The Ultimate List of Legit Side Hustles for 2021
The easiest way to pay off debt is by finding the best legit side hustles that fit your schedule. There are a billion great side hustles out there, everything from proofreading to delivering pizzas. Some involve learning a new skillset, while many others have costly start-up fees to get going.
The key to finding legit side hustles that work are to focus on ones that fit into your life. If you have a 9 to 5, or do shift work, you’re most likely to find success with finding somewhat unusual ways to make money. Finding an MLM isn’t likely to work, seeing as how their success rates are stastically dismal at best.
Note: This article has been updated to reflect the best legit side hustles of 2021. If you have more ideas, post them in the comments below and I’ll update the article!
What are the most profitable side hustles (that aren’t MLMs)?
MLMs (multi-level marketing) are side hustle jobs that are dependent upon your commission from sales, but also on getting others to sign up underneath you, so you’re earning a bit of their profits as well. They usually involve some sort of in-home or online party where a friend hosts it to make money towards their purchases. It usually involves products from leggings to face creams to kitchen products to kids books to food. You know what I’m talking about, right? There’s one for just about any type of product you can imagine.
While I’m not personally against MLMs (as I’ve said before), they work for such a small percentage of people. Why? Because not everyone’s built to be a salesperson. If you don’t have the right skillset or personality (or an insanely HUGE friend/family group to sell to), it’s almost impossible to make back the start-up money that you invested. Not only have you lost our on your time and energy, but you’ve lost out on even more money than if you’d done nothing at all.
On top of that, we’ve recently run into a rash of bizarre and ridiculous news stories in which women (typically) are being pushed into buying more product to sell, even when sales are down. When they try to step away from the business, they end up stuck with a ton of merchandise they can’t offload and no way to recoup that cost.
While I believe that you have to invest money to make money, starting the best side hustle for you shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. It also shouldn’t be a steep learning curve to getting yourself up to snuff in order to make money. When choosing the best side hustle to make money, you need to think about your return on investment. If you’re looking for a part time businesses to supplement your income, and just need to make quick money, remember to keep things simple. There are plenty of ways to make money with little to no money to get started.
I’ve gathered a list of easy and best paying side jobs that aren’t MLMs to get you started quickly on your path to debt repayment or making $1000 fast for your emergency fund!
Work from Home and Online Side Hustles
I love finding online jobs for extra income – they tend to be the best side hustles and can be done while watching TV in the evenings. There are a ton of side jobs you can do from home out there, but unfortunately a lot of them can be scams. Be careful with anything that sounds too good to be true!
- Sell feet pictures for $5 to $100+ each (yup, that’s a thing!)
- Join a focus group and earn $50 – $1000+, depending upon your involvement
- Create printables on Etsy/Crafty (if you already have the software and skills)
- Get paid to test websites at Usertesting.com (this is my go-to side hustle when I need easy ways to make money!)
- Teach English through a company like VIPKid, which pays $14 – $22 an hour and lets you set your own schedule. Other companies to consider include Education First and QKids.
- Do affiliate marketing. You don’t need a website, you can do this through Pinterest or landing pages at ConvertKit
- Edit videos with software
- Digital bills/paperwork organization
- Offer budgeting services and help others organize their bills and get started on their debt snowball
- Plan vacations/seek out vacation deals for others
- Find deals for others on particular items, get paid a percentage of the savings
- Write blog posts for other bloggers
- Proofreading / editing
- Pick up spare freelance jobs on Fiverr
- Do surveys on Swagbucks, Opinion Outpost, MySoapBox, or other paid survey sites
- Participate in in-home testing of products through companies like Swagbucks
- Become a VA (Virtual Assistant)
- Become a Social Media Manager
- Be a coach or consultant in something you’re passionate about
- Publish an ebook
- Sell your photos on stock photography sites
- Trade in old gift cards
- Become a voiceover actor
- Become a video game / app tester
- Get paid to do research
- Review and edit resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles
- Provide translation services
- Become a personal assistant
- Data entry services
- Become a customer service rep (there are many opportunities to be your own boss and work from home here!)
