How to Make Money on the Side
Ever look at your bank account and wonder, can I do better?
Regardless of your situation — whether you’re working full-time, part-time, or if even if you’re unemployed — the answer is a resounding yes. You absolutely can start earning money on the side and bring in extra capital to further your financial goals.
For some people, that may include stashing more money away for retirement. For others, it may involve paying down credit card debt or saving for a house.
Whatever your goals might be — thanks to the internet — an unlimited amount of side-hustle opportunities exist. It’s just a matter of discovering the right one for you and making it happen.
In this post, you’re going to learn about the top 31 ways to make money on the side.
31 Best Ways to Make Money on the Side
- Make Deliveries
- Drive for a Rideshare Service
- Be a Personal Driver
- Offer Social Media Services
- Be a Social Media Influencer
- Get Paid to Lose Weight
- Work as a Part-time Caregiver
- Sell Your Unwanted Items
- Pet Sitting
- Groom Dogs
- Work as a Virtual Assistant
- Sell Graphic Design
- Be a Freelancer
- Participate in Focus Groups
- Offer IT Support
- Clean Houses
- Start a Podcast
- Start a Blog
- Be an SEO Consultant
- Be a Local Tour Guide
- Be a Freelance Salesperson
- Do Random Tasks
- Teach English Online
- Offer Online Drawing Lessons
- Work as a Private Chef
- Invest in the Stock Market
- Rent Your Property on Airbnb
- Rent Your Car Out on Turo
- Advertise On Your Car
- Offer Music Lessons
- Sell Handmade Items
1. Make Deliveries
A great way to make money behind the wheel is to deliver food (or stuff) to customers. One nice aspect of being a delivery driver is that you don’t have to deal with people getting into your car, which is a big plus in the era of social distancing.
Most delivery gigs pay an hourly wage plus tips. If you work for a nice restaurant, they may even hook you up with free food. If you don’t want to work for a single restaurant, then you can work for one or several of the below delivery services:
Postmates is a service that delivers a much wider selection of items including groceries, office supplies, and even alcohol. It’s easy to sign up and you an start completing deliveries immediatley after your application has been accepted.
DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats
DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats are delivery services that enable customers to order food from a secure and convenient online platform. Drivers can make themselves active for deliveries whenever they want, similar to how standard ride-share apps work.
Instacart is the leading online grocery delivery service. You can sign up to be an in-store shopper, a delivery driver, or both. As for compensation, you can earn both hourly wages and extra cash from customer tips.
- Read our full guide on the 11 Best Delivery App Jobs
2. Drive for a Rideshare Service
Driving for a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft is another way to generate income on your own schedule. Here’s what you need to do to make it happen.
- You should genuinely enjoy driving
- You must have a relatively new and clean car
- Having a clean driving record is required
- Being a people-person also helps
Millions of people have made extra money working part-time for Uber and Lyft, so clearly, it’s a proven way to earn cash. The only downside is that you have to sacrifice your time, and if you really want the savings to add up, you most likely have to drive long hours.
3. Be a Personal Driver
Being a personal driver is another way to make money by driving people around. However, unlike working for Uber or Lyft, you often have more control over who your customers are (since you aren’t dealing with the general public).
Suppose you know a few friends or acquaintances who need regular rides to the airport. There’s a good chance that some of them prefer not to use rideshare services or taxis and would prefer to pay you for the trip. Once you build up a few clients, you can easily earn a few hundred per month on airport rides alone.
4. Offer Social Media Services
About 73% of small businesses use social media, yet many are struggling to produce and maintain campaigns that generate a strong return on investment.
If you’re savvy with social, consider starting a side gig offering social media support for local businesses in your area. Focus on helping them create compelling content on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and TikTok. If you create campaigns that resonate with customers, this can drive sales, which makes your services an invaluable asset to the business.
Social media assistance is also a service that you can provide from the comfort and safety of your own home, and you can often find flexible positions that let you pick your own hours.
One of the most popular platforms for businesses to promote is Facebook, due to its expansive reach and detailed audience targeting.
5. Be a Social Media Influencer
Social media influencers get paid to promote products and services on their personal social media pages. (Most often on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.)
