What is a side hustle?

  • A side hustle is work or a part-time job that falls outside your day job.
  • Usually, side hustles are done to make money during off-hours on evenings and weekends, or during downtime.
  • Side hustles range across many different skill sets and fields, from babysitting to freelance writing.

What is an online side hustle?

An online side hustle allows you to be flexible and create your own schedule that you are able to do alongside your primary job. These side hustles are considered freelance work and you will typically get paid per assignment. Without face-to-face interactions like a more traditional side hustle, communication happens mainly through text, email, content management systems, and file sharing services.

Both online and traditional side hustles typically involve something a person is passionate about while helping to make ends meet. Both online and traditional side hustles allow you the freedom to make your own schedule and determine how much you would like to earn.

If you are struggling to figure out what you could do to start an online side hustle, make an Ikigai diagram. Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being.” The word roughly translates to “a reason to get out of bed in the morning.” Define your four P’s:

  • Purpose — what you are good at
  • Profit — what you could get paid for
  • Problems — what the world needs
  • Passion — what you love

An Ikigai diagram showing the overlap between purpose, profit, problems, and passion.

An online side hustle is an excellent way to pursue your passions while putting away some extra money for savings. Doing side work online gives you the ability to work from anywhere you'd like.

Why online side hustles are helpful.

Our lives and many primary jobs exist online. We are living in a digital age, and your side hustle doesn’t have to be any different. Online work has given people the ability to communicate and sell products and services to anyone regardless of location. New audiences can be reached to create a loyal fan base for your products and services. Maybe your primary job just pays the bills and isn’t an area you feel passionate about. An online side hustle can provide that creative outlet that you may not have in your main job.

An online side hustle can be done in the comfort of your own home, or anywhere you would like to complete your tasks for the day. You are your own boss, so you get to call the shots. Maybe you love writing, but don’t feel that you get to do enough of it in your primary job. Your side hustle could involve writing, editing, and proofreading.

There are several websites set up for creative online side hustles such as Fiverr, Flexjobs, or Upwork. Whether you are writing, creating arts and crafts, or holding online classes, take advantage of the many platforms already built that can help you find your potential client base. Side hustles from home have the ability to expand your flexibility and client base.

How profitable are online side hustles?

Online side hustle profitability will vary based on frequency of services, experience level of the individual offering the services, and the type of service that is being offered. Consider these ideas for steady and profitable online side hustle options:

1. Online tutoring.

Maybe you are a teacher during the day. Online tutoring has an average salary of $100 an hour for teachers that are certified and experienced.

2. Manage social media accounts.

Many small to medium businesses outsource their digital operations. A freelance social media manager makes $25 an hour on average.

3. Freelance graphic design.

Maybe you are a graphic designer in your main job, but you want to design something different on the side. Or perhaps your main job has nothing to do with design, but you do it for fun. The average hourly pay for a freelance graphic designer is $30.23.

4. Write blogs.

Companies need content for their websites and you can help them out. The average salary for a blogger is between $500 and $1,000 a month.

5. Transcribe videos.

TranscribeMe is considered one of the best paying platforms for transcribers, and they report the average monthly earnings for their transcribers is $250.

A person in overalls talking on the phone while on a laptop discussing details of their pottery business.
Close-up of a craftsperson showing the finer details of the unfired clay bowl and mug they are holding

Turn your skills into an online side hustle.

Side hustles offer extra cash and skill development. And while a side hustle can be something that just gains you a little extra income, it can also be an opportunity to explore a new set of skills, increase know-how, or to develop a new passion.

Often, side hustles can lead to full-time jobs later down the road. Some companies are much more likely to hire a freelancer over an inexperienced full-time or part-time employee. On top of that, many people don’t necessarily have the experience, audience, or reach to make a new side hustle profitable at first, but over time it can grow into something pretty impressive.

Types of side hustles.

There are endless options for side hustles, and you can often start by thinking about how to make money from an untapped skill set or passion. If you are unsure where to start, explore different options. Don’t worry about finding the best side hustle idea right away — the one that works for you today is the best one.

