America’s gig economy has exploded in the last 10 years, due in large part to today’s technology making it easier than ever to hire yourself out as an independent contractor or freelancer. Side hustles can provide a useful stream of secondary income but can offer people a better work-life balance.
According to Statista, job satisfaction is notably high among gig economy workers, with 80 percent reporting that they were either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their side gig.
While side gigs can transform into full-time careers or even a small business, they’re also just a good way to create additional revenue streams for you personally. One of the best things about the gig economy is the sheer number of different ways you can get paid — the options are truly endless. To hone in on the right side hustle for you, read on to learn about 25 popular side business ideas that can help increase your income.
1. Deliver Food
With the explosion of third-party food delivery services in recent years, an entire industry has been created that people from around the country can partake in. Food delivery services like DoorDash and Grubhub have opened up the flood gates for people interested in a side hustle as a delivery driver. Similar to working for Uber and Lyft, you can work whenever you want. This can be an especially busy side gig if you’re in a highly-trafficked area such as Los Angeles or New York City. Plus, you don’t necessarily need a car to do delivery with these services, as drivers can use bikes and motorcycles as well.
2. Become a Rideshare Driver
Closely related to the food delivery side hustle, another accessible way to make money is to drive for Uber or Lyft. Like with delivering food, as a rideshare driver, you can turn your availability off and on as you see fit through Uber and Lyft’s mobile apps. This type of flexibility makes it a great side hustle for those who have 9-to-5 jobs.
3. Work as a Virtual Assistant
Working as a virtual assistant is not unlike working as a secretary from your home. Thanks to the internet, being an assistant — no matter where you live — is easier than ever. All different kinds of business owners and individuals are in need of professional assistance. The main thing for you to do to exceed at this side hustle is to work on your administrative skills, like email response, organization, communication and programs used frequently in offices, like Microsoft Office products, Google Calendar and the like. Sites like Zirtual and Boldly specialize in virtual assistance.
Tutoring is a side hustle that is especially geared towards those with a strong academic background and potentially an unfulfilled desire to teach. And what’s great about tutoring nowadays is that it can be done in person at someone’s home, an office or virtually online. There are several websites specializing in connecting online tutors with students. Companies like Brainfuse or Smarthinking can help you get started.
5. Earn Money Freelance Writing
Freelance writing is another side gig that has been hugely boosted by the internet and the realization by many companies that “content is king.” Since it can be done from nearly anywhere, freelance writing can be an ideal side hustle for many people. The main requirements are a computer and internet access.
Websites like WritersDomain provide freelancers with article topics, word counts and other requirements, plus the prices offered for writing services. There are other sites that specialize or cover freelance writing gigs, such as PeoplePerHour and Freelance Writers Den.
6. Freelance Editing and Proofreading
Very much in line with freelance writing, freelance editing and proofreading are high-demand services that you can do in your spare time. If you’re already freelance writing, offering editing and proofreading services is an excellent way to augment what you can offer and make more money as well. There are also sites that offer professional proofreader certification, such as Proofread Anywhere, which offers courses in general proofreading and transcript proofreading as well.
7. Dog Walking
People love their dogs and tend to be willing to pay sometimes a lot of money to ensure that they’re getting much love and care if they have to go on vacation or can’t be with their pets. If you love animals and the outdoors, a side hustle as a dog walker could be a rewarding alternative source of income for you. One of the easiest ways to get into this side hustle is to sign up with a dog walking service such as Wag! and DogVacay.
On a related note, another good option for animal lovers is to pet-sit. This service is sometimes referred to as dog boarding — if it concerns dogs — or pet boarding. Typically, pet-sitters bring other people’s animals into their homes and care for them as needed. Customers who need pet-sitting services could be pet owners who need you to watch their pets when they’re out of town or it could be to care for them while their owner is at work all day. What’s great is that many dog walking services, such as DogVacay and Rover, also offer pet-sitting opportunities.
9. Mow Lawns
Mowing people’s lawns is a side gig that stretches back many, many years. Homeowners are especially keen on keeping their outdoor greenery and landscape clean and trimmed. As with many of the side gigs on this list, online and mobile apps have proliferated to make this side hustle even easier to do. If finding your own customers is too time-consuming of a prospect for you, try signing up as a vendor with GreenPal, a service that connects homeowners with local landscapers.
10. Rent Out a Room
You don’t need to be a property tycoon to make money off renters. AirBnB is a great resource for people to earn extra cash if you’re are willing to rent out a spare room or even your whole home. You don’t need to own your property to rent out your room, though you may want to check with your landlord. Either way, what’s great about AirBnB is that you get paid typically between one to two days after a guest checks in. If the rental is for more than 28 nights, then AirBnB hosts get paid monthly.
11. Manage Social Media for Small Businesses
Many companies are outsourcing various marketing tasks, including social media. For example, many small businesses need a social media coordinator or manager, but don’t have the time or resources for the constant, consistent posting that’s required on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn or Twitter. You’ll need to make the effort of reaching out to local businesses and offer your services and be sure to get the service you provide and compensation in a contract.
12. Sell Your Services on Fiverr
Fiverr is among the central pillars of the gig economy, providing a platform for freelancers and customers to easily and conveniently connect. Prices for your services can range from $5 to $10,000, and according to its website, a gig is bought every four seconds. The way Fiverr works is by you creating a gig, getting an order and delivering work for a customer and getting paid. Fiverr even has courses to help you hone your freelancing skills to deliver more value and get higher payouts.
