Last Updated on January 5, 2022 by andrewtk
I've been thinking about writing this post all about online side hustle and startup ideas for a few weeks now.
And I know what it is that's been stopping me from getting it done. It's a slight feeling that the title has got a bit of a spammy feel to it.
Not really a road I want to go down.
What changed my mind?
I remembered back to when I was desperate to get out of my 9 to 5…
…when I was spending my evenings and weekends searching online for startup ideas that might be the right opportunity for me.
You know, the type of startup idea that could maybe get going as an online side hustle, while still working the day job…
…also has the potential to grow to the point where I could jack in the day job entirely.
My search wasn't as easy as you might think!
Way too many articles written by journalists working for big publications swamping the search rankings.
I wanted something written by someone who'd actually trodden the path…
…from 9 to 5…
…to 9 to 5 plus online side hustle…to jacking in the 9 to 5 for the startup.
Eventually I found exactly what I was looking for.
And this post is me hoping to do for someone else, what somebody did for me a few years back, and who I am eternally grateful too.
21 Online Side Hustle & StartUp Ideas
This is a mixed bag of online startup ideas, some of them require specific knowledge or skills, some of them don't.
Some might require a bit of startup investment, others not so much.
What they all have in common though…
…is that they will all take work and effort to turn into successes. If you're a lazy-arse, none of these are likely to appeal!
I've assumed that as you're here reading this, you have access to, at the very least, a computer with internet access.
Let's get going…
Online Side Hustles.
Online Startup Ideas.
In no particular order…
YouTube Channel Host
This side hustle idea is not for everyone that's for sure. The thought of doing this myself makes me shudder.
But for the less introvert amongst you, why not?
YouTube (or rather it's owner Google) pays channel-owners to host the ads of approved third-parties on their videos.
So if you can generate a lot of views for the videos on your YouTube channel, you can start to earn some decent money through their revenue sharing program.
What your channel is about is entirely up to you…within reason!
Well made and easy to follow tutorials are popular, as are all sorts of product reviews.
The important thing is that what you deliver is useful, interesting and above all else…engaging.
YouTube has more than 1 billion users.
An for some channel hosts, their YouTube earnings mean that this gig is way more than just a side hustle.
- A well defined niche that your channel is going to be aimed at;
- A content strategy;
- Video camera: Your smartphone is probably okay when you're getting started, but if you want to improve the quality of your videos, you may want to invest in equipment that is built for the job;
- YouTubers tend to use DSLR's or mirrorless cameras, along with a good camera mounted microphone;
- Further useful equipment such as tripods, lenses, and studio lighting can probably wait until you're getting some good viewer traction.
- Here's a great blog post all about building a successful YouTube channel.
Web Design Service
If you can code, the door of this particular startup idea is wide open to you.
And if you can't code, this door is still open to you…just not quite as wide!
Spend some time on the internet and you'll soon realise that the world is not short of crappy looking websites.
If you have coding skills, you can look at building fully bespoke websites from the ground up.
If you don't have coding skills, it might surprise you to know that there are tons of web designers out there doing no more than building sites on WordPress, requiring very little coding knowledge.
The key requirements here are a good eye for, and an interest in, web design.
If you have an interest in web design you will find the work very enjoyable, but if you don't, you will find it tedious in the extreme.
- A suitably powerful computer;
- Almost any home computer or laptop made in the last few years, that has available memory space, will likely be okay for the job;
- The preference of web designers tends to be Apple but Microsoft have started to make in-roads with some improved design functionality;
- Preferably some coding skills.
Design And Sell T-Shirts
I would say that you don't really need to bring many skills to the table for this one.
You probably only need to like t-shirts and like the idea of designing them.
No, you won't be handling the production, order fulfilment and logistics.
Nowadays this is a genuinely viable online business opportunity because of a number of online platforms that will handle all of the fulfilment side of the business for you.
Teespring, SellMyTees, Merch by Amazon are just some of the names offering this suite of services.
- A well defined niche that your t-shirts are going to be targeted at;
- Some research skills to find what your target market are looking for;
- A bit of design imagination;
- Here's a good read all about getting going in the t-shirt side hustle.
I'd be surprised if you haven't already heard about this one as it's been big business for quite a few years now.
Possibly the top online side hustle idea of the twenty-first century!
Fortunes have been made and there's no shortage of people online wanting to tell you just how rich they have become from their affiliate marketing efforts.
Ultimately, as an affiliate marketer, you're looking to redirect internet users to online offers where you will earn a commission should a purchase then be made.
Most affiliate marketers tend to build websites around specific topics/niches but there is currently a bit of trend towards affiliate marketing without a website. Website free affiliate marketing is done through the use of social media channels etc.
Affiliate marketing is one of my main sources of income, and if I can make it work, I'm pretty sure you can too.
- A well researched target market and clearly defined niche;
- A website and/or social media channels built around your specific niche;
- Niche related offers/products to direct interested parties towards.
Build an Authority Website
Okay this one is very closely related to the previous online startup idea.
If you like, you can look at it as the modern evolution of affiliate marketing with a website.
