25 Lucrative Side Hustle Ideas for 2020

lucrative and easy side hustle ideas

If you’re looking for side hustle ideas, or wondering, “How do I make an extra $1000+ a month?” (or far more), then you’re in the right place.

We’re going to look at the most lucrative side hustle ideas you can start right now.

Our list also includes many easy side hustles that require very little time or risk to start making money. So even if you don’t want to attempt anything big or invest in a business idea, you’ll still discover ways to earn a side income.

Let’s get started…

25 Lucrative and Profitable Side Hustles You Can Start to Make Extra Money:

1. Tutoring

If you’re strong in math, English, or another academic subject, you should consider opening a tutoring side business.

This can be a casual side hustle that just earns you a few hundred dollars or a month, or it can be turned into a full time business (online OR offline).

I’ve heard stories of math tutors making $75 an hour to teach advanced math (usually in-person – that’s how you’d likely earn the most).

How long to start earning money:

Within the first month. Just develop a lesson plan and find students – via social media, local ads, word of mouth, newspaper ads, etc.

How much you can earn:

$10-$75 per hour, depending on the subject matter and type of student (high school, university, etc.)

2. Selling on Amazon

Very few of the items listed on Amazon are sold by the company itself. More often, they’re sold by other businesses and third-party sellers who pay Amazon a fee to list their products.

They either ship the products themselves after an order, or let Amazon store their inventory, ship it for them, and even handle customer service/returns… for an additional fee (This is called Amazon FBA and can be very profitable).

So if you’ve ever wanted to open an online business as a side hustle, large platforms like Amazon are a great way to get started.

There’s a lot of competition, but there’s also a huge audience on Amazon. And you can boost your visibility with Amazon ads to begin, too (recommended, if you do try this).

How long to start earning money:

You can begin earning money online within one or two months of getting inventory and putting your listing up on Amazon.

How much money you can earn:

Six or seven figures. This is one of the highest-earning business ideas on this list because it can scale very quickly without requiring more of your time, especially if you let Amazon handle the customer service, shipping, etc. (via Amazon FBA, as mentioned above).

3. Teaching a Skill

We looked at tutoring as a business idea earlier, and you can also teach a variety of other skills that aren’t academic, too.

So if you have a skill that you’re passionate about, it can be a great side hustle opportunity.

This can include art-related skills like sculpture, or trades like carpentry or woodworking. You could even teach something like martial arts or a sport that you played at a high level.

When I was young, my parents paid for a college swimmer to give me swimming lessons. He used his college’s pool and taught me on Saturdays. So all he needed to do was show up and teach me swimming for an hour during his spare time to earn cash.

It doesn’t get much better than this for fast/easy side hustle ideas.

To find clients, you could post local ads (paper fliers, Facebook ads, craigslist posts and other social media sites). You can offer individual or group lessons. With group classes, you could likely earn more cash, but it takes longer to start and organize.

4. Instacart

Instacart is a same-day grocery delivery app where customers select the items they want, and then people like you can go pick up the orders to earn money (plus tips). This type of business model is known as the “gig economy”.

Instacart provides you with payment options for buying the groceries, so you won’t need to pay out-of-pocket at the grocery store, either.

There are a few other platforms like it, too, but Instacart seems to be one of the most reputable, and we like that you don’t have to pay out of pocket for anything as you do your shopping.

How long to start earning money:

This will start earning you money as fast as any side hustle on this list. You can make money in the first week.

How much you can earn:

This depends on where you live and how many hours of work you put in. I’ve heard stories of people making $200-400 a day, but they’re working LONG hours and they live in busy metro areas. You may not earn that much, but $50-100 per day is reasonable to expect.

5. Freelance Consulting

If you learned a skill or trade in your previous full time jobs, or if you’re willing to learn something new, you can take to freelancing or consulting to earn a side income. This side hustle can help you make side money after being laid off, or can be turned into a full time business if you prefer.

I’ve done a bit of this myself. I used to work as a Recruiter. I quit to build this website and turn it into a business. But along the way, I did freelance resume writing and career coaching to supplement my income.

Then, as I started learning digital marketing through growing my website, I then did a bit of marketing consulting to earn some additional side income.

I took my new knowledge and found businesses that wanted to pay me to help with their websites, social media, and more!

How long to start making money:

Offering a service (rather than a product) is typically a much faster way to start earning money. You can begin earning money on the side as a freelancer in a matter of days or weeks. Just go find a client, take payment, and get to work (yes, I recommend getting paid BEFORE doing the work)

How much money you can make:

$20,000-$200,000+ depending on your niche, service offering, and how well you execute/scale it. I’d recommend you get started in B2B (business to business). I left resume writing/coaching because people couldn’t afford to pay the amount I wanted for my time. When I switched to doing marketing for businesses, all of a sudden those amounts that seemed huge to individuals were no problem for businesses to pay me. (I was getting $1,000-$5,000 per project after this).

