The world is buzzing with AI, and it’s hard to know if it’s all hype or if it really is the inevitable end of work as we know it. Maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle.
Maybe you’re in the thick of it, wondering if your job will one day be at risk. But you’re not alone.
It’s probably safe to assume that most jobs in the digital world will, at the very least, be transformed dramatically. So, what are you to do?
Countless people are nervously walking into this new world, wondering if there’s a place in it for them. And it’s a little frightening that no one knows.
Opinions are clashing. Some are excited, and some are scared. Many more don’t care, and they’d be happy to never hear about it again.
But none of it matters because what will be will be, regardless of what we think about it.
The question is how we use it to our advantage.
For a time, it will probably be an incredible tool. However, as time goes on, it’s unlikely we’ll beat it at its own game. So why not hedge our bets with an AI-proof side hustle?
Until the future is filled with humanoid robots (a topic for another article), the following jobs and side hustles will belong to us.
Some are easy and don’t require any special skills. Others may be a little more challenging and depend on a particular interest or passion.
With that said, let’s get started…
1. Custom Cake Baking
Years ago, one of my wife’s co-workers discovered her passion for baking. Well, she probably always had it but decided to take it more seriously. What started as a hobby eventually became a lucrative side hustle, baking and selling custom cakes for birthdays, weddings, and other events.
So, if you have a thing for baking and a creative streak, custom cakes sell for $50 – $400 or more, depending on the complexity and the event it’s for.
It’s not a complicated side hustle to launch, but you’ll need some basics. Start by investing in quality baking tools and ingredients, and you might also consider taking a few baking classes to refine your skills.
The legal requirements are important, too. In many places, you may need a food handler's certificate and a home kitchen inspection. Some states allow home kitchen operations, while others may require a commercial kitchen space.
This will vary by location, so Google is your best friend.
Another strategy to consider is reaching out to other home-based bakers and food providers in your area. You can ask them directly what the requirements are, and most will be helpful. Or, you can simply place an order and ask them to provide credentials, certificates, etc.
Promoting your cakes on social media and local community groups will attract a wide range of customers, especially if you have a unique angle. For example, a local bakery here called Punk Rock Pastries specializes in bold (sometimes shocking) designs.
They also venture into adult-themed cakes for bachelorette and bachelor parties, which is a somewhat viral theme that spreads on social media groups and gets shared among families, friends, and colleagues.
Every cake is a potential portfolio piece to showcase your skills.
Starting Budget Estimate: $300 – $1000, including baking equipment, ingredients, marketing materials, and necessary permits or certifications.
Related: How To Market Your Side Hustle
For those who love nature and design, this side hustle is not just a creative outlet but a practical solution for various groups. Busy homeowners, the elderly, or commercial clients often struggle to maintain their outdoor spaces.
This is where your skills come into play. You can offer…
- Customized Solutions for Busy Homeowners – Many homeowners want a beautiful garden but lack the time or expertise. You provide personalized garden designs that are low maintenance yet visually appealing.
- Assistance for Elderly Clients – For the elderly, managing a garden can be physically challenging. Your services can include easier-to-maintain designs and regular upkeep, ensuring their outdoor spaces remain a source of joy without strain.
- Commercial Landscaping – As your skills grow, so can your clientele. Commercial properties often seek professional landscaping to enhance curb appeal, offering larger and potentially more lucrative projects.
To get started in this side hustle, consider the following steps:
- Learn the Basics – Familiarize yourself with basic gardening principles, plant types, and landscape design. Online courses, community college classes, or local gardening workshops can be great resources.
- Start Small – Begin by working on your own garden or offering services to friends and family. This builds your portfolio and gives you practical experience.
- Invest in Tools – Basic tools like shovels, rakes, pruners, and a lawnmower are essential. As you take on more clients, you might need more specialized equipment.
- Marketing Your Services – Create a portfolio of your work to show potential clients. Utilize social media, local community boards, and word-of-mouth to advertise your services.
By addressing specific needs and gradually expanding your skills and tools, gardening and landscape design can grow from a passionate hobby into a rewarding side hustle. It offers a personalized service that AI and automation can't replicate, meeting a real demand in various sectors of society.
Starting Budget Estimate: $500 – $3000. This will cover basic gardening tools and marketing materials, with the higher end for more specialized equipment as you expand your services.
Unlike auto detailing (the previous side hustle I considered doing), I have done this automotive-related side hustle, and I enjoyed it. It’s relatively easy to get started if you have a vehicle and the pay is decent.
It may not be a professional salary (I certainly earned more doing electrical work), but as a side hustle with low start-up costs, very low financial risk, and immediate pay… ridesharing is a great way to start making money within days.
