15 Most Profitable Side Hustle Ideas To Start In 2024

Create a new income stream.

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Arielle Executive - Sydney, Melbourne, New York

Last updated: May 20th, 2024

side hustle ideas
Arielle Executive - Sydney, Melbourne, New York

Last updated: May 20th, 2024

Reading Time: 13 minutes

Everyone wants more financial security. Maybe you’re saving for some major life event like a wedding or maybe you need a down payment for a home purchase.

What options do you have if your salary from your day job only covers your bills and basic needs?

Rising interest rates and inflation aren’t helping either. The cost of almost everything, from breakfast cereal to fuel and even rent, is going through the roof. Yet, despite inflation being around 6% over the last twelve months, wages grew by only 3.6%.

Until wages catch up, inflation will eat away at our finances.

The good news is that the digital economy allows you to sell your skills during your spare time. Many side hustles allow you to plug in and out as you wish.

Let’s look at some ideas to generate extra cash outside your 9 to 5.

(Related: How To Build Strong Workplace Relationships).

1. Writing.

Companies and individuals are constantly searching for authors to write their literature. That’s where freelance writers come in.

Expert Tip.

Avoid ghostwriting. The market is saturated with ghostwriters from emerging economies willing to work for very low rates.

Which writing niches should I pursue?

Best writing gigs are in business services. They tend to know what they want, they don’t penny pinch, and they won’t:

  • Hold you to ransom over payments.
  • Demand refunds over the tiny disputes.
  • Nitpick at every single opportunity.

Writing for businesses is both an art and a science: you need some degree of creativity, but you also need some commercial acumen to understand the end goal of your writing: to increase web traffic or sales.

So what writing services can you offer businesses?

  • Email marketing involves the creation of email sequences that provide valuable information to an audience, such as hacks and guides, to position a brand as an authority and drive more sales
  • Sales copywriting is done with a view to attract, nurture, and convince a target audience to buy a product or service; this can be on landing pages, product pages, and Facebook or Google Ads.
  • SEO copywriting involves writing blogs and articles about specific topics (lifestyle, health, travel) to drive more traffic to websites.

A great place to start your writing journey is online platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr where you can access international job posts. You can either:

  • Pitch for work on job posts.
  • Get invited to jobs based on your profile experience.

However, you need to be aware of the pesky fees they charge on Upwork:

  • A freelancer service fee of 10% is charged on any earnings.
  • You pay for connects at $0.15 USD each to pitch for work.
  • The cost per withdrawal direct to your local bank is $0.99.
  • Exchange rate fees are charged on withdrawal (variable, between 1-3%).

Paying these fees will soon eat into your earnings, so you’ll need to drift away from these platforms and go solo when you’ve established decent connections – although that’s a violation of Upwork’s terms of service.

If you bend the rules, they’ll suspend your account.

They’re ruthless.

2. Editing.

A freelance writer or independent author is often too close to their own creation to see it objectively.

An editor brings a different lens to a piece of content to help a writer unlock the hidden gem in their writing.

Editing isn’t as complicated as writing, since you’re not working on a blank canvas. It’s more of an exact science, whereas writing is an art form.

But no matter how much of a linguistic genius you are, you should use software like Grammarly, ProWritingAid, and Hemmingway.

Most professional editors will offer these services to their clients:

  • Substantive edit – $900 for a manuscript up to 50,000 words.
  • Line edit – around $23 / 1,000 words.
  • Copy edit – around $17 / 1,000 words.
  • Proofread – around $13 / 1,000 words.

Each is a separate service in its own right and attracts a different fee.

Expert Tip.

Be aware, though, that working with individual authors is demanding. We authors have great expectations and tiny budgets – and we nitpick the tiniest detail in our editor’s work and are relentless in the pursuit of perfection.

3. Investing In Stocks.

While the principle of buying low and selling high is simple, investing in stocks requires pragmatism.

And unlike in the movies (pre-21st century), it doesn’t involve being a fast-talking know-it-all who slams their phone down to end a call.

Expert Tip.

If you’re serious about dipping your toes into investing, we’ve written at length and compiled a tonne of information for how to get started.

