The 9 Best Side Hustles For 2021

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Despite the improvement in the job market in the second half of 2020, there’s little doubt the situation remains uncertain as we move into 2021. While certain sectors of the economy are clearly improving, others are stagnating and some have seen an increase in layoffs.

If you’re in one of those occupations that’s hit on hard times since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, or even if you aren’t, starting a side hustle may be your best long-term strategy for dealing with that uncertainty.

A side hustle can both provide additional cash flow for those who have experienced a decline in income, as well as act as a valuable backup plan if the future of your job is in doubt.

With that in mind, let’s look at the nine best side hustles for 2021.

1. Tutoring – A Real Niche with Pandemic School Shutdowns

Ever since the pandemic hit, education has been in a state of flux. School-age children have been in school, attending school online from home, or combining both. In many cases, they’re even alternating back and forth between the two, depending on the level of COVID activity in the local school district.

The arrangement puts a greater burden on both teachers and parents. Teachers don’t have the capacity to provide as much one-on-one support for students, and parents may find themselves attempting to fill the gap with subject matter they know little about.

That’s created fertile ground for tutors. If you excel in a specific subject area, like writing, math, or science, you may be a valuable asset to a student who’s having difficulty keeping up with the rotating school situation.

“Tutors can set their own rates and schedules, so how much they earn is in their control,” reports Steven Cox, CEO at TakeLessons. “Just one example: After relocating four years ago, one woman had trouble finding a job. She began teaching violin, viola and cello as a side hustle, but after six months she was earning more than $8,000 and has been an online tutor ever since.”

An obvious limitation is face-to-face contact during the pandemic. But with the rise of apps like Zoom, it’s no longer necessary for a tutor to be physically present with a student.

According to Tutors.com, online tutors typically earn between $25 and $50 an hour. Much will depend on your geographic location (though that will matter less if you’re tutoring online), and the particular subject matter you specialize in. You can generally expect to earn a higher rate in more technical subjects, like math and science.

You can find students to tutor by registering your services with schools in your area. Once you get several students to tutor, it’s likely demand for your services will increase through word-of-mouth.

This can be an especially lucrative opportunity for retired and former school teachers.

2. Manage Facebook Ads for Small Businesses

Love it or hate it, Facebook has become the social media site where the world congregates. There are more than 3 billion active users worldwide – a statistic that isn’t lost on businesses. Any medium that draws and a large number of people is going to be a natural target for advertising.

Big companies are well aware of the value of advertising on Facebook. But there are hundreds of thousands of small businesses that can also benefit, but they are either unaware Facebook ads are a thing, or they don’t know how to make it work.

If you’re a frequent user of Facebook, you already have a built-in advantage. You’re comfortable with the site, and you know your way around it.

When it comes to Facebook ads, I’m not just pitching a concept I’m unfamiliar with. I’ve had success using Facebook ads to sell various products. And I know of people who are making serious money with this side hustle. I go into deeper detail on this in my YouTube video on Facebook ads.

There are plenty of other videos available on YouTube that will help you learn the ropes of Facebook advertising. But you can start by checking out the Facebook for Business webpage.

Once you become comfortable with how the process works, you can begin marketing your Facebook Ads service to small businesses. Those could include businesses in your geographic area, but you can also reach out to those on the web.

It should go without saying that any small business that has a Facebook page will be a natural candidate for your services. Though they have the page up and running, they may not be familiar with how to promote it and advertise directly to Facebook users.

3. Become an Online Freelance Writer

Have you seen all the content that’s out there on the web? Someone wrote every word of it. In fact, many people contribute content to the World Wide Web. And a surprising number of them are being paid to do it.

Though some of the larger websites do employ full-time staff writers, the majority of web content is written by freelancers who offer their services to multiple clients.

You don’t have to have a journalism degree or previous writing experience either (though both can help). But if your writing skills are above average, and you have one or more areas of expertise, you may be able to write content for websites in that niche.

As a blogger, I’ve done some freelance writing myself, so I know this is a legitimate side hustle. Though the fees started low when I began, I eventually found I could earn several hundred dollars per article, and even over $1,000.

One freelance writer I’m familiar with, Holly Johnson, has been providing freelance writing services for several years. It’s become a full-time occupation for her, fetching her over $200,000 per year.

Freelance writing doesn’t have to become your primary occupation. In fact, it can work perfectly as a side hustle that you can do in your spare time. Holly can even help you become a successful freelance writer.

4. Become a Freelancer in the Career of Your Choice

I just covered freelance writing on the Internet, but you can apply the freelance strategy to just about any occupation.

Think about the skills you’re proficient in – they can be what you currently do for a living, or as hobbies. As a general rule, it’s possible to make money freelancing with any skill you have that you’re better at than most people.

That’s a big misconception with freelancing, that you need to be an expert. Nothing could be further from the truth. You just need to be proficient, and willing to apply yourself.  And of course, you can always work to improve your skills as you go along.

You need to think of any service you want to provide on a freelance basis as a business, and apply yourself, just as you would for a job.

“The key to successful, sustainable self-employment is to drill down to your career experience and detect a core strength that you can convert to a proficiency,” advises Joanne Clever, President of Wilson-Taylor Associates, and author of The Career Lattice. “Then, build that proficiency into a platform that will win and keep clients or customers. The key is to use the hot trends to fuel demand for your core strengths, not to pile up skills that are hot today but that will cool tomorrow.”