15 Best Digital Side Hustles For 2021

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Digital side hustles can be a fantastic, and often lucrative, way to take some pressure off of your financial life. Whether you’re trying to save more money, retire early, or just earn some extra spending money each month, leveraging the power and reach of the internet is a great option.

That said, if you’ve never done so, the idea of starting an online side gig might seem a little daunting. But seriously, if you can conquer the initial overwhelm, the opportunities are nearly endless.

In other words, regardless of your location, skillset, passions, or tech-saviness, we live in a world with a seemingly endless number of ways you can make money online.

And that’s exactly why we’ve rounded up 15 of the best digital side hustles for 2021 and why you should start one ASAP.

So, if you’re ready to start earning some side income, keep reading!

Why Start A Digital Side Hustle

Any side hustle can provide you with extra income, more financial stability and freedom, and more control over your work. But a digital side hustle offers all of that plus more flexibility about when and where you want to work.

For instance, when you work online, you can set your own hours and you can work from pretty much anywhere in the world (as long as you have an internet connection).

Digital side hustles give you freedom over your schedule and more control over your work-life balance, plus an extra boost of income each month.

Ok, if you’re ready to start an online side hustle, let’s get to the best digital side hustles for 2021.

1. Become A Freelancer

Freelancing is a popular digital side hustle because you can use skills that you already have to make money online.

If you like writing, for instance, platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, and Texbroker make it easy to connect with clients in need of your services. Each platform works a bit differently, so you could sign up for one or more and see which works best for you.

Beyond writing, however, you can offer a plethora of other skills. From photography to video editing to graphic design to illustrations and even voice-over, freelancing online is a great way to earn some extra money.

Side note: if you are going to start freelancing, the platform I recommend most is Fiverr. Now, in the interest of transparency, we are an affiliate of Fiverr, and proud of it! I have used Fiverr for all sorts of projects, and it is, by far, my favorite place to hire freelancers. Prices on Fiverr start at $5 per order, but you can charge whatever you think is fair. You may even be able to freelance enough to replace your regular income if you stick with it long enough.

Pros:

  • Flexibility to set your schedule
  • You can set your prices
  • You can make money using the skills you already have

Cons:

  • You’ll need to complete work for every order (no set-it and forget-it)

2. Start A Blog

Blogs have great potential to earn you money through advertising, affiliate links, partnerships, and more. Beyond that, you get to have complete control over your schedule and work as a blogger, and you can work from anywhere with an internet connection.

Oh, and to top it all off, you can be successful in almost any niche imaginable. So, whether you’re into cooking, fitness, cars, music, DIY, gardening, marketing, social media, or anything else, the income potential is fantastic.

The challenge with a blog is that success isn’t always guaranteed. But if you put in the work to consistently publish quality content and deliver exactly what your audience is looking for, you can earn an impressive income.

If you are interested in starting a blog, we recommend doing so through BlueHost. They offer WordPress hosting for an insanely low cost, and their customer service is second to none.

Disclaimer: We are a proud affiliate of BlueHost, meaning we will earn a small commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase a hosting plan through one of our links. That said, having used BlueHost many times myself, I would recommend them regardless of any commission. Their hosting plans are some of the least expensive out there, and their customer service is crazy good, which, I can tell you from experience, is essential when you are a beginner. Seriously, you can just call and talk to a human about any technical issues you ever run into! It’s beautiful! If you’re thinking about starting a blog, BlueHost is the only host I recommend for beginners.

Pros:

  • Can tailor a blog to your interests
  • Flexible to work on whenever

Cons:

  • No guaranteed success
  • Takes a lot of work

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3. Work As A Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant is a person that helps business owners and/or bloggers with online tasks such as marketing, accounting, or secretarial work. Though, beyond that, you may be asked to do anything from scheduling appointments to making phone calls to answering emails.

You can sign up to become a virtual assistant on some freelancing platforms or search for jobs on sites like Indeed. Or, if you’re really looking to speed up your revenue, you can reach out to small businesses directly and pitch your services.

I have personally seen virtual assistants charge anywhere from $250 per month to $2,500 per month–depending on the services they offer and their experience level.

The best part is as a virtual assistant you don’t necessarily specialized skills or a degree, so anyone with good organization and communication skills can do it. Virtual assistants do have a lot of work to stay on top of tasks, but it gives you the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world.

Pros:

  • Set your own schedule
  • Don’t need a ton of experience or a degree

Cons:

  • May be asked to do work you don’t love, like phone calls and emails

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4. Teach Online Courses

I don’t think it’s any secret, the popularity of online learning has increased drastically over the last few years. So, if you know a subject pretty well already, you could design an online course to teach others your skill. And the best part is, you don’t have to be a master.

