The Six Best Online Side Hustles That Work

Thanks to the gig economy, side hustle opportunities like Uber are abundant, but you might not have the capacity, nor the want, to go out and drive after work. By picking up a side hustle you can do online, you can earn a bit of extra income in comfort and at your own pace. Guest contributor Brian explores six of the best online side hustles for making the most of your time and resources.

A recent survey pegged the percentage of people who have a side hustle, in addition to their main gig, at 45%. If you don’t have a side hustle, you could be missing out on $1,122 in extra monthly income. Side hustles are no longer a rare, exotic activity. They now account for a noticeable portion of many peoples’ take-home pay.

There’s just one thing. All side hustles are not created equal. Some require a lot of time and resource on your part, and others return what could kindly be called “not much.” We’re here to help you avoid those and have collected some of our favorite profitable online side hustles.

1. Start an online business

If ever there was an opportunity for Captain Obvious to interject, this is is it. In the Internet Age, starting an online business can’t exactly be called exciting or revolutionary. What it can be called is profitable. Online businesses rank first in side hustle income with people earning more than $1,000 monthly and second in those earning more than $10,000 monthly.

What type of online business should you start? Answering that would require a book. There’s plenty of good, free information available. Examples include opening an e-commerce store, or creating a course based on hobbies or personal interests. There are also options that forgo selling a product, like starting a blog or becoming an affiliate marketer. 

2. Showcase your skills with freelancing

Freelancing in the online landscape has received a complete makeover, especially thanks to clearinghouse sites like Fiverr and Upwork. This is the second-highest category of online side hustle when it comes to earnings. Especially popular among writers and editors, the rise of entirely new industries like virtual assistants has contributed much to the rising popularity of freelancing as a side hustle. 

A benefit to freelancing is you don’t really even need a website, although it’s not a bad idea. Many side hustles have been started with nothing more than a LinkedIn profile with work samples to attract initial jobs. 

3. Create an investment portfolio

As the internet penetrated mass awareness in the mid-1990s, people realized that they could make and execute their own trading decisions and online trading was born. Initially, only stock and options purchases were allowed but that soon expanded to include almost every kind of asset, including today’s cryptocurrency boom which has taken currency in a new direction away from government-controlled fiat money

As the third most profitable form of online side hustle, investing’s popularity is twofold: low barrier to entry and the potential for passive income. Of course, you can actively hunt out a profit through strategies like day trading if you’re confident and educated enough, however you’ll still be able to generate extra income from any interest or dividends from your investments.

4. Try your hand as a Social Media Manager

Social media launched for real in 1997 with the site Facebook wasn’t far behind and the rest is history. The important thing to note is that many businesses aren’t particularly social media savvy, or don’t have the time to upskill themselves.

So if you happen to be a social media savant who spends most waking moments liking, following, pinning, and tiktokking, side hustling as a social media manager might be your best gig. No degrees are generally required, you just have to be able to show that you’re a social media native. And how much can you make? How does around $60 an hour sound?

5. Enter the world of self-publishing

The publishing world changed on November 19, 2007 when the first Kindle ebook reader was released by Amazon. Since then, self-publishing has become a legitimate alternative to trying to break through the iron gates of traditional publishing. While there are few Stephen King-sized advances to be had (except by Stevie himself), dedicated and skilled writers, who don’t mind doing their own marketing, can turn this into a profitable side hustle. 

What’s the best way to start? Targeted at a specific genre. Your book doesn’t have to be an 800-page masterpiece; a helpful 30 pager on a niche topic can be enough to start netting you passive income once it’s published.

Though Amazon invented the ebook industry, there are lots of other places to publish independently if you don’t want to line the ‘Zon’s pocket.

6. Create a YouTube channel

Is there anyone on the planet who hasn’t heard of YouTube? The not-so-secret-reality is that this second largest of ALL websites is no longer just a place to go watch random cat videos. The site is a business model now and could be a great side hustle. 

While you might think that making yourself into a YouTube star or influencer is your only option, there are plenty of ways to go about monetizing a YouTube presence. Breakout YouTube influencers can earn in the millions, but there are plenty of people making less than that, though still enough to help with the monthly budget.

As world governments and healthcare systems muddle through the continuing fallout from a historic pandemic, perhaps the worst consequence has been economic disruption on a personal scale — families and individuals just trying to survive. For those who have lost jobs, a side hustle might become a main hustle and maybe a new way to earn money going forward that doesn’t rely on the continued existence of a company over which you have no control. So whether for fancy coffee money or something deeper and perhaps more desperate, side hustles are here to stay.

Brian is a technologist into deconstruction. Over two decades of self-employment, he has accumulated a wealth of inadvertent real-world lessons related to building, running, and preserving a small company.

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