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27 Best Side Hustle Ideas for Beginners That Actually Work

Best Side Hustles
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There are dozens of legitimate side hustles to make extra income. We’ve compiled a list of the 27 best side hustle ideas for beginners, focusing on opportunities with little or no startup costs.

Our list is ranked alphabetically to make it easy for scanning, and you can jump to a specific idea by clicking the links below. 

  1. Affiliate Marketing
  2. Babysitting
  3. Blogging
  4. Bookkeeping
  5. Delivery
  6. Dog Walking
  7. Dropshipping
  8. Editing
  9. Focus Groups
  10. Graphic Design
  11. Hosting On Airbnb
  12. Mystery Shopping
  13. Odd Jobs
  14. Online Courses
  15. Online Tutoring
  16. Proofreading
  17. Researcher
  18. Rideshare Driver
  19. Selling On Amazon Via FBA
  20. Social Media Management
  21. Surveys
  22. Transcription
  23. Translation
  24. Video Editing
  25. Virtual Assistant
  26. Web Design And Maintenance
  27. Writing

New to the idea of side hustles and not sure where to begin? Read our complete guide on how to start a side hustle for a walkthrough and important tips.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is when you earn a commission for referring people to products and services. It’s often utilized by people who have already built a large online audience, like a big following on social media, YouTube or their own website. 

Regardless of the platform, having a big audience is a key aspect of making this side hustle idea work. Building that audience can take time, so it’s best to think of this as a long-term project rather than something you can make money with today.

How much you can earn: Many affiliate marketers make over six figures per year. 

How to get started: For an in-depth look at affiliate marketing on a specific channel, see our guides on how much YouTubers make and how to make money on TikTok


Babysitting is one of the oldest side hustle ideas in existence. It’s an ideal option for those who work a 9-5 job, as babysitters are most in-demand on nights and weekends. If you’re inexperienced and lack a source of referrals for babysitting jobs, consider taking a childcare course from the American Red Cross to enhance your resume.

How much you can earn: On average, babysitters make $11.88 per hour, but earnings vary widely depending on experience. 

How to get started: Start by asking friends and neighbors if they need someone to watch the kids. You can also sign up for sites like to expand your client base.


Blogging is one of the most popular side hustles. It’s easy to start and requires minimal upfront investment. Whether you’re an expert in a particular field and want to teach others, a student documenting your journey in learning something, or a hobbyist who enjoys sharing your interests, blogging can be a fun and profitable business.

Blogging is not easy, though. You have to work on your blog regularly and wait months or longer before your first dollars roll in. There’s a lot to learn, like SEO, keyword research and copywriting. 

How much you can earn: The earning potential for bloggers is virtually limitless (See: The Billion Dollar Blog). Some online entrepreneurs make six figures by blogging, and a handful make seven figures. 

But there’s survivorship bias at play in these numbers. For each rich blogger, hundreds aren’t earning a penny. Others are making a decent side income, but nothing extraordinary. Consistent, hard work is critical.

How to get started: We’ve written an article that teaches you everything you need to know about starting a blog.


Small businesses often outsource functions to save time and money, and keeping the books in order is increasingly one of the first tasks that gets outsourced.

Bookkeepers handle financial record-keeping and reporting for businesses. With an online bookkeeping job, you might be tasked with recording receivables and payables, running payroll, creating reports, preparing income taxes and more.

The fact that bookkeeping is always in demand makes this one of the top side hustle ideas. Clients keep you around for the long-term to maintain their books. You don’t have to leave home, yet you get the stability of a 9-5 day job.

How much you can earn: Bookkeepers can expect to start at around $17 per hour. Once you gain experience and client testimonials, that rate can climb. Niching into particular software programs and gaining bookkeeping certifications can further increase your earning potential, although the latter isn’t necessary for success.

How to get started: As long as you’re decent with numbers and know your way around a computer, you don’t need a CPA or prior accounting experience to become a bookkeeper. If you need guidance on getting started, check out Ben Robinson’s free three-lesson course on running a bookkeeping side business. Robinson is a CPA with a lot of experience in the field, having helped thousands of new bookkeepers succeed.


Thanks to the rise of gig economy jobs, delivery jobs are in abundance. Many services deliver restaurant food, while others hire people to grocery shop for their customers. Some services, such as Amazon Flex, have you deliver packages.