First, it’s important to be aware of some of the main actions you can take to mitigate a disaster:

  • Create a demo account to practise investing in a controlled, risk-free environment.
  • Set stop and limit orders to trigger an asset’s automatic sale when it reaches a certain price.
  • Don’t leverage your position unless you have years of experience (i.e., don’t borrow funds to increase your exposure to a position).
  • Avoid overtrading “to win back my losses”. This never works.

Here are some of the best share trading platforms in Australia to get you started.

Important!

Remember, there is a very real risk that you’ll lose money when investing, unlike with other side hustle ideas, where the only loss is an investment of time.

4. Running An Airbnb.

Inviting unsupervised strangers into your home might not be the first side hustle idea that springs to mind, but it’s a relatively easy way to earn money if you have a vacant house or spare room.

The Airbnb business in Australia is booming and has seen a 25% increase in listings compared to the previous year, and there are now over 166,000 listings in Australia.

Those looking for a short-term stay are generally:

  • Travellers.
  • Students.
  • Digital nomads.
  • Business travellers.
  • Event attendees.

If you’re currently in rented accommodation, however, it’s unlikely that your landlord will allow subletting.

Your tenancy agreement will explicitly state that subletting is prohibited.

How much you can expect to earn depends on what state you’re in, the type of property, and the supply and demand of similar Airbnbs.

Subletting your spare room will earn you between $50 to $250 per night.

You’ll need to factor in additional costs such as Airbnb service fees (14–16%), cleaning fees, insurance, and the cost of breakages.

Also, are you prepared to deal with troublesome guests?

5. Teaching English Online.

If you’ve been drawn to teaching before but despise the idea of going back to school and the politics that comes with disciplining disrespectful students, well, there’s a more fulfilling way to do it.

Several platforms, such as Superprof, allow native and fluent English speakers to pass on their skills, and you don’t need a Master’s in English Literature to do so.

You’re already way more qualified than you think.

Expert Tip.

The only formal qualification you need to obtain is a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate.

There are lots of accredited training providers of these courses, and the curriculum is the same regardless of who is delivering it.

Most employers require teachers to have at least completed a 120-hour certificate, which will cost you around $350.

You’ll most likely be teaching students who speak English as a second language, so you must be patient and sensitive to cultural differences.

Planning lessons with clear objectives and giving feedback is essential to the role.

6. Working As A Virtual Assistant.

Behind every successful businessperson is a great personal assistant. Mary Beth Brown was Elon Musk’s VA for 12 years, managing his schedules across SpaceX and Tesla.

Quite often, a virtual assistant is a generalist. That is, a jack of all administrative trades.

You’ll need to write, design, organise work, perform data entry activities, and carry out marketing and social media-related activities.

However, a jack of all trades is a master of none, and they consequently earn less.

If you have a specialist skill set or knowledge of a niche discipline, you can earn top dollar by exploiting it.

If you’re a whizz at Excel, put your knowledge to good use in a data analytics VA roles, or if you’re a dab hand at Photoshop, align yourself with a creative position.

Being a VA comes with its own set of perks and peeves. Here’s what you can expect:

Pros of being a VA:

  • Flexibility. The flexibility is great and allows for a better work-life balance. You no longer have to stress about who’s going to do the school run, and there’s nothing stopping you from doing your weekly shop on a random Tuesday morning when it’s quieter.
  • Learning opportunity. You get some serious exposure to the inner workings of a business. As a VA, you’ll be involved in a breadth of activities. If you ever want to run a similar business, you’ll have superb insights about how to make a success of it.
  • Remote working. There’s no need to commute, unless you prefer coworking spaces, saving you time and fuel costs. Nor will you have to stress about road-rage incidents or public transport being late.

Cons of being a VA:

  • No fixed hours. If you’re not disciplined with your time, you’ll find yourself working all hours, including late evenings and weekends. Distractions at home will cost you money. Eliminate them.
  • You won’t always know what to do. Due to the nature of the role, there will be unique tasks that crop up that you won’t have any experience in handling. You have to be resourceful and figure them out yourself.
  • Odd requests. Sometimes, you’ll find yourself carrying out life admin or personal errands on behalf of a client. They may need you to chase up a TV repair, find a wedding photographer, or plan an itinerary for a bachelor party.

