Be Your Own Boss: 37 Side Hustle Ideas

by Brett & Kate McKay on August 15, 2012 · 192 comments

in Money & Career

This month, Tyler Tervooren did a great two-part series for us on some of the basic principles of starting a successful side hustle.

Today, I want to round out those posts by offering a list of concrete side hustle ideas for guys who need more specific inspiration on what kind of “microbusiness” to create. Remember, as Tyler explained, a lot of men never get started with their side hustle because they think their idea has to be unique and ground-breaking. It doesn’t. You just need a customer who’s willing and able to pay for your services and a strong work ethic to make your business a success.

You might think, “I’d like to start X business, but I can’t because so many people are already doing the same thing.” Well, I’ve seen half a dozen guys try to start a business with the exact same idea, but only one succeeded, because only one was willing to really hustle. Within any current niche, there is another niche waiting for you to dominate: the super responsive, super enthusiastic, non-flaky, on-time, quality producer. Seriously, how many flaky graphic designers and computer programmers are out there? Tons. And people who use their services are frustrated. By making yourself the super responsive, super enthusiastic, non-flaky, on-time computer programmer, you can put yourself head and shoulders above your competitors, and easily rack up referrals and dominate your niche.

Here’s an example: I had a dead tree in my front yard that I needed cut down and removed. I called a couple of places. No one answered the phone, so I left a message. A couple of days went by, no response. So I sent an email to another guy. He showed up at my front door within the hour and gave me an estimate. I hired him and he came the next day with his men to do the work.

The same principles apply to side hustles. And if you want to turn it into your real job? Then treat it like one. Take blogging, for instance. People think they can start a blog, spend an hour each day writing down their musings about the world, and crap out golden eggs. Yet after a year they still have two subscribers: their girlfriend and their mom.  I am often asked how I made AoM a success. Well, Kate and I each worked on it 30-60 hours a week…even when I was in law school and even when I had a full-time corporate job. Early mornings, late nights. We treated it like a job…until it became our job.

In trying to come up with a side business idea, the two richest veins are 1) hobbies you already do for free, and 2) stuff people are unable or unwilling to do themselves. That latter category keeps on growing, as people are increasingly “outsourcing” their lives and becoming averse to doing little unpleasant tasks and chores themselves. However you feel about this trend, the market is definitely there for more and more outsourcing niches.

The ideas below generally fall into these two categories. Most will allow you to stick with Tyler’s suggested $100 budget and can be started right away. Maybe one will pique your interest, or will give you another idea. Certainly don’t limit yourself to this list.

37 Side Hustle Ideas

Crafter of ____. The Industrial Revolution dealt craftsmen a terrible blow. But small, independent artisans have been making a comeback these days. Because of sites like etsy.com, it’s never been easier to set up a “shop,” and get your wares out there in front of people. What should you make? Whatever your imagination, skills, and tools can dream up. There are guys making simple lamps, shaving brushes and keepsake boxes, leather notebook covers, knives — you name it.

Editor/proofreader. Got an English degree? It’s good for more than a job at McDonald’s! (I kid, I kid). You can start freelance editing when you’re still in school – friends and classmates often need their papers and graduate school application essays edited. Once you’ve gotten some experience under your belt, branch out to other things. How do you find clients? Editor Jeremy Anderberg, left this helpful comment on one of the previous side hustle posts:

“Believe it or not, all my clients have come from three sources:

-Twitter search for people needing an editor
-Craigslists postings in the Writing / Editing Jobs
-Independent/Indie author’s forums

I found where the authors are, and went to them! It’s worked great so far.”

Graphic designer.  It seems like everyone and their mom is a graphic designer these days, but the number of professional, reliable, and affordable graphic designers is few and far between.  If you have a goal of becoming a full-time graphic designer who can charge giant corporations a million dollars to come up with a new logo, start off by doing projects for smaller businesses.  I know many folks who find clients by offering to do a small project for a business or website they frequent and enjoy. Once the business owner sees how awesome the work is, they end up hiring the designer for other projects. The one thing you can do to set yourself apart in this niche is to be super-reliable and responsive.

Personal chef/meal delivery. Personal chefs used to be the exclusive privilege of the rich and famous, but are now a service people of more modest means are signing up for. You can go into someone’s home to cook for them a few times a week, or make meals in your own kitchen that you deliver weekly or daily. The latter option is often done for those who are on a diet and want someone to prepare fresh, calorie-controlled meals for them. One thing to note about this, and any other side business that involves making food in your own kitchen, is that your state or city may have laws requiring commercially-sold food to be made in a commercially-certified kitchen. Getting that certification can be pricey. One way around this is that some cities offer a community commercial kitchen where you can rent a slot.

Dog poop picker-upper. Yup, this is really a job. Some people’s full-time job, actually. All dogs poop, and some people don’t want to crisscross their yard every week searching for Fido’s droppings. I actually heard of a guy here in town, Jon Wood, who started his own dog poop scooping business –Poop 911 — while he was getting his biology degree from the University of Tulsa. He intended to go to medical school, but his side business became so successful that his previous plan was soon put on hold, and now he’s looking to franchise.

Soap maker. There seems to be a bunch of soaps available at the grocery store, but they’re really all about the same. That leaves a lot of special niches to be filled — folks looking for super natural fragrance-free soap, guys who want a unique and manly scent, and those who’d like their soap to come in a fun shape (like, say, guns or bacon and eggs) to name a few. Making your own soap isn’t as difficult as you might think. Let Bryan Schatz show you how.

Poem/letter writer. Not everyone’s got a way with words. If you do, start a letter/poem writing service where the client tells you what they’re trying to convey, and you bring it to life for them.