How much you can earn: Each delivery service has a different earnings formula, so it’s hard to pin down an average pay rate. You can expect to make a minimum of around $11 per hour and a maximum of $25 per hour. Most services also let customers tip you, so your earnings can increase with excellent service and when working the most in-demand hours (e.g., during the dinner rush). 

Pro tip: You can increase your earnings by getting paid to advertise on your car while you drive. A number of companies (including Uber and Lyft) offer full-vehicle wraps, smaller ads (like rear window decals), and car-top display units.

How to get started: Have a valid driver’s license and a car that’s safe to drive. Some companies let you use your bicycle, but your delivery range will be limited. You’ll also have to submit to a background check. See our list of the best food delivery jobs for a comprehensive set of options. 

Dog Walking

Walking dogs requires minimal skill, and you get some exercise while you earn. Plus, you get to hang out with plenty of dogs. 

Dog walkers make around $14 per hour, on average. Rates can increase a bit with experience, but walking dogs has a low ceiling unless you start a business and hire other walkers. You might be able to charge more if you walk on weekends or if you target wealthier clientele.

How to get started: Similar to babysitting, start out by looking for clients within your network. In addition to that, there are dog-walking sites, such as Rover, that will help you expand your client base beyond your circle of friends. Rover lets you create a profile and set rates. Owners can then find your profile and request a walk from you.

Related reading: Not a dog person? Here’s a list of other apps that pay you for walking.


Want to start a product business, but without having to create a product or hold inventory? Start a dropshipping store.

Dropshipping is one of the most inexpensive product-based businesses, as you don’t have to purchase inventory upfront. 

How it works is that you set up an online storefront and list products that are available from your suppliers. Then you only order those products once a customer makes a purchase. The supplier handles the shipping.

How much you can earn: Dropshippers can make six-figure profits, but it takes a long time and plenty of trial and error to get there.

How to get started: Shopify’s free webinars, which you get full access to with their $1 free trial, are an excellent resource for getting started, as they teach you a blueprint for building a profitable dropshipping business, including where to source the best-selling products and more.


Editors help improve the quality of writing by cutting unnecessary words, altering sentence structure, and ensuring a consistent tone of voice, among other tasks. Proofreading (covered later in this article) is a surface-level check for technical errors.

As an editor, you can express your creativity without creating an original piece of writing. Helping a writer improve their work can be satisfying, too.

How much you can earn: Freelance editors make about $20 per hour, on average. Editing scientific and technical material tends to pay more than books, newspapers and similar media.

How to get started: Upwork is the best place to find editing gigs. On Upwork, clients post jobs you can apply for. If a client picks you, you negotiate terms, and then the client extends an offer when you reach an agreement. Learn how to set up your Upwork account and start working in our guide on how to get your first Upwork job.

Focus Groups

Focus groups are demographically diverse groups of consumers who participate in in-person or online guided discussions about products or brands for market research. They’re like deep-dive versions of paid online surveys.

In focus groups, you’ll interact with other participants as well as the person guiding the discussion to share your ideas and perceptions of the product or brand in question.

Focus groups usually last 60 to 90 minutes. In-person focus groups involve travel time, as well.

How much you can earn: Focus groups have a wide range of payouts, from $50 to $150 or more depending on the company and discussion length. More specialized focus groups — such as those that target professionals — pay more.

How to get started: User Interviews is an online platform that lets you search for and apply to focus groups. In most cases, you’ll provide feedback about a product, app or website via a one-on-one video chat. The pay is among the best available in the market research space; when we tested the platform, we earned an average of $55 per hour. Learn more in our User Interviews review.

Graphic Design

Graphic designers create visuals by hand or computer to communicate ideas to consumers. They work on a wide range of projects, including:

  • Album art for musicians
  • Logos
  • Mobile apps
  • Product packaging for companies
  • Websites
  • And more

How much you can earn: The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that graphic designers make about $24 per hour on average, although you might start a little lower. Niching down into a specific type of graphic design or client can also increase your rates.

How to get started: See our guide to starting a freelance graphic design business

Host On Airbnb

Airbnb lets you rent out your home (or a part of it) for extra money. You don’t need a fancy house to earn a healthy side income, as people book accommodations of all sizes and types — from a couch to an entire home. You have total control over your rates and add-ons. 

In fact, you don’t even need to own property to make money on Airbnb.

How much you can earn: Your earnings will vary depending on your space, location, availability, and additional services you provide.

How to get started: Learn more in our guide to starting an Airbnb business.

