Last year, ‘side hustles’ took on an altogether more urgent quality for many.
According to a study by Upwork, although some were forced to put their freelance work on pause in 2020, an incredible 12% of the US workforce started freelancing for the first time. In the UK, 49% of Brits worked as freelancers in 2020, or 3% more than reported in 2019.
We all dream about some money independence, side hustle online that lets us work from home or a backup income that helps pay bills, mortgage or let us go for that trip to Japan… (replace with your dream destination!)
I want to give you some side hustle ideas that had worked for me, or my peers, and that are REALISTIC.
How many times you typed in Google, ‘side hustle online’ or ‘side hustle ideas’ and all you found was unrealistic ideas for a side income, such as: ‘Become a coach or mentor’ or ‘Invest in stock or shares’…?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe those niches can work for some, but to be a coach you need expertise or an established reputation, and to invest in stock or shares you need some money…
I’m probably not wrong if I say that the reason you’re searching for ways to make some extra money online, is because you DON’T have money to invest, and you DON’T have the expertise, right?
You also want to do something that won’t take years to bring some income.
Before I started my website design side hustle I struggled reading all those unrealistic business ideas that required tonnes of free time to develop into a profitable side income. I didn’t have free time, I had 9-5 job.
I was finding it hard enough to stick to some relatively healthy lifestyle, where I would come back home after work, find time to cook, do house chores, shower and find time to relax a little before going to sleep, to again wake up early and go to work.
I didn’t have time for complicated side hustle ideas. I’m sure you get me.
All side hustle ideas that I mention are opportunities that you might have never considered before, but the best thing about them is that you can start with no prior experience, and no equipment other than a laptop or smartphone.
Before I get to it, I need to stress that these business ideas are relatively quick to start, don’t require investment (other than some of your time), but they won’t work overnight.
REALISTICALLY, no business can be successful right away and require patience and consistent work.
But side hustle online is worth it; consider these statistics:
- 69% of side hustles claim it makes life more interesting
- On average, people with a side hustle say it contributes 20% of their income
- 40% of adults without a side hustle are interested in starting one
Now that we’ve established that, let’s get to it!
If you have an eye for design and some tech skills: Start a web design business.
I wish I could tell you to just make an amazing website for yourself, add some SEO and publish it and wait for the inquiries – I just can’t. I wish it was that easy.
But don’t get discouraged; there are millions of businesses that require a new website or redesigned website.
Online shopping is here to stay, and people will always head online to search for what they need.
Starting your web design business is not as complicated as it may seem. All you need is to make sure you do all the things listed below:
- Determine what type of clients you want to work with
- Learn web design basics
- Start designing
- Start marketing
- Keep learning
Of course, there is much more to running a successful website design business than that, but let’s just talk about these points a little more for you to understand that the foundations are simple and realistic.
I. Determine what type of clients you want to work with
What sort of websites and clients would be your dream clients? Are they small business owners? Large corporations? Artists? Photographers? Online shops? Dentists?
You get the idea.
It’s easy to just say, ‘I can build websites for anyone‘, but trust me, it’s easier if you determine your niche early on. It’ll help you when you’re ready to market your business and will give you a sense of direction.
Once you have an idea of what niche you are interested in, do some research to check where these people hang out, what are their pain points, how to promote your business to them, how you can solve their problems.
II. Learn web design basics
The best way to learn the basics of website design is to build your business website. This way you are building your own brand and at the same time learning and developing your skills.
These days, there are lots of platforms and software that help you build your website quickly with a drag-and-drop system. It’s easier than you think.
I won’t be going into details, but the first thing you need to do is to purchase your domain and hosting (I wrote the article about the basic things you need to know before you build your website – CHECK IT OUT).
I host my business website on Siteground, which is intuitive, and their prices are very competitive. My website is fast, and I believe that even WordPress recommends this hosting provider! If you want to check other resources that I recommend, head over to my Resources page.