To become a rideshare driver, the first thing you need is a reliable vehicle. Most ridesharing companies have vehicle requirements that you'll need to meet, typically including the age of the car, the number of doors, and the condition, which will be determined by a commercial inspection.
Your vehicle is important because one in good condition, both mechanically and aesthetically, will improve your ratings. Or, more accurately, one in poor condition will likely hurt your ratings.
If you don’t have a vehicle, Uber has a rental program you can access. Depending on how many hours you plan on driving (and the time of day), this may be a better option even if you have your vehicle.
Your official first step is to sign up with a ridesharing platform. Big names like Uber and Lyft are usually a good place to start. The signup process involves an identity and background check and vehicle inspection. It's relatively simple and doesn't take very long.
When I first started driving for Uber, I think it took me a few days. The thing that took the longest was replacing the windshield in my vehicle so it would pass the inspection. That was way back in 2018.
Strangely, I recently updated all of my documents so I could start driving again (it’s been a few years since I last did rideshare), and again, the longest part of the process was getting another windshield replaced for the vehicle I have now.
Anyway, once approved, it's all about getting your vehicle cleaned and in tip-top shape. Make sure there are no strange smells, and check out the many YT videos for tips, items to keep on hand, etc.
Strategizing your hours and locations to maximize your earnings is also important, but those will vary by location and depend on when you’re available to drive. For instance, working during peak hours like weekends and evenings or in busy areas like airports and entertainment districts can significantly increase your income, but this is something you'll have to experiment with in your city.
In my case, I only drove during the day. I had no interest in collecting groups of people stumbling out of the bars and clubs, slurring their words. You can certainly make more money with those drives, but money wasn't my ultimate objective then.
Also, providing exceptional customer service and paying attention to the small touches like keeping your car clean, offering phone chargers, and “reading the room” when it comes to conversation can go a long way to getting tips and good ratings.
Overall, driving Uber was a great experience for me. I met a lot of great people and loved working my own schedule.
You can also do what I did by diversifying your side hustles. I started an online business by working on my laptop while waiting for rides.
And there are many side hustles on this list you can combine with ride share. For example, if you’re just starting out as a mobile hair stylist and building up your clientele, drive for Uber and Lyft on the days you have no appointments. Or, you can also switch to delivering food or groceries on various platforms when the demand for riders is low.
Starting Budget Estimate: $300 – $2,000. Generally, the start-up costs are minimal, but your vehicle may need some repairs (like a windshield) to pass inspection. You’ll need cleaning supplies as well. Once you start earning, reinvest in things like a first aid kit, small toolkit, dashcam, etc.
4. Urban Farming
This side hustle would have never occurred to me. I like being around gardens (and nature in general), but not necessarily growing and maintaining them. That could change as I get older, but I’m not holding my breath.
However, I do enjoy going to farmer's markets and chatting with vendors, which is where I discovered this gig. One vendor (in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) I spoke to said it was just about the food when she started, but it gradually grew into a sustainable lifestyle passion and connecting with her local community.
So, you may find that starting an urban farm side hustle is more than just making money.
With some basic gardening knowledge, you can start an urban farm and sell fresh produce, ranging from $5 per bunch of herbs to $20 for organic vegetable baskets.
Your first step, of course, is setting up your garden with quality soil, seeds, and necessary tools. You’ll also want to research what grows best in your area and learn the seasonal cycles.
Depending on where you live, there may be some legal considerations, such as zoning laws and health regulations, especially if you plan to sell your produce at local markets or to restaurants. But these shouldn’t stop you from getting started with a small garden.
Another way to make money with this side hustle is to hold workshops or community events, teaching others. Start out small in your local community and create a like-minded community. While many people hold similar values and want to be a part of a sustainable lifestyle community, not many are willing to start one.
Starting Budget Estimate: $500 – $2000, depending on the scale of your urban farm, including costs for seeds, tools, soil, and any required licenses.
5. Mobile Hair Stylist
Here’s another side hustle that wasn’t on my radar. I’m simple and cheap… so I shave my head. However, when it came to paying almost $400 to get my daughter’s hair cut, styled, and colored… my jaw hit the floor.
This can be a lucrative side hustle. And it’s not a side hustle that AI is going to take away from you.
As a mobile hair stylist, you can charge anywhere from $20 – $30 for a basic haircut, but the real money is in specialized services like coloring, which is $100 (or more, as I found out).
In addition to your exceptional service, your selling points are flexibility and convenience, visiting your clients on their terms.
You'll need a reliable vehicle, a portable styling kit, and a decent range of hair care products. Building a strong portfolio showcasing your work is also vital. You can build your portfolio by offering free services in exchange for pictures and testimonials.
Check your state's regulations for cosmetologists operating mobile services. You will likely require certificates (which you may already have if you’re reading about this side hustle), and you’ll also require insurance for your business.