7. Driving An Uber.

You may just be sitting on a goldmine if you have a car that you barely use in your downtime. You can use your vehicle as a taxi or rideshare service.

The best thing about this side hustle idea is the flexibility. You have complete autonomy over your own schedule.

Important!

Be wary, however, that giving strangers rides has its downsides. Over 62% of Uber drivers have reported physical or verbal abuse, with 17% reporting incidents of assault or sexual harassment.

When you receive a ride request, check the rider’s ratings. If they have a poor rating, simply ignore the request. It’s also a good idea to set up a dashcam to record footage for your own protection.

The pay sucks, too.

The average Uber Driver’s hourly pay in Australia is $28.89. That’s 14% below the national average. It’s especially poor, considering you must provide your vehicle, fuel, and insurance.

You want a fuel-efficient car, something that uses less than 5L per 100km

Expert Tip.

Toyota Corolla sedans are spacious vehicles and use 3.9L per 100km

Les Johnson, the secretary of the Ride Share Drivers’ Association of Australia, says there will be a mass exodus of drivers if base rates of pay don’t increase at least 25%.

Alternative: Deliver packages with Amazon Flex or Uber Eats.

If the idea of taxiing drunken partygoers doesn’t appeal to you but driving does, why not try Amazon Flex or Uber Eats?

  • With Amazon Flex, you deliver packages to earn extra money.
  • With Uber Eats, you can deliver food by car, scooter, or motorbike.
  • Milkrun riders deliver groceries and must have their own bike with space for groceries.

8. Podcasting.

If you’re opinionated and love creating content, you can make extra money by having conversations about hot topics and things that you’re passionate about. 

Podcasters get paid directly by their subscribers or when sponsoring branded products. 

You need to invest money in good recording equipment and create a podcast theme that people resonate with. It helps if you have deep knowledge and a passion for your chosen topic.

(Related: The Great Resignation Is Over).

Stick to a niche (personal finance, sustainability, health, technology), and don’t try to be everything to everyone.

Expert Tip.

Learn to speak well and omit crutch words like “um” and “like” from your vocabulary.

For expert techniques, check out Vinh Giang‘s videos and podcasts. He runs an online course called Stage Academy, but so much of his content has gone viral on social media.

9. Food Prepping & Bakery.

Food prepping is a fun way to make extra money if you have a knack for cooking and preparing meals, snacks, or pastries.

Focussing on a specific niche will help you tailor and target your product offering to a specific segment of the market. Think about prepping meals with one of the following in mind:

  • Diabetic diet.
  • Senior citizen diet.
  • Paleo diet.
  • Dairy-free diet.
  • Gluten-free diet.
  • Vegan/vegetarian diet.
  • Low carb/high protein diet.

Or consider prepping a certain cuisine, such as Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, Mexican, or Japanese.

Important!

Before you start, you need to brush up on a tonne of regulations regarding sanitation, contamination, food temperatures, and labelling procedures.

You also need to check for any local food laws. For example, you need a license to sell food in NSW, Australia.

10. Babysitting.

Babysitting is perhaps one of the most popular side hustle ideas of all time.

If you’re good with children, you can care for up to six children (from birth to 12 years of age) or a maximum of four children under school age.

To be a nanny in Australia, you need to tick a few safeguarding boxes. It’s essential that you:

  • Hold a Working with Children check.
  • Hold a National Police check.
  • Hold a current Australian First Aid and CPR Certificate.
  • Adhere to the ANA code of conduct.

You don’t need a formal qualification, but holding or working towards a Certificate III In Early Childhood Education will show your customers that you’re committed to your trade.

Contrary to popular belief, no law in Australia sets the minimum legal age for working as a babysitter.

What about pet sitting?

If you prefer animals to humans, you can pet sit or start a dog-walking service. To become a dog walker, you need to be relatively fit and you’ll need to be confident around different breeds.

