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Best side hustle ideas to make extra money in 2024

Looking for legitimate ways to boost your bank account? Believe it or not, many easy and fun side hustles require little or no experience. From walking dogs to delivering groceries in your hometown, the best side hustles are often right under your nose. 

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Editor’s Note: This article contains updated information from a previously published story.

USA TODAY Blueprint may earn a commission from this advertiser. Best ways to earn extra money  What is a side hustle?

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These days, many people take on extra work, in addition to, or on the side of a regular job. This work is considered a side hustle, or a way to supplement your primary source of income. 

While the main objective of a side hustle is often to make additional income, it’s not the only benefit. The right side hustle is a proactive way to learn a new skill, or in some cases, test the waters for a new business.

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Side hustles come in all shapes and sizes, and can be as simple as walking a neighbor’s dog or as complex as offering your skills as an online article writer. With so many different opportunities, earning anywhere from a few dollars to thousands of dollars a month from a regular side hustle is possible. 

A booming industry

Today, the U.S. side hustle market is valued at over $2.58 trillion dollars — and that figure is only expected to grow. By 2027, it is estimated that 83 million Americans will perform freelance work. 

Here are some interesting statistics about the modern side hustle:

Nearly two in five U.S. adults have a side hustle.  The average monthly income from a side hustle is $810. Almost 50% of people with a side hustle do it for fun, not money.  32% of side hustlers spend as few as five to ten hours per week.  50% of millennials have a side hustle. What are the easiest side hustles to start?

It’s possible to bring in hundreds of dollars per month through a side hustle, but if you’ve never done anything like this before, where do you begin? Luckily, getting started is simple. Here are some of the easiest side hustles to start.

House sitting

Yes, people will pay to have someone watch their house. A side hustle that almost anyone can do, house sitting can be as simple as watering the plants and collecting the mail a few days a week to living in someone’s home for weeks at a time while they travel. Long-term house sitting can be extremely lucrative, while providing the opportunity to live rent-free. 

How do you find a house-sitting side hustle? Sometimes it’s through word of mouth, or networking at the local coffee shop, diner or hair salon. However, the internet has made finding house-sitting jobs easier than ever. Numerous websites are dedicated to house sitting, and you can find plenty of posts looking for a house sitter on forums and social media platforms like Facebook. 

Dog walking

Walking dogs is another side hustle that’s relatively easy to start. As long as you like animals and can handle a dog on a leash, you’re in! Working families with pets often pay someone to exercise a dog who is home alone throughout the day. Depending on how many dogs need walking in your neighborhood and your tolerance for animals, you could make a decent monthly income with this side hustle. 

To get started, check out popular pet care apps like Rover.

Freelance writing

Do you have a way with words and love to write? If so, freelance writing is a simple side hustle. Websites such as Upwork, Flexjobs, Textbroker and Fiverr offer side hustle gigs writing articles, web copy, resumes, creative pieces, marketing materials and more. Getting started is quick. For most, it only involves setting up an online profile and searching for your first paying gig. 

Delivering groceries

With ease and convenience as the name of the game, more people are turning to on-demand grocery delivery services than ever before — great news for those looking for a legitimate and flexible side hustle. Services like Instacart and DoorDash allow you to accept orders via an app on your phone, then you simply shop for the items yourself and deliver them using your vehicle. And this side gig’s online application only takes about 15 minutes.

Once approved, you can start earning immediately. How much can you expect to make delivering groceries? Both DoorDash and Instacart pay a base rate, which varies based on the type of order and delivery. However, full service shoppers at Instacart claim to make between $15 to $20 per hour. At this rate, it’s not unrealistic to spend four or five hours making deliveries for $100 per day. 

To work as any grocery delivery driver, you must be at least 18 years old with the following: 

A valid driver’s license. A reliable vehicle and proof of car insurance. The ability to lift 50 pounds. A smartphone. A clean driving record. The ability to pass a background check. Side jobs to avoid

It wouldn’t be fair to paint all side hustles as 100% risk-free. Unfortunately, some jobs aren’t very much fun or don’t pay nearly enough for the time invested. 

