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What is the Most Profitable Side Hustle to Earn Extra Cash?

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If you’re like most people in 2022, you could use a little extra cash. Whether you’re struggling to make ends meet or saving up for a big purchase or splurge, who couldn’t use a little extra money? Many people start a side hustle to meet their financial goals these days. A profitable side hustle (or side gig, side job, etc.) is any way you earn money outside your regular day job. 

It’s a broad category, and the options for side hustles can seem almost limitless. But figuring out what your side hustle should be can be difficult, especially if your first and foremost goal is to earn some serious cash.

If you’re wondering what is the most profitable side job, look no further: this article will take a look at the top 5 most profitable side hustles in 2022 and help you find one that could be a good fit for you.

TL;DR: What is the most lucrative side hustle?

The top 5 most lucrative side hustles are:

  1. Freelancing
  2. Starting an online business
  3. Starting a blog or YouTube channel
  4. Ridesharing
  5. Social media managing

The Top 5 Most Profitable Side Hustles in 2022

Just like any job, not all side hustles are created equal. And while ultimately your side gig will depend on your skills, time constraints, and other personal factors, it’s good to narrow down your options based on how much money you ideally want to be earning from your side gig.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at some surprisingly profitable side hustles.

1. Sell Your Skills as a Freelancer

side hustle as a freelancer on upwork

Are you a talented writer? An experienced web developer? A math teacher? 

No matter what your skills or professional training are, there’s a niche out there for you in the world of freelancing.

Selling your services as a freelancer has become one of the most popular and widespread side hustles, and it’s easy to see why: not only does freelancing allow you to set your own price and make money using your skills, but you also have the freedom to set your own schedule and (usually) work from anywhere with a WiFi connection.

As the popularity of freelance side hustles has increased, a number of platforms have developed alongside it to connect freelancers with the clients who need them.

Popular “freelance marketplaces” include Toptal, Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer.com. For experts and/or experienced professionals in their given field, Toptal is another great option.

Although it’s difficult to estimate how much you can earn as a freelancer (since the amount will vary a great deal based on your niche, your experience level, and how much work you take on), here are a few estimates for popular freelancing side hustles:

  • Freelance Web Developer: $27-$75 per hour
  • Freelance Tutor: $27 – $50 per hour
  • Freelance Marketing Consultant: $60 – $300 per hour 
  • Freelance Social Media Manager: $20 – $100 per hour

Once you’ve identified what kind of freelance work you want to take on, you can do the research and figure out what others in your niche charge per hour or per project.

Then, simply create a profile on a freelancing platform or market your services elsewhere, such as on social media.

And that’s it! Not only is freelancing potentially one of the most profitable side hustles, but it requires essentially no startup costs and very little effort to get started.

2. Start an Online Business

Who doesn’t dream of becoming their own boss? 

Starting an online business as a side hustle may seem daunting, but if you put in the time and effort, it could one day turn into your full-time job.

The world of eCommerce is constantly expanding, and there are a ton of great options for starting a business online. Some popular options include:

  • Dropshipping stores
  • Print-on-demand businesses
  • Selling crafts online
  • Selling stock photos

For more inspiration, you can check out my full list of the best online businesses to start in 2022.

Of course, starting an online business comes with a few upfront costs, including investing in building a website and/or finding a web host, as well as the cost of any other materials that may be required for your particular business or product.

However, with the total value of eCommerce sales predicted to surpass a whopping $1 trillion by the end of 2022, it’s safe to say that starting an online business or store can be a very lucrative side hustle.

3. Start a Blog or a YouTube Channel

Start a Blog or a YouTube Channel

For many of us, the dream has always been to make money doing what we love. While this is an increasingly difficult goal, starting a blog or a YouTube channel as a side hustle is a way to make money from talking and/or writing about what you love.

First and foremost, every blog begins with a niche. This is the “theme” of your blog or the central topic on which most of the content will focus. Popular blog niches include:

  • Lifestyle and wellness
  • Fashion
  • Tech
  • Parenting & “mommy blogging”
  • Cooking & food
  • Sustainability & green living
  • Travel

If none of these sounds like the right fit for you, don’t worry: your blog’s niche can be whatever you’re passionate about (although you should put some thought into whether you’ll be able to attract a large enough audience – you don’t want to get too specific with your niche.)

Take the example of Raffaelle Di Lallo, whose award-winning blog about houseplants, OhioTropics.com, earns him a 6-figure salary.

Once you’ve found your niche, there are a number of ways to get paid to blog. The easiest of these include signing up for paid ad placement on your blog and joining an affiliate marketing program.

