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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

The 10 Best Online Side Hustles

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Side hustles have evolved from making extra cash to becoming a way of life, especially as remote work expanded during the pandemic. When millions of people began working from home, many found additional streams of income. In fact, 54% of Americans reported having a side hustle, according to a 2024 MarketWatch survey.

What is a side hustle?

Simply put, “side hustle” is an evolved term for “making extra money” outside a salaried day job or part-time job. Sometimes these side hustles are seasonal and others turn into full-time work. But now, even with more workers returning to offices, the opportunities for online side hustles are lucrative.

After all, with an online business, there’s no need to commute or even leave your home. Depending on your side hustle of choice, you just need a working device and a reliable internet connection. With these, you can have complete control of your time and schedule.

The rising cost of living is also driving the increase in side hustles. Having multiples “gigs” — whether it be a part-time retail job or solo online hustle — has become prevalent in the U.S. A 2023 Deloitte survey found that Gen Z workers in particular are finding additional jobs to make ends meet. Instead of working part-time for a separate employer, consider working for yourself — and from home — with an online side hustle.

Why an online side hustle?

Online side hustles are simply jobs you can do from the comfort of your home (or a library, coffee shop, etc.), in addition to your regular job. Here are Entrepreneur’s top four reasons to start an online side hustle:

1. Provide yourself with multiple sources of income

Even if your day job provides enough money for your overhead expenses, having a side hustle gives you another income source, which can ultimately be empowering. In truth, you can never have enough money, especially if the extra money is a few hundred dollars per month and you can do it all online.

2. Pay off debt

According to the credit bureau Experian, the average American has more than $100,000 in debt. Paying off this debt is one of the top reasons people seek outside hustles. It can be difficult to swing with just one source of income, especially if you have a mortgage and a family to feed. A little extra money each month can help you make tremendous headway when it comes to cutting down your debt.

3. Build wealth

If you have no debt to pay off, your side hustle can help grow personal wealth. This might mean building an emergency fund, boosting your savings account or expanding your financial portfolio. This is likely a slower process, so it’s important to be disciplined about your savings. An influx of cash might tempt you to splurge, but saving for the long-term is always a smart financial play.

4. Give yourself a creative outlet

While day jobs tend to be tedious and mundane, finding a side hustle that lets you bring out your creative side — while making money — is a win. Some people even create a full-time career from their side hustles, driven by their love for what they do.

Best online side hustles to start in 2024

1. Social media manager

With the rise of social media platforms and the growing industry of interactive technologies, social media managers are still in high demand. The job of a social media manager entails connecting an organization to its target audience with audience outreach and original content.

Businesses hire social media managers to expand their online presence, build brand awareness, boost sales and attract business opportunities. This profession can be handled strictly online as a full-time job or side hustle, depending on the social needs of a business. Advertise your services on freelance marketplaces like Upwork and Fiverr to find clients.

Rate: $30+/hour

2. Start a blog

Starting a blog can be a creative outlet for many writers before it becomes a money maker. Most blogs don’t make a ton of money when they’re starting out, but with consistency and dedication your audience will grow — and so will the cash flow that comes with it.

Bloggers have the potential to make thousands of dollars per month. Blogs can be a passive income opportunity by adding affiliate marketing and advertisements. With an attractive website and valuable content, your blog can gain a lot of traffic, recognition and extra income (especially if you create an online business for merchandise, following in the footsteps of prominent influencers). Create your website on platforms such as Wix and Squarespace, turning your spare time into a lucrative side hustle.

Rate: $500+/month

3. Start an ecommerce store

The ecommerce industry is still on the rise, and online stores have many perks for consumers, including drop shipping, easy-to-use interfaces, digital payment capabilities and 24/7 product availability. Many platforms, such as Shopify and Amazon, provide an online storefront for your ecommerce brand and educate you on how to run the business, manage transactions, build your brand and more.

For more niche markets, consider Etsy and eBay — or even start your ecommerce store with site hosting services like WordPress and built-in payment platforms. Follow market trends and stay tapped into the cultural zeitgeist. You can see huge windfalls by pouncing on trends early.

Rate: Varies

4. Proofreading

This job is perfect for those who love freelance writing and have solid grammar and language skills. Proofreading is a bit lighter than editing and is often one of the final stages before publication. As a proofreader you are looking for grammar, spelling and punctuation errors, rather than big-picture or structural edits.

With businesses wanting to expand their online presence — website launches, blogs, social media, etc. — companies look for freelance writers and proofreaders to ensure quality content. Many journalists and writers have also moved to Substack and lack the editorial resources they had at big publications, such as copy editors and fact-checkers. This has created a demand for more freelance proofreaders. Sites like Upwork and Fiverr, where you find excellent side hustle opportunities for freelance writing, are also great places to look for good money in proofreading. These roles are often paid by the word, not the hour.