6. Bookkeeping, Taxes, and Financial Services

If you have a background in accounting or finance, consider offering bookkeeping services, tax preparation services, or other financial services. Just check with your city, state, and country to find out what licenses and certifications are required for what you want to offer.

As an expert in one of these areas, you can be paid very well for your time, either by consulting for businesses or helping individuals.

How long to start earning money:

1-3 months.

How much you can earn:

$20-$100 per hour.

7. Blogging

Blogging is the side hustle idea that I chose (I began blogging here at Career Sidekick while still working as a Recruiter, and then turned into a full time business over time).

Blogging does have a learning curve and is slow to get started, but has high long-term earnings potential and isn’t particularly stressful or demanding from a technical skills standpoint.

If you do want to start a blog, I’d recommend picking a narrow niche to begin. There’s a saying that “niches make riches” and it’s true.

I read a case study recently of a blog that earned $400,000 a year, and the topic was swimming pool maintenance. So don’t be afraid to choose something narrow and specific!

How long to make money:

Most people say that you shouldn’t expect to earn significant money in the first year of blogging. So for the first 12 months, you’re likely to earn below $1,000 a month.

Don’t choose this option if you’re just looking for some easy extra cash this month or year.

This side hustle idea is definitely more of a long-term, passive income play, and one of the most lucrative side hustles over a 2-4 year period.

I can’t stress this enough, though: Don’t choose this if you’re looking to get paid immediately.

How much you can earn:

In the long term, you can earn multiple six figures per year blogging if you choose a great niche, execute well, and stay consistent. There are even blogs that make more than $1,000,000 a year, although of course they’re the exception.

8. YouTube

Like blogging, YouTube is more of a long-term side hustle idea, where you won’t earn much in year one. However, in the second or third year, you can expect earnings to pick up if your channel is growing.

You earn money online through ad revenue, which YouTube splits with you when people view your videos. You can also have brands sponsor videos, or become an affiliate for different brands/products, where they pay you a cut of each sale when you refer people to their business.

And while YouTube is never 100% passive income (I’ve heard many creators say that when they stop uploading content, they gradually stop receiving views to their old content, too)… it still scales very quickly and you can find yourself earning a lot without having to work more than at the start.

(That’s what “scalable” means, basically… earning more doesn’t require more time).

How long to start making money:

Don’t expect to earn much in the first year. This is a long-term play.

How much money you can make:

There’s a lot of conflicting info online about how much you earn with a certain number of subscribers. And the truth is it varies, because it really depends on how many views you’re getting each month.

However, I’d say that at 500,000+ subscribers a month, it’s almost certain that you’d be earning a full-time income, possibly six figures per year or more. Some YouTubers are able to earn a full-time income with far fewer subscribers… for example 100,000-200,000 subscribers.

That’s just from ad revenue, so if you mix in brand sponsorships and affiliate deals, mentioned above, then you can definitely earn six figures per year with a large YouTube channel. And the most popular channels earn millions.

profitable side hustles

9. Kindle Publishing

If you liked the side hustle idea of selling on Amazon (mentioned earlier) but don’t want to deal with physical products, packaging, inventory, returns, etc., then consider selling e-books on Amazon! You can publish a book directly to Amazon via Kindle Direct Publishing and start earning money as soon as it’s published (assuming you can attract customers and get noticed on the platform).

How long to make money:

1-3 months to publish the book, create the listing, and start selling.

How much you can earn:

A few hundred to a few thousand dollars per month, with income rising but then slowly dropping after 6-12 months for most sellers. (To maximize earnings on the platform long-term, you really need to publish multiple titles… ideally related to each other, like a series… so you can sell more to your fans and earn more.

10. Airbnb

If you have a spare room or property, you can earn a lucrative side income from listing it on Airbnb for nightly rentals. While it may require some upfront cost to furnish the room, buy extra towels and toiletries, etc., it can be highly lucrative in the long run.

It does require a bit of your spare time to maintain, communicate with customers, etc. (Unless you hire a property manager). But that’s true of any business or side hustle idea. There’s almost always ongoing work involved.

How long to start earning money:

1-2 months.

How much money you can earn:

7-12% of property value per year, approximately.

11. Podcasting

Popular podcasts can earn money from sponsorships and advertising deals, and there are podcasts on virtually every topic – fitness, investing, job searching and careers, pets, and more!