An authority site should be built for the long-term and with the goal of providing real value to others interested in the chosen niche.
An authority site is a high quality, content driven website that is used and trusted by knowledgeable people in its niche.
Authority sites publish trustworthy information and link to other trustworthy websites in the same and related niches.
The advantages of building high quality authority sites, over creating flimsy affiliate sites…
…is that authority site traffic should grow over the long-term, as the site becomes more known and trusted within its niche.
As site traffic grows, additional monetisation strategies open up.
I totally believe that this is the way forward and the future of affiliate marketing.
If you want to find out how to build an authority site from the ground up…
…I can't recommend the guys at Authority Hacker highly enough.
They have The Authority Site System course available for those who don't mind shelling out a bit of money to fast-track their progress.
If you don't have the money to spend right now, just start making use of the Authority Hacker blog, it's absolutely packed with awesome content.
- A well researched target market and clearly defined niche;
- A website and/or social media channels built around a specific niche (the same as for affiliate marketing but here we're looking to up the quality of the site content massively);
- Niche related offers/products to direct interested parties towards.
If you don't speak a second language I don't imagine you've read even this far into this online side hustle idea.
On the other hand, if you do have some bilingual, or multilingual skills, a translation service is an excellent way to put your skills to use.
There are a growing number of online translation jobs. Platforms such as TranslatorsCafe and Transperfect Translations are great places to sign-up with.
- Bilingual or multilingual skills are essential;
- A user-friendly website that allows visitors to upload files;
- Check out this great dedicated blog post I found on another site if you want deeper info about this one.
In this day and age, this is one of the first potential businesses that people come up with when thinking about startup ideas.
I'm not talking about coming up with ideas for new apps here, although if you have a plan for the next Snapchat don't let me stop you.
This startup idea is about you charging clients to build apps for them.
So you get paid whether the app becomes a hit or not.
The average app takes about 6 months to build and costs approximately $250,000 if coded from scratch. Now if that hasn't got you thinking about rushing out and learning code, I don't know what will!
Not that knowing how to code is the only way to get in on this gig!
If you want to become a mobile app developer, learning to code is just your first option.
If you don't have coding skills, app builders are an ideal route into this market, and requiring absolutely zero coding skills if you find the right app builder.
- A suitably powerful computer;
- Almost any home computer or laptop made in the last few years, that has memory space available, will likely be okay for the job;
- Either coding skills or access to a good app builder, plus the skills to use it!
Graphic Design Service
Decent graphic design is going to be in demand for a long time to come.
High-level graphic design skills take time to acquire but if you have them, there has never a better time to monetise your skills.
You no longer need to get out there and start your own agency on day one, you can now start out as a true side hustle by selling your skills through some of the growing number of online marketplaces.
Right now one of the most popular design marketplaces is 99designs, but you should also look at Graphicriver, Crowdspring, DesignCrowd and Designhill.
Read more about becoming a graphic designer in this guide by Lindsay Marsh, one of Udemy instructors.
- Suitable computer: You'll want to get yourself a decent bit of kit for this as graphic design software sucks up the juice;
- Dedicated graphic design software is of course essential but if you're into graphic design it's pretty likely you already have this;
- Some design imagination.
Anyone can become famous with Instagram!
You've just got to decide what you want to become an influencer about and then set aside a decent amount of time to build a sizeable following.
You can either build a personal brand around you and your chosen niche, or, if you're less keen on having all that attention on you, you can build a following using an avatar if your chosen niche lends itself to that.
Instagram influencers tend to monetise through shout-outs, sponsored posts and takeovers, amongst a few other ways.
- Just you, your dazzling personality and your will to succeed in building that following.
Small Business Marketing Service
As startup ideas go this is one of my favourites because it's something I'm really interested in.
There are an awful lot of small businesses out there who don't have the know-how to handle their marketing themselves.
Especially when it comes to online – getting ranked in google search and managing social media channels.
Some of them have such low level knowledge in these areas that they even find themselves struggling to know where to start in selecting the best marketing agency for their needs.
If you have some SEO and/or social media knowledge and skills, this is where you come in.
If you can help these businesses cut through the industry jargon and un-complicate their online marketing efforts, you could be onto a winner.
- Online marketing knowledge and/or social media skills;
- A great website that shows you know what you're doing;
- A solid social media presence that proves you know what you're doing;
- Four core packages from ‘Basic' to ‘VIP', with different price points.
Resume And Cover Letter Service
There is a huge demand for those who can help job seekers with their resumes and cover letters.
Increasingly applicants are finding it worthwhile to seek some professional assistance when getting their paperwork together.
Upwork, RiseSmart and Boardroom Resumes are just a few of the online platforms where you could look for work as a freelance resume writer.
- Excellent written communication skills and the ability to write persuasively.
Do you love reading?
If you do, and you also have an eye for detail, this might just be the online side hustle idea for you!
Proofreading is all about going over written content with a super-fine tooth-comb, looking for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors.
Proofreading turns the final draft into a live draft ready for publishing.
And don't let anyone tell you that a degree is a must have for a proofreader, because that's simply not the case anymore!
