15 Lucrative Side Hustle Ideas for 2021
As you think about your resolutions for the new year, you’ve probably got some financial goals on the list, whether it’s paying off a student loan, making more money, or balancing work and life a little bit better. Figuring out how to achieve those goals with your day-job pay is where it gets challenging.
Enter the side hustle: a job or business that you run after your regular nine-to-five to bring in some extra cash.
The good news? It’s not a bad time to pick up an extra gig. Employers are becoming increasingly open to bringing on freelancers and contract workers. These arrangements create a different kind of partnership than the traditional employment approach, one that offers increased flexibility along with the chance to grow your savings account!
In this article, we’ll look at the current state of the gig economy. We’ll then explore 15 lucrative side hustle ideas you can try out in 2021 to earn extra income. Let’s get started!
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What You Need to Know About Current Trends in the Gig Economy
In our connected digital world, there are a lot of opportunities for side hustles. Forbes has indicated that the gig economy, where workers take on multiple freelance or short-term work engagements in their spare time, is expanding three times more rapidly than the American workforce as a whole. In terms of dollars, that means freelancers contributed $1.28 trillion to the economy in 2018.
That means it’s a perfect time to strike out on your own with a side hustle. Not only can it be rewarding, but consumers and employers alike are also much more receptive to the concept than ever before. Plus, there are plenty of routes you can take.
15 Lucrative Side Hustle Ideas for 2021
There’s no shortage of options for creating your own side hustle. When you take into consideration all the on- and offline options you have available, there’s really no time like the present to launch into a new gig. Let’s explore 15 of the most accessible and rewarding opportunities.
1. Sell Graphic Design Services
If your friends are always asking you to create signs, posters, logos, and more, this might be an excellent side hustle to pursue. You don’t have to master all aspects of design, either. You can focus solely on logos, website themes, or whatever else you like. Graphic design is a diverse field with many lucrative niches.
To get started, you’ll want to set up a portfolio on your own website or use a social media site like Instagram to display samples of your work. Another approach is to use a platform such as Creative Market.
When you set up an account with Creative Market, you can display your graphic design work to millions of potential clients. It operates as your personal digital storefront. Some of the benefits of using this option, in particular, are that you can set your own prices and you are not locked into selling on Creative Market exclusively.
2. Become a Virtual Assistant
This is one of the most diverse and versatile options for a side hustle. As a Virtual Assistant (VA), you can completely tailor your service offerings to match your skills or passions. From appointment scheduling to inbox assistance, there is a wide array of items that busy professionals need help with.
If you’re a stay-at-home parent or even a college student looking to bring in a little extra cash, this is a great option. In many cases, this work will involve skills you already have or simple rote tasks. If you’re concerned about striking out on your own, there are websites like PeoplePerHour that you can use to get started.
PeoplePerHour and similar websites work to pair freelancers with projects. Just be aware that you’ll need to have excellent time management and be willing to hustle for each client if you want to make it in the VA world.
3. Create a Proofreading Service
Not everyone is a wordsmith, which means that if you are, there’s plenty of work out there for you to incorporate into a new side hustle. If you’re a fastidious grammarian and enjoy helping others improve their written content, starting up a proofreading service can be very lucrative.
This is another choice that’s perfect for college students. You can work out a schedule that meshes well with your classes, and put that sentence diagramming skillset to use. You can even set up a simple freelancer website to describe and highlight your previous work, qualifications, and services, or use a site like Upwork to establish a reputation.
As a freelancer, you can create a profile on Upwork and search through thousands of posts from people looking for proofreaders. Additionally, if you’re working from home as a proofreader, you can deduct many household items from your taxes. Just remember that you’ll need to keep a diligent record of your work items and hours.
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4. Open an Amazon Storefront
The online retail giant Amazon now enables entrepreneurs to create a storefront on its website. If you have a product to offer, you can set up a seller account with Amazon and maximize access to 210 million unique monthly visitors.
One of the most intriguing things about using Amazon to support your side hustle is that there are so many options. You can sell bulk items, offer handmade products, or use Amazon’s print-on-demand services. This is a platform that enables you to market products like custom t-shirts to a vast audience of potential buyers.