13. Start a Blog
Creating and writing a blog isn’t the fastest way to make money on the side. However, if you start a blog and provide content with real value, you could set yourself up with a way to make some very solid passive income. For instance, if you build enough of a following on your blog, you could get into affiliate marketing and have advertisers pay you to put ads on your site. The key to making a successful blog is consistency and regularity of your posts, which, depending on your work ethic and temperament, could take up a decent chunk of your spare time.
14. Create Online Courses
Another way to earn money on the side is by creating an online course using platforms like Udemy or Teachable. On Udemy, you can earn money every time a student purchases your course, paid out monthly through PayPal or Payoneer. Teachable is also a great platform, allowing you to create an entire online course website without the need for a web host — Teachable hosts it all for you.
15. Babysitting and Nannying
Babysitting or becoming a part-time nanny can be a fairly lucrative side hustle. Though babysitting is a timeless side gig, online websites make launching this side job even easier than before. Check out websites such as Care.com, UrbanSitter and SitterCity to connect with parents who are looking for babysitting and nannying services near you.
16. Cleaning Houses
Wanting a clean house is almost always in demand. With the rise of AirBnB, more families and homeowners are renting out their homes and rooms to people, and this requires clean premises. It’s fairly easy to get connected with people who need housekeeping services through websites such as HouseKeeper.com and TIDY.
17. Become a House-Sitter
If you’re not big on cleaning homes, you can still earn some cash by watching people’s homes for them. House-sitting has solid demand as many people who go away on vacation or have second homes often want someone to keep an eye on their house in their absence. House-sitters can be useful too for taking care of things like important mail, letting in and monitoring services that might come to the house, like a plumber or electrician. The internet once again makes getting into this side hustle easy, with websites like HouseSitter.com and MindMyHouse offering house-sitting jobs.
18. Hire Yourself Out Through TaskRabbit
TaskRabbit connects you with people who need to have specific tasks done for them in your area. These tasks can vary considerably but include lots of projects in and around people’s homes, such as helping people move, planting and gardening, cleaning kitchens and bathrooms, assembling furniture and similar. TaskRabbit also has jobs like delivering items to customers’ home or office and shopping for them as well. In order to sign up and become a Tasker, you have to register and pass some basic background checks.
19. Sell Homemade Products
This is a side hustle that definitely favors creative people. You can use Etsy to sell crafts or other home-made items and reach a massive online customer-base. Though there are competitors, Etsy is easily one of the largest platforms for selling handmade products on the internet. Another place to check out is Amazon Handmade, where you can buy and sell handcrafted products.
20. Sell Your Services on Upwork
Upwork is another website that had been integral to the growth of the gig economy. Many of the projects you can get hired for are technical, such as web development, mobile app development, IT and networking, graphic and web design. However, Upwork offers more categories beyond this, such as freelance writing, translating, accounting and legal services too.
21. Become a Personal Trainer
Exercising isn’t just healthy — it can be a great source of side income. Many Americans flock to the gym, but too often either lose motivation or require more personalized attention to keep them going. This is where becoming a personal trainer could be a profitable side hustle. You can find clients on your own or you can take advantage of freelance personal trainer websites to connect you with customers. You can use FitnessTrainer to sign up as a trainer to get connected to people who need a personal trainer in your area.
22. Resume Writing
A lot of people, even if they’re highly skilled and proficient at what they do, detest writing up their own resumes. This provides a great opportunity for people who enjoy writing resumes and helping people find their ideal job. Do some research to find out what going rates are for resume writing services. What’s more, you should figure out what additional value you can bring to the table as a resume writer for your customers to set yourself apart from others. A good way to differentiate yourself is to really cater your clients’ resumes to their skill set, passions and where they want to work.
23. Give Driving Lessons
Every day, there’s a new cohort of people growing up and getting behind the wheel. These people need lessons in driving before they can get their driver’s license. That’s where you can come in working as a student driving instructor. In order to pursue this side hustle, you’ll need a valid driver’s license for the level at which you’re teaching, such as non-commercial or commercial licenses. You’ll also typically need to get certified as a licensed driving instructor, plus have a clean driving and criminal record as well.
24. Sell Designs on CafePress
Here’s another nice side hustle for the creatives out there. If you’re a graphic designer, you can earn money from your designs through CafePress. With this site, you can create designs that fit a variety of formats such as shirts, hats and cups, and earn money when they sell.
25. Become a Public Notary
Notaries might seem like an outdated relic of the pre-digital world, but their services are still required for many forms of legal, financial and professional paperwork. Notaries are important because they serve as unbiased, third-party witnesses to documents that, for instance, authorize someone to act on behalf of another. You will need to get a notary certification, but this is generally fairly inexpensive and, once you’re certified, you can create your own fees for notarizing documents.
The Bottom Line
The sheer variety of side hustles is one of the best features of today’s gig economy. In the past, technology imposed limits on the types of independent contracts and freelance work that a person could reasonably purse as a side business.
Now, thanks to online websites, platforms and mobile apps, the potential for starting and earning money from a side gig is more feasible and convenient than ever. And, if you get really good at your side hustle and take it very seriously, it could turn into your principal moneymaker or even an entire business.