Making Money Online

Smart Side Hustles for Regular People: Make Extra Cash Online

Earning extra income in your spare time is easier than ever thanks to the internet. With a computer and an internet connection, regular people can launch online side hustles that require little specialized skills or investment.

This comprehensive guide will explore 17 of the best side hustle ideas to start today. You’ll discover realistic ways regular people are making $500, $1,000 or even $5,000+ per month working online.

Why Start a Side Hustle?

Here are some of the top reasons regular people are launching side hustles:

  • Earn extra disposable income. The average side hustler makes around $500-$1,000 per month for extra spending money or to pay down debt.
  • Achieve financial goals. Want to save up for a family vacation, home renovation or your child’s education? A side hustle gives you extra cash flow to reach your goals faster.
  • Gain professional skills. Many side hustles allow you to build valuable hard and soft skills to advance your career.
  • Turn a passion into profit. Monetize a hobby, talent or area of expertise you already have by teaching others online.
  • Transition to self-employment. Some side hustlers eventually turn their part-time gig into a full-time business or career.
  • More flexibility. Online side hustles allow you to be your own boss and work when and where you want.
  • Recession-proof income. Having multiple income streams can protect you financially in an economic downturn.

10 Best Low Effort Side Hustles

Here are some of the most popular “low lift” side hustle ideas that don’t require special skills or long hours but can generate decent extra income:

1. Online Surveys

  • Overview: Online survey panels like SurveyJunkie, Swagbucks and InboxDollars pay people to share opinions on products, services, concepts, ads, etc. Surveys take 5-30 minutes and pay from 50 cents to $5+ each.
  • Income Potential: $50-$200 per month for casual survey takers or up to $1,000+ for very active users.
  • Time Commitment: Flexible, work whenever you have spare time.
  • Skills Needed: None, though good writing helps provide higher quality responses.

2. Website or App Testing

  • Overview: Companies like pay everyday people $10 to $60 per test to visit a website or try an app, complete tasks, and provide feedback via video, audio and polls.
  • Income Potential: Around $200 per month or more if you qualify for lots of tests.
  • Time Commitment: Ad hoc, whenever tests that match your demographic are available.
  • Skills Needed: Basic computer and smartphone literacy.

3. Transcribing Audio

  • Overview: Transcribing audio files from interviews, meetings, podcasts etc. pays $10 to $30 per hour. Companies like Rev, Scribie and GoTranscript hire freelancers.
  • Income Potential: $100 to $300 per month part-time.
  • Time Commitment: As little or as much time as you want.
  • Skills Needed: Fast, accurate typing; good listening skills and grammar/punctuation.

4. Freelance Writing

  • Overview: Websites need fresh blog content and hire freelance writers to create articles for around $25 to $200 per post. No prior professional writing experience needed.
  • Income Potential: $500 to $3,000+ per month writing part-time.
  • Time Commitment: 5-15 hours per week, flexible schedule.
  • Skills Needed: Strong writing and research skills.

5. Proofreading

  • Overview: Proofreading websites, books and documents to catch typos and errors pays $10 to $50 per hour. Companies like Scribbr, Proofed and Grammarly hire remotely.
  • Income Potential: $200 to $1,000 per month part-time.
  • Time Commitment: As little or as much time as you want.
  • Skills Needed: Excellent spelling, grammar and attention to detail.

6. Virtual Assistant

  • Overview: Virtual assistants help businesses and entrepreneurs with administrative tasks for $15-$50/hour like customer service, data entry, research, scheduling and more.
  • Income Potential: $1,000 to $3,000 per month working part-time.
  • Time Commitment: 5-20 hours per week, flexible hours.
  • Skills Needed: Administrative skills, communication, time management and tech savvy.

7. Renting Your Space

  • Overview: List unused living space, driveway or parking space on sites like Airbnb, RV Share and Parking Panda for travelers, campers and others needing temporary space.
  • Income Potential: Earn up to $1,000+ per month depending on location and space.
  • Time Commitment: A few hours per month to coordinate with guests.
  • Skills Needed: Hospitality mindset.

8. Renting Goods

  • Overview: Make money renting out items you don’t use often to others on sites like Fat Llama, Turo and Outdoorsy. Rent anything from household items to cars.
  • Income Potential: Varies greatly based on what you rent out but can earn hundreds per month.
  • Time Commitment: A few hours to list items and coordinate with renters.
  • Skills Needed: Good organization and communication.

9. Affiliate Marketing

  • Overview: Earn commissions promoting products/services on your website or social platforms through affiliate programs like Amazon Associates or eBay Partners.
  • Income Potential: Commission rates vary but bloggers earn from $100 to $2,000+ per month.
  • Time Commitment: 1-5 hours per week to create content and promote affiliate links.
  • Skills Needed: Basic marketing and content creation.

10. Selling Handmade Crafts

  • Overview: Make extra money selling handmade products like jewelry, d├ęcor, woodworking, paper crafts etc. on sites like Etsy, eBay, and Facebook.
  • Income Potential: $100 to $3,000+ per month, heavily depends on product quality and marketing/SEO skills.
  • Time Commitment: 5-15 hours per week to craft products, manage listings, ship orders.
  • Skills Needed: Crafting skills and business/marketing basics.

7 More Involved Side Hustle Ideas

The following side hustles require a bit more effort upfront but have significant earning potential:

11. Dropshipping Business

  • Overview: Dropshipping allows you to sell products online without stocking inventory. You list items on a Shopify store, and partner suppliers ship orders directly to customers.
  • Income Potential: $1,000 to $15,000+ per month after initial ramp up phase. Highly scalable.
  • Time Commitment: 5-10 hours per week plus initial store setup time.
  • Skills Needed: Marketing, basic ecommerce tech skills, customer service.

