how to make money on the side

16 Proven Ways to Make Money on the Side

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Everybody dreams about making money on the side and establishing a passive income stream. We’ve asked 16 side hustlers about their tips on how to make money on the side. Here are their best approaches.

How to Make Money on the Side

#1 Rent out your apartment

My wife and I ran a short-term rental out of our house for the last 3 years and averaged cash flow of around $500-700 per month over this time period. 

The rentals were seasonal in nature but provided for ample income to cover our living expenses. This arrangement required 5-10 hours per month of work during the tourist season to flip the unit between bookings and prepare for the next guest’s arrival. 

We listed the short-term rental on Airbnb and averaged 20-25 bookings per year. To list our rental, our city required a specific short-term rental permit and capped the number of nights per year the rental could be rented. Fortunately, we never ran afoul of this count and we managed to turn a profit each year. 

Riley Adams, Senior Financial Analyst for Google

#2 Rent out your car

I’ve had a lot of success making money on the side. Nothing I’ve been doing is new or revolutionary, but I thought I’d just share some data on my experience. 

I work in digital marketing, so I work from home and really only need my car to go grocery shopping on the weekends. One thing I do is rent my car out via Turo. I wasn’t sure how popular the service would be in Grand 

Rapids, because this isn’t that big of a city and being that Michigan is the hub of the auto industry, everyone here has their own car for the most part. Nevertheless, my car gets rented out every week. Turo has pretty good insurance coverage and they take 10% of what I make to provide coverage, 

which gives me peace of mind should anything happen. The nicer your car is, the more you stand to make. Mine isn’t that great, so I get $30 per day. I usually make anywhere from $400-500 per month via Turo. 

David Kranker, founder at David Kranker Creative

#3 Use Upwork for gigs

In addition to normal clients, I’ll take on side digital marketing jobs via UpWork. This month, I’ll have another $250 coming from there. In total, I normally make an extra $1,000 a month from my side jobs. 

David Kranker, founder at David Kranker Creative

#4 Selling T-Shirts

Selling T-Shirts online using Print on Demand technology. The start-up cost for selling Print on Demand T-Shirts is completely free other than your time since all you have to do is set up an account with a Print on Demand retailer such as Amazon Merch, TeeSpring, Redbubble or others, upload designs you create, and then get royalty payouts each time they sell and print one of your shirts. There is no inventory cost and you don’t even need to pay to set up your own website making it a great no-cost business idea. 

Stacy Caprio, Founder at

Before I jumped created a personal finance blog I dabbled with a variety of side hustles. One of the most interesting ones that I was successful with was selling T-shirts online. It was during the early days of Facebook marketing. I had niched down to the education section, in particular teachers. Elementary and subject area teachers such as Math and Science absolutely loved kitsch shirts. I set up a Facebook page and used a variety of funny educational memes and stories that were shared in facebook groups and with friends. This naturally led to people liking the Facebook page. Sprinkled throughout the memes were T-shirts that were sold through platforms like Teespring. As I scaled up the side hustle, I outsourced the T-shirt designs and then used Facebook ads to target teachers. It was one of my first side hustles that actually made money! 

Eric Holland, Founder at High Five Dad 

#5 Start your own blog

Most people have 2 options when it comes to making money on the side of a day job or school. 

First, you can start a self-employed service. Secondly, an actual business that you can separate money and time from. 

For example, if you mow lawns yourself that is a self-employed service. If you hire other people to mow lawns and you find the customers and make a profit from the difference then you are separating time from money and you have a real business. The first type of side hustle, of course, is the easiest to get started and can turn into a business later. 

In my case, I took to the Internet and started writing articles for other websites as a freelance writer (aka self-employed service). If you can write (decently) you can do this too! All you really have to do is find clients at places like Craigslist or Upwork and you can start making money today. Unless you are an above-average writer, shoot for getting paid around 2-3 cents per word. 

