The Pitch

Starting a side hustle: 15 business ideas to help you earn extra cash

In the last few years, there’s been an increase in individuals setting up their own side hustle business to earn some extra income. In fact, an estimated one in five people in Britain have launched their own side hustle business since March 2020.

By starting a business alongside your main job, you can reap the benefits of increased financial certainty whilst still pursuing your passion project. It’s also a great way to test your business idea, which helps to reduce the risk if you do take it full time.

But what would actually be successful as a side hustle? Generally, a great side hustle or business idea meets one of the following criteria:

  • Is an interest or hobby that can be monetised
  • Utilises existing personal skills 
  • Has a unique or innovative solution to a social problem
  • Accommodates a gap in the market, for instance in your local area

Could your hobby be monetised?

Are you passionate about health and fitness? Love gardening? An avid gamer? The first thing you should consider for a side hustle idea is whether your existing hobby is something you can monetise.

To learn more about monetising your hobby, read our article on turning your hobby into a side hustle.

Don’t have any hobbies that fit the bill? For those of you still looking for some inspiration, we’ve compiled a list of 15 side hustles ideas that can help earn you some extra money.

1. User-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) is original content created by consumers (rather than brands) to share on online platforms, primarily social media. Also known as consumer-generated content, UGC comes in various forms, such as video, images, audio, testimonials and reviews.

Getting an additional incoming by creating UGC content has been consistently on the rise and is now fully integrated in many brands’ marketing strategies. If you spend a lot of your time on social media, then creating your own UGC content may be a natural side hustle for you.

2. Consultancy

If your personal expertise has a market to sell to, then you could launch a consulting side hustle.

To start, create a simple website advertising your different services. You can then use LinkedIn and other social media channels to discuss your area of expertise and redirect them to your site.

3. Podcasting

Whether you have an extensive bank of knowledge to share or you’re naturally charismatic, almost anyone can start their own podcast. All you need to have is a niche topic that you will be able to commit to.

It will take time to learn the ins and outs of podcasting, get set up properly and reach new listeners with your marketing. But once you’ve built up a small community around your podcast, you can monetise it by getting sponsorships and advertisements. 

You can also video-record podcast episodes and share them on YouTube, where you can earn money directly from the platform.

Gaby Mendes, founder of Talk Twenties

4. Photography

Handy with a camera? Photography offers multiple ways to earn additional income.

Depending on your specialism, you can make money by selling personal photoshoots, prints, stock images or branded images.

To go down the professional route with your photography, you’ll need to source a quality camera. If you don’t have one already, then you may be able to purchase a secondhand camera on eBay or rent one temporarily until you save up enough funds to buy your own.

Once you’re set up with the right equipment, create an Instagram or Flickr account showcasing your photography skills. If people like your work, then they will reach out to you for a project. Alternatively, you can also reach out to brands for work if you think it will be the right fit.

5. Create a YouTube channel

The process of starting a YouTube channel is pretty similar to launching a podcast series. However, you don’t even need a fancy microphone or camera – a lot of YouTubers simply use their phone to begin with.

To earn money on YouTube, you need to gather at least a thousand subscribers and at least 4,000 watch hours within a year. You can then start getting an income by creating UGC content, becoming a YouTube partner, selling brand placements and sponsorships, and by simply receiving views on your videos.

6. Cooking or baking

If your friends and family are constantly complimenting your culinary skills, then you should consider starting a cooking or baking side hustle.

To get started, create a website or join a social media platform where you can share your work. There are also online marketplaces where you can sell your home-cooked goods, such as previous Pitch finalists All About the Cooks and Hey! Food is Ready.

Learn how Ryan Panchoo grew his vegan and gluten-free doughnut business from a side hustle to full-time business

7. Sell your handmade arts and crafts online

If you have a natural gift for arts and crafts, and often make handmade gifts for your friends and family, then you should consider selling your goods online to earn some extra income.

Some of the places you can sell your crafts online include Etsy, Crafter’s Market and Folksy. You can also create your own website and sell your goods directly from there.

8. Produce written content

Content writing can work well as a side hustle from home, as you can be really flexible in the amount of time you put in and the hours you work.

Find a topic that you’re knowledgeable and passionate about, and start creating content for your own blog. This will act as a portfolio, which you can use to share with potential agencies or publications in your chosen topic area.

9. Pet sitting

If you’re an animal lover and are comfortable with staying in strangers’ houses, you should consider being a house and pet sitter. As the name suggests, this involves looking after someone’s house and/or pets whilst they’re away.

Websites that you can sign up to be a pet sitter include:

10. Refereeing 

A big fan of sports? Then you could consider becoming a part-time referee to earn some extra pocket money.

Before you start, you’ll need to check what qualifications are needed for your chosen sport, such as the FA Referee Course for football. Not all sports will require a qualification, but having professional training can be a helpful boost to kickstart your new refereeing side hustle.

Once you’ve completed any necessary courses, the next step is to get on the pitch. For some courses, like the FA Referee Course, you’ll need to referee a number of matches before you receive your certificate and badge.

There are also platforms out there to help referees find local games that are suitable for them. The Pitch 2021 People’s Choice Winner YesRef created an online platform to help connect leagues, clubs and businesses to referees, so downloading their app is a must if you want to get into a refereeing side hustle.

YesRef, People’s Choice Winner 2021

11. Resell your unwanted clothing online

Over the past two years, the fashion resale market has tripled, now representing between 3-5% of the apparel, clothing and accessories sector. This trend is expected to continue as well, with a report from ThredUp predicting that the secondhand clothing market will double by 2026.

So now’s the time to get involved and sell your clothes online for a bit of extra cash – online marketplace platforms to sell secondhand clothing include Vinted, Depop and Vestiaire Collective.

If you don’t have a lot of spare clothing to sell, