16 Side Hustle Ideas You Can Start Today

16 Side Hustle Ideas You Can Start Today

16 Side Hustle Ideas You Can Start Today

When it comes to work, sometimes one paycheck just isn’t enough.  Or, conversely, maybe a full-time job just isn’t in the cards. That leaves many searching for just the right opportunity to make a little extra income— or a lot— in their free time.  

Today, as we shift into a gig economy, the notion of “work” is no longer bound by traditional nine-to-five chains, making it easier to earn cash on the side or make money online without sacrificing too much of your time or sanity. If done right, your side hustle can even turn into full-time business

Whether you’re trying to fund your next entrepreneurial adventure, pay down student loan debt, work from home, or bring in just a little extra cash, here are 16 side gigs you can start today.

Why Start a Side Hustle in 2024 (Isn’t AI Taking Over Everything?)

First, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: AI. Is it going to ruin everything for contractors, freelancers and side hustlers? 

Maybe, but not yet. And it could make your side hustle even more lucrative, at least in the near term. Many small business owners, especially those with very small businesses (the majority of small businesses in the US) are slow to adopt AI. 

Small business research firm Bredin has found that only 8% of very small businesses (fewer than 20 employees) surveyed are actively using AI, while another 7% are piloting it. 

The vast majority aren’t using many AI tools, and that means you may still provide valuable services to those businesses. Perhaps by using AI services yourself, you can build a very lucrative side hustle. 

In addition, service businesses like dog walking, senior companion services, babysitting or car washing aren’t going to be replaced by robots in the immediate future. 

Most Profitable Online Side Hustle Ideas

If your goal is to create an online business, perhaps so you can travel and work anywhere, anytime, here are some of the most profitable options:

Sell Digital Products Like Online Courses or Ebooks

Whether it’s printables on Etsy, or ebooks and online courses on all kinds of topics (business to breadmaking), there continues to be a strong market for informative, helpful content. 

You no longer have to be a well-known writer or celebrity to create a best-selling book, or a graphic designer to create a beautiful planner. Inexpensive tools like Canva can make it easy to make a professional looking product. 

Competition can be stiff though, so it’s important to carve out your niche and learn how to create something your audience wants. 

Flipping or Reselling Items Online

Rather than creating your own product and investing in inventory you can dip your toes in the ecommerce waters by buying items inexpensively at thrift stores, garage sales and selling them online on eBay or Facebook Marketplace for a hefty markup. 

According to ThredUp, the global secondhand market is expected to nearly double by 2027, reaching $350 Billion.

There are lots of possibilities when it comes to the best items to flip: clearance items you find in a local store, furniture you fix and flip, appliances, vintage or designer clothing, and much more. 

Become a Virtual Assistant

The vast majority of small business owners in America are one or two-person businesses. They carry a lot of responsibilities and many are looking for help without hiring a full-time employee. That’s where virtual assistants come in. 

VAs can take on a variety of responsibilities, including managing email or appointments, providing customer support, client or customer follow up, research, or even project management. Depending on your type of business and their skills, they may handle basic bookkeeping, content creation (blog posts or social media, for example), website management or more. You can find clients through referrals or platforms like Fiverr. 

I hired a virtual assistant to help in my business more than 25 years ago. She freed up time so I could focus on high-value tasks. There are many other business owners in that situation. 

There are a variety of online courses designed to train VAs. Check out the VA Handbookers group on Facebook if you’re exploring this opportunity. 


If you have something to say (or a lot to say) about a specific topic, and you’re a relatively good writer, consider becoming a blogger  Initially, your blog will not likely make a lot of money. This is a long game, and competition can be fierce. 

But if you keep at it, and there is an audience for your topic, you may be able to grow it to the point where you monetize your blog through affiliate partnerships, ads, products and/or sponsorships.

Freelance Writing

Despite the threat from AI, good writers with expertise in specific topics continue to be in demand. The key is finding your niches and developing your reputation as a skilled and reliable writer on those topics. 