If you already have a solid social media following, there’s no reason why you can’t get paid to be an influencer, too.
Unbox Social, Heepsy, Upfluence Tapinfluence are some of the top influencer platforms to look into.
6. Get Paid to Lose Weight
Believe it or not, people who are looking to shed a few pounds can get paid to lose weight.
HealthyWage is a company that lets you set a target weight loss goal, and then make a bet against yourself. For example, you can bet $500 that you are going to lose 18 pounds over the next year. If you lose your targeted weight amount you can collect your winnings when the year is up.
The challenge is that you don’t get your money back if you lose — making it all the more motivating.
You can use HealthyWage by yourself, with a group of friends, or with colleagues.
7. Work as a Part-Time Caregiver
Being a caregiver is one of the oldest ways to earn extra money. Not only can you make a decent hourly wage, but you are also forming personal bonds and truly helping others.
There are many opportunities to work as a caregiver. Babysitting children, working with the elderly, and helping people with special needs are just a few of the options.
Sitters can easily earn $20 per hour, which adds up quickly. Check out Care.com to find people who are looking for assistance in your area. Millions of babysitters got their first gigs through this site.
8. Sell Your Unwanted Items
Take a look around your place. Notice all of the old stuff collecting dust — like your childhood toys in the basement, your DVD collection that you never watch anymore, or your old laptop that you haven’t touched in years?
You can probably earn money for many of these items using a site like Decluttr.
Decluttr pays customers for unwanted phones, computers, tablets, video games, and more. The company even sends you boxes and covers shipping costs. Some electronic items are recycled, while others are resold online.
In case you are really interested in this route, some popular alternatives to Decluttr include Gazelle, Swappa, and OfferUp. There’s also eBay — the original online re-selling marketplace.
- Read our full Decluttr Review
9. Pet Sitting
Many pets are social creatures and need people around to keep them company and walk them. As a dog owner, for example, there’s nothing worse than leaving your furry companion at home while you’re at work, or at a kennel when you’re on vacation.
It takes some flexibility and a true love of animals to excel at pet sitting and dog walking. If this describes you, consider signing up for Rover to connect with people in your area who are looking for help with their pets.
In most cases, you’ll have some leeway in terms of when you stop by to take a dog out on a walk or for some fresh air. Seasoned dog walkers typically take out several dogs at a time, which multiplies their earning potential.
10. Groom Dogs
Another way to earn cash serving pet owners is to work as a groomer. This may involve trimming or washing a dog, or taking care of its nails or teeth.
If you decide to be a dog groomer, it helps have plenty of outdoor space. You may even want to consider building an outdoor kennel in case your business takes off and people need to leave their pets for an extended period of time before picking them up.
You shouldn’t have to jump through many legal hoops to be a dog groomer, but be sure to double-check with your state or town to make sure there are no licensing requirements.
11. Work as a Virtual Assistant
Busy professionals often lack the time or desire to manage their own schedules, manage data entry, or handle administrative work. As a result, these tasks are outsourced to virtual assistants.
Working as a virtual assistant can bring in extra money on the side, while potentially expanding your network and opening doors for yourself. It’s not always the most glamorous job. But, you can potentially meet successful business owners, making the role a stepping stone to a higher-paying opportunity.
Fancy Hands, Magic, Upwork, Fiverr, and WoodBows are some of the most popular platforms to offer virtual assistant services. It’s also entirely possible, and more profitable, to start a virtual assistant business of your own.
- Read our full article on How to Become a Virtual Assistant
12. Sell Graphic Design
As more businesses transition online, there’s an abundance of demand for graphic design work.
The most common graphic design gigs include creating logos, flyers, banner ads, websites, posters, and more. Some of the most popular places to find graphic design work are Fiverr, Upwork, GoLance, and Freelancer.com.
Another cool way to make money from graphic design is with Merch by Amazon, which lets you upload your designs as Amazon products (e.g., teeshirts, coffee mugs, and hats). The best part is that Amazon pays for the actual products and shipping. All you have to do is create the design, sit back, and collect royalties on the sales.
13. Be a Freelancer
There has never been a better time to be a freelance writer or video editor because just about every company needs content to rank on Google and reach customers.