So if you’d like to share your knowledge, either by yourself or by interviewing guests each week, consider a podcast.

How long to start making money:

Like blogging, I don’t think you can reasonably expect to earn much in your first 6-12 months of podcasting. Years #2 and #3 are likely where you’d see more profitability, so this is a long-term play just like blogging and YouTube.

How much you can make:

Highly variable. Some top podcasts earn six figures and above, but this is rare from what I’ve seen. Not many podcasters are transparent with their income and I suspect it is not as lucrative as YouTube or blogging (not yet, at least).

12. Writing Resumes and Cover Letters

If you have a background in HR, recruitment, or you’ve worked as a hiring manager, you could make money online by writing cover letters or resumes for job seekers.

Job seekers don’t have the biggest disposable income, and you won’t earn nearly as much as if you offered a service to businesses (B2B), but it’s still a way to earn a side income while spending as much or as little time as you want per week (like tutoring).

How long to start earning money:

1-2 weeks. Find clients, collect payment, and get started with the writing.

How much you can earn:

The average cost of resume writing is above $500, so this can be a lucrative side hustle or even a full-time online business.

However, it does take time and effort to write a good resume, and you need to make sure you’re delivering great results. Job seekers are counting on you to help them as a resume writer.

13. Editing and Proofreading

Many writers, businesses, and even non-profit organizations need editing and proofreading services. So if you’re detail-oriented and have a great grasp of the English language, you could become a freelance editor or proofreader.

You could find clients in your local area, or use a site like Upwork to find clients globally. If you do decide to check out Upwork, read our article with freelance job proposal samples, because this will help you get more interviews and job offers.

How long to start earning money:

You can earn money as soon as you find clients – within a month or less.

How much you can earn:

Your rate will vary depending on the type of client and exact type of work you’re doing. This may be anywhere from $8-20 per hour or higher. In general, editing is more complex and will pay more than simple proofreading tasks.

14. Become a Virtual Assistant

Executives, business owners, managers, and other busy people often hire a virtual assistant to help with some of their day-to-day tasks. These tasks can be anything from answering emails, scheduling travel, booking hotels, making appointments, etc.

Most often, working as a virtual assistant can be done remotely or from home, so it’s a great online side hustle idea that won’t require you to leave home. And, you could potentially turn this hustle into a full time business if you wanted (by hiring staff and finding more and more clients).

How long to make money:

1-2 months to find clients and send out your first invoices after starting the work.

How much you can earn:

$5-15+ per hour depending on where you’re located and where your clients are located. Unfortunately, you’ll have a lot of competition from virtual assistants in countries like The Philippines, with a very low cost of living, so this isn’t the best side hustle if you want to earn a lot. It is fast and easy, though.

15. Sell Arts or Crafts on Etsy

You can sell all sorts of items on Etsy in your spare time, from hand-made jewelry to paintings and more. I’ve even seen resume/CV templates for sale there, so even if you have a more business-oriented skill, you could find a way to sell templates/goods.

And like Amazon, Etsy is a huge marketplace so they’ve got a big customer base. That’s the advantage of selling on large sites like Amazon or Etsy; you won’t need to go out and start with no audience or customers.

So, platforms like this allow you to get started more quickly without being a marketing expert.

How long to make money:

2-4 weeks to get started.

How much you can earn:

Like Amazon, this varies heavily. You could earn nothing, or it could be a very lucrative side hustle – earning $1,000-$3,000 per month or much more, depending on what you sell and how you execute.

16. Photography

If you have a high-quality camera and photography skills, you could offer these services in your local area. You could offer portraits and headshots, wedding  and engagement photos, pet photos, and more.

How long to start making money:

Less than 1 month. Just find clients and arrange a meeting to start.

How much you can make:

Anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands per month depending on your niche. (Professional headshots and wedding/engagement photos are two niches that pay well).

17. Flip Items on eBay

This is a classic and relatively easy side hustle idea, although it does require some upfront investment  to buy items that you plan on selling or “flipping” (which just means buying something for a relatively low price and selling it for higher).

You could visit local garage sales, browse craigslist, or visit thrift stores to find items that you may be able to sell for more money on eBay. Then you list them and wait for buyers.

To boost your chance of succeeding, look for what’s already selling well on eBay (and other platforms like eBay) before investing in something! This will limit your risk.

How long to start making money:

1-2 months or less to get started.

How much you can make:

Varies heavily depending on what you sell and what volume you’re able to purchase/sell it at. You could earn a few hundred dollars, or thousands. You could also lose money if you buy items and are unable to sell them at a higher price.

