Depending on your age, the average American carries anywhere from around $35,000 to around $135,000 in debt. The prospect of paying back these levels of debt can prove daunting, even if you consider taking on a second job.
If you’re considering a second job, though, consider the world of online side hustles. These are opportunities for generating some debt reducing income that you can do from your home.
Just as importantly, most of these hustles require little or no cash investment on your part to get started. So, let’s jump in and look at 7 of these side hustles you can start today.
#1. Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants take on many of the tasks of an on-site assistant, but they handle those tasks remotely. Some work full-time for a single person or business, but most VAs work for several clients.
Most VAs handle their work from a home office using a laptop or desktop computer and a smartphone. In other words, they use technology they already own.
You will need a website. That means you must buy a domain name from a registrar and get a hosting service. Most big registrars also offer hosting services, so you can do everything in one fell swoop.
You can hire a pro to develop a custom website for you, but a basic WordPress installation and a few plugins will get you up and running.
You’ll need a list of services you offer, such as:
- managing emails
- managing schedules and appointments
- basic bookkeeping
- social media post writing
- handling routine phone calls
Stick with what you know how to do well.
#2. Freelance Writer
The explosion of business websites and digital marketing has created a staggering need for written content. Everyone from huge corporations to solopreneurs and marketing agencies outsources work to freelancers.
The kind of content they outsource can vary wildly. Just some of the content they might hire a freelancer to write include:
- blog posts
- white papers
- social media posts
- press releases
- product copy
- sales letters
You can drum up work through your personal and professional network. If you have a professional background, your best bet is writing content for that niche. Some people develop a client list in other industries or around a topic area they pursued as a hobby.
You should also set up a website where you specify your niche, host samples, and set out your rates for different kinds of work.
Blogging looks a little like freelance writing on the surface, because you spend a lot of time writing. The big difference is that you write for your own site, rather than hiring your services out to other businesses.
You can get a free blog hosted on major sites like blogger.com, wordpress.org, or medium.com. Most bloggers ultimately purchase their own domain and hosting so they retain more complete control over their blogs.
You can take advantage of several different ways of monetizing your blog, such as:
- affiliate links
- digital products
- offering services
Blogging rarely generates a lot of profit right at first, but there is huge room for growth over time.
#4. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a pretty straightforward process for making money.
You select someone else’s product or service and send customers to buy it. In exchange, you get a percentage of the profit from each sale.
Bloggers often take advantage of affiliate marketing programs inside their niche. For example, someone who blogs about video editing might use affiliate links for editing software or editing courses.
#5. Online Courses
Do you have expertise in something? Can you write or speak about it in a way that lets other people understand the material?
If so, you probably have what it takes to create an online course. If it’s an especially complex topic, you might even end up making several.
You can write a digital textbook and create exercises hosted on your site. You can record videos where you do lectures and/or demonstrate the skills in action. For more abstract material, you can ever record audio courses where you discuss material at a conceptual level.
#6. Sell Crafts
Do you spend your weekends making tea candle holders in your woodshop? Do you create abstract masterpieces using acrylic cell painting techniques? Are you the king of silk-screening custom posters?
Then you can make money selling your crafts on any number of craft marketplaces. The most famous of these marketplaces is Etsy. Other options include Artfire, eCrater, iCraft, and Made It Myself.
Most sites charge a small membership fee or listing fees, but these typically prove manageable for people at almost any income level.
#7. Sell Unwanted Belongings
As most people grow older, they discover they’ve accumulated a lot of possessions they don’t really want anymore.
They’ve got piles of movies they’ll never watch again or CDs they won’t listen to again. They’ve outgrown those basic tools. Maybe that bookshelf is on the verge of collapse with all the novels you pick up during layovers on work-related flights.
You can sell off a lot of that old stuff.
Sites like eBay and Amazon provide a general market for old belongings. You can sell local through sites like Craigslist. You can even look into niche sites like Swappa or Gazelle if you want to offload electronics gear.
There are, of course, ways you can manage your current finances to help pay down debt and reduce additional debt.
Combining the profits from a side hustle with these strategies can drastically reduce the time it takes to pay down your debt.
Parting Thoughts on Online Side Hustles You Can Start Today
When considering online side hustles to help you pay off your debt, remember that you can do more than one.
Some side hustles will prove more demanding than others. Becoming a VA or a freelance writer will take up most of your time, but it doesn’t mean you can’t sell off your old stuff.
You can put together an online course and still sell your craft goods through an online marketplace. Throw enough things at the wall and, sooner or later, you’ll find one that makes you a consistent profit.
Considering a side hustle but worried about the kids? Check out our post about succeeding as a freelancer when you’ve got kids.