There are tonnes of resources online and Youtube has lots of videos that show you step-by-step how to buy and set up your domain and hosting. Here are a couple of channels I can recommend myself, as they helped me many times:
- Ferdy Korpershoek
- Darrel Wilson
When it comes to the content management system (CMS) I can’t recommend WordPress enough. It’s the most popular web design platform in the world, and for good reason. It’s extremely versatile and customizable. You can make WordPress become anything you need it to be. In fact, this very blog runs on WordPress.
But, with that awesome versatility comes increased complexity. There is a rather steep learning curve, but nothing that cannot be tackled with time. If you commit to building your new business it will be worth doing it the right way.
I talk about the reasons why WordPress is better than other platforms HERE.
If you’re going to become a web designer, you should learn WordPress at some point. I use WordPress for all of my clients’ websites at this point.
The last thing, and probably the MOST IMPORTANT is the software that you will be using to actually design the website. This is where the fun begins, as drag-and-drop website builders are really easy to use and with a little dedication to learn, you will be able to build your first website within a day or two. Seriously.
And when it comes to a specific software, I recommend Elementor.
It’s my favourite website builder and there are many many reasons for it.
First of all, you can use the FREE version for as long as you want – no time limits, and absolutely no cost to start. The second out of many reasons why you should use Elementor, is the fact that Elementor is really a community of people who help each other, talk about all things design and support each other. Elementor is also being updated all the time and new features are being added.
With Elementor there are no limits to your designs, and if you purchase Elementor PRO, literally the sky is the limit. Again, Youtube is saturated with videos on how to use Elementor, so make sure you check it out.
III. Start designing
When you finish building your business website, you should have a pretty good understanding of how WordPress and Elementor work (if you decide to use them). You can start making some websites that you can then add to your portfolio.
Find a project. You can approach charities or some businesses that don’t have a good-looking website and offer to create one for a small amount of money, or else you can create a fictitious business that you can use to create a site.
Ask your friends, family or neighbours if anyone needs a website. The advantage of creating a website in a collaboration setting is that you will get great experience dealing with “clients” and the processes that are involved.
Keep in mind that you want to ultimately use this website in your portfolio so a great plan would be to design one that has your target client in mind (think about the niche you identified in a previous step).
There is nothing better than getting into the actual design of a website to develop your skills. If you are designing a website for a fictitious business you can challenge yourself by finding some designs on Behance or Pinterest that look great and would appeal to your target market, and use them as inspiration.
As you start designing you will inevitably run into issues that you do not know how to solve. As problems occur or questions arise, refer to the sources you discovered earlier to help you overcome these obstacles.
Like I mentioned earlier in this article, Elementor is a community of people.
It has a Facebook group where you can find solutions to many problems that can arise, or ask questions. For me, it was a lifesaver in many situations.
You can also find help going directly to Elementor‘s website and if you purchase one of their PRO plans, you get 24/7 dedicated support!
Once you are comfortable with the platform and have a good grasp on how to design a website from start to launch, it’s time to start putting your name out there.
IV. Start marketing
When you are just starting and don’t have a lot of portfolio items or testimonials it is challenging to find clients who are willing to take a chance on you. For this reason, your prices need to be ultra-competitive in the beginning to compete with experienced designers.
However, I do not recommend working for free. From my own experience, people don’t value your service high, if you don’t.
The price will be your only advantage at the beginning, but as you grow and get better in your trade, you will be able to charge more.
Still, earning a few hundred pounds/dollars a month from your side hustle is pretty good, don’t you think? You need only one or two clients a month to achieve it.
Personally, I had the most success at the beginning of my business with finding clients in Facebook groups. I started by helping people with very small issues and promising that IF I couldn’t fix it, I wouldn’t charge them. If you decide to go this route, don’t offer this for a full website of course – just little customizations or a fix to a small problem.
I kept doing more and more of these while I continued to keep reading and learning everything I could. Another great places to find potential clients are Reddit or Quora forums.
