Did you know that over 40% of American households have someone engaged in a side hustle to stay on top of bills? People are in survival mode and living paycheck to paycheck. Most people start a side hustle for one very important reason: Money!
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Why it matters
Our high inflation, expensive, expanding and consumerist society has created a culture that leaves people always “wanting more”. And that “more” needs to be paid for.
Sure, a side hustle can help ease the pain of excess bills, but it’s also an opportunity to change your life. A side hustle can allow you to design a life where you work without the commuting grind and the corporate slavery.
Good news, right?
And on top of that, it’s never been easier to start an online side hustle. The digital and technology ecosystem has provided the tools to start, manage and market to the world. This wasn’t available just over a decade ago.
There are so many options to make money online; all you need is an idea, a laptop, and a good internet connection.
Let’s dive deeper
Is a side hustle really just about the money?
In my opinion, starting an online side hustle is about more than just the money. Let’s take a look at some other reasons you might want to start one.
- To achieve independence
- To have time and space to pursue your dreams.
- To escape the time suck that is commuting, so you can spend more hours with your partner and children.
- To create a life of freedom that allows you to work from anywhere (by the way, the “digital nomad” is a very real and rewarding experience as I have done it and it beats working from a high-rise office block!).
- To do something that you’re passionate about rather than just work for the money.
Here’s another great reason why you should consider starting a side hustle. Fulfilment. To become a fulfilled creator.
All humans were designed to create. And there is something about transforming imagination into a personal creation that is shared with a global digital tribe.
It’s “you” revealed to the world. That is a powerful affirmation. This is not often on people’s radar. But it sits deep inside all of us.
To tease you, let’s look at the four elements that make up a perfect online side hustle:
- Fulfilled creator (Happy)
- Living and working in a beautiful exotic location (Beauty)
- Make enough money that pays for your life (Abundance)
- Able to work from anywhere in the world (Freedom)
The intersection of these elements provides what I would call an optimal side hustle.
This is what a digital (or online) business can provide. And this wasn’t possible just a few years ago. But the reality is that you can design your life for happiness. You just need to start.
Some interesting data on online side hustles
Here is what the data shows about the “growing interest in an online side hustle” as revealed by Google Trends.
Some of the breakout sub-trends include the following:
- Side hustle jobs from home
- Online jobs from home
The “old” versus the “new” side hustles
Side Hustles can be put into two categories. Old and new. What do I mean by that?
The Old Way
Let’s take a closer look at the old way.
A side hustle taken on in the old way might look like an after-hours cleaning job, waiting on tables, or walking dogs. It requires you to show up at a physical location. It is location trapped and therefore means you trade time for money. And I don’t know about you but that sounds like hard work!
These side hustles are analog and mean we need to show up after a hard day’s work. It doesn’t scale, you need to arrive and commute.
Same treadmill, same old habits. So….last century!
The New Way
These side hustles are based upon an online digital world and it’s global. So what does an online side hustle look like?
The fast-changing digital world is reinventing how we work and live.
It’s transforming how we do business in plain sight. It’s overwhelming, yet we often take it for granted. In just a generation we have seen the rise of the internet, the emergence of social media and the smartphone. It’s a perfect storm.
The digital world breaks the norms and comfort zones of how we have worked, created and shared information for centuries. It is a new way. It’s a digital business. And it is global and scalable.
What are some online side hustle opportunities?
Coming up with ideas is easy. Turning them into reality is another thing. And some are easier to start than others.
Here is a quick cheat sheet of online side hustle businesses you could start:
- A blog – This could be where you travel the world and share your stories and become something like a travel influencer.
- Affiliate website – Sell other people’s products and take a commission for every sale.
- Virtual assistant – You might like helping support other businesses, CEOs and founders. You look after the daily details to help them be more productive and profitable.
- Online consulting – 40%+ of the world’s employees are knowledge workers and have specialist skills. This can be turned into an online consulting services business. Showing up to consult in a physical location to have a chat is now done by Zoom.