12. Social Media Management

  • Overview: Manage organizations’ social media accounts including posting content, monitoring messages and analytics. Many small businesses lack expertise in-house.
  • Income Potential: $1,000 to $5,000 per month per client. Charge $500-$2,000 per month based on workload and clients’ social following.
  • Time Commitment: 1-10 hours per week per client, depending on workload agreed upon.
  • Skills Needed: Excellent writing, knowledge of social platforms, basic design and analytics.

13. Freelance Web Design

  • Overview: Design, build and modify websites for small businesses, bloggers, online stores and more on a freelance basis. Expand to offer related services like SEO optimization.
  • Income Potential: $2,000 to $8,000+ per month. Charge $100-$250 per hour or $1,000-$5,000+ per website project.
  • Time Commitment: 10-25 hours per week dedicated to projects and marketing yourself.
  • Skills Needed: Strong portfolio, tech skills like HTML/CSS, project management and communication skills.

14. Create Online Courses

  • Overview: Develop and sell online courses teaching your skills or expertise through platforms like Udemy, Skillshare and Teachable.
  • Income Potential: $1,000 to $5,000+ per month. Top instructors earn over $100k+ per year.
  • Time Commitment: 50+ hours upfront to create each course, then ongoing marketing and updates.
  • Skills Needed: Expertise in a teachable skill, course development and marketing skills.

15. Start a Podcast

  • Overview: Create a podcast around your passion, hobby or expertise. Monetize through ads, sponsorships and premium content for loyal fans.
  • Income Potential: $1,000 to $5,000+ per month once you build an engaged audience.
  • Time Commitment: 5-10 hours per week to create episodes, market and engage with listeners.
  • Skills Needed: Strong niche expertise, audio editing and marketing skills.

16. Become an Influencer

  • Overview: Build a loyal social media following on Instagram or TikTok around your brand or expertise. Monetize through ads, affiliate marketing, selling own products.
  • Income Potential: Micro influencers can earn $5,000 to $15,000 per month from 10k-100k followers. Scale up from there.
  • Time Commitment: 1-2 hours per day creating content and engaging with followers.
  • Skills Needed: Strong niche expertise, creativity, social media and marketing skills.

17. Consulting / Freelance Services

  • Overview: Offer your professional expertise as a consultant to businesses on an hourly or project basis. Expand into areas like marketing, business strategy, HR, finance.
  • Income Potential: Senior consultants charge $100-$500+ per hour and earn $5,000-$20,000+ per month.
  • Time Commitment: 10-30 hours per week dedicated to clients.
  • Skills Needed: Proven experience and expertise in your field, self marketing skills.

Side Hustle Tips for Success

Follow these best practices to maximize your side income:

  • Pick a hustle that fits your skills and interests – This makes the work enjoyable and helps you excel.
  • Start small and simple – Test ideas before diving in full time. Manage risk.
  • Set a monthly income goal – This drives focused effort to hit your targets. Track profits and hours to calculate ROI.
  • Schedule specific time for your hustle – Treat it like a part-time job by blocking out set hours each week.
  • Reinvest early profits to grow – Use initial earnings to improve equipment, education and marketing.
  • Promote across multiple platforms – Don’t rely solely on one channel like Etsy or Facebook. Build an email list, optimize for SEO, network etc.
  • Provide excellent customer service – Positive word of mouth and reviews will attract more customers.
  • Consider tax implications – Speak to an accountant about paying income tax and claiming applicable deductions.
  • Optimize and systematize – Streamline processes to maximize earnings per hour invested. Automate where possible.
  • Outsource tasks if cost-effective – Consider hiring freelancers to assist with time-intensive activities that others can do more efficiently.

Turn Your Passion into Profit

As you can see, regular people can now profit from their skills, hobbies and passions thanks to the multitude of side hustle options online.

You can realistically generate an extra $500 to $2,000+ working just 5-15 hours per week on your schedule. Some hustles offer even more upside over time.

The key is to start! Choose an idea that excites you, set income goals, schedule time to work on it consistently, and reinvest profits to grow. Let this guide give you the confidence to finally pursue that side hustle and start generating cash online.

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George James

George was born on March 15, 1995 in Chicago, Illinois. From a young age, George was fascinated by international finance and the foreign exchange (forex) market. He studied Economics and Finance at the University of Chicago, graduating in 2017. After college, George worked at a hedge fund as a junior analyst, gaining first-hand experience analyzing currency markets. He eventually realized his true passion was educating novice traders on how to profit in forex. In 2020, George started his blog "Forex Trading for the Beginners" to share forex trading tips, strategies, and insights with beginner traders. His engaging writing style and ability to explain complex forex concepts in simple terms quickly gained him a large readership. Over the next decade, George's blog grew into one of the most popular resources for new forex traders worldwide. He expanded his content into training courses and video tutorials. John also became an influential figure on social media, with over 5000 Twitter followers and 3000 YouTube subscribers. George's trading advice emphasizes risk management, developing a trading plan, and avoiding common beginner mistakes. He also frequently collaborates with other successful forex traders to provide readers with a variety of perspectives and strategies. Now based in New York City, George continues to operate "Forex Trading for the Beginners" as a full-time endeavor. George takes pride in helping newcomers avoid losses and achieve forex trading success.

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