The proverb "necessity is the mother of all invention" rings true more than ever now. The last couple years have pushed more Americans to wear the entrepreneurial hat through side hustles as a way to stabilize their earnings. A survey by Zapier states that 1 in 4 Americans (24 percent) are planning to start a side hustle in 2021.
A side hustle is flexible, brings in extra income and lets you test the entrepreneurship waters. Here's another plus — the majority of side hustle options are quite straightforward and don't require you to learn new skills. Yes, you read it right — you don't need to learn savvy tools or jump into the world of coding for a side gig. Most side hustles require channeling the skill set and resources you already possess.
We're highlighting some simple side hustle ideas that don’t require any retraining, can add up to $1,000 in monthly income and can be started in a short timeframe. Our side hustle checklist can provide more help as you get started.
Which Side Hustle Is Right for You?
Your side hustle should actually be simple. How can you identify what would work best for you? Start by asking a simple question: What are you the go-to person for in your work or personal life? Do people consistently come to you for help with technology or advice on finance? This will show if there's a demand for your gig. Also, consider what you enjoy doing and how much time you can allot for it. You'll be more motivated to run a side hustle that plays to your skill set and passion.
If you can't pinpoint an idea immediately, browse through our list of simple and straightforward side hustle options that require skills that you likely already possess.
6 Incredibly Simple Side Hustle Gigs
1. Freelance Writing
The web is thriving with content, isn't it? But ever wondered who is behind it all? A person (actually many people). Every blog, guide, checklist, etc., has been written by somebody. And you don't necessarily need a journalism or writing degree to start a side gig as a freelance writer. If your writing is above average and you have excellent research skills, you can certainly explore the possibility of being a freelance writer.
Build a portfolio of your writing samples and reach out to companies and your network to get started. You can also create an account on freelancing websites like Upwork, Fiverr and FlexJobs to secure more work. A freelance writer stands to earn anywhere between $43,000 to $61,000 yearly.
2. Become a Virtual Assistant
The days of offices needing an assistant to file paperwork might be gone, but it doesn't mean they don't need additional help. Several companies are seeking virtual assistants (VA) to help them with data entry, email management, bookkeeping and typing. If your strengths consist of strong computer, organization and time management skills, then this is a great side hustle option.
If you have an eye for photography, then there are several ways to turn it into a side business. You could start as a freelance photographer and promote your services through Facebook, Instagram or pure word of mouth. For freelance photography, we recommend you identify your niche — whether it's nature, weddings, kids/maternity or sports. If you are unsure, do trial shoots and experiment till you find your style.
If you know your town quite well, you can combine tourism and photography. Lead people or tourists through your town and teach them how to photograph it well. You can promote this on Airbnb Experiences or partner with local tour agencies.
Alternatively, you can also sell your photos to online stock libraries such as iStock, Shutterstock, Dreamstime and Twenty20. Getty Images, Shutterstock and Alamy accept photos shot via your phone if they meet their image quality guidelines. The key to earning via selling to these websites is to ensure that your tags and meta descriptions are detailed and relevant. Stock photographers get paid per download (starting at $0.10 per download) or by royalties that go well over $1,000.
4. Teach English Online
Thanks to globalization, the demand for learning English is at an all-time high. If you are a native English speaker, have a bachelors' degree (doesn't have to be in English or teaching) and have reliable Internet with a mic and camera, you can easily start this side hustle and be on your way to earning up to $26 an hour. Sign up on websites like SkimaTalk, VIPKid, Teach Away and GOGOKID, pass the online interview,and set your available hours. The advantage of working through one of these websites is that most require zero lesson planning.
5. Carry Out Website and App User Testing
Here's one straightforward side gig that requires just a laptop/phone, a webcam and broadband Internet. Excellent user experience (UX) is of utmost importance for all companies' websites and apps because lousy navigation, poor design or lack of clarity costs them money. With the ongoing app and website updates, how do companies ensure that their UX is never amiss? They need user testers.
To start as a tester, register yourself on websites like UserTesting, Cheakealos, Userlytics and IntelliZoomPanel, and pass their audition to become a qualified tester. A typical test requires 15–20 minutes of your time and asks you to capture your feedback via a detailed questionnaire or video. Depending on the scope of testing, you can stand to earn anywhere between $10–$20 per assignment (some pay up to $90) for sharing your honest thoughts and opinions.
6. Create a Course to Sell Online
The demand for online learning is skyrocketing and is expected to reach $300 billion by 2025. If you are wondering what you can teach, consider anything you have an interest and expertise in. The beauty of creating a course is that it's completely based on your skill set. If you are a crochet expert, teach that. If cake decoration is your calling, then build a course around it. You are only limited by yourself and your knowledge.
Contrary to popular belief, you don't need a fancy studio or video recording equipment to make your course — your home and phone/laptop webcam will suffice. Once you have created your course, you can go about selling it on websites like Skillshare,Udemy or Thinkific (basic plan at $39/annually). Teachable (basic plan at $29/annually) also offers a neat guide for help setting up the course. Detail out what your course teaches and who the target market is.
Start by promoting your course through your network and expand from there. The income you can earn from selling a course online depends on market demand and how much of a value you provide.
How to Start a Side Hustle
While thinking about starting a side hustle, it's easy to get bogged down by thoughts such as, "I need to be an expert," or "I need to learn new skills." But that's not necessary. Starting a successful side hustle is all about channeling your skill set, experiences, abilities and interests into something that generates income and also lets you test the waters of running a business.
Although you don't need a new skill set to get started, a few things are required to make sure your side gig is protected and poised for success. Forming a limited liability company (LLC) and ensuring your business has the right contracts and licenses are steps you should take next when your side gig becomes a little more than a hobby.
Swara Ahluwalia is a freelance content writer with experience in the technical, B2B and SaaS domain. She also has curated content for various lifestyle brands. In her downtime, you will most likely find Swara training for her next marathon or spending time with her two daughters.