In 2019, “entrepreneurship” is hardly relegated to people with vast financial backing, hundred-page business plans and Master’s degrees in business. As remote work and the gig economy become increasingly commonplace, so do opportunities for making money without even leaving your home. “Before the rise of the internet, starting a business was often incredibly expensive,” said Nicole Wood, CEO and co-founder of Ama La Vida. “You usually needed a physical location, staff to operate it and a significant budget to market your product. Nowadays, you can stand up a business over a weekend with a few hundred dollars. Your website can be your storefront, and you can operate it yourself with a bit of scrappiness and making Google your best friend.”
It seems more and more people are pursuing “side hustles,” whether to generate extra pocket cash, find fulfillment outside of their nine-to-five jobs, pursue the digital nomad life or build toward the goal of full-time self-employment. As Liz Wessel, Co-Founder and CEO of WayUp noted, even college students are getting in on the side hustle game. “Side hustles help pay for rising tuition costs and help students get experiences that make them more employable,” she said, adding that students “can learn different aspects about what they do or don’t like about a side hustle, so they can then decide whether they want that to be a component of the career they take on.”
Read on to discover five potential side hustles you can pursue from the comfort of your own home.
If you’re the type of person who friends and family often come to for advice, encouragement or even tough love, you may be able to extend your reach as a virtual coach. “We at Ama La Vida provide employment options for career, business, life, leadership and wellness coaches,” Wood said. Companies like Beachbody offer similar options for fitness and nutrition coaches. You’ll need to work diligently to build and maintain a successful business (think: promoting yourself on social media, checking in with clients and keeping up with the latest in your industry) — but you don’t necessarily need experience to get in the game: If you’re passionate about something, like wellness, companies like Ama La Vida can help you take it to a professional level, providing training, tools and support as you build and work with a roster of virtual clients.
Some people sell their own creations on sites like Etsy; but if you’re not a creator, you can still make money selling things you love. “Whatever product you are obsessed with, there is likely a social selling company for you,” Wood said. “There’s Stella & Dot for jewelry, Rodan + Fields for skincare, Mary Kay for makeup [and] d?TERRA for essential oils.” As a seller for companies like these, you get the chance to run your own small business of sorts, using social media and IRL relationships to sell the products. The company will provide you with products and training, and you’ll earn a commission on successful sales. “If you can’t help but recommend your favorite things to your friends and family...this gig could be for you.
Online Tutoring and Teaching
Teaching and tutoring are no longer limited to physical classrooms and one-on-one IRL meetings. Wessel noted you can make money doing online tutoring through companies like Varsity Tutors, taking on virtual jobs in a variety of subject areas and levels.
And depending on your education and skills, you may be able to generate income teaching English to international students through companies like DaDa and VIPKid, the latter of which was named one of the Best Places to Work in 2019 by Glassdoor. These jobs have stricter requirements (such as education level) and more barriers to entry (such as interviews and skill tests) than many other side hustles; but can provide a steady source of income with a flexible schedule if you are accepted.
Not everyone needs a full-time, in-office assistant. Some people need reliable, skilled contract workers who can help with various tasks on a part-time or freelance basis — and it’s possible to do that remotely. In fact, according to The Penny Hoarder, you could potentially earn as much as $60 per hour as a virtual assistant. Depending on your skills, you can get paid to provide services like proofreading, customer service, scheduling, bookkeeping and more. Sites like Belay, Fancy Hands and Upwork make it possible for you to find and connect with potential clients all over the country.
If you can type paragraphs at a time at lightning speed while barely looking at the computer keys, consider taking on work as an online transcriptionist. You can find jobs transcribing audio and video files for hourly rates through sites like Quicktate, TranscribeMe! and Rev. Some may require you to pass a transcription test before you get added to their roster; but once you do, you can start making money on a project-by-project basis during hours that work for you.
While side hustles can eventually lead to significant income or potentially become your full-time career; it’s important to remember that kind of outcome will require hard work and patience. “Just because this is a side hustle doesn’t mean it will be easy or that it will happen overnight,” Wood said. “You will encounter many challenges as you figure out how to hone your product or service, market yourself properly [and] find time to get everything done.”
That said, even if your side gig doesn’t lead to self-employment or riches, there are still plenty of benefits. “Giving yourself the space to try new things with no one to answer to can help you be a happier and healthier person inside and outside of work,” Wood said. “When you start a side hustle, you have no choice but to learn all aspects of your business, so you will undoubtedly learn some critical business skills which will benefit you in your day job as well.”