What Is Side Hustle? Definition, Meaning, & Ideas

October 11, 2023

What is side hustle?

Side hustle is any income producing activity that occurs outside of full time work. The prevalence of side hustles is increasing with people wanting to earn extra cash because of higher living costs and easier accessibility to income earning opportunities through the internet. Here are 3 side hustle statistics that show the magnitude of the side hustle phenomenon:

  • 53% of Gen Zers and approximately half of Millennials engage in a side hustle, according to a 2023 survey of 2,505 US adults by Bankrate

  • The average side hustle brings in $1,122/month, but the median income is just $200, according to a survey of 1,700 side hustle respondents by Side Hustle Nation

  • The average side hustle requires an average of 13 hours per week, according to Zippia

What is side hustle definition?

The definition of side hustle is an income producing activity beyond a primary job. Side hustle is a concept that encompasses any activity that is done for money “on the side” of a person’s regular job.

What is side hustle meaning?

Side hustle meaning is an activity that produces a secondary income. Side hustle Urban Dictionary meaning is, “A term used almost exclusively by Americans, who are somehow still in denial about how rigged the economic system is in favor of the ultra-rich, to describe the second or even third job they have to work to meet the same standard of living their parents had 30 years ago.

What is a side hustle?

A side hustle is a secondary income-generating activity that someone performs alongside their full time job in order to earn an extra income. A side hustle works by earning extra money independent of a normal job. A side hustle can be a job, considering that a job is nothing more than work someone does regularly in order to earn money. However, the distinction is that a side hustle must be a secondary work that earns money, not a primary work engagement.

What are side hustle examples?

  • Side hustle example 1: Running a local lead generation business outside of a full time job as a server at Buffalo Wild Wings. 
  • Side hustle example 2: Driving Uber on weeknights to earn extra income beyond a day job as a warehouse employee at Amazon. 
  • Side hustle example 3: Writing a personal finance blog after hours working as an insurance salesman for State Farm.

What is side hustle synonym?

Side hustle synonym is side-hustle, side job, side work, and side gig.

What is side hustle pronunciation?

Side hustle pronunciation is “sighd huhs-uhl”. 

What is side hustling?

Side hustling is the action of performing additional work to earn income in addition to a primary work engagement.

What is a side hustler?

A side hustler is a person that engages in a side hustle to make an additional income. 

What is a side hustle business?

A side hustle business is an entity someone operates to generate income that is independent of their primary income source. 

What is a side hustle stack?

A side hustle stack is the combination of income-generating activities that someone working multiple side hustles allows themself. Side Hustle Stack is also a name for an online database of side hustle opportunities.

Pros and cons of having a side hustle


Gain income flexibility - You have more control over how much income you earn. 

Improve finances - Achieving a financial goal like paying off student loans becomes easier. 

Explore passions - A side hustle provides the opportunity to do something that you want to do in order to earn money instead of something you need to do in order to pay the bills. 

Obtain new skills - Engaging in additional work can establish a new skill set. 


Inferior work-life balance - Given that most people work over 10 hours a week on their side hustle, you can expect to spend more time working and less time partaking in leisure activities. 

Diminished focus on main job - Earning an additional income may negatively affect your performance at your day job. 

Additional stress - More time working typically leads to higher stress levels. 

17 Side hustle ideas

1. Dog walking

Dog walking is a side hustle idea that entails walking dogs for a fee, typically $20 to $40/hour, according to home services website Thumbtack. You can arrange to walk your neighbors dogs whenever you have spare time, such as before work, during lunch breaks, or in the evening.

2. Personal training

Personal training entails helping others achieve their fitness goals. This can be a great side hustle idea for those with an affinity for exercise and an advanced understanding of the human body from years of training or the completion of a certification from an organization like ISSA. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, you can earn an extra $26/hour on average as a personal trainer.

3. Tutoring

Tutoring is a side hustle idea for those with expert knowledge on a particular subject who can provide academic support on that subject to a student, such as learning Spanish. People typically seek tutoring around their normal work or school schedule. By making yourself available during those times, you can earn an average of $27.40/hour as a private tutor in the United States, according to ZipRecruiter.

Side hustles that pay well

4. Car washing and detailing

Car washing and detailing is a side hustle idea that can pay well, earning an average of $50 to $150/hour, according to NerdWallet. Car washing and detailing encompasses the activities that keep a car appearing in its best condition possible, such as vacuuming, washing, and polishing. Although you’ll need some specialized tools to perform these services, like a power washer and orbital polisher, you can make some great money from this side gig.

5. Wedding photography

Wedding photography is offering photo packages during wedding events, and these packages typically go for $2,000 to $3,000, and are as high as $10,000 in some areas, according to Photography Spark. Although you'll need some high quality camera equipment and the ability to shoot great photos, this side hustle idea can definitely bring in a lot of extra cash. 

6. House flipping

House flipping is a profitable side hustle idea that entails purchasing properties to fix up and sell for a profit. The average gross profit on a house flipping project in the US is around $56,000, according to data from ATTOM. 

Side hustles that pay daily

7. Completing branded surveys online

Completing branded surveys is a way to make money online by filling out surveys through an online survey platform like Survey Junkie. The earning potential for taking online surveys as a side hustle is around $2/hour, according to data on the typical hourly earnings of a range of survey platforms from NerdWallet. Therefore, you won’t earn much, but it’s a way to earn some money quickly because you can withdraw your earnings in less than 24 hours through PayPal.

8. Food delivery

Food delivery is a side gig idea where you pick up and deliver groceries. Food delivery pays an average hourly rate of $18.78 in the United States, and some of the food delivery applications even allow you to withdraw your money immediately. For example, the food delivery app Instacart enables its full-service shoppers to access funds immediately through an “Instant Cashout” feature.

