Post-university can be a financially difficult time and there may come a point in which you want to boost your main income and pay off some of those pesky student overdrafts or start saving for a house deposit. The Independent has reported that 40% of UK workers have a side hustle alongside their day job, as university debts continue to mount up and employment has become increasingly insecure. Whether it’s selling items, doing odd jobs, or creating something for money, side hustling can be a great way to generate some extra money after you’ve graduated. In order to help you do this, we’ve put together a guide to help you understand what makes a profitable side hustle and what they have in common, followed by a list of our top 20 suggestions of ideas to make money.
What makes a good side hustle?
Naturally each type of side hustle has a different earning potential. Some pay a standard rate by the hour such as babysitting or pet sitting, whereas freelance creative work such as writing or design work can pay much more. The more lucrative side hustles are dependent on putting in effort to meet deadlines and generate a good body of work, which is much more demanding and possibly stressful. For example, freelance designers can charge anywhere from £100 upward for a group of logo designs, whereas pet-sitting could be around £5 an hour. Identifying what you are willing to do for extra work, how much time you have, and understanding your skill sets and talents will help you pick a side hustle that works best for you. Whether you want a low commitment or a highly profitable income, there is something out there to meet your needs and skills.
Consider your schedule
Before embarking on the first highly paid side hustle you can find, stop to consider your schedule. Some roles will allow you to work early mornings, late nights, and weekends, which will allow you to easily fit them into your day job. Others require much more of a commitment and require you to be contactable or around during normal working hours. For example, if you decide to use your talents to make an etsy business selling vintage clothing, be prepared to meet customer expectations and be responsive to messages and requests, meet postage deadlines, and ensure your stock is organised and meet the number of orders. Basically, only take on something you know you can accommodate into your schedule without many issues and prioritise roles that fit with the free time you have available.
Some side hustles require commitment to a regular number of hours, whereas freelance work can allow you more flexibility over your working schedule. If you already have a busy schedule and existing work commitments, the scalability of side gigs is something to think about when choosing the best one for you. For example, working for a company like Uber allows you the luxury of setting your own schedule and the ability to increase or decrease your working hours if necessary. If you need to pay something off rather quickly like a bill or a repair, with Uber you could easily work extra hours and take on more jobs to boost your income. On the contrary, if you main employment became more demanding and required you to work more hours, you could take a break, or just decrease the number of jobs you take and work less than usual to accommodate any changes. It is worth keeping in mind that some side hustles are not so flexible and require you to meet strict deadlines and work rigid hours, all of which can burn you out if you over commit yourself. Make sure you understand what is expected of you and are able to perform consistently before signing up more rigid side-hustles on a long term basis.
The Top 20 Side Hustles
A great way to generate an extra income can be through writing novels. It is the golden age of the self-published writer, where anyone can easily submit written works through programs like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. It is possible to make a serious income from this kind of work, especially if you are a fast writer, have a creative mind, and can edit to a high standard.
Manage social media accounts for small businesses
There are many small businesses that would benefit from a social media manager, that do not have the time or skills to be maintaining a constant stream of posts on the various social media platforms. If you are comfortable using social media in a professional way, contact local businesses and offer up your services for a monthly fee. The businesses don’t even necessarily need to be local, as this role you can easily do from the comfort of your own home.
Do mystery shopping
Students and graduates are always bombarded online with emails and adverts seeking mystery shoppers. A mystery shopper buys from a store or restaurant undercover, and secretly documents the experience they have as a customer. This kind of role can be done online or in a physical store, and there are no shortage of services seeking new applicants. Some will pay with items from the stores themselves, but if you continue searching you will find some services that pay people per hour or per job on a regular basis. This works best if you live in a big city such as Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham or London, but remember you can also do this online, so it is worth contacting services to see if they can offer you some work.
