes? You can offer the same service, at a rate cheaper than they can find most places, and steal away some business from H & R Block. Go forth and hustle for that money!
21. Cut hair on the side
Hear me out on this one. I know this might sound unusual or like something that needs a specific set of skills and in reality, it does, but those skills have been honed by many people during quarantine during COVID. There was one point early in 2020 that our family was looking for hair clippers on Amazon, we eventually found these, but homemade haircuts really weren't for us.
My buddy on the other hand, now that guy has taken advantage of his time in quarantine and honed his haircutting skills to the point where the haircut he gave his some was better than the haircut we paid to get our son. He started cutting his kids' hair when they were fairly young so he has had more time to hone his skills than those trying to pick the skill up during quarantine, but even with that, he has turned himself into a pretty solid barber. If you are interested in cutting hair it is something you can do from your home, you can start on your kid's hair or the hair of your friends kids and work your way into a nice set of clients with no training or anything.
Last note here, most states require you to get a license to cut hair and get paid for it. That requires some effort on your part. Once you have a license you can cut hair on your time and make pretty decent money (like $20,000 if you do it part-time). Spending time during quarantine, or whenever, to hone your skills will make acquiring that license easier. Good luck!
22. Start flipping cars
I've seen this in action. An old co-worker of mine would buy cars, drive them around for a few months, even a year, and then turn around and sell them for a profit. It was amazing to see him make extra money and get the use of a car out of the whole deal.
If you don't want to drive a car around for a year or so, then you can just buy a car, clean it up, and sell it online for a profit. If you are willing to wait a little while to get your money back because it can take a little while to get what you are asking for a car.
If you are going to take this side hustle on, then I suggest you use the site, KBB.com to identify what a car is worth. If you know what a car is worth, then you can buy it for less than that and try to sell it for at least that number.
23. Sell your lesson plans online
Every year there are thousands of new teachers getting their certificates, finding jobs, and preparing to teach our little ones about science, math, and English. Many of these teachers are looking for a jump start on the lesson plans they must create.
If you are a teacher, already have lesson plans built, and are interested in making a little money head over to https://sharemylesson.com/ and share your plans to make some money.
If you have a love of the outdoors, mowing lawns, and/or landscaping then you might be able to make a little money off your love. There are really two ways to go about making extra money off this love. First, you can get a part-time job with a local landscaping or mowing company. Typically, they can use good help and someone that already has a love for landscaping is most likely going to be a good help.
Second, you can start your own landscaping business. This is a little more complicated but gives you additional flexibility. You can take jobs you want, work your own hours, and make it what you will.
Speaking of love, it takes a lot to run a childcare facility. The great thing about childcare as a side hustle is you can do it from your own home. So in terms of cost to begin a business, this is one of the lowest.
In many states, you can get all types of tax breaks to run a childcare facility from your home. Childcare isn't the most profitable business, but running it from your home is one of the better ways to squeeze additional profitability out of it.
26. Train Pets
Another labor of love and a skill that isn't super easy to acquire is training pets. Like childcare and landscaping, you can make good money by training pets. It is a tough skill to develop and has plenty of demand.
27. Scoop snow
This is obviously only applicable in certain climates. If you live in an area where snow is prevalent there will be plenty of opportunities to make money every year. Buying a snowplow is the first and main investment for this type of money-making venture. You can then go door to door in your neighborhood and find yourself some clients.
28. Recycle cell phones
Everyone has a cell phone and a ton of people no longer trade them in. Just post on Facebook Marketplace that you are looking for old phones, then head over to Gazelle or Decluttr and get paid for your efforts.
29. Test websites from home
Pretty basic stuff here. Go to any of the following sites, sign up, and make money by following the testing instructions they provide.
If you don't want to go to one of these sites just Google, test websites from home, and follow any of the links you see. Typically, you can make $5-$10 in under 30 minutes!
30. Become a personal chef
This side hustle requires a bit more skill and effort, but if done right you could have a pretty amazing gig. A key component of becoming a personal chef is the ability to plan and cook. In addition, you need to get the word out that you can plan and cook, so a bit of marketing experience is important.
You will also need to be able to adjust to any client's needs. So the deeper your culinary knowledge the better. If you can make a mean burger, but can't make mac n' cheese, then you might need to learn a few things before you dive into the personal chef game.
31. Affiliate marketing
This is one of the ways we are trying to make money to turn The Saving Dude into a full-time gig. There are a ton of ways to make money with affiliate marketing, blog writing, Instagram influencing, Facebook posts, etc. By supporting/promoting a brand or product, you can get paid for any revenue you generate.
Some folks care about what they are marketing for, others just want to make some money. You can decide how you want to take advantage of affiliate marketing, but in my experience, if you care about the product you are marketing for you have a better shot of converting sales.
If I can make one suggestion, I would start your affiliate marking journey with Flex Offers. They have the easiest path to a wide variety of affiliate partners and decent payouts that'll help you start to make money while you sleep.
32. Sell lemonade
I talk about this concept in another article, here. Throughout the year there are many events in your city/town. Each of those events is an opportunity to take advantage of the ideas in the link above and in previous articles I've written.
You can set up a stand where you sell water, or cookies, or party favors associated with the event.
33. Give music lessons
You can set up a website here, and even collect payments. Having your own website is a great way to get your business off the ground. You can highlight the instruments you play, the hours you are able to work, and the cost of each service you provide. What's great about Wix.com (the website I suggest above) is that they offer a payment system so you never have to collect before/during/after a lesson. You can even offer bundled pricing and really start to rake in the money.
This is a flexible and lucrative opportunity. Music lessons can cost anywhere from $20/hour up to $50/hour and can vary widely based on the instrument. If you work 1 hour a day, 5 days a week, and keep it up for 20 years you can have over $250k in the bank if you invest it all. How's that for a return!
There are so many reasons to pick up a hustle. I started this blog in an effort to share what I've learned about personal finance, learn and teach about personal finance, and try to make a little money while doing it. I know we will all have different reasons for taking on an extra task to make that extra cash.
Whatever your reason, use it, use that reason to keep you going! After 3 months I'm still chugging along at this blogging deal and really loving it. If you want to follow my path check out my guide to starting a blog and if you want more guidance hit me up, email@example.com