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To start, let me be clear: There are no side hustles that are inherently a better fit for women than men or vice versa. So, why the qualifier?
When we talk about the best side hustles for women, we’re really talking about two statistical realities. First, women are about four times as likely as men to stay home with children, although that gap is steadily closing.
The second, of course, is the wage gap. In 2021, women earned about 83% of what men earned in the United States.
That gap is also shrinking, especially among young people. But it still stands as an unfortunate reality. Until the gap disappears, women might be more motivated to seek out extra income on the side.
With all of this in mind, I’ll focus on two areas in this post: side hustles for stay-at-home parents and side hustles for professional women looking to earn a little extra money in their spare time.
Before we get into the specifics, let’s quickly run through some of the top side hustle considerations to help you figure out how to bring in more cash.
What Makes a Good Side Hustle?
As you think about starting a lucrative side hustle, focus on two simple questions:
- What are you good at?
- What do you enjoy?
If you find areas of overlap, you’re off to a good start. And if there’s an established market where that overlap fits, even better.
The idea here is to play to your strengths. Think about the unique skill set that you’ve developed. Is there anything within it that you could parlay into a side gig?
It’s okay to develop skills as you go. But it’ll be easier to build something if you already have some tools to work with.
For stay-at-home moms (and dads), flexibility is key. Kids demand a ton of time and attention, so your side gig needs to be one that can adapt to their needs.
Now that you know what you’re looking for, let’s get into the best side hustles that you can pursue right now.
14 Best Side Hustles For Women
1. Become a Freelancer
In the past couple of decades, the gig economy has exploded. As a result, more Americans are freelancers than ever before, and much of that growth has come from women.
In fact, between 2001 and 2016, women accounted for 55% of the growth of the gig economy and now make up nearly half of the freelancer population. The number is even higher among freelance writing jobs, of which women account for the majority.
There are several reasons for this shift, including the ability to make your own schedule and avoid office environments. But one thing is clear: Freelancing has never been more accessible.
Whether you want to pursue freelance writing, proofreading, web design, digital marketing, or graphic design, the market is out there. You can find jobs using services like Upwork or Fiverr or try and source your own clients. If you need to hone your skills first, you can learn from an online course on the subject.
Plus, even if your freelance career starts as a side hustle idea, it has plenty of potential to turn into a full-time income. Play your cards right, and this could become a very lucrative career for you.
2. Open an Etsy Shop
If you’re the creative type and love making stuff with your hands, consider opening up an Etsy shop.
Etsy is a well-established online hub for handmade goods. Whether you make clothing, candles, Christmas ornaments, or anything in between, you can start your own small business by selling on Etsy.
You also don’t necessarily need to create your own inventory. Etsy is an awesome place to sell vintage goods, so you can clear out your closet or basement selling valuable older pieces.
The downside of Etsy is the same one that any online business owner faces: It costs money. Etsy charges both listing and transaction fees, so be sure to factor them into your pricing strategy.
3. Rent Your Space on Airbnb
Renting your property on Airbnb makes a great side hustle if you have the space for it. Whether you have an empty second home or just an extra room to rent out on occasion, you can turn the space into consistent, flexible income.
The key to earning with Airbnb is building up your rating. Most renters look for highly-rated rentals, so it might take a little time to get consistent renters.
To entice people to give your place a try, make sure that you present your space accurately and beautifully. This means high-quality photos, in-depth descriptions, and a comprehensive list of amenities. Of course, you’ll also have to price it attractively.
Once you have a solid reputation, it’s as simple as keeping the place clean for the next guest.
4. Teach English
If you’re a native English speaker with a college degree, you’re already qualified to teach English from home in your free time.
With VIPKid, you can get started with a quick application. An online tutor can make between $14 and $18 per hour and you can choose when you want to teach.
Plus, you don’t need to worry about building a curriculum. VIPKid comes with its own curriculum, which you can learn and practice with the guidance of experienced teachers.
If you’re looking to work from home with flexible hours, teaching English through online tutoring is one of the best ways to do it.
5. Be a Virtual Assistant
Another work-from-home option is to help busy people as a virtual assistant.
Virtual assistants are independent contractors that help individuals or businesses with administrative tasks, working remotely to get the job done.
With any given gig, you could be a bookkeeper, scheduler, customer service rep, or maybe a little of everything—whatever the particular client needs.
The benefit of becoming a virtual assistant is that jobs are generally pretty flexible. You can choose your own clients, set your rate, and seek out jobs that fit your particular skill set. You can also make it a full-time job if you’d like.
6. Become an Influencer
Most regular social media users identify as female. With this in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that most influencers are women.
This might make it seem like a crowded market. But you can monetize your social media network with the right content approach.
The thing to focus on is your content strategy. Does your content stand out or is it more of the same as everybody else’s? Who’s your target audience? Are there brands that might align with your message? These are all questions that you need to prepare for.
While the terms “influencer” and “blogger” used to be interchangeable, influencers these days wear a lot of different hats. On top of your social network accounts, you might start a podcast, a YouTube Channel, or a Pinterest board—whatever makes the most sense for your content.
Once you have a significant following, you can make good money by promoting local businesses and through affiliate marketing. It will most likely take some time to find profitability, but it can pay off in a big way.
7. Take Online Surveys
If free time is in short supply, you can earn money by taking online market research surveys. They won’t be enough to replace your day job but could cover a grocery store run each month.
Survey sites like Swagbucks, Survey Junkie, and LifePoints are extremely popular. This is mostly due to their high level of accessibility. They’re free and anyone can use them to make money online.
Plus, you can complete surveys from anywhere—whether you’re waiting in line at the airport or watching TV on your couch.
8. Sell Your Stuff
When in doubt, sell the stuff you don’t need.
