Side Hustles

The Best Online Side Hustles (Our Top Picks)

The Information Age has brought us the opportunity to do tons of creative and interesting things that start online. We can communicate with friends and relatives all over the world in mere seconds, find endless learning opportunities, and countless ways to buy and sell. Whether it’s products or services, it’s all at our fingertips. This is great news for anyone with basic computer knowledge and a solid Wi-Fi connection.

One of the best things about online side hustles is that you can do them whenever you’re home and have some free time. You can make money while you’re stuck inside during a snowstorm, recovering from the flu, or occupying downtime between other tasks. And you can use the extra money to pay off debt, supplement your income between jobs, pad your emergency fund, boost your retirement savings, or help fund a major purchase like a vacation. 

Whatever the reason, online side hustles are usually easier and less time-consuming than traditional side hustles. But with all of the different options out there, it can be hard to choose the right one. So, here are some of the most popular choices for online side hustles to help narrow down your list: 

BEACH CHAIR-Best Online Side Hustles

Affiliate Marketing

When you perform affiliate marketing, you can earn income each time you promote someone else’s services or products for them. The only potential issues with this option are that it’s difficult to predict how much success you’ll have, and you only make money if you generate a sale for the person or company you’re working for. Obviously, an effort and effectiveness-based earning method are fair enough, but some factors may be out of your control, so it takes a certain type of personality to make the most of it. 

Who it’s best for: people with excellent marketing, writing, and interpersonal skills that are also confident in their ability to make sales.  

How to get started: 

  • Build your own blog or website
  • Pick the industry you want to work in and a niche to focus on
  • Research products that you’d want to promote
  • Search for that particular product + “affiliate program”
  • Sign up
  • Start working (be sure to use the link that they give you and not the general link to the page, your personalized link allows them to track the customers you brought in)
  • Collect your commission when they buy the product!

Make Money from the “Gig” Economy

Gig work has become incredibly popular over the last few years. Platforms like Fiverr, Etsy, and Facebook marketplace allow you to sell homemade crafts and products, and skills you have that other person may not. Fiverr is one of the most popular online side hustle platforms because of its versatility. You can sell just about any service or skill there, while Etsy and Facebook marketplace is better for handmade or spruced up items. Here are some of the most popular gig choices across these platforms: 

  • Video marketing 
  • Website building 
  • App development
  • Graphic design
  • Handmade wedding decorations 
  • Handmade blankets and other household items 

Who it’s best for: anyone with marketable skills, interesting hobbies to monetize, and boundless creativity. 

How to get started: 

  • Pick your platform based on what you’re selling
  • Sign up for free and complete your profile 
  • Start creating 
  • Swap your designs, handmade cake toppers, and other creations for cash

Start Your Writing Side Hustle

WRITING-Best Online Side Hustles

Whether you want to ghostwrite for other people through platforms like Upwork and iWriter or write your own collections of stories or novels and self-publish them, writing can be a very lucrative online side hustle. If you choose to work as a ghostwriter, Upwork is the most popular platform to work through. All you have to do is apply as a writer (you’ll only need basic contact information and a writing sample), wait until you’re accepted, complete your profile, and start applying for jobs posted by clients. 

If you’ve already done a good amount of writing on your own or you just prefer keeping the credit and don’t mind starting from scratch, Amazon’s KDP program makes it easy to self-publish for free, and you’ll keep about 70% of what you make in sales. If you already have an Amazon account, you’re halfway there.

Who it’s best for: anyone with creative writing and editing skills, and a good amount of patience. 

Become a Data Entry Specialist

When you sign up to perform data entry for a company, it’ll be exactly as it sounds. Generally, all you have to do is enter or update data into their website, a spreadsheet, or another area they provide you access to. You can perform data entry while you watch TV or while dinner is in the oven, and it requires little advanced skill or concentration. This is very simple work, so it’s incredibly easy to find and perform, but it may pay a little less than many of the other options. 

Who it’s best for: Anyone looking for mostly mindless, easy work while they’re relaxing on the couch.

How to get started:

  • Choose a website to test out and sign up, it’s that simple!

Here are ten of the most popular sites for online data entry jobs: 

  • Upwork 
  • Fiverr
  • Truelancer
  • PeoplePerHour
  • GoLance
  • Freelancer
  • Toptal
  • Skillbox
  • Indeed
  • Clickworker

Get Paid to Take Surveys

Hundreds of websites boast the possibility of earning easy money by completing quick online surveys, but this a category where you should proceed with caution. Many survey websites require that you enter your email and then you end up receiving tons of marketing and spam emails within days. Others will allow you to start surveys but then quickly disqualify you after you’ve answered the first ten questions. Many also have outrageous requirements when it comes to cashing out your earnings. 

