5 Side Hustles To Make You Money in 2021
2021 has already started off with some fairly crazy events. If we thought that 2020 was going to be a random year, we’re certainly a bit less optimistic now.
The past year has shown us all of the risks and potential that exists out there in the economy. It has never been a better time to create a new income stream for you and your family. While side hustles can become obsessions to some people, there are many ‘medium effort’ small businesses that can make you good money.
If you’re reading this article we want you to know that you have all the skills you need to succeed in at least one of these businesses. Even if you aren’t too sure on your knowledge you can learn for free online via Youtube and other resources.
Have a look at our breakdown of 2021 side hustles and see which one is for you. To paraphrase an old Chinese proverb, the best time to start a side hustle was 2020, the second best time is today.
Side Hustle 1 – eBay Buy/Sell
Ebay buy/sell is quite a straightforward model. To make money on eBay all you have to do is source items that:
- People Want
- People Regularly Buy
- You Can Source Cheaper Than The Average Sale Price
Sourcing these items can be either through you physically buying them, or via agreement with manufacturers or buying on eBay itself. For the last one, this is referred to as ‘flipping’.
The basic formula for this is – Buy item at $X, Sell item at $X +20%. You will need to organize shipping to the end customer but overall you are basically buying something and spending 10 minutes listing it on eBay.
The eBay market is massive. Globally $22 Billion worth of goods are sold annually (so eBay is the size of Iceland economically!). The United states makes up almost 80% of traffic to this site.
The thing you have to remember though is that eBay is a broad global market. Your % of that overall pie depends on what market niches you intend to serve.
For example, reselling vintage NFL jerseys would have a solid US market share and likely a steady flow of customers.
In fact, clothing in general is worth about $3.5 Billion of this market by our calculations.
In comparison, books were worth about $950m. They would also likely take longer to sell and be more expensive to ship etc.
No matter what your niche though, you’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars of market size.
The Up Front
There are noticeable upfront costs to setting up an eBay store however. That being said, the company offers a lot of good features and flexible packages for people looking to start a side hustle.
The ‘store’ options are really a bit more advanced than needed for ‘pocket change’ operations.
In terms of ‘up front’ we are going to tag this as about $0 and 10% of everything sold. Some things to note:
Yearly Subscription – $60 option in USA ($240 CAD) but you can list 50 items for free a month!
eBay Fee – 10% for free accounts, varies by department for stores
There are other fees for stores but for a small operation you’re likely to stick within the ‘fee free’ limits on item sales (thousands a year).
So overall the upfront is the cost of buying your stock. That’s it, everything else is pretty much good to go for free.
The Benefits of an Ebay selling business are pretty straightforward. As it is technically an auction site you can make a huge amount of money if a bidding war starts.
In addition it is a very straightforward tool for simple set price and forget listings.
At 50 free listings a month you are likely to be able to sell a significant quantity of goods. If you’re operating at the price point >50$ you should be able to have enough side income from eBay alone.
Overall, this side hustle has a large (and growing) market that is easy to enter and operate in. Although most sellers offer free shipping you don’t have to so really your only extra costs are you auction fees.
People who have already have access to a large number of items. People who have enough money to fund a ‘scalable’ selling account (think approximately $2,000)
You can start with as little as $100 but you will require patience to scale.
Staring Out Month One – $2,000 acquisitions
Six Months Steady Sales – $3,300
Year One After Profit ~$3500
Side Hustle 2 – Freelance Writing
Freelance writing is one of those skills that is constantly in demand but also well served. The freelancing community is very interesting because it both retains high quality freelancers and continuously cycles in newer people.
To make money freelancing as a newbie you can follow this formula:
- Create an account on a freelancing site (e.g. upwork)
- Land small first contracts
- Scale your contracts and fees
- Establish regular clients
The size of the market is difficult to quantify. Freelance writing cuts across different areas including print, digital media, and web design. It is likely slightly smaller than the eBay example listed above.