Mystery Shopping

Mystery shopping is another fun side hustle. One of The Ways To Wealth’s contributing writers has mystery shopped over 100 times, scoring a range of free (or nearly free) products and experiences, from dining at a nice restaurant to taking her family to a water park — along with a decent per-assignment commission.

There are quite a few scams out there, so make sure to educate yourself. However, it’s a very legit side hustle that can earn you a nice side income.

How much you can earn: Your hourly rate is typically below $20. However, you can often get free stuff from the places you mystery shop at. 

How to get started: Check out our mystery shopping guide to learn more. If no jobs are available nearby, another great way to get free items is through product testing. We compiled a list of 40+ legit product testing sites (including a few that will pay you cash on top of the free goods you receive).

Odd Jobs

Sometimes you have a spare hour or two and just need some extra cash. Instead of launching a new business, picking up odd jobs might better suit your schedule. Any random chore-like or handyman task could be considered an odd job, from assembling boxed furniture to taking care of one-off yard tasks.

How much you can earn: Pay depends on what you’re doing. If you’re helping someone move out of their house, you’ll probably make some good cash for the day. Earnings will be much lower if you’re picking up someone’s dry cleaning.

How to get started: Check out our roundup of the best gig economy odd job apps.

Online Courses

Online education has exploded in recent years. Looking ahead, the research firm Research and Markets predicted the industry will rise to $350 million per year.

You can get in on this budding industry by creating and selling online courses. You don’t need to be a recognized expert in your course’s subject, but you need a certain degree of skill and knowledge for prospective students to take you seriously.

How much you can earn: You could make $0 with your course, or you could make seven figures… although only a few people reach the latter. Marketing plays a substantial part in your revenue potential. 

How to get startedUdemy is a site that helps promote your course to its massive audience. In exchange for the exposure, Udemy restricts customization options and takes 50% of the revenue earned through organic sales. If you already have an audience, Teachable is the better choice, as everything from pricing to the course’s domain is up to you.

Online Tutoring

Thanks to the online education boom mentioned above, online tutoring has also seen extensive growth. You can tutor in any subject, but one popular area of online tutoring is teaching ESL (English as a second language). 

Online tutoring is a flexible and fulfilling side hustle. There will always be demand, especially as the economy continues to globalize. Plus, you typically don’t need a teaching degree or certificate. (Though if you have one, you can get paid more, making this one of the best side hustles for teachers.)

How much you can earn: Online tutoring pays well, starting at around $15-$20 per hour. Many tutoring marketplaces/sites pay per lesson.

How to get started: Learn more in our complete guide to the best online tutoring jobs.


Proofreaders scan final drafts for technical errors such as typos, grammatical issues, inconsistencies, formatting problems and more. As a proofreader, you can work on blog posts, books, technical content, academic papers and every other type of written content imaginable.

Proofreading has a low barrier to entry, and the high level of scheduling freedom makes it a great side hustle that’s easy to combine with your day job. But poring over long or boring work can be tedious, and your client won’t be happy if you miss errors.

How much you can earn: Proofreaders will start at around $15 per hour, although that can climb to almost $30 per hour with experience. Similar to editing, you’ll earn more by niching into proofreading technical material. You’ll need to specialize in a particular topic to land technical proofreading jobs, though.

How to get started: Read through our detailed post on how to become a proofreader, and then consider signing up for the excellent free webinar offered by Proofread Anywhere.


If you have expertise or qualifications in a subject, several websites will pay you to research and respond to their users’ questions. For example, someone may inquire about a historical fact on one of these sites; you would then research the answer and respond to the user.

Online research will be an exciting job if you love learning new things, especially in your field. You get to research and write about subjects you enjoy, help others learn, and earn money.

However, most sites require you to have credentials in the field for which you want to provide answers. And you won’t earn a ton of money with this side hustle.

How much you can earn: Pay varies by platform, subject and question complexity. Depending on these factors, each question could pay from $2 to $16.

How to get started: Learn more in our article about legit ways to get paid for searching the web.

Rideshare Driver

Driving for a rideshare company is the classic side hustle. Your job is to safely transport passengers from their pickup location to their destination. As long as your car is in a safe condition and you can pass a background check, becoming a rideshare driver is easy.

Rideshare driver jobs let you clock in and out whenever you want, so you can earn on your own schedule. But just as with delivery jobs, your car will rack up miles. There’s also the chance of unruly passengers, which can be stressful at best or damage your car at worst.