As your blog’s audience grows, so will the number of ways you can monetize it. Successful bloggers make money from ads, sponsored posts and brand partnerships and from selling their own merchandise, books, and digital products.

As for starting a YouTube channel, the process is fairly similar: figure out your niche and start producing video content that will engage and entertain your target audience.

Although successful YouTubers can make some serious cash from sponsored videos and brand partnerships, the most common way to get started earning on YouTube is to sign up for the YouTube Partner Program and get ads placed on your videos.

It’s important to note, however, that YouTube has fairly high standards for hits, subscribers, and hours watched that you have to meet before you can qualify for their Partner program. 

What this means is that you’ll have to put in a fair amount of work to grow your audience and attract subscribers before you can expect to see a profit from your YouTube channel.

Just like starting an online business, starting a blog or a YouTube channel as a side hustle isn’t the best fit for anyone who just wants to earn a little quick and easy cash. 

However, if you’re willing to put in the hours, creating content can be one of the most lucrative and rewarding side hustles out there.

4. Drive for a Ridesharing App

Drive for a Ridesharing App

If you’re wondering what the easiest side hustle is, then buckle up (pun intended) for this next option: if you have a car and a few extra hours in the day, you’re ready to sign up for a ridesharing platform and start earning cash.

In the U.S, Lyft and Uber are the two largest ridesharing companies. While they each have their own application processes, approval is generally quick and easy (as long as there’s nothing problematic on your record or driving history, of course).

Ridesharing is a particularly great side hustle for anyone with a busy life who needs to be able to set their own schedule and can’t necessarily work during the same hours every day.

How much you earn from driving for a ridesharing service will largely depend on how many hours you drive and at which times of the day (drivers can earn more for driving during peak hours, such as Friday nights).

With that said, the average salary for an Uber driver in the U.S is $18.68/hour or $36,433/year. Not bad for a side hustle!

As an added bonus, it’s a great way to meet new people and bring home some interesting stories to tell!

5. Become a Social Media Manager

This side hustle technically falls under the category of freelancing, but due to the fast-growing nature of the industry, it’s earned its own spot on my list.

If you have a knack for crafting high-performing content, predicting trends, and staying up-to-date with the fast-paced world of social media, becoming a paid social media manager might be the right side hustle for you.

While many people work full-time as social media managers or on content-producing teams, smaller businesses or individuals who don’t have the need or the funds to take on a full-time employee will often look for freelance contractors to handle their social media marketing needs.

So how much can you earn as a freelance social media manager? If you’re just getting started, you can reasonably charge anywhere between $10-$20/hour. 

While this may not seem like much, you can start charging your clients more as you gain experience in the field and build a solid portfolio of your work. Social media managers with over 10 years of experience can even earn over $100/hour!

While there are a ton of benefits to a side hustle as a social media manager (it’s fun, fast-paced, and can easily be turned into a full-time career), it’s also worth noting that freelancing as a social media manager will likely come with less flexibility in terms of working hours compared to other side hustles.

This is because the individual, brand, or company that you work for will likely expect you to meet deadlines and produce a certain amount of content per day.

FAQs

Is it worth having a side hustle?

Well, the answer to that question is largely something you’ll have to decide for yourself.

Recent research has shown that over 40% of American adults are considering quitting their jobs. As people increasingly look for economic alternatives to their 9-to-5, many are finding it well worth the time and effort to start a side hustle and see where it takes them.

However, there are only so many hours in a day. If you’re already overwhelmed by your work, family, and/or social responsibilities, then this might not be the right time to start a side hustle.

Your mental and physical health are more important than any side hustle, and trying to start something new while you’re already exhausted is not a recipe for a successful venture!

Which side hustle pays the most?

Unfortunately, it’s hard to say which side hustle pays the most.

How much you can earn from your side hustle will depend on a myriad of factors including (amongst other things): your skills, your experience level, and how many hours you work.

All of the side hustles on my list have the potential to be majorly profitable, but unfortunately, it’s never a guarantee.

Summary: Which Side Hustle Pays the Most in 2022?

While most people get into their side hustle to earn some extra cash, there’s always the potential for it to become an exciting and fulfilling career.

As such, it’s important to consider and carefully research the earning potential of any side hustle you’re considering starting, as well as when you can expect to see a profit.

All of the options on my list are some of the most potentially lucrative side hustles, but of course, only you can know which one is the right fit for you. 

If you want to explore more options, you can check out my full list of the best side hustles in 2022.

References

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