Social media and word-of-mouth are your best bet for landing clients. But those only work if your service is outstanding in all regards.
Starting Budget Estimate: $600 – $3000, covering travel costs, hairstyling equipment and products, certifications, and insurance. However, if you choose cosmetology school, tuition can range from $5,000 to $15,000, which is significant, but again, your investment is relatively safe from AI.
6. Auto Detailing
This side hustle is something I've thought about doing over the years, and a friend of mine (in Ontario, Canada), is doing it successfully. And it’s strange that I’ve considered it because I don't particularly enjoy cleaning my own vehicles.
But it’s a side hustle with relatively high demand, people don’t like (or don't have the time) to detail their own car, start-up costs are relatively low, and it’s simple.
To be clear, though, “simple” doesn't mean auto detailing is “easy”.
It’s labor-intensive and absolutely requires skill, especially if you do restoration services, but it's not “complicated”. For example, it doesn't require formal education and certification like bookkeeping or mobile hair stylist side hustles. You can start with simple washes and develop your skills as you go.
Starting an auto detailing side hustle is straightforward. You'll want to begin with market research and polishing up on your car cleaning skills. Then, invest in quality detailing equipment and products. This includes a reliable pressure washer, vacuum cleaner, cleaning solutions, waxes, microfiber towels, and you get the idea.
Don't skimp (unless you don’t have a choice, of course). The higher the quality of your tools and products, the easier your side hustle will be. And it can make a significant difference in the results you deliver, leading to word-of-mouth referrals.
Next, you'll want to learn the ins and outs of auto detailing. While it's not complicated, there are tips and tricks to doing it efficiently and effectively. Consider getting some hands-on experience with an established detailer, even if you offer your time and labor for free. This will give you insights into techniques like clay barring, polishing, and deep interior cleaning.
Once you're equipped and trained, the next step is marketing your services. Social media is a great platform to start. Before-and-after pictures of your detailing work can be very persuasive. And you could also offer initial discounts (don’t be afraid of providing free services) to attract your first customers or ask friends and family if you can detail their cars to build up your portfolio.
Note: Here’s a tip I probably shouldn’t share, but I will. I found this out from a friend and client who has a cleaning side hustle, and it applies to a car detailing business too.
Dirty up your own car(s) (or kitchen, bathroom, etc. if you’re starting a cleaning side hustle)… if they’re not dirty already, take “before” pictures, clean them until they sparkle, then take your “after” pictures for your portfolio. Of course, this is just if you're starting out and don't yet have clients to showcase your work.
Consider specializing to stand out. For instance, you could focus on eco-friendly detailing using environmentally safe products or offer high-end services for luxury vehicles.
The key to success in auto detailing is in the name… “detail.” Go the extra mile, and your clients will not only come back but also recommend you to others.
Starting Budget Estimate: $500 – $2000 to cover your initial equipment, products, and some basic marketing.
7. Mobile Laundry Service
For busy professionals, students, the elderly, or families juggling multiple responsibilities, a mobile laundry service offers a convenient solution to the never-ending chore of laundry.
Compared to many side hustles, this one is relatively straightforward and simple. And sometimes, those are the best side hustles. Collecting, washing, drying, folding, and returning laundry to clients isn’t thrilling, exciting, or mysterious, but it’s a necessary service.
Steps that may be involved are…
- Investing in quality laundry equipment (although you can utilize laundry mats when starting out).
- Organizing a reliable pickup and delivery system.
- Marketing your service to target demographics.
- Ensuring proper handling of different types of fabrics and clothing.
Operating a mobile laundry service isn’t like running a traditional laundromat or cleaning service. It may be the logistics that challenge you. It takes time to pick up, deliver, and schedule services. You may need to set specific days for washing, folding, etc., as well as specific days for pick up and delivery.
You’ll also need to keep track of personalized services that may take additional time or require specialized equipment. Proactive communication with your client is key.
Benefits of this hustle include high demand (everyone needs clean laundry) and if keeping your clientele small, the flexibility to set your own schedule.
Starting Budget Estimate: $1000 – $3000 for laundry equipment/rental, vehicle modifications if required, travel expenses, and marketing.
8. Dog Walking
Dog walking is perfect for those who love staying active and enjoy dogs. This also means if you’re not particularly active and not sure if you like dogs (or don’t have experience with dogs), then this side hustle is probably not for you, even though it sounds simple enough.
But if have some experience and you’re confident this is a gig you’d enjoy, here’s your quick roadmap to becoming your neighborhood go-to dog walker…
- Understand Dog Behavior – Knowledge of different dog breeds and their behavior is crucial. This understanding ensures you can provide a safe and enjoyable walk for a variety of canine clients.