If you’re looking for advice and inspiration on this side hustle, check out Jennifer Goforth Gregory’s blog where she details how much she makes as a freelance writer, and how she finds clients. 

Start an Ecommerce Shop Selling Handmade Products

If you’re creative or crafty, you may find selling your homemade items on Etsy, Ebay or even Amazon can be a great side hustle. 

How much money will depend on a lot of factors: the competition, how much time and effort you can devote to making and selling your products, how in-demand your product is, and how good you are at marketing it, so do your research before setting a price or investing a lot of money in supplies or inventory.

Want to see how your product performs for a smaller audience? Consider testing the waters on social media with friends and family members.

And if you think you may want to go this route, a helpful resource is Steven Chou’s book, The Family-First Entrepreneur: How to Achieve Financial Freedom Without Sacrificing What Matters Most.

Dropshipping or an Ecommerce Store

You don’t have to make the products you sell online. Dropshipping is a retail fulfillment method where the retailer doesn’t keep the products it sells in stock; instead, when a store sells a product, it purchases the item from a third party and has it shipped directly to the customer. Though this is not as popular an online business as it has been in the past, it still has potential with the right products. 

The other option is to sell products that you source from manufacturers or wholesalers (Alibaba is popular for finding these) and then sell products on Amazon or your own online store. 

If this intrigues you, check out the book, 12 Months to $1 Million: How to Pick a Winning Product, Build a Real Business, and Become a Seven-Figure Entrepreneur. 

Become a Content Creator

Content creation involves producing material like videos for YouTube, blogs, podcasts, or social media posts that engage, inform, or entertain an audience. This field is incredibly diverse, allowing creators to focus on areas they’re passionate about, whether that’s fashion, technology, cooking, math, or virtually any other interest. You can start small, using tools and platforms you already have access to, and grow your audience over time.

Content creators can earn money through advertising, sponsorships, product sales, affiliate marketing, and more. This means that as your audience grows, so too does your potential to generate income. You’ll also need to be willing to learn and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and algorithms of the platforms you use.To be successful you’ll need dedication and consistency, but for those willing to put in the effort, the payoff can be significant. 

Become a UCG Creator

UGC stands for “User-Generated Content” and UGC creators produce content such as reviews, testimonials, photos, videos, or blog posts that showcase a genuine interest or passion for a product, service, or brand. 

Brands love this type of content as it is authentic and helps build trust and credibility with potential customers more effectively than traditional advertising methods. While they are similar to influencers, UCG creators typically create content for brands to share while influencers are paid to create and share content with their audience. 

Most Profitable Service Side Hustle Ideas

Service businesses—where you provide a service directly to customers—continue to be a popular side hustle. And they are often more “AI proof” than online side hustles that may be easier to automate. Here are some top picks: 

Dog Walking, Pet Sitting or Pet Care Services

Love our furry friends? Like long walks and cuddles? Pet sittings and pet walking may be just the right thing for you.  Dog walkers can make money while getting exercise. Platforms like Rover make it easy for pet owners to find walkers or sitters. 

Pet sitters can earn money watching pets in their home or in the pet parent’s home, often for longer periods of time.

Rideshare Driving for Uber, Lyft or Delivery Apps

Driving for services like Uber and Lyft, or food delivery services like Uber Eats, InstaCart or DoorDash, have become very popular side hustles due to their flexibility. If you have a reasonably nice car (of course, that’s not necessarily required), a good driving record, and don’t mind strangers in your car, then you may find driving to be a good side gig.

As a quick word to the wise: how much you make will vary and depends on a slew of factors.  The city you live in, the amount of time you spend behind the wheel, and the cost of gas, tolls, and maintenance all factor into how much you make, so be sure to consider that as you weigh your options.

Rideshare Guy is a good resource for understanding the nuances of this side hustle.

