Wouldn’t it be great if someone showed you a comprehensive and honest list of 16 side online hustle ideas to explore in 2020 and generate extra cash?
You can imagine starting an online side income hustle, and before you know it, you’re bagging hundreds or even thousands of dollars of passive income working with your own schedule.
With that, you can quit your shitty full-time job, work from home, travel the world, and spend more time with your family.
It’s the kind of life almost every aspiring small business owner out there is dreaming to have.
Unfortunately, I feel there are more bloggers, or the gurus aren’t telling you about making extra income on the side. I may not call it a cover-up, but it could be that they are not just interested in letting the cat out the bag to you.
So, today, I will step up and tell you what nobody else has ever told you – give you a list of 16 online side hustle ideas you can in 2020 and what exactly you need to do.
Take note that I’m not going to talk about non-online side gigs such as:
- Airing your spare room on Airbnb,
- Real estate,
- Pet sitting,
- Platforms like Rover, Turo, Care.com,
- Dog walking (I’d rather discourage you from being a dog walker instead)
- Or any other activity that’s not related to an online side hustle.
Legitimate Ways to Make Money on the Side
Blogging is the most common way to make money on the side. It has a ton of options you can choose from – from earning affiliate commissions to creating and selling online courses.
One of the most successful bloggers is Jon Morrow, the founder of SmartBlogger. Jon is a person who can’t move anything, but his head. In short, he operates from his wheelchair.
And if you are wondering how he writes – well, he uses a speech recognition software that helps him put down his thoughts in writing. You can read his story here.
Jon has made a total of $5.3 million from his blog, SmartBlogger – $60,000 monthly passive income. That’s insane, right? Let’s take a look at how you can also make money blogging, step-by-step.
- Choose a Profitable Niche: the first thing is to choose your niche. Identify what your audience needs the most and give it to them on your blog. For example, Neil Patel decided to go the marketing way because he knew most of his followers had a taste of marketing-related information. His blog generates a net income of $1,000,000. So choose your niche wisely.
- Develop your content skills: Secondly, you need to create content that appeals to your readers. Nobody will care about the gazillion posts you publish every day or every week if they don’t address their main concerns. Therefore, have a proven content marketing strategy to help you come up with remarkable posts that your readers will find valuable.
- Optimize your blog: You see, there’s nothing good as getting free traffic. Sure, if you have mastered the art of SEO, Google will show you some love by sending a ton of traffic to your blog. And the good thing is that SEO doesn’t have to be complicated these days. Bloggers such as Brian Dean and Neil Patel have made it easy for you to learn SEO for FREE.
Once you have started receiving a ton of traffic to your blog, you can start monetizing your blog. Let’s look at a few ways you can make money blogging:
- Affiliate Commissions: This is when you register for an affiliate program, promote products and services that you genuinely love, and receive a commission each time someone purchases the product or service through your affiliate link.
- Google Adsense: For you to make money with Adsense, you first have to register for an Adsense account. Kindly note that you must meet their terms to get accepted. Also, your blog needs to be getting a ton of traffic to make decent cash. 5-10k visitors per month won’t pay your bills. So make sure you are getting huge traffic to your blog. The secret is to optimize your blog and get traffic from Google.
- Online Courses: Online courses is another way you can make money through your blog. All you have to do is create a course about something you know and sell ikt to people who are interested. I recommend that you teach about your blog niche. It’s easier to convert when you teach about a topic that you blog about.
- Creating eBooks: This is almost similar to online courses. The difference is that it is packaged and designed into a book. Once you have created your book, you can choose to sell it on Amazon, or directly sell it on your blog.
- Sell Your Services: If you have a blog, why not sell your services to visitors visiting your blog everyday through your service page? Sure you can sell any service – from search engine optimization to writing services.
2. Selling Information Products
I’m guessing you have seen the buzz all over social media about people creating eBooks, online events, online courses, membership sites, paid webinars, among others, and making extra money. Technically, all these are called information products because they all give insights to what many people are looking for.
In reality, the startup cost to create and start selling information products is close to zero. This is because you do everything online – no need for a warehouse or truck to help you with distributing information products. The best of all is that once you create these products, you can sell them for a couple of years to come.