Pick social platforms to get active on and start posting there that you are available to help with website updates. Posts stating that you are trying to build your portfolio and are looking for anyone needing a site at a reduced cost are a great way to attract some clients.
The other way to promote your services is to find a real business (Google maps is perfect for it) and find their website. There are tonnes of businesses that websites are outdated, not mobile responsive, or just badly designed.
You can create a better version of their website, and once it’s done, contact the owner and ask if they are interested in buying the website you created for them for a discounted price.
This worked for me a few times, and believe me, people are much more eager to buy something when they SEE the result.
V. Keep learning
While I continued to find more web design projects, I also continued to learn everything I could about running a business.
I attended webinars, read books, listened to podcasts and soaked everything up. (I still do this!) In the world of website design, there is always something new to learn.
I can recommend the below books, if you’re a bookworm type, like myself 😉 They don’t specifically talk about website design, but they help in shaping your thinking and good habits when you enter the world of entrepreneurship:
If you have any questions about website design as a side hustle idea, let me know in the comments below, or send me a private message.
I’d love to chat!
If you’re passionate about some topic: Start a blog.
If you’ve got something you want to share, then there is bound to be a way that you can make money from it. Whether you want to write about parenting or the latest vegetarian recipes, there are people out there who want to read about it.
The trick is finding something valuable you can share or teach. If you can answer people’s questions and help them overcome their pain points, the money will follow.
Blogging for profit is a long-term game. It will take a good few months to start getting some traffic to your blog, but once you do the earning potential can be big.
It only depends on your attitude. If you are consistent, patient enough to stick with it, and if you know how to get your blog seen, you will be successful!
Again, this is not a recipe for becoming rich overnight. It’s a side hustle idea that’s been around for a long while now, and I’m still new to it as well. I know people who succeeded and manage to make an additional income just by attracting traffic to their blog. The key is consistency and patience.
If you’re wondering how the heck this will give you money?
Here’s what you can do to monetize your blog:
- Include affiliate links in your posts
- Display adverts (this, however, works the best if you already have plenty of blog traffic)
- Write sponsored posts for brands
- Sell digital/physical products to your audience
- Offer a service which you promote with your blog posts
Okay, so you won’t make money that fast with a blog.
But, if you start a blog and deliver great amounts of value, you could set yourself up with a platform for earning a good amount of passive income.
This is something you can easily build on the side with just a few hours of work per week, but again, I need to stress that you need to stay consistent and post a quality content regularly.
Starting a blog as a side hustle is simple and easy. All you need is your own domain and hosting and a simple website where you publish your posts.
My business domain comes from GoDaddy which I find easy to use, affordable and reliable. I’ve been with GoDaddy for years now and I can honestly recommend them without hesitation.
I host my business website on Siteground, which is very intuitive and their prices are very competitive. Also, like I mentioned earlier in this article, I would highly recommend creating your new blog with WordPress (if you’re thinking seriously to treat it as a business) and Elementor website builder, which you can get for free.
And the most important advice of all: DO NOT GIVE UP.
If you enjoy social media: Manage social media for small businesses.
Social media is very important for every business regardless of size and age because that’s where customers are active. Therefore, the quickest way to get a business discovered by many people is by being active in the top three social networks – YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram – home to over 3 billion users who are active every month.
Can you see potential here?
Many small businesses need a social media manager and simply don’t have the time nor the expertise to be constantly posting on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter.
This is where you come in. If you enjoy spending time on social media, creating content, networking with people and sharing content, this may be a side hustle idea for you.
Take it upon yourself to contact local businesses and offer up your services for a contracted monthly fee. This is an easy way to make money no matter where you live.
Small businesses usually don’t have the staff dedicated full-time to manage their social media channels. However, these small businesses still want to have many customers find out about their business. As a result, they choose to outsource the service to a social media manager.
