Do you feel like you’re the only person you know who doesn’t have a side hustle yet? You may be right.
Side hustles—self-employed gigs for extra cash outside your regular job—are a way of life for close to 40 percent of Americans. The average side hustle pulls in more than $650 per month, according to Bankrate, and about 15% of people with a side gig earn more than $1,000 per month from it.
If those numbers sound good to you, it might be time to set up a side job of your own.
12 Trending Online Business Ideas for You to Try
Here are 12 ideas for online businesses you can start on your own time and grow at your own pace.
Yes, you can make money blogging, if you’re patient and willing to put in a lot of work on a regular basis. A steady stream of fresh, interesting content is a must. You’ll also need to learn about ads, affiliate marketing, email marketing, paid products, and membership services to monetize your blog.
Even with software like Quickbooks, lots of small business owners just don’t have time to manage their books themselves. As a freelance bookkeeper, you can reach out to local businesses directly, get clients through a bookkeeping services agency, or both. Once you have a website, you can claim your Google My Business listing so nearby clients can find you more easily.
3. Online Coaching
Coaching via Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime can be a rewarding gig if you like helping other people. You’ll need experience in an area that appeals to people, whether that’s career development, self-improvement, business development, or something else. You’ll also need a website that shows prospective clients your services, testimonials, and experience.
4. Course Publishing
Course publishing is another way to share your expertise with others, and it doesn’t require the same level of online face-to-face interaction that coaching does. Like blogging, course creation requires patience and lots of work before you see any income. You can host your courses on your own website with the right plugins, or you can publish on a platform like Udemy and use your website to market your courses.
5. App and Software Development
The demand for software and app developers is expected to keep rising “much faster than average” through 2026. Freelancing as a developer can allow you to build your skill set, client roster, and portfolio to the point where you might be able to take this side hustle full-time.
6. Graphic Design and Illustration
Are you a Photoshop/Illustrator wiz who enjoys creating compelling images? Set up a portfolio site to show prospective clients your skills and range, then start marketing to companies and agencies that need your side-gig skills.
Publishing your novel, genre fiction, or non-fiction books is easier than it has ever been, and self-publishing is a lot faster (and a surer thing) than going through the traditional publishing process. To earn money as a self-published author, you’ll also need to put some of your side-hustle time into building an audience and marketing to them. And you may want to find a freelance graphic designer to make your book look professional and appealing.
Dropshipping lets you sell retail goods without having to store them, ship them, or purchase them ahead of time. Instead, dropshippers place wholesale orders to their suppliers as orders come in from customers, and then the wholesaler ships the items directly to the customer. This sounds easy, but it’s important to find legitimate dropshipping partners and to figure out how to make the typically thin margins worth your time and effort.
9. Online Stores
You can also start your own business selling your own products, flipping thrifted items, or retailing products online. Crafters, thrifters, and e-commerce addicts have plenty of online selling options, from platforms like Etsy and eBay to setting up a WooCommerce-enabled WordPress site for an online store. Even if you’re starting off selling on a third-party platform, it’s a smart idea to have a website for your business to use as a marketing tool. You can always set up your own shop on the site later, when you’re ready.
10. Social Media Management
Are you fluent in Instagram and Snapchat? Do you have a knack for starting interesting discussions on Twitter? If so—and if you don’t mind spending your free time looking at your phone—a side hustle managing social media accounts may be right for you. Small business owners, marketing departments, and agencies often want to outsource some or all of their social media tasks. To get clients, be prepared to show off your social media skills.
11. Translation Services
Businesses, medical centers, schools, publishers, and government agencies often need fluently bilingual freelancers who can translate manuscripts, web sites, and other documents. If you’re interested in maximizing your side-gig earnings or turning a translation side gig into a full-time career, you may want to invest in certification from the American Translators Association, which requires passing a rigorous written exam.
Teachers, academics, and recent graduates with strong GPAs are sought-after online tutors for K-12 and college students. Online English-language tutoring is an international business now, with platforms connecting native-speaker tutors with students around the world. You can also market directly to families and college students through your own website.
Launch Your Trending Online Business
Every side hustle needs some planning to get off the ground and turn a profit. This small business toolkit lists the steps to setting up your side business, and here’s a list of more online resources for side hustlers. If you want to use an agency or e-commerce platform to find clients or customers, research your options carefully. Before you join, know what kind of traffic you can expect, what fees you’ll be charged, and how much you can expect to net per hour or job after those fees. Remember that as an independent contractor, you’ll be responsible for setting aside, reporting, and paying your own taxes.
Once you know how you plan to pick up some extra cash, it only takes a few minutes to claim your domain name, sign up for web hosting and build a website for your side hustle. Ready to get started? Start here.
Casey Kelly-Barton is an Austin-based freelancer who enjoys writing about business development and marketing, e-commerce payments and fraud prevention, and travel.