Tutoring and Educational Services Like Exam Prep Coaches

Do you know your way around a math equation?  Can you spot punctuation errors a mile away? You may want to consider extending your knowledge base to online teaching and tutoring, though the real-life counterpart or substitute teaching is also an option.

Many organizations, as well as individual students and professionals, are in need of some extra one-on-one academic support. Check out sites like Tutor.com, VIPKid, or even Udemy, to see if you have skills in demand. You can also check with local schools and community centers to see if there is a need for paid services.

Handy Work Like Painting, Roofing, Fencing and More

Handy work such as painting, roofing, fencing, and other home improvement tasks can serve as an excellent side hustle for those with skills and tools. This line of side business taps into a constant demand for home maintenance and improvement projects that homeowners either lack the skill, tools, or time to tackle themselves. 

Talk to anyone who has tried to hire this type of help in the past few years and you’ll know how hard it can be to find experienced help, especially for smaller jobs. Those small jobs are the ones you can tackle in evenings or weekends. If you build up a reputation for quality work, you’ll likely find yourself as busy as you want to be. 

Computer and Tech Consulting, Repairs and Support

With the increasing reliance on computers, smartphones, and other gadgets, the demand for technical support and repair services is higher than ever. Individuals with a knack for technology and problem-solving can tap into this demand by offering their expertise to help others troubleshoot issues, repair malfunctioning devices, or optimize their use of technology. 

While you can try to find consumer clients, it may be more lucrative to focus on very small businesses who need to protect their data and systems from data breaches and other threats. Whether it’s removing viruses, upgrading hardware or software, setting up networks, backing up devices, or other tasks, there’s plenty of opportunity here. 

Freelancing and Consulting

Freelancing or consulting work can be a great way to make money off skills you already have, and often from the comfort of your own home.  Writers, social media gurus, web designers, developers, HR experts, etc. may all find a robust collection of side gigs that can boost their current income, or, with enough motivation and opportunity, become a primary source of income. Digital marketing is especially popular with side hustlers, as it is in demand and has low startup costs. 

Check out sites like UpWork and Toptal, or you can network with other professionals on sites like LinkedIn, to see what’s out there. Keep in mind that rates vary based on industry and experience, and always read up on any current employee contract you have so you don’t end up in breach of it.

House Cleaning

If you don’t mind getting down and dirty, you may find house cleaning to be a rewarding and reliable source of additional income.  In some locations, residential house cleaners can make anywhere from $50 to $90 for two hours of work, though some charge more based on the work required.

How to Turn Any Side Hustle Into Consistent Passive Income Stream

The first key to turning a side hustle into consistent income is to pick something you won’t mind doing week in and week out. If your job has you on a computer every day and you can’t stand the thought of one more minute behind a screen in your spare time, an online business may not be the best fit for you. 

Conversely, just because you love doing something as a hobby that doesn’t mean you’ll love it as a business. You may need to test the waters before going all in on turning your side hustle into a venture with profit in mind.

Often though, the only way you’ll know if it’s a fit is to give it a try. That may mean working part-time for someone else (say, weekends at a busy bakery if you want to sell artisan breads) or lending a hand to your friend who has a painting business to see what it really involves. 

If you want passive income—income that isn’t directly tied to the hours you work, you’ll need to focus on creating a business that involves automation and outsourcing. 

For many side hustles, this involves leveraging digital products, online platforms, or outsourcing day-to-day operations. For instance, a content creator might produce an online course, e-book, or series of instructional videos that can be sold repeatedly without the need for constant updates. Similarly, someone skilled in tech could develop an app or software tool that addresses a specific need, offering it as a subscription service to generate regular income.

Another effective strategy is to invest in building a strong online presence or platform that attracts a steady flow of traffic, which can then be monetized through advertising, affiliate marketing, or sponsored content. This approach requires upfront effort in content creation and SEO optimization but can lead to significant passive income over time as your audience grows. 