There’s a problem, though. Starting this kind of side business is not easy. And like any other business, you have to learn the ropes, know your customers and be in a position to create products that people will not only buy but also products that they will fall in love with and crave for more of them. Besides, you will have to promote your products and make people aware of it.
Now, let me not take you for a ride and waste your time. I’m aware there are tons of blogs with this phrase, “anyone can do this.” For chrissake, not anyone can do this. It takes a special kind of determination and persistence to be successful in this business. I’m not trying to discourage you, but I’m trying to prepare you psychologically, so you know what you should do.
Jon Morrow, for example, is the most successful blogger and online course creator. He has created a ton of helpful courses that has helped
3. Selling Apps/ Develop a Smartphone App
Years back, creating and selling apps wouldn’t be considered a part-time job that you can do in your spare time. Maybe it involved full-time job features, which required you to report to work every day, sit in an office trying to come up with an app, then get paid peanuts every month.
The good news is that the perception towards creating and selling apps has changed. Tools such as Bubble has made it simpler to create and sell simple smartphone apps. You could register as one of the freelancers and sell your app development services on freelancing platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr. Heck, you don’t need to be tech-savvy or have a full understanding of the coding language.
Please don’t misquote me. I’m not assuring you that you will create some Uber app or Google. If you can do that, that’s fine – if not, you can still create a simple niche app that will help solve a problem and make a thousand dollars every month.
How about if I told you that you have probably bought items that were delivered through drop shipping and didn’t even know? I mean, it’s one of the best ways to make money on the side, and many people have not known about it yet.
Dropshipping is where you sell other companies’ products through your online store.
- People order through your store,
- Pays for whatever product they want using either PayPal, credit card, or whichever method accepted
- You forward the order to the supplier company,
- Then pay the company the agreed amount and keep the rest.
Dropshipping is a lucrative side income opportunity, but there are pitfalls that I want to help you avoid. Because most FAKE industries are aware more and more people are getting interested in drop shipping, it’s easy to fall into the trap of such scams.
First, you need to learn how to identify some of these scams. And one thing you should know is that real or legit wholesalers never charge a monthly fee. Secondly, a genuine dropship supplier doesn’t sell their products to end consumers at wholesale rates.
It is easy to start dropshipping with Shopify. The process is simple as:
- Connecting Oberlo to Shopify
- Finding and import products
- Designing your store to look good
- Driving traffic by promoting it through different platforms such as social media
To conclude, dropshipping is a lucrative online business and most people have been successful with it. Click here to read a few dropshipping success stories.
5. Affiliate Commissions
Affiliate marketing is just an old idea that has transformed into a new one – earning commissions from a sale. Introduce your followers to a product or service that you genuinely love and persuade them to purchase it through your affiliate link.
It may sound simple with the few lines above, but there’s more than that. To further help you understand how affiliate marketing works, below is how you earn affiliate commissions. It doesn’t matter what product or service you are affiliated with. It’s the same across all products and services.
First, you have to apply for an affiliate program and wait for their approval. If you are cleared to join, you will be given a unique URL and a unique ID that you will use to promote a company’s products. You can always hyperlink this URL on your posts or email marketing campaigns.
When a potential customer clicks on your link, a cookie will be placed on the PC or whatever device they use to click on the link. The cookie installed on the potential buyer’s PC is to make sure the affiliate is credited for referral sale even if it happens days or weeks later.
When the buyer buys through your affiliate link, the merchant checks to identify the source of the referral. If they find out it came from an affiliate ID, the affiliate will earn a commission for that specific sale made.
The merchant will disburse payments to the affiliate at the end of every month, in what is called revenue sharing. And boom, that is how it works. Finally, affiliate is one of the best side income gigs and there are a ton of individuals making a living with it. Click here to read the top 10 affiliate marketers and what they do differently.
6. Advertising on Your Site
Before anything, I’d like you to know that this way of making passive income is probably the most expensive and time-consuming as compared to the rest.
A ton of bloggers believes that you can buy a domain name, install WordPress and sprinkle some ads on your sidebar, then sit back and watch money streaming into your bank account.
Nope, it doesn’t work that way. Instead, you have to learn how to create content with irresistible headlines and know how SEO works to help you generate a ton of traffic to your site.
Once you are at a point where your blog receives good traffic every month, you can start selling banners to companies that want to reach your audience through ad banners.