There are a few online courses that may well be worth joining up with to develop your skills. This proofreading course offers a 7-day free trial so you can test the water before diving in.
- A very strong grasp of the English language, spelling, grammar and punctuation.
Virtual Assistant Service
Having a V.A. is becoming almost standard practice for busy entrepreneurs…and starting up your very own V.A. side hustle is entrepreneurial in itself.
You're either the right kind of person for this or you're not.
I can just about organise getting myself a coffee so this is definitely not the startup gig for me.
V.A.'s provide everyday administrative support and assistance to their clients, without ever having to leave their own home.
If this sounds like something you could do, the time is definitely now as it's a booming industry that's only set to get bigger over the coming decade.
Definitely one of the outstanding start-up ideas on this list if you have the right skill-set.
- Great organisational skills and solid interpersonal skills;
- A good looking website;
- A well managed social media presence;
- Here's a well put together article all about setting up as a V.A.
Domain flipping involves buying domain names and then reselling them for profit.
Simple!..Well, kind of.
There's quite a bit of knowledge you'll need to acquire before being able to launch into this one and make a success of it.
It is absolutely doable though!
And if you put in the time gathering the knowledge there is definitely very good money to be made.
- Some time to research all the nuts and bolts of the strategies used, and then some time to hunt down your target online real estate.
What are you great at?
Graphic design, sewing, S.E.O, mathematics?
Whatever it is, there are people out there who want to learn what you can teach.
Anyone with expertise can now share their knowledge online, because of the rise of online course platforms like Udemy, Lynda.com and Skillshare.
Before you get started with this startup idea, you'll need to decide which platform to use. They all have their own pros and cons.
If this idea floats your boat in-depth, you'll find a few in-depth guides available online.
- A fairly decent HD video camera;
- High-end microphone;
- Video editing software.
I hate online surveys.
This is my least favourite of all the online side hustle ideas on this list.
And it could only ever be a side-hustle.
Because as far as real startup ideas go, this isn't really one, as I just can't see that you could ever get a decent full time business out of it.
…some people love them and mange to turn them into very viable side hustles.
So who am I to be so judgemental?
If you are feeling the love for online surveys, go for it, but in my opinion they're too time consuming to make you wealthy!
- Opinions…and that really is about it!
- Oh, and time…lot's of it.
Selling on Amazon
From one of my least favourite online side hustles, to one of my all-time favourite startup ideas.
Amazon FBA is booming and that's because it's a side hustle that really can become a full-time online business that you can grow and grow.
It comes with a fair bit of work though, you're not just going to be able to plug-in and play this one.
It's worth it though…in my opinion.
Because there is so much too this one, I would totally advise anyone considering this to get some quality training. This article is all about a few of the top Amazon FBA training programs available right now.
- Some start-up capital;
- Most people will need some experienced guidance as there is a lot to it.
Selling on eBay
This is one of those online startup ideas that you can get up and running with very little investment.
You could potentially create an auction today, and get paid for your sold item within the week.
If you were to start start by selling items you already own, your only expenses would come after you've made a sale and have been paid.
That's pretty attractive!
These big positives aside, if you want to make good money consistently, you'll need to research, plan and follow a strategy…like you would any other business.
- Just some half-decent stuff to sell will get you up and running.
Do you think you're expert enough in a particular field that someone else might be willing to pay for your advice?
Nowadays there are consultants for almost anything that you can think of.
One of the leading consultancy platforms is clarity.fm, where you can be up, running and earning money in no time at all.
- Your specific expertise;
- A website;
- A phone.
This is one of the more involved online startup ideas on this list, it's only fair to say that at the outset.
Self-publishing with Amazon has been really booming for the last few years, and the success stories are probably outweighed by the less so.
The biggest successes tend to be factual ebooks where the author is sharing knowledge on a particular niche topic that they have thoroughly researched before setting about writing the ebook.
And when I say research I don't only mean research about what they will write about, but research into the level of interest in the topic, size of potential buyer market etc.
If you think you have some knowledge worth sharing, this is worth considering.
- A niche topic to write about;
- Good quality market research into the buyer market.
21 Online Side Hustle & StartUp Ideas – Wrapping It Up
Obviously not all of these side hustle ideas will appeal to everyone.
But hopefully they'll be one or two startup ideas in here that will really flick your switch and get you moving down the right path.
And that's all it takes, just an initial spark of interest that your gut tells you to follow-up on…
…and that you do actually follow-up on!
I got started online with affiliate marketing and now I have a couple of authority sites on the go. My other online business is Amazon FBA.
Only a few short years ago, these were just startup ideas that I was reading about in a blog post.
Got Something To Add?
Post a comment if you've got some startup ideas to add, or experience in any of the side hustles above that you'd like to share.
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The good news about starting a side hustle online is there s no age cut off, no employment reference check, no having to get dressed for a job interview, no having to ask for a raise, no having to work around people, no having to get dressed for work, and you can take as many breaks as you desire all while still getting paid. Only thing is, you have to put away your own money for retirement (if you do decide to later on), pay your own healthcare, and money for additional costs.