Side hustles are the big thing for young professionals and experienced workers alike. While you can only budget so much, your earning potential is unlimited. If you are looking to start a business or just want to earn a bit more to fix up your finances, a side hustle could be the perfect way to start. If you do things right, it could lead to a full-time, self-employed income. Here are 11 side hustle businesses that are perfect to take from hustle to full-time.
1. Website Development
Websites are the hub of online business today. You are viewing a website at this very moment! If you have the skills to build a website, there is someone out there willing to pay you for it.
Depending on your level of skill, you can build anything from basic business websites for local businesses all the way up to advanced, functioning apps. The more advanced skills you have, the more you can charge. But you can start with a basic knowledge of WordPress and HTML and build up from there. If you love learning, a good challenge, and computers, this is a great side hustle. A great place to start is a marketplace like Upwork.
2. Freelance Writing
I have a soft spot for freelance writing, as writing is at the core of my side hustle to self-employment story. I started writing about personal finance online in October 2008, and in April 2016 I left my job to take my online writing side hustle full-time. It has since turned into a six-figure business for me, and allows me to comfortably support my family.
Writing is not as easy as some might think. You always have to be selling, bringing on new clients, and deliver high-quality content on a regular basis consistently over time. To succeed in writing, it is best to pick a niche where you have a strong background and deep knowledge. If you have knowledge of an in-demand topic and elite writing skills, freelance writing is a great side hustle and I’m living proof that you can take it full-time. You can find jobs at various job boards and online marketplaces to get started.
3. Graphic Design
I know Photoshop about as well as I know my way around a car engine, but if you know how to create art and graphics on a computer, you have a prime skillset with wide demand today.
Everyone from big businesses to small app developers needs high quality images to draw in and keep visitors to their websites and digital products. If you have the right skillset, there are plenty of gigs out there on various marketplaces like Fiverr and 99 Designs.
4. Home Maintenance
While the internet offers amazing opportunities to earn from the comfort of your home, sometimes you have to get out to put your best skills to use. If you are handy around the house, you can put those skills to use in other people’s houses, and get paid for it!
Like website design, this is a great way to learn new skills as you work. I’m not all that handy, but I’ve changed toilets, shower heads, locks, installed a ceiling fan, and done quite a bit more around the house. If you have at least above-average skills, you can fix and build for hire. Start advertising on local public notice boards at coffee shops, community centers, religious centers, Craigslist, Yelp, and Google Places.
5. Lawn & Garden Care
If you are handy with a rake, lawn mower, and a shovel, you know everything you need to start a landscaping, lawn, and garden care side hustle. During warm weather months, you can mow the lawn, rake the leaves, prune the roses, and keep the yard in tip-top shape. In the winter, you can shovel driveways and keep the yard looking nice.
In my neighborhood, nearly everyone has a gardener because the weather is warm year-round. Keeping up with the fruit trees, flowers, and mowing the lawn is a ton of work. I’ve been doing it myself so far, but I’m close to hiring it out. Someone with this side hustle would be at the top of my hire list.
6. Bookkeeping & Tax Preparation
If you are good at math or have a business school background, you likely know enough to handle basic bookkeeping and tax preparation for small businesses. If you are going to help with tax prep, make sure you are compliant with local and state regulations and licensing requirements.
Overall, this is a great hustle. It gives you the human interaction with business owners, insight into how other businesses work, and gives you a skill that you can always fall back on. Bookkeeping and accounting go hand in hand, so if you have any accounting experience, or experience with QuickBooks, you should be able to get up and running quickly.
7. Baking & Catering
I am good enough around the kitchen to feed my family without any big complaints, but if you get constant praise from friends and family for your cooking and baking skills, you might be on track for a food based side hustle. Get practicing on making your best recipes easily replicable at scale.
If you plan to sell food to the general public, make sure you are compliant with local health codes and laws. You may find the best success renting commercial kitchen space from a local provider. Think of it like co-working, but for cooking.
8. Furniture Building
If building an IKEA dresser sounds like fun, you may be well suited for a furniture building business. There are multiple, real businesses operating today where the owner goes and picks up furniture from big box retailers, delivers it, and builds it. In some cases, they just build and don’t handle delivery.
If you have woodworking skills like Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation, you can build your own custom furniture to sell at local markets or online. It is a great hobby, and it’s even better when you can turn a profit along the way.
9. Music Teacher
Kids and adults alike look to instructors to learn piano, guitar, drums, and any instrument played in middle school band or orchestra. If you are a talented musician and enjoy teaching, marry the two skills with your own music teaching and tutoring program.
Start charging a lower base rate, and raise your rates as you get more experience and demand for your services. Once you match your day job income for a few months, you will feel much more confident quitting and going full-time on your own.
10. Home Care Companion
We are in an era with an aging population, and as people grow older, they need a little more help around the house. Medical care generally requires a licensed nurse, but anyone can help with basic home care tasks and earn a good income from it.
Things like cooking, laundry, and just moving from bed to the bathroom can be challenging for older individuals. Keep them company and help them with basic living needs as a home care specialist. If you love it, you can find enough clients to turn it into a full-time income.
11. Event Planning
Weddings, corporate events, bar-mitzvahs… There are events virtually every day of the year. If you have strong organization and communication skills, you have what it takes to start an event planning business.
I’ve seen several women start event planning side hustles after their own weddings, as they had the skills and contacts ready to help someone else put together their dream wedding day. But don’t limit yourself to weddings. Corporate clients tend to have much deeper pockets. As long as you pay attention to every detail, events are a fun business to be in.
Start Small & See Where It Goes
Side hustles are a low-risk, high-fun way to get started with entrepreneurship. If you want even more side hustle ideas, check out this list of 137 side hustle ideas to get you started.
You don’t have to dive into the deep end head first when starting a business. Instead, you can start small with a side hustle and see where it goes. If you have the same results as me, you’ll be self-employed before you know it.
This article was originally written on December 25, 2017 and updated on February 1, 2021.