In this new era of rampant layoffs, economic calamity, and sheltering-in-place, having an online side hustle is almost necessary to have any chance at income stability.
Luckily with the power of the internet, all the information and resources you need are available at your fingertips. All you need is time, dedication, some seed money if possible, and confidence in what you’re doing.
The following list of online side hustles have been proven time and again to be the most profitable businesses you can do. There are countless cases of people turning one of these side hustles into a full-time job replacing income stream. We’ve laid out all the information you need below to help you get started or to find out more.
First let’s talk a little bit about what an online side hustle is.
What is an online side hustle?
By our definition, an online side hustle is a source of income you earn through the sale of goods or services online.
We call it a side hustle because its something that can be done with just a few hours a day, so you can keep a full-time job while growing this business.
The more time you invest into your online side hustle, the better, but to keep money coming in, its best to have your regular work while you build up enough money to eventually replace your day job’s income.
Now let’s dive into the top online side hustles we know!
#1: Selling courses online
Expertise is in high demand. E-Learning is a $100 billion industry according to Forbes. That was before coronavirus! Never have people had more impetus (and time) to learn something new.
The same expertise that you have used to drive your success in various arenas can help you grow your online business. This can be things like online teaching English to lifestyle coaching on platforms like Teachable.
For a solid head start on getting your own online course up and running, watch our interview with the expert course creator, Paul Thomson .
We start with this one for a very specific reason: They are very inexpensive and easy to create. And, as you’ll see from the rest of the list, this business opportunity often coincides directly with others bringing added value and revenue to your entire onlines business structure.
#2. Creating an affiliate website
As digital marketing expert Neil Patel says, 99 percent of people who make money while they sleep do it through affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is simple. You find other people’s products and market them through your own website and social media pages. You get paid commissions when people click through your link and buy the product or service.
This online side hustle is exploding. With easy-to-learn tools for creating commerce focused websites, you don’t have to be a tech to build an effective affiliate marketing business. As we mentioned in our article on Thrive Theme Builders, you can set up a website where you drive people to your page and then turn them on to great products with reviews.
The potential is limitless. (Just take a look at clickbank.com for example). Get started by learning about Search Engine Optimization through Udemy or learn more about Clickbank affiliate marketing. great E-learning courses like Udemy (see, #1 and #2 are related!) → Link to your article.
#3 Drop Shipping
Drop shipping doesn’t take a lot of work to set up, but it takes some initial capital for ads and a lot of focus to be a successful online side hustle.
Drop shipping is a business where you focus only on the sales and marketing of a physical product. The manufacture of that product keeps the inventory at their own warehouses, and when they receive the order from you, can deliver it directly to your customer.
To start, you need to spend time researching different niches and products that are already making money. Once you’ve found a niche you like or a product that is selling, you then spin up an online store.
Some of the leading experts in this field offer classes (like #1 above) to train you how to compete in this market. Our recommended courses to take would be Gabriel St-Germain’s Ecom Blueprint or The Complete 2020 Shopify Aliexpress Dropship Course.
#4 Amazon FBA
This follows in the similar trend of online side hustle. An Amazon FBA offers a huge upside in earnings, but it costs more to start since this requires storing inventory and buying in bulk.
After deciding on what products you want to sell, you send your inventory to Amazon’s warehouses. They then manage inventory, handleshipping, customer service and the aspects of client fulfillment that you don’t want to do (nor have time to do). They become your warehouse, your shipping center, and your customer service which is amazing if you think about it!
You may think this is a big expense to get started with an online business, but some have started simply by selling items they already own, like a garage sale or books and then growing the business from there.
You can also do arbitrage of products by finding something at a discount at one store, then selling it on Amazon for a higher price. Sites like Wish.com, ebay.com or even craigslist.org can be a good source for finding cheap products. You can then market them on Amazon at a higher rate.
Within reason though. Don’t be the gal/guy marking up the price of toilet paper and purel for God’s sake!
Find out more on Amazon FBA before diving in. We also highly recommend you check out Theo McKarther’s How to Start an Amazon FBA Store on a Tight Budget you can read our article out these guys here.
5. Freelancing Online
Once again we want to tap into your own expertise–in fact, you could combine this one with #1 above for a truly powerful online business. Freelancing online allows you to shop your services through established online platforms where clients seeking those services are likely to look.
Consultants, graphic designers, coders, writers, social media experts, videographers and so, so, so many more professionals simply turn to these platforms to generate a steady flow of business. Some of the best include:
Get started as simply as creating your own platform, boosting your work on social media, setting up a splash page and you’re off with an online side hustle.
# 6. Blogging
Blogging started online long before many of these other businesses, but it remains a viable one, especially for people that love to write and create quality content. If you have passions and expertise (there’s that word again… your online business will be as strong as the value you offer) the blogging is a great way to monetize it.
How? Well first, it’s the content. Write great stuff that generates a following (and strong SEO through consistent, unique and strong content).
Then use that audience to build an email list, set online ads, and provide links to affiliate products. That email list you create will also be a potential consumer list of people who know, like and trust you– and thus are more ready to buy from you. Blogging can tie into an affiliate marketing or an eLearning business to create income streams.
This video covers a lot of basics to get the ball rolling with blogging!
YouTube works in principle similar to blogs, but you create video content instead of written content (or better yet, alongside written content). Once again the key is great, unique, interesting content. The most successful have their own niche and do it very well.
Youtube is one of the largest online networks in the world so the consumers are already there. You just have to capture their attention through entertaining content, really informative useful content, or both if possible. But because it’s so prolific many step-by-step guides exist, like this Complete Guide to Building a Successful YouTube Channel.
