Freelance

If you have a marketable skill that can be used to help other businesses, you can begin to freelance for other companies. Freelance writing gigs are a great place to start, especially if you can focus on a niche that you’re familiar with.

You can also freelance with other skills, like building websites, programming, graphic design, translation, and more. You can start by offering your services to your network, and as you slowly start to grow your expertise and gain more clients, your side hustle might even become your main hustle!

Click here to get practical tips to get you started as a freelancer.

Start a blog

Developing new project. Beautiful young African woman using computer and smiling while sitting in cafe
G-Stock Studio/Shutterstock

Choose a theme, like travel, baking, parenting, beauty, finance, or any other topic you’re very familiar with. The path from creating your first post to monetizing your blog is long and requires a lot of time and dedication, but if you stick with it and create engaging, quality content, you can make decent money. Bloggers generate income using ads, affiliate marketing links, creating sponsored posts, and writing guest posts for media outlets. It’s definitely not a quick way to make money, but you’ll have a lot more creative control over your work and if your blog gets popular you can generate long-term passive income.

How much money your blog makes depends on how much time you are willing to invest in it. If you take the time to set up your blog well, work on it often, and constantly put out content, your site will generate a lot of traffic and you’ll get more deals, meaning more money.

Become a virtual assistant

Put your organizational skills to good use by working as a virtual assistant. Many companies or individuals are looking for people to help them with remote tasks. These can range from personal tasks such as booking flights or accommodation, or work-related tasks like responding to business emails, managing appointments and events, as well as calendars and schedules. Many virtual assistant jobs don’t require much previous experience, so this can be a great side hustle for almost anyone.

You can find virtual assistant jobs on LinkedIn, Indeed, or even a quick search on google and seeing what opportunities come up!

Offer an online course

Business man having virtual team meeting on video conference call using computer.
Ground Picture/Shutterstock

During the current pandemic, it seems as if there’s an online course for virtually anything: fitness, yoga, cooking, painting, or writing, just to name a few. If you have a skill or a hobby that you’re really good at, consider creating an online course. This can be in the form of a regularly-scheduled live digital “meet-up” using software like Zoom or Google Hangouts, or you can create pre-recorded videos for people to buy and use in their own time.

Digital consulting

Use your business savviness to consult for different businesses. The advantage of doing this digitally instead of in-person is that you can work with companies around the world instead of being restricted to your area. Becoming a consultant is especially popular for workers who are retired or near-retirement, as they likely have years of experience in one specific field. So, if you’re an expert in sales, customer outreach, creative services, or marketing strategies, there’s probably a startup out there who can use your skills.

Similar to the virtual assistant position, use job-seeking and social media platforms to find opportunities.

Teach online

Do you speak English natively? Congratulations, you qualify for teaching online! There are many companies that are looking for people from English-speaking countries to teach young children basic language and conversation skills. Some of them might require a TEFL certification, while others don’t. You can also set your own hours and work as much or as little as you want. Some popular companies to look into are VIPKID or QKids.

Social media manager

Instead of spending your quarantined time endlessly scrolling through social media, offer your insta-worthy content creation skills to other companies. You can start with smaller local businesses or startups that don’t already have a good social media presence. If you understand how to run social campaigns, create engaging content, and have great communication skills, then this can be a fun and rewarding side hustle to get into.

If you don’t have any social media management experience, you can look online for some free courses that teach you everything you need to know. And if it doesn’t help you find an opportunity right now, it will definitely help you learn to market yourself better on social platforms so that finding new opportunities in the future will be a sitch!

Sell your photography

Photographer Photograph Photo Photography Concept
Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock

If you have a good camera and a passion for photography, then chances are you already have folders full of ready-to-go images. You don’t need to be a professional photographer to make money from your photos. Even as an amateur or a hobbyist, you can still sell your photos to stock-image websites like Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, or 500px. These websites typically look for images of people, food, travel, and nature, so get snapping (assuming you’re allowed to leave your house, of course)!

Affiliate marketing

Aside from adding affiliate links to a blog, starting a side hustle based entirely on affiliate marketing is becoming a popular business. As an affiliate marketer, you will be promoting other people’s products or services on your website or social media channels and you generate income from clicks or sales. It’s best to choose a niche for this as well, and once you do, you can promote the products you regularly use and make money when others buy your recommended items. Companies like Amazon, Walmart, Sephora, Shoppers Drug Mart, and Indigo Books all have affiliate programs you can participate in.

*Note: You’ll need an existing site or social media channel (preferably with a strong following)

Get crafty

Use the time you’re stuck indoors to get in touch with your artistic side. Turn a hobby into a side hustle by opening up an online store on Etsy. The sky’s the limit on what you can sell on there. Whether it’s hand-crafted jewelry, paintings, home decor items, or clothes, there’s a place for you on Etsy. Ramp-up your business by offering personalized unique items or gifts that shoppers can’t get anywhere else.

Freelance tools you'll need

Before you dive head-first into your new project, make sure you have the things you’ll need to manage the finances from your side hustle.

  • Create a realistic budget. Keep track of your finances with an app that helps you monitor spending, save your money, and budget expenses, like KOHO or PocketSmith. Starting a new freelance business is great, but you need to be sure your business costs don’t outweigh your profits.
  • Get help on your yearly taxes. Now that you have a new stream of income, you’ll need to declare that on your tax return. Don’t worry about hiring an expensive accountant, you can easily file your taxes on your own as a freelancer with TurboTax‘s easy software. You may even have more deductible expenses now, like office supplies, business resources, or your internet bill, which they can help make sure you claim.
  • Manage your credit score. As a freelancer, it’s important to have good credit if you ever want to take out personal or self-employed business loans. Mogo can help you check and monitor your credit score for free through its app. You’ll get updates every month on how your score is changing so you can work on improving it. If you want something a little more in-depth, MyMarble offers a financial dashboard tool where you can monitor your credit score, see your financial trends, get personalized recommendations, and help you apply for loans. This tool is more involved than Mogo, and you’ll need a paid plan to take advantage of all the features, but it’s a great option if you want more hands-on maintenance of your finance. There’s also no commitment since you can cancel anytime before your free trial is up.

Are you ready to begin?

While establishing a self-made business may fulfill a lifelong passion, it’s also necessary to consider the challenges. If your goal is to turn your side hustle into your main source of income, do you have enough savings to fall back on? How will you save for your future as someone who is self-employed? Do you have a network of people to reach out to for help? Make sure you’ve considered the financial aspects of being a freelancer before jumping in blindly.

Once you’ve done a bit of planning, you have your freelance tools in place, and you’ve decided on what kind of side hustle you want to start, then all that’s left to do is take that leap of faith (in yourself) and begin! It will be an uphill battle full of roadblocks and learning opportunities, but the payoff of creating your own business from scratch will surely be worth the struggle.

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About the Author

Alicia Schneider

Alicia Schneider

Author

Montreal-born Alicia Schneider is a digital nomad that specializes in freelance content and travel writing. She has experience writing about financial topics such as invoicing and accounting as well as business technology and software. When she's not writing, she's exploring a new destination that most likely includes sun and a beach. You can see more of her work at aliciaschneider.com.

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