There are two ways that you can save more money:
It’s a pretty simple formula when you boil it down.
The problem with the first point above – spending less money – is that there is a limit to how much less you can spend. If you are spending $1,000 a month, the maximum you can save is $1,000.
Oh and that assumes you just spend no money. Good luck finding a place to live (and eating) for free.
With point number two – earning more money – the upside is limitless. You could earn an extra $100, $1,000 or $10,000 a month if you work hard enough.
Sure, earning an extra $10,000 is 10,000 times easier said than done. But it’s possible.
And below, you’ll get some great side hustle ideas to help you start thinking about how you could earn more money (including passive income!).
Find out if you need to earn more money or if you are on track to hit your goals here.
This post was written in partnership with Robin from Mastering the Side Jam and The Money Mix.
Why Some Side Hustle Ideas Just Don’t WorkAdditionally, there are some people who may not have the flexibility or convenience of doing extra work outside of the home.
- Not having reliable transportation
- Caring for children or older family members
- A physical or emotional disability keeping them at home
- Unpredictable or longer hours during their full-time job
- No familial support for working an additional job
The Anti-Social Media InfluencerIn addition, I’d like to throw something a little bit controversial out there. Some people (not naming any names) just don’t like … other people. There, I said it. Because there are those of us who just really value our “alone time”. So working 40+ hours a week for someone else, and then having to dedicate another 10-15 hours for an external side hustle — will not last very long.
The Introvert Advantage of an Online Side HustleIf you happen to be a people person, then much of the above probably did not make a whole lot of sense. But if you found this article because you’re looking for ways to make money online — without a lot of human interaction — then there’s a good chance you know what I’m talking about. Because there definitely are ways to make extra money on the side, on your own terms, on a part-time basis.
Side Gigs That Require a Lot of Hustle, with Little GainWhen so many online articles offer “99 Easy Ways to Make Extra Money on the Side” or “Top 25 Side Hustle Ideas to Make You Rich”, it can be utterly discouraging to find side hustle ideas that can actually work for you. Because so many suggest ideas such as tag sale/flea market flipping, selling handcrafted products on eBay or Etsy, or selling wholesale on Amazon FBA, where you have to package and mail these items out. Flipping rental properties, renting out your vehicle, house sitting/pet sitting, house cleaning (when our own houses may have dust bunnies that should be paying rent by now). Again, these are all notably profitable side hustle ideas. But they also require a fair amount of time, physical activity, and effort.
Side Hustle Ideas That You Can Do from HomeOkay, so if you’ve made it this far and you’re still with me, then I can only assume you’d like to hear more. We’ve established the difference between in-home, online side hustles and external, physically busting-your-butt side hustles. Neither concept is right or wrong, it’s really just a matter of preference. And I prefer the flexibility of working at home, according to my own schedule. Especially since my day job is also from home. If your regular 9-to-5 has you out and about, then your preference may be different.
Working Entirely from HomeThe following side hustles can be done entirely from home, according to your schedule. While there is a certain level of effort involved — you can basically make your own hours. Plus you can do as much or as little as you’d like.
Online SurveysWho hasn’t tried online surveys? I think out of all the side hustle ideas out there, “taking surveys” takes the cake in terms of getting a bad rap. Online surveys have gotten some negative press over the years, simply because they’re the absolute easiest way to make a little bit of money. Emphasis on “little bit”. But … it’s still money. Because all you have to do is provide your opinion. Something each and every one of us has. The hard part is finding a company that will pay you top dollar for the least amount of your time. And for my money, I’ll take my chances with Survey Savvy every time. Why? Because out of all the companies I’ve tried, Survey Savvy has consistently sent me the most surveys in the $1, $2, and $5 price range. Most other companies will either give you pennies, or award points you need to accumulate & convert into a few dollars. Additionally, joining the Survey Savvy team will allow even more money-making opportunities. For example, their Cash for Junk Mail program, and also various online research communities.
IntelliZoom PanelIntelliZoom is kind of a cross between online survey and website user testing. You’re assigned a task, which usually involves evaluating a website. All steps of the task are recorded with either screen recording software, webcam video, or both. You walk through all of the task steps, answering questions and explaining your thought process. They really want you to “Think Out Loud”, to understand the average customer mindset. And the reason I’m specifically including this company here is because the payout is $10 per study. With other online survey or web testing sites, you might be lucky enough to stumble across a $10 study. But it definitely isn’t something offered on a consistent basis.