- Get Certified – While not mandatory, a certification in pet first aid can be a game-changer. It builds trust with clients, showing you’re prepared for any situation.
- Choose Your Territory – Know the local parks, dog-friendly areas, and neighborhoods. Plan routes that are safe and enjoyable for dogs of all sizes and energy levels.
- Set Your Schedule – One of the perks of dog walking is the flexible hours. You can tailor your schedule to fit around other commitments. Early mornings, evenings, or weekends – it's your call.
- Build Your Client Base – Start with your neighborhood. Use social media, local community boards, and word-of-mouth to spread the word. Personal recommendations are powerful.
- Invest in Essentials – Durable leashes, water bottles, waste bags, and treats are some of the basics you’ll need. Consider investing in a vehicle if you plan to offer pick-up and drop-off services.
- Offer Exceptional Service – Being reliable and providing a safe, enjoyable experience for the dogs is key. Happy dogs equal happy clients.
Again, dog walking as a side hustle offers more than just making money from home. It's a chance to stay fit, meet new people, and, as you probably know (assuming you’re a dog owner having read this far)… an opportunity to live like dogs do in the present moment.
Starting Budget Estimate: Around $100 – $500. Initial costs include basic supplies and marketing efforts.
9. Deliver Pizza
Delivering pizza is an overlooked and underrated side hustle, in my opinion. I did it many years ago (feels like a lifetime ago now) when my wife and I had a minor financial emergency.
We were both working good-paying jobs at the time… but in life, as I'm sure you know, unexpected situations arise.
So, one day, on my way home from work, driving by a local Italian restaurant, I stopped in and just asked if they needed anyone to deliver pizza. They did, and to my surprise, it turned out to be a good gig.
I enjoyed it and kept doing it long after our financial challenge had passed. In fact, if we still lived in that city (where that specific pizza place was), I might be tempted to do it again.
This brings up an important point… the key is driving for the right restaurant.
Rather than a discount pizzeria open until 3 am, I went to the restaurant with the most expensive pizza in the city. And what was even better was that they closed at 11 pm on weekends and did not do deals or specials.
That made it an entirely different experience than I imagine most pizza delivery jobs. There was no uniform, no lights or logos for my car, and no delivering a truckload of cheap 3-for-1 pies to a houseful of drunk kids at 2 am.
Instead of those late-night scenarios, I delivered during reasonable hours and earned $20 – $40 per hour in tips alone. And I was in bed by 11:30.
I originally planned to do it for just a few weeks, but I became friends with everyone there. So, after a day of doing sales calls, which was my actual job at the time, I looked forward to going in for a few hours, hanging out, and driving around.
The other benefit of this side hustle is that you don't need any skills or qualifications. All I did was stop in after work one day and ask if they needed a driver. Two days later, I was putting cash in my pocket.
So, although this may not seem like a good side hustle, it’s worth looking into.
Starting Budget Estimate: $100 – $200 for fuel and expenses to get started (if you already have a car).
10. Specialty Catering
Specialty catering is a somewhat advanced side hustle but satisfying, if not a dream gig, for the right person.
While you don’t have to start out fancy, so to speak… many successful caterers offer unique culinary experiences for their clients, tailored to specific dietary needs or themes, like vegan, gluten-free, or ethnic cuisines.
Most of your work will involve events, parties, corporate functions, etc., but don’t disregard less extravagant scenarios like family dinners. I’ve been to small home gatherings with just a handful of friends that were catered.
Again, this isn’t a simple side hustle. Your tasks include menu planning, food preparation, and presentation, along with managing client requirements and dietary restrictions.
Your key responsibilities may involve…
- Designing specialized menus based on client needs.
- Sourcing quality ingredients and cooking equipment.
- Coordinating event logistics and staffing.
- Ensuring adherence to health and safety standards.
- Logistics, traveling, and staff management.
Many caterers start as home-based businesses, expanding to larger operations as demand grows.
While formal culinary training is beneficial, it's not always required. Strong cooking skills, creativity, and excellent organizational abilities are crucial.
Each event's requirements vary greatly. Some clients may need full-service catering for large events, while others might only need drop-off catering services.
Starting Budget Estimate: $500 – $3000, depending on the scale of operations and initial equipment and ingredient purchases.
11. Custom Woodworking
Custom woodworking won’t be for everyone, but for those who enjoy making handcrafted wooden items like furniture and decorative pieces, it’s a great side hustle. It caters to clients who want personalized, high-quality woodwork.
For those who haven’t done any woodworking but are considering it, this gig includes designing, crafting, and finishing unique wooden items based on client specifications.
Some specific tasks include…
- Sketching and designing custom pieces.
- Selecting suitable wood and materials.
- Mastering various woodworking techniques and tools.
