Every day, more and more people are starting online side hustles as a way to make extra money outside of their full-time job. Especially after a rough year like 2020, many are realizing the need to make extra cash and may be interested in starting an online side hustle in 2021.
Some may pursue a side hustle simply to have more money on the side that can be contributed to a personal goal, whether it is paying off a loan, saving up fun money, or just having more financial stability. It is also common, however, for people to pursue a side hustle in the hopes of one day being able to replace their full-time income and quit their 9 to 5 job.
With that in mind, there are typically two kinds of side hustles: ones that have limited earning potential and ones that can be scaled to earn as much as full-time incomes. We’ll include both types and focus on side hustles that are genuinely side hustles. There are plenty of things people can do to make extra money, but a lot of times these “side hustles” end up requiring full-time work to actually make a meaningful amount of money.
If you’re interested in learning about our top side hustles ideas for 2021, keep on reading!
Our Favorite Side Hustle Ideas for Making Extra Money
While there are plenty of side hustle ideas out there, here are some of our favorites that you can start working on immediately.
Flipping Phones for Profit
Flipping phones is one of the best side hustles to make money. By finding and buying undervalued used phones and reselling them at market price, you can make quite a profit, especially if you decide to scale up in volume and margin. Plus, flipping phones doesn’t require immense time, money, or effort, and can easily be done as a side hustle on the weekends in your spare time.
The amount of money you can make from flipping phones depends on your own capabilities, mostly relating to volume. Most people start off with a few phones at a time before growing and selling more. Phone flippers can profit hundreds of dollars per phone, depending on the model and condition.
At Glyde, we offer the best way to buy and sell used phones online. Our P2P marketplace offers security for both the buyer and the seller, which means that you’re not getting swindled by unscrupulous buyers when you’re flipping phones.
Flipping used phones is easy (and profitable) on Glyde. Learn a little bit more about how Glyde works.
You can also check out our guide to phone flipping for profit: How to Flip Cell Phones Online – The Definitive Guide
Participating in Focus Groups
Participating in focus groups is an incredibly easy side hustle to start, particularly because it doesn’t require any upfront investment!
To perfect their product or improve their services, companies or organizations often need insight or feedback from others. To do this, they’ll conduct focus groups where they’ll pay a group of people for their time in answering questions or discussing various topics. This can be anything from product testing to opinion or behavioral surveys and can be conducted online or in person.
On average, you can make anywhere from $50 to $250 and often get paid in cash, prepaid debit cards, or Amazon gift cards. If you’re part of a particularly unique demographic that’s hard to reach, you may get paid even more!
For in-person focus groups, you can even get free food (a small but welcome benefit), since longer sessions tend to include a paid meal for those involved. These focus group sessions or surveys can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours at a time, with the occasional project involving multiple sessions over a period of time.
There are popular sites that will help you find and participate in focus groups. These include Recruit + Field, User Interviews, Respondent, and Find Focus Groups, though you can also find others online.
You will typically go through a screening process that asks demographical questions. This is so the organization knows that you fit the type of person they’re wanting opinions from. Keep this in mind and be honest about your information during the screening process so that you don’t get disqualified later in the process!
Note: It is becoming increasingly common for companies to prefer their participants not to participate in focus groups all the time. As such, focus groups are a true side hustle, with not much opportunity for growth into a full-time gig. That being said, making $200 for talking about your opinions for an hour or two is possibly one of the easiest ways to make some extra cash!
Freelancing (Writing, Web Design, and More)
Freelancing is one of the most popular side hustle jobs. The great thing about it is that it’s extremely flexible. As a freelancer, you are your own boss and every detail about what you decide to do as a freelancer is up to you. While you can extend your full-time job skills into a side gig, you can also turn to freelancing as a way to pursue a personal passion.