Talented content producers can bring in extra cash freelancing for other businesses. You can find new freelance gigs by contacting companies directly, through LinkedIn, or by showcasing your services on freelance platforms like Fiverr and Upwork.
There is a downside to working with Fiverr and Upwork is that many people on those platforms are looking to pay bottom dollar. Fiverr and Upwork also take a commission on your earnings.
That said, you have to start somewhere, and those platforms can be a great place to build up your skills and form lasting client relationships.
- Check out our article on How to Become a Freelance Writer
14. Participate in Focus Groups
Big brands and retailers often look for consumer opinions when bringing products to market so they can better connect with their target audiences.
This means companies are willing to pay money to hear your thoughts. For example, a company that wants to launch a streaming video service in your area might offer to pay you to learn what types of content you like and when you like to watch TV.
Focus groups can sometimes pay hundreds of dollars, and all you have to do is spend a few hours talking to a group of researchers or filling out surveys.
The rule of thumb when doing this type of work is to make sure the pay is commensurate with how much time you have to spend. For example, if a survey takes an hour and pays you less than $10, it’s probably not worth your time. However, if the survey takes one hour and pays $100, then you might want to consider it.
15. Offer IT Support
Homes are becoming increasingly connected to the internet, yet many people struggle to manage their own networks and devices — presenting an opportunity for tech-savvy individuals.
By offering technical phone support or on-site visits, you can help people in your community access the internet, combat cybercrime, and more. Many elderly people, for example, struggle with basic IT issues like updating their smartphones and transferring photos from a camera to a computer.
But, before you offer IT support, make sure that you are extremely patient. If you have ever attempted to help your parents or grandparents with IT issues, you know what I mean! But you also know that there’s a huge demand for these services.
16. Clean Houses
Some people have a knack for doing laundry and scrubbing the floors. Being a house cleaner for private homes or businesses can be a great way to bring in extra income on the side.
Much like being a driver, if you are trustworthy and do a good job, you can build a steady base of cleaning customers that require your services every week.
17. Start a Podcast
When I started Millennial Money, podcasts were a key element to my growth. There’s no reason why they can’t be for you, too.
These days, there are podcasts for just about every topic and you don’t have to be licensed in any way to start one. All you need is a good idea or working knowledge about an interesting topic and some basic audio equipment.
The trick with podcasts is to focus on a niche topic that sets you apart and attracts attention. Add your own creative spin, and make it different from what other people are offering.
There are three crucial steps to making money with podcasts:
- Produce impactful content
- Build up a following
- Get related companies in your space to advertise
So, what’s your podcast going to be about?
18. Start a Blog
If you’re better at writing than speaking into a microphone, look into launching a blog, or buying a struggling website with a dedicated reader base and turning it around.
Blogging gives you the ability to write about what you want when you want. It’s similar to launching a podcast in terms of the creative process and advertising opportunity.
One way to profit from blogging is to use Google AdSense, which embeds relevant advertisements in your content. You then get paid for the clicks or impressions on those ads.
Blogging is harder than working as a freelancer because it takes more backend effort. However, you can make great income blogging if you build up your site and produce engaging content.
Another way that bloggers make money (myself included) is through affiliate marketing. This involves embedding affiliate links within blogs to relevant products or services. When a visitor clicks a link or makes a purchase, the blogger gets a share of the profits.
- Check out my Free 7-Day Blogging Course
19. Be an SEO Consultant
Companies across all market verticals are shelling out money for people who know search engine optimization (SEO). This comes from first-hand experience because SEO-consulting was one of my first lucrative side-hustles.
Remember that you don’t need to be an expert from day one. All you need to do is brush up on the history of SEO and learn the latest trends.
I’ve written a pretty extensive guide on SEO tips for bloggers. Once you’ve read this guide, you’ll be more knowledgeable about SEO than the vast majority of people.
As for current trends, user experience (UX), semantic search, and search intent are up there (to name just a few).
If you’re analytical and also enjoy writing, consider combining SEO services with high-quality content creation to maximize your earning potential.
20. Be a Local Tour Guide
We’ve all been there: You arrive at a destination and don’t know the area, but you want to gain a local’s perspective.