What does social media manager do? He/She:
- helps define social media strategy for the brand
- helps develop brand awareness
- formulates objectives and processes based on the marketing goals of the company
- determines what needs to be achieved
- develops a plan for how it will be accomplished
This is a huge business opportunity if you’re a social media marketing whiz as your skills could be turned into a terrific side hustle online.
If you’re graphically inclined: Sell your graphic design to Canva, or your Canva templates.
If you’re graphically inclined you could sell your graphics to Canva or create templates and sell them.
I bet you heard about Canva, but in case you didn’t, Canva is an online design and publishing tool with a mission to empower everyone in the world to design anything and publish anywhere.
I love Canva and use it for all my graphic design needs. I think it’s an amazing tool that revolutionized graphic design.
There is a potential to start a side hustle online with Canva. You can either sell your graphics to Canva and earn money every time someone uses your design, or you can create templates in Canva and sell them to potential customers.
To sell your own graphics to Canva you need to follow below steps:
- Sign up. Become a contributor with a single click. Hobbyist or pro, it doesn’t matter
- Upload your work. Upload your items, either individually or as a collection
- Start earning. Earn every time Canva users use your item when they design in Canva
Simple as that! You can become a contributor and earn some money.
The second option is selling Canva templates, however, to do this you’ll need Canva Pro account. Even though this sounds like an obstacle, I highly recommend signing up for Canva Pro, as it gives you an unlimited amount of templates, graphics, images and fonts to create with.
You can also download your templates in many formats, convert them info adjustable templates (this is the feature that you need to sell your own templates), resize your designs and many more.
Where you can sell your templates if this is the path you choose?
- Your website
- Your blog
…and many other places online. The are no limits, only your imagination 😉
If you’re good at teaching: Teach a language.
If you know a second language, or English is your first language and you’re good with it, you could teach it to others.
All you need to start teaching others is an online communicator, a laptop, and potentially, later on, your website as a base for your business.
This side hustle is good for everybody because we all know at least one language! If your native language is English, you’re lucky enough that it’s an international language and everybody benefits from knowing it these days. You can teach English to students, or to foreign students who came to study in your country.
If you speak fluently in one of the less popular languages, like for example German or Italian, you can use it to your advantage and start teaching it to people who really want to learn them. This is your target audience, so you can market your services easily!
This is a particularly easy side hustle idea to develop into a profitable business, as there are many people, who need additional language skills, or who have to learn a language quick to get a dream job.
Additionally, you can easily work on this side hustle on weekends, when many people have free time to learn new skills, like language.
If you’re enjoying writing: Become a freelance copywriter.
First of all, here are some benefits of starting a copywriting side hustle in 2021:
- Businesses are hiring copywriters like crazy
- Good copywriters can earn really good money
- Most copywriters today work remotely
- Copywriters don’t need formal training or education
Pretty good benefits, right?
Copywriting is always connected to the act of promoting or selling a business, organization, brand, product, or service, which makes it, by definition, a form of marketing.
So, if marketing is something you enjoy, and you have a passion for writing, you can join the two dots together!
Fact 1. Most people don’t like writing. The small fraction who do enjoy it prefers working on novels, short stories, and poetry. They want nothing to do with writing for businesses. This leaves a massive opportunity for those writers who can master the commercial side of writing.
Fact 2. Businesses need writers. In fact, today businesses need to publish more writing, at a higher quality, and at a faster rate than any time before in history.
You don’t need a degree to write copy, only an ability to write and some writing skills. You can learn how to write a good copy through the web and reading books, such as:
Here’s a piece if advice for you, from my friend who is a copywriter: Market your services to gain more work than you can possibly handle. That’s when you can command the highest rates, choose who you work with, and have a say in the projects you take on.
I hope these six side hustle ideas will prove to be realistic and achievable for those who think seriously about starting their business online. You don’t lose anything by trying, you can surely lose your opportunity for financial freedom if you don’t.