- Sell items you no longer want online through Facebook Marketplace, eBay, LetGo, or Craiglist
- Help family members or friends sell their household items online and earn a percentage of the sale
- Start a blog
- Create and sell crafts online through Etsy
- Offer personal styling coaching
- Become a brand ambassador for your favorite products
- Create fonts and graphics to sell on design sites like Creative Market
- Gather and sell used electronics to Decluttr
Get Paid to Drive
Driving or delivery side hustles are a great way to get out of the house and make some money. It’s not all about delivering pizzas, as Dave Ramsey would suggest.
Thanks to technology, there are so many more options to get paid to drive now. 10 years ago, your options were to deliver pizzas or find seasonal work with the post office, UPS or FedEx.
Now, there are many possibilities to make money driving. You might be able to use your own car, or even bike or scooter depending on your location. Here are just a few popular options:
- Deliver meals with DoorDash. DoorDash is a food delivery service that has partnered with local restaurants in over 300 cities across the U.S. Be your own boss, work on your own schedule, and make great money doing it! Learn More about DoorDash
- Drive for Lyft. Lyft provides a great opportunity to earn some extra money. With increased prime time pricing and the ability to keep your tips, means you’ll make more in less time. Learn More about Lyft
- Make deliveries with Postmates. Not only is it quick and easy to get signed up, but you get 100% of your commissions for each delivery. Work when you want without fees! Learn More about Postmates
Physical and Outdoor Side Hustle Ideas
A lot of these easy hustles for cash are things that some people can’t do anymore themselves. Look for opportunities in your neighborhood, church or with family friends. They’re great, creative ideas to make money outside of your normal work hours as well:
- Dog/house sitter. Join TrustedHousesitters to get a background check and exposure to more clients.
- Dog walker. Get even more work by signing up with Rover, where you’ll have access to even more clients.
- Start a paper route
- Shovel snow
- Delivery work
- Wash cars or windows
- Offer power washing services
- Sell vegetables, flowers, or bulbs from your garden
- Do laundry for those without access to washers/dryers
- Flip furniture
- Run errands for others
- Clean carpets
- Read to people who are physically unable to
- Haul things for others
- Pick up/trade in scrap metal
- Help people move
- Meal planning for busy parents and families (here are some dirt cheap meals to offer)
- Offer latch key hours for kids in the neighborhood until their parents get home
- Bartend / Waiter / Waitress
- Seasonal work with USPS, FedEx or UPS
- Provide elder care so that family members can run errands or get a break
- Set up and take down outdoor holiday decorations
- Batch cook food and sell the meals
- Sell holiday baked goods at church, work or elsewhere
- Groom pets, clip nails (assuming you already have experience)
- Provide chauffer services to those that can’t drive
- Offer grocery buying services
- Offer gift wrapping services
- Help with seasonal work around the house (changing furnance filters, winterizing, covering A/C, etc.)
- Babysit, and join a site like Care.com to expand your clientele and earn more!
Turn Your Current Job into an Easy Side Hustle
Don’t forget to look to your current job for additional easy ideas to make money. It can be easier to land one of these because you’ve already established yourself as a reliable worker and you’re already on the payroll:
- Ask for a raise
- Ask for additional duties at your main job for additional compensation
- Pick up a better paying shift and/or holiday hours
- Pick up extra shifts/hours
- Figure out how to do your current job in a freelance capacity
- Look around for your position at another company – get paid more for the same work!
- See where you can earn referral fees for networking you already do
- Teach classes about your skillset online or in person
- Create a course online that focuses on the skills used in your current job
- Set up a coffee cart or snack bar at work to sell goodies
- Sell your craft items at work
- Pick up an after hours job cleaning at your workplace
Remember, you already have the skillset, so your learning curve would be minimal as well as your financial investment. Going with a job that you already currently do – but in a different capacity – is one of the best side jobs for extra money out there.
