“The age of the side hustle is here”, suggests a white paper published by Henley Business School. According to the report, 25% of all UK adults are side hustlers. This means that they have at least one side business alongside their main day job. My guess is that the number of people with a side hustle has even increased since the Covid pandemic started. While the pandemic has put countless people out of work, it has also provided an opportunity for new side hustles and businesses as people have had more time in their hands.
If the pandemic has taught me anything about finances, it has certainly reinforced the fact that multiple streams of income are crucial for financial independence. In other words, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. This applies to jobs, stock investments and pretty much anything that has to do with personal finance. And even if you didn’t need to worry about losing your job, side hustles can be a great source of additional income to save money, pay debt or invest. It can also provide an opportunity to explore alternative career paths you might be interested in pursuing in the future.
With that in mind, here are the 10 best side hustles for 2021. As Covid lockdowns and restrictions are still in place in many countries and regions, I have mainly focussed on online side hustles that are flexible and require very little investment.is here
What is a side hustle and how to choose one?
A side hustle is a job or a side business that you can work on in addition to your usual job. It is a flexible second job or a gig that brings in money, however, it should also be something that you are passionate about or enjoy doing. In addition to identifying your interests, it’s good to take into consideration the time and financial investment you are ready to put into it. Although some of the ideas in this list allow you to start earning money immediately, others might require more initial time investment in the beginning while providing passive income in the long run. In either way, just remember that consistency is key to long-term success.
I’m sure you’re super keen to start making some extra cash so let’s dive into the best side hustle options for 2021!
1. Start upcycling or flipping items
When you want to make some extra money fast, selling some of your old items can be a good option. However, if you take a step further and jump into the world of upcycling and flipping items, you can turn this kind of selling into a side hustle. In essence, you look for valuable items in online marketplaces, charity shops, garage sales and auctions. Then, you fix or pimp them up to add value, increasing what they are worth.
Figuring out what is worth flipping can take some research and practice. But if you get the hang of it, you could make a solid bit of cash. For starters, here are a couple of ideas to consider:
Buy used furniture and give them a unique look with new upholstery or fresh paint. There are also many places where you might find used furniture for free, such as local Facebook groups. Unique pieces of good-quality furniture tend to be quite expensive. Therefore, you might be able to make a good profit even if you outsource the restoration work to someone else.
Find cheap second-hand books from charity shops or by asking friends and family, and resell them online. If you are good at finding good bargains but can’t be bothered with packing and shipping, you can automate this by using Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon).
Vintage or designer clothes and accessories
Charity shops especially in wealthy areas tend to have great bargains for pre-loved designer items. You can also find great bargains for new clothes in outlet store sales. The beauty of designer clothes and accessories is that they tend to keep their value pretty well (or sometimes even increase in value!). Therefore, if you manage to find a good deal, there can easily be juice profits for grabs when you resell the clothes on platforms such as Depop.
2. Start freelancing or consulting
Do you like your job but dream about being your own boss? Or perhaps want to make money by doing something else you’re good at? If so, freelancing or consulting can be a great option as it allows you to use the skillset you already have. While this is a good way to make extra money remotely, it will also give you a taste of what it’s like to work for yourself. You can start by listing your skills and services on global websites such as Fiverr, Upwork and PeoplePerHour.
3. Work as a virtual assistant
If you love keeping things organised and have good communication skills, you might want to consider becoming a virtual assistant (VA). With an increase in online businesses and remote working having become common, there is now a high demand for virtual assistants.
The duties of a virtual assistant can vary a lot depending on the business or individual you are working for. Typically VAs help to manage different types of administration tasks. For example, you might manage emails, schedule meetings or update social media accounts. As with freelancing, you can find VA jobs on websites like PeoplePerHour or even on normal job boards, including Indeed.
4. Start a blog, podcast or YouTube channel
Blogging, podcasting or YouTubing can be a slow burner and require a fair amount of time to start with. However, once your platform becomes more established, it has the potential to turn into a part-time or even a full-time career. Therefore, consistency is an absolute key here.
You can monetise blogs, podcasts and YouTube channels in multiple ways, including affiliate marketing, advertising and sponsored content.
And then to the million-dollar question; what should I write or talk about? To be honest, it took me years from an idea of a blog to actually starting one. This was simply because I was struggling to decide on a topic I found interesting enough. I would definitely recommend finding a niche that you are passionate about so that you will stay motivated and keep going even when it might take a while to see any results. However, at the same time, you don’t need to spend years to find a “perfect” topic. You can always change your direction later if that feels right but the important thing is to get started to begin with!
5. Become a tutor
If you know parents of school-aged children, you probably know how tired of home-schooling they are at this point of the pandemic. And if you are a parent yourself, I imagine you might want to skip this side hustle option entirely!
However, if you’re a teacher, a student, have a degree in something or simply have lots of knowledge on a specific topic, you can get paid to tutor people online. This could mean anything from teaching your native language to tutoring students in math, science or a foreign language. The amount of money you can earn by tutoring can vary based on many factors such as experience, location or niche. If your niche is something unique such as private school or university entry exams or a rare language, you will likely be able to charge more than someone with a more generic offering.
