The 3 Most Profitable Side Job Industries
The Side Hustle era is in full swing.
Whether your job on the side is for a little extra income or it’s a career transition, the side hustle has become as American as Apple Pie.
The big reason for this? Jobs aren’t made for people anymore. Relax, we don’t mean machines have taken all of our jobs…well not yet, anyway. We’re talking about the fact that most companies can’t accept the way people want to live and work these days.
Side hustles can.
When did side hustles become the new handbag?
Side hustles are pretty common now. They’re more in-demand than the latest handbag. They’re more popular than organic food. They’re about as ubiquitous as a Spotify account. A lot of people have them.
Of course, what do you expect when you give people control over their own earning potential? But how did we get here? There are many factors that contributed to this rise in side hustle culture, but there is one major reason.
According to Hubspot, a company who has wisely built their culture around the way people work, drastic changes have occurred both in the way Americans work and in their general career expectations.
The majority of the workforce used to be pension-focused. People were prepared to stay with a job for decades if it meant they’d secure a comfortable retirement.
Then the internet happened.
Now the average worker is more focused on purpose. There needs to be a reason for all those work hours, one beyond ourselves and our own needs.
The last generation needed a good boss, which makes sense if you’re going to stay at a job for decades. A good boss becomes a necessity at that point, but it’s not that big a deal in this generation.
The emphasis now is on having great coworkers and colleagues. The unwillingness to partake in stressful workplace politics could have contributed to this change in preference.
The last generation favored a strict routine and 9 to 5 was their go-to structure. This generation works whenever.
Offices used to be a big deal in the last generation.
In this era, they might continue to become more of an expensive formality. Especially when you consider that today’s workforce would rather be typing up their quarterly reports at home in pajamas or at the local coffee shop with a good view of their favorite barista.
All these factors draw a contour sketch of a truth many businesses choose to ignore. The truth is most people are working in a way that doesn’t align with the lifestyle they’d like.
That used to be the unofficial tag line for every job: it’s work, you’re not supposed to like it! Expectations are different now. Workers are expecting fulfillment and self-actualization from their jobs.
And they’re willing to go elsewhere if their employer can’t provide.
This is a huge reason so many people are launching and operating home-based businesses. The National Small Business Association puts that number at around 30 million Americans, by the way.
Side hustles are disrupting the job market and we’re watching it in real time.
Choosing the Right Part-Time Work To Boost Your Income
Whether you’re looking for a few extra hundreds at the end of the work week or a career that offers self-fulfillment, side hustles are a road map to both destinations, but it’s all about picking the right one.
There are plenty of lists online that can give you every side gig in every seedy back alley of the internet. Just type ‘side jobs near me’ into Google’s search bar and there will be a bunch of side jobs, and work-from-home click-bait waiting for you.
Everything from side job apps to surveys offering to pay you in gift cards will surely pop up. Ignore it. We’re not going to focus on those gigs in this post. You won’t find any long surveys or odd jobs that will have you working hours for pennies.
We’re going to aim our sights on the 3 most profitable online industries and the most in-demand jobs you can grab within them.
Top 3 Most In-Demand Online Industries:
- Freelance Writing
- Social Media Marketing
- Freelance Writing:
As a freelance writer, you’re not an employee so you’re not beholden to an office. You can work wherever you choose with your own tools and devices and set your own hours. And there is a slew of writing types you can do from long-form to short-form.
Types of Freelance Writing
As a freelancer, you can specialize in all sorts of writing. A short list includes:
- Company Communications
- Video Scripts/Sales Letters
- Research Reports
- Case Studies
- Press Releases
- White Papers
- Business Plans
- Media Kits
- Web Pages
- Blog Posts
- Direct Mail Sales Letters
Freelance writing is one of the most accessible industries of all. Most people can do it proficiently with a fair amount of practice. You don’t need to be a literary master, in fact, it’s better if you’re not.
Most people don’t read literary masters. Those guys have a very niche audience. Freelance writers, on the other hand, have to master writing for a mass audience. Let’s take a look at a few of the different roles in this industry.
Let’s start with the most stable work you’ll find as a freelancer.