11. Urban Farming.

Urban farming is a fun side hustle for people passionate about growing crops and some space in their backyards. The Aussie climate is amazing for home-grown produce.

Sprout is an app that lets Aussies buy, swap, and sell their backyard produce to individuals and local businesses.

Gone are the days when you need to open a stall in the farmers’ market.

In terms of crops that are easy to grow and don’t require a huge amount of space, consider growing garlic, bamboo, lavender, oyster mushrooms, goji berries, or basil.

You also stand to save money on your grocery bill, too.

12. Selling Your Arts & Crafts On Etsy.

Some people need a creative outlet. If you are good at painting, drawing, pottery, or sculpting, you could make good money by selling your products on Etsy.

And even if you’re not skilful with your hands, you can harness the power of modern technology to make some stunning designs.

Expert Tip.

Laser-cutting machines are expensive and will cost you a few thousand dollars (between $3,000 to $5,000); with them, you can make personalised products with just about any material, such as wood, steel, fabric, leather, you name it.

Selling on other e-commerce sites.

If you’ve spotted a gap in the market for a particular product, you can start an online store on a platform like Shopify.

You’ll need to invest some time and effort into launching your digital presence before you start making money online.

If you want to establish an online business, check out the best e-commerce platforms for your specific needs.

13. Video Editing.

Do you love making Instagram reels, TikTok videos, and adding videos to your story on Facebook?

You might want to consider turning your hand to editing videos.

Most big YouTubers and influencers have a dedicated team of professionals who package up their raw footage. As a video editor, you need to think in detail about:

  • Storytelling.
  • Hooks.
  • Sound effects.
  • Transitions.
  • Timing.
  • Colour grading.

It can take 3-20 hours to edit a succinct 5- to 10-minute YouTube video.

You must familiarise yourself with popular applications like Final Cut (only available on Mac) and Adobe Premiere.

14. Voiceover Work.

Voiceover work varies by nature. If you do a sick Yoda or Gollum impression, there are people out there who’ll pay you to sing happy birthday to their loved ones in their voice.

If you’re an elocution extraordinaire, you’ll land some professional gigs in areas such as:

  • Adverts for TV, radio, and YouTube.
  • Narration for stories and audiobooks.
  • Character voices for animation and video games.
  • Corporate e-learning modules and training.
  • Automated responses for telephone systems.

You can find clients on freelance platforms like Fiverr and also approach production houses directly.

You don’t need any formal qualifications, but you should put together a compelling reel demonstrating the versatility of your talent.

You’re also going to need some decent tech to get started.

  • Buy a good microphone for $300-$500 (I have a Rode NT1, and it’s excellent).
  • Improve the acoustics of your room by covering reflective surfaces with acoustic foam.
  • Subscribe to an editing suite like Adobe Audition ($29.99/mo) or download Audacity (free!)

15. Test Apps & Websites

Aussies spent $63.8 billion online last year, and e-commerce stores and other businesses are totally willing to pay testers to go on their sites and play with all the buttons to make sure things work before they go live.

To ensure a website is user-friendly, testers check for things like:

  • Browser compatibility, for instance, on Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge.
  • Device compatibility, such as Android and Apple operating systems and a variety of tablets and smartphones.
  • Broken links to identify any page navigation errors or missed SEO opportunities.
  • Content accuracy of the pages’ text, images, videos, and downloadable files.
  • SEO practices such as the use of proper heading structures, meta tags, and appropriate URLs.

To find work, you’ll need to build a profile on a matchmaking site like UserTesting, UTest, Userlytics, UserCrowd, or Enroll.

Side Hustle Ideas To Avoid.

Here are some side hustle jobs that you shouldn’t touch with a forty-foot pole.

