Millennials, more than any previous generation, are frequently job-hopping and opting for multiple part-time gigs over full-time careers -- in fact, I’m doing so myself! This lifestyle definitely involves some financial ebb and flow, but the ability to diversify your life and seek career fulfillment makes it all worthwhile.
In addition, starting a side-hustle can be a great way to set aside money for launching your own business. Who knows, your side job may even grow to the point of becoming your full-time career!
That said, if you find yourself strapped for cash, there are tons of ways to monetize skills or assets you already have at your disposal. In this article, we’ll dive into our top 10 recommended side-hustles for millennials to help you figure out the best way to supplement your income!
Over the past decade, Airbnb hosting has gained massive popularity as a side-hustle among people of all ages, all across the globe. If you have a guest house, a spare room, or even a futon in your living room, you can rent it out on Airbnb.
Who it’s right for:
Airbnb hosting is a great choice for extroverted individuals with a desire to engage with new people and a willingness to open up their homes. Airbnb is an international platform, so folks with an appreciation for other cultures gain the most from the hosting experience.
To be successful on Airbnb, you’ll also need to keep a clean and tidy living space and be able to accommodate a wide range of guests. Whether you’re renting out an entire basement or a pull-out couch in a shared room, you’ll have the ability to become a “superhost” -- it’s all about how much effort you’re willing to put in to making sure guests leave happy.
Airbnb doesn’t charge to become a host, which is great because the startup costs are next to nothing. All you’ll need to buy is supplies like sheets, blankets, towels and pillows (if you don’t already have sufficient ones to offer guests), and optional amenities like toiletries, coffee, snacks and tourist attraction guides. While these amenities aren’t totally necessary, they can go a long way to making guests feel welcome in your home!
Depending on your location, the space you have to offer, and the amount of guests you’re able to host, your monthly earning potential could be anywhere between $300 and $3000+. (Enter your information here to find out what you could earn!)
Your earning potential also depends on how often you’re able to host guests, and how accommodating you are during their stay. If folks end up leaving negative reviews about you, potential future guests will most likely be deterred from renting your space.
Related ideas: Starting a bed and breakfast
2) Art or music lessons
Teaching art or music lessons is a gratifying and super-flexible way to earn some money on the side. The great thing about this side-hustle is that you don’t really need a studio or dedicated lesson space -- you can host lessons in your living room, or even meet clients at their homes.
Who it’s right for:
Obviously, teaching art or music requires a pre-established skillset. But depending on the demographic you’re looking to teach, you may only require an intermediate level of knowledge to run a lucrative side-business. To teach guitar to children or beginners, for instance, you don’t necessarily need to be able to play like Jimi Hendrix -- having a working knowledge of scales and chord structures should be enough to get the ball rolling.
The cost of starting an art/music lesson business all depends on how you want to approach the lessons. Your startup costs could be close to $0 if you rely on word-of-mouth/social media marketing, host lessons out of your home, and require that students have their own supplies.
On the other hand, if you want to rent out a dedicated studio space or provide supplies (musical instruments, canvases, paint, etc.) for your students, this may require a significant investment up front. (However, this could also allow you to justify charging more per lesson.)
Your earning potential will depend on a number of factors, including your level of expertise, your availability, the quality of your marketing efforts, and the effectiveness of your approach to the lessons. If students leave feeling bad about themselves, or that they didn’t gain much from the experience, it’s unlikely they’ll come back -- and the only way to run a successful art/music lesson business is to gain loyal customers!
That’s right -- babysitting. For many of us, it was our very first job, but it remains just as worthy a side-gig now as it was when we were 13 years old.
Who it’s right for:
Obviously, if you don’t like kids, babysitting is not for you. To be a successful babysitter, you need to love children but also be able to assert yourself as an authority figure. It’s all about striking a balance between being a friend and a guardian -- a combination that may look quite different depending on the particular kids you’re working with.
Good babysitters are responsible and able to keep their cool in stressful situations. In case of an emergency, the children need to be able look to you for guidance. After all, as a babysitter, you’re essentially a temporary parent!
One of the great things about babysitting is that you don’t need to spend any money to get started. However, if you don’t have any babysitting experience yet, you may want to do a few gigs for free or at a discounted rate in order to build your referral base. The best way to land lucrative babysitting jobs is through word-of-mouth, so it’s essential to earn positive testimonials!
