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As we've been traveling, we've noticed prices are going up for literally everything – and not by just a little bit! Our hotel stays have doubled in price, and food and coffee costs are through the roof. Instead of getting stressed out about it, we've increased our income with various side hustles as part of our business.
This post is more in depth than my best side hustles for 2021 post, but you should check that one out, too. 🙂
Side hustles you can start today
If you're looking for a way to make money from home, side hustles are an awesome option. There are a lot of scams out there, so I knew I needed to make a post that outlines exactly how to get started with ten side hustles you may or may not have heard of before.
The business ideas I've chosen are free or super affordable to start, with the exception of one… which we will talk more about later. 🙂 I've talked about starting a business quite a bit. One of my more popular posts is about how to start a bath bomb business. Whatever you love doing, chances are, you can monetize it!!
One time, I wrote a blog post about how to create care cards and sell them. It seems like such a small niche but has huge profits! Any time you can “be in the middle” (selling to other biz owners), you'll have no shortage of customers because they're trying to make money, too.
These tips are based on my 15+ years experience of working for myself, building a blog to six figures, and then teaching my husband how to do the same in less than two years.
Everything we do is duplicatable. We don't have fancy degrees or experience that makes us more qualified than you are to do any of these. It's not always easy, but it's worth it. Financial freedom and time freedom are both very important to us. If those things are important to you as well, keep reading.
My process for choosing side hustles
In order for something to be considered a side hustle in my book, it has to have the potential of making $1,000 per month within the first 6 months. Some businesses take more time to build up, so I'm not going to say it's a waste of time or a scam just because the first month nets $0. Keep in mind that this is the long game. We are building wealth for our life, for retirement and beyond.
Some side hustles are short-term, faster money. Others are long-term, and the money takes longer to flow in but has much higher income potential in the long run. I'll try to be as specific as possible here without dragging on and on, because we've all got money to make!
What does NOT constitute a side hustle
I do not promote MLMs. I think they're predatory trash, so if you EVER see me promoting an MLM, I've definitely been kidnapped and replaced with a body double.
My goal with this article is to teach you how to make your first $100 (then thousand) with any of these side hustles. From there, you expand and charge more and move up the ladder.
Side notes about side hustles
Setting up a side biz is just like setting up any other business. You need to follow state and local laws, and report your income to the IRS following their guidelines. You may also need business insurance. Do your research before setting up shop.
Side Hustle #1: Making and Selling Stickers
I love (!!!) stickers. I've written several posts about how to start a sticker shop, and it's definitely one of the most creative and fun ways to make money from home. While it's a little different than selling printables for passive income, it's still going to put your design skills to the test! 🙂
Whether you're designing stickers on Canva, printing and cutting them yourself with your Cricut or Silhouette, or ordering stickers online and reselling them, sticker businesses are lucrative.
$$ Investment: $10-$200+*
Time to make your first $100: varies**
- Sign up for a free trial of Canva PRO using my referral link.
- Set up an Etsy shop using this link to grab 40 free listings. Follow my quick tutorial to set up your Etsy shop if you don't know how.
- Play around in Canva to create your own designs, or watch this tutorial to learn how to make sticker designs on your iPad.
- Read this post about Etsy SEO (no, really, pause… and read it).
- Download my Sticker SEO bundle for $10. Use those keywords in your Etsy listings.
- Still need more help? Take this How to Make Stickers Course. I have heard nothing but good things about it from people I have recommended it to. Lots of info and actionable steps to save you tons of time.
- Once you have your shop set up and have at least 10 listings, email me at [email protected] and I will advertise your shop for you. NO COST!
- Keep growing. Read this blog post about how to sell more stickers.
Pro tips: I recommend a two-pronged approach to creating a sticker shop on Etsy.
Decide whether you want to sell sticker designs digitally (for customers to print themselves), or if you want to sell actual stickers that you ship to your customers. Learn how to set up a physical sticker shop by reading my other blog post.