Online survey taker

While it is true, you can get paid to sit at home and take surveys, this side hustle is one to avoid. Decent-paying surveys are tough to come by, and most require you to pre-screen before getting the assignment. This side hustle is easy, but you’ll quickly learn that the pay is pennies — and even less if you accept retail gift cards in lieu of cash. 

Driver for Uber or Lyft

People often rave about the opportunity to drive for Uber or Lyft as a side hustle. After all, you can make your own hours, accept or deny work and do so from the comfort of your own vehicle. 

However, there are some genuine disadvantages. First, the pay is low. After factoring in the price of gas, insurance, phone and regular cleaning expenses, there’s often little profit left. Further, not every paying customer is considerate. Many Uber drivers complain about damage to their car from scratches, scuffs, trash, stains and smells. 

Mystery shopper

This side hustle sounds too good to be true — and it is. The plan is to visit select retail locations like pharmacies, fast food restaurants and department stores to purchase goods and services and rate your experience. 

Unfortunately, you get pennies on the dollar and spend a great deal of time filling out post-visit questionnaires. How else can the merchant understand your experience unless you fill out a detailed report? This side hustle is simply not worth the time or energy. 

Side jobs and tax reporting

If you’ve managed to land a fabulous side hustle (and they are out there!), you will inevitably need to consider taxes. How does a side hustle impact your taxable income? Is there a dollar amount you can legally earn that doesn’t need to be reported? 

According to the IRS, you “must file a tax return if you have net earnings from self-employment of $400 or more from gig work, even if it’s a side job, part-time or temporary.” Unless you are an employee, no one will be deducting your taxes. You are responsible for estimating taxes owed and paying when you file your return. 

However, there’s a strategy to handling taxes as a freelancer or working a side hustle: keep meticulous records and set aside your estimated tax regularly throughout the year, usually 15% to 20% of what you make. Doing this will make it much easier to handle a tax increase when you eventually file. 

USA TODAY Blueprint may earn a commission from this advertiser. Frequently asked questions (FAQs) How much money can you make with a side hustle?

There really is no limit to how much money you can make with a side hustle. Obviously, some side hustles pay better than others, and how much time you dedicate to this extra activity will determine how much profit you bring in.

Dog walkers can expect to make between $10 and $15 per dog per day. If you live in an area populated with dogs, you can make $200 to $300 per week walking multiple dogs at once.

Freelance writing fees are based on your skill. If you’re starting out as a freelance writer, expect to make between $10 and $40 dollars per article or editing job. Once you’ve established yourself on a platform and have a few references and pieces to share as samples, you can raise your rates considerably. An experienced freelance writer can bring in hundreds, even thousands of dollars monthly.

What skills do you need to have a side hustle?

The skills needed to successfully work a side hustle vary. Dog walking, for instance, requires little more than a love for animals and the ability to walk unassisted. Of course, in this case, you will likely need to meet the owner and share some details about yourself and your interest in caring for their pet.

On the other hand, driving for Uber or Lyft requires more skill. The main skill to drive for a ride-share app is knowing how to drive and maintaining a clean driver’s record. It’s unlikely you can work this side hustle if you have a history of accidents. In addition, knowing how to navigate your surroundings and familiarity with driving laws and regulations is a must.

What is the most profitable side hustle you can have?

Freelancing is likely the most profitable side hustle available today. While writing and editing are considered part of freelancing, so is web design, consulting, online tutoring and many more. You must have a relevant skill for many of these side hustles. When expertise is involved, the money you can make increases significantly.

Ultimately, the best side hustles are those where you enjoy what you are doing. Work is inevitable for most of us and, unless you are financially independent, you probably spend a good portion of each day doing it. A great side hustle is like a reward for time well spent that’s fun and profitable.