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10 of the Most Profitable Side Hustles You Can Start With Little or No Money It doesn't cost a small fortune to start a side hustle, so take the leap and invest in a profitable side hustle.

By John Rampton Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

A side hustle is an activity that you can do in addition to your primary job. Sure. You can make some extra dough. But, this is usually something you do because you're passionate about it.

So, what's holding you back?

Well, being crunched for time is a valid reason. But, if you believe that it's because it costs a small fortune, you couldn't be any more wrong. In fact, there are plenty of side hustles that you can start with little or no money. And, you can also make a pretty penny to boot.

Don't believe me? Here are 10 of the most profitable side hustles you can start with next to nothing.

Related: 100 Businesses You Can Start With Less Than $100

1. Consult and teach.

What you already know and can do are your most valuable assets. So, why not cash in on your existing knowledge or skillset?

Regardless of if you're a math prodigy, grammar expert, musician, or environmental consultant, there's definitely money to be made here. In the United States, ZipRecruiter reports that the average annual salary for a Freelance Business Consultant is $69,814 as of April 2022.

What's more, if you're an experienced and certified teacher, you could make $100 per hour. Even online tutoring through sites like Chegg starts off at around $20/hr. And, teaching lessons in your home, such as guitar or music, could fetch you $15 to $30 per hour when just starting out.

You already have the tools to get started, which will keep overhead low. However, you'll eventually want to invest a few dollars into advertising your services so that you can attract more clients and earn experience. In turn, you'll be able to charge much more.

2. Rideshare.

Most of us have used ridesharing services instead of traditional taxi services at least once. Those who don't mind driving and like meeting new people can make some serious money by driving for Uber and Lyft. You can even find niche options like ZIRO or Wingz, which offers shuttle services to and from airports.

The process of getting started is pretty simple. In order to apply, you'll need to take a few simple steps online, have a driver's license, and have a reliable vehicle. When you pass the background check and fill out the paperwork, you're on your way to a potentially profitable side hustle.

How much can you make with ridesharing? That depends on your location, strategy, and hours you put in. But, it's possible to make $500 a day with Uber if everything falls into place for you. Realistically, Uber drivers seem to be paid around $9-10 an hour on average. If a driver worked 20 hours a week, the average pay would be just shy of $200.

You also need to remember that becoming a driver comes with costs like gas, maintenance, tolls, car washes, and self-employment taxes. You would function as an independent contractor for Uber and Lyft. That means you are responsible for everything.

3. List your home.

Renting out a room in your house may be a good idea if you have a spare room. Aside from the fact that you can earn a lot of money, there are two major advantages to renting your spare room on Airbnb:

  • Airbnb will add your location to its home page as soon as someone searches for a place nearby without you having to spend any money on marketing.
  • You're not required to sell anything.

On average, Airbnb hosts make a solid $924 per month. Of course, the income you earn can vary greatly depending on where you live, how good your house is, and what amenities you provide.

Even if you don't own a property, you might still be able to jump on the Airbnb bandwagon. For instance, you could be a co-host where you confirm books, inspect the property, and communicate with guests. Or, you could be an Airbnb copywriter or photographer.

4. Deliver food and groceries.

It's never been easier to get food or groceries delivered to your doorstep. Whether you're craving a meal from your favorite restaurant or reduced trips to the store, there's an app for that.

In fact, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, grocery delivery and pick-up sales have soared. In August 2019, sales were 1.2 billion U.S. dollars. That number had risen to four billion dollars in March 2020, notes Statista. That's an impressive increase of 233 percent.

In terms of expenses and taxes, the same caveats apply to food and grocery delivery drivers as rideshare drivers.

5. Print-on-demand.

The rise of print-on-demand has been a boon for side hustlers. It's easy to find sites where you can design unique products, like shirts or coffee mugs containing original or customized graphics.

You can find a template of a website design to use for your print-on-demand online store and use free plugins to give the page a professional appearance. Orders will be placed directly through a vendor, so you don't have to print shipping labels or send the packages out. And, even better, you don't even need any money to get started.

6. Pet-sit, house-sit, or babysit.

According to the TSA, the number of travelers passing through one of its checkpoints last year had more than doubled by the end of 2021. As such, people will need house-sitters when they set off on their travels.

However, house sitting can be a very individualized experience. You might be asked to drop by every few days, pick up the mail, and water the plants. Others may require you to stay at the property, look after the pets, do some light housekeeping, and occasionally run their vehicles. To properly care for someone else's property, you should know what you're comfortable with and how much time you have available.

You can use services like Craigslist and Facebook to find house-sitting gigs. As for babysitting or dogsitting, you can use Care or Rover. By using these sites, both parties will be able to find the right partner without having to worry about scams.

Just note that the growth potential isn't as high as other side gigs. But this could be a rather easy way to make an extra $500 a month.