6. Create an online course
If you aren’t interested in tutoring but have skills or knowledge to share, building an online course can be just the right side hustle for you. The beauty of this is that the subject of your course is limited only by your own knowledge and imagination. As long as there are people who want to learn about your topic and are willing to pay to have the information packaged and presented in a clear and accessible way, you can make a course about nearly anything.
When creating an online course, you only need to do the hard work once. After you have the course built, you can then reap the benefits as more and more people pay to sign up. To put it in other words, this can be an amazing way to make passive income after the initial time investment.
You can begin by using an all-in-one platform such as Thinkific where you can create, market and sell your own online courses.
7. Get paid to help others with simple tasks
Still not quite sure what you want to do but are keen to earn extra cash quickly? No problem. With platforms such as TaskRabbit, you can help others by running random errands for them. This can be anything from food shopping and moving to assembling Ikea furniture or planting flowers. Therefore, if you have some spare in your hands, sign up for TaskRabbit and take a look at the errands people need help with.
8. Start a dropshipping business
Do you want to start your own online shop or e-commerce business but don’t have the start-up investment available? If yes, then dropshipping can offer you a less risky and cheaper way to get started.
What is dropshipping?
In short, dropshipping is a retail fulfilment method where the seller doesn’t keep the products it sells in stock. Instead, when the merchant sells a product, they buy the item from a third party that also ships it directly to the customer. As a result, as a seller, you never see or handle the products. This great for multiple reasons, the main ones being:
- You don’t need a big initial investment, keeping your risk low.
- You don’t need to have space to store the stock.
If you get it right, dropshipping can be nearly fully automated.
9. Self-publish books on Amazon
Unknown to many, there is a huge, untapped market for selling not only print books but also e-books and audiobooks on Amazon and Audible.
This can be a fantastic side hustle for aspiring writers who dream about writing their own book without a doubt. But what most people might not realise is that you don’t necessarily need to write the book yourself. In brief, you can outsource most of the elements of the process and concentrate on research and publishing – both of which Amazon has made very simple. Freelance sites such as Fiverr and Upwork have thousands of skilled ghost-writers, cover designers and voice actors to help you save time.
Perhaps the best thing about Amazon bookselling is that it can be fully automated once the initial work is done. As a result, this side hustle allows you to make passive income and scale up the business without a massive time commitment.
10. Become an Airbnb host or experience provider
Last but definitely not least is my personal side hustle favourite; renting out your spare room or house on Airbnb. If you don’t have a spare space in your home, find out how to make money on Airbnb without owning property. Alternatively, Airbnb now also offer Airbnb Experiences that are one-of-a-kind activities hosted by experts around the world.
Renting a room or house on Airbnb
The beauty of being an Airbnb host is that it is an easy way to earn passive income and it doesn’t require initial investment if you already have a furnished space available. In addition to that, it is extremely flexible, allowing you to choose when exactly you are happy to hosts guests as well as define what spaces they are allowed to use.
I’ve been an Airbnb host for more than two years now. I started by renting a spare room in my flat and the full flat while I was away. In good months (pre-pandemic) I made more than £1000 a month which didn’t only cover my mortgage and utility bills but also allowed me to save for my next property much quicker!
If you are considering to become a host, you can use my host referral link here to earn an additional bonus after completing your first reservation!
Although the Covid pandemic has massively affected the tourism industry and Airbnb alongside it, there are still people who need short-term accommodation due to relocating or work. However, if you don’t feel comfortable opening your home to guests just yet because of the pandemic (especially if you live in the property yourself), this is certainly a highly recommended option to consider after things start to go back to normality!
If you are interested in making money from property but don’t think Airbnb hosting is your thing, check out my article on different money-making property strategies.
Hosting an Airbnb Experience
Airbnb Experiences are private or small group activities led by local hosts who offer special knowledge, unique skills or insider access to local places and communities that guests couldn’t find on their own. Originally, these experiences were hosted face to face but as you can imagine, most hosts have now made their experiences virtual due to the pandemic. Therefore, this can be a great way to make money from your skill, passion or hobby without leaving the comfort of your own home! I have seen virtual experiences listed on everything from a magical Harry Potter tour to crime scene investigation and mandala painting. Only creativity is your limit when planning an Airbnb experience!
Other ways to make money on Airbnb
Did you know that there are also plenty of other ways to make money on Airbnb than just hosting and experiences? And the good news is; you don’t necessarily even need to own a property! If you want to learn 9 more money-making ideas, read my guide “How to make money on Airbnb without owning any property”.
Getting started with a side hustle in 2021
As I’m sure you are aware, there’s no such magical thing that can make you rich overnight with no money or time input (not without hefty risks anyway). And the reality is, very few of us will get rich by working for others either. Whether you want to get rich or earn just enough to support the kind of lifestyle you want to live, I’ve produced this list to spark some inspiration for you to start your own side hustle.
Now that you have a few side hustle ideas in your pocket, it’s time to take action today. Taking action, i.e. getting started can be the most difficult yet the most important part of the journey. Do your research and find the best side hustle that fit your current circumstances to make your goals happen.