Computer troubleshooter. Some people (read: older people) find their computer to be entirely inscrutable, and do not know how to fix their machines when issues come up. They may know how to turn it off and on, but that’s often about it. Become a one-man Geek Squad for these folks.

Website/blog creator. In this day and age every business needs to have a sharp-looking, easy-to-use website or blog. But surprisingly, a lot of business websites still look like they’re stuck in 1999. Plus, ordinary people often want to start a personal blog, but don’t know where to begin. In addition to your site creation service, you can also offer help on making the site easier to find in search engines and getting connected to potential readers and customers with social media.

To find clients, consider combining your website-building know-how with a special area of expertise. For example, during law school I noticed that a lot of law firms in town had pretty terrible looking websites. While I never had time to execute it, I thought about offering these firms my services, as I could help them both build their site and offer the legal know-how to create content for their blog.

Dog walker/pet sitter. If people work long hours, they need someone to come walk their dogs during the day, and if they go on vacation, they need someone to both walk and feed their pets. There are people in NYC making six figures a year doing this. Six figures for walking dogs!

Pet taxi. People use a pet taxi when they don’t have a car or work long hours, but need someone to take their kitty or pooch to the vet, the groomer, or to and from the airport. Pet taxis pick up animals from their homes, and take them to and from appointments.

Pet baths. While all-out pet grooming requires training, you could specialize in giving people’s four-legged friends a bath. Many people really don’t like doing this chore themselves.

Window cleaner. Got some cleaning solution and a squeegee? You’re ready to be a window washer. No, not the kind that stands at intersections and harasses you into having your windshield cleaned. Stick to people’s homes or businesses.

Family history creator. Many people want to know more about their ancestry, but find the idea of tracing their genealogy intimidating. They may even have the software to do so, but are still confused about how to use it. Your business could be helping these folks create their family tree.

Music/instrument teacher. If you know how to play a musical instrument, give lessons in your home.

Music performer.  If you have a talent for music, perform at small business events or weddings. I have an acquaintance here in town that performs the violin both solo and in a quartet at various events during her free time.

Blogger. Making money from a blog isn’t easy, but definitely possible if you’re willing to invest a lot of sweat equity into it. I’ll do a post in the future on my best tips for creating a successful blog if there is interest (let us know in the comments!).

Auto detailer. While many people enjoy detailing their own car, there are plenty of folks who will gladly pay someone else to make their vehicle look like new.

Jerky maker. When it comes to small businesses that started out in somebody’s kitchen, women have cupcakes; men have jerky. In recent years, a lot of independent artisan jerky makers have emerged to offer an alternative to the big name, low quality, preservative-ridden jerky available in grocery stores. But there’s always room for another guy serving up his meaty creations.

Christmas lights/holiday display installer. Obviously this isn’t just a side hustle, but a seasonal hustle. It’s a job people really hate doing themselves, so you can make some good dough taking the work off their hands once a year.

Dial-a-Santa. Maybe you’re a skinny 30-something and couldn’t grow a beard to save your life. But, you sound a lot like Santa. Offer a service where parents hire you to make live, personalized phone calls to their astonished children.

Designer of t-shirts/mugs/posters. It used to be that if you wanted to create your own t-shirts and such, you’d have to screen print them in your basement. Now the cost to entry is nil with print-on-demand sites like Zazzle that allow you to slap your designs on everything from shirts to mugs. They take care of all the printing and shipping for you – all you have to do is come up with the design. Of course, with any POD service, the printer/distributor takes a huge cut and leaves you with a lot less profit. But, it’s a good way to dip your toes into something to see if there’s interest in your creations.

Antique refurbisher. If you enjoy refurbishing antiques in your spare time, why not have people pay you to refurbish theirs? My grandpa actually started two side hustles after retiring from the Forest Service that involved refurbishing antiques.  He mainly did it to pass the time, but made a bit of money in the process. The first was restoring old wagons and carriages; the second was restoring and refurbishing antique phonograph players.

Teacher/public speaker. Teaching gigs aren’t reserved for those with the credentials to teach in public schools or colleges. If you have a skill or area of expertise, you can turn it into a class given through continuing education programs, rec centers, and libraries. Also check out a new site called dabble that lets you host one-time classes for interested students.

What could you teach about? Origami, drawing, basic computer skills, conversational foreign language, photography, and electrical safety were just a few of the classes I found by flipping through a Tulsa Continuing Education catalog. Think outside the box, as well, regarding where you can give your class. For example, I’ve thought it would be cool to offer a safety or straight razor class from time to time at a local barbershop.

If you’d like to get into public speaking, check out this SYWMJ interview.

Jack of all trades handyman. When you live in an apartment, there’s one guy who takes care of all the minor things that go wrong in the complex. When you move into a house, you have to call a specialist to fix every little thing. Here’s a winning idea I’m surprised I don’t see more often: set yourself up as an all-around handyman for homeowners. You might try the retainer model: having people pay a monthly fee to be able to call you whenever, for whatever, just like they did as apartment dwellers.

Gofer. Gofers are people who run errands. Usually the errands involve things like picking up dry cleaning or dropping stuff off in the mail. Gofers were once primarily hired by businesses, but more and more individuals are hiring them to do the errands they just don’t have time for. If you have a flexible schedule, you might consider signing up with TaskRabit and offering your services.

Photographer. With a good camera and a lot of practice, you can start documenting people’s weddings, birthdays, and family moments. You can also license your shots of all kinds of things for commercial use. Flickr makes doing this easy.

Tutor. If you’re knowledgeable in an academic subject, amiable, and able to explain difficult concepts to others, look into tutoring. This is something you can do when you’re still a student yourself; in college I tutored my classmates in Spanish, for instance. I got the word out about my service by putting up flyers in the building where foreign language classes were given. I easily got a few clients and made a nice bit of extra money each week. You can also try calling the offices at public schools; some keep lists of available tutors to offer to parents who are looking for one for their kid.