All types of jobs can be performed in a freelance capacity, but popular ones include:
- Graphic Design
- Web Development
- Social Media Marketing
- Virtual Assistant
- Video Creation & Editing
- Accounting or Bookkeeping
- Mobile App Development
To get started with freelancing as a side hustle, you can always begin with having friends and family as clients, then expand by word of mouth. This is a great strategy if you just want to have a few local clients and keep freelancing as a side hustle.
There are plenty of resources online for those who hope to one day quit their day job and be a full-time freelancer. Check out this guide on how to start a freelance business on the side here.
Creating an MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
An MVP or Minimum Viable Product is the bare minimum version of a product or service that can be released. The main purpose of starting out with an MVP is to get validation and feedback on a new idea before you invest a ton of time and money into it.
This is the perfect side hustle for anyone who’s had a business idea for a while but hasn’t been able to really pursue it. While it will require some investment compared to other side hustles, it requires much less capital than if you were to go full speed ahead into creating a new product. Before you make the jump, consider developing the idea and creating an MVP in your spare time.
The beauty of an MVP is that it’s not perfect. You won’t need to dedicate 40 hours a week or have a large budget to get started. By focusing on the core functionalities of your product, you can create and release an MVP that will give you further direction on whether or not your idea is worth full-time investment.
There’s a range of just how “bare minimum” an MVP can be. Dropbox, for example, simply made a landing page that had an explainer video for how the service would work. They promoted it and asked for people to sign up if they were interested in learning more. With over 70,000 signups, they were able to confirm that the idea was worth pursuing.
On the other hand, Zappos went ahead and opened for business, but started off extremely frugally. The founder didn’t want to tie up cash in a large inventory and instead simply took photos of the shoes he wanted to sell and posted them up on the site. Once a customer ordered it, he’d go out to a normal store, buy it, and ship them. Only once he was able to validate demand did he invest and expand, with Zappos eventually being bought by Amazon for $1.2 billion!
Launching An E-Commerce Store
Now, running an e-commerce store can certainly veer away from side hustle territory and into a full-time job, so you’ll have to be purposeful with how you approach it. But launching a small online store can actually be a great way to make money on the side and even has opportunities for growth if you ever want it to turn into a full-time commitment.
To launch an e-commerce store as a side hustle, you would want to focus on selling a very niche product line versus a wide one. Also, if you want to make things easier, you can take advantage of all the popular selling platforms that exist, such as Shopify, which are easy to get started on.
Want some tips on how to manage your efforts and keep your e-commerce store a side hustle? See this post!
Making and Selling Things on Etsy
Etsy is an e-commerce site that connects sellers of handmade or vintage items with buyers all around the world. It’s a great side hustle if you’re good at and enjoy making creative products. This can be anything from keychains to artwork to even digital products.
Creating digital products is particularly great if you don’t have much time on your hands and are interested in having a stream of passive income. A few hours could be spent designing a planner or digital art and then, once it goes up on your Etsy shop, buyers can simply download it after purchase rather than you having to make and/or ship the product.
Depending on what you decide to sell, it can also be a low-cost side hustle to start. Etsy charges a small fee for listing and takes a commission from each sale. If your product is popular, you can easily make thousands of dollars selling on Etsy as a side hustle.
Starting a Newsletter
An email newsletter is another great side hustle to consider. While you won’t make money at first, it has a lot of opportunities for growth as you build your audience.
Newsletters can technically be about anything, so you have the advantage of being able to pick a focus that you really enjoy. Try to do some general research about how popular your focus is, so you can get an idea of how big your audience can get, but also don’t be too discouraged if it’s smaller than you expect. After all, it’s often the more niche audiences that are the most engaged, which is really the key metric that matters.
Starting out, you may want to simply get sponsored by your audience. There are quite a few platforms out there that allow people to pay or donate small amounts in order to support their favorite content creators. Patreon and Ko-Fi are two of the more popular sites.
Or you may want to take it a step further and offer premium content. This could be scaling up to charging for your newsletter or just offering other types of paid content, such as exclusive videos or posts.