18. Power Washing

This is another side hustle that requires a bit of upfront investment, but can quickly pay off. The idea is: You buy a pressure washer (a machine that shoots pressurized water through a small hose to clean surfaces), and then go find customers who will pay you to clean their driveways, decks, wooden fences, and other surfaces.

To get more customers, create a demo video where you clean a driveway and show the before/after (pressure washing gets really impressive results if a surface hasn’t been cleaned in a few years or more, so video is the best way to show this and sell your service!)

So if you’re not afraid to invest a bit upfront and work outside, this is a great way of making some extra money.

How long to start earning money:

Within a month. Just buy the machinery and find local customers (on social media, local ads, or distributing paper advertisements door-to-door with before & after photos of your work).

How much you can earn:

In most areas, you’ll earn $150-300 per project, which takes less than a day of work.

19. Lawn Care

If you have a lawnmower and other high quality lawn care equipment, and a truck to transport it, consider offering local lawn care services.

This can include lawn mowing in the summer, but also raking and leaf disposal in the Fall, and fertilizing in the Spring. Other services you could offer include weed removal and hedge trimming.

How long to start earning money:

1-2 months to find customers.

How much you can earn:

$50-150 per day, or more if you have staff working for you and can do more projects.

20. Translation

If you speak more than one language, you could offer translation services as your side hustle. All sorts of businesses and people need documents translated – legal documents, contracts, and more.

You could find clients through websites like Upwork.com and Freelancer.com, which are freelance marketplaces for all sorts of professional services.

How long to make money:

1-2 months to research the necessary certifications (this may vary depending on where you live) and then to find clients.

How much you can earn:

$5-30 per hour, possibly more if you are highly specialized (for example, an expert in legal documents).

21. Transcription

Transcription is the act of taking a piece of audio or video content and writing the words down so they can be read. Who needs this and pays for it? Many podcasts like to publish each episode in written format. So that’s one example.

There are plenty of other examples, too. Any company that records audio, phone calls, video presentations, etc., may need them in text format, too. And that’s what you do as a transcriber – listen, and get it down on paper (or on a computer, at least).

One good way to find clients is through sites like Upwork.com and Freelancer.com, large freelance websites with clients all over the world.

Pro tip: If you use Upwork, check out our profile examples that you can use to optimize your profile, and our guide to sending out effective Upwork proposals to win jobs.

How much time it takes to make money:

Less than one month to get started.

How much you can earn:

$5-20 per hour.

22. Online English Teaching

If you’re a native English speaker, you may be able to make money by teaching the language online.

You may need to take an online course and get a certification, depending on what platform you want to teach on, but it’s not always required.

There are multiple websites/platforms that you can sign up with and start teaching with (in exchange for a cut of the earnings). Some are more formal than others.

We suggest starting with platforms like:

  • https://www.vipkid.com/
  • https://www.cambly.com/en/tutors
  • https://teach.italki.com/application
  • http://www.englishuntusa.com/

There are far more websites, too. Search online for “websites to teach English online” for more ideas.

One potential downside to this side hustle: The hours of work can be challenging if you’re teaching students in different time zones. Many people who choose this side hustle have to set odd schedules, waking up very early, or staying up late to teach.

If you don’t mind that, then it’s a great way to make extra cash almost immediately, though.

How long to make money:

One month or less.

How much you can make:

$10-24 per hour.

23. Babysitting or Petsitting

Getting paid to look after kids or pets is one of the longest-running side hustles, dating back to pre-internet days. If you want to do something that doesn’t require any digital skills, then this could be a good side hustle for turning your spare time into cash.

How long to start earning money:

1-2 weeks.

How much you can earn:

$8-15 per hour.

24. Dog Walking

If you live in a major city, you’ve probably seen someone out walking 10 dogs at a time, with a mess of tangled leashes in their hand. There’s a good chance that person was a professional dog walker! And they make money – often a lot.

You don’t need to commit to a long-term dog walking career if you don’t want, but it’s still an easy (and profitable) side hustle that you could start in virtually any city. Unfortunately, this isn’t as good of an option in a rural area. You’d struggle to find customers and you’d waste a lot of time driving around collecting each dog. So this is only a great idea  if you’re a city-dweller.

How long to start earning money:

1-4 weeks to get started.

How much you can make:

$10-100+ per day (more in expensive cities like San Francisco or New York, where customers will pay extra money).

25. Drive for Uber or Lyft

Rounding out our list, you could participate in the “gig economy” and drive for a ride sharing app like Uber, as long as you own a vehicle. This isn’t as profitable as some people think, though, because you need to account for gas, insurance, and vehicle maintenance costs.