Odd and unpleasant jobs guy. There are a lot of little unpleasant jobs that people are either unwilling or unable to do. If you’ve got a strong stomach and work ethic, set yourself up as the guy who will do anything. Clean the cobwebs out of a garage. Clean a shower that’s so dirty the owner too embarrassed to even call a maid. Be creative about the gross things you can do.

Knife/blade sharpener. Put an ad on Craigslist offering your services. You don’t need to limit yourself to just knives; offer to sharpen any edged tool and the blades of manual lawn mowers, too.

Freelance writer. Not all blogs or websites pay for freelance submissions, or if they do, pay very little. But you can make money if you’re willing to boost the quantity (and probably lower the quality) of your output. And traditional magazines still pay well for topnotch stuff.

Personal shopper. Sorting through the thicket of choices available for every single consumer item these days can be incredibly frustrating and time-consuming. What credit card is best for me? Where can I find a sweater like this one? What’s the best laptop for my needs? Let your client tell you what they’re looking for, and then you’ll go to work combing through the options and presenting to them the three best choices, or, depending on their level of trust, making the purchase for them. You can specialize; for example, I think a good side hustle would be setting yourself up as the guy who finds and books airline tickets. Full-on travel agents do this too, but this would be your sole service.

Videographer/video editor. More and more couples not only want their wedding photographed, they also want it filmed and edited professionally. As people watch more and more video online, the demand for quality videographers and video editors is only increasing. If you have a hobby of making and editing short films, offer your service to friends who are getting married. Another source of potential clients are local businesses. Offer to make a short YouTube commercial that a business could share with customers or put on their webpage.

Computer programmer. Now that even your Aunt Myrtle has an idea for an iPhone app, computer programmers have never been so in demand. But reliable ones are still hard to find. Be that guy!

Lawn care and landscaper. Many young men have found success with a pick-up truck, a mower, and a weed whacker. But I also know grown men who do lawn care on the side to make a few extra dollars in order to pay down their debt or increase their savings.

Personal trainer/fitness instructor. Being a personal trainer requires getting some credentials, but once you get them, you can start helping people work out at a local gym. Or you can start an outdoor boot camp. A lot of people are looking for more unique forms of exercise than going to the gym, and I see a big untapped market for trainers offering “outside the box” kind of programs.

Monkey phone call maker. I came across this the other day, and it’s still cracking me up. Incredibly random, and proof you can make a side business out of anything.

What kinds of side hustles have you done personally, or have heard about from others? Share more ideas with us in the comments!

{ 192 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Garrett August 17, 2012 at 8:37 pm

I would love to read more about the blog as a side hustle prospect.

102 Nathanael Snow August 17, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Must we all drive Cadillacs? Must we all wear designer clothes? Must we all live in houses built to last more than 100 years?
No. It’s okay to drive a Kia, or a ’78 Olds Salon. It’s okay to buy shoes a Payless. It’s okay to abide in a doublewide.

There is an optimal quantity of low quality goods, no matter what good, or service, we are talking about. All that is necessary is that a product or worker have a comparative advantage over their client in the work that they produce.
Suppose a doctor can type 80 wpm. Does it make sense to do all her own transcriptions (another possible side-hustle, btw) if it takes away from time in surgery? Even if the transcriptionist can only do35 wpm? No.
Anytime you can hire someone to do a task which will free you up to do something else more profitable it is worthwhile. This is why there are jobs for more than just the absolute best at everything people.
I’ve hired a college student to take family photos four years running. She spent summer vacation with us this year. Got a free trip to the beach and $100. We got 20 or so great photos, culled from the hundreds she took. Force a licence on that industry and I get no photos, and college girl gets no trip to the beach.
I’ve tutored off and on for several years. Sometimes just one client at a time. I’ve made good money and met great people.
I also have a pal who hauls scrap as a side hustle. He’s found enough gems that he only works weekends at a regular job and goes to the lake midweek whenever he wants.
The key is to change your attitude from finding a job, to creating a job. Make someone else’s life better, and you make your own life better. Adam Smith taught us that long ago.

103 Liz August 18, 2012 at 10:02 am

Add another to your list: Freelance researcher. And not just the family tree stuff. I’m almost done with my Ph.D. in history, and I supplement my student stipend/fellowships by putting myself on the list of researchers at local archives. (I live in an area with several R1 universities, so several such archives are near by), and I charge by the hour to conduct archival research for clients who don’t want to travel to the collection. I provide document reproduction (in accordance with individual library policies), along with the full information necessary to maintain the provenance of the documents — a feature that matters for scholars and attorneys, both of whom use my services. If you have decent organizational skills and a degree that provides you with some research chops and experience, freelancing provides a necessary service to people who are willing to pay well. You have serious flexibility and the ability to choose your jobs based on your own interests. It’s been a great way to stay out of debt while I finish my dissertation.

104 Mike August 18, 2012 at 12:56 pm

You’ve done it again

I’m turning my hobby of collecting and restoring straight razors(thanks to you) into a small business of selling those razors once refurbished, as well as sharpening all manner of edged weapons/tools.

Thanks!

105 Arthur August 18, 2012 at 1:00 pm

I have always wondered, with these side business ideas, at what point you have to start registering as a business, paying taxes, etc. – basically, at what point does Uncle Sam need to know what you’re doing?

Obviously if you make $15 a month on something it’s not a big deal, but I don’t know the cutoff for when you need to actually create a business for real.

106 Jeremy Delancy August 18, 2012 at 3:54 pm

The Monkey Phone Call definitely falls into the category of “If I’d known someone would pay for that!”
This was a great series. On my blog I covered the psychological aspects of how to start a side hustle, under “You, Inc” Tervooren did an outstanding job without getting too technical.