7. Garage flip.

Garage flipping is the practice of buying cheap merchandise and reselling it at a higher price. "Okay — I know this isn't a groundbreaking idea, but you have to be inspired by the people who have the guts to dig in and make an idea like this work for themselves," says Jeff Rose, CFP and founder of Good Financial Cents. "For years, people have been scouring flea markets or garage sales for deals on antiques, electronics, and home appliances." There are also items that can be sold at thrift stores, going out of business sales, or online platforms like Craigslist, eBay, OfferUp, and Facebook Marketplace.

Not only is this side hustle flexible, and fun if you enjoy scouring for deals, you can make a lot of money. For example, Rob and Melissa Stephenson of The Flea Market Flipper have been able to make over six figures with garage flipping. Here are a few other ways to make money online similar to these!

8. Social media manager.

Whether we like it or not, social media is part of our daily lives. According to Kepios, 13 new users joined social media every second in October 2021. This number is not likely to decrease with new social media platforms popping up on a regular basis.

It is common to have a variety of responsibilities associated with managing social media accounts. As a social media manager, you might manage everything from someone's Instagram account to the entire company's social media strategy. It's important for every social media manager to keep in touch with current trends as well as learn how social media algorithms work.

As a social media manager, you need to garner business and/or followers. That is, after all, why you're getting paid. And, by the way, a social media manager can make anywhere from $24,468 - $214,095 per year.

9. Freelance.

Related: Employers Are Paying Freelancers Big Bucks for These 25 In-Demand Skills

The rise of websites like Upwork and Freelancer has revolutionized the way professionals and individuals complete projects around the world.

A high demand is always felt for specialists in web development, programming, and graphic design. Freelancers are particularly sought after by small businesses to complete projects at an affordable rate. As a freelancer, you can take advantage of these needs while introducing an additional income stream. On Upwork, for example, freelancers make an average of $17.96 per hour. However, you can set your own wage.

You do not have to possess technical skills to become a freelancer; your creativity can also be leveraged.

For instance, you can take advantage of your writing or photography skills. There's no shortage of clients who need talented freelancers to assist them with creating content for their blogs or social channels. Clients also require editing and proofreading services. It is even possible to find individuals who are seeking creative individuals to translate their vision into artwork.

And, definitely don't overlook virtual assistant gigs. Some people have been able to make an astounding 10 grand a month being a VA.

By visiting freelance marketplaces, you'll quickly see that you can leverage your skills and talents in a variety of ways. The possibilities are limitless. What's more, you can literally start today with nothing more than the skills and resources you already possess.

10. Start a blog.

My final suggestion for a side hustle with low startup costs is to start a blog. Why did I save the best for last?

Regardless of the side hustle you pursue, a blog can help you further boost your profits. Whether you're developing WordPress websites, snapping pictures of property rentals, managing social media for local businesses, or freelance writing, having a blog establishes credibility and lets you show off your work.

Besides that, your side business will be able to grow by providing a way for customers to find you.

Also, as a blogger, you can earn a substantial amount of income if your blog creates value for an audience. A blogger who consistently posts valuable content usually makes $500 to $2000 per month in their first year.

The great thing about blogging is that it doesn't require daily attention. For great content, you need to research, develop, and deliver a few hours a week. When you post consistently, you're all set.

Among the ways to make money from blogging on WordPress are;

  • Blog content monetization, like affiliate marketing, Google AdSense, or sell sponsored blog posts.
  • Paid membership website.
  • Paid webinars and online courses
  • Add an e-commerce store to your WordPress site in minutes by installing the WooCommerce plugin.

The best part? Anyone can blog for next to nothing.

Side Huslter's Beware

Related: 5 Simple Steps to Start Your Side Hustle

Consider avoiding jobs in highly regulated industries, such as health care, since the guidelines can be tough to understand. Additionally, you don't want to jeopardize your main source of income. In the beginning, you may need to keep a full-time job to generate income.

The most important thing is not to dedicate your entire attention to your side hustle and just go through the motions at your regular job. Additionally, make sure to check your contract. You definitely wouldn't want to launch your new business only to discover that you signed a noncompete with your employer.

And, one more thing.

While keeping overhead costs low is important, there are some parts where you shouldn't cut corners. It's important to follow industry regulations, even if you're building a business based on your existing skills, such as babysitting, petsitting, cutting hair, or baking. You should check your homeowner's insurance policy to see which incidents are covered and which ones aren't, and purchase riders accordingly if you plan to run your business from your home. And, the same is true with your auto insurance if you rideshare or deliver food.

John Rampton

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

Entrepreneur and Connector

John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru and startup enthusiast. He is founder of the online invoicing company Due. John is best known as an entrepreneur and connector. He was recently named #3 on Top 50 Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine and has been one of the Top 10 Most Influential PPC Experts in the World for the past three years. He currently advises several companies in the San Francisco Bay area.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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