Like every other side-hustle on this list, it depends. The most profitable babysitting gigs tend to come from families with multiple children, but it’s ultimately up to you to negotiate a fair wage with the parents. Average pay ranges between $10 and $20 per hour (for one child).
4) Dog walking
If you love animals and the outdoors, dog walking may be the ideal side-business for you. Many dog owners simply don’t have the time or physical ability to give their dogs the attention and exercise they need on a daily basis. That’s where you come in!
Who it’s right for:
To run a successful dog-walking business, you really just need to be good with animals and have a semi-flexible schedule. Having a car, or other reliable mode of transportation, is also helpful in this line of work, as it allows you to reach a larger clientele.
Starting a dog-walking business doesn’t have to cost you a penny. If you’re effective enough with word-of-mouth, social media and craigslist, you shouldn’t need to spend anything on marketing. As far as supplies go, all you really need is a pair of sneakers!
The earning potential of a dog-walking business depends largely on your schedule (i.e. whether or not you’re available at times customers require dog-walking services), and your ability to secure repeat customers. If you form authentic bonds with clients and their pets, they’ll be more likely to invite you back multiple times a week -- and even refer you to their friends.
How you structure the pricing model is totally up to you, so get creative. Offer the second walk for free -- that way the client has a second chance to get to know you. Offer a bundled discount for repeat customers. You get the picture.
Related ideas: Starting a pet grooming business
Freelance writing is the perfect way to make money without even having to leave your house. This side-hustle is great because it works with pretty much any schedule -- you can literally do it whenever you have free time and access to a computer.
Who it’s right for:
You don’t need to have an English degree to be a successful freelance writer. All you really need is a solid understanding of English grammar and the ability to write clear, concise and engaging content. Even if the last thing you wrote was a high school research paper, freelance writing could be a fit for you.
There is a massive demand for quality writing out there. Tons of companies and individuals need help writing blogs, crafting resumes, and creating dozens of other types of content. Whether you want to focus on one type of writing (ex. resume-building) or advertise yourself as an all-in-one writing guru, there’s money to be made in this line of work.
Zero -- that’s what’s so great about freelance writing. As long as you have access to a computer, you can easily get started without spending a dime.
While there are multiple ways to approach freelance writing projects, in my experience the most reliable way to make money in this line of work is to charge by the hour. That way, you know exactly how you’re valuing your time. It’s all-too-easy to get sucked into a $200 project that ends up taking you 40 hours -- resulting in a measly $5/hr wage. Decide how much your services are worth ahead of time, then agree to hourly projects that offer the wage you’re seeking (keeping in mind you may initially need to start at a lower rate).
Using a freelancing platform like Upwork is a great way to build your writing portfolio and even land long-term clients at an hourly rate of your choosing. The only major downside to using these platforms is that they charge a service fee of up to 20%.
Although we’re well into the digital age, the demand for handmade illustrations isn’t going away anytime soon. From children’s books to album art, tons of folks are looking to commission talented visual artists to be an essential part of their creative projects.
Who it’s right for:
Of course, running a freelance illustration business isn’t for everyone -- you definitely need to have a knack for visual art and design. If you enjoy drawing, and if your skills are reasonably versatile, illustration could prove to be a lucrative side-hustle for you.
The cost of art supplies is the most significant expense associated with starting a freelance illustration business -- although as a visual artist, you may already have plenty of materials laying around! If you do need to invest in art supplies to get your illustration business off the ground, it’s a good idea to wait until you have a job locked down to do so. That way you can determine what supplies you need on a case-by-case basis, and even bill clients for the materials you purchase specifically for their projects.
Just like freelance writers (#5), illustrators can do quite well through online freelancing platforms, although advertising these services on sites like Craigslist is also a valid option. Earning potential varies from client to client -- some folks are willing to pay more for expert-level illustrators, while others seek out the cheapest services available. Again, you may want to accept a few gigs for relatively modest pay in order to build your portfolio quickly.
Related ideas: Starting a graphic design business
7) Personal shopper or assistant
Many folks out there have incredibly busy lives and/or physical limitations that make it difficult for them to shop and properly care for themselves. As a personal shopper/assistant, you could make a decent wage by simply running errands or helping people out around the house.
Who it’s right for:
If you’re a people-person who truly enjoys helping others, you may be the perfect personal assistant. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this job requires a bit more flexibility than most of the other side-hustles on this list -- your client(s) may even need you to be on-call to take care of their errands or other needs.
Safety is also vitally important here. Being a personal shopper/assistant often requires spending time alone with clients in their personal spaces, so it’s important to only take on clients you feel completely safe with.
