Starting a home-based side hustle business is one of the easiest ways to make extra money each month. No matter what your skills or experience may be, everyone is capable of making a few extra bucks online from the comfort of their own home.
When you have zero experience running a side hustle from home, it can be confusing trying to get started. Once you figure it out, you can repeat the same process over and over again whenever you need some spare cash. There are a lot of work from home or get-rich-quick scams out there, so you want to be sure you put effort into a legitimate strategy.
I have been working for myself full-time at home for more than 13 years and part-time for more than 20. During that time, I have probably tried out almost every possible type of business and method of making money at home. I've experienced some big successes and some horrible failures during that time. Failures suck but they do teach excellent lessons to use in the future. This guide will help to pass along my knowledge to you so you can also make extra money each month with side hustles and maybe even transition one into a full-time small business one day.
- Why Side Hustle From Home
- Is Working At Home Right For You?
- Where Will You Work?
- Freelance Writing & Other Gigs
- Advertising Revenue
- Make Money With Affiliate Marketing
- Advertising Sponsorships
- Sell Digital Products
- E-Commerce: Sell Physical Products
- Video Content Creation
- Writing / Text Content Creation
- Make Money Playing Games
- Build Your Own Website
- Run a Podcast
- Social Media Selling
- Third-Party Website Earnings
Why Side Hustle From Home
There can be a lot of different reasons why you may want to attempt a side hustle at home. If you're an introvert like me, you're capable of working a normal job with a lot of other people. However, there's something about earning a living in solitude that's downright peaceful. You only have to count on yourself to succeed. Stay at home moms and even dads can find work at home very appealing. It can allow them to continue their normal duties taking care of the kids while also earnings some spare cash on the side.
Even though working at home can be more appealing to some people, it can benefit almost anyone. You save money when you don't have to drive to a job every day or figure out how to eat away from your house.
Money is the usually the main reason people choose to attempt a side hustle. When your earnings from your job are capped, and promotions can take years to achieve, you look elsewhere if you need more money in your monthly budget. Coming home after work and doing a few hours of work at your computer can be the pay raise you've been waiting to receive. You don't need your boss to make it happen though - just go out there and get what you need for yourself.
Is Working At Home Right For You?
With all of the advantages that come along with at home side hustles, there are also some downsides. Sometimes it can be hard to motivate yourself to work. Other times it can be difficult to stop working when your home and work are in the same location.
Extra money can really help a family's monthly budget, but it can also potentially put a strain on relationships. A couple that is used to being apart most of the day may find that they drive each other crazy if they are both home 24/7. My wife and I have spent the last 13 years or more around each other 24 hours a day. It's almost like cramming a 50 year marriage into a decade. Problems can be created, but it can also be a great, carefree way of life if you can figure out a way to work that is good for you and your significant other.
Being home while working can also cause you to work with more interruptions. You'll be around family while you work, and they will often want their needs to come before your work. It's nice to be home with family all of the time, but the secret is to set some physical and mental boundaries. Let everyone know when you will be working and to try to avoid interruptions whenever possible during those times. Also make sure they know when you are free too. You don't want to put yourself into eternal work mode while you're awake.
Where Will You Work?
Having a peaceful place to work at home is essential for any side hustle. I've worked at a desk in the middle of my living room before. It can work for a few months, but it really gets old for you and your family after a while. You don't want your family to have to walk around the house on eggshells when you work.
If you have a spare room in your house or especially an extra building, that can make for a perfect home office. Any kind of physical separation from your work environment and everything else will help a lot in many ways.
For anyone that doesn't have a possible work location in their home except in the middle of the living room or their own bedroom, this can work for a short while. However, I really recommend having a long-term plan to get a more private home office. Some people will purchase a storage shed, insulate it and install a window AC to create a home office. These makeshift offices can work for some people and will definitely give some separation from the main house.
Freelance Writing & Other Gigs
Now I want to talk about some different methods to make money online. Each of these the strategies I'll discuss are ones that I've personally tried or still do. You can try one or even a combination of multiple strategies together. Ultimately, what you choose should be based upon what will work best for you long-term.
One of the easiest things that almost anyone can do to make extra cash is pick up freelance gigs. You can go to Google and search for online freelance websites in general or in specific industries to find places to get work. You basically work on a single project for someone and get paid a set amount of money for the work. It's working for others but online.
Writing content is one of the most in-demand types of freelance work that is consistently available. Many people don't want to pay much for writing. However, if you can do high-quality work and find the right people, you can get much higher rates for this type of a gig.