9. Driving for Uber or Lift

Driving for Uber or Lift is a solid side hustle idea that can pay daily for those that have a vehicle to transport passengers. Drivers for Uber and Lift typically make between $22 and $40/hour, according to Business Insider. Both of these hustle app options allow for you to withdraw cash immediately, up to 5 times per day.

Side hustle ideas from home

10. Sell online

Selling online is one of the most common side hustle ideas from home. You can sell your own products online as a side hustle with platforms like Amazon, Shopify, Facebook Marketplace, and Etsy. Selling products online, or Ecommerce, is a highly flexible way to make money online, with multiple business models to choose from that you can implement when you have free time from your standard job, such as private label or retail arbitrage. The average Ecommerce business owner makes around $55/hour in the United States, according to ZipRecruiter.

11. Freelancing

Freelancing is working on a contractual basis to complete projects for clients relevant to your skill set. Some online freelancing options for a side hustle are:

  • Social media marketing freelancing
  • Freelance writing
  • Graphic design freelancing
  • Developer freelancing
  • Virtual assistant freelancing

Freelance work is a type of self employment, so you have more flexibility on when and how you complete projects compared to a normal job where you have a manager hounding you to meet deadlines. Although freelancing income potential is based on your skills and experience, data from Payoneer shows that the average freelancer with a college degree earns approximately $24/hour.

12. Trading

Trading is the buying and selling of securities in order to earn a profit, such as stocks, bonds, currency, and cryptocurrency. Trading can be done completely through online brokerages, like eToro, Robinhood, and TD Ameritrade. The national average for a profitable day trader in the US is just over $86K/year, according to Indeed. 

Passive side hustles

13. Local lead generation

Local lead generation is a passive income side hustle opportunity that entails ranking websites on Google to attract customers for local service businesses. Local lead generation can make passive income because once you get a website to rank on Google, it generates marketing results organically and requires little maintenance to keep functioning. Furthermore, local businesses that partner with local lead generation websites for their marketing needs typically stick with them for the long run because they usually produce superior marketing results than the business can achieve on their own. A local lead generation website can earn anywhere from $500 to $3,000/month, with profit margins as high as 90% or higher. 

14. Blogging

Blogging is publishing informational material to the web to attract an audience. Blogging can generate income in various ways, including affiliate marketing, Google AdSense revenue, sponsored posts, promoting your own products or services. Affiliate marketing and Google AdSense revenue specifically enable a blog to earn passive income. Once you post a blog, it can continue attracting an audience online for years, meaning businesses will continue to pay you for the affiliate sales your site drives and advertisers will pay for the space to advertise there. You can earn just over $50K/year by starting a blog as a side hustle, according to data from Glassdoor. 

15. eBook publishing

eBook publishing is self-publishing digital books online to earn royalties. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and Google Play Books are two of the most popular platforms for publishing eBooks, and can earn you upwards of 70% royalties on sales of your works. You earn passive income by publishing eBooks because once you publish a book, all the sales are income that you aren't actively working for anymore. 

Unique side hustles

16. Rent yourself

A unique side hustle idea is simply renting yourself for money. For example, you can provide companionship to a senior citizen, pretend to be someone's partner at a family event, or even offer friendship for a fee, which is available through a website like Rent a Local Friend. There is even a Japanese man named Shoji Morimoto that makes a living by renting himself out to do nothing.  

17. Donating poop

Donating poop is a unique side hustle idea where you can earn money by sending your stool to research and development companies looking to treat digestive disorders. For example, poop donors through the GoodNature Program earn up to $1,500/month by periodically sending in their poop samples.

How do you start a side hustle?

  1. 1
    Choose the right side hustle idea - Select a side hustle opportunity that leverages your skills and resonates with your interests and goals. For example, if you enjoy writing, choosing a side hustle like eBook publishing or freelance writing is likely a good way to earn that extra income. 
  2. 2
    Establish your time commitment - Decide how much time you will be able to set aside each week to work on your side hustle outside of your primary job. 
  3. 3
    Create a plan - Draft a business plan that outlines aspects like how you will operate your business, which tools you need to perform your business operations, and how you will finance your business, such as with a credit card.
  4. 4
    Determine your income goal - Based on what you know about your earnings potential from the business model and the hours you will be able to allocate to your hustle work, set a goal for approximately how much income you should be able to make. 
  5. 5
    Make your business legal - Depending on which side hustle idea you choose, you may need to obtain a business license or register your business in order to operate legally. It's usually best to seek the counsel of a business lawyer to determine what you should do to make your side hustle business legal if it's not already clear. 
  6. 6
    Promote your business to start generating income - Promote your products or services to start generating side hustle income. 

Is it risky to start a side hustle?

It is risky to start a side hustle because you need to risk your time, and usually some money, in order to start a side hustle. However, a side hustle is not your main source of income, so it can be much less risky than starting a business as a full time entrepreneur.

Conclusion: What is the #1 side hustle?

Local lead generation is the #1 side hustle. Local lead generation is the best side hustle because it enables you to make a high, passive income on the side of your normal job. Each local lead generation website has the potential to make up to $3,000/month, and you can set up multiple local lead generation websites to bring in 5-figures in passive income per month, like I’ve done with my own local lead generation business. Local lead generation is the best side hustle for earning extra cash with flexible scheduling because it primarily entails doing local SEO work, which can be completed at any time without time constraints. Therefore, local lead generation is the perfect side hustle because you can complete the work whenever you have spare time. If you’re interested in starting local lead generation as a side hustle, this local lead gen training will walk you through how to set everything up.

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Ippei Kanehara

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses

Ippei.com is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2024, is to build your own lead generation business.

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