And then, of course, there’s the classic advertising or affiliate link route. Advertising would involve selling advertisers space in your newsletter in exchange for a flat fee or perhaps a percentage of sales. Affiliate links are a bit more inconspicuous, usually presented in the form of recommendations. For every reader that becomes a customer for your affiliate, you get a percentage of the cut.
Finally, you can always sell your own products to your readers! The most popular products to sell are eBooks or online courses, which we cover in more detail in the next section.
Create an Online Course or eBook
If there’s anything you’re particularly experienced in or knowledgeable about, consider creating an online course or eBook! This is one of the easy side hustles that can be a great source of passive income, but may take some time before you start bringing in money. You’ll work at your own pace in creating the eBook or online course and then, once it’s posted, you can make money as people purchase it over time.
Of course, you’ll have to do some marketing and promoting to get others to buy it, which is why it’s popularly sold by those with newsletters. If you want to sell your course or eBook, consider building an audience online. This can be done by starting a newsletter, a blog, a video channel, or even just a social media account—all things you can easily do on your own time as a side hustle!
How much money can you make from a side hustle job?
This depends on the type of side hustle you pursue. Some side hustles, like focus groups and paid surveys, have limited earning potential. These are great if you’re wanting to make an extra few hundred dollars from time to time, but are bad options if you’re hoping to replace your full-time income eventually.
Other side hustles, like flipping phones, launching an online business, freelancing, or content creating, can make you quite a bit of money. As a side hustle, they can easily make you an extra $1000 a month and even have the potential to replace and exceed your full-time income if that is your goal.
What are the most profitable side hustles?
If you’re wanting to make money quickly, then flipping phones, participating in focus groups, and freelancing are the way to go. They require little upfront investment and it is easy to make money in the short-term. Other profitable side hustles will require some time and money to get them up and running, but in the long-term can be extremely profitable. These include creating an MVP, launching an e-commerce store or selling on Etsy, starting a newsletter, and creating an online product, such as a course or eBook.
Do you have to pay taxes on side hustles?
Yep. In the eyes of the government, side hustle income is still income! The biggest surprise that those new to side hustles tend to run into is the self-employment tax. As an employee of a company, you usually have your taxes automatically taken out of your paycheck, but with a side hustle, you are responsible for paying those taxes yourself.
You may be able to reduce your tax burden based on the expenses you incur or through your contribution to retirement accounts, but a good rule of thumb is to save about 30% of your income for taxes. If you expect to pay at least $1,000 in taxes, then you’ll also need to pay estimated quarterly taxes.
Tax guidelines change every year, so do your research to know what you may owe in taxes and when. If you need to, don’t hesitate to contact a tax professional!
What are the most popular side hustles?
We covered some of the most popular side hustles in this post, including flipping phones for profit, participating in focus groups, freelancing, launching online shops, and creating online content, such as newsletters, eBooks, or courses.
What makes a great side hustle?
Ideally, a great side hustle will be one that you are genuinely interested in doing. Since its success will entirely be driven by your own efforts outside of typical office hours, the ideal side hustle will be one that you have the energy and motivation to pursue! Great side hustles are also ones that you can reasonably do on the side without affecting your full-time work and can bring in enough money to meet your personal goals.
How can you make money from a blog or newsletter?
The value that you’re building with a blog or newsletter is through your audience! Once you have an audience, you can monetize a blog or newsletter through requesting sponsorships, creating premium content, selling ad space, utilizing affiliate links, or selling your own products or service.
How can you make an extra $1000 a month?
The best way to make an extra $1000 a month is to start a side hustle outside of your normal day job. Selling products online through an e-commerce store, Etsy, or through some other platform (such as Teachable for selling online courses) can easily help you earn an extra $1000 a month, though it may take a few weeks or months before you earn that much. Phone flipping can earn you $100 to $200 a phone, so selling around five to ten phones a month will help you reach that extra $1000 goal. It is also really easy to get started, with marketplaces like Glyde making it so you can buy and sell phones quickly and safely. You can also begin freelancing, create an MVP, or start a newsletter and monetize your audience!