Other commonly available work will usually relate to computers or the internet. Voiceovers, audio transcribing, data entry, graphics, programming and video content creation are just some of the skills that can be very handy in this industry to find more work that pays better rates. Simply find a job you want, bid on the project, get selected to work, do the work, and then get paid. The bad part about doing this type of work is you usually have to constantly look for new work to make a decent income.
Many different online side hustle strategies will make their money from advertising revenue and never have to sell anything. This can be a very reliable approach that offers fairly steady earnings. However, it can also take a long time to start making any money in many cases since you usually have to create content and build an audience over time.
Most advertising revenue is a numbers game. Google ads can be placed on any website or even on YouTube videos. You earn a percentage of the revenue from each ad shown or clicked. You don't have to sell anything with these methods, but you do often need to generate clicks on ads. Generating clicks is a numbers game. It may take 50-300 people visiting your website before you get a single ad click. You'll need thousands of daily visitors to a website before you start to make any kind of decent money that is worth the time you put into it.
YouTube channels that use Google ads will make $4 - $5 per 1000 on average, although some industries make more than others based on what advertisers bid for views and clicks. At $4/1000 views, a viral video with 1,000,000 views would make about $4,000. The point is that you will need a lot of regular video views to turn a YouTube channel into a decent side hustle income.
Make Money With Affiliate Marketing
Another way you can earn online is with affiliate marketing. This is usually selling physical goods, but digital products can also be promoted as an affiliate. Your goal is to send traffic through your affiliate link to buy goods. When you refer a sale, you receive a percentage of the purchase amount as a commission. Commission rates can vary from one company to the next and may even vary based on the type of product. They're generally 1% to 10% on physical goods. Digital products can offer 50% or even higher commission but can be more difficult to sell too.
This also becomes a numbers game like other types of advertising. It could take hundreds of people visiting a site to refer an affiliate sale. Making a few bucks per sale requires a lot of website traffic to really earn a significant income.
A lot of spammers utilize affiliate marketing, so it can have a negative stigma attached to it. Many people have developed a sixth sense of avoiding advertisements and affiliate links when browsing websites. These factors can make it hard to refer any customers when you don't have any experience. Trust is actually one of the biggest secrets. Random website visitors aren't very likely to buy through your links. However, if you can build an email newsletter and get people to follow you long-term, you'll build trust with them. When people trust you online, they're much more likely to buy the things you recommend to them.
When it comes to any kind of advertising revenue, Google ads or affiliate marketing, you should always consider these forms of side hustle monetization to be easy, initial strategies to make money. As you build a large audience, you'll make much more money if you can eventually switch to selling your own products.
You've probably heard about some famous Instagram influencer getting paid a million dollars to make a post that includes a product. They've set up a special advertising sponsorship deal with a company for paid product placement.
Unfortunately, it's not very likely that you'll ever receive anything close with your side hustle. In fact, don't be surprised if you're never offered a single advertising sponsorship. These typically only happen with the most popular people that have millions of followers.
With that said, there are some smaller sponsorships that are more feasible to achieve. There's also certainly nothing wrong with making it a long-term goal of yours to get sponsored. However, you don't want that to be your business plan. You need another method to earn money for your while you build a huge audience.
Ultimately, if you are popular enough to attract a sponsorship, you could also make just as much or maybe even more money selling your own products instead. Think ahead with your side hustle. Even if you want advertising revenue now, consider what kind of products you could sell later to boost your earnings.
Sell Digital Products
One of the best kinds of products that you can sell online, in my opinion, is a digital product. This could be video / ebook training courses, printables, or even writing a book to publish on Amazon.
The basic idea behind this type of side hustle is that you put a lot of initial time into creating a product to turn it into a passive income for you. In reality, you'll do best with ongoing work to build an audience and attract traffic, while you passively sell your digital products to that audience.
For example, if you write a digital ebook to publish on Amazon, you can succeed getting completely passive sales just letting your book sit there. However, it's more of a random gamble with that approach - you may succeed and sell a ton of copies but you're more likely to end up with very few sales. The best thing to do would be to build your own audience that would likely be interested in your book too. This could be done through a website, a YouTube channel, social media channels or even with a podcast.
You just need an audience and a way to contact all of them on demand, such as an email newsletter or a social media notification. You can then easily promote your own products to your audience that trusts you for much easier sales at a higher volume. In fact, if you promote your own book on a marketplace like Amazon, you'll increase the sales rank. With higher sales ranks, Amazon begins to give you more traffic exposure on their site, which can lead to even more sales!