Start a Small, Part-Time Business to Earn Extra Income from Home
If you’re looking for a bit more than side gig ideas, consider creating your own business. It doesn’t have to be formal and difficult, just find ways to make money on the side that involve having a clientele base you want to grow:
- Small engine repair (if you already have the know-how and tools)
- Landscaping / mow lawns
- Gutter cleaning
- Starting a cleaning service
- Repair computers
- Hauling services to the dump
- Digitize and organize documents for people and businesses
- Teach music, art or computer lessons
- Teach others the ins and outs of your favorite hobbies
- Do nails (assuming you’re already a licensed technican)
- Cut hair (assuming you’re already a licensed technican)
- Clean pools
- Start a painting service
- Start an organization service to help people with clutter and cleaning out their homes
- Become an event planner
- Rent a room to do massage therapy (assuming you are a licensed massage therapist already)
- Babysit or start an in-home daycare
- Become a sleep training guru for toddlers (I would have handed over my retirement funds for this one, seriously!)
- Create and sell crafts at craft shows or through a friend’s storefront. Anything you can possibly make can be sold, including:
- Soaps, lotions, scrubs, and candles
- Knitted, crocheted and sewn items
- Painted signs, furniture, and picture frames
- T-shirts, signs, or mugs with Cricut vinyl sayings ironed on
- Embroidery or needlework, or printed and framed graphics
- Birdhouses, work carvings
- Scrapbooks, handmade cards, bullet journals or planners
- Drawings, paintings, or graphics files
- Hair bows, headbands, tutus, or toys for kids
- Wreaths, swags, floral arrangements, and table arrangements
- Home decor or holiday decor
- Offer professional photography services at family/friend events
- DJ for parties and weddings (without all the crazy equipment)
- Become a wedding organizer that helps the couple arrange details, complete tasks, and ensures the day runs smoothly
- Help with organizing tax paperwork or help file taxes (if you know how)
- Tailor / seamstress services
- Bake and sell treats and cakes for parties and special occasions
- Buy flowers wholesale, then create and sell flower arrangements
- Tutor kids with reading, math or other classes
- Provide coaching for job interviews
- If you’re technical, learn how to boost SEO for websites
Turn Legit Side Hustles into Passive Income
One of the absolute best ways to make money is through passive income, hands down. Passive income is money that you make while sleeping. Ok, not really – but I got your attention, right? 😉
Active income is money that you earn by doing an active job, such as your 9 – 5 office job. Passive income is income that’s created by investing either time or money into an income stream, and then reaping the benefits further down the line, once all of your work is done.
There are a ton of great passive income ideas to explore – but here are a few just to get you started:
- Rent out a room
- Use your home for AirBnB
- Rent out your car
- Rent out your possesions, such as tools, movies or books
- Wrap your car in advertising
- Start a blog
- Design and sell t-shirts, mugs and signs through Amazon or CafePress
- Dropship on Amazon
- Create a YouTube channel and earn money off of the ads
- Write an ebook
- Sell stock photos
- Earn referral fees for products you use, such as Ibotta or Ebates. (Learn more by reading my Ibotta review here.)
If you’re interested in learning more about other passive income ideas, check out The Best Passive Income Ideas to Boost Your Income.
How Do You Figure Out the Best Side Hustle?
The best advice I can give is to find side hustles that match your skillset. By picking jobs that you already know how to do, you’ll feel more confident when applying for them, and will be able to have a larger return on your investment by shortening your start-up costs and time.
Making money on the side doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming. It’s about finding different hustles that fit your needs. When you figure out what you need, and take a look, you’ll find tons of great ways to make extra money.
Speeding up the debt repayment process doesn’t have to be difficult, costly or overly time consuming. What it really takes is figuring out your “why” and putting yourself out there. If you’re willing to work harder and smarter, you’ll find yourself debt free in no time!
Want more ideas?
- 27 Jobs Where You Can Work Alone
- The Ultimate List of Legit Side Hustles
- 50+ Brilliant Ways to Make Money Online
- The Best Passive Income Ideas to Boost Your Income
- How to Make Money on eBay: The Ultimate Guide
- Shortcuts to Finding the Perfect Side Hustle Fast
- How to Make $1000 a Month Quickly
- Best Paid Focus Groups
- Is Apex Focus Group Legit?
- Legit Online Jobs: 50+ Brilliant Ways to Make Money Now
Have you figured out the best side hustle for you that fits with your schedule and family? Or do you have more to add? Post them in the comments, I’d love to hear them!
A forty-ish web designer/developer by day, a budget & financial fanatic by night. I’m a mom, wife, avid reader, and DIY enthusiast who’s tracking our journey to debt freedom. Read More