Personal Finance

Four great side hustles that can earn you extra cash

Key Points
  • Side hustles are becoming more mainstream.
  • There are many ways to bring in extra bucks, from selling on eBay to teaching online courses. There’s never been a better time to earn additional money, says Grant Sabatier of Millennial Money.
  • Side hustles can mean different things to different people, and that’s OK. “Tap into your why and what is your goal, whether it’s to leave your job or make more money,” said Nicaila Matthews Okome of Side Hustle Pro. “Know that, and you can structure your time and side hustle accordingly.”

It's easier than ever to bring in extra dough.

The internet is great for spending money, and it's also a terrific way to make some as well.

Without leaving your house, you can start a lucrative side business, often without spending much upfront.

Richard Drury | DigitalVision | Getty Images

"Understand your passions and interests," said Nicaila Matthews Okome, whose podcast Side Hustle Pro profiles black women entrepreneurs who successfully scaled from side hustle to profitable business.

Explore what you naturally gravitate to. It might be creating a platform and blog to incorporate advertising and brand sponsors. It might be selling clothes or other items.

Next, ask yourself why you're side hustling. Is it extra income? Do you want to build a business?

When it comes to time management, Okome is big on finding the schedule that works for you and sticking to it. "When you see articles on productivity, you often see people who wake up at 4 a.m.," she said. "That's not my jam."

Instead, analyze your own day and find the time you feel most energetic and alert. "Schedule your side hustle around that time," Okome said.

Set your schedule and spend an hour a day building out your goals," Okome said.

Warren Buffett made the equivalent of $53,000 by age 17 with these side hustles
Warren Buffett made the equivalent of $53,000 by age 17 with these side hustles

When Okome was starting her podcast, she spent an hour a day learning and strategizing. She dedicated Mondays to discovering more about recording. Other days she focused on editing and social media marketing.

Don't let your goals overwhelm you. Okome recommends 12-week stints with smaller steps. "Like losing weight, saying you want to lose 30 pounds is so vague," she said. Try focusing on one goal for 12 weeks: drinking more water, preparing your own breakfast every day or walking an extra five blocks.

For her podcast, Okome chose small, precise goals – opening a bank account, learning new skills – and had a fully formed business entity at the end of a year.

People don't always realize that few people start out being a pro. You have to start somewhere. "Done is better than perfect," Okome said. "A lot of times people compare themselves to others who might be three or five years down the road. You have to put one foot in front of the other and get started."

In fact, says Chris Haroun, who teaches online, learn to embrace failure. "You can't just try one or two side hustles and expect to be successful right out of the gate," Haroun said.

1. Be a digital marketer

Grant Sabatier, the creator of Millennial Money, was able to achieve financial independence at age 30. How did he do it? He combined smart investing and side hustles.

Sabatier netted $300,000 from a smorgasbord of side hustles. He wrote white papers, flipped Volkswagen campers and was an SEO consultant.

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He gives top marks to digital marketing as an income stream. First, you may find getting a certificate in digital marketing gives you a grounding and some street cred. Certification is often low-cost or free. The well-known Google AdWords used to cost $50 and is now free.

2. Sell domain names

Sabatier also made money buying and selling domain names. Site names such as and reportedly sold for $11 million and $7 million, respectively.

It's no longer quite as easy to flip a domain name, yet it can still be done.

Here's how. The website SidehustleHQ lays out what you need to know about buying domain names, sometimes for as little as $10, and the sites to buy them from: Godaddy and NameCheap, among others.

3. Sell your skills

If you're super-knowledgeable about some aspect of business — cooking, writing, a foreign language, some craft — make a video and post it on a site that pays you each time someone buys access.

Haroun, who earns money from videos he posts on the online teaching platform Udemy, says teaching online is the best side hustle.

He praises the high scalability. Do it once, and the money keeps coming in each time someone makes a purchase. Haroun has sold one course 200,000 times.

Other platforms where you can post teaching videos: Teachable and Skillshare.

4. Sell your stuff

Although Haroun does not recommend side hustles that require inventory, he did well selling iPhone cases on eBay that he purchased through AliExpress.

If you have a passion for fashion or some other category, you can, in fact, make money selling through online auctions. The biggest, of course, is eBay, which is so gargantuan that people pore over metrics, create lists of top sellers and offer lots of advice. The auction site certainly worked for Nasty Gal founder and Girlboss CEO Sophia Amoruso.

Poshmark and Etsy are other ways to sell online, with minimal cost of entry. Craigslist doesn't charge anything, but does have more than its share of scammers.

When it comes to choosing what you'll sell, remember Okome's advice and pick something you naturally gravitate to.

Haroun recommends testing the market first on a smaller scale. He started with a handful of phone cases and bought more only when he saw healthy sales.