E-Commerce: Sell Physical Products
Another method to make money online is with e-commerce. This strategy can sometimes offer huge earnings potential. However, those earnings don't come easy or cheap. Running a retail store online requires investing money to get started, ongoing investments to buy new inventory, customer service work, and a lot of work packaging and shipping orders. For these reasons, it can be overwhelming or even out of reach for beginners to attempt this as their first side hustle.
More big factors that you have to consider are inventory storage and room to package orders. Depending on the number of items you plan to sell and how many you'll buy, you may end up needing a lot of room to be able to store your inventory. You need to keep it somewhere it won't get messed up too, so away from potential water, pets, smoke and possibly even the sun. Once you have orders, you'll need to access your inventory to box up each purchase. This also requires packaging materials, shipping software for printing labels, a decent printer and more. It can also take a fair amount of space to package products.
Once you have orders boxed up, you have to take them to the post office or perhaps to multiple drop off locations if you use other services like UPS or FedEx too. It's possible to get these companies to pick up your orders, but they usually charge a flat fee for each pickup day too. This can make it an added expense that may not be worth it if you are sending a small handful of packages at a time.
As you can see, running an e-commerce side hustle can be a much more complicated endeavor. They can provide great results, but it's not easy money to get started. Even if this isn't the best choice for you as a beginner, you should consider it in the future when you get serious about working from home full-time.
Video Content Creation
After talking about a number of different methods you can use to get paid from a side hustle, I haven't really discussed WHAT you can do online to get traffic to use with those methods. There are tons of possibilities here, but I'll be discussing a number of the easiest, most common, and most successful here.
The first one I want to talk about is video content creation. You can make videos about almost anything and build an audience for it online. This could be anything from funny videos to educational training.
Many people will get discouraged after watching professional quality videos that some of the most popular people produce. Don't forget, they've been doing it a long time and make a lot of money that they can spend on their videos to increase production quality. You can record videos on your cell phone to simply edit the beginning and ending to make them ready to publish. As you keep doing it, you'll learn new tricks or perhaps even start paying someone else to edit your videos.
One major key with trying to build a video channel about any subject is ongoing content. You can't make a video or two and expect big results. This will take months or maybe even years of doing it before you start to see big results. For this reason, you really need to love making videos about your subject matter. Do it as a hobby to start, and it may eventually be a side hustle that will earn you a lot of money.
Writing / Text Content Creation
If you don't like the idea of making videos, you can use the written word to attract people instead. Text-based content can be a powerful way to get traffic and build an audience. However, there can also be a lot of traffic with sources of free traffic like Google Search, so this approach can also take time to see real results.
You can write about any subject you want and publish it on your own website or perhaps a blogging platform. I really recommend using your own website, but that can also be intimidating for a beginner too. WordPress websites are actually not very difficult to create and build though. At least attempt to get a domain name and a hosting account. Watch some tutorial videos on installing and using WordPress to build your own website.
Free search engine traffic from places like Google can be a great way to get traffic to a text based site. However, you can also use social media websites to boost your traffic levels. If you do depend on search engines for traffic, make sure you do keyword research. Having certain words or phrases in the title and/or within your text content can drastically affect whether you receive search traffic. By targeting each website article to a keyword phrase that people actually search for gives the potential to get traffic when people search that phrase.
Make Money Playing Games
Very popular among the younger crowd or just die-hard gamers is a method to actually make money online playing games. This approach usually involves streaming your game playing live on a platform like Twitch. You'll get to earn a revenue share when you can build an audience. However, reaching a point where you actually have a lot of people watching you on a regular basis can be a difficult goal to achieve.
Just like many sales methods, if you can bring in an additional audience to your live game streams beyond what the platform gives you then you'll find it much easier. The more popular streamers will get their profiles featured on the website, which gives them even more viewers. If you can utilize other social media sites or even your own website to build your own audience, you can direct those additional people to view your streams.
Like many other strategies, this can also take a lot of time to truly build into something that may adequately pay for the time invested. However, if you love doing it and don't mind doing it for free for years potentially, you can be among the lucky few that find success in this industry.
Beyond being entertaining and playing the right games, that extra audience boost can really be your most important tool here so don't ignore it. This approach can shave months or even years off the amount of time it will take to build an audience big enough to pay the bills.
Build Your Own Website
No matter what try to do for an online side hustle at any level, it would likely benefit from having a website. Even if you're making a YouTube channel, you can still embed your videos onto a web site and add additional content to attract your own audience. Maybe you want to build an email newsletter list from the people that watch your videos. You could direct them to your website to accomplish this goal. The same can be said if you want to sell your own digital or physical products. You could even set up a website with affiliate ads to direct your viewers to buy products you recommend.