Design stickers for other creators to sell and you'll make money much faster. You can also wholesale stickers to other creators (using my tutorial from above).
The options are endless here. The most important part is that you pick a biz model and run with it.
*If you bootstrap it and just use Canva and free listings, your investment will be $10 for the SEO Sticker list. Moving forward after the free trial, Canva PRO is $12.99 per month. If you take the course, it'll cut your learning curve in half, but you'll be investing $247. If you set up shop to ship physical stickers, there's more of an investment as well (including business cards, mailers, etc). How much you spend here is totally up to you.
**The time it will take to make your first $100 varies so much because you could create a dozen designs this weekend and make that $100, or you could spend more time setting up shop to mail out physical stickers knowing that is going to take longer.
Side Hustle #2: Writing Kindle Ebooks
Writing ebooks is fun and can be a great source of long-term income, especially if you write a series or several ebooks. Multiple streams of income are key to success with side hustles.
If you have 5 different income streams and they're each making $1,000 a month, then that's $5,000 a month which is enough to pay at least most of the bills, right? 🙂
$$ Investment: $0 – $25+
Time to make your first $100: varies*
- Brainstorm your first book. Look at the best sellers in the categories you're familiar with. What can you write that will fit well in your favorite category?
- Outline your ebook. Using Google Docs or Jasper, outline your ebook.
- Write your ebook. This is going to take more time than some of the other side hustles on this list, but if you use Jasper, you'll notice that time is cut in half or even in thirds! Sign up for a free trial of Jasper when you are ready to sit down and write. Use your time during the free trial to write your book.
- Order a cover from Fiverr. Or create your own using Canva. You can follow this tutorial to learn how to create an ebook cover in Canva. A professional book cover is a must. Covers can cost anywhere from $10-$50 on Fiverr, so I put this as a $25 expense in the investment section above.
- Format the ebook. Kindle requires a certain format. You can learn how to format your ebook on YouTube, or you can hire someone from Fiverr to do it for you. Be sure to run your book through Grammarly and CopyScape before publishing.
- Upload your ebook to Amazon. If you are tech-phobic like I am, you may find yourself struggling with this part. Follow this tutorial to learn how to upload your ebook to Kindle.
- Advertise using free ebook sites. It may seem counterintuitive to give your book away for free, but it can help boost your book to the top of Amazon even if you don't have your own people to push it out to yet.
- Set up an email list. This is a bit more technical, but you can watch this tutorial on YouTube to learn how to set up a free email list. When you set an email list up, you can put the sign-up link in the intro or conclusion of your ebook. If you deliver value, readers will sign up because they want to hear from you again!
*After publishing your first ebook on Amazon, you'll find that you can sell LOTS of copies if it's the right topic at the right time… or you will find that you don't sell anything. Pay attention to the action steps above to make the first scenario happen.
Side Hustle #3: Become a Dog Walker
Love dogs? Have a way with unruly ones, especially? If so, you may make a wonderful dog walker! Where I am staying at right now, it's a pain to walk the dogs because there is no grass. And my back pain tells me I should not be bending down to pick up dog poop. I'd happily pay someone $10+ to take my dogs for a walk.
While there are apps for dog walkers, you can easily start by walking neighbor's dogs in exchange for reviews. If you have 10 neighbor's dogs to walk each day and you are charging $10 each, that's $100. If the dogs get along, you can walk a few of them at a time so you're walking maybe 2-3 times each day, and making money for it.
The best part about this side hustle? You're getting crazy amounts of steps in if you're walking dogs, right? Sign up for StepBet and win some money for meeting your step goal each day!
$$ Investment: $0-$100+
Time to make your first $100: 24-48 hours
- Outline what you need to start walking dogs. I would purchase a few extra leashes just in case the owners don't have good ones. I bought this portable water dish for dogs as well as a few dog treats (make sure the owner is okay with the treats you are using), as well as a roll of these baggies for picking up after the doggos.
