The best side hustle ideas to make extra money each month
You want to earn extra money – and you want to keep it flowing into your bank account, each and every month. Whether you’re saving, or you need a bit more each month to make ends meet, you’ll be looking for ways to make that happen. We hear loads of reasons why Avasam users started their DropShipping business: some wanted to create a business that can grow to become their full time income (with the added bonus of allowing them to work flexibly!) or sometimes they started their business to grow an income that would help sustain them through the next period in their life. This has often been the case such as while they were students at university, for an income while they were on a gap year, while their children were young, or perhaps as an interest while they move into retirement – there are many reasons to create your side hustle.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter why you want, or need the extra money coming in – the main thing is that you just need a bit more in your bank account each month!
What is a side hustle exactly?
Having a side hustle seems to have become a badge of honour in recent years, but in reality it isn’t anything new – the side hustle is simply a way to make some extra cash alongside your full time job. Before the idea of a side hustle started trending, people simply had second jobs – working in a pub, or shop at the weekend, or even getting up early to do a milk round! Today, you don’t even need to leave your home to have a side hustle – there are plenty of ways to start earning extra money every month.
Side hustle statistics
One in four British people now have a side hustle
The average person spends between 6-15 hours per week on their side hustle
28% of those earning more than £55K say they will take their side hustle full time in the future
49% of Americans under the age of 35 now say they have a side hustle
Just 5.4% of Americans earn more than $1000 per month from their side hustle
45% of Americans have their side hustle for extra spending money
73% of people earn less than $200 per month from their side hustle
Who has a side hustle?
The Telegraph noted last year the rise of the ‘slashie’ – that is, someone who does several jobs at once. Their example suggests: “I am a writer/lawyer/dog walker” – so what they are saying is that a lawyer doesn’t have to give up their day job to reap the benefits of their other jobs – they do it all. (Although we’re not sure that there are many full time lawyers that have enough hours in the day to do three jobs at once!)
Since the financial crisis, more people are building income from multiple streams – and that makes complete sense. Your day job can pay the bills and keep you ticking over, but the side hustle often satisfies the need for a creative outlet, while providing you with a bit more security if your day job ends up being at risk.
Essentially, more and more people are choosing to have a side hustle, at every stage in their lives – and their day jobs aren’t what defines their career.
Are there other benefits to a side hustle apart from money?
Absolutely! Just getting extra pennies in the bank (or pounds, we hope!) is a fine benefit, there are some other good reasons to get moving with your side hustle. Here’s a quick look at some of them.
Since many people choose for their side hustle to be completely unrelated to their day job, while you’re pursuing your side hustle (and especially if you decide to set up your own business) you are also gaining transferrable skills that you can talk about on your CV. If your day job isn’t exactly where you imagined you would end up being (or maybe it isn’t even in the same ballpark as where you would like to be!) then working on your side hustle can help you transition your career to a different one – or can help you get ahead in one you already have and love.
You might find that you end up feeling inspired, and you get a rush of energy since you’re working on something that you’re really passionate about. That energy and inspiration can help you feel better about your day job too, which can be no bad thing either.
A side hustle can also lead you to meeting with and interacting with new people – not just clients and customers, but also business contacts that may help you get ahead in your day job as well. Meeting with new people can lead to making new friends, mentors or simply meeting someone who inspires you to take your side hustle further.
If you’re one of those people who thinks your side hustle is something that won’t work as a full-time opportunity, starting it while you’re still employed will give you the confidence to know how well it will work. You won’t have to give up your day job – ever, if that’s what you want – but if your side hustle grows sufficiently, you’ll already know for sure how much you will be able to earn as your side hustle becomes your full time gig.
This might sound a bit like we’ve gone bonkers, since your side hustle actually means you will have more work to do, but having a side hustle can give you a lot more work/life balance. Think about it – if you’re stuck in a corporate job, and you have a side hustle that you’re actually excited to get started on when you get home, you’re more likely to set better boundaries, and not let your day job spill into your personal time. You’ll be more inclined to plan your time more carefully, so you are able to focus better when you’re working on each job.
Why start your side hustle as a business?