Any goals you want to accomplish online can simply be made more powerful or be reached quicker when you have a website in addition to everything else. Most third-party sites like YouTube won't allow you to build an email newsletter list on their platform. You may even be limited with being able to sell products or include additional advertising, especially affiliate ads. That's where you can really take advantage of having your own website. Just put those extra items on a website and direct people there to get around various company policies.
A website can also be a standalone side hustle. You could simply have text content that targets search engine keywords and shows ads to your visitors. E-commerce sites are best done with your own website. Almost any kind of product that you want to sell can be done through your own website. The possibilities are almost endless. You just have to figure out what your side hustle will do and how you will monetize it.
Run a Podcast
Anyone that likes to talk and could talk endlessly about a subject may consider a podcast. Like other strategies, you need to continually add new content for this type of side hustle to have a chance at working. It can also benefit from a combination of strategies, such as building an audience or selling products through your own website.
The biggest downside to this approach is that it can be a bit complicated and even expensive for beginners to try. When your voice is the only content for your audience, it becomes more important to have high quality audio. This usually will require you to invest in your business to start it to buy a good microphone. You'll also need a quiet place where you can run your show without unwanted noise for an hour or maybe even longer at a time. This isn't very feasible to do if you work at a desk in your living room and have two young kids at home 24 hours a day.
If you do want to pursue this type of side hustle, be willing to put in work for a long period of time without seeing real results. Get results faster by building an additional audience for your podcast show using one or more of the other methods I've discussed here. Consider how you will monetize this business, both short-term and long-term. If you can't make money doing it, you may want to avoid it unless you just truly enjoy doing it for fun.
Social Media Selling
The last strategy I want to talk to you about is selling on social media. Social media can not only be used for selling both physical and digital goods, it can also be used to help you build an audience faster to combine with other methods. You can even use social media to sell products in-person in your local community.
Using Facebook as an example, you can utilize Groups to directly sell products or to get website traffic that could buy products or build your audience. Facebook Marketplace can be used to sell products in person locally. Facebook pages can be another source of traffic to help build an audience and sell things to them.
The same strategies can usually be applied to other social media sites too. If you can identify which one is preferred for your potential audience, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort by targeting them on their preferred platform. Figure out which sites can help you accomplish your goals faster and utilize them to your benefit.
Third-Party Website Earnings
One final note that is very important for beginners to keep in mind with any online side hustle has to do with earning your money through third-party companies. Do not be 100% dependent upon any one company to run your business. The online world has a lot of unsavory characters that companies have to watch out for all the time. Sometimes they mistake good people for them and permanently block them.
I have personally witnessed someone base their entire side hustle business on a social media website. They built it into a huge success over three years with an audience of nearly 100,000 people. It was all taken away in an instant by the social media company after her competitors ganged up and reported her repeatedly in large numbers. If they had also built their own website with an email newsletter list, and insisted that their sales somehow went through that website, then their business wouldn't have died overnight.
With that in mind, simply don't put all of your eggs in one basket. Whenever possible, retain complete ownership over your business with your own website. If your website depends on outside traffic, built your own email list and try to diversify your traffic sources. The key is to avoid having a pillar for the stability of your business under the ultimate control of a third-party company.
Home, Online Side Hustles Summary
I truly hope you have taken something useful and valuable away from this post. After learning some potential side hustle ideas and how to monetize them, you should be able to get started now with your own business. If you didn't know what you wanted to do, perhaps this guide has provided you with some inspiration.
Always try to look forward into the future with your home-based side hustle. Things change over time. Being able to see these changes coming before they take place can present excellent business opportunities. It's also important to identify those future changes to be able to pivot with your existing side hustle when necessary.
The longer you run a side business online, the more popular and profitable they tend to become. Don't get discouraged in the beginning if people aren't viewing or reading your content. Keep creating it and putting it out into the world. Most content will eventually be found by someone. You can help speed it along by bring in more people from outside sources like your own website or social media. If you continue doing it long enough, most people will usually find success. That means that you have to stay motivated and keep producing content.
99% of all people that try an online side hustle at home will end up failing because they give up on producing content and didn't wait long enough to become popular. Simply don't give up and keep doing what you start. Look for new ways to market your business online to help boost your audience faster. Try new ways of selling to your audience. There are always changes that can be made to improve your chances for success.
The BEST of luck to you in your future side hustle endeavors!