107 Dirk August 19, 2012 at 8:50 am

Add to the list BBQ sauce maker. I make a sauce that has won awards in 2 states and just won first AND fair champion at the county fair.

Through word of mouth and the internet I am building a client list and already have repeat customers

I am also looking to partner with restaurants to get it on their menu and into their marketing to boost their sales and the sauce’s profile.

108 David Greene August 19, 2012 at 9:05 am

I would like to read more about how to start a blog

109 Chris Q August 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm

I’m glad that you made a point of telling everyone that you must treat a side gig as a “real job” if you want to make anything of it. I have fallen victim to this personal weakness so many times. I am about to begin another side gig teaching CPR. Hopefully I enjoy doing this enough to put the effort into it.

110 kyle August 19, 2012 at 6:10 pm

I just started my own blog as a side hustle and am learning a lot. It’s not easy at all but I would love to know more about how I can reach and help more people with my content. Thanks!

111 Clint August 19, 2012 at 10:03 pm

A good friend of mine has gotten into stripping copper as a side hustle and I’m considering it, too. He gets the copper out of dumpsters (he asks the business owners first) and then strips the insulator off and sells it to a scrap yard. All you need is a grabber, a bucket, and a razor. He strips it in the evening while he watches television. A 5 gallon bucket full of rolled up lengths of copper wire gets him like $100. Just make sure you don’t ever steal it.

112 Ryan Grimm August 20, 2012 at 11:57 am

On being a Handyman:
I did this for 11 years, it was strictly word-of-mouth, and when I raised my rates I actually got more business than I could handle…which is great, because there are some jobs you should NOT EVER work on…micro-managers are the worst, don’t know what they are talking about 99% of the time, for example, or nightmares you can see coming.
I went from starving at $10 an hour working for friends, to $50 an hour after seeing an ad in a Boston Sunday Globe Magazine…I raised my rates, it worked well. If I had been physically able to do all I wanted, I could have cleared $100K a year.
I’ve done everything from jacking an old barn AND house level to answering a phone call and going to a house to put champagne in a fridge for a client that had a ‘date’ with his wife that night.
It started when I belonged to an EMAIL list for a small Boston suburb. I started giving out free advice for people that needed to do things; after a while they just started hiring me to do those jobs. With over 1000 people on the list, work rolled in.

One advantage is you can work mostly for cash. One DRAWBACK is that while you will get lots of recommendations, every new client is a job interview..and if you get one new client a week, that 50+ job interviews a year.
I kept a list of recommendations from other clients, photos of my work, and list specifically what work I will NOT do to save time.
Oh, one other thing:
The most satisfied clients are the ones that never see your work. Being invisible in your repairs and cleanup is absolutely necessary…it’s what you leave the job looking like that is just about more important than the work itself.
95+% of the work I did was invisible repairs, and the last 5% was being a craftsman, working neatly, showing I care about what happens in someone’s home.
COURTESY will get you work.
Being rude poisons your career.

113 Matt August 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm

I too would love to read more about starting a blog as a side hustle.

114 Matthew August 20, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Hi,
I’d love to read more about writing/creating a blog & how to make money from it.

Thanks so much. AOM is a great website for the modern man.

115 Roger August 20, 2012 at 9:22 pm

I have started a couple blogs and would be interested in seeing your tips. I am currently working construction and find myself thinking that I’m getting too old for this. I am putting some serious thought into another line of work to switch into, which probably would mean re-inventing myself. I have a few ideas in mind.

116 Tom August 21, 2012 at 8:15 am

Great post. I’d love to read about how to build a successful blog. How do you generate interesting content and create a range of focus?

117 Austin August 21, 2012 at 5:11 pm

I’ve got interest in knowing how to create a successful blog.

118 Keith August 22, 2012 at 8:06 am

I think the key to a side hustle is finding something you’re already good at and becoming better. That’s why I disagree with the “graphic design” article going around here. I saw the Editor/proofreader post and immediately thought about the fact that I am a fairly good writer with an above average grasp of grammar, punctuation, and style, and I therefore could see myself getting into that kind of side hustle. But I also thought about how I could become better, by taking a couple of grammar and writing courses (I work at a university and get a tuition break, so this wouldn’t be cost prohibitive). I’ll probably never be a copy editor for a major paper or magazine, but someone will need an editor in my skill range and price range. Thanks for the post!
I also appreciated Liz’s comment on freelance research! I plan on doing my PhD in History and I’d love to do something like that as a side hustle to pay the bills!

119 Keith August 22, 2012 at 8:07 am

Oh, and I’d also like to see a post on a blog as a profitable side hustle (or full-time gig). Thanks!

120 TR August 22, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Just to reinforce a point I made earlier… you don’t want to take on a client in your “side hustle” and have something like this happen…

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19349921

Be ambitious, but know your limits, or you will do more harm than good.

121 TR August 22, 2012 at 4:18 pm

And the person who posted that article, a fellow musician, included the comment, “this reminds me of the good intentions of certain music teachers.”

122 Al August 22, 2012 at 4:32 pm

My side hustle is making handmade and flavored cigars. You need a license to sell them but it doesn’t cost to much.

123 Ed August 22, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Brett/Kay,
As always top of the line. Even the defense is playing hard…lol. As I see it. Offense: 1 Defense: 0. Defense: If you put this much energy into your “careers” as you’ve done here on this post you might just be successful. As previously quoted by President A. Lincoln, “Things may come to those who wait…but only th,e things left by those who hustle”.

So, call it what you like hustle, side job, career…question is; are you hustling or getting hustled? Man up, damn!

