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This is the ultimate list: 15 of the best side hustle ideas

May 10, 2022 - 14 min read

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What’s a side hustle?

Why start a side hustle?

How to start a side hustle

15 side hustle ideas

Side hustles: The perfect ally for pursuing your dreams

Moving forward

These days, it seems like everyone is starting a side hustle. Maybe it’s your coworker who’s a freelance writer or your friend that’s monetizing their Instagram followers. Either way, everyone is looking for extra ways to get ahead. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has also shown us how unstable the typical 9-5 can be. But disrupted work wasn't always a bad thing. This led many people to not only start side hustles but quit their jobs altogether. In fact, in November 2021, the “quit rate” in America reached a 20-year high. Among the top reasons for quitting was a lack of advancement opportunities.

Side hustles have shown people that there is a realistic path to becoming your own boss and putting your security in your own hands. When you start a side hustle, there’s technically no limit on what you can achieve and how much you can earn. 

Plus, the rise of remote work has given everyone extra space to think more deeply about their careers. You may have realized you’re not truly passionate about your job. Or maybe you just realized that you need a creative outlet, and the right side hustle idea can fill that need. 

No matter the reason, starting a side hustle is a great way to find personal and professional fulfillment. Any form of entrepreneurship can be challenging, though. You must stay focused and aware of your needs if you want to maintain work-life balance

Ultimately, side hustles are about more than having a side income. To understand better what it takes to be a smart side hustler, let’s start at the beginning and explore what a side hustle is and some of the best side hustle ideas.

What’s a side hustle?

A side hustle is something that people do in their spare time to make extra money or pursue a passion. “Side hustlers” find ways to take their existing skillsets and resources and turn them into money-making gigs. 

Side hustles can be part-time jobs or freelance work. Eventually, they can transition into being someone’s full-time job. Side hustles can be within any industry and be done both in-person and remotely.

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Why start a side hustle?

The goal of starting a side hustle is often more complex than simply trying to make more money. If you’re looking for a side hustle idea, your reasons likely fall under financial or personal categories.

Financial benefits

The biggest lure of side hustling is that it can make you extra cash. If people find that their day job doesn’t make ends meet, a side gig is a good solution. This supplemental income can also help you pay off student loans or give you a sense of financial freedom that doesn’t force you to rely on a 9-5.

A side hustle can help people get ahead financially when it comes to goals for the future. For example, bringing retirement, a home purchase, or a dream vacation into reach. Side hustles that allow people to make money online are also especially beneficial because they let people work from their own homes. This can help them save on transportation costs.

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Personal benefits

Besides the financial benefits of a side gig, a great side hustle idea can fulfill you personally. For example, if you’re passionate about knitting, starting a small business where you sell handmade scarves might bring you a lot of joy. Or if your job is very intense, a side hustle where you sell your artwork can give you a wonderful creative outlet. 

Starting a part-time small business is a great way to sprinkle more passion and purpose into your work life. Your side hustle may not cover all your bills, but if the work aligns with your values and gives you joy, it can be very fulfilling. 

You can also use your side hustle to develop different skills that you may need in your full-time job. As long as you’re caring for your well-being, the right side hustle idea can truly benefit your personal growth.

How to start a side hustle

You might already have the passion, initiative, and ambition needed to start a side hustle. However, it takes a bit more than that to begin a productive part-time job. 

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One of the most important things to remember when you start your side hustle is that it takes time and effort. You won’t see success overnight, so stay patient and keep believing in yourself.

The first step is to do some reflecting on what you want from your side hustle. Sit down with your journal and ask yourself questions about your financial and personal goals:

  • Do you already have skills that can be monetized outside a 9-5? Which ones do you want to use more in your side hustle? 
  • What kind of work do you want to do? Do you want to make a social impact, become location-independent, or become a leader in your industry? 
  • Do you know how much money you aim to make within the first year of your side hustle? What big financial goals could you achieve with the help of extra income? 

If you want some extra support as you think about your long-term career goals, a platform like BetterUp can help. We can provide the guidance you need to achieve your goals while taking care of your well-being.

After your personal reflection, you’ll need to research the logistics of starting your side hustle idea. You should find out what your potential start-up costs will be. If you want to make money online, there could be minimal costs. For example, freelance writing just requires a laptop and the time to write. 

For other side hustle ideas, it could be quite expensive to begin if you need to purchase equipment. For example, if you want to make wedding cakes as your side hustle, you’ll need to calculate the cost of all the cooking equipment and ingredients needed.

As you do your research, you’ll also want to keep in mind the impact your side hustle could have on your full-time job. The good news is that side hustles are becoming more normalized in the corporate world. In fact, researchers have found that employees increasingly want bosses who support their side hustles

That said, you still want to be cautious of any rules your job might have about side work. For example, your employment contract could have a non-compete clause. This could prevent you from certain types of work in your industry. Do your research, but remember, don’t let fear about your main job keep you from taking the leap. 

This beginning stage might take a few days, but it lays the important groundwork to ensure your side hustle’s future success.

15 side hustle ideas

Side hustles come in all shapes and sizes. Some take up more time than others, while some make more money than others. You’ll also notice in the list below that some side hustle ideas might require expertise and formal education, while others don’t. Some require you to be in-person, and some are ways to make money online. 

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Here are 15 different side hustle ideas to help you make extra money and find more fulfillment:

  1. Working as a freelance writer 
  2. Being a freelance social media manager
  3. Dog walking for your neighbors
  4. Working for delivery services like Postmates or Doordash
  5. House sitting for people you know
  6. Bookkeeping for small businesses
  7. Tutoring, like working remotely to teach English 
  8. Driving for ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft
  9. Freelance graphic design work
  10. Selling art or handmade objects on Craigslist, Etsy, eBay, Amazon, Shopify, or Facebook Marketplace
  11. Being a virtual assistant for executives or entrepreneurs
  12. Renting out a spare room on Airbnb
  13. Babysitting 
  14. Creating a podcast or YouTube channel 
  15. Proofreading and editing resumes and other documents

Side hustles: The perfect ally for pursuing your dreams

Everyone starts as an entry-level employee. However, many of us dream of developing our careers into something more. Maybe you hope to work as a manager someday or be a business owner. A side hustle can allow you to explore more opportunities and strengthen valuable skills

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Our side hustles can fulfill us in many ways, but one of the most valuable ways is how it helps us work towards achieving our dreams. Make no mistake: A side hustle is still work. It’ll take time and energy. But the sustained work and effort we put in will pay off when we experience the benefits — achieving our dreams. 

A side hustle can even help people pivot into a whole new career. Learning to code websites for fun could turn into a job as a web developer. Who’s to say that we have to stick with the same career for our entire lives? Career changes are normal — and exciting. 

Maybe you want some experience before you leave your current job so a side gig can help you with that. Although you’d be adjusting to a whole new career and facing new challenges, it could give your professional life more meaning.

Moving forward

Whatever your side hustle is, it must allow you to grow in some way. Why else would you take on a side hustle if you don’t believe in its meaning and value? Your commitment to your new gig is a great way of bettering yourself in the future. 

People can fall into the trap of feeling pressured to start a side hustle. The idea of constantly overworking ourselves and doing something productive at all times only leads to exhaustion. Remember, your side hustle should fulfill you, not drain your energy and negatively impact your mental health

You’ll need some support as you plan and explore your side hustle ideas. BetterUp can help you develop the skills needed for your side hustle to flourish.

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Published May 10, 2022

Elizabeth Perry

Content Marketing Manager, ACC

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