- Design your routes. Based on where you want to walk the dogs, design a few route options. If you're close to a dog park, definitely incorporate the dog park into your walk! This gives the dogs extra time and space to run and get all that energy out, without wearing you out. 🙂
- Create an “ad” for your new side hustle. Use Canva that tells people you're walking dogs! Include your prices, how far/long the walks are, and how to get ahold of you (like an email or phone number).
- Send some texts! Send out a text to everyone local that you know that has dogs. Tell them if they aren't interested, you'd super appreciate it if they'd forward your image (ad) to others who may be.
- Create a flyer (using Canva!) and hang it up around town. Offer discounts for multiple dogs. Advertise in local Facebook groups.
Pro tip: Be sure to look into any regulations for your town before beginning any business. Purchasing business insurance is a good idea, too, especially when working with other people or animals.
Want more tips for your dog walking business? Check out these articles from Rover.
Pssst…! Hey, you! Yeah, you. 😉 I'd love to have you over in my free Facebook group. It's called Passive Income Pathways and it's where I teach you how to make money from home – without scams, spam, or bullshit. Hope to see you there!
Side Hustle #4: Virtual Assisting
One of the fastest way to make money online is by being a virtual assistant for bloggers and small businesses! While virtual assistants can do many tasks, I've found it's best to be a specialist. Find something you can get reallllly good at (like social media management) and go all in.
$$ Investment: $0-$300+
Time to make your first $100: 48 hours
- Start with a plan. Brainstorm some offers you can create for bloggers. How can you help them with their businesses? If you have no idea, send me an email and I will help you figure it out! Hint: my email address is listed multiple times in this article. Being resourceful is the #1 skillset a virtual assistant needs to have, so find my email and then send me a message asking for help. 😉
- Decide on 1-3 services to offer. Depending on the skills you already have, you may be able to offer email or social media management right away. Others may need to take courses or binge watch YouTube tutorials to figure out how to learn to offer those skills.
- Learn a thing or two. I only recommend one VA course and it's this one: Become a Virtual Assistant in 30 Days. Mandie and Bonnie are awesome teachers and they know their shit. They have helped many women become profitable VAs. Put the work in and you'll be next. They even have a course walking you through the process of becoming a social media manager.
- Advertise your services. If you take the course I recommended, they will help you figure out how to get clients. My favorite place to find new clients is on Facebook. Post in local groups, post on your profile telling your friends and family about the services you offer, etc. You don't have to be spammy to make money, but you WILL have to step outside your comfort zone. It may be awkward at first, but hey, at least you aren't promoting another MLM…
*NOTE: I am a huge fan of courses, but only based on personal recommendations. If you're reading a random blog post and they're saying “take this course!”, chances are, it's an affiliate link. Unless you chat with that person or they've delivered massive value to you in the past, don't take that as a true recommendation.
Do some more digging so you don't waste your money. I'm not saying bloggers lie – hell, I'm a blogger! – I'm just saying you've gotta do some research. Don't just blindly trust everyone who tells you to buy a course.
Pro tip: Staying organized is key to your success as a virtual assistant. While not required, I recommend buying this Virtual Assistant Digital Planner now to start your biz off on the right foot.
Side Hustle #5: Sell Stock Photos
Are you an aspiring photographer? Do you love taking nature photos? What about photos of food? If so, selling stock photography may be your most profitable side hustle yet!
Fun fact: you can sell photos taken from your cell phone; you don't need a fancy camera!
$$ Investment: $0+++*
Time to make your first $100: varies**
- Learn the basics. If you don't know how to take great photos, study free videos on YouTube to learn about composition as well as the controls on your camera or phone.
- Know what to look for. Check out this list of stock photo sites and scroll through some of the landscape photos to get a feel of what people are looking for. Not just landscape though, some want shots of coffee drinks in a kitchen, or underneath the hood of a car. What catches your eye? That's what you can start shooting.
- Take a bunch of photos. No matter where you live, I'm sure you can find a tourist trap that's just an hour or two away by car. Drive to the ocean, or the woods, or any other place where you can take great landscape photos.
