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Our Top 10 Side Hustle Ideas for 2021: Realistic and Profitable

With the pandemic causing economic instability for many, having a side hustle in 2021 is a great way to diversify your income and build financial resilience. Whether you're looking to supplement your full-time job or have more free time that you'd like to monetize, these top 10 side hustle ideas are not only realistic but also highly profitable.

1. Freelance Writing

Freelance writing is a lucrative option for individuals who have a knack for stringing words together intelligently. Here's a rough guide on how to get started:

  • Create a portfolio showcasing your writing abilities. Include various writing styles and subjects to display your range.
  • Establish an online presence by building a website or social media profiles that highlight your writing services.
  • Join freelance platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, and to source writing gigs.
  • Network to find potential clients through LinkedIn and other social media sites.

The earning potential for freelance writing varies depending on your expertise and industry demand, but many writers make a comfortable living with this side hustle.

2. Tutoring or Teaching Online

If you have a degree or expertise in a specific subject matter, online tutoring or teaching can be an excellent side hustle. Platforms like VIPKid or TeachAway can connect you with students and schools worldwide.

Starting an online teaching service involves the following steps:

  • Identifying your area of expertise and target audience.
  • Setting up an online profile or website offering your teaching services.
  • Promoting your tutoring services online through social media or joining tutor platforms like Wyzant,, or Preply.
  • Gathering resources to conduct classes, such as a quality webcam, microphone, and stable internet connection.

Earnings for online tutoring vary based on subject, level of expertise, and commitment, but some tutors can earn a few thousand dollars a month.

3. Selling Handmade Products or Crafts

Individuals with a creative flair may consider monetizing their skills by selling handmade items or crafts. Popular platforms for selling handmade products include Etsy, Handmade at Amazon, or even Instagram.

Here's how you can jumpstart your handmade craft business:

  • Find your unique niche, such as knitted clothing, custom woodworking, or pottery.
  • Create a memorable brand and focus on building an engaging online presence.
  • Determine pricing and shipping options for your products.
  • Harness the power of social media platforms to showcase your items and gain a following.

The profit potential in selling handmade items is directly tied to the market demand for your niche, pricing strategy, and the time you're willing to invest.

4. Being an Online Copywriter

Copywriting is a specialized form of writing focused on producing compelling and persuasive content. Businesses require effective copywriting for sales pages, product descriptions, and marketing materials.

To start as an online copywriter, follow these steps:

  • Learn the basics of copywriting, such as emotional triggers, persuasive writing techniques, and audience targeting.
  • Build a copywriting portfolio showcasing samples of your work across various industries and formats (e.g., long-form sales copy, email marketing copy).
  • Pitch your services to potential clients by networking online and joining freelancing platforms.

With a strong copywriting foundation and high demand, this side hustle can become quite lucrative with earning potential often exceeding $50-100 per hour.

5. Print-on-Demand Business

A print-on-demand business is ideal for artistic individuals and graphic designers who enjoy producing eye-catching artwork. Platforms like Printful and Printify allow you to sell products featuring your designs without investing in inventory or handling shipping.

Starting a print-on-demand business includes:

  • Creating unique designs that appeal to your target audience.
  • Choosing a print-on-demand platform and setting up your online store.
  • Deciding on the product range you wish to offer (e.g., clothing, phone cases, or home décor).
  • Marketing your store through social media or paid advertising to boost sales.

The key to a profitable print-on-demand business is creating attractive and unique designs that cater to market demand.

6. Stock Photography

If you are skilled with a camera, consider selling your photos as stock images. Websites like Shutterstock, iStock, and Adobe Stock allow you to upload and sell your images, earning royalties each time your photos are purchased.

Succeeding in stock photography requires:

  • Taking high-quality, in-demand photos that cater to niche markets.
  • Uploading a large number of images to increase total earnings.
  • Familiarizing yourself with trending topics, image themes, and visuals.
  • Properly tagging and describing each photo to maximize visibility in search results.

Earnings from stock photography can vary widely, but a solid portfolio and niche focus can significantly boost your income potential.

7. Starting a YouTube Channel

Creating content for a YouTube channel can be both enjoyable and financially rewarding. Popular niches include tutorials, vlogs, gaming, product reviews, and more.

Starting a YouTube channel involves:

  • Selecting a niche or target audience.
  • Investing in basic recording and editing equipment to produce high-quality videos.
  • Growing and engaging with your subscribers by regularly uploading content.
  • Exploring ways to monetize your channel, such as ad revenue, sponsorships, and affiliate marketing.

Although earnings can be inconsistent, successful YouTubers can make thousands of dollars per month.

8. Offering Graphic Design Services

Graphic designers can find a multitude of side income opportunities due to the high demand for visual content. Businesses often need logos, marketing materials, and social media graphics.

Kick-start your graphic design side hustle by:

  • Building a portfolio that showcases your design skills and creativity.
  • Creating a website, blog, or social media profiles to advertise your services.
  • Scouting relevant job boards and offering your services on freelancing platforms like Upwork and Fiverr.

Established graphic designers can earn above-average rates, making this side hustle particularly profitable.

9. Starting an eCommerce Store

An eCommerce store can be established with minimal startup costs using dropshipping business models or platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce.

Creating a successful eCommerce store includes:

  • Choosing a product niche and target audience.
  • Selecting and sourcing the products to offer.
  • Building an attractive and user-friendly online store.
  • Utilizing social media marketing and advertising to drive traffic and sales.

As with any business, eCommerce store profits depend on multiple factors like product niche, marketing strategies, and competition.

10. Becoming a Consultant or Coach

Professionals and experts in a specific field can monetize their expertise by starting a consulting or coaching business. Areas like business, digital marketing, or personal development often have high demand.

To establish your coaching or consulting business:

  • Identify your target market and potential clients.
  • Create an online presence through a website or professional social media profiles.
  • Determine your pricing structure for consulting or coaching services.
  • Promote your offerings and connect with potential clients through networking.

Earnings as a consultant or coach vary widely, depending on expertise, industry demand, client base, and commitment.

By exploring and investing time in one or more of these top 10 side hustle ideas for 2021, you can secure additional income and achieve financial success. It's important to select a side hustle that aligns with your skills and interests to maximize your potential earnings and job satisfaction.

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