Rate: $13+/1,000 words

Related: Best 5 Websites for Freelancers to Earn Money Online

5. Become a virtual assistant

The job of an online virtual assistant can vary from administrative work to bookkeeping. As you work from home, you might be scheduling appointments, making phone calls, responding to emails, coordinating travel arrangements, entering data and more. This is a role that requires good communication and organizational skills, customer service experience and some free time.

This is also a role you can easily scale — growing your client list and taking on new work as you see fit. Strategic entrepreneurs can turn this relatively easy online side hustle into a six-figure career.

Rate: $15-$50/hour

6. Create an online course

Do you have an area of expertise you can teach to others? Creating an online course can give you extra money and even passive income. Online learning platforms such as Udemy, Coursera and Teachable provide opportunities to promote your courses and give a sense of security to their customers.

If you choose not to put your courses on a platform and want to sell them yourself, social media has opened up many doors to sell your courses to followers. This enables you to make passive income, but it takes work up front: You must create the course and sell it repeatedly.

Rate: $50+/course sold

7. Online tutoring and teaching English

The pandemic made it easy for educators to make money tutoring and teaching English online. Students were not in a classroom, so many needed extra help and were able to receive it virtually from licensed professionals. Another perk to this side hustle is that teaching English online can be open to individuals in time zones across the globe, enabling online tutors to make money at all hours of the day.

In addition to teaching English to non-native speakers, tutors can lean on a subject of expertise and help students with those classes — calculus, biology, history, etc. Get a specialized teaching degree to set yourself apart from the competition. To learn more check out online platforms such as Tutor.com and Wyzant.

Rate: $25-$50/hour

8. Test generative AI models

The rise of generative artificial intelligence models, such as ChatGPT, has created a huge demand for part-time work evaluating and providing feedback on various models. Companies such as Outlier connect AI developers with users who submit queries to generative models and judge the computers’ responses. Then those companies send results back and developers tweak the AI based on feedback.

This work requires additional research skills to check responses for truthfulness and accuracy. It’s also a flexible role: Test programs at your leisure and work (or don’t) whenever you want.

Rate: $35+/hour

9. Career coaching

Career coaches help people navigate professional transitions, establish business goals and make the most of their skills. And the best part? You can do it all from the comfort of your home office — speaking with clients via the phone or Zoom. The best career coaches are those who have managed teams and hired employees themselves.

You might help people write cover letters and resumes, find new opportunities, establish business plans and success strategies or hone their niche in a crowded market. Although there is no standard license or certification, many career coaches have earned credentials or had successful careers of their own.

Rate: $25+/hour

10. Take online surveys

One of the most popular and accessible side hustles is taking online surveys on sites like Survey Junkie. You can choose when to take a survey and how long you want to spend doing it. Most surveys will describe the type of survey and approximately how long it will take to complete.

It’s not the highest-paying online side hustle, but there is money to be made from it. Popular online survey websites to check out are InboxDollars and Swagbucks.

Rate: $1-$20/survey

How to choose an online side hustle

There are many side hustles to choose from, so it’s essential to pick the one that works for you. We all have different skills, goals and passions, and the most successful side hustles are those that don’t feel like work at all. Before diving into a new online hustle, do the following:

Consider your goals

Whether you’re looking for extra vacation fund money or hoping to make a career change altogether, think about your long- and short-term goals. You want to choose something that aligns with your aspirations. When you know you’re working toward something (rather than just working), it’s easier to stay motivated.

Evaluate your skills

When you’re good at something, not only can you make more money but you’ll derive more personal pleasure from the work. These skills don’t need to align with your full-time job, but they should position you to succeed with your online hustle. Brainstorm your own set of skills and ask friends and colleagues what they see as your strengths.

Assess your bandwidth

Some online hustles require more hours than others, so go in clear-eyed about your availability. If your regular job runs 50 hours a week, look for lower-commitment side hustles you can do at any hour. Take an honest look at your schedule and consider what you’re willing to give up (social outings, visits to the gym, family time) in order to make money.

Do your research

Look at market trends and economic studies to gauge various side hustles’ earning potential. Ideally, you want to find a role that can be done 100% remotely and features little competition. Entering a highly saturated industry can lead to long hours, little money and lots of frustration.

The bottom line

Starting an online side hustle has never been easier. Choose a niche you are comfortable with to expand your horizons — and pockets. Carving out a side job and income with your skill set can be especially rewarding, especially if it is doing something you love from the convenience of your home.



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