Starting a side hustle that is your own business, rather than working for someone else has plenty of benefits. For most people, you’re more likely to put more effort in if it is your own business – since you’re going to reap 100% of the rewards! You won’t need to answer to anyone, and you’ll be able to work the hours that most suit you – from the hours before the sun (or the kids!) rise, to working after everyone has gone to bed, to squeezing work into your lunch breaks and train commute.
There are many people who get scared when they think of the reality of starting their own business. We completely understand the concerns that you might have – whether you don’t think you have enough money to invest, you’re worried about getting your accounts wrong, or you’re worried that you’ll just mess something up and end up failing. Some of those issues are completely legitimate things to be concerned about, but there are ways around all of those things! Most of the side hustle ideas we’ll look at in this post don’t require any investment at all, or if they do, it is a really small amount – such as for registering a domain for your website, for example.
If your fears are that you will fail because you mess something up – well, of course that is always a possibility, but then it is with anything we do in life. But as we found in our inspirational business quotes post last year, most business leaders are sharing the message that worrying about failing is not a reason to avoid having a go!
Even if it isn’t your sole focus, a side hustle will need you to put some hard work in for it to be successful. But with the right tools, you can create a business that in reality, doesn’t need much time putting into at all. Some tools will allow you to manage your tasks more effectively, such as social media management tools – and we’ll take a look at some of these as we move through the post.
Of course, the benefit of starting your business is that if you ultimately decide that you want to stop your business, you can – or if you think it is worth doing so, you can sell your business. There are people who want to buy the type of side hustle that you’ve created, so they don’t have to put the hard work into doing it themselves! Of course, if your business depends on your talent, you may not be able to, but you’ll be able to make the decision whether you want to be able to sell your social media accounts and so on. But if your DropShipping, print on demand business or influencer accounts have grown well enough and you’re ready to quit, look to see if you can sell it on first – why not benefit from it, since you already put the hard work in?
Planning your side hustle
When you’re starting a side hustle, you might think the best thing is to just get on with it. And we understand that, since you’ll be keen to start earning! But if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail – so it’s really important that you think about what you want to achieve, how you are going to do so, and plan the steps you need to take so that you don’t miss a crucial element as you’re getting up and running.
When you’re planning your business, it’s important to keep your end goal in mind.
Do you want to earn a certain amount of money which will allow you to close your business?
Do you want to be able to add a certain amount of extra money to your income each month?
Do you want to keep growing your business in order to be able to finally leave that dead-end job you hate and be your own boss?
Knowing your end goal will help you to know the strategies, and tasks you’ll need to do in order to create the business that is right for you. We wrote a post recently about SWOT analysis and other tools you can use to help you plan your side hustle, so it’s well worth a look before you get started.
While we’re talking about planning, we’d be remiss if we didn’t remind you that if you’re earning more money, there may be tax implications for those extra earnings. We’re not tax experts, and the rulings will differ from country to country of course. Be sure you have contacted HMRC, or whichever authority is in charge of collecting taxes in the country you live, so that you don’t end up with a hefty fine that could wipe out a chunk of your hard-won earnings! If you’re unsure what to do, you can speak with an accountant local to you, or you can find one online that charges the sort of fees you’re comfortable with. If you’re taking this approach, just be sure the person you’re going to get to do the work for you is suitably qualified to offer that service.
Working in retail can be a way to earn some extra money – whether you choose to work for a local corner shop, a high street retailer or a supermarket. But the hours can be long, and if you have other responsibilities or goals in life, retail might not be the right solution. That doesn’t mean that selling isn’t an option though – DropShipping can open up the opportunities to make profits from selling.
Traditional DropShipping setups used to involve needing to be able to work with CSV files, or connecting to different supplier feeds, and upload to marketplaces and websites manually. That meant a lot of people were deterred from getting involved in selling – because they didn’t have the technical skills required. DropShipping today still needs a bit of skill, but there’s less concerns with technical issues.
Selling online using DropShipping is pretty simple today – the main skills that you need are around marketing, and being able to write a great product description. If you’re confident in that, then all you need to do is source your products – which is really easy once you sign up for a free Avasam account. We’ve written a huge amount of blog posts about DropShipping, so if you’re looking for more information, we recommend checking out the Avasam blog.