Unless you feel compelled to purchase online or newspaper advertising, you shouldn’t need to invest any money to get your personal assistant business up and running. At any given time, there are dozens of folks seeking out these services on Craigslist and other free online platforms -- all you need to do is reach out to them!
Frankly, earning potential in this line of work varies dramatically. Rather than having a flat hourly rate, we’d encourage you to negotiate a fair wage on a case-by-case basis. Depending on the level of attention and care a person is seeking, you may only have the ability to work with one client rather than multiple simultaneously -- which would make your services much more valuable to that individual.
From real estate to senior photos to professional portraits, photography gigs are pretty much always waiting right around the corner. The great thing about photography is that not everyone is looking to pay for the highest-rated photographer in the city. Many folks simply need someone with a decent camera, an eye for composition and a reasonable rate.
Who it’s right for:
While anyone can start a photography side-business, it’s easiest for people who already have experience working with this medium and access to a quality camera and a photo editing program. It’s worth noting that you don’t necessarily need to own these assets, though -- if you’re a high school or college student, you may be able to rent some incredible photography equipment through your school free of charge.
If you don’t already own or have access to photography equipment, this is easily the most expensive side-hustle on the list. High-quality cameras, lenses, editing software and other supplies are incredibly pricey -- we’re talking about a $10,000+ investment here. There’s nothing wrong with going all-in and launching a professional photography business from scratch, but just make sure you have a plan to make your money back before investing in thousands of dollars worth of equipment.
Once again, it really depends. If you have an eye for composition, access to high-quality equipment, and decent networking skills, you could end up raking in thousands of dollars per project shooting weddings and other events. On the other hand, if you’re just looking to do a couple of basic portrait sessions per month, the compensation obviously won’t be as high.
Tutoring has an incredible range of applications. Depending on the subject matter you’re an expert in, you could end up working with anyone from elementary school kids to elderly folks looking to reignite an old passion.
Who it’s right for:
To be a successful tutor, you need three essential qualities: 1) expert knowledge in one or more subjects, 2) a love for people, and 3) patience. If you don’t have patience and compassion for others, it’s unlikely that you’ll enjoy the tutoring experience (and neither will your students).
Tutoring startup costs really depend on your target demographic of students and what materials you already have handy. For instance, if you’re starting a Spanish tutoring business, you’ll probably need a few levels of Spanish language textbooks to work through curriculum with various clients. If you learned Spanish in an academic setting, you may very well already have textbooks on-hand. Otherwise, you’ll need to make this investment in order to facilitate well-organized lessons.
Some subjects/students will not require you to invest in teaching materials at all. If you’re tutoring a fourth grader in math, for example, you’ll simply use the textbook they’re assigned in class. Again, startup costs may vary, but it’s fair to say that tutoring is one of the least expensive side-hustle options out there -- especially if you purchase your teaching materials used!
Depending on your level of expertise, the demand for tutoring in your particular subject, and the state of your local economy, you may be able to rack in anywhere between $10 and $60 per hour. Keeping costs low by teaching lessons from home or at coffee shops is a great way to maximize your earning potential as a tutor.
As millenials, we have a natural aptitude for tech-related activities that previous generations tend to find difficult or intimidating. Website building is one of these activities that many millenials find fairly intuitive, so it’s a great skill to leverage when you’re in need of some extra income.
Who it’s right for:
You don’t need a degree in computer science in order to navigate web-building platforms like Wix and Squarespace. If you simply had a MySpace growing up, you have a basic understanding of coding and web-design!
If you’ve never used a website builder before, you’d be wise to invest in one-month subscriptions on a few different platforms in order to get a feel for the various programs (typically between $10 and $25 per month). That way, you can truthfully promote yourself as an experienced designer for Studiopress, Squarespace and Wix (or whatever platforms you choose). Remember, you don’t necessarily need to become an expert in order to offer valuable services to folks who aren’t tech-savvy whatsoever.
Website design is another type of gig you can land through sites like Upwork and Freelancer. However, keep in mind that using a freelancing platform will make a dent in your earning potential. If you want to avoid this, you may be able to get a decent number of projects simply through word-of-mouth and Craigslist marketing.
Like any other freelancing gig, you can decide whether you want to charge a single upfront fee or an hourly rate for your web-building services. Either way, it’s up to you to negotiate a fair wage with your client based on the nature of the project!
Related ideas: Starting a web-development business