Selling old books
This one perhaps begins more with good fortune and a knowledge of books, but finding or stumbling upon rare or old books can be very financially lucrative if you are smart about it. It is worth keeping an eye on used book stores and online sites dealing with second hand books and being quick to identify a number of titles that could sell for hundreds of pounds. This market is so niche which makes it possible to find someone who is a literary connoisseur to generate a good side income from finding rare titles. Buyers can be wealthy collectors, academics, historians, all of whom keen to get their hands on rare and valuable titles of literature and non-fiction. One Reddit user spoke of their experience which began with finding a volume of an early 1900s book, which although it was too damaged to sell as a whole, they began detaching and presenting the beautiful prints that were inside which were good enough to sell on eBay. All of their dabbling in the book world made them realise that there were some serious collectors in the field willing to spend serious money on rare and hard to find books, which led them to write a script to check second hand websites for them, and email alerts whenever one was available so that the user could snap them up first. (reddit user u/pbspr)
If you have your own property with spare rooms, it might be worth considering renting them out on a short-term basis to holiday goers and business travellers. It is important to note that you must own your property in order to airbnb, and renters will have to check with their landlords whether subletting is allowed under their contracts. Airbnb is an easy, useful way to let out free space in your properties and generate an extra income on the side.
Private tutoring and language tutoring
If you have the skills, basic tutoring and language teaching classes can be a great way to make some extra cash. Classes and tutorials can be done via skype at long distances which makes it a flexible role. Subjects can vary from specific languages, tutoring for GCSE or A Level subjects, and help with Oxbridge entry exams and interview. Parents usually will pay a good price for someone with educational background to tutor their child in evenings. This can be a good way to connect with local families and practicing your teaching skills with varied age groups.
If you love animals and have some spare time, offer your skills as a dog walker and walk other people's dogs. It can be as simple as posting a local advert in a small village, or posting a notice on gumtree in a city. Some people have even managed to make this into a full-time side business, walking several dogs at once on behalf of their busy owners. This is a great way to spend time with animals, get some exercise, help out local people, and generate an income for yourself.
It might be a time old suggestion, but even as an adult babysitting can be an easy way to generate some extra cash when you need it. Offering your services to local parents, or even friends or family, as a babysitter or childminder can generate a good cash flow if you have a good number of clients. Generating good relationships with the families will afford you a reliable, trustworthy reputation within a small community, which will lead to offers and requests flying in. Usually children need care and extra supervision in the evening, so this flexible job would easily work with any regular 9-5.
Give music lessons
If you play any kind of music instrument, piano, guitar, brass, consider advertising yourself as a music tutor for local adults or children. You can easily advertise online through social media, or through your local supermarket notice boards. This job also has some opportunity to progress and develop your tutoring skills. If you can work up to teaching groups two or more you can double your income per hour. Furthermore if you can extend yourself to learn unusual instruments such as a sitar, harp, or organ, you can charge a higher hourly rate for your expertise and knowledge.
Drive for Uber/Uber Eats/Deliveroo/Amazon Flex
If you have a car, spare time, and meet the specific site requirements, becoming an Uber driver can generate some serious income. To drive for Uber within the UK you must be over 21 years of age, a valid UK drivers license, and a required number of years driving in a specific location. Your car must be at least 2008 or newer, but if you don't have one, Uber do offer a car rental and finance scheme. Simply sign up online, acquire a private hire license (Uber will help you do this), and make sure your vehicle meets their standards. With a companies like Uber, Uber Eats, Deliveroo or Amazon you can drive when you like and control your working hours. However, bear in mind that there are some restrictions on working hours as these app will require you take legal breaks from driving to ensure safety. If you know your city well, and enjoy driving, this could a successful side hustle income for you. However, keep in mind that each company does keep a long waiting list of hopeful drivers for most cities, so be prepared to wait a while. Birmingham alone has over 18,000 drivers and the wait to join them can extend to over a year and half. Deliveroo on the other hand can be easy to sign up to as you can request to do local deliveries on your bike or moped scooter. Each company has its own vehicle expectations and restrictions, so it's worth looking into which one works best for you.
Clothing alterations and tailoring
With the rise of small fashion and clothing companies, and the made to measure dress becoming more accessible, there is an increasing desire and demand to have clothes fit perfectly. If you are skilled at operating a sewing machine or creating basic items of clothing, why not offer your services to an instagram-friendly local clothing company who might be able to offer you some regular work. Alternatively, why not advertise yourself as someone who can offer alterations to clothing on an individual basis. You can charge per hour or per item and advertise your services on facebook groups or instagram.