It’s pretty logical that we would be encouraging you to have a go at DropShipping, since making selling and sourcing your products easier is the whole reason that we designed and built the Avasam platform! If you don’t have the space to store stock, or the time to pick and pack orders and trek to the Post Office (and if you’re looking for a side hustle, then you probably don’t have that time free!) then DropShipping can be a way for you to earn some decent cash from selling.
If you’ve always felt that you were a bit of a fashionista (is that word even allowed in fashion anymore? Can someone let me know?) or that your personal sense of style was something the world needed a bit more of, then creating your own online store as your side hustle might be a de rigueur decision. You don’t have to be creating your own designs to fill your store (although if you fancy doing so, we wrote a huge post about finding clothing manufacturers a while ago – your side hustle might end up being much more than a side hustle though!) – you can start your business by DropShipping from suppliers who already have stock ready to ship. Working with several different suppliers can give you access to a diverse range of product lines, which can help you to curate the exact aesthetic you’re looking to show to your customers.
If you’re looking to create some of your own designs to put in your store, then using print on demand might be enough to get your first designs on sale. Let’s take a look!
Print on demand
A bit like DropShipping, print on demand allows people to start their business with little to no outlay, because there is no investment in stock required. Instead, when a customer places an order, the seller passes the order to the print on demand supplier to create the item, and send it directly to the customer. The main part of the print on demand business that you’ll need to take care of is creating the designs – so it’s a great if you have an artistic side that doesn’t have an outlet in your day to day life.
When people think of print on demand services, they’re usually thinking about items like print on demand t-shirts. Starting your own t-shirt business can be a fantastic side hustle, and a great creative outlet. All you need to do is work on your designs, and then market them – so creating your website, building a following on social media, and also getting your designs onto marketplaces in order to reach your target audience.
But print on demand services can provide so much more than just t-shirts! If you’re building a business selling fashion, creating your own collection extend your offering and give customers a reason to come back to your store. Print on demand suppliers can give you hundreds of options – from choosing the fabrics you want, to the shape and sizes that you want to offer. That means if you want to create a line that means families can have matching outfits, it is easy to do, or if you’ve spotted a gap in the market for a certain design or size, then you can capitalise on that.
Some services will even allow you to print onto leather, which allows you to create handbags and other accessories to round out your line – or of course, if leather isn’t an option for you, you might choose to work with DropShipping suppliers to add those items to your store.
Print on demand isn’t all about clothing either – you can use the model to create other items for in and around the home. If you fancy creating a line of soft furnishings or bed linen, you can do so using print on demand, or for bathroom, you can do so. Some suppliers can even create items for outdoors and garden, as well as items for the office – and of course, you don’t have to be creating items with logos or pictures. If you create a pattern that you particularly like, you can apply it to any of the items that your print on demand supplier can create.
If you’re one of those people who simply can’t stop doodling, you have a talent for watercolours or you’re a graphic designer that is never off the clock, you can create a business from that! Print on demand services can allow you to create items with your work at the exact sizes that your customers want. Perhaps you want to provide your work on a range of canvas sizes, or in frames. You might decide that you’re going to target customers at the lower end of the price range, and allow your work to be sold on postcards or posters.
Ahh – we love writing here at Avasam. If you’ve got the will to write too, then this can be your ticket to earning a monthly income. Of course, you can offer your services to people through freelance marketplaces, but that’s pretty dependant on people finding you. They say ‘write what you know’ – so instead of writing for other people, try writing for yourself – blogging has become a huge industry, and it can cost hardly anything to get up and running – depending on your niche, of course.
What’s your niche, you might wonder? Well, you might create stories that you post on your blog (perhaps with a view to eventually scoring a book deal), you might create a fashion blog, use your blog space to showcase your hobby or your talent (whether that is relevant to your day job or not!) or you might have something else entirely in mind. It’s up to you, of course – though if you’re planning to monetise your posts, then you will need to look at influencer marketplaces and work out how the idea for your blog’s niche will work with the kind of brands that are using influencer marketing.