- Handling client consultations and custom orders, which may involve back-and-forth collaboration.
Many woodworkers begin as hobbyists, gradually turning their passion into a profitable endeavor.
While formal education in woodworking isn't mandatory, having a strong skill set and knowledge of different wood types and techniques is crucial.
Projects can range from small decorative items to large, intricate furniture, varying in complexity and pricing. Again, it’s not a side hustle for everyone, but if the future becomes increasingly dominated by AI and automation, this type of specialty product may become more desirable.
Starting Budget Estimate: $1000 – $5000, covering costs for woodworking tools, materials, and workspace setup.
12. Real Estate Staging
For those with an eye for interior design and skill for transforming spaces, real estate staging is a side hustle that not only fuels creativity but also plays a critical role in the real estate market.
Showcasing a property at its best to attract potential buyers is an important service that AI probably can’t replace (although it wouldn’t hurt to keep an eye on augmented reality (AR) technology creeping into this market).
Your potential clients are…
- Home Sellers – Many homeowners looking to sell their properties aren't sure how to present them in the most appealing way. Your staging skills help enhance the property's appearance, potentially increasing its market value and reducing the time it spends on the market.
- Real Estate Agents – Agents often seek stagers to make their listings stand out. Your service can become an essential part of their sales strategy.
Expanding this side hustle can include:
- Building a Portfolio – Start by staging homes for friends or family and capturing high-quality before-and-after photos. This portfolio will be key in attracting new clients.
- Networking – Connect with local real estate agents and attend real estate events to build your network and find potential clients.
To get started in real estate staging, consider the following:
- Learn the Basics – Understanding the fundamentals of interior design and current market trends is crucial. You can do this through online courses, workshops, or self-study.
- Invest in Decor Items – Initially, you'll need a collection of versatile decor items that can fit various styles of homes. These might include artwork, linens, small furniture pieces, and accessories.
- Storage and Transportation – As your inventory grows, you'll need storage space for your items and a means of transporting them to and from properties.
- Marketing Your Services – Develop a website or social media presence to showcase your work and reach potential clients. Before-and-after photos can be particularly effective in highlighting your staging skills.
Real estate staging is a side hustle where creativity meets practicality. In the era of online home listings, where first impressions are made through photos, your staging skills can make a significant difference. It’s a service that requires a human touch, offering a unique value proposition in the real estate market.
Starting Budget Estimate: $3000 – $10000. This budget will cover initial decor purchases, marketing materials, and any necessary storage or transportation solutions.
13. Pet Grooming
If you’re reading about this side hustle, there’s a good chance you’re a pet lover. And in the heart of most pet lovers (not all) is a dream to work with animals. Pet grooming, as it turns out, can turn that dream into a thriving side hustle.
This is great for those with a gentle touch and patience (a lot of patience), and it's a practical way to combine your love for pets with a viable business.
Starting this hustle, however, isn't a walk in the park (pun intended). It demands dedication and a willingness to learn. Here's a quick rundown on how you can start this furry journey…
- Educate Yourself – Begin with a solid foundation in pet grooming. Enroll in courses or seek mentorship from experienced groomers. Understanding different breeds and their grooming requirements is key.
- Equip Yourself – Invest in quality grooming tools. Clippers, brushes, shampoos, and a sturdy grooming table are essentials. Remember, the right tools not only make the job easier but also ensure a safe experience for the pets.
- Know Your Clients – Pets come with personalities. A good groomer understands animal behavior to ensure a stress-free grooming session. This knowledge is crucial in building trust with both pets and their owners.
- Set Up Your Space – Decide if you'll operate from a home-based studio or offer mobile grooming services. Each has its benefits and challenges. A home setup cuts down on travel costs, while a mobile service offers convenience to clients.
- Market Your Services – In today’s digital world, an online presence is vital. Create social media profiles and a simple website showcasing your services. Before-and-after photos of your grooming sessions can be powerful marketing tools.
- Build a Reputation – Word-of-mouth is gold in pet grooming. Encourage satisfied clients to leave reviews. Offer referral discounts to grow your client base organically.
- Stay Updated – Pet grooming trends change. Keep learning and adapting to offer the best services.
This side hustle is more than just grooming pets, as you probably know (especially if you have a pet). It's about care, compassion, and comfort. Of course, you want to make your client’s pets look their best, but you also want to give their pets an experience they look forward to.
Starting Budget Estimate: Around $500 – $3000. Your initial investment will go into grooming equipment, training, and setting up your grooming space.
14. Mobile Bike Repair
Another side hustle that AI and robots won’t be taking any time soon is mobile bike repair. Services like on-the-spot maintenance and bicycle repair cater to non-professional cyclists who need quick and convenient service.