Blog post writing is usually recurring. You can bet that if someone needs one blog post, they’ll need more weekly, and sometimes even daily. This beats the kind of one-off projects you’d have to hunt down as a copywriter.
While it’s long-form writing, blog posts are generally short (1000-1500 words). Yet long enough to allow you, as the writer, to inject some personality into your work. You’ll find a lot more room for creativity in a blog post than in a 7-word tagline.
Blogs are accessible, too. Not just for the reader, but for aspiring writers as well. Instead of having to study for years to become a brilliant writer, you can practice for a few months and begin writing pieces that win your clients clicks.
The bottom line here is simple. If you know where to put the period in a sentence, you can write blog posts, too. But there are a few things you need to know before you run off looking for clients to serve.
There’s a skill set you have to develop to make this hustle work. You’ll need to learn skills like:
- How to Market Yourself
- How to Manage Your Own Blog/Website
- New Skills to Raise Your Profits
That last one may need some explaining. Freelance writers are never paid to write. They’re paid to solve problems. Therefore, to make the big bucks, you’ve got to be more of an asset to your clients.
That could mean a plethora of things, including:
- Offering Editing Services
- Becoming Your Client’s Go-to Content Strategist
- Offering Email Marketing Services
No matter what, aggressively collecting other valuable skills that compliment your writing services will always make you more money.
The tough thing about writing online is creating content that appeals to both humans and robots.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO writing means writing copy that not only grabs your reader’s attention but also engages search engines.
To do this efficiently, SEO Writers employ targeted words and phrases to get search engines to rank them more favorably. Higher rankings usually mean more targeted traffic, which keeps business going strong.
There are other factors that affect search engine rankings, but content plays a huge role and has a fine line to walk. The search engine will point people to the site, but once they get there the content has to help them, not the robots that directed them there.
As an SEO writer, there are a few basic skills you need to learn. You should be able to write clean copy, for one. You also need to gain some solid keyword research skills. Lastly, learn as much as you can about technical SEO.
You don’t need to be an expert, but the more you know, the better your paycheck will look. There are tons of blog posts online that can teach you technical SEO, but there are a few resources that are really great for beginners:
- Neil Patel is one of the best-known influencers in the digital marketing space. His guides are great for beginners and pros alike. Check out his SEO article.
- Digitalmarketer.com is one of the best resources on the internet for digital marketing courses. Check out their Search Marketing Mastery course.
Is it art?
Is it science?
It’s a little bit of both, really. It’s the artistic science of crafting copy that makes the reader take the desired action. That action could be anything from subscribing to a list, signing up for a trial, or even buying a product.
Whatever the action, if it benefits the business and drives results, it’s because of effective copy. Typically, copywriters create copy for promotions, ads and engagement.
If you’re going to be a copywriter, the guy or gal that can get someone’s wallet open with a sentence, you’ll need to understand people. Copywriters are incredibly adept at knowing the psychology of their audience.
- What They Like
- What Words will Appeal to Them
- What Concepts and Opinions They Agree With
With a lot of practice, a freelance writer can become an in-demand copywriter if they concentrate on developing creativity and sharpening their writing skills to surgical precision.
If you want to be a copywriter, you have to invest in your education. Read the copywriting classics. The last guy to read this entire comprehensive list of books went from earning zero dollars to raking in 6 figures in two years.
One of the internet’s most venerable authorities on copywriting, Copyblogger.com also offers affordable courses on copywriting and content creation.
- Social Media Marketing:
There are many side hustles, jobs, and business opportunities in this particular online industry, a few of them being very lucrative. One way or another, you’re working to develop and execute a company’s social media strategy on a contract basis.
Responsibilities vary from position to position, but in some capacity, you’d be building a social media presence, creating or managing content and making decisions based on analytical data.
That all may sound pretty dry, but this is easily the most glamorous of all the industries on this list, and the one most people are drawn to.
Still, if you take it seriously and master the strategies that get results for your clients, it’s very easy to make a great income here.
LET’S GET STARTED
Find out more about how ShiftPixy can help you rock work-life balance.
This one is a bit more complicated.