Setting up a blog might feel daunting – especially if you have no website design skills, but honestly, that really isn’t a problem. There are so many website builders that you can use that use simple drag and drop functionality! Many of those website builders make it easy to be able to add on eCommerce options, so if that is something that you think might be a possibility – even if it is in the distant future – then when you’re choosing your website builder, look for that functionality. Although we’ve recommended keeping your options open with eCommerce, if you don’t and then find your blog grows really quickly, that doesn’t have to be a huge issue – you can simply sign up for a Shopify account and link from your blog to your Shopify website.
If you don’t want the hassle of creating a website, and you’re certain that you’re not going to want to add eCommerce, you can always use a Tumblr, or Blogger account to get you up and running. You’ll want a few posts under your belt before you start doing monetisation activity, and these can be the simplest way to get going.
There’s a lot to dive into as a blogger, and really warrants a whole separate post for another day! There are a number of ways that you can build income from your blog though. Here are five of the best ways to monetise your words:
Selling coaching or consultancy services
If you’re not up for creating a blog, you might choose to offer your writing services via a freelancer marketplace, or you might choose to write books. It is easier than ever to release your work as a writer – gone are the days that you needed to wait to get your work published by sending copies of your manuscript to a publishing house, and waiting for months to hear whether they would print your work. Today you can offer your work on eBook websites like the Kindle Store or the Kobo Store – and choose whether to allow your customers to purchase your work as a print on demand book or not.
Becoming an influencer
If you have a social media account, and you are producing the sort of content that your followers enjoy, then maybe it is time to monetise that! Almost all of the social media platforms offer opportunities for monetising your feed, and brands are looking to work with influencers to create more authentic advertising content – so why can’t that be you?
We wrote a couple of posts about how to make money on Instagram, and how to make money on YouTube a while back, and they contain some of the best advice that we can give you if being an influencer is on your radar. Of course, you’ll already know that you’ll be stepping into a pretty crowded industry – but if you can create something different, then your social media channels can absolutely be a source of income.
Although getting your voice heard in the social media arena can be a difficult thing to do, there are a few benefits to getting involved. For instance, it’s likely that you won’t need to buy any additional kit to create your content – the majority of your work can be done on the smartphone that is probably already in your pocket! There are apps for video editing and photo editing that can be used on the go, and pretty much all the social media platforms are designed for mobile first, making your influencer income even easier than ever to create – wherever, and whenever you are creating your content!
There are a number of ways you might use your social media accounts to boost your income alongside your sponsored and affiliate work. You can use your social media channels to promote your day job or your side hustle – which of course, is essentially marketing yourself, especially if either your day job or your hustle is one that is important to show off, like hairdressing or graphic design work. You might offer your social media skills for consultancy, or use your social media to find freelance clients.
If you’ve got a load of work on your hard drive that you can offer as a paid download, you might look at how you are able to monetise that. The main thing you’ll need is a website, and of course social media to market your products. You won’t have any manufacturing costs or shipping costs and your storage costs will be low – and your margins will remain high. Depending on what it is that you’ve created, your digital items have the potential to earn you money indefinitely – which, let’s face it, is no bad thing.
You might already have created:
- Music for download (or to add to streaming websites)
- eBooks for download (either from a website, or on platforms such as the Kindle or Kobo stores)
- Patterns or instructions that can be self-printed (usually provided in PDF format)
- Courses, or how-to guides (you’ll need to meet hosting costs, especially if members need to pay a fee)
- Stock photography or video footage (either from a stock media website or your own website)
However, with so many items available online as free downloads today, you have to be able to prove to people that your product is worth paying for. That means creating social media accounts so that people can follow you, and we’d also recommend having a website or blog, so that you can build trust and demonstrate your expertise in what you’re selling.
Not all of these options will be the right thing for your side hustle. If you’ve got a skill or talent that small businesses only need periodically, you can create a side hustle from that. Websites like Fiverr, Upwork, and PeoplePerHour are allowing people to offer all kinds of services to businesses. Some of the categories that freelancer marketplaces offer include:
- Graphics and design
- Music and audio
- Digital marketing
- Programming and tech
- Writing and translation
- Video and animation
You can offer plenty of typical freelance services – from data inputting, to creating business logos or websites and translating documents, through to more bespoke services. There are some pretty interesting and diverse adverts for services on Fiverr – we clicked through in the Lifestyle category and found that people were offering services such as family tree research, Asian cooking video tutorials, through to services that are probably not quite as in demand! Some of the more diverse offerings included ‘being your internet friend’, ‘sending a generational curse removal prayer code’ and ‘predicting who your pet was in another life’. How many people are actually using and paying for these services, we’re not sure – but it does go to show that anything goes on the internet!