- Upload, edit, and organize your photos. Upload your photos to Dropbox or Google Drive, and save them to an external hard drive for safe keeping. Sort and organize your photos based on theme (ocean, woods, people, street art, automobiles, flowers, etc).
- Sell your photos. There are several ways you can sell your stock photos. The fastest way to make money is going to be to sell them to other bloggers. You can do this by joining Facebook groups, or setting up a simple one page website with WooCommerce and selling bundles of photos there. You can also sell photos on stock photo websites.
*If you already have a phone or camera and know how to take great photos, your investment can be as low as $0. If you need to buy a phone or camera, or you want to take a paid course, your investment could easily jump into the thousands.
**Again, if you already know the basics, you could make money with your photos today. If you need time to learn, the amount of time it takes to earn your first $100 will take longer.
Side Hustle #6: Be a Personal Shopper
While there are apps like InstaCart out there already, there are also a lot of individual personal shoppers that get paid good money to run various errands or pick items up from stores and deliver them to their client's houses.
$$ Investment: $0++*
Time to make your first $100: 48 hours
- Sign up with Dumpling. While not required, Dumpling makes personal shopping easy. They charge a one-time $19.99 fee, but that includes access to your own app, debit card, web page, business cards, and more. There are other fees involved. Read the website to find out more. I am not an affiliate for Dumpling but I have a good friend who is a personal shopper with them and she loves it! There are other plan options that are more expensive; you will need to look through those options to choose the one that will be best for your needs.
- Set your own schedule. Log into the Dumpling app and choose the times you're available as well as the stores you're interested in shopping at.
- Start shopping. Get on Dumpling and find some folks to shop for! While you are responsible for your own marketing, customers can also search their local area for Dumpling shoppers. This is why it's good to advertise on places like Facebook and NextDoor.
- Grow your business. Hand your business cards out, read the Dumpling website for business tips, and treat this side hustle like your income depends on it… because it does! Share your Dumpling website/app with your Facebook friends, family, etc. Ask them to help you get the word out.
There are other options like InstaCart and Shipt, but based on my friend's recommendations, Dumpling is the easiest way to make the most amount of money.
*If you set up your own business, you won't have to pay Dumpling… but you will also spend a LOT more time even figuring out logistics much less doing the shopping and processing the payments. I highly recommend trying Dumpling.
Your investment can be minimal but if you live in an area like San Diego, gas is almost $5 a gallon so that is an expense that you will have up front before you get paid.
Another way to make money by shopping, well, it's not shopping but delivering… is to become a Dasher for DoorDash! I wrote a complete guide on it, with the help of my assistant who is an experienced Dasher. Check it out if you want to make money ASAP.
Side Hustle #7: Tutoring or Teaching English
It seems like evvvvveryone is talking about how lucrative tutoring can be! I am currently paying $300 a month for Spanish tutoring for my family, so I know from personal experience that people do pay for tutoring even outside of the popular apps.
$$ Investment: $0+
Time to make your first $100: varies
- What are you going to teach? Is there something you're certified to teach? Maybe multiple somethings? Maybe you're not certified but you're fluent in a second language. You don't have to have a degree to be a tutor, but you do want to check requirements before applying to tutor through places like VIPKid, which requires at least a Bachelor's Degree. You can teach academic topics like Math or English, or you can teach real life skills or a second language like American Sign Language or English.
- Set up the tech. Set up a free zoom account (you can teach up to 40 minutes at a time with the free plan) and a Calendly account (I lovvvve Calendly!!). Our Spanish tutoring sessions are planned via Calendly, and we meet on zoom. If you're going to work for a company as an independent contractor, you may need to set up your own tech – or they may have it set up already. This will vary by company.
- Create ads using Canva. Log into Canva and create some ads that you can display on IG, Facebook, or even via email. Post in local Facebook groups (where allowed) to advertise your tutoring services! Enlist the help of local mom friends to spread the word. You can even advertise on NextDoor.