Kindle Self-PublishingAre you more of a creative type? If you love to write stories, you should consider self-publishing on Amazon. You might think getting a book published would be a complicated process, but it really isn’t.
eJury MemberIf you watch prime time television, you may have seen the popular CBS show “Bull”, starring Michael Weatherly. It’s a courtroom drama about a trial-consulting firm that assembles mock juries to help predict potential trial outcomes. Sound interesting? Well, you can have the opportunity to do the same thing, entirely online. eJury.com brings together online juries and focus groups to help attorneys develop their case strategies, based on valuable data and information that YOU provide. You can sign up to be an eJuror right on the website, and will be contacted once a qualifying case becomes available. A typical case consists of a written description — facts, diagrams, pictures, and questions. The average case study takes 35 minutes, and you are paid $5 – $10 per case, depending on length.
Affiliate MarketingAffiliate marketing, if done correctly, is pretty much a “set it and forget it”. A certain amount of work is required up front, and then after that will be totally passive income. So what exactly is affiliate marketing? It’s basically when you vouch for a product or service, recommending it to others. And then that company offers you a reward for bringing in new customers. It could be a certain dollar amount, a free product, or a free service, depending on what the company sells. And it’s something everyone can do, even if you don’t have a blog or professional online presence. I’m sure you’ve heard of cash back or refund programs like Ebates (aka Rakuten), where you get money back from making purchases online. But did you know you can also make money as an Ebates affiliate? You sign up through their affiliate program, and are given your own personal affiliate link. Then you promote your link on social media, or by email to family and friends, and yes, even on your blog, if you have one.
Selling Photos & Stock FootageIf you were to look at your phone right now, how many photos do you think would be on there? I just looked at mine, and I have 668 photos, plus 104 videos. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could somehow make money on a few of these photos? I don’t mean by selling out your bestie, or posting a bunch of selfies online. But if you have high-quality photos (in focus, non-blurry) of outdoor scenes, foliage, nature, animals, flowers, sunsets — you name it — you can make money by selling them online.
Merch by AmazonOne of the quickest and easiest ways to sell a physical product online is through Print on Demand. This means you provide a design, and the POD company takes care of printing, shipping, and customer support. Merch by Amazon is the platform I recommend for getting started with POD, since it’s user friendly and extremely popular. I mean, everybody has shopped on Amazon one or two times, right? To get started selling on Merch, all you need are a few creative ideas and an app to mock up your design. There are so many designing apps out there, accessible for computers and also for smartphones. Some free and popular programs are GIMP, Canva, Stencil, Over, and WordRabbit.
Side Hustle Ideas that are Mostly Passive, Working from HomeThis next group of side hustle ideas can also be done from home, and are very close to being entirely passive. Some additional work may be involved, but something that can totally be handled while multitasking.
ThredUp Clothing ConsignmentThe only real work involved with this side hustle is washing and folding the gently used clothing you plan on selling online. ThredUp will mail a shipping bag and postage-paid shipping label right to you (in what they call a “Clean Out Kit”). You place all of the items in the bag, seal it, and schedule a free pickup from USPS or FedEx. Upon receipt, ThredUp will inspect all of the items, determine prices, then list them for sale. And as each item is sold, you’ll receive the cash into your linked account. Which is way easier than listing individual items online on eBay, and then having to ship purchases to buyers yourself. ThredUp takes all of the grunt work out of the process for you.
Scanning ReceiptsThis is something you need to remember to do, but it’s pretty quick & no thought is involved. The next time you spend a day grocery shopping or erranding, make sure you save those paper receipts! There are several smartphone apps where you can scan your receipts for cash. So remind everyone in your family to keep their receipts as well. I do this at home — everyone drops their paper receipts on the kitchen table, I scoop them up & scan into all of my apps.
Search Bar RewardsHow often do you use Google to search online? Once a day? Several times a day? Well, some companies will actually pay you for using their search engine. Two examples that immediately come to mind are Swagbucks and Bing. In fact, one of my peers uses Bing exclusively for searches, for the purpose of accumulating Bing Reward points. He has teenagers who play video games on Xbox. And apparently you can use your reward points to pay for your Xbox Live monthly subscription. He said he’s used points to pay for an entire year of Xbox Live up front, and has done this for several years. Now that’s impressive — solely from doing online searches that you’re going to do regardless. So instead of asking someone to “Google it“, maybe instead say “Bing it“!
Picky DomainsPicky Domains is a site I’ve recently discovered, and have been trying out. I’m including it in this post because I thought it was such a fun concept, and I’d never heard of this side hustle idea. Customers sign up with Picky Domains when they are looking for brand name or domain name suggestions. They provide a short business background and lay out the parameters — like associated keywords, and maximum number of words or letters.
Amazon Influencer StorefrontIf you are active on social media, whether it’s Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest, you may want to consider becoming an Amazon Influencer. This is slightly different from their affiliate program because as an Influencer, you get to create your own storefront on Amazon, with a custom Amazon URL. (With the Amazon affiliate program, you have a unique link to specific products that you place in other online locations.) When you set up your storefront, you’re basically curating all of your favorite Amazon content to display in your store. And you can create separate Idea Lists, that serve as categories. For example, you can create an Idea List of Best Summer Reads, or Must-Have Hair Care Products, or Cutest Dog Halloween Costumes. Then you can share your Amazon storefront link wherever you have an audience or followers. And when customers shop through your storefront, you earn money on qualifying purchases.