Selling crafted items
As more and more products become available for purchase on the big marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, the harder it can be to find quirky and unique items. Amazon have literally tried to become the place to find absolutely everything to everybody, and as such there are approximately 350 million products available through the marketplace, with eBay having millions of items too.
There’s a growing number of customers who are looking for completely unique items, which is why handmade marketplaces like Etsy are becoming more and more popular. We took a deep dive into the world of Etsy and DropShipping (spoiler: you’re not allowed to DropShip to customers on Etsy!) here, and looked at a number of different sales channels for sellers of handmade items. Depending on how you want to reach your customers, you might look at selling on Amazon Handmade, Folksy and Society6, amongst others.
All this means that if you have a hobby that creates something – whether you’re knitting, sewing or crocheting, you create things from wood, metal or plastics, or you’re an artist of any description, you might be running out of friends and family to gift your creations to! If that’s the case then selling your items online can be a fantastic way to create some extra funds, as well as keeping you busy.
Don’t forget, if you’re looking to create your own designs on material that nobody else has, you can use the print on demand model to order fabrics that you design yourself – meaning that you can produce items that really aren’t like anything anyone else has!
If you’re currently not creating items but you’re feeling crafty, we recommend taking a look at Etsy and similar websites for ideas. Etsy has over 2.6 million active sellers, and so no matter what you are already creating, or your skillset, there are bound to be plenty of listings that will spark your creativity.
Diversifying your side hustle
Depending on what you start with, your side hustle might end up needing to grow further. Any one of our suggestions here will have the potential for you to diversify your business and increase your income. Let’s take a quick look:
DropShipping might lead into producing print on demand clothing or art, or selling crafted items. You might also consider becoming an influencer and earning from affiliate programmes.
Print on demand businesses might diversify into selling other print on demand items – so if you started with clothing, you might move into creating art, or items like notebooks and pencils. You can also extend your range with DropShipped items, or become an influencer.
Artists who are selling their work on canvas, posters or postcards can diversify their business by adding DropShipped items like photo frames or gifts to their sales channels, as well as taking commissions for works on freelance marketplaces.
Writers might move into blogging (and monetise that accordingly) or become an influencer in their field, extending their social media following, as well as offering their services to other businesses as a freelancer. If they have created a website, then adding a store DropShipping items, or creating bespoke products that suit their brand using print on demand services.
Influencers, once they have built their brand sufficiently might start offering print on demand items with their logo, branding or slogans on, and then start building a range of DropShipped items in their store.
Digital product producers – depending on what they are selling – can create additional income by building their social media following and becoming an influencer in their field, or potentially moving into selling DropShipped items.
Freelancers – again, depending on what service they provide – can move into influencing, (especially if they are an expert in their field) writing or DropShipping.
Crafters can extend their offering by DropShipping crafting supplies, moving into influencing, or creating digital products showing how to create similar items – or all of the above!
There really is no right or wrong way to diversify these types of business, since there are so many variables that could influence the way that you choose to grow your business. Variables can be influenced by the amount of experience you have, what you enjoy doing and how you want your business to grow. If you ultimately want your business to become a full time income for you, then you might expand into all of those fields – and since many of these ideas are low-cost or free to get started, you just need to be sure to plan, and work on each strand of the business carefully, as you have the time free to do so.
Adding a charitable aspect to your business
If you’re creating a business and you’re a socially conscious type of person that likes to do good, you might decide to add a charitable strand to your side hustle. You can do that alongside earning money for whatever it is you’re creating your side hustle for. You might decide to give a percentage of the profits from each sale to your charity, or a percentage of your year’s takings.
Not only will you feel good about your business helping your preferred charitable cause, your customers will too. Around 90% of customers say they are likely to switch to an ethical business if the quality of the products, and their prices were similar. More and more customers are doing careful research before they make their purchases today, so if you can prove that your business is doing good things, then you’re already part-way there.