How much you can earn: Rideshare drivers typically earn between $15 and $25 per hour. Pay per ride is generally based on the market in which you drive, distance traveled per trip, current ride demand, and sometimes the number of passengers. You can earn more through tips and an array of bonuses that each rideshare company offers.

How to get started: Uber is the largest rideshare company. One notable Uber feature is Instant Pay, letting you withdraw your earnings the moment you earn them up to five times per day. Lyft, Uber’s biggest competitor, is gaining market share, and you may want to sign up for both to see which has the best balance of jobs and payouts in your particular area.

Selling On Amazon Via FBA

If you want to start an e-commerce business, you can take advantage of Amazon’s powerful fulfillment network and global audience by leveraging Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA).

With FBA, you choose the products and create the listings. Then you ship your products to an Amazon Fulfillment Center. When customers order them, Amazon takes care of the rest.

Your FBA business has access to Amazon’s vast audience. Combine your reach with a scalable business model and you have a profitable venture on your hands.

How much you can earn: Your earnings will be limited by the amount of capital you have available to spend on inventory.

How to get started: As a product-based business model, Amazon FBA has many moving parts. Read our article about how to make money selling on Amazon for guidance on launching and growing a successful FBA business.

Social Media Management

Social media is a function many small businesses don’t have the time or desire to handle on their own. Instead, they’ll outsource to an agency or a freelancer. Larger companies often still hire for in-house social media roles, though.

Freelance and in-house social media managers will be responsible for posting on various social platforms, responding to customers, crafting strategy and handling analytics.

How much you can earn: Freelancers can start out earning $20 to $30 an hour. Demonstrate results for clients, and that can climb. Starting an agency can help you command higher rates, too.


Survey sites will pay you to answer questions about almost anything, from your morning routine to your favorite book genre. These sites then pass your answers on to companies that use the data to make marketing and product decisions.

In addition to surveys, some allow you to sign up and get money instantly by completing offers, participating in focus groups, or trying new products and services. but they all make it easy to pad your wallet by answering questions.

How much you can earn: Earnings depend on the survey site, as well as the length of each survey. No matter the survey site, though, you won’t make a lot. Surveys exist to give you a bit of fun money, not a significant stream of extra income. 

How to get started: We’ve spent hours testing and ranking the best survey sites. Some of our findings include:

  • Rakuten Insight is a legit survey site that pays well for your time, with our tester earning $9.62 per hour. However, it has a low inventory of available surveys, which limits overall earning potential. Learn more in our Rakuten Insight review.
  • Survey Junkie is one of the most popular and well-regarded paid survey sites, offering a good inventory of surveys, decent pay rates (our tester earned $3.75 per hour), and a low minimum cash-out threshold of just $5. Check out our Survey Junkie review for more details.
  • KashKick is a legitimate survey and rewards platform, but its earning potential is lower than many competitors, especially for paid surveys. However, it does offer some unique earning opportunities through offers and games. Read our full KashKick review to learn more.


Transcriptionists convert live or recorded audio into text. Medicine and law are the largest transcription fields, but you can also work for general transcription companies. If you’re a fast typist, this is one of the easiest side hustle ideas.

Thanks to online platforms that connect you to jobs, little skill is required to launch a transcription side hustle. You can get a large volume of work with ease.

However, transcription has a low earnings ceiling, and it’s not the most exciting work. Also, you likely won’t be able to access live transcription work unless you can type at least 70 words per minute. Keeping up is hard during live transcription gigs, as the average person speaks at 120 to 150 WPM.

How much you can earn: Pay depends on the field you choose and the company you work with, but you can expect around $15 per hour to start. Rates increase as you gain experience and increase your typing speed. Check out our list of the best transcription jobs for beginners to learn more. 


Foreign language skills are invaluable in our globalized economy. If you’re fluent in two languages, you can work as a translator. Spanish, Arabic and Russian are the most in-demand languages, but there’s no shortage of jobs for many others.

How much you can earn: Translators earn $29 per hour on average. You can expect to start at around $16 per hour, but if you know languages that are in high demand, rates may be higher.

How to get started: Fiverr is an excellent place to land your first few translation clients. Check out the current side gigs being offered to get a sense of what kind of work you can do (and how much you can charge). FlexJobs is aimed primarily at people looking for part-time or full-time remote employment, but it also has freelance postings. 

Video Editing

Video is one of the internet’s most popular forms of content, becoming more favored with each passing day. As a video editor, you might work on films, explainer videos, YouTube channels and more.