- Keep learning. Even though you're going to be teaching, it's important to always keep learning. Spend some time brushing up on your skills so you can improve your tutoring sessions and grow your business.
Unless you have clients lined up ahead of time or get really lucky with one of your Facebook posts, chances are you won't make $100 on your first day of tutoring. However, anything is possible and you should put your best foot forward to make that first $100 happen! Everything after that is a little easier. 🙂
Side Hustle #8: Make Pretty Stuff
If you have been around my blog for a while, you know my most profitable business – well, the one that made $10K the fastest – was the Glowforge. While there is a larger initial investment than the rest of the side hustles on this list, it should not be missed.
I have had four friends buy Glowforges in the past year. One has already made six figures. The other three bought theirs within the past two months and are already making money. I refer to the Glowforge as a money printing machine because the day you get your machine set up is the day you can start making money – and you will have NO shortage of orders!
$$ Investment: $4,000-$8,000+
Time to make your first $100: 24 hours or less
- Take a breath. Holy shit. Did you say 4 THOUSAND dollars, Sadie? Yes, but hear me out. If you put the work in, you will make that money back in just a few months – especially if it's around the holiday season. While the Glowforge stuff sells consistently year round, Christmas is absolute insanity and even during the off season, we had to raise our prices multiple times just to slow orders down to a manageable pace.
- Figure out financing. If you don't have the cash up front to buy a Glowforge, you're just like most of the rest of the country. Good news is, Glowforge offers financing through Affirm – and if you're lucky enough to live in a state that Affirm offers financing in, you can use that financing and make the money back before you pay too much in interest.
- Read my blog posts. First, read about the Glowforge and why and how it makes so much money. Then, make a list of projects you want to try. I have a list of Glowforge projects you can make with scrap wood, so you can truly get the most out of your investment. These blog posts will also tell you exactly what you need to purchase to get started – because it's more than just the machine.
- Binge watch tutorials. There is a learning curve to using any machine, but the Glowforge is pretty straight forward. It was created with tech-phobes like me in mind. As soon as you order your Glowforge, take time to binge watch tutorials so you can learn your machine before you ever put eyes on it!
- Get creative. Browse Etsy for the best Glowforge design files. Choose some that are best sellers; don't get too creative at first. Stick with what is a proven seller, and then expand from there.
- Grow your biz. There isn't a whole lot to it when it comes to growing a Glowforge business at first, because it's as simple as posting some mockups on your personal Facebook page to get interest. After you order your Glowforge but before it arrives, start teasing some items you are going to offer. By the time your machine lands on your doorstep, you'll have enough orders to make your first $100 that very day.
If you truly aren't able to afford a Glowforge yet but you want one, start another side hustle on this list and use the funds you make from it to buy the Glowforge. Or, if you have a Cricut or Silhouette, you can use it to sell crafts and personalized gifts through the holiday season (any season – including football season!) to come up with the money for your Glowforge.
I never ever tell anyone to take out a loan or get financing for something, especially when it comes to starting a business, but I believe in the Glowforge and its ability to make you money so much that I mention it as a viable option.
This is the one and only time I am telling anyone to consider taking out a loan like this – and only do it if you are serious about making money. As easy as the Glowforge makes it, no business makes money without some personal hustle behind it.
There are 9 other side hustles on this list and they take less than $100 to get started, so don't feel like a Glowforge is your only option. My husband and I have had amazing success with our Glowforge and the industry isn't nearly as oversaturated as the Cricut industry is, so we always shout it from the rooftops when someone is wanting to start their own side business.
Side Hustle #9: Egg Your Yard (or a variation of it)
Egg Your Yard is a side hustle several of my coaching clients do, but if it's not near Easter when you're reading this post, you can translate Egg Your Yard to something else. If you missed my post about it, read about how I used Egg Your Yard to make $1,000+ in a single weekend!
- “Boo Your Yard”… deliver candy or trinkets or Halloween baskets.