A content strategist is a marketer with an array of skills in the content marketing field. These skills include:
- Developing Audience Personas
- Content Creation
- Content Promotion
- Social Media Management
Content strategists use these skills and more to build, grow and execute a brand’s content strategy. They’re a huge asset to companies because they help brands gain attention without paid ads and other forms of interruption marketing.
The main goal of any content strategist is to drive targeted traffic through a sales funnel. Like any marketer, content strategists have to increase profitability with their services.
To pull all this off, there a lot of skill sets you need to learn and master.
Before you go into business as a content strategist, you may need to learn these basic skills:
- Know the Fundamentals: A content strategist must be able to set content goals and understand how to create ROI with content.
- Understand the Audience: Content strategists have to know how to create precise audience personas to make content more effective.
- Sales Funnels: content Strategists are great at knowing what content to deploy at particular points in the sales funnel to turn prospective customers into buyers.
- Keyword Research and SEO: Content strategists understand the effects of long-tail keywords and how they benefit the overall content strategy.
- Content Promotion: Knowing how to promote great content is just as important as knowing how to make content great in the first place.
- Editorial Calendar: Content strategists also have to be effective managers and understanding how to create and follow an editorial calendar guarantees a well-structured content marketing campaign.
- Tracking and Analytics: All content strategists have to work with data. They have to understand which metrics matter most and how to best track them.
- Budgeting: This should be self-explanatory. For the sake of the business, campaigns need to stay on budget.
This wouldn’t be considered one of those side jobs for fast cash, but it’s worth all the learning. Businesses are realizing that hiring freelance content strategists often means a higher return on investment, which means freelance content strategists are in higher demand than ever before.
Social Media Assistant
Want something a little lighter than content strategy? Being a social media assistant is a great way to get your feet wet using the same skills, only this time there isn’t quite as much responsibility and pressure.
A social media assistant manages a company’s social media channels including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and any other platforms that are beneficial for that brand or company.
Assistants work closely with content creators and social media managers on community management, upcoming projects and large company events. They may also have a hand in the ideation, development and execution of social media campaigns.
Most people can do this side hustle without much studying beforehand. You should, however, know the basics of digital marketing and how to apply those fundamentals to different social media platforms.
Honestly, you can pick those fundamentals up on Youtube. This video teaches you the basics of social media marketing and explains step by step how you can get started in the field today.
If it’s extra income you’re after, this is a great way to get it relatively quickly. According to Payscale, a social media assistant earns an average salary of $31,049 per year. If you want side work that pays like a full-time job, this is one of the side jobs you should be looking into.
Social Media Manager
There isn’t a brand online that doesn’t need a social media manager in some capacity. Everyone from bloggers to E-commerce retailers needs to increase social engagement and execute campaigns that drive brand awareness and sales.
In short, they need managers.
This side hustle almost seems gift-wrapped for freelancers, all that’s missing is a bright red bow on your first stack of hundreds.
There are 3 reasons that make social media management one of the best side jobs on this list:
- You can do it completely from home if you choose.
- Low cost to get started.
- There are no formal degrees necessary. What matters is can you get results? Then, can you do it again?
To be fair, social media has become a bit muddy lately. It’s used to facilitate so many different services, it’s hard to keep a clear vision of its blurred lines and disappearing limitations.
A few of those services include:
- Social Media Strategy
- Community Growth/Management
- Customer Service
- Content Marketing
That means freelance social media managers can offer a multitude of tasks to prospective clients, like:
- Paid Advertising
- SEO (It’s everywhere)
- Traffic Reporting and Analytics
- Responding to Customer Service Issues
- Viral Content Sharing
- Scheduling Updates
- Setting Up Profiles
- Creating Social Media Graphics
Don’t get overwhelmed, you don’t need to offer everything on this list. As long as you can cover the basics and get dependable results, you’ll find consistent work.
Here’s the good news: E-commerce is expected to be a $4 trillion industry by 2020, according to e-marketer.
The bad news? We’ll get to that in a minute.
The best thing about this $4 trillion industry is that it costs you remarkably little to buy in. Retail stores can pay through the nose to maintain one location. Not to mention the upfront costs like store design, inventory, sales equipment, and payroll.