Find and bid various freelancing gigs online
Websites such as peopleperhour.com have a variety of freelancing creative jobs available that can make you some extra money. This specific site hosts UK based jobs in everything from web development, design and content writing, administrative tasks, to jobs for electricians and bookkeepers. For example, there are quick low paid tasks such as converting PDF documents or editing a CV for someone, to sewing and designing comic-con customers or logos for start-up companies. Upon signing up, you can bid on 15 jobs a month for free. In order to land jobs, you must have your proposal accepted by the advertiser before you can begin. There are many other alternatives to this website such as taskrabbit.co.uk and upwork.co.uk that you can explore.
Selling handmade crafts on Etsy/eBay/Not on the High Street
Etsy, eBay and Not on the High Street are homes to all things handmade and vintage, and a good place to make money off your hobbies and talents. If you have an eye for picking vintage clothing up, reselling pieces on Etsy or eBay can bring in a good income. If you have a talent for creating, crafting, or building, selling items you've made on Not on the High Street can be a good way to earn a little extra money and possibly turn into a fully fledged business. Etsy has categories for new and used art, furniture, jewellery, fashion, and other homewares which make it a vast collection of things for sale. If you think you can create something interesting and unique, for little cost, these websites might allow you to have a fun side hustle along side your main employment. Bear in mind that each site takes a cut of your fees, and you need to be prepared to put some effort into listing, posting, and organising your sales on a regular and consistent basis.
Using depop/eBay/vinted to sell old clothes
This suggestion is great for students or any one in their twenties or thirties who hasn't yet sorted through their clothes properly for years. If you have more clothes than is really necessary, take a good look through and pick out things in good condition and list them for sale on one of these websites. Depop, eBay and vinted are all equally good places to list branded clothing or accessories in good condition. It is important to take attractive pictures of well presented items and post promptly after purchasing.
Become a local tour guide
Did you get to know your area well during university, and continue to live there after graduation? Why not offer up your knowledge of the area and advertise yourself as a local tour guide. This kind of role is flexible and will help you to manage your own workflow. If you begin by advertising for free tours, you can ask for a tip at the end, attracting more people to your services. Furthermore, if you find you become successful you could begin charging per person and employ a friend or second person to help expand your side hustle into a profitable side business.
If you enjoy decorating, take pride in completing jobs to high standard, and have an eye for design, offering yourself as a local painter and decorator could be a great way to boost your income. Advertising yourself on social media amongst the local groups, on gumtree, or specific online notice boards for cities or towns can be a great way to bring in some extra work.
Participate in medical studies
One of the most unique ways to make extra money is by signing up to take part in specific medical studies. There is always small risk with opportunities like this, but most University departments will have tested the drug or procedure advertised many times prior to testing on willing participants. For example, Oxford University very regularly advertise drug trials on their own website or on Oxford based website Daily Info. Usually you must be aged between 18-55 to apply, in good health, and based locally. In this example the university offer reimbursement for travel, and earnings can be anywhere from £25 into the hundreds for single clinical vaccine trials. There are other universities who offer similar services asking for participants and can make you aware of all the requirements and risks involved with participating in this kind of role. For more information on Oxford University trials visit the Jenner Institute website for more information on eligibility and risk: http://www.jenner.ac.uk/recruiting-trials
Organising and running local bake sales can be a good way to generate a small extra profit whilst connecting with the community and doing something fun. Many people who love baking will enjoy organising producing a range of cakes to sell for cash. Going door to door, settling up a stall at a local event, or taking orders for parties can all be good ways of generating money from baking.
Cleaning and gardening
Offering cleaning services is a good way to work flexible hours, decide your own schedule, and generate a good amount of money. Becoming a weekly cleaner or gardener for a family, single elderly people, or a busy couple can be a very proficient way to make some extra money. If you take pride and enjoyment from cleaning rooms, organising ironing, and deep cleaning kitchens this would suit you. Also performing gardening tasks like pruning bushes, cutting grass, removing unruly shrubs or trees, and general garden maintenance can earn a good amount of money, especially if you are able to organise regular work.
If you have time on the weekends and are healthy enough to lift heavy boxes and furniture, you could join up to a removals company and get paid to help families and individuals move house. It is very active and somewhat strenuous work, but if you prefer something outdoors that isn’t too mentally taxing, lending a hand lifting heavy items is a great way to help people out and earn some extra money as well. Many removals companies advertise themselves on local or online classified ads such as Gumtree.com.