There are sometimes fees associated with Amazon’s services, so you’ll have to research the options and decide what works best for you. Additionally, you’ll need to plan to handle shipping yourself, unless you go all in and use the Fulfillment by Amazon service.
5. Offer Errand Services
This might sound like something you’d do as an enterprising young person in your neighborhood, but in reality, errand-running can be big business. Two common examples are grocery pickups and fast food delivery. This service is often prevalent in cities where not everyone has a car or where there are a lot of senior citizens.
You can easily make use of several websites that already exist in order to try out an errand-running business. For example, sites like Postmates and DoorDash focus on grocery and food delivery services.
You’ll need to check your local regulations to be sure you have the right kind of insurance coverage for this side hustle. Additionally, you may have to work extra vehicle maintenance into your overall budget. However, if you have a reliable vehicle and like to interact with people while running errands, this is definitely an opportunity worth considering.
6. Drive for a Rideshare Company
In the same vein as errand-running, driving for rideshare companies can be very lucrative, depending on where you live. If you’re interested in driving but aren’t sure if it’s for you, there are some good driver reviews out there that can tell you how much you’re likely to make on apps like Uber and Lyft.
Of course, offering driving services can mean you risk picking up people who have been drinking or are trying to break the law. So while just about anyone can try this side hustle (as long as you’ve got a driver’s license, of course), it’s one to consider carefully.
You’ll also want to understand the company policies about safety and what to do in specific situations. However, if you generally like meeting new people and driving around town, this is a side hustle where you have total control over the hours you work.
7. Start a Repair Service
Simple home repairs and “handyman” jobs are a possible side hustle to consider if you have a good set of your own tools, and you like fixing things. It doesn’t take much to get started.
Plus, each season brings something new you can market services for. For example, you can offer holiday decoration services for people who can’t string up lights anymore or gutter cleaning in the fall and spring. You can also use different websites like TaskRabbit to find jobs and build up a good name for yourself.
One downside to this kind of work is the fact that you’ll likely be entering people’s homes. This comes with a certain amount of liability and uncertainty. You’ll want to at least make sure you’re insured for anything that might happen on the job.
8. Design Websites
Roughly 100,000 new website domains are added every day to the internet. That’s a lot of new sites — and a lot of potential clients for your new website design side hustle.
Designing websites enables you to select the clients you want to work with, and only work the hours you choose. Plus, user-friendly Content Management Systems (CMSs) like WordPress make it much easier to start your own design business.
All in all, this option is a great one for anyone with some web design knowledge. You can make use of page builders and other tools and ramp up a web design business quickly, without needing extensive programming skills.
9. Develop and Sell Themes or Plugins
When it comes to WordPress and side hustles, there are other options besides designing entire websites. As we mentioned previously, WordPress is built on an open-source core. This means that if you have the right programming knowledge, you can easily develop plugins and themes aimed at 35.2% of all websites that are currently online.
As with many other side hustles, you can create your own website to promote your work, or you can use an existing marketplace or sales platform. The WordPress Theme and Plugin Directories are a great place to submit a free version of your product. This enables you to build a following, and entice people to buy a premium version.
If you’re just starting out and you want to test your skills, there are a lot of resources out there to help you along the way. Using resources on GitHub, an open-source code repository, is another excellent method for learning the ropes.
10. Manage Social Media Posts
If you’re great at networking, up on all the latest social platforms, and can juggle 10 accounts at once, managing social media posts might be just the right side hustle for you. When you’re able to showcase your social media talents to potential clients, you really don’t need any other special qualifications.
There are a few skills and applications you might want to be able to demonstrate knowledge of, however. This can help set you apart from the competition. For example, mastering applications like Hootsuite can give you a leg up on your rivals.
This is an all-in-one social media management application that puts the tools you’ll need as a new social media manager all in one place. Just remember that you’ll want to be mindful of keeping all the accounts you work with separate, and establishing a clear set of terms and conditions with your clients.
