It seems that side hustle fever has taken the world by storm. It’s no longer enough to have a full-time job. There’s no security in jobs these days and it’s always nice to be able to supplement your income.
Unconventional side hustle ideas are sorely needed.
Unfortunately, most side hustle ideas have been beaten to death. Start a blog, create a YouTube channel, become an influencer. Instead, I want to introduce you to powerful side hustle ideas you may not have heard of before.
Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our comparisons and recommendations. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.
Of course, a few will be familiar but many of them will be new to you. I even raised my eyebrows when I saw some of them (that’s a good thing). Let’s dive into the list of ideas.
What is a side hustle – really?
A side hustle is something that you do in addition to your main or full-time job. The nature of side hustles tends to involve some form of freelancing but it’s not a prerequisite. Though side hustles usually start off small, if you choose the right one, the earnings can grow to outpace your full-time job.
Best Side hustle ideas
1. eBook selling
Many people are familiar with eBooks but they don’t realize that some folks have turned it into a viable side hustle that pays much more than their day job.
The beauty is that you don’t need to be a bestselling author to make over six figures and most of the income is passive. You write the book once and you keep getting royalties for months or years.
The only prerequisite is creating books that are useful and written well. Book readers are more unforgiving than most when it comes to grammatical errors.
The biggest objection to this strategy is that people think they can’t write an entire book. I guarantee that if you know how to write, you have at least one book in you.
But, this isn’t about your personal output. It’s about taking advantage of the eBook ecosystem. There are many services that will help you write your book, create a cover, and even write a compelling book description for you. Urban Writers is one such service.
This requires a higher up-front cash investment but it can be worth it if your book performs well. The goal is to create a catalog of books. Each one pays you a little and it adds up over time.
For example, let’s say you have 5 books that each produces $100/m. You would be making $500/m in passive revenue. If you have 10 books, then you’ll earn $1,000/m. Of course, some books will do much better and some will do worse.
In addition to selling eBooks, you can convert that eBook to an audiobook and list it on a platform like Audible. Oftentimes, the audiobook does better than the eBook in terms of sales. You can double your revenue without much additional effort.
2. Drop servicing
You may be familiar with the term dropshipping. It’s the process whereby you sell products that you’ve not stocked or purchased yet. You wait until someone orders a product displayed on your website then you pay a supplier for the item and have them ship it directly to your customer.
The customer doesn’t know the product came directly from a supplier so you’re in charge of quality, returns, customer support, etc.
Drop servicing is similar. You don’t perform the service yourself, you just go out and find the clients. Once you and the client have finished discussing terms, you turn around and get a contractor to do most or all of the work.
Your profit is the difference between what the client paid and what you’ve paid the contractor. This isn’t a new concept and businesses have been doing it for a long time. With the internet, it has gotten easier and you’re able to use geographic arbitrage.
For example, if you have reliable contractors in the Philippines, you can charge a client $2,500 to build a decent website then pay your contractors $700 to get it done. Your profit in this case is $1,800 and you’re just managing client expectations.
You can do this with a huge number of services including:
- Web development
- Graphic design
- Ads management
- Video editing
Basically, any service that can be delivered over an internet connection and isn’t directly tied to you (like coaching) is fair game. If you’re looking for contractors, OnlineJobs.ph, Fiverr, and Upwork are good places to start your search.
3. Car rental
People rent cars all the time but it’s uncommon from you to rent a car from an individual. Now it’s possible to make that happen if your car fits a certain criteria.
And no, your car doesn’t have to be luxurious. It can be a standard car like a Toyota Camry but it should be in good condition.
One way to enhance the income from this process is to lease one or two higher-end cars and then rent them out full time. If, for example, your lease payments are $400/m, anything you make from car rentals over that amount is your profit.
A few platforms you can use to get his side hustle idea off the ground include Turo, Getaround, Hiyacar.
4. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is a tested and proven side hustle idea. I’ve also written about it extensively on this blog so I won’t go too deep into it in this post. You can check out the detailed guide on how to start affiliate marketing here.
Here’s the spark notes edition:
- Choose a niche that people are already spending money in
- Research products in that niche that are competitive and that have a decent commission payout
- Create content reviewing those products (honest reviews)
- Get those pages to rank in the search engines by building quality backlinks
- Rinse and repeat until you get to your income goal
5. Hot tub rental
This is one of those side hustle ideas that’s well off the beaten path and, because of that, it’s still very lucrative. It’s a popular service in Europe but still hasn’t caught on in the states.
The premise is simple, you buy a few hot tubs and rent them out to people. The target market is those with a bit of disposable cash but couldn’t afford or justify buying a hot tub outright.
You’ll need a truck and trailer to transport the hot tubs to the homes of clients (you can charge a premium for this). The hot tubs themselves are low maintenance.
Keep in mind that the portable hot tub can run anywhere from $1,000 – $7,000 for a new one. Used ones can range from $500 – $4,000. I’d recommend a high-quality used one.