Upwork alone from our example is worth about $1Billion a year in freelancing jobs. So even just a single effort could yield an impressive amount of side income.
Going back to eBay it’s probably safe to say that your personal market will likely be smaller, but with less moving parts, if you choose freelance writing.
The Up Front
Nothing except your time in writing and pitching. This side hustle is completely free to start. This is of course assuming that you are operating in a content market that doesn’t charge fees.
For example, Upwork will only allow you a certain number of ‘connects’ that is, pitches to clients for free per month.
If you are going with this channel you may want to invest $12 to set yourself up with a total of 90 ‘connects’ this will give you a solid based to pitch to clients over the first few months.
There are several benefits to freelance writing, most notably, flexibility and replicability.
Freelancing is very flexible, generally you can work when you want with a relatively constant stream of new potential clients. While you may have deadlines in agreed contracts you are in control of when and how many of these you take.
The great thing about freelancing is that as your skills grow, your fee will grow too. The replicability refers to the fact that you can generally just repeat similar working patterns and standards and STILL increase your income. The gap between $50 an hour and $75 and hour for example, is not huge in skills terms.
People who enjoy writing OR people who can tolerate writing and are disciplined. Freelancing requires a degree of focus and understanding alongside negotiation skills.
If you enjoy writing and reading, freelancing will be good for you. Also if you don’t want to invest a huge amount upfront it will work as well.
Starting Out Month One – $50 in boring low pay content
Six Months Pitching/Networking – $300 a month in contract
Year One Total Contracts (after fees) – $3,000
Side Hustle 3 – FaceBook Flipping
Facebook Flipping is very similar to selling on eBay except for one thing, you’re generally selling in person with a quicker turnaround. The basic formula for Facebook Flipping is:
- Find and item for sale on Facebook Marketplace
- Try to get the item at a discount of 10-15%
- Purchase item
- Immediately list of Facebook Marketplace at a markup of 15-20%
The Market for Facebook Marketplace is a little difficult to quantify but it is at least 800 million people strong if you believe Mark Zuckerberg. It is unlikely that this market is as big as eBay listed above but it is still substantial.
A fair estimate would be that FaceBook Marketplace has annual sales of around $5-10 Billion. It’s definitely a big enough place for you to operate in. That being said if you want to do ‘quick flipping’ you’re going to be limited to your local area.
The trade off for this side hustle is that, although your market is live and hyperactive, but it is also much more localized. In addition the added risk of time wasters and thieves has to be taken into account.
The Up Front
There is no up front for Facebook Flipping if you sell face to face and don’t use marketplaces selling tool (5% fee). There are two other up front costs that you will have to bare.
First, obviously, you will have to pay for the goods that you want to flip. Once you have them you also have to take into account the doubling of your time to go through the sales process again. This is relevant if you intend to travel for a significant difference.
The benefit of Facebook Flipping is that it is fast. You can theoretically flip a couple of time a day if you’re dedicated and live centrally. You also have access to a broad range of seller and buyers for goods that constantly refreshes.
In addition, although it carries more personal risk, you can do more due diligence on somebody via a Facebook profile than anonymously over the internet. You can also vet your customers.
People who want to be proactive, operate mostly cash based, and are comfortable with the ‘wheeling and dealing’ of marketplaces.
In general, this side hustle is good for people that enjoy sales and interacting with people. High confidence people are likely to enjoy this most.
Starting Out Month One – 4 Flips for a $300 profit
Six Months Market Learning – 8 flips for a $1,000 profit
Year One Total: Up to $7,000+
Side Hustle 4 – Amazon Flex
We all know that Amazon is poised to take over the world. The 2020 pandemic just accelerated the rate at which everything we buy is online. Amazon Flex is a system developed to meet the surge in demand. It is basically freelancing as a Amazon delivery driver.