1. Gig economy work.

The gig economy refers to folks who are working as independent or temporary contractors for a range of businesses. Often, these jobs offer the most flexibility in terms of scheduling and work hours. Uber and Lyft are good examples. You’ll need a working car for those two services, but you can earn quite a bit.

There are plenty of non-driving examples of gig work. Food delivery, personal shopping, and pet care are other options for those who have non-traditional transportation like bikes or scooters. Most of these options, which include UberEats, Grubhub, Postmates, DoorDash, Instacart, Rover, and Wag, average out to around $15 per hour, and usually you get to keep most of your tips.

2. Go freelance.

If you’ve got specialized skills, exploring side hustles as a freelancer is a great use of your resources. And it can be an opportunity to develop experience in a new field, be it graphic design, copywriting, coding, web design, personal finance, online surveys, proofreading, affiliate marketing, film editing, or even social media management for distant or local businesses. Using sites like Upwork, Fiverr, and other job boards to find work and win freelancing bids can be a great way to earn a few extra dollars.

These jobs might not be as high-earning as a full-time or part-time position, but they will help you build a portfolio that can lead to bigger and better jobs. For example, it’s not uncommon for freelance writers to be paid between 30 cents and two dollars a word. This might not seem like a lot, but considering that many freelance articles are 400+ words, this can add up.

3. Help others as a virtual assistant.

Many organizations need an extra hand with administrative tasks but don’t have the budget for a full-time position. Finding a good side hustle as a virtual assistant on a job board can be a great source of income. You can make good money by helping create digital workflows, assisting a blogger, managing files, creating schedules, or facilitating meetings.. A common assistant job is as an audio transcriber or translator (for a podcast or other audio medium), which can earn you between $15 and 25 per audio hour.

What is a virtual assistant?

4. Micro-ecommerce.

You can make money online as a micro entrepreneur by opening a small ecommerce startup to sell a passion project or something else you’ve created, such as templates for graphic designers, website themes, or homemade crafts.

This path can give you a small source of income, as well as the opportunity to develop new connections with local businesses and customers. Plus, there are plenty of online marketplaces built to help you do just that, including Amazon, Shopify, Etsy, eBay, and Pinterest. Depending on how much work the store takes to maintain, you might discover a new source of passive income.

Various side hustle websites mocked up on a tablet, phone, and laptop on a red background with Adobe Acrobat Pro editing tools overlaid on top

Finding and managing your side job.

If you’re looking to start a great side hustle of your own, there are plenty of ways to get plugged into potential customers, services, and networks. Online job boards and networking sites like LinkedIn and Craigslist are excellent ways to start networking and meet potential customers and professional contacts.

For those looking to dive into the gig economy headfirst, all you need is a smartphone. There are mobile apps that are designed to be a clearinghouse for the side gigs above, and many of the services already mentioned have individual apps.

Get your documents in order.

No matter what type of side hustle you step into, you’re going to need to work with documents. For many hustles, organizing work documents is a crucial part of the bookkeeping process for a side hustle — whether you’re working with tax forms or resumes, a good organizational system keeps things moving along nicely.

  • Bring flexibility to your workflow.
    Side hustles may require you to work across a number of different tech suites. Convert files from Word to PDF and Excel to PDF with tools in Acrobat to make shifting from Microsoft applications to the PDF format seamless and easy.
  • Stay organized so you can focus on the hustle.
    Shifting through documents can slow you down. Merge multiple PDFs into single sources of truth to save time tracking down pertinent side hustle details.
  • Share your work with ease.
    Whatever your side hustle, don’t let trouble sharing your work create a road block. The Compress tool in Acrobat will help you reduce the size of PDFs for simple sharing.
  • Tap into the speed of digital business.
    Not only can you eliminate the costs of storing physical files by doing business digitally, you can save yourself a ton of time. Adobe Fill & Sign tools help you capture and complete signatures wherever digital signatures are accepted.

Whatever your hustle, Acrobat Pro can help you seize the extra cash — learn more about what you can do as a side hustler with Adobe tools.

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