As well as your business supporting your chosen good cause financially, by working to support a cause that you already care about, you’ll also benefit from being able to talk about the work that you, and your charity are doing. This gives you plenty of opportunities to create blog posts, videos, social media content, that your customers will also be interested in seeing – and by tagging your chosen charity in your content, you’ll be sending traffic their way too.
If you’re too cash poor at the moment to be able to donate the sort of funds that you would like to your charity (for whatever reason – we hold no judgement!) then you might look to donate hours of your time. If you can donate a morning of your time a month, or even more than that, then that can be valuable to your chosen cause too.
The main thing you need to remember is to be completely open and transparent about your endeavours. Telling your customers that you support your chosen cause is great, but if that means you’re just tagging them on your social media, that’s not quite the same as being a not-for-profit business that wholly benefits your charity.
Whether you’re donating funds, time or simply supporting your charity by sharing on your social media and creating content about them, it’s all something to be proud of. Be sure that your customers know exactly how you are supporting your chosen cause by having a page on your website talking about it, and link back to that page when you post on your social media channels. This helps keep things super-clear, and when people click through to find out more about the work you are doing, chances are they will look at your other pages and decide to engage with you as a customer.
Other opportunities to try
If these opportunities aren’t the right fit for you, then here are some other ideas for you to pursue with your side hustle! We suggested these offline suggestions on our previous post about low investment business ideas, but they’re really relevant to this post, which is why we’ve included it again here.
Business consulting – easily linked with being an influencer, having a YouTube channel, writing a blog or a book.
Recruitment – small businesses often find it hard to find the right staff. Find a niche and you could profit!
Podcasting – are you funny, or an expert in your field? Create your own shows and earn from advertising.
CV creator – if you have a way with words, you could help others find their next job by rewriting CVs and cover letters.
IT support – think about offering support with using new tech to older people, or simply offering advice
Translation – know another language? You’re already halfway there! Use freelance websites to earn more.
Health support – people will pay for meal planning and personal training. You can offer this both on and offline.
Event planning – Weddings? Parties? Take care of it for busy people and get paid to have fun.
Handyman services – can you do small repairs or jobs? You have a business. Try combining with DropShipping!
Child or pet sitting – if you love pets or kids, you could make the most of it!
Secretarial services – some might need you an hour a week, others 10 hours. All you need is your phone and laptop.
Tutoring – if you’re particularly great at a certain subject, offering to teach others can be quite lucrative.
Tour guide – if you know your local area well, show people round! Offer walking tours, create guides to download
You’re probably considering a side hustle because you need an extra few quid. Maybe you’re a young person who is desperately saving to get on the property ladder (we’ve been there and feel your pain!), maybe you’ve got an epic trip in mind and you want to earn a bit more to put into your savings pot, or maybe you just want to make life a little bit more comfortable. These aren’t the only reasons of course – your reasons are unique to your own situation. Here are the main points we think you should hang onto!
- Your side hustle can grow to well over £1000 per month with the right strategy and time spent on it
- Do careful planning before jumping in to prevent costly issues or the chance of failure
- Creating your side hustle as a business means you’re more likely to stick with it, but has loads of other benefits
- Diversifying your business will secure you other streams of revenue
- A side hustle can eventually become a full time career, or earn you a nice amount of money when you sell it
If you want to be able to work from home and build yourself a business, there are countless ways you can do so, with even more opportunities to diversify your side hustle as it grows. There’s no right or wrong approach to diversifying your business either – as long as you plan your moves carefully, your side hustle can provide you with all the opportunities that you’re looking for.
To find out more about how DropShipping can become your side hustle, take a look at Avasam – we provide the easy way to start your business. If you already have a side hustle, eCommerce can really help you boost your income – take a look at the platform tour to find out how easy it is, and the integrations page to see whether your website builder and preferred marketplaces to sell on are available. Got a question? Our team are available in the live chat on the website during office hours, or you can get in touch by phone or email – either call on +44 (0) 330 113 7788, or drop us a line to [email protected]”>[email protected]
Whatever you choose for your side hustle – the team at Avasam wish you the very best of luck with your new endeavour!