11. Sell Items on Etsy
There are plenty of places to sell handmade items online, but Etsy is one of the best-known options.
When it comes to being successful on Etsy, reliable customer service can go a long way towards building a following. Posting quality photos and employing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) skills can also help. You’ll also want to make sure you have a marketable product, of course.
Potentially the biggest challenge to making yourself stand out on Etsy is that there will be a lot of competition. You’ll want to do your research on how to make sure your shop attracts attention. With that said, Etsy is an excellent option for crafters and makers of any type.
12. Start a Cottage Food Business
Another great way to have some fun and bring in extra income in the new year is with a cottage food business. Cottage food laws vary from state to state, but they typically outline what items can be made and sold in the home without a bakery license. This means you can sell approved items at farmer’s markets, in shops you partner with, or online.
With a projected 125.5 million users in the United States alone by 2023, Instagram is an excellent place to market your products.
The only downside to cottage food endeavors is that they can be limiting. Again, you’ll want to check your state laws for a list of products you can make without a license.
13. Set Up a Consulting Service
If many of the above options appeal to you, but you’re more of a “big picture” kind of person, you can always set up a consulting service. This can cover a wide range of professional areas or skills. It’s also an excellent way to make use of abilities you have that you might not be using in your day job.
You’ll want to clearly establish your experience and expertise in the category you’re offering consulting services for. You can make use of a platform like Linkedin if you want to present a more professional image.
This is also a situation where your portfolio will likely matter a lot. Potential clients will want to know if you have the experience necessary to guide them.
Keep in mind that to start up a successful consulting gig, you’ll want to put together a clear outline of the agreed-upon work for each client. It’s vital to make sure upfront that all parties are on the same page in terms of what the consult will include.
14. Become a Freelance Writer
Freelance writing is an increasingly popular option for a side gig. Nearly every website these days has a blog, for SEO purposes if nothing else. However, not every site owner is a skilled writer or has the time to research and write posts with sufficient frequency.
As an alternative, many business owners outsource these tasks to freelancers. Additionally, a number of marketing departments and agencies use freelancers to help out with heavy workloads. You can reach out to companies like these directly or browse for work on sites such as the ProBlogger Job Board.
This site should host your portfolio and provide details about rates and contact information to potential customers. It will also help position you as an expert in your niche, whether that’s WordPress, tech, travel, fashion, or something else entirely.
15. Start a Podcast
Podcasts can be surprisingly lucrative. Thanks to sponsorships, advertising deals, and affiliate sales, it’s possible to earn a solid income while diving deep into your favorite subjects.
The catch is that you’ll generally need to build up an audience of regular listeners in order to start seeing much income from podcasting. A good first goal to shoot for is 1,000 downloads per week — this is where you can start to see results from affiliate marketing and viewer donations.
Getting started with podcasting is easy enough, although you’ll ideally want to invest at least a little into equipment (such as microphones and editing software) to produce the best quality recordings you can. You’ll also likely need a dedicated hosting plan that’s capable of handling the traffic you’ll receive so that your content won’t slow down your website.
How to Set Yourself Up to Launch a Successful Side Hustle
Whatever your goals might be, there are several ways to set yourself up for success when launching a side hustle. You’ll want to have:
- A clear vision of your objective
- Solid time management
- A website with a secure and trusted web host
- A financial advisor
- The ability to maintain good records
There are also many helpful resources available online for learning more about the gig economy. There’s really never been a better time to take a chance on something you’ve always wanted to do!
Unlock Your Earning Potential
There’s often more to a side hustle than just adding money to your household income. A freelance gig can give you a greater sense of freedom and control. Plus, it never hurts to earn a little extra cash now and then.
You can set yourself up for a successful new side hustle in 2021 by planning ahead carefully and exploring your options. There are plenty of passive income opportunities you can get involved in, such as web design and proofreading, as well as offline options like repair and ridesharing.
Whatever your hustle idea, DreamHost is here to help support you. With our shared hosting plans and support services for even the smallest budgets, you’ll be one step closer to kicking off your new side hustle successfully!