If you’re handy with tools and mechanically minded, diagnosing and fixing issues, performing regular maintenance, and customizing bikes will come relatively easy (if you’re not already a pro, in which case, this is your domain).
Key duties involve…
- Conducting on-site repairs and maintenance.
- Managing inventory of parts and tools.
- Staying updated with the latest bike technology and repair techniques.
- Providing customer service and cycling advice.
- Logistics and scheduling.
Formal qualifications are not strictly required, but knowledge of different bike models and repair and quick repair tactics is helpful. If you’re charging a flat rate for a specific fix, the quicker you can do it, the better.
Services can range from simple tune-ups and tire changes to more complex gear and brake repairs and even outsourcing more advanced repairs like welding, painting, etc., for bikes with nostalgic value.
Starting Budget Estimate: $300 – $1000, including the cost of a basic repair toolkit, spare parts, and travel expenses.
15. Guided Hiking Tours
For those who love nature but lack the confidence to explore trails alone, guided hiking tours offer a safe and enjoyable way to experience the outdoors, especially in the territory where potentially dangerous animals roam.
It's an often sought-after service by beginners and tourists unfamiliar with local trails, scenery, etc.
While it’s great if you have local hiking experience, starting this hustle doesn’t require it. You can learn.
Start by identifying popular and safe hiking routes and gaining knowledge about local flora, fauna, and geography. Become familiar with the terrain and put some miles/kilometers on your boots.
Steps to getting started include:
- Researching and mapping out various hiking trails.
- Acquiring basic first aid and wilderness survival skills.
- Marketing your tours to locals and tourists.
- Ensuring compliance with any necessary permits or regulations.
- Building a portfolio of testimonials and reviews.
Guided hiking differs from solo hiking as it requires group management skills and a focus on safety. It's more about providing a memorable experience than just a hike.
Benefits include meeting new people, sharing your love for the outdoors, and staying fit while earning money.
Starting Budget Estimate: $100 – $2000, depending on where you live. Your expenses will include marketing, permits, travel, and necessary outdoor and health-related gear.
16. Doula Services
For expectant parents feeling overwhelmed or anxious about childbirth, a doula provides essential support, guidance, and comfort before, during, and after birth.
Obviously, this isn’t a side hustle you start on a whim. Becoming a doula requires training and certification and possibly assisting an experienced doula for some time to understand the physical and emotional needs of birthing individuals.
Key steps to getting started as a doula include:
- Completing a doula certification program.
- On-the-job training as an assistant.
- Building a network with local hospitals and birthing centers.
- Creating a supportive and informative online presence.
- Understanding various birthing methods and preferences.
Doulas offer a different kind of care compared to medical professionals, focusing more on emotional support and advocacy for the birthing individual. But they must also have strong knowledge of the medical challenges and physiology of the birthing process.
The rewards of being a doula include the emotional satisfaction of assisting families during a crucial life event and the flexibility of choosing clients. The hours, however, can be unpredictable.
Starting Budget Estimate: $300 – $3000, depending on the cost of certification courses and marketing efforts.
17. Childproofing Homes
As a parent with two daughters and at least a few unforgettable visits to the Emergency Room, I know the importance of childproofing. By the time our second daughter was born, it felt like we were living in a bubble-wrapped house. Childproofing homes is more than a service. It's a necessity for parents.
With that said, while you play a crucial role in enhancing a home's safety, it's critical that the ultimate responsibility for a child's safety rests with the parents. To address this, working closely with parents is key.
Never make promises or guarantees about the safety of their home. Instead, provide guidance and support.
One effective way to manage expectations and responsibilities is using a liability form. This form should not only cover your own liability but also serve as a detailed checklist of the work done. Include each safety device installed, potential risks addressed, and areas that still need attention.
This approach not only protects you legally but also educates parents (which is your primary role), reinforcing the idea that childproofing is a joint effort. It's a compassionate and professional way to remind parents that while you can provide the tools and knowledge for a safer home, their vigilance and care are irreplaceable in keeping their children safe.
For example, you'll assess homes for potential dangers like sharp edges, uncovered electrical outlets, and unsecured furniture, then install the necessary safety devices… with them signing off on each item.
Your role is really to recognize and be a second (or third) set of objective eyes. We often don’t notice the dangers in our own homes until it’s too late. I have two specific examples of this that I won’t go into (neighbors), but the short story is just that we often have blind spots in our own environments.
Another variation of this is when I worked in construction. It was our job to document every potential hazard in our work area and mitigate those hazards before starting. But we also had a safety officer review our job sites and sign off before we could begin. And sure enough, the safety officer would often find obvious hazards we did not notice.
Anyway, childproofing is a job that requires a sharp eye for detail and a thorough understanding of what can pose a risk to children.