124 Walt C August 22, 2012 at 10:59 pm

I would really like to see an article on writing a blog. I can write fairly well when I’m motivated to do so, I just need to discipline myself and I need direction.

@ Roger,
I worked construction for 15 years before I got a drafting/designer gig, you’d be surprised at how your experience can open doors into this field. Worth looking into.

125 jeff August 23, 2012 at 1:49 am

Brett, Please write about how to create a successful blog!! Thanks a ton and keep up the great work. I’ve been a fan of AoM since your first year.

126 Hollis August 23, 2012 at 3:35 pm

@Arthur,

I worked as a soccer referee in high school (another great side job, by the way- any refereeing pays decent and takes minimal investment to get qualified, and if you like sports you get to get paid to go to games), and if I remember right we had to report our earnings if it came out to over $600 in a year. I don’t know if that’s still the exact line, but it should give you some idea.

127 Andrew K August 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Extremely informative. I need to think about this very seriously. And I also would like to know more about successful blogging even though there are thousands of successful blogs out there.

128 Kent Sanders August 23, 2012 at 5:17 pm

I would really love to read about your experience starting your blog and how you made it successful.

129 Bobby August 23, 2012 at 5:22 pm

To all these people requesting a post about how to make a profitable blog (about a quarter to half the comments so far):

Forget it! This topic has been discussed ad nauseum in thousands of other blogs, do a quick google search or just read the summary here: Don’t plan on making any money for months or YEARS, produce a ton of unique interesting content, and read/comment on other people’s blogs.

There’s your article, now forget about blogging as a side hustle and instead come up with something that people are willing to PAY for.

130 Justin August 23, 2012 at 8:55 pm

I would love to hear more about blogging as a side hustle.

131 Sleach2305 August 24, 2012 at 11:40 pm

Id like to no more about blogging. But one I vehemently disagree with about a side hustle is part of my chossen profession. There are already way to many “personal trainers” or “fitness specialist” out there. As someone who holds a degree in human movement science and exercise physiology there is a lot more to exercise then reading a book and taking a test. There’s years of study, hands on practice, hours of fundamental movement training and much much more of understanding concepts. The “CPT” is everything that is wrong with the fitness industry. Let me remind everyone you get what you pay for. You pay your 200 to take a test you get a 200 education, you pay 40k and blood and sweat you get 40k in education. The same thing goes for the trainer you hire. When you see that picture on the wall, look for the one that says BS in kinesiology, exercise science, exercise physiology, physical education, or some sort of exercise specialty then look at the university. Make sure it’s a university and make sure it was from a physical campus. A degree shows dedication, motivation, and perseverance. It’s kind of hard to teach some one a proper squat from looking at a book or watching a computer video. I’m in Colorado springs and at yahoo if you have any questions from a true professional in the fitness industry

132 Arthur August 25, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Thanks Hollis. That gives me a ballpark anyway.

133 Mike Paine August 25, 2012 at 5:10 pm

My girlfriend and I are proof that small independent craftsman can make it today. A few weeks ago we quit our jobs and now are 100% self employed leather goods and jewelry makers. We’ve been making custom orders for people via our Facebook page, wholesale orders for local shops and setting up a booth at the local artisan market and farmers market. We work hard to make our pieces and it shows in the smiles of our customers. Check us out on Facebook!!!

freshwater studios wearable art

134 Juliann Green August 25, 2012 at 5:11 pm

YES!! I want more information on how to become a successful blogger and make it a $uccessful $ide Hustle. I am seriously trying to start a blog. Thank you.

135 Jay August 25, 2012 at 6:23 pm

I would like to read more about making money blogging. I’ve been trying for years and haven’t figured out the magic combo yet.

136 Kelley Cusenbary August 26, 2012 at 5:46 pm

I own a small complex in the Central Valley of CA where unemployment is high. I cannot find a Hustler to do the small yard and keep the grounds swept. This article is so true! In working on my rental houses I frequently hire help that come asking for work. Some are good, some are not. I give away metal for recycling as I don’t have time to do it. Guys just see me and ask if I want that old stove. Tenants could have their apartment cleaned before I inspect it and charge $25 an hour to do it myself. Very few people know how to really clean, getting baseboards and interior cabinet, for example. A suggestion: There are street trees in my town that are diseased for entire blocks. These will all have to be taken down or fall down. You get one job here, you may get them all. I did! Look for things that are not as good as they should be…a flower bed that needs weeding, then get the roots with the weeds. Get a business card with your name and phone number. They can be homemade or bought. Check Craig’s list for similar jobs and under bid them. Get ideas for jobs on Craig;s list. Ask friends what they think you could do. Be the best. Quality is always in demand! Good luck.

137 Derek August 27, 2012 at 8:04 am

I have turned my hobby of brewing beer, hard cider, and mead into a side hussle. Though I cannot sell what I brew, often friends give a donation for my goods.

138 Winston August 28, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Let me add my vote for hearing more about blogging. I’ve been trying to get started, but you’re right: it’s tough. This blog is awesome, and I really admire your work.

139 Bryan August 29, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Interior/ Exterior Painting. I did this a couple summers while in college. My clients were all word of mouth and ranged from someone who needed just a quick touch-up in one spot (one hour) to one who needed the entire house done. One good brush, one good roler, two drop cloths and a six foot stepladder is all you need to get started on small projects. Build from there

140 John August 30, 2012 at 6:56 am

I would love to read more about the blog as a side hustle prospect.