Pay Your SelfieThis is a fun one that you can totally do while multi-tasking, and can help you earn a few extra bucks every month. With the Pay Your Selfie app, you earn money by posting selfies of certain everyday situations. For example, a “BBQ Grillin’ Selfie“, or “What’s For Breakfast? Selfie“, and even a “Where Do You Keep Your Marshmallows? Selfie“. You’ll receive anywhere from 25 cents to $1 for each approved selfie. Again, not a huge amount of money, but a chunk of change that can add up, for very little effort!
Working Mainly from Home, Minimal Human InteractionHere are some side hustle ideas where you can make money from home, but may need to engage in a small amount of human interaction. Which wouldn’t be an everyday occurrence, but may happen every once in a while.
Online or Telephone Focus GroupsOnline Focus Groups are a great way to make money from home for providing your opinion. They’re similar to online surveys, except they pay a lot more. Like, it wouldn’t be difficult to locate an opportunity where you can make from $50 – $200. But in general, you need to qualify for a particular demographic. So you more than likely will need to complete a short survey up front, to make sure you fit the criteria needed for the focus group. The focus group may take the form of an online community or forum, where they want you to post your opinion on something. Or a company may mail you a product to use, and then you need to tell them what you thought about it. It could even be a brand new smartphone app that they’d like you to try out & give your opinion on. A lot of this communication will be done entirely online. But sometimes companies may offer phone interviews, where you need to talk to an actual person in order to answer questions. There are even in-person focus groups, like the ones you see on TV in car commercials. When you register with a research organization, you typically set your preferences — whether you prefer online, text, telephone, or in-person focus groups.
Census TakerAnother not-so-common suggestion for working from home is to be a Census Taker. I know what you’re thinking — There’s no way I’m going door-to-door, counting everyone who lives in each house. But hear me out. That’s only one aspect of what the Census Team does. And I only know this because I actually got the chance to speak with a 2020 Census Recruiter a few weeks ago, when I attended a local ChooseFI meetup. So while they do have door-to-door Census Takers, there are also plenty of online research positions, where you can work from home, part-time. Basically, they train you how to use online tools to verify information. In certain situations, you may need to drive to a location and take a picture of a house or building. This would be in situations where they cannot validate that someone lives in a residence. For example, in the case of foreclosures or if a previous resident has passed away. But the majority of this verification can actually be done online.
Totally Passive IncomeThese next few side hustle ideas require basically no effort, and produce totally passive income. But they may not be for everyone. They require a certain level of transparency, allowing these companies into your daily online behavior. So if you’re a little hesitant about “Big Brother” watching you, these may not be a good fit for you. However, if you don’t mind sharing a few of your online habits, you can cash in by receiving money for doing nothing. And I will tell you, I currently participate in both of these. (But then again, my life isn’t terribly interesting, so they’re probably not discovering a ton of useful information!)
Digital ReflectionWith Digital Reflection, you get paid for having a hardware device connected to your computer router. In addition, you earn bonus quarterly payments for validating any online devices used in your household (laptops, cell phones, tablets). According to the company website, they gather data to create research reports for businesses around the world, and the reports never contain any personally identifiable information. As far as the pay, you’ll receive $20 for signing up and installing their device, the “internet meter”. Then you receive $5 for each month that the meter is plugged in. Every quarter you get a $20 bonus. And they also throw out a few extra bonuses every once in a while, for installing updates and validating your information. I’ve been a member for roughly a year and a half, and have made $365. For doing nothing but keeping a device plugged in.
Savvy ConnectSimilar to Digital Reflection, Savvy Connect pays you money when you connect their program to your devices. They collect data as you surf the web, and track trends in online search, shopping, and entertainment. And in return, you earn cash rewards. Savvy Connect is part of the Survey Savvy program.
In SummaryWorking a side hustle doesn’t have to take every spare second of your day. Especially if you already have a full-time job. Because your time is just as important as money. And you need to have a healthy balance between work time, fun time, and downtime — or else you may find yourself in an unhappy situation.
Robin from Mastering the Side Jam
Robin is a full-time business professional who has worked in the financial services industry for over 20 years. She is also a personal finance blogger who shares her first-hand experience with the struggles of money and debt. On Mastering the Side Jam, she focuses on ways to maximize efficiencies to make and save money, pay off debt, and live your best life. She has been featured on The Money Mix, Rockstar Finance, The Financial Diet and Women’s Money Talk, and has been quoted in various online publications.
I’ve had pretty good success with Merch by Amazon. The pay varies quite a bit month to month, but I make at least $100 a month. Christmas time (known as “Q4”) I’ve made a much as $400+ in a single month.