Everyone gets bored from time to time, but what if you could make something out of this feeling? The best side hustles cure boredom and can help you meet your savings goals. A little extra cash here and there can go a long way. Rather than just turning on the TV and zoning out to Netflix or doing another jigsaw puzzle in your free time, you can get started blogging or podcasting, lay the foundation for your own dropshipping business, or do some rideshare driving. If you’re ready to turn your free time into money by starting a side hustle, read on to learn more about the best side hustle jobs—before long, you’ll have earned your first $1,000 online.
What is a side hustle?
A side hustle is an extra job, gig, or business you do on the side of your full-time job. It could be something you love to do that happens to earn some extra cash or a full-fledged job you’re doing to save up some real money. Either way, a side gig is usually done in your spare time– on weekends or in the evening after your day job.
Most people start side hustles as a way to earn passive income. This income is used to help pay the bills, pay off debts, or buy new products or experiences. Others start these types of gigs as a way to experience entrepreneurship first hand.
15 Online Side Hustle Ideas to Start in 2021
So, you’ve decided you want to make some extra money and start a side hustle job, but you don’t know where to begin. Chances are, you have the skills and means to start your side hustle now, but the sea of options for online side hustles can be daunting. Alternatively, maybe you think there is no such thing as a side hustle you can pull off. This list is here to help. Take inventory of the skills and resources you have (like your home, car, smartphone, computer, etc.), then keep those things in mind while browsing these side gig possibilities. You’re sure to find an idea that will inspire you to start making money online in your free time.
1. Start your own dropshipping business
Using a dropshipping app like Oberlo, it’s easy to open your own online shop. Because of the nature of dropshipping, you don’t even need to worry about buying or stocking inventory, making this an ideal side hustle. There is some work involved in the beginning—you’ll need to create a website and list products. But you can also use Exchange Marketplace to buy Oberlo websites that are already designed and include products for as little as $50. Then you’ll need to use marketing tactics like social media ads and testimonials to let customers know about your business. However, once everything is set in motion, your dropshipping business will be a mostly passive side hustle, making money while you sit back, relax, and let it roll right in.
2. Start a print-on-demand shop
Do you always think of amusing images or phrases and envision them on a t-shirt, mug, or mousepad? Or maybe you have a niche market in mind that you think would love some inside jokes printed on merchandise? Start a print-on-demand business! All you have to do is set up your shop or buy one pre-made, and once customers place an order, the merchandise supplier receives the order. The supplier then prints and ships the product. This means your ideas come to life without you having to worry about excess inventory because items are only printed after someone places an order. The possibilities of what you can print on a t-shirt are endless.
3. Buy and sell businesses on Exchange Marketplace
Another lucrative side hustle opportunity is buying and selling businesses on Exchange Marketplace. While this side job does require you to put up some money to purchase an online shop at first, it can cost you as little as a few hundred dollars. Once you make the initial investment, you can get to work improving and marketing the business, and either keep it as a source of income for yourself or do some website flipping—list it again on the Exchange Marketplace and earn a profit selling it.
4. Trade stocks
You don’t have to travel to Wall Street to make a side hustle out of trading stocks—you can do it from the comfort of your smartphone screen. Investing in the stock market is an easy, passive side hustle nowadays, thanks to apps like Robinhood. Start as small as you want or go big—it’s up to you how much you want to invest in your asset, and if you wish to stick with traditional stocks or invest in cryptocurrency.
5. Sell crafts or vintage items
Browse craft and vintage websites, and you’ll find pages upon pages of unique, often customized items. If you find yourself inspired by these offerings, you should make a side hustle out of starting your own craft or vintage business. Homemade soaps and candles are classic crafting items and good places to start, but maybe you have a special skill like woodworking or sewing and can create hand-crafted pieces. You might also have a knack for finding vintage items in thrift stores and want to make a side hustle out of flipping them. Or perhaps you collect vinyl records and sell them online. All are viable options—the sky's the limit for making money from online crafts and vintage items.
6. Deliver food with delivery apps
Food delivery apps are a common side hustle, and an easy one to get started on. All you need is a smartphone, a mode of transportation, and your delivery app of choice—it could be UberEats, Grubhub, DoorDash, Caviar, etc. Even if you don’t have a car, this job can be done on a bicycle, scooter, or by foot. You’ll pick up food from restaurants, deliver it to residences and offices, and usually earn a tip along with your cut of the delivery fee.