- Youtube influencer – The video version of a blogger.
- Sell E-books – Creating an online book and selling it on Amazon is a popular way to make money online.
- Create an online course – Education is no longer restricted to a physical classroom.
And the list goes on!
Here are some more online side hustles that you may want to explore:
The best online side hustle opportunities
There are some intriguing and tempting online business ideas out there, but that doesn’t mean they’re all worth exploring.
The best online side hustle for you sits at the intersection of the following:
- What you are good at.
- What you have some experience in.
- What you enjoy doing.
- What the world will pay you for.
Some side hustles are easier to start than others but you also need to be prepared for the long game and that will require resilience and persistence. Overnight success is very rare.
Opportunity 1: Freelancing as an online side hustle
Freelancing is where you share and sell your expertise online on sites like Upwork, Freelancer.com or Fiverr.com. And it is one of the easiest ways to start a side hustle.
The top 4 revenue results by sales for freelancers were the following:
- Illustration – $406,000+ (Design)
- Proofreading and editing – $341,000+ (Writing)
- Animation – $309,000+ (Design)
- Video editor – $280,000+ (Design)
Here are the Top 10 Paying Freelancing “Side Hustles” as listed by Canva and they are all digital.
Opportunity 2: ECommerce side hustle
Online stores have been with us for 2-3 decades now but the platforms to build your own have never been easier or cheaper.
You don’t have to create an online store from scratch today as platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce have a monthly subscription service that makes it as easy as possible for you to start in just a few hours.
To add to that you can launch your own Amazon store and let them do the heavy lifting from helping you find the products, providing storage and giving you access to global shipping and fulfilment. The acronym for that is (FBA) which is code for “Fulfillment By Amazon”.
According to Marketplace Pulse modelling:
- The Amazon seller eCommerce distribution by sales volume estimated that there was $390 billion in collective sales
- Approximately 350,000 sellers exceeded $100,000
- 60,000 sellers sold over $1 million
- Over 3,000 had more than $10 million in sales in 2021
Opportunity 3: YouTuber side hustle
Now before you start getting too excited (and salivating) this type of online business requires a certain type of personality. So you need to make sure that the side hustle you settle on is something that suits your skills, experience and personality.
YouTube has been with us since 2005. That was only 17 years ago. And you thought it was all about cat videos and cute videos of babies. But it is now a serious business. And it is a side hustle option worth investigating.
You have a lot more chance of making money on YouTube than joining the Global Tennis circuit.
Below is the revenue of the top 10 YouTubers:
So how do they make money?
There are some key factors that determine success:
- The number of views your video receives
- The number of clicks an ad receives
- Ad quality
- Ad blockers
- Video length
But…what do they actually do?
Taking a video of your baby or cat isn’t the answer.
Jimmy Donaldson is only 22 years old and started his YouTube career in 2014.
For 2-3 years he struggled to get any traction as he tried to crack the secrets of the algorithms for getting attention and traffic. But persistence paid off. His first video to go viral was a video showing himself counting to 100,000. That took 44 hours!
Today his go-to strategy and tactics are about big-scale philanthropic giveaways. Designed to go viral.
This side hustler experimented with different content creation ideas and now records and streams himself playing different types of games.
#3 Nastya (7 Years old)
She sang, danced and shared her day-to-day activities with followers, and for her parents, it was exactly what the channel was made for.
In just one year, she amassed 107 million subscribers across seven of her channels. In 2020, Anastasia earned an estimated $25.8 million, and in 2021 – her projected income reached $39 million.
YouTube fame tends to be counted in hours, days, weeks or, possibly, months if all goes right. It doesn’t often stretch much further—into something delineated by years.
This makes the ongoing nine-year run by comedians Rhett and Link, whose daily show, Good Mythical Morning, counts 17.1 million subscribers, surprising even to them.
Wrapping it up
Money is one big reason to start a side hustle. But there are other, deeper reasons to start a side hustle too. Many side hustlers are motivated by freedom, independence and getting their time back.
What drives you?