The play is simple:
- Sign up for Amazon Flex
- Make Deliveries for Amazon
The Market for Amazon Goods in the US alone is going to be worth over $300 Billion by the end of 2021. Unfortunately, Amazon won’t tell people what piece of the pie is reserved for its ‘freelancers’.
What we do know is that, in general, there is more demand than supply for Amazon drivers in over 50 urban centers in the US & Canada. Given that you are competing with other Flex drivers it is worth noting that your individual results may vary.
The market therefore is likely to give you opportunity to deliver as many ‘blocks’ as you want (fixed fee three hour periods).
The Up Front
There is no upfront except the need for some form of transportation. Flex is a predominantly app-based side gig that has very few starting costs.
In terms of buying a vehicle to start Flex, this is not recommended. The upfront of Flex is only workable if you already have a vehicle yourself.
The Benefit of Amazon Flex is the simplicity. If you can drive a car and work a smartphone you can make easy money from Amazon. The fact that it operates in three hour blocks also makes it easy to calculate expected income and plan your time accordingly.
In addition, you are paid per block. This means that if you finish in 1.5hrs, you still receive your 3hrs pay. Unfortunately, the inverse is also true…
People who want a simple side hustle working for somebody else. People with large blocks of free time that they can leverage.
Amazon Flex is good for people who want a bit of extra money without having to scale or manage business processes. It is effectively an extra part-time job with very flexible hours.
Month One Newbie Driver – 2 blocks a week $600 gross
Month Six – Optimized Schedule – 2 blocks a week $800 gross
Year One – After vehicle expenses ~$6,500
Side Hustle 1 – Etsy Printables
The Etsy Printables play is one of the simplest and most profitable plays we’ve come across. It centers on creating and distributing graphic designs to people via the website Etsy. The idea is incredibly simple –
- Set up an Etsy account
- Create printable digital content
- Sell electronically
You are effectively selling people designs that they then have to print themselves. You are selling products with no inventory!
Etsy itself is an ~$5 Billion dollar creative marketplace that is built to support small operations just like you. What percentage of this is Printables is unclear. However, it is likely to be a small enough portion.
In conservative terms, we estimate that the printable market on Etsy is worth ~$100Million annually with average sale prices of around $5.
Although it is smaller than most markets listed here it is also less crowded comparatively than say an eBay or a FaceBook Marketplace.
You do however, have to learn and embrace the popular ‘aesthetics’ of Etsy to succeed.
The Up Front
Etsy has small, but consistent fees. This means that you are going to have to pay to set up and sell your designs. The percentage taken in service and processing fees vary but for something like a $5 product you are likely to incur ~$1 of fees per transaction.
To launch with a portfolio of 20 products, you will require approximately $5 in listing fees.
To create your design you can use one of the many great free tools out there such as Canva. Even the paid version is likely to pay for itself quickly.
The benefit to doing Etsy Printables is that not only do you not have to hold inventory, but your costs of production are just your hours spent.
This means that if you excuse the electricity costs of creating the content, you can create infinitely for free.
This means that you could earn a multiple of your upfront investment back very quickly and scale in a shorter period of time than most side hustles.
People who are ‘generally creative’. You don’t have to be an artist to create Etsy Printables but you do have to be able to understand market trends and make basic designs. You can totally learn, but some people just aren’t suited to it.
This side hustle is particularly suited to people with advanced design skills that can crank out a large number of attractive designs.
Month one – 20 designs 10 sales $45
Month Six with 60 designs, 100 sales, $450
Year One scale ‘at pace’ >=$5,000
The Time To Hustle Is Now
So there you have it, five side hustles to suit every different type of person out there. Some free, some with significant costs. Some creative, some manual labor. All of them with the capacity to supplement your income and help you reach your financial goals.
These estimates are very conservative for the most part and it should be noted that you can totally scale these side hustles to make thousands of dollars a month.
We wanted to give you a look into 5-10 hour a week side hustles and what to expect.
What is your side hustle and how is it going? Share below in the comments!