141 ChrisH August 31, 2012 at 8:01 am

Forget the side hustle. Only 1 in 100 (if that) will turn it into any kind of real business that can support them. For most, all that’s going to happen is you give up your free time for low wages. In the years to come, you’ll look back and realize you don’t have anything to show for the time you put into the hustle. Yeah, you can buy some stuff, but it won’t last, and it won’t matter to you 10 years from now the way it seems to matter now. If you have a full time job, learn to live within your means, and enjoy your leisure time. Spend time with the spouse and kids instead of trying to make a pathetic little side hustle pay a pathetic little bit of money.

142 Justin Lillich September 3, 2012 at 12:01 am

I love this blog! English degree (Masters), check. Willingness to hock my wares on Craigslist, check. Buying a house and twins on the way… Priceless! Thanks, Brett and Kate!

143 TF September 11, 2012 at 8:02 am

Doing programming via Craigslist is a bad idea, at least in my area. It’s full of all the guys that have million dollar ideas, but can’t pay you up front, and dudes looking to rip you off.

144 Nathan Otwell September 13, 2012 at 12:27 pm

I’ve done lots of guitar lessons. It’s a great way to earn a quick few bucks. It’s hard to keep your students coming consistently. I’m thinking about starting up again but I’m going to make people pay the month in advance because people will flake out on you a lot.

145 Josh Skinner September 14, 2012 at 10:29 am

Good stuff…I’d love to see the “Blogger Tips” Post.

146 JustinW September 16, 2012 at 1:41 am

I’m working as a dish washer right now for just $10/hr. And while it pays the bills, I cannot work enough hours in my shifts such that I can have at least $80 a week to my name that isn’t a direct expense. I’m a second year engineering student, so I having weekends off is crucial if I am to get any studying done.

So I came up with the idea to start tutoring people in Algebra and Calculus. I put up a listing on craigslist, and within three weeks I have gotten two paying clients. It’s not much, but it’s netting me $100 a week, and I still have enough time left over for a couple more clients. I feel very satisfied with myself knowing that I understand a subject well enough that people are willing to pay me to teach them.

So, to people like ChrisH who demonize side hustles: That’s just crazy talk. I sort of agree with you, full-time jobs come first and so does family, but it doesn’t hurt to get paid for doing what you’re REALLY good at, and in my case, it’s mathematics.

147 John September 20, 2012 at 2:26 pm

My Side Hustle is buying and selling golf clubs. I try to stay on the higher end/antique end of the spectrum. It’s amazing how many people just want to get rid of stuff. Half of them will almost give it away if you just come get it out of their way. I have an ad on craigslist that says “Clubs Wanted”, and I get almost all my leads from that. I have made small fortunes on the old hickory shafted clubs.

148 Austin September 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm

My side hustle is a work in progress, but I do see the light at the end of the tunnel. I buy cars that need small repairs, or cars people simply want to get out of their driveways, put in some elbow greece, and sell them. My wife and I have a monitary plan in place, to be able to buy a tow truck for cash, simply by using what we make off of selling cars. Then, we can sell the cars, and offer discount towing. After the truck, we have the plan in place to pay cash for a lot, where we can sell multiple cars. There just happens to be an auction house by me, where the Highway patrol will sell single cars, or a whole trailer-full every week. We can get these cars for pennies on the dollar. In under 10 years, we will be completely living off of the profits from the car and towing business, and we will be able to hand it off to our childrean when we want to retire. I have only been doing it for a short while, and it is very easy to see how this will work out as we’ve planned. And, it’s fun!
Good luck to all of you who start a side hustle. I really hope you can all see the same type of success that i’m already seeing.

149 Matt September 21, 2012 at 8:36 pm

I already repair PC’s for a retail company. I would love to do a blog or even learn to program and expand my future horizons

150 Eugene September 22, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Lutherie anyone? Small instrument makers have always been around, striving in making the best musical instruments possible. It takes great skill and patience in making instruments, but if people see (and experience) the craftsmanship as highly precise and of utmost quality it will surely turn heads, especially among the musicians. The most experienced craftsmen can charge up to so much that their passion shapes their career and becomes their entire source of income.

This particular side hustle takes a lot of time and work, but it can add up significantly (if you’re really good) to one’s income. Then again, if one is passionate about it, the pitfalls don’t really matter that much. Like said, it is very rewarding to get paid for what you love doing.

Just wanted to share this as I have experience in prepping and setting up guitars. The idea of building my own guitar fascinates me and as a young college student I’d really like this idea to take-off.

151 Stanley Rao September 24, 2012 at 3:12 am

I would love to read more about the blog as a side hustle prospect.

152 Alain Racette September 28, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Wow, I think this the kick in the ass I needed to take greater control of my financial destiny.

I’m sure my story is similar to so many people, especially new grads… hold one or two (or more!) degrees, having incredible difficulty breaking into your chosen field, waiting for the phone to ring… Instead of whining about the lack of “experience” these employers want, I should create my own experience by providing a service to the local community.

I accidentally discovered AoM last year when researching Chuine Sugihara (found a great article on here about him and have been hooked on AoM ever since!).

PS: Thanks AoM for introducing me to Saddleback leather :)

153 Greg October 7, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Well I was thinking of offering fixing local people’s bikes. In my area, (college town) a lot of people bike everywhere. I’ve heard a few people around campus saying this and that was a little messed up on their bikes and I’ve been building bikes as long as I’ve lived. Is this a pretty good idea? Currently I’m an unemployed college student needing work to pay rent.

154 Hassan October 16, 2012 at 6:02 am

There’s a website http://www.zaloot.com that’s dedicated to side/odd jobs. It’s still new so you have to visit it regularly to see if there’s jobs in your area.

155 George Yacus October 24, 2012 at 11:28 pm

This article strikes right to the heart of the true American entrepreneurial spirit!

@ChrisH below… The “side hustle” isn’t just about making the dough. It’s a double investment… you get money, yes, but sometimes the greatest reward is investing a piece of yourself into a skill, product, or activity that brings value to someone’s life.