People who live in an area with interesting surroundings can make money creating custom guided tours for travelers who are passing through. This may include nature walks, bar crawls, museum or park tours, or even just walking tours.
Being a tour guide is a fun way to get outside and meet new people while showcasing your home turf in the process. And if you’re savvy, you can make extra money by partnering with local establishments. Think restaurants for nourishment and spas for helping your customers unwind after a long day of walking.
To get started, reflect on your favorite local attractions in your area and put together a tour. Then, sign up to offer excursions on TripAdvisor or Airbnb. You can also look at bringing in clients the old-fashioned way by putting up flyers or posting ads online.
21. Be a Freelance Salesperson
Here’s something you may not expect about working in sales: It can be a lot of fun, especially if you do it on a freelance basis for commission only.
Part of why sales jobs have a reputation for being stressful is the fact that most full-time salespeople are required to meet quotas. Think about selling cars, for example. Not hitting your quota could lead to getting fired.
However, working as a freelance sales rep gives you the opportunity to earn income according to your schedule. The key is to find companies with high growth potential that you’re already passionate about.
For example, if you are tech-savvy, consider working with a software startup whose services you might already be using (or could use) in your day-to-day job. If you find just one or two clients for this software company, you could earn a few hundred bucks each month in commissions, depending on the deal you sign.
22. Do Random Tasks
Being handy around the house is a great skill to have, especially when those skills can generate cash. By using one of the below online marketplaces, you can find all sorts of random paying jobs, from basic handiwork to yard work and everything in between.
TaskRabbit is a same-day service platform that connects local workers with people looking for a variety of services. As a Tasker, you can earn from $15 to $60 an hour doing jobs like moving furniture, waiting in line, measuring apartment spaces, packing, and more. The best part is that you get to keep 100% of your earnings plus tips.
Craigslist is the original online classifieds website where anyone can post ads for random jobs. It’s a great way to connect with people directly, but keep in mind there are a lot of scams, so always use caution.
If you do a solid job from a gig you find on Craigslist it could very likely lead to future work and referrals. A leading benefit to Craigslist is that it’s completely free to use for both workers and job posters.
23. Teach English Online
Teaching English online is one of the most flexible ways to bring in extra money from home.
Sites like VIPKid, Qkids, and DadaABC connect you with students who are eager to learn English. Just keep in mind that sites can vary in terms of their requirements.
For example, VIPKid recommends you have at least two years of teaching experience, a Bachelor’s degree, a computer, and work authorization in the United States or Canada.
24. Offer Online Drawing Lessons
There are many people out there who want to improve their drawing skills for either personal or professional reasons. So, if you know how to put pencil to paper and make amazing artwork, why not earn side money by giving online drawing lessons?
There are no formal requirements for doing this. All you have to do is film yourself drawing, create some polished instructional videos, and create a YouTube channel that you can monetize. Or, you can create a website with gated content and lessons for paid users.
You could also offer paid courses on the Teachable platform and live lessons over Zoom.
25. Work as a Private Chef
Do people rave about your chicken soup or dumplings? Can you flambé Bananas Foster like a television chef? Then it’s time to put your talents to work.
You likely know a handful of people in your network who hate making food, are tired of ordering out all the time, and are willing to pay you to entertain and cook for them.
Consider that the post-pandemic world is likely to be full of people who want more human interaction. And remember that the most successful chefs are just as good at communicating with people as they are at cooking.
26. Invest in the Stock Market
With the right approach to stock market investing it’s possible to earn passive income without lifting a finger. Long-time readers of my blog know that this is one of the best ways to truly increase your net worth over time.
To get started, sign up for a brokerage platform like Robinhood, Vanguard, Schwab, where you can then purchase a wide range of income-generating financial products like stocks, index funds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
To be clear, stock market investing is not the type of side gig that pays cash every day. However, by investing your money now, it has the chance to multiply many times over by the time you retire, thanks to the magic of compounding returns.
Think of it as the ultimate side hustle that you’re doing behind the scenes, on top of your other cash-generating gigs.
27. Rent Your Property on Airbnb
Put your home, apartment, condo, or spare bedroom to work by renting it out on Airbnb. You can even rent out your R.V. or boat if it has suitable sleeping quarters.