By how can you set up ads on your site? First, you have to select an ad network of your choice. Some of the most popular ad networks include Adsense, media.net, Mediavine, Ezoic, among others.
Once you have been accepted, select where you want to display ads on your site. You will receive payments depending on the number of clicks and impressions your ad makes. Finally, check out this post to see how the listed website earn big with Google Adsense.
7. YouTubing (Sponsorship, Donations, and Merchandise)
Earning a passive income from doing something you love is the best thing since sliced bread. Heck, you could get lucky to be a YouTube influencer.
It could be hard to believe, but YouTube is one of the best platforms to make quick cash either part-time or full-time, especially for a millennial.
By creating videos that your audience love, you could earn hundreds or even thousands of dollars from people viewing your videos.
Now, there are a ton of ways to make money YouTubing, and I’m going to go a little in-depth to help you determine which method suits you the most.
Sponsorships: Creating YouTube videos is easy. Heck, you could even use your smartphone to create videos that will generate a ton of views. But if you are serious about making money on YouTube, you have to work on building a loyal following through your YouTube videos. Once you have a huge following or a ton of subscribers, large companies would sponsor you to promote their businesses.
Donations: The core here is building an audience who loves and cherishes your video content. They always want more of it because you know their taste; you know their preferences, their pain points, and you can quickly solve them. Such subscribers could decide to donate (via PayPal or Patreon) to maintain the channel and keep it going.
Merchandise: It’s hard but achievable. Some YouTubers have found success in the world’s second most popular search engine by creating and selling their merchandise.
And if you want to take it far, you could brand your merchandise with a decent logo that your subscribers can easily remember whenever they see it anywhere. Most YouTubers have found success with selling caps, bags, t-shirts, cell-phones, sunglasses, among others.
8. Amazon Associates Program
You have bought items on Amazon through a link, and you didn’t know someone earned a commission from that.
Amazon associates program is almost similar to affiliate marketing. The difference is that you must have a website with quality content.
Take note that Amazon will reject your application to join the Amazon associate program if your site is deemed poor quality.
So how do they decide if your site is poor quality or not? Well, it involves a lot, but one thing for sure is that they check on the quality of content you publish on your site.
That said, make sure you create quality content that will be of help to potential buyers who want to purchase an item from Amazon.
Besides, make sure that you publish original content on your site – no plagiarized material will be accepted. Finally, make sure that you have published at least ten blog posts on your website.
If you meet the above conditions, you should apply for the Amazon associates program and get started as an Amazon associate here. And BTW, you could also check out Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, in which you help people complete small tasks. It could also be a good side income.
9. Kindle Direct Publishing
Self-publishing has become easy these days. You don’t have to go the long way of finding an agent, getting a book deal, and going through the lengthy process of working with a traditional publishing company.
It’s simpler than you thought. With Amazon, you can write your book and directly publish it. Heck, you could even start earning from your eBook in 24 hours or less, but hey, you need a proven strategy to sell better. So what’s the plan?
- Validate your book idea by studying your competition – you can do this by finding your category on Amazon, checking your category’s top 20 books, and checking the best seller rank.
- Package your eBook like a bestseller. You can do this by using tools such as Canva, PicMonkey, among others, to create beautiful covers. (you can purchase a course on Udemy to help you learn how to create beautiful covers using Canva. Also, make sure the formatting is attractive because nobody would love to read a poorly formatted book.
- Create a rock-solid plan by creating hype before you can launch your book. You could do this by creating an announcement pop-up on your site using Hellobar. Alternatively, you could send a product launch newsletter to your email list.
- Promote your book on social platforms, to your email list, and be tactical with the price. You can raise your book price after a week or so.
10. Produce an Audiobook
Let’s face it: people have become lazy, and that’s why there are a ton of technological advancements almost every day.
For example, you can order Uber to pick you from anywhere at any time as long as you have the application.
The same way. People don’t have time to go through huge books with stuffed texts. And that’s where audiobooks come in.
You can turn the textbooks into audiobooks, so people can listen to them at any time while digesting the knowledge.
Some people have found success in producing audiobooks. For example, Alex Mehr from Mentorbox converts books to audios and mini-videos.