How much of this do you need as an E-commerce seller?
Well, dropshipping eliminates the need to buy inventory in bulk. Platforms like Shopify eliminate the need for a storefront and expensive POS equipment, which also eliminates the need for hire staff.
And those aren’t all the advantages either. There are a few more you won’t find in other industries:
- 24/7 Potential Income: With the store being online anyone can buy a product anytime. Because this is largely a product-based industry, it’s possible to make money 24/7. As a writer or social media professional, you can’t work 24/7.
- International Sales: Sure, you could write for clients in other countries, you could even handle a company’s social media account in another country, but how common is that? This is definitely an attribute that E-commerce can deliver easily.
- Easier to Sell an Impulse Buy: E-commerce is full of these. The other industries not so much.
- Process High Quantities: An E-commerce business makes it easier to process high quantities of orders and fulfill them systematically. That’s something you can’t do in a service-based business like freelance writing or social media management.
- Scales Quickly: An E-commerce business can scale extremely fast when it’s working properly. Your income can balloon much quicker than with a service-based business.
Before you get too excited, let’s talk about some disadvantages to E-commerce:
- Customers Can’t Try Before Buying: This particular industry is wrought with returns and refund requests, which can make for some annoying admin work.
- Highly Competitive: If you’re going to be successful, finding the right niche is incredibly important. It can also feel next to impossible.
- Customers Can Be Impatient: Shipping can take too long for a world that runs on instant gratification. Either way you look at it, this is a downside.
Those are a few high-level advantages and disadvantages to help you decide if the industry may be right for you. Still interested? Cool, let’s get into the nitty-gritty details of selling on Shopify, shall we?
Shopify gives every single entrepreneur a cloud-based option to sell products anywhere online. They can sell on social media, on mobile or any other online marketplace.
It also gives you the flexibility to run your business from anywhere and everywhere with wifi. It eliminates the need for hosting fees, software upgrades or web server maintenance to give you a much easier experience and let you focus on sales.
With Shopify, you can easily create and customize an online store in minutes. You can start, grow and optimize your business all in one day from one device.
So what’s the catch?
With such a low barrier to entry, you’re going to clash with a lot of other businesses in that crowded space. A few skills you’ll need to succeed on Shopify include:
- Knowing How to Pick Profitable Product Niches
- Customer Service
- Social Media Marketing
Starting doesn’t cost much. Shopify is free for the first 14 days, after which you’ll need to choose one of their pricing options. They range from $29-$299 per month.
It’s a bit of a jump, but if your store is making money you’ll need to upgrade for the extra services. Speaking of making money, the most frequently asked question everyone wants to be answered is just how long does it take to make money on Shopify?
That’s not a simple answer, but we’ll do our best.
It comes down to how you market and advertise your store. If you focus on SEO, it’ll be months before your store ranks and delivers targeted traffic. However, that traffic will cost significantly less than the next option.
If you choose to focus your energy on paid ads, you could see sales on the first day, but there’s no guarantee you’ll make a profit on the first day. You may have to take that up with your marketing budget.
Social media, on the other hand, is the best of both worlds. Depending on how good your product is, you can see growth quickly if the audience responds well to it. If not, it could take a few months.
It all depends on your reach and how the audience responds to the products you’re selling.
What If You Want Something More Exciting?
Didn’t find anything on the list that made your heart flutter?
Don’t you worry, we can remedy that.
You may want to take a more creative approach in your pursuit of a side hustle. Maybe you have your own dream or passion you want to turn into profit.
If that’s the case, there is one great resource that can help you go from idea to income in 27 days. A book aptly titled Side Hustle by Chris Guillebeau, an authority on building low-cost startups.
Go Forth and Hustle
There it is, folks.
Your guide to the best side jobs that anyone can start tomorrow. Or better yet, today. Right now. We made sure to only include side hustles you can start with next to no money and pretty much no specialized knowledge.
Now that you know how to make extra money on the side, what are you waiting for?
All you need is a willingness to learn the desire to make it happen. The sooner you begin, the sooner your life can change for the better. Or at the very least your bank account will.
LET’S GET STARTED
Find out more about how ShiftPixy can help you rock work-life balance.