Airbnb is the leading dwelling-rental platform where you can offer your space to short-term renters. You can set your own rates and establish your own ground rules.
- Read our case study on How to Make Money with Airbnb
28. Rent Out Your Car on Turo
Turo is like Airbnb for cars.
Using Turo, you can rent out your ride for a few hours or days at a time when you’re not using it. And let’s be honest — how often does your car just sit there?
Turo is an excellent choice for people who don’t need access to their vehicles for specific periods of time (e.g., when you are at work, or on vacation).
Turo’s platform includes a peer-driven review process to ensure safety for both hosts and guests. In addition, Turo offers a protection plan for drivers and third-party liability insurance for hosts.
29. Advertise On Your Car
Yet another way to make money with your car is to put an advertisement on the side of it. Companies like Carvertise pay car owners to turn their vehicles into moving billboards.
Your friends may chide you for advertising your car, but who cares? You’ll be laughing all the way to the bank as you bring in extra income.
30. Offer Music Lessons
The pandemic produced a major surge in creativity, as people were stuck home with a lot of extra time on their hands. Many people want to take up creative pursuits like music, but they need help getting started.
If you are a musician, you can make money on the side doing what you love — playing and teaching music. Whether you play the bass guitar, violin, saxophone, or any other type of instrument, there are students of all ages who will be eager to have you teach them.
Search for message boards in your community, or go into music stores and post advertisements on bulletin boards.
31. Sell Handmade Items
If you’re an artist, consider making extra cash producing the items you already like producing such as drawings, paintings, ceramics, or clothing. Right now there is a massive demand for unique, handmade items.
You can sell your items online using sites like eBay, Amazon Handmade, Etsy, and Facebook Marketplace. Better yet, buy a domain name and start your own online e-commerce store using a low-cost, easy-to-use website platform like GoDaddy, Squarespace, or Wix. Keep at it, and people will eventually find you online and buy your stuff.
You could also consider reserving a table at a local market or fair. This is a great way to connect with new customers. If these customers are thrilled with your products, they’re sure to tell their friends about your works, which drives future sales.
- Check out our list of Best Selling Apps
Frequently Asked Questions
What should you do with the money you make in your spare time?
It all depends on your personal situation. Some people choose to pay down debt, while others choose to plan for a house or retirement. Only you can determine where to put your money.
One thing to consider is that when you work a side job, you’re sacrificing your valuable time. Be sure you respect your own time by allocating your money to the right places so it can grow. Avoid spending your side hustle money on material things and focus on investments that appreciate in value over time. You’ll thank me later!
Is it safe to make money online?
Unfortunately, one of the challenges with making money online is that it’s not always possible to tell who you’re dealing with. There are a lot of scams and sketchy people to watch out for.
Trust your gut and never put yourself in a risky situation. For example, if you’re selling stuff via a Craigslist ad, make sure you’re transacting in a public place with other people around. You should also thoroughly research any business opportunities or people that are offering you deals before you take them.
What is passive income?
Passive income is money that you generate without actively putting in your time.
For example, suppose you sell a picture to a stock photo service. You can receive passive income in the form of royalties every time someone downloads the file. Profitable stock market investing is also passive income, and so is running a blog that earns ad revenue while you sleep.
Manual labor jobs are not passive income. However, if employees are doing the jobs for you, then that’s a different story.
Are side hustles legal?
Yes. Side hustles are completely legal, assuming you’re paying taxes on your income and not breaking the law in any way.
To be safe, make sure that your side hustle does not interfere with your main job’s operations. Otherwise, you could get into legal trouble if you previously signed a non-compete.
If you’re worried about that, don’t hesitate to hire an attorney who can advise you about your specific situation. It will likely only cost a few hundred bucks and can save you many hours of worry and hassles down the line.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is there are countless ways to earn money on the side, whether you’re a young millennial or part of any other age group.
By making money in your free time, you can diversify your income beyond your full-time job’s earnings. You can also achieve greater financial security, pay off student loans, and make smart investments that only grow your wealth even further.
The examples provided here are just a few side business ideas that can pad your bank account. Spend some time finding a gig that matches your unique personality and skill set. Whether you need to make a quick $20 or a salary-rivaling side hustle, you might be surprised at how many opportunities there are.