I then graduated to writing on my own website. I took the profit from my writing services and bought a website domain and web hosting and I starting writing about I topic I knew a lot about, surfing! I only wrote the first 10 or 20 pages because I started hiring freelance writers to write for my website I wanted to be like the business owner working on the business instead of just a self-employed person that’s working inside the business. The plan was for the main traffic going to the site would come from Googles search engine, more specifically the organic section by knowing SEO (search engine optimization). I wrote about product reviews and monitored my site by joining the Amazons affiliate marketing program and referring readers of my website to Amazon products with links in my articles. Every time someone goes to my website clicks an Amazon affiliate link and buys something I get around a 4-8% commission. The trick is to target higher-priced items in the $100 to $2,000 range, focusing on low priced items is a mistake. Running a website allows you to separate time from money, once its set up I don’t need to be there for someone to google something, find my site, follow a link to Amazon, buy something and receive a commission for it. 

This affiliate content website model can be very passive but the trade-off is that it takes a lot more time and up-front work than being a freelance writer who gets paid upfront as soon as they complete the work. For quick up-front money always go with a self-employed service but longterm the smartest option is to focus on an actual business like the website model. has worked out for me longterm and now produces a full-time income that is very hands-off. 

Charles M., owner of FinBin

#6 Researching and writing business cases 

Many skills and hobbies can lend themselves to folks making money on the side. For instance, an editor for seven years at a well known Atlanta Business School my tasks included copyediting scientific manuscripts and researching and writing business cases that were taught by professors in their classes. One day a colleague of one of the professors at another local college contracted me to research and write several cases for him. As did a former professor in my dept who had accepted a position out of state. Suddenly, i had a side hustle to add to my freelance writing. Today, I both sell and teach how to repurpose thrift and flea market items to decorate your home on a budget, via classes at my local libraries. I also promote and sell Gilded Pearls a book I wrote sharing the above tips. 

Carol Gee, Author Atlanta at Venus Chronicles

#7 Reselling other peoples’ services

A few years ago, I found out that selling services is one of the quickest ways to make extra money without any startup cost. Then, I stumbled upon some freelancing platforms where many talented freelancers are selling their services online there at much cheaper prices. 

That gave me an idea – reselling their services to local businesses. 

First, I had to figure out what services I wanted to resell. From my research, I found that graphic design service is one of the most in-demand services by businesses. 

What happened next was that I started my own graphic design agency online, and at the same time I also found a few reliable and experienced freelancers who were willing to work with me whenever I got a client and needed some graphic design work done. 

This way, I only focused on marketing their services and getting and serving clients in my spare time. How I made money was that I would charge my clients at a higher rate than what my freelancers quoted me. 

Gladice Gong, blogger at

#8 Earn money with website ads

I’m the owner of Frenchplanations, a website devoted to those learning French and looking to travel to French-speaking countries. I make quite a bit of money on the side with my website. 

The way I make money on the side is through ad revenue on my website. The idea behind it is actually quite easy. You first create a website about a topic that you are passionate about and feel that you could write a lot of content on. You then will want to look into some topics that have a lot of traffic, but not a lot of competition. Write the best you can article on each of these topics and if you did a good enough job Google will rank you highly for each of them. As you write more and more articles you will slowly start to gain more and more traffic to your website. At that point, you can sign up for various ad networks that pay depending on how much traffic you get. The great thing about monetizing your website through ads is that it’s consistent and you don’t have to worry about dealing with customers or catering to others. It’s definitely something I recommend to anyone looking to make money on the side. 

Hunter Van Ry, Owner of Frenchplanations

#9 Teach English online

Nowadays, there are numerous platforms that offer online English classes to foreigners. You can sign up to one of those in just a few steps and start creating your profile. The requirements for these platforms are usually not too strict, so you can teach English even if you’re not a native speaker. 

The biggest advantage of teaching online is job flexibility. You can work as much as you like which allows you to have a primary job and still earn on the side. 

Igor Mitic, Co-Founder at Fortunly

#10 Turn your hobby into side income

When it comes to making money on the side, there is nothing like having that little extra in your pocket. As a hobby to relax and let off stress, I like to knit, crochet, embroid and sew. These hobbies have allowed me to make money on the side by creating crafts for friends, family and even those they know! Some have even told me to set up an Etsy store to take it a step further (maybe something to do in the future). 

If you have a hobby, 9 times out of 10 you can make some money off of it while still enjoying yourself. Take your hobby whether it is candle making, soap making or anything really – there is always someone out there looking for the thing you could be offering.

Lucy Harris, CEO at

#11 Write your own book

In 2015, I wrote and published a tongue-in-cheek guidebook to German culture: German Men Sit Down To Pee And Other Insights Into German Culture. The book definitely hasn’t made me a millionaire, but it has provided a nice boost to my regular income. 