My dad is sixty years old and has had a band since well before he was in college. It keeps him fit (physically moving the band gear), mentally sharp (learning new songs and lyrics), in touch with the community (going to various venues and meeting people), and the cash just adds to the value.

156 Conor October 28, 2012 at 1:58 pm

I was an exterminator for two years, fully certified and everything, and now I have an office job. I have found that there is a good chunk of change to be made doing pest control on the side. Make sure you cross your T’s and dot your I’s though, since your dealing with chemicals, the state can regulate you out of existence.

157 Conor October 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Also, an awesome side business that I’ve witnessed, is a pool table re-felter. I watched a guy do it at my local pool hall bar one wednesday night by himself. He wouldn’t indicate how much he made, which usually means it aint that bad.

158 Jack Peterson October 29, 2012 at 11:24 am

Trying to get my side hustle off the ground. It’s a daily planner that’s way better than anything else out there. I would love to get everyone’s thoughts.
http://www.apolloplanner.com/

159 TChamberlain November 2, 2012 at 10:46 am

Jack Peterson, I just read “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Steven Covey. Don’t know much about copy rights but your planner looks like a very similar adaption to the one in his book. Your website looks like you are taking a little different approach using some of the same concepts. If you have already looked into the legal side of this then you should ignore me. Just don’t want to see someone getting into trouble when they are only trying to do a good thing.

160 Mike Paine November 12, 2012 at 12:51 pm

My girlfriend and I are proof that small independent craftsman can make it today. A few weeks ago we quit our jobs and now are 100% self employed leather goods and jewelry makers. We’ve been making custom orders for people via our Facebook page, wholesale orders for local shops and setting up a booth at the local artisan market and farmers market. We work hard to make our pieces and it shows in the smiles of our customers. Check us out on Facebook!!!
Freshwater Studios Leather and Jewelry

161 Povilas November 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm

I like the part where “computer programmer” comes along with pet taxi and knife sharpener :)

162 Cecil Archbold Jr. November 22, 2012 at 8:48 am

I think working your side hustle like it’s your job until it becomes your job is key. A lot of folks dabble but that will only get you so far. I’m working on a side hustle now and one day it will be my main job. It’s challenging but I enjoy the work!

163 Mike Paine November 22, 2012 at 10:00 pm

I made a previous comment about my girlfriend and I quitting our jobs to make leather goods and jewelry. Just wanted to update everyone that this kind of thing works. Find something your good at and just do it. Don’t give up. Get business cards made. Hustle!!!

We changed our facebook page to:
Freshwater Studios Leather and Jewelry

Come say hi and see how it works to start from the bottom up!

164 tan December 10, 2012 at 3:58 pm

I’ve Recorded Music videos with a semi-pro camera for many clients in Ireland! It was working out alright but lost interest. Was able to pull €300 a video. Not too bad considering shooting video with some knowledge gets you far…

165 Rob Robbiano December 26, 2012 at 10:53 pm

I hate to say this but it really seems that all those request for blog building is by the same person. I hope that person got the hint from the repeated attempts to help him.
Thanks for the web page. Cant wait to start.
Im thinking LEARN SPANISH since I speak it well.. Everyone is always saying, wish I could speak spanish.

166 James Clark January 1, 2013 at 6:43 pm

As much as my ex-wife would chastise me, I’ve always had my fingers in several pies.

Since 1994, I’ve been a weekend warrior wedding photographer. It doesn’t net much and the industry is overrun by wannabees who undercut severely and give away the farm. Still I enjoy doing it, so I do. It’s virtually no overhead, so I don’t lose money.

Currently, I am looking into doing a digest magazine or a mini-mag (a mag sized paper). This may be good once I get it going and is not as costly as you might think. All you need is a good theme and advertisers. Ads pay your publishing costs, so you could bank some good cash.

Reading this, I now have an idea to turn something else I enjoy into a new hustle…travel planning. Not a travel agency, but using my joy of creating a romantic weekend getaway for my wife into a side business. We will see.

167 james January 9, 2013 at 12:44 am

would love to see you do an article on blogging. been thinking of starting one up since i like posting my thoughts online, but dont really know where to begin, or how to market the site

168 Jason TEPOORTEN January 10, 2013 at 6:15 pm

Thanks for the ideas list. 37 is a great starting point.

I did the computer programmer one back from 2000 to 2002 and was reasonably rewarding for the minimal effort.

Now, iPhone apps is currently my thing; however, I’m looking for something else to point my talents at that I also enjoy :).

169 Justin McClelland January 24, 2013 at 1:05 pm

This list has some good stuff on it. I’ve done the web design and video editing hustles mentioned on it. I just wanted to add that flipping stuff on ebay is a good one too.

170 bansal January 25, 2013 at 12:29 pm

I live in India and things described by you are not as common as these are in your country.will you please suggest me what can I do for making money for helping in my education.will you please tell me how can I come in your countries for job.thanks

171 Miz Trish January 30, 2013 at 1:17 am

I have done at least 12 of those successfully for a time. And a couple of additions:
Setting up aquariums or koy ponds or interesting reptile homes
small event planning
Painting murals in peoples homes or for events
research lacky for grad students
house sitting
elder care
making a bit group meal at a backpackers for 10.00 / plate to pay for the trip.
tarot card reading or face painting at events
selling pickles
selling wild black berries

172 Arif Nazar January 30, 2013 at 10:29 pm

May be in my future, i will be a video/photo editor…

173 S Joe February 4, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Also buying things from thrift stores, yard sales, craiglist.
Then resell for profit.