Whatever you have (even if it seems like junk), you can likely find buyers on eBay. What started as an online auction house has turned into a massive e-commerce platform, where you can sell everything from used car parts to old video games.
Just like Etsy, the main downside is the fees that you’ll need to absorb to sell on eBay. Expect listing and transaction fees, and you’ll also need a plan for shipping your sold inventory.
In addition to eBay, you can also sell your stuff and avoid fees on Craigslist or your local Facebook Marketplace.
9. Drive for Uber, Lyft, or DoorDash
If you have a car and some time to hit the road, you can work part-time as a rideshare or delivery driver.
With apps like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Postmates, and Instacart, you can turn your whip into a taxi service or use it to pick up takeout and groceries.
All of these platforms require a driving background check, and your car needs to be in good shape. Otherwise, the sign-up process is simple, and you can quickly earn extra cash with your wheels.
Plus, even if you only have a bike, you can still sign up for food delivery services.
10. Take up Mystery Shopping
As a stay-at-home parent, odds are you’re already making regular trips to the store. So why not cash in while you’re there as a mystery shopper?
In case you’re unfamiliar, mystery shopping is the practice of posing as a customer to gain insight into how a business operates. It could be a retail store, restaurant, or even a phone call to gauge the effectiveness of a company’s customer service.
To get paid as a mystery shopper, you can check out services like BestMark. The application process is quick, and you’ll usually be able to get started within a week.
The key to mystery shopping is focusing on the details and following the specific instructions of each mission. Take note of everything and provide in-depth feedback to increase your chances of landing recurring gigs.
11. Sign up for TaskRabbit
Do you have a unique skill for a specific type of odd job? If so, consider signing up for TaskRabbit. The platform facilitates peer-to-peer hiring and has dozens of services that you can sign up to provide to other users.
Arguably the best thing about TaskRabbit is that it’s a fit for any skill set. Some tasks, like electrical and plumbing work, require particular certifications. On the other hand, anyone can sign up to do yard work, help people move, or provide cleaning services.
When you become a tasker, you set your own rate. TaskRabbit will help you identify the normal rate for a task in your community. But as you build up your rating, you’ll be able to charge more.
The downside of TaskRabbit is that it isn’t available everywhere. Check to see if it’s available near you.
12. Be a Sitter
If you enjoy being a caregiver, you can make a little extra money babysitting, house sitting, or even pet sitting.
The advent of the internet has made finding these kinds of jobs a lot easier. Care.com is a great place to start, where you can apply and choose which sort of care you want to offer. If you prefer animals to people, Rover is one of the bigger marketplaces for pet sitters.
Much like TaskRabbit, availability and rates will depend on your area. But sitters can generally expect to earn well above minimum wage.
13. Get Cash Back with Rakuten
For those who like to shop online, affiliate marketing sites like Rakuten are a no-brainer.
Rakuten is a shopping portal where you can earn cash back with your favorite brands. The site partners with a ton of different merchants who pay Rakuten to send customers their way. When you buy something, you get a cut of that commission.
Rakuten pays its members quarterly, and you can choose cash or gift card rewards. It’s completely free to use and takes just a few minutes to sign up.
To get the most out of Rakuten, use it to buy the things you would anyway. If you’re going out of your way to earn cash back, you’ll cut into the extra money that you’re actually bringing in.
14. Earn Passive Income with Fundrise
If you don’t have the time for a full-blown side hustle job, you can still earn extra cash by creating passive income streams.
To clarify, passive income is money you can earn with minimal labor, and investing is the best way to unlock a passive income stream.
Historically speaking, real estate is one of the most consistent and low-risk investment categories. The problem is that, traditionally, it took a ton of cash to get in the game.
Fortunately, with platforms like Fundrise, you can invest in real estate with as little as $10 to start.
Here’s how it works: Fundrise crowdsources capital from its network of investors (i.e., you!). It then uses that money to acquire undervalued properties. These properties grow in value over time, and everyone who invests gets a cut of the profit.
Fundrise, and real estate in general, is an opportunity for long-term investing. This isn’t an avenue for quick extra cash, and you should think of it as a multi-year venture if you sign up.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Which Side Hustles Pay the Most?
Like most jobs, the side hustles that pay the most are the ones that demand the most experience or expertise. For example, any type of professional consulting is regularly regarded as the highest-earning side gig. Personally speaking, I did very well doing SEO consulting and building websites, but those skill sets aren’t in everyone’s wheelhouse.
That said, the main factor to success is you. A small business that you start on the side can become incredibly profitable over time. It all depends on the viability of your idea and how much work you put into making it a success.
What Are the Best Side Hustles?
Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet. The best side hustle idea is the one that you can execute and enjoy. That being the case, the answer here will be different for everyone.
Think about what you can provide that no one else can. Maybe it’s a unique approach to social media, a fresh online business idea, or just a relentless work ethic—whatever you have, don’t let it go to waste.
How Can I Make $1,000 on the Side?
It depends on what sort of timeline you’re working with. Truth be told, $1,000 per week is a lot different than $1,000 per month.
Rather than focusing on an arbitrary number, start hustling and get a sense of how much you can reasonably make. Setting realistic expectations for yourself is important—especially as you’re starting out.
If you put the time and effort in, you can work your way toward whatever goal you have in mind.
The Bottom Line
Whether you work from home or in an office, there’s an opportunity to pad your bank account by picking up some work on the side.
Some lucrative side hustle ideas require certain know-how, while others just take intention and effort. It’s all about figuring out what tools you have and how you can use them most effectively.
I’ve covered what I think are the best places to start, but the list doesn’t end here. Far from it.
So, even if you didn’t find a perfect fit for you, I’m hopeful that I got you thinking about your next move. No matter which idea you go with, here’s to building toward a better financial future—one that leads to true financial independence.