- “Kringle Your Yard”… deliver Christmas-themed baskets.
- “Rescue Mom”… murder mystery book, snacks, coffee shop gift card, etc in a basket delivered to Mom's front doorstep.
- “Happy Birthday”… deliver birthday baskets once a month – so if someone's birthday is the 8th, and another person's is the 18th, you will deliver ALL birthday baskets one day a month. As you get busier, you can probably do one day a week!
$$ Investment: varies*
Time to make your first $100: 24-48 hours**
- Read my Egg Your Yard blog post to get an idea of how it all works.
- Make a list of holidays and figure out how to create a basket for each one of them. Then, make a list of evergreen ideas (like the “Mom Rescue” basket) – stuff people can order year round.
- Figure out what you're going to offer. I like to use Dollar Tree items and add customization with my Cricut. Get some ideas from my craft blog, Dollar Crafter.
- Create a few baskets and take photos of them on your front doorstep, so people know what to expect when they order.
- Start by selling in local Facebook groups and to your friends. Ask your friends to share your new side hustle with their friends! As you start building your business, you can create a website or even sell via Etsy and ship orders out. The sky is the limit!
*The amount invested will depend on how many baskets you make up. That is your only expense!
**You can make up a few baskets and make $100 this weekend! The first step is to take action. Don't overthink it.
Side hustle #10: Ghostwriting for Bloggers
I am a content creator and have been blogging for more than 15 years. I also write for other bloggers as a ghostwriter. Ghostwriting will always be my bread and butter and the #1 thing I recommend for someone who wants to make money this weekend.
I saved it for last on the list because I have a very specific, proven process where I help new writers get started and I didn't want you to be distracted by this being #1 because obviously you'd need to keep reading to learn about all 10 side hustles! 😉
Even if you aren't a super strong writer, as long as you've got a grasp of English grammar, you'll be fine. I use an AI writing tool called Jasper.
Time to make your first $100: 24-72 hours
- Sign up for a free trial of Jasper. Set a reminder in your Google calendar to cancel the trial in 4 days. Spend that 4 days making the money to pay for a month of Jasper, because this tool is 100% the BEST way to scale your business immediately. It's like having an extra writer by your side, which means you make double the money instantly.
- Choose an article topic for practice. I recommend a topic you know about.
- Write the article while following this tutorial. Set a timer for an hour, and get it to 1,000 words before the timer goes off. Run the article through Grammarly and Copyscape.
- List it for sale. Either on your own website, or in Facebook in groups that allow VA sales.
Profitable topic ideas for ghostwriters:
- budgeting, making money, how to get out of debt, credit repair
- meditation, mindful living, achieving inner peace and living a calm life
- travel: things to do in (city, state)
Pro tip: When you are writing, if you use phrases like “I” or “me” or even “we”, make sure you keep it general.
For example, if you're writing an article about potty training toddlers, don't include your personal experience. You're writing FOR someone and they will publish it on their blog as if they wrote it. They will add their own experiences in, like how Tayvon was easy to potty train but little Ashlyn was difficult.
There are many paths you can take to become a ghostwriter. This is the fastest and easiest way because you will get instant access to bloggers who want to buy the articles you are writing.
How to price articles: This is 100% a personal choice. While many ghostwriters in these Facebook groups can expect to make $100 per 1,000 word article, I recommend selling your first few articles for $25 each, until you get a few references and get the hang of writing for bloggers. Slowly raise your prices while building your portfolio.
You can also write for publications, small and large businesses, etc and get paid more; many writers get paid $300+ for a 1,000 word article. Don't rush it. Your focus should be to make your first $100 and go from there.
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How to get started with side hustles today
If you made it this far, I'm guessing you are ready to go all in on one of these businesses on the list. Which one will it be? Weigh the pros and cons of each if you're trying to decide between a few. And if you need even more ideas thrown in the mix, check out this blog post about 50+ side hustles for stay at home moms from Dannelle over at Operation40K.