For the artistic, video editing can be a fun side hustle. You have a fair degree of creative latitude with each project, as long as you meet client expectations. But watching the same clip several times can get old. You also encounter tight deadlines, having to work odd hours to deliver a project on time.

How much you can earn: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, experienced video editors start around $28 per hour. Rates can climb to over $55 per hour with experience and software proficiency.

How to get started: Besides understanding the basics of video editing and having professional video editing software, you’ll need a place where you can land clients. There are a lot of video editing jobs on sites like Upwork and Fiverr, where clients come to you. You can also see what people are charging to get a better idea of your potential earnings.

Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants handle the various functions business owners don’t have time to complete.

These often include:

  • Content creation/publishing
  • Customer service
  • Data entry
  • Digital marketing/social media.
  • Scheduling
  • And more

Virtual assistant tasks can differ from client to client, keeping things fresh and interesting. There are no set requirements, so you can make this job whatever you want (within reason).

Plus, due to the nature of the work, virtual assistant jobs can lead to long-term working relationships — which means less marketing work on your part once you have a client roster.

How much you can earn: There’s no set pay scale for virtual assistants — it depends on the client, their needs, and your skills.

How to get started: Read through our complete beginner’s guide on how to become a virtual assistant

Web Design and Maintenance

Businesses can’t survive in today’s environment without a website. As a web designer/developer, you’ll be in charge of crafting smooth, intuitive websites that reflect your clients’ respective brands and earn them more revenue.

Web design and maintenance are in high demand, and with programs like WordPress, you no longer need coding knowledge to get started. After building the sites, you can spend a few hours each week maintaining them and earn a lot of nearly-passive income.

How much you can earn: Most web designers earn $20 to $45 per hour. You’ll earn towards the lower end with little experience or coding knowledge, although it’s still good money. Learning to code and becoming proficient in certain software programs will drive that rate up.

How to get started: See our article on how to make money building websites for a comprehensive overview.


Writing is one of the broadest and most accessible side hustles available. Businesses in all industries need to create content, and they increasingly hire freelancer writers for that purpose.

Blogs also employ freelance writers. If you’re passionate about a topic, there are plenty of blogs in that niche looking for writers.

You don’t need previous writing experience to get clients (just a portfolio of writing samples). You can choose any niche you want, but work experience in a particular niche can help you get clients faster.

How much you can earn: Writing has a wide pay range, as there are many types. Beginners can expect around five cents per word for blog posts and other relatively straightforward forms of writing. As you gain expertise in your niche, you can raise your rates. Additionally, you can take on more advanced freelancing projects and earn up to 15 cents per word or more. White papers, sales pages and email campaigns are a few forms of writing that pay especially well.

How to get started: How to become a freelance writer is our in-depth resource that will walk you through the steps to gain your first client. 

Side Hustle FAQs

What is the definition of a side hustle?

A side hustle is a way to make money outside of a primary job. Some refer to side hustles as a second job or side gigs.

What’s the fastest way to make $1,000 in a month on the side?

The fastest way to make $1,000 outside of a traditional job is to sell an existing hard skill, like freelance writing, web design or graphic design, to a person or business. If you’re not sure what hard skills you have, consider what an employer has paid you for in the past. If no skills come to mind, then consider selling your time by checking out the various gig economy jobs.

What are the best passive side hustles?

If we define a passive side hustle as one in which you do the work upfront, which then produces a consistent stream of income down the road, the best passive side hustles would be starting a blog, investing in real estate, creating an educational course or selling on Amazon FBA. While none of these are completely passive, they do allow you to get away from working by the hour and allow for long-term potential.

If you’re looking for passive income and are willing to put in more time and/or money than a side hustle requires, check out our list of passive income businesses that run themselves.

Side Hustle Ideas: Final Thoughts

Side hustles have always been possible, but thanks to the internet, almost anyone can create an extra income stream that generates a solid amount of money.

Whether you have one or two free hours each day for a side job, a few minutes here and there for short gig work, or plenty of time to launch a full-scale side business, try one of the side hustle ideas above to earn some extra cash.

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R.J. Weiss
R.J. Weiss, founder of The Ways To Wealth, has been a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ since 2010. Holding a B.A. in finance and having completed the CFP® certification curriculum at The American College, R.J. combines formal education with a deep commitment to providing unbiased financial insights. Recognized as a trusted authority in the financial realm, his expertise is highlighted in major publications like Business Insider, New York Times, and Forbes.

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