  • Highly leveraged investments like cryptocurrencies, contract for differences (CFDs), futures, and forex should be reserved for expert traders only rather than beginners looking for a side hustle.
  • Dropshipping businesses are plagued with competition, which means profit margins are low. Unless you tap into an unexploited market, you’ll need to sell a considerable amount of stock to make any extra money.
  • Multilevel marketing schemes like Herbalife and Avon make bold claims about their top earners winning supercars after hitting their passive income targets. Unfortunately, you only make a tiny percentage of sales with pyramid schemes, and only those at the very top tend to earn a decent living.
  • Paid online surveys pay you peanuts. Your time is worth more than $5 for filling out pages of information. In fact, I’d rather take a 1kg bag of peanuts.
  • Making handmade soaps and wax melts is another model that’s way oversubscribed. Unless you amass a huge social media following, it’s likely that only your friends will place orders with you (because they feel obliged to).

But what about OnlyFans?

Regardless of your niche, you can earn fortunes from subscribers, but you should think carefully about how such a move would impact your relationship with family, friends, and existing colleagues.

From a safety perspective, consider using a pseudonym and keeping your name and credentials private to protect your identity.

Frequently Asked Questions About Side Hustles.

Here are a few questions to help you understand the reality of running a side hustle.

How much will I pay in taxes when running a side hustle?

Australian residents can claim the tax-free threshold on the first $18,200 of their yearly income, but this can usually be claimed from only one employer.

Most side hustle ideas are classed as sole trader businesses, and they’re taxed as part of your own personal income.

The current rates for individuals are:

  • 19c for each $1 over $18,200.
  • $5,092 plus 32.5c for each $1 over $45,000.
  • $29,467 plus 37c for each $1 over $120,000.
  • $51,667 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000.

You must declare your extra income to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) in your annual return.

If your side hustle is a registered company, there is no tax-free threshold. Instead, you pay tax on every dollar your company earns.

Small or medium businesses are subject to a reduced tax rate of 25%.

If your venture’s annual turnover exceeds $75,000, you must register for goods and services tax (GST) – which means you’ll need to charge an extra 10% on your sales and file a business activity statement.

The good news is that you can claim back any GST you pay on business expenses.

Do I need insurance for my side hustle?

The type of insurance you need depends entirely on the industry you’re entering. Here are some of those you need to be aware of:

  • Public liability insurance covers you for legal liability if your side hustle activities result in injury or property damage to a third party.
  • Professional liability insurance covers you if your side hustle involves providing professional services (consulting, freelancing, etc.) and protects you against claims of negligence or failure to perform your professional duties.
  • Product liability insurance covers youif you make or sell products and a customer gets injured by one of your products.
  • Vehicle insurance covers you for accidents, theft, or damage if you use a personal vehicle for your side hustle job.
  • Event insurance (for event planners and organisers) provides coverage for event cancellations, property damage, or injury to participants.

Also, if you operate a side hustle from home, you should double-check to see if you’re covered under your home insurance.

In one instance, Griffyn Branagh, who repairs bicycles in his home garage, had his policy cancelled by AAMI.

A spokesperson for the insurer said that home insurance policies are priced for the risk of a domestic private home and that the risk becomes more significant if a policyholder runs a business at home.

Does the side hustle align with your current time commitments?

Most of us overestimate what’s possible in ten days and underestimate what’s possible in ten years. A dash of realism is needed to understand what your capacity is.

There are only so many hours in a day.

You already have your hands full with a job, maybe you’ve got kids or pets, or perhaps you’re an avid gym-goer. What sacrifices are you going to make?

You have to be prepared to kill off Netflix, binge-watching TikTok, and endlessly scrolling through your social media accounts.

Important!

Are you willing to work late into the evenings or rise early to fulfil an order, send an email, or complete a task?

Create a realistic schedule for your side hustle to see how it fits your current lifestyle.

Starting A Side Hustle For Extra Money.

Whatever path you decide to take, starting a side hustle isn’t a get-rich-quick-scheme. Those who enter the space with a short-term mentality are likely to lose stamina and motivation when the results are lacking.

Unless you’re lucky, your side hustle won’t be profitable immediately, but if you give it time and energy, it could grow into a full-time job and your own business.

Are you willing to start by sacrificing just a few hours a week?

If you want to reap the harvest and earn more money, you need to sow the seeds, cultivate them, and allow time for your venture to bloom.

Tommy

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