11 Side hustles for earning extra income

Avoiding your credit card bills after the holiday season? I feel you.

Don’t let it get you down, though! There are plenty of ways to get your bank account back in the black.

Here are 11 side hustles where you can make money that DON’T include taking on more clients, renting out a room in your home, or partaking in medical research. (Yikes.)

#1: Sell photography / icon sets / fonts / themes etc.

If you can create something digital, you can sell it. If you already have a platform (like a blog or large YouTube following), you can easily sell your creations on your own. Otherwise, you can use a convenient third-party platform.

Here are some platforms where you can sell your creations:

There are also sites like Creative Market where you can open your own digital shop.

Talk about passive income! Simply create it, and then sell it.

Psst...We're building a group of smart, talented freelancers to support each other on LinkedIn. Wanna join us?

Real life example:

Website designer and developer Denise Chandler sells fonts and icon sets directly from her website using PayPal.

#2: Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is when a person markets products on behalf of a company, and earns a commission when sales are made.

For instance, if I am an affiliate for Amazon, I will include a special link on my website when suggesting a book to read. If someone then buys that book, I receive a percentage of the sale.

Affiliate marketing is a perfect side-hustle for those who create content online, whether on a blog, YouTube channel, or even Instagram.

The key to success here is promoting things your audience is actually interested in.

Real life example:

Brad Hussey, who creates web development courses, incorporates affiliate marketing on his website’s resource page. Brad shares recommendations of things aspiring web developers need (like web hosting), and earns a little something for doing so.

#3: Start a weekly newsletter

This can be a curated newsletter or otherwise. It’s ideal for a person who already has some kind of blog / social media following, since your current readers will be likely to sign up.

Here’s where monetization comes in: you can add affiliate links (see side hustle #2) and (eventually) sponsorships.

According to Bryan Harris, you can earn $500 (or more) for sponsored emails. (Yes – $500 for *one* email!)

Real life examples:

Hacker Newsletter is a popular curated weekly newsletter by Kale Davis where he handpicks articles that were posted on Hacker News. At the top (of most), he has a “sponsored” link.

Another example is Millo’s very own The Freelance Report, a curated newsletter for (you guessed it) freelancers. Within the email body, they also have sponsored messages.

#4: Sell an information product  

Digital product can take various forms, but some of the most common are online courses and ebooks. However, you can also create workbooks, editorial calendars, audio courses, and more.

Digital products work well because, similar to #1, they are scalable. You can create an online course once, and sell it over and over.

To sell your digital product, you can use your own platform (typically a website) by using a tool like Gumroad or one of the many WordPress plugins out there, like Zippy Courses.

Alternatively, you can sell it on a third-party platform like Udemy or Amazon Kindle. There are pros and cons to each method—worth noting in another article.

Real life example:

Graphic designer and blogger Lauren Hooker has courses on her website, like this Adobe Illustrator ecourse.

#5: Build a membership site

A membership site goes beyond individual products and courses in that it is ongoing. Like with a Netflix subscription, users on a membership site pay a recurring monthly fee.

For your bottom line, this is ideal. But it is also more time consuming — because you need to keep your community happy month after month!

A membership site is more next-level, and something that works well if you already have an audience. It’s your chance to spread your knowledge and expertise to an online community.

Real life examples:

Youpreneur is an online community created by Chris Ducker specifically for entrepreneurs. Aside from a members-only forum, there are also live monthly mastermind calls and other special content like guides, as well as video recordings—none of which are available publicly on the web.

A more creative example is Sean McCabe. Sean does it all—blogs, podcasts, online courses, and he also has an online membership community for creative entrepreneurs.

#6: Accept donations

Lots of people (myself included, I admit) feel awkward asking for money. But think of it like being a patron of the arts.

There are tools out there that make it easy to exchange money person-to-person, like:

Real life examples:

This seems to be something particularly popular amongst illustrators/cartoonists.

Steph Halligan, a cartoonist who sends daily art and inspiration to your inbox, uses Gumroad to collect monthly $3 and $7 donations as well as one-time payments.

Also, illustrator Elizabeth Simins and web-comic-creator Sarah Andersen both use Patreon to collect donations.

#7: Guest write

If you enjoy writing, and have previous writing samples to show, consider guest writing…for payment.

Here are some places that (openly) accept guest contributors:

Plus, writing about your expertise (like web design) is great exposure for your personal brand.

Another side hustle similar to guest writing is speaking. However, one usually needs to be more experienced to charge for speaking at events.

Real life example:

It’s tougher to find “examples” of this since it’s not as out in the open. However, guest writers you see on the sites above are probably getting paid.

But one example I know very well is me! I began writing on other blogs for free. And as I began to build up my writing samples, I’ve been able to (sometimes) be compensated for my guest writing.

#8: Host a virtual event / workshop

Aside from writing (or speaking), another way you can benefit from your expertise is by hosting a virtual event/workshop.

This is something that works best if you already have some kind of following or industry “fame.”

You can monetize your live event by using a tool like Crowdcast, used for multi-person live broadcasts. Or, you can keep your event free and instead get sponsors.

Real life example:

Paul Scrivens (the man behind Makers Cabin) hosts live workshops, like this Conversion Rate Optimization workshop.

#9: One-on-one training or coaching

Get paid for teaching what you know. This is similar to the above, except it’s done one-on-one.

Can be online (Skype) or in real life. (Like a tutor!)

Real life example:

Danielle Spurge, creator of The Merriweather Council, offers one-on-one Skype consultations specifically for online shop owners. She specializes in planning, brand building, and social media. She also does personalized critiques—like of your Etsy shop.

#10: Teach an in-person course / workshop

A common way to teach is as an adjunct instructor at a college / university.

You can also teach workshops or lead groups. For instance, Girl Develop It instructors earn a portion of the signups to the classes they teach.

Real life example:

Julie Cameron (and all other GDI instructors).

#11: Create your own Etsy shop

This is similar to selling fonts and WordPress themes (side hustle #1), except on Etsy you can sell anything. Including physical creations (like cards, day planners, and posters!)

Real life examples:

Flair and Paper is an Etsy shop that sells invitations, printables, snarky cards and wall arts.

Pauline Cabrera (creator of twelveskip.com) has an Etsy shop where she sells various goodies including stock photography, printable planners, and more.

How do you side hustle?

What do you do as your side gig? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

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  1. Couldn’t agree more about affiliate marketing! I like to add that companies own affiliate programs are more beneficial than Amazon. For an example mine commission starts at 20%.

  2. Great article. It is nice to see so many different was of making passive income in one place. Thank you!

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