Just take a look at this doctor: His youtube channel started as a bit of a hobby to entertain his patients with some and education about illnesses (especially the gross ones.. Like a fear factor channel.). It grew from 25,000 viewers to more than 1.2M in three years just by consistently putting up good content. That translates to between $5,000-$8,000 in from advertising revenue every month.
Jeven Dovey has a great video that breaks down how Youtube paid him $20,000 to make any video he wanted (which he used to make an important film about Elephant Tourism, i.e. great content, but also to teach you how he did it).
Here’s a free training for starting fresh from video influencers who have more than 3 million views and half a million subscribers!
8. Sell ebooks
Creating your own ebook has never been easier. Innovative products like Designr.com will convert your blogs, your website or even your youtube channel content into an ebook.
Innovative ebook book publishers like Amazon Kindle Direct or Smashwords remove all the work of distribution and product set up. Smashwords, for example, distributes directly to Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and Walmart. They have great guides to teach you how to set up your books, then once you finish it provides the ISBN number and complete distribution.
You simply need to turn your ideas into a book that you can market.
Of course, ebooks are great tools to support other online businesses like an elearning business. But it can also be something more creative like a series of children’s stories, romance or mystery. Each book you create gives you more another product to offer for sale and grow your audience, which in turn grows other areas of potential online business.
Watch this video course on how to get started in self-publishing!
9. Buy and sell online businesses
Thanks to the proliferation of reality television shows like “Flip This House,” the entire real estate concept of “flipping” a property is established. The concept doesn’t stop there. In fact, it’s a perfect model for flipping online businesses.
The concepts are the same.
- Find a business someone has started.
- Research it and see value you can add either with improved marketing, fresh enthusiasm or a different approach.
- Buy it, invigorate it, grow it, and SELL it.
- Wash, rinse, repeat.
The good news is you don’t have to scan millions of websites looking for opportunities. Established online business flip companies have taken that guesswork out of it for you.
Empire Flippers, for example, has 100 million worth of online businesses. They have listings of millions of dollars worth of websites (though most cost at least 20K on up, so there’s an invest to get started here).
On the “flip” side (pun intended) Flippa.com has some for sale in the hundreds. Flippa also has an easy-to-use website valuation tool that will tell you what your site is worth if you want to sell it.
Another great place to find opportunities is the Flipping Websites facebook group.
This business model has excellent potential for starting small, sharpening your skills, buying and selling to build revenue and grow your market over time.
#10. Sell Shoutouts on Instagram
Diving into selling shoutouts on IG is a great online side hustle and is how we here at Incometips got started.
First you create a niche page of any topics of interest to you. Then find or create content to post. Then focus on growing your following with the tips below.
Use websites like Shoutcart to post your prices for advertisers to buy.
Quick Tips to Grow Your Followers on Instagram
- Choosing a focused niche that people can identify with is half the battle.
- Making your profile page clearly explain what people can expect from your feed.
- Post content at least once daily if not more
- Use hashtags that are not overly used to increase the likeliness of people finding your posts.
- Approach pages with similar follower numbers, ideally larger, to do a share-for-share post.
- A share-for-share just means posting a piece of content from their page on your page and tagging them. They would then do the same.
- Pay larger accounts to post some of your content and tag you with a call to action to follw your page.
Visit our article on how to make money with Instagram for more details.
For more, checkout the Complete Guide to Instagram Marketing which is a great resource!
11. Start a Saas
Software as a Service business models are an excellent opportunity for taking a problem and solving with technological solutions. But there is a qualifier here. You have to be a coder who can actually make the software (or know one who wants to partner with as the business side of her expertise in making the software).
Too often someone has a software solution to a problem but thinks the only way to get it to market is to find a bunch of investors and spend tons of money (while selling off much of the company’s ownership that now controls your own intellectual property). This is not the case at all.
Here’s a list of some great guides on getting started:
- How to Plan, Start, and Grow a Successful SaaS Company
- Build Your Startup with no Coding
- Essentials of Software as a Service Business
#12. Start a Social Media Marketing Agency
If a business does not have their social media marketing handled, they are leaving tons of money on the table. This is where you can come in to take advantage of this growing need.
You can become the social media marketer for companies that A) don’t do it well, B) don’t have time, or C) don’t want to focus on social media. Your job is to sell others. You set up the business, learn the tools and turn other’s success into your online business.
Earning potential here all comes down to how good your sales skills are and how well you can manage multiple clients. Here are a list of recommended courses you can take to maximize your potential earnings:
- Social Media Marketing Agency by Tai Lopez
- Social Media Marketing Agency: Digital Marketing + Business
13. Online Coaching
For our lucky 13th of most profitable online side hustle, we need to circle back one more time to you: Your expertise. Because if you do something well, you can teach others to do it as well.
For more than a decade, the explosion of internet capability has also exploded the opportunities in online coaching. Think about the way we learn information has changed to the point that now ⅓ of all traditional university students take classes online. The old models of learning are fading. We want to learn things now and from our computers. That’s where you come in.
Learn what? Well, everything. Psychology coaching, life coaching, astrological coaching, business coaching, entrepreneurship coaching, and seriously, every kind of coaching you can think of. For example, becoming a strength training coach or a coach on femine power.
There’s even coaching on how not to hate your husband, that is this life coach’s most successful training.
Start with what you know and what you’re interested in helping others with. Then get your virtual “office” in place with a basic website and email service. Thrive Theme Builder is one of our favorite webite themes that is very easy to setup with all of the tools needed to get clients onboarded.
Here are some of our favorite resources for becoming a coach:
We hope this gives you a good start on ways to make money on your own terms. The opportunities will continue to come up in 2020 and beyond so keep an eye out and let us know if you find something worth mentioning!