11. Sell Digital Products on Etsy
Etsy is a platform that allows people to sell all sorts of products as well as digital products. And the best thing about this is that digital products require little to no maintenance.
All you have to do is to spend time creating a high-quality digital product and find ways of sending traffic to your listings.
To get started selling on Etsy, head over to their official website, open your shop, and follow the instructions correctly.
12. Generate Royalties From Jingles or Audios
If you love music, you could earn passive income by creating jingles or audio tracks that appeal to your followers and fans and generate royalties.
Once you have created jingles or audio tracks, you can license them out through reputable sites such as Song Freedom, Audio Socket, or SoundCloud.
Do your research properly to know the kind of audio that appeals to your audience. You could also start following famous artists who have produced excellent audio tracks and learn from them.
13. Get Online Rebates
You love shopping; I love shopping; We all love shopping.
What if you could earn some passive income by shopping at several online retailers? Here’s how the process works:
- You create an Ebates account
- Follow the instructions and activate your browser extension
- Shop online like you usually do
Cashback rates could range between 1 and 22 percent (sometimes higher). At the end of every month, you will get Payment on your PayPal account, a check, or a gift card to any store you choose.
Also, feel free to check out sites such as Swagbucks, Survey Junkie that payout through Amazon gift cards, or sign up as a mystery shopper.
14. E-commerce – Shopify, eBay
This is an extension of what we had discussed earlier about selling stuff online. The only difference is that we are incorporating two platforms – Shopify and eBay.
Both of these sites are known to be the hub of online buying and selling of stuff. So let’s talk briefly about them.
Shopify: We talked about drop shipping and said that you need an online store. Well, I didn’t clarify where you could build your online store, and Shopify could be a good option. They have templates to help you set up your site in minutes. Besides, they have a couple of features like coupons that will enable you to give promotions, process your payments, among others.
eBay: eBay is a little bit different as compared to Amazon because they accept some products that Amazon doesn’t. For example, you could sell your old clothes or used baby items.
This is better for people who no longer need some items, and rather than throwing them away or burning them, you could sell them on eBay. So instead of investing in a store as one of your local businesses, you can settle with eBay.
15. Start a Podcast
Podcasting is an excellent way of making money on the side, and just like any other business, you need to take it seriously if you want to make money podcasting.
There are a ton of ways you can make money podcasting. Most of them fall in the bracket I have discussed above, like affiliate marketing.
But there’s one that’s unique and worth mentioning – making money podcasting through sponsorship and advertising.
Several podcast ad networks can link you up with advertisers. They take care of everything – from helping you find advertisers to negotiating rates.
To make sure you get their attention, make sure you have an audience of between 5,000 and 10,000 listeners or more per month.
Examples of ad networks you could approach include Midroll, Authentic, among others.
16. Open a Shop on Creativemarket.com
Creativemarket is a platform that helps creative individuals further their talents by creating beautiful and professional graphic design items and selling them.
You can create logos, ads, images, or anything else related to design. Besides, Creativemarket offers a variety of graphic content in the form of photos, graphics, templates, themes, fonts, and more.
In other words, your creativity could earn you some passive income. Just make sure you can create a beautiful design that people will love.
For example, Nicky Laatz, is a passionate graphic designer on Creative Market who is the first to make more than $1,000,000 from selling her creative stuff on Creative Market. She narrates her story of how she managed to hit the million-dollar mark.
In her story, she says that you need to be consistent if you are serious about creating a brand. Also, you must continuously create what people love like she did on Creative Market – her script-style fonts, which is currently Creative Market’s popular page.
Other Online Side Income Ideas
While I can be confident that I have discussed the most important and the current make money on the side ideas, it would be best to leave you with some side income ideas I may not have mentioned. They include:
- Data entry
- Online surveys
- Joining focus groups
- Virtual assistant opportunities
If you want to make money on the side or start your own business, you just have to pick up some of the side hustles ideas I have discussed above and take them into action. It will take you time but pay off in the long run.
To me, it’s better to spend at least 20 hours a week for two to three years building a money-generating machine than to waste your life on campus studying irrelevant theories that will land you on a shitty day job.
It’s your prerequisite, though – to continue with your full-time job, get paid peanuts at the end of every month, or start a side job, quit your shitty traditional job, and live your dream life.
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