174 solomon lawrence February 21, 2013 at 11:30 am

i want to know more,extensively on blogging and how i can cash in on it

175 solomon lawrence February 22, 2013 at 6:43 am

i would suggest that contributors include email addresses to facilitate contact, i really need to know about blogging-(salomonlawrence@gmail.com)

176 Matthew Mercil February 22, 2013 at 2:13 pm

I am interested in learning possible tips to start a blog. Please let me know if you are going to do an article on this topic.

177 David March 9, 2013 at 1:36 am

My father started mowing lawns to make ends meet several years ago. He does a fabulous job with edging, etc. He started with 8 lawns a week and is now up to 40. He averages $4,000 a month in just mowing. He also has added thatching and a fertilizing program which adds several thousands more throughout the season. He always said there is work for those willing to do it. There will always be nay sayers out there. He was made fun of when he first started mowing, but $4,000 dollar a month is nothing to laugh at. He mows lawn 4 hours a day Monday-Friday (after he teaches school).

178 Rich March 18, 2013 at 10:44 am

My side hustle is commercial video production. I’ve been doing this professionally for 15 years for several different tv stations and production companies. I’ve kept some clients even after I move on to another company. I’ve done a little Graphic Design and Web Design as well, but I’ve hired out those jobs. I feel that it important to be able to either produce what the client wants or to facilitate it (farm it out). YOU don’t have to do it, but YOU have to get it done. The important thing I want is for them to call me for anything media related. It’s starting to take off fairly well. And yes, if you want it to be your job you’ve got to treat it like your job.

179 Bernard May 2, 2013 at 9:50 am

Good ideas for a side hustle, been thinking about this for a few days.

180 mike July 23, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Despite holding down a full time corporate job, I have a side business that has done really well.
We provide boundary line maintenance for large industrial timberland owners. Its physically hard, labor intensive work that very few people have the fortitude to do- yet it absolutely has to be done. I have two guys who work for me 7 months out of the year and the remainder is done by me during weekends and vacation days.
The extra income and the deductions for purchases that come from owning a business have been critical during these tough times.

181 rob September 10, 2013 at 2:15 pm

I agree that starting a blog that will actually make money is a one in a million chance. When I think of side hustle, I’m thinking about making some extra money to finance a trip or pay off some debt. What about bartending and pizza delivery?

182 Dave September 22, 2013 at 2:40 am

Go through the cars for sale in the newspaper. Find the ones for $2,000 and start calling and offering $1,000 until someone says yes. Immediately clean it and resell it for $2,000. Do that a few times then bid $5,000 on a $7,000-$8,000 car until someone says yes.
Also the window cleaning and house cleaning are CHEAP start up. Dress nice and knock on doors or put out 5,000 “door hangers” and you are in business. Expect 1% return on door hangers. 5,000=50 calls. Bid your work at $50/hr. So if you think a job will take 3 hrs you charge $150. 2 customers a day and you’re living nicely. Then get an employee(s) and you can see the potential. But you gotta hustle as the article says. Be more polite than your competitors, answer the phone every time, dress nice and always smile.

183 Diana Phuong October 28, 2013 at 8:55 pm

How do I become a professional blogger?

184 John Snyder October 31, 2013 at 9:25 pm

I’m still in shock that the link to Monkey Phone Call was legit- and further in shock that the Origami Boulder is legit. My initial reaction was that a ___ and his ___ are soon ___, but I realized that there really aren’t any viable alternatives for purchasing either a Monkey Phone Call or an Origami Boulder. Well done, brave business men!

185 Chris Corbett November 3, 2013 at 8:37 am

Good article… I would strongly recommend creating your side hustle around an existing passion. Working on your side hustle will seem less like work. It actually energized me. Here is a story on how to turn your side hustle into your new reality and the process one must go through. Hope it helps someone: http://www.escapefromcubiclenation.com/2013/10/09/where-are-you-on-the-great-work-scale-take-the-quiz/

186 Paul Center November 27, 2013 at 2:14 pm

I’m not sure that it’s been mentioned in the comments section already – bookkeeping. I am a Loan Officer by day and do some accounting work some evenings and weekends for a plumber friend. As some others have mentioned, just because someone CAN do their own “things” it doesn’t exactly mean that they HAVE to.

Furthermore, with some computer skills/software and a little invisioning one can help another’s business operate more smoothly. And if they have more time to work on a job (as in the example of a plumber) then that means the more time you can spend doing their organizing, etc. Thus, the more you get paid. A lovely little cycle.

Helping someone find more time to accomplish their goals can be one of the more invaluable services one can offer.

-Paul

187 Douglas December 11, 2013 at 2:05 pm

I make some extra cash by dressing up as Santa Claus for events and parties. The site www [dot] hellosantallc [dot] com helps because they have leads. They have a small referral program too. Won’t make me rich as I am just starting out but every bit counts.

188 William December 14, 2013 at 11:20 pm

I would also love to read more about starting a successful blog!

189 James Houston January 31, 2014 at 2:27 am

I’m a AutoZone mechanic. I stand at autozone and wait for customers to ask me do I work on cars. I’ve fixed cars and trucks as a hobbie for the past 25yrs, so when I lost my job selling ad space and my unemployment ran out I found a way to make around 150.00 a day changing brakes,radiators,inner-outter tie rods,tune ups,etc.. So if you can repair cars,then this wouldn’t be a bad idea for alittle extra income.

190 Tivon February 3, 2014 at 7:58 pm

Great article! I am also interested in learning more about creating a successful blog.

191 David February 17, 2014 at 2:12 pm

I do watch repairs as a side hustle. A lot of family and friends have trouble finding someone locally that repairs watches. More importantly, someone who will take care of them and their watch. Word of mouth spread that this dying industry has someone who will do the work.

192 Derrick March 31, 2014 at 4:30 am

I would like to read more about how to start a successful blog.

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