Rather, you just need to know more than a beginner.

The best part about this digital side hustle is that once you design the course and upload it, there is very little maintenance. You can sit back and watch your bank account grow while people go through your course at their own pace!

If you decide to create an online course, there are several platforms to help you build your course and sell it to potential students. Though, if you’re looking for a recommendation, our two favorites are Teachable and Udemy.

It does take a lot of upfront work to get going, but once your course is live, it can generate revenue for a really long time–even when you’re asleep.

Side Note: If you decide to sell an online course, we also recommend starting a blog or a YouTube channel to help promote your course to the world. At a bare minimum, you can use social media to advertise your online course and target potential students interested in your subject.

Pros:

  • Don’t have to be actively teaching after you develop the course

Cons:

  • Takes a ton of effort upfront to create the course
  • You will need to figure out how to market your course and get the word out to potential students

5. Teach English Online

If you don’t have a skill that you could create an online course for, then consider teaching English. If you can read and speak English fluently then you can teach English online to others learning the language, potentially even people from other countries.

For some online English platforms, you don’t even need a degree, just proof that you are fluent. You will also need a reliable internet connection, likely a webcam and headset with a microphone and a reliable laptop.

You will also need to apply and may need to go through a few interviews to get approved.

Try some of these online English platforms:

  • Open English
  • Lingoda
  • SkimaTalk
  • Cambly
  • Italki

Pros:

  • Don’t need a degree or specialized skills, just English language

Cons:

  • May take a lot of time to work with students
  • Need strong internet and equipment to be effective

6. Sell Items On eBay / Facebook Marketplace

If you already have stuff lying around your home that you don’t need, this could be an easy online side hustle to start.

All you have to do is find items you don’t want, take engaging photos of them, write an accurate description, and post them on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or another online platform. Just make sure to get plenty of photos with good lighting and answer any potential questions in the description.

You may be surprised what people are willing to pay for on Facebook Marketplace or eBay.

For instance, even an old iPhone box can sell fro $5 to $10.

Alternatively, if you don’t have extra stuff around your house, you could head to your local thrift store to find a few things to sell. Just look up what they’re selling for online already and post them. You can choose to offer shipping, or on Facebook Marketplace you can arrange a local meet up.

Pros:

  • Can use things you already own

Cons:

  • May have to deal with shipping
  • Does take time initially to find items

7. Open An Esty Shop

Etsy’s online platform makes it easy to sell anything you make, create, or design to curious shoppers. Unique crafts and tailored gifts make Esty fun and interesting.

Most sellers on Etsy sell jewelry, crafts, clothing, and art. But you can also create digital downloads, like a PDF or excel sheet, which you can post in your Etsy shop and get paid each time someone downloads it. This is another pretty hands-off approach where you will need to put in the work upfront, but then can let the money roll in as people download your item.

Pros:

  • Can sell digital downloads and generate passive income
  • Etsy has a strong reputation which will make people feel more comfortable buying your products

Cons:

  • You may have to market your items in your shop at first to get any customers
  • It can take a lot of time initially to create your products

8. Sell Your Photos Online

Several apps allow you to post your photos and get paid each time they are downloaded. If you have a smartphone and a good eye for photography, pretty much anyone can do this digital side hustle. You may even have photos in your camera roll already you can post.

Some apps that will pay you for your photos include:

  • Foap
  • Shutterstock
  • Stockimo
  • Bylined
  • Twenty20

Buyers will purchase the rights to use your photos and will naturally look for only the best-looking ones.

So, if you need to improve your photography game, you can always look up a few YouTube videos to get ideas and tips for photography.

Then, anytime you travel, take photos for fun, etc. you can post them. The most successful photos are usually landscapes or stock image-type photos. You might not want to take many phtos with people’s faces, otherwise, you’ll need to get their permission in order to use it.

Pros:

  • Can use photos you already have
  • Passive income – get paid for each download

Cons:

  • Need permission to use photos with people’s faces in it
  • There is a lot of competition for good photos

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9. Complete Online Surveys

There are plenty of apps and websites that will pay you for your feedback. Take a few online surveys to get points or cash. In the case of points, you will take surveys and give feedback and can convert the points to gift cards or coupons to easily redeem.

It’s pretty easy to do and doesn’t take a ton of time. However, each survey won’t bring in a ton of money so it will take quite a few to earn a significant amount. However, some surveys are longer and will give you more points.

A few of the most popular online survey apps and sites include:

  • Survey Junkie
  • Swagbucks
  • InboxDollars
  • LifePoints
  • Pinecone Research  

Pros:

  • Most surveys don’t take much time
  • Can be done whenever

Cons:

  • You don’t make much per survey

10. Affiliate Marketing

With affiliate marketing, you add unique links to products online, and every time someone clicks your link and makes a purchase, you earn a commission. There is potential to make a lot of money with affiliate marketing. Plus, for the most part, it is passive income because you can set it and forget it.