It’s not a side hustle for everyone.
The satisfaction comes from knowing you're making a tangible difference in preventing those heart-stopping moments for parents.
Starting out, you'll need a basic knowledge of child safety, a set of tools for installing safety devices, and some initial marketing to get the word out. You can potentially earn between $50 to $200 per home, depending on its size and the complexity of the childproofing required.
It's typically a few hours' work per house, making it a flexible option for those looking to supplement their income.
Overall, childproofing homes as a side hustle offers the potential for decent earnings and the rewarding experience of contributing to a child's safety. But again, it’s not for everyone.
Starting Budget Estimate: $200 – $500, covering safety equipment, installation tools, and marketing materials.
18. Mural Painting
To be honest, I wouldn’t have thought this to be a viable side hustle. Who gets paid to paint murals, right?
However, this is what a good friend of mine’s wife did for a living. She worked for an arts and events theatre in Alberta, Canada, and earned her living painting murals. And while AI is threatening artists, it’s not likely we’ll have robots painting murals (at least not in the near future… depending on how you define “near,” of course).
Mural painting is an incredible way to blend artistic talent with business savvy. On the surface, it just looks like painting a wall, but if you’re an artist, you know better. It's about transforming spaces, telling stories, and creating something that benefits the community.
You get to leave your mark on the world in a very literal way, and depending on where you live, there may be a growing demand for unique, handcrafted art in both public and private spaces.
Starting out, you'll need strong artistic skills, an understanding of large-scale painting techniques, and a portfolio of your work. So, of course, this side hustle is for a relatively small demographic.
If you have a passion for art, though, you can earn from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per mural, depending on the size and complexity of the project.
Your initial costs will involve high-quality painting supplies, scaffolding or ladders for large projects, and marketing to promote your services. You might also need to travel to different locations, so factor that into your budget.
Starting Budget Estimate: $500 – $1500, including painting supplies, equipment for large projects, and marketing expenses.
19. Professional Organizer
As someone recently diagnosed with ADHD, I have a new excuse to blame my inability to stay organized. Maybe I’m just not as competent in that area as I’d like to be, but I get some comfort knowing I’m not alone.
And if I’m not alone (I don’t think I am), there are many who could use the services of a professional organizer not only to get things in order but also to arm us with strategies to stay organized.
While it’s great to read blog posts and watch YouTube videos about efficiency and organization (which you can also create and make money from as a professional organizer), having someone help you apply those strategies specifically to your workspace is far more effective.
So, if you have an uncommon talent for decluttering and organizing, you can turn it into a profitable side hustle.
As a professional organizer, you can charge per project or hourly, with rates varying based on the complexity, duration of the job, and competitors in your market. You might start with simpler projects like organizing a home office and work up to larger-scale tasks.
Getting started isn't too complicated. You'll need a basic understanding of organizational systems and some marketing to get your first clients. Social media can be a great platform to showcase before-and-after pictures of your work as well.
There's also room for creativity in this hustle. You could specialize in certain areas like digital organization or eco-friendly decluttering methods.
Starting Budget Estimate: $200 – $500, including costs for marketing materials, organizing tools, and any necessary business registrations.
20. Proofreading, Editing, and Lending Credentials
Of all the jobs that AI is transforming, writing is taking a hard hit. And as a writer, I find it hard to imagine a future where the majority of what we read in anything but AI-generated. The quality isn’t quite there yet, but it will be.
However, it’s clear that humans can’t compete with the speed and cost of AI-generated content. It’s not even close. But that doesn't mean the human touch is gone.
For the foreseeable future, we will still be needed to guide the AI, infusing it with real-world experiences and insights. And here's where this unique side hustle comes in…
… proofreading, editing, and lending your credentials.
Despite AI's vast knowledge, it still lacks the depth of a human expert in specific fields. For instance, if you've spent 20 years in low-voltage electronics and controls, your expertise surpasses what any AI can offer.
Therefore, publications and companies in that sector (again, just an example) recognize this. They may lay down their first drafts using AI, but they need experts to review technical articles, add insights, and authenticate the content with their credentials.
This ensures readers that the information comes from someone with real-life experience in the field. And until AI exceeds human intelligence and expertise in all areas (which could be tomorrow, ten years from now, or even longer), this may be what the future of writing looks like.
Of course, this side hustle requires a background in a specific field and a good grasp of writing and editing. You can start by offering your services on freelance platforms like Upwork and Fiverr or by reaching out to publications in your area of expertise.
Your main task would be to proofread and edit AI-generated content, ensuring it aligns with industry standards and factual accuracy. Lending your credentials adds immense value, giving readers confidence in the authenticity of the information.
And possibly more important to your client, your credentials help their content rank higher in search engines.