Still, in the right city, at the right hours, this can be lucrative and worth doing.

How long to make money:

1-2 weeks.

How much you can make:

$50-100+ per day.

What is the Most Profitable Side Hustle?

The most profitable and lucrative side hustles are blogging, YouTube, selling on Amazon, and hosting on Airbnb. These typically take longer to get started compared to the other easier side hustle ideas listed above, though. So there’s a trade-off between long-term profitability and time needed.

For profitable side hustles that don’t take long to start, look into freelance consulting, tutoring, or teaching a skill that you’re an expert in. All of these can still earn you six figures if executed well, and tend to ramp up and start earning you extra cash more quickly than the ideas above.

People also earn six figures with other options on our list of lucrative side hustle ideas above, though. So if you saw something else on the list that looks exciting, do more research into how much people earn before making a choice.

Is a Side Hustle Worth It?

For most people, a side hustle is worth it. Many side hustle ideas can bring in six figures of income if executed well, which can change your life and career (it changed mine!)

And usually it just requires some spare time that you’d spend watching Netflix or browsing social media. There’s more than one way to earn a side income, so you can choose what fits your schedule, risk tolerance, and income goals.

Also, starting one idea can lead to more opportunities. Many people start one thing and then see a new opportunity and pivot (but they wouldn’t have seen that opportunity if they didn’t just start something!)

For all of these reasons, a side hustle is absolutely worth it!

How to Succeed as an Entrepreneur: Tips for Making Your Side Hustle a Success

Focus on One Side Hustle

With so many great ideas above, it might be tempting to try multiple things. You could make money with a couple of the side hustle ideas, right? And isn’t more extra income better? Well, believe it or not, you’ll probably earn more extra income if you DON’T do more than one thing.

Being distracted and torn between projects will only cause them all to fail. Ideally, you should pick one project that you can spend a bit of time on every day.

It’s hard enough to learn and start one business idea. You need to get every advantage you can, which is why you should avoid things like working on two projects and splitting your time and focus.

That was the best part, that I discovered for myself when I stopped trying to make multiple side hustles work and focused on one thing: Every little bit of mental energy I had was going toward this one project. I had so many great ideas all of a sudden, and that’s when my blog (this website) took off! Not before then.

You can try multiple things after one succeeds, but I’d suggest picking one to start… especially if you have a full time job already and don’t have much time.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

For any of the online side hustle ideas above, (or even some offline), you can take inspiration from other successful side hustlers and businesses in that space.

I’m not saying to steal/copy things, but you can take general ideas and get inspiration from logos, templates, slogans, product descriptions, etc.

Don’t start with a blank page and reinvent the wheel on everything. You can take general ideas and patterns that are already working for people, and adapt them.

For example, if you were going to start freelancing on a website like Upwork, you’d save a lot of time and hassle by checking out some top profiles on the website, and modeling yours to make sure it’s similar to theirs.

If you were selling on Amazon, you’d want to check out things like: Which products are best-sellers in their categories? What do their product descriptions look like? What are people complaining about in the reviews? (So that you could make sure to improve upon it with your product).

That’s how to get a lucrative side hustle going quickly – copy what works! Don’t plagiarize, but do take inspiration from others.

Follow the Money

It’s easy to get caught up in “playing business” instead of doing business. Spending every day of a week adjusting your logo. Spending a full day writing an “about” page for your blog, etc.

None of that matters much at the start, though. Follow the money. Focus on making your first dollar.

You’re in this for extra cash, passive income, money on the side… right?

That’s what you need to get, or the little details like an “About Us” website page don’t matter.

So focus on taking actions that will get you closer to earning income. Every little bit of your energy should go toward that in the first few months.

After that, it’s easy to get a better logo, make sure your website “About Us” section looks professional, etc. But don’t over-think it to start.

The best way to make your side hustle work is to focus on earning money as quickly as possible.

Conclusion

You now know some of the best profitable and easy side hustles that you can jump into this year.

We realize everyone’s goal is different – so we tried to include a variety of ideas for everyone, whether you’re hoping to make millions and quit your day job forever, or just make some spare money after being laid off. 

There are also some more unusual and creative side hustle ideas you can try. For example, did you know that the candy machines at the front of many retailer stores aren’t owned by the store? Someone pays the store to put them there, and makes money from people putting a quarter in to buy candy and toys!

So there’s really no limit to what you can do to earn money if you’re creative and willing to do the research online.

Hopefully this list of side hustle ideas serves as a good starting point to get you going on your journey!

 

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