The pricing for the service varies but you can charge about $200/weekend, $250/week, and $500 for a full month’s rental. There’s also an opportunity to include extras like cedar steps.
Once demand is established, it’s just a matter of steadily increasing your capacity until you’ve hit your income goal.
6. Trucking company
Starting a trucking company is probably not something you think of as a side hustle idea. I get it. I didn’t think it was until I saw it in action myself.
This side hustle starts with a larger upfront investment but you don’t have to foot the bill yourself. You’re able to leverage the purchase of a semi-truck with a loan the same way you’d do it when buying a car. It’s an investment asset so the payments on the loan will come out from the income you make.
There are multiple things to consider:
- The year of the truck. They don’t get old the same way cars do so a used truck between 2013 – 2017 will be fine.
- The mileage on the truck. Aim for around 500,000 miles or less. Trucks will continue to serve you well until they get to the 1.2 million miles range.
- The price you should be expecting to pay is around $33,000 – $40,000. Ideally, aim for sub $35,000.
- Where will you park it? Truck parking space costs about $150/m to rent.
The next step is understanding how to get drivers and the loads you’ll transport. You can call around to third party logistics companies in your area. The larger they are, the more likely they are to have spare drivers that can handle your truck. They’ll also give you loads.
You can also use apps like Convoy and Uber Freight to find loads on your own but you’ll have to arrange for a driver.
So how much can you make?
You’ll be working on a weekly payout schedule and if you’re fully booked, you can expect $6,000 – $7,000 a week in revenue. From there, you’ll handle expenses:
- $1200 driver pay
- $1400 for fuel
- $200 to rent a trailer
- $1,200 for maintenance
- Insurance, tolls, and other miscellaneous expenses
In the end, you’ll get a profit of around $1,000 – $1,500 a week.
In a year, assuming about a month off for repairs, vacation, etc., you’re looking at $44,000 – $66,000. Remember, your initial investment was around $40,000 but you didn’t foot the whole bill because of the loan.
That means your cash on cash return will be well over 100%. It’s a bit more stressful than other side hustles but the returns are well worth it.
7. Loan signing agent
In simple terms, a loan signing agent is the person that walks you through all the forms you need to sign when you’re closing on a home loan. It’s an important job that helps people feel more confident with taking the leap when taking out a loan for the first time.
The interesting part is that it doesn’t have many requirements. You just need to:
- Understand the documents that people are going to sign
- Get your notary license
- Insurance for errors and omissions (we’re all humans right)
That’s it. The notary license itself costs less than $100 in most states and the insurance is about $100/year depending on the kind of coverage you get.
To get work, you can reach out to real estate agents and ask them to add you to their list of vendors. Or, you can use a signing service. The first option will produce more income for you but may take longer to ramp up. The signing service, has a larger pool of potential clients so can get you work immediately.
Don’t just limit yourself to real estate agents. Players all up and down the loan value chain have a use for signing agents:
- Loan officers
- Title agents
- Escrow agents
Get your name out there and you’ll start to see more and more referrals. It takes about an hour to walk people through all the necessary documents and you’ll be paid anywhere from $50 – $150. This is a side hustle that can become your full time job if you want it to be.
If you want more information and to fastrack your side hustle, here’s a helpful course – the loan signing system (premium)
8. Paid newsletter
Newsletters are generally free and they’re either monetized through classified ads or by recommending products to your subscribers.
This is a proven approach and can be lucrative. The challenge is that you need a large number of subscribers to make the number work.
With a paid newsletter, you’re able to charge everyone who joins so it’s not necessary to use alternative means to monetize. If you do decide to monetize, you’ll have an audience that opens most of your emails because they consider them valuable.
You can use a platform like Substack to make monetizing your newsletter easier. There are a few things to keep in mind:
- The niche of your newsletter. The more focused the better but you don’t want to go too niche
- The frequency of your messages
- The goal – will you curate or will you create original content?
- Additional member-only resources you’ll provide
9. Book flipping
The last side hustle idea is another one that’s off the beaten path. The premise is simple. You use arbitrage to find used books that are cheap and sell them for a higher price on Amazon.
These are books that are hard to come by or have a large following. Before the pandemic, you’d be able to go to thrift stores, yard sales, and charity shops to find books to sell.
Today, you can use platforms like eBay. The profit won’t be as high but it can still be lucrative. Tools of the trade include ScoutIQ (to scan book barcodes) and Inventorylab (to print shipping labels). Additionally, you can use tools like Letgo.com and offerup.com to find books to sell.
Side hustles, when worked on consistently, often grow beyond your full time. Whether that’s your goal or you just want to make a few dollars on the side to offset some bills, the side hustle ideas on this list will be able to make it happen.
Choose the one that looks like the most interesting one to you and give it at least 18 months before you throw in the towel.