7. Offer pet-sitting services
Gone are the days of asking the neighbors to watch the dog when you’re going out of town. With apps like Wag and Rover, pet-owners can hire a professional pet sitter in an instant. If you have experience taking care of animals, becoming a pet sitter is a great side hustle to try, and it’s never been easier to start your own pet-sitting business. Whether you specialize in dogs, cats, or iguanas, there’s probably a pet owner out there who could use your services. All you have to do is set up a profile on one of the apps and wait for pet owners to find you. If you want to get started making money even more quickly, you can always do a little advertising on social media or list your services on Craigslist to get the word out about your pet sitting business.
8. Become an online tutor
The ideal side hustle for you is online tutoring if you have a specific area of academic expertise. While online tutors can help school-aged children excel in their studies, adults also use online tutors, especially when learning a new language. You're bound to find plenty of clients of all ages if you can teach English or Mandarin, two of the most in-demand languages.
9. Begin blogging or technical writing
Your writing skills can be put to use as a side hustle through blogging or technical writing. There are two ways to go about this side hustle: either start your own blog, drum up enough traffic, and sell ads to make money, or you can find blogging or technical writing work for other websites. While blogging takes a bit of creativity and researching skills necessary to put together a factually accurate and engaging article, technical writing is all about precision and clarity, as technical writers write things like legal disclaimers and instructions.
10. Monetize your music production
This side hustle is not for everyone, but if you’re musically inclined, a unique side hustle job could be beat making. Create tunes using instruments or music production software on a computer, then upload and post the track for sale on a website like Airbit. Someone interested in using your beat in their music or other audio projects can buy it from you at your set price. The more popular your beats, the higher a price you can charge. If your beats are really great, you can even make $1,000 off of just one of them.
11. Offer proofreading services
Even the best, most careful writers are not above the need for a proofreader. Put your detail-oriented skills to use and start proofreading as a side hustle. There will always be a need for a second set of eyes on essays, resumes, e-books, and pretty much any other type of written content. Find your clients on your own, through professional connections, or list your skills and name your price on a website like Fiverr—from there, anyone in need of your services can pay you to proofread by the hour, by the word, or at a flat rate.
12. Start driving for Uber or Lyft
Put your wheels to good use and drive for a rideshare program as a side hustle. As long as you can meet the license requirements, and your car passes the rideshare company’s protocol, driving is one of the best side hustles you can do. Uber and Lyft also offer monetary incentives to new drivers, encouraging them to reach a certain number of rides—this type of deal can help you make your first $1,000 even sooner.
13. Stream your online gaming
Thanks to streaming software like Twitch, video gamers can turn their hobby into a side gig. If you start streaming your gaming sessions on Twitch and they catch on, as your subscriber count goes up, you can start making money on sponsorships. Another way to make money through video games is to participate in online tournaments with cash prizes, but this is only effective if you excel at a particular game.
14. Start a podcast
Podcasting is a versatile side hustle that is easier to get into than you might think. All it takes is some basic recording equipment, and an idea appeals to listeners’ interests. Your podcast can be about a fun topic like TV shows or dating, or you can go the business podcast route and offer conversation topics based on workplace skills and issues. Much like online gaming, you can make money on sponsorships once your podcast becomes popular enough. Still, another popular way to make money through podcasting is on a membership platform like Patreon. Through this method, your subscribers will pay for exclusive content, based on levels of membership.
15. Become an influencer
Are you already an online socialite? Take it to the next level by becoming an influencer as your side hustle. If you have a lot of followers on Instagram or TikTok, brands will pay you (and offer you free stuff) to show off their products on your profile. Even if your typical Instagram content falls into a small niche, after doing a bit of searching, you should be able to find a brand that could use your help to influence a specific audience type.
As you can see, there is a wide variety of unique side hustles you can start online, often with minimal resources. While some of these ideas are more passive side jobs, others will require a bit of action on your part. When choosing an online side hustle, make sure to recognize this and pick one that you have the time, resources, and skills to pull off. All it takes is a quick assessment of what you have to offer and a little bit of inspiration to get you started. Chances are you have a hobby that you can transform into an income stream in no time. Go ahead and put your free time—as well as your gaming skills, crochet needles, vehicle, or Instagram account—to good use. The first 1,000 dollars you make on your side hustle are right around the corner.