Starting Budget Estimate: From a cost perspective, this is the perfect side hustle to start. It’s free to join most freelance platforms and market your services on social media (although you can pay to advertise if you choose). You can also set up a professional website for under $10/month if you’re resourceful.
21. Pool Cleaning and Maintenance
This side hustle is a perfect match for those who don't mind getting their hands a bit wet and want to dive into a market with consistent demand. Homeowners with pools, busy professionals, and even small hotels or fitness centers often require help keeping their pools in top condition. Here's how this service can be a solution:
- For Homeowners – Many pool owners love the luxury of a pool but lack the time or expertise to maintain it. You provide regular cleaning and maintenance, ensuring their pool is safe and inviting.
- Busy Professionals – Professionals who are often out of town or occupied with work can benefit from your service to keep their pools ready for use at any time.
- Commercial Clients – As you gain experience, small hotels, gyms, or community centers with pools could become clients. They require consistent, high-quality maintenance for their guests and members.
Getting started in pool cleaning and maintenance involves a few key steps:
- Learn Pool Maintenance – Understanding the basics of pool chemistry, filtration systems, and cleaning techniques is crucial. Online resources, videos, and local pool maintenance courses can be valuable.
- Invest in Equipment – Essential tools include a pool skimmer, brushes, vacuum, and chemicals for treating the water. The initial investment in these tools is crucial for providing quality service.
- Build a Client Base – Start by offering services to neighbors or through local community groups. Word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied clients can be a powerful tool for growth.
- Expand Services – As you become more experienced, consider offering additional services like opening and closing pools for the season, repairs, or even pool renovation consultations.
This side hustle offers a blend of physical activity and skill. It's a service that requires a human touch, especially when dealing with different pool types and client-specific needs. In an era where AI and automation are on the rise, the personal care and expertise you bring to pool maintenance remain irreplaceable.
Starting Budget Estimate: $800 – $4000. The lower end covers basic cleaning tools and initial chemicals, while the higher end includes more advanced equipment for larger or more complex pools.
22. Teaching and Selling Pottery
Not all side hustles will make you rich, but you can explore passions and creativity with them (and you never know; a unique approach could make you rich).
Pottery is an artistic expression and a therapeutic one, making it an excellent side hustle for those with a passion for creativity and teaching. You're shaping clay and shaping experiences.
A friend’s father used to do something similar. He created custom glassware, which I assume (although I’m not certain) is a little more difficult to learn and more costly for the equipment. But that’s another approach to this side hustle you might consider exploring.
It’s less competitive, and his clients were primarily commercial, so it was lucrative as well.
But getting back to pottery, this is a good side hustle for…
- For Creative Individuals – Many people are looking for a creative outlet. Your pottery classes provide a space for them to learn, create, and unwind.
- Stress Relief – In a fast-paced, media-bombarded world (as ours is), pottery classes offer a form of stress relief and mindfulness, appealing to a wide range of individuals seeking relaxation.
While teaching pottery as a side hustle is a great way to make money, you should diversify and expand into other areas…
- Selling Pottery Online – As you create your own pieces, you can sell them online. Your buyers can range from art collectors to individuals seeking unique, handmade gifts for holidays, birthdays, weddings, etc. Online marketplaces like Etsy or your own website can be great platforms for this.
- Starting a Pottery Blog or YouTube Channel – Share your pottery journey, tips, and tutorials online. A blog or YouTube channel can attract a global audience. DIY projects like this are also perfect for platforms like Pinterest. You can monetize with display ads, affiliate marketing, and even sponsored content. Your audience might include aspiring potters, art enthusiasts, and people seeking a new hobby.
Getting started involves a few steps (especially if you’re new to pottery):
- Master Your Craft – Whether self-taught or formally educated, ensure you have a solid foundation in pottery techniques.
- Set Up a Workshop – You'll need a space with pottery wheels, kilns, and tools. Initially, this might be a small home setup (and you’re right, this is not the cheapest side hustle to start).
- Market Your Classes – Use social media, local community boards, and word-of-mouth to promote your classes. Consider offering the first class free or at a discount to attract students.
- Create Online Content – Start a blog or YouTube channel focused on pottery. Share your creations, processes, and tips. Engaging content can attract a wider audience and open additional revenue streams.
Pottery as a side hustle offers incredible versatility. You're not only teaching a skill but also creating products and content that resonate with a diverse audience that you can sell. Not to mention, the process of creating art is one of the most viral niches online.
In an age falling towards digital and automated jobs, the charm of handmade pottery and the personal touch when teaching remain unique and have higher-than-average demand potential.
Starting Budget Estimate: $2000 – $7000. This covers the cost of pottery wheels, a kiln, clay, tools, and setting up a digital presence for online sales and content creation.