Thanks to services like KDP and Createspace, publishing a book has never been easier. It’s not quite as easy as starting a blog, but it’s easy enough that anyone can do it. And, writing a book (or books) can be a very consistent way to earn a side income. 

Consistent is the keyword here. Web-based projects like blogs can be good earners, but you’re very much at the mercy of Google’s incredibly complex and ever-changing algorithm. Amazon’s algorithm, on the other hand, focuses mainly on sales and reviews. 

If you can get the book selling in the beginning, and you can some reviews from those sales, that could be enough to set the wheels in motion. I’m not going to lie: getting those first sales and reviews is definitely a lot of work but, once your book has a nice collection of reviews and it’s selling, you can relax, enjoy the earnings, and move onto your next side project.

James Cave,

#12 Rent out your parking space

A good idea to make money on the side is to rent your parking space via online parking marketplaces such as Spothero in the US, YourParkingSpace in the UK or Parkhound in Australia. 

You can easily make several hundred dollars a month if you list your parking space on these websites. It works like Airbnb, but for cars and garages/driveways/car parks. 

Many people have a driveway or garage that they don’t use all the time. Some of them don’t own a car and never use these parking spaces. Why not rent them to earn a side income? 

It’s a good idea, but many people don’t know they can do that. 

Gregory Golinski, Head of Digital Marketing at

#14 Writing content for others

I am a teacher at an international school and discovered the endless possibilities for those with an education background to write content for websites regarding test prep, admissions advice, and general test day tips. I first began working for an ACT-prep company by writing content for their website and quickly learned that the best way to get more readers is to write for SEO keywords. I was making about $10 an hour doing this work remotely, which was quite low, but I spent a lot of the time reading articles about successful blogs, marketing strategies, email marketing, and the likes. I was also doing this in my spare time between teaching, before school, and on the weekends. 

With the success I gained writing content and, eventually, managing writers for SEO keywords, I was able to work my way up to another test prep company with a budget for writers and link builders that paid me $30 per hour, in which I was managing SEO and growth, and it was also my job to communicate the progress and growth to the owners of the company. Ultimately, before I quit freelancing and decided to work for myself, I was making $50 per hour freelancing SEO services to clients. My best advice for those who are looking to make a good side hustle writing content or doing SEO is to niche down into one industry, whether that is business, education, tech, health, parenting, etc and work your way up in that industry. Each time you find great success with a client, you can use that success to catapult yourself into a bigger and better job by showcasing your results. 

Kristine Thorndyke, Founder at Test Prep Nerds

#15 Design your own Merch with Merch by Amazon

I’ve road-tested dozens of different side hustles over the last few years. One of my consistent top earners is Merch by Amazon. This is Amazon’s own ‘print on demand’ platform that lets you design T-shirts, hoodies, PopSockets, and other gear to sell online. 

Amazon handle manufacture, shipping and customer service. All you have to do is upload your digital design file and write a description – and cash in your royalty check at the end of each month! 

You don’t have to handle any inventory yourself, and there are no start-up fees. This makes Merch a super easy, no-risk entry point to the world of selling online. 

And the best part is this: over time, Merch becomes a stream of passive income! Your bestselling shirts will continue to earn you royalties month after month, even if you stop uploading new designs. 

I use free design programs such as Canva and GIMP to create my designs. And while this is an obvious side hustle for artists and graphic designers, you don’t actually need much creative talent to succeed: some of my best selling shirts are simple, text-only designs. 

You can come up with ideas by thinking about popular phrases or in-jokes linked to your own hobbies. These types of shirts usually sell really well. 

Or, monitor Twitter for trending topics, and be one of the first to upload a shirt featuring a new meme or catchphrase.

Becca Whitestone, Founder of

#16 Build websites for local businesses

I have made money on the side through several facets over the years, but one of the most profitable for me personally has been building websites for local businesses.

Working with businesses in my local community, I’ve been able to help business owners with their online presence by creating a site that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also optimized for the search engines so they rank well.

This is due to my extensive background in the SEO industry. Overall, I’ve found this to be most profitable due to the ability to charge clients several thousands of dollars per project. 

Thomas Adams, SEO Account Manager