Ultimately, the goal is to create a product or service that meets a specific demand, then set up a system that allows it to be sold or used repeatedly without equivalent increments in your time or effort, thereby generating a consistent passive income stream. 

Not everything you try will likely work or be a great fit. You may need to experiment, and view those “failures” as learning experiences. Watch out for high upfront costs, or significant investments of time, especially when you’re testing the waters. While you may find another way to make money, you can’t get that time back.

Getting Started With a Side Hustle

First, decide on the Side Hustle you want to try. Two resources that can help: The Side Hustl quiz and Side Hustle Nation’s best side hustle ideas list and quiz.

Make sure you get any necessary business licenses and business insurance. (Yes, you may need insurance, even for a side hustle.) Consider forming a business entity like an LLC or S Corp to protect your personal finances and assets. 

Even if you’re starting small, a business bank account and a business credit card are also a good idea. As a bonus, you can start to establish business credit, so if you decide to turn your side business into a full-time business, you’ll have a head start on the qualifications needed for some small business loans

Use accounting software to keep track of your income and expenses, and to make sure you’re taking full advantage of business tax deductions

Ultimately, the best side hustle is the one that helps you make the extra money you need. Ideally it will also help you develop skills or feed a creative itch, regardless of whether you quit your day job or not. There may not be a perfect side hustle for everyone, but there are probably several lucrative side hustles that can help you reach your goals. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What side hustles pay the most?

Side hustles with the most earning potential are often those that involve creativity and hustle, and that allow you to raise your rates as you become more in demand. There’s also a tradeoff between risk and reward. With ride sharing, for example, your income is largely tied to the whims of the platform. But if you create a YouTube channel, your income can be much greater, though it can also be nothing if you can’t find an audience. 

What is the best side hustle to start with?

If your goal is just to earn a certain amount of money for a specific goal, then you have a wide variety of side hustles to choose from. Choose one that doesn’t require a lot of money or a high learning curve. 

If, however, you hope your side hustle will turn into a regular business, make sure you understand the market and what’s involved to be successful. SCORE and your local Small Business Development Service can help with free mentoring and business owner education. 

This article was originally written on April 30, 2018 and updated on February 13, 2024.

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2 responses to “16 Side Hustle Ideas You Can Start Today

  1. It’s interesting that you mention Uber and LLyft as a way to MAKE money on the side. According to several people at HR Block, NONE of the tax returns they did for UBER drivers required them to pay any taxes. When you calculate the IRS deduction for miles driven on the car in the long run it was costing the drivers to drive for Ride Share. While they make cash at the end of that day, they are putting wear and tare on the vehicle that they are not earning enough money to fully repair or replace. So in the long run scheme of things they will have to work more hours at a different job to help cover the cost of replacing the car that they may not have needed to repair or replace as soon had they not been out driving for Ride Share.

    Likewise if you check with the Personal Insurance company that they have insurance through many of them have exclusions that specifically say they do not cover Ride Share. In some cases this personal insurance shuts off and stays shut off until the driver returns home, or permanetly. Yet the ride share insurance turns on and off based on when the customer is in the car. So that little side job as a driver may end up costing you a pile if you have an accident at a time when neither insurance policy is in effect.

    And many drivers do not know if they are driving a Min Van, SUV or larger vehicle instead of a car they sometimes fall under some or all DOT rules especially in regards to Driver Physicals and Commercial Inspections, that the ride share companies disagree with so fail to mention, yet several states have these rules on the books and no exclusion has been made yet for Ride Share drivers. Nothing happens until there is an accident, then the lawyers step in and go after the driver for not following the rules of law that are on the books but only occasionally enforced or mentioned.

  2. I have another to add to your list that’s almost as easy to do as going for a daily walk. Consider providing a litter cleanup service outside commercial properties. It’s done on foot using simple hand tools. I started this as a side gig in 1981 and grew it into a profitable full time business. I share my experience in my book, Cleanlots. I offer free support.