The only thing about affiliate marketing is that you need to have some sort of audience on a platform that allows you to publish affiliate links. For instance, if you have a blog with a significant amount of traffic, a social media profile with a large following, or a YouTube channel with a ton of subscribers, affiliate marketing can be a great way to earn money on the side.

So, while affiliate marketing can be incredibly lucrative, it does take quite a bit of time and hard work to build an audience first.

Pros:

  • Easy to set up
  • The income is fairly passive once you’ve built up an audience
  • You don’t have to worry about keeping an inventory or shipping products

Cons:

  • The competition is steep
  • You need to build an audience in order for affiliate marketing to generate a significant amount of revenue

11. Teach Music Lessons Online

If you know how to play an instrument and you have a solid understanding of music theory, then you might want to consider teaching music lessons online. You can teach piano, guitar, violin, voice, or any instrument either over Zoom or a platform like Wyzant.

You can easily charge $15 to $50 per lesson, depending on lesson length and your expertise. Plus, you can schedule your students whenever is convenient to you and you decide how many students you will take on at one time.

Pros:

  • Flexible schedule

Cons:

  • Must have previous musical experience
  • May be hard to get clients at first

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12. Run Facebook Ads / Social Media Manager

With a few hours of online training, you can run Facebook ads for small to medium businesses. You can even use platforms like Fiverr to find clients to run their Facebook ads and social media.

Running social media and Facebook ads can be simple enough in your free time. If you don’t have any prior experience you can find all sorts of great training on sites like YouTube, Udemy, and SkillShare.

You can also charge your prices, but typically a social media manager can earn up to $1,000 a month for each client they work with.

Pros:

  • You can get free, online training
  • Easily find clients on freelancing platforms like Fiverr

Cons:

  • You need to constantly optimize and enhance campaigns to ensure your clients are earning a good ROI.
  • May need to build long-term client relationships to be effective

13. Sell On Shopify

Tons of people have recently started selling on Shopify, which is a platform for building an eCommerce store. And if you have the desire to sell products online, then Shopify might the perfect platform for you to do so.

Shopify has over 70 customizable themes. So, you can design a really attractive storefront without any technical know-how.

If you’re looking for a great e-commerce solution, then Shopify is one of the best, and most well-known platforms out there.

Pros:

  • Can be extremely lucrative

Cons:

  • Will need to drive traffic to your site
  • The initial setup can take a while

14. Write An Ebook

If you love to write, but you don’t want to freelance, then creating and selling an eBook is another way to earn passive income. You can upload and publish an eBook using Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) fairly quickly, and without any previous experience.

KDP will take care of publishing and setting rates so you don’t have to worry about much. However, some books won’t pay for very much while others can make quite a bit. So, it may take a while to determine your niche that you can get done quickly and make a decent amount on.

Some of the most popular genres are entrepreneurship, finance, romance, sci-fi, fantasy, and mystery books–which can also be shorter than traditional books which makes them easier to finish.

Pros:

  • Passive income
  • Easy to upload with Amazon KDP

Cons:

  • Can take a long time to write a book
  • It’s helps to have a blog, YouTube channel, or social following to which you can market your book

15. Write For Medium

Medium is one of the best platforms for online publishing and writers. You can self-publish your work on Medium and if it’s good it could end up on Medium publications. You choose your topics to write on and can pick things that you are already passionate/knowledgeable about.

On Medium, you get paid when you join their partner program.

Income depends on total read time as well as views. Many Medium writers earn over $100 per article and several earn thousands each month. At that point, Medium can go from a digital side hustle to your main hustle!

Pros:

  • Can do it on your own time
  • You get to write about topics you love

Cons:

  • Can be hard to get started and take a while to make any money

Final Thoughts

If you’re considering jumping into the digital side hustle game, then right now is the best time to get started. Think about it like this: a year from now, you will likely find yourself thinking one of two things:

  1. “I wish I would have started my side gig a year ago. Just think how far along I’d be… Arrrgh!”
  2. “I’m so glad I started a year ago. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be experiencing the kind of success I am right now!”

I don’t know about you, but I think the second option sounds a lot better!

Now the only question is, what kind of digital side hustle are you going to pursue?

Let us know in the comments!

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15 digital side hustles you can start today | Be The Budget

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About The Author

About The Author

Zach Buchenau is a self-proclaimed personal finance nerd. When he isn't writing about budgeting, getting out of debt, making extra money, and living a frugal life, you can find him building furniture, fly fishing, or developing websites. He is the co-founder of BeTheBudget, and Chipotle's most loyal customer.

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