But if you choose the right one, the positives will outweigh the negatives. Survey Junkie, Swagbucks, and Inbox Dollars are the three most popular choices. Survey Junkie is limited to surveys online, but we’ve found that you qualify for the most here and even when you don’t, they typically give you a few cents just for trying. At a $10 minimum, they also have the lowest threshold for cashing out, so they’re definitely worth a shot. You can collect a check or have your earnings transferred to your PayPal account. 

Swagbucks and Inbox Dollars offer surveys too, but they also offer other ways to earn points. You can earn points for using coupons, watching videos, playing games, and answering daily poll questions. Both of these options have higher minimums for cashing out and they award fewer points for each successfully completed task, but they’re still easy to use and have reputable customer service departments, so they’ve made the list. Swagbucks limits you to cash out in gift cards, but if you earn enough, you can choose a Visa or PayPal card, so there’s not much difference there. Inbox Dollars pays through checks sent out in the mail or gift cards. 

Who it’s best for: someone who wants the ability to complete a variety of easy tasks in the background of their day, doesn’t mind waiting a bit to cash out and enjoys pop-culture-style videos and quirky games. 

How to get started: 

  • Choose a website to start with (they’re all free and degrees of success will vary, so we’d recommend choosing more than one)
  • Sign up for the ones you like 
  • Log in whenever you have free time
  • Answer survey questions
  • Play games
  • Watch videos 
  • Cash-out once you’ve reached the minimum

Research as a Side Hustle

RESEARCH-Best Online Side Hustles

There are tons of companies out there that need individuals to do some market research for them. This helps them learn about the traits and preferences of their customers and you make extra money; it’s a win-win. Depending on the company, you may have to search for answers to provided questions, find information relating to a certain company or product, or perform keyword research for your client. 

Who it’s best for: anyone who is naturally curious, has outstanding research skills or already spends a lot of time searching for things online.

How to get started: 

  • Choose one of the top three companies – 
  • AskWonder
  • RWS
  • Hobby Jam
  • Sign up and set your preferences for research jobs 
  • Search according to their instructions whenever you have time
  • Cash-out via PayPal when you’re ready

Flip Products on eBay and Amazon

You can sell just about anything on eBay or Amazon these days, so this category is a great option, but you’ll make more in some areas than in others. To make the most money, try flipping furniture, antiques or collectibles, appliances, clothes, and books. You can start by selling an item or two that you already own but no longer need so you can get a feel for the process. Then, search online for free items (Craigslist has a great “free” page) or cheap ones, visit stores like Goodwill to buy at a massive discount, or browse tag sales, and sell your finds online. 

Who it’s best for: Anyone looking to clean out their closets, and anyone who enjoys thrift shopping. 

How to get started: 

  • Create an eBay or Amazon account if you don’t already have one
  • Find items to flip
  • Clean them up a bit
  • Take clear pictures with good lighting
  • Create a detailed listing for the products
  • Ship items once they’re sold
  • Collect your cash 

Become a Blogger

Blogging is one of the most popular online side hustles, but it’s also one of the hardest to break into. If you’re passionate about sharing your story, creative writing, or other content with other people, then it’ll be worth the effort. One of the easiest and most common ways to earn income blogging is through affiliate marketing. If you can find a company to partner up with, you’ll include information and links to their products in your blog posts and you’ll earn a fee. 

Who it’s best for: anyone willing to put in the extra work, develop a following, and dedicate a good amount of time to their side hustle. 

How to get started:

  • Set up a blog (you can find websites that will let you create your website for free, but BlueHost costs $2.95 per month and offers great support, so we’d recommend starting there)
  • Create some content 
  • Ask your friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers to follow you and encourage others to do the same 
  • Make affiliate marketing connections (if you’re not sure how to do this, check back to the section dedicated entirely to affiliate marketing above)
  • Create more content or edit your existing content to include your marketing strategies 
  • Earn a commission as your readers buy through your links

DJ Whiteside

DJ Whiteside is a financial enthusiast who believes in helping other people to achieve financial independence. He’s constantly looking for practical ways to optimize savings, reduce spending, and create a lifetime of passive income. DJ holds an MBA from the University of Michigan, which allows him to take an analytical approach to financial topics. He has been a financial writer since 2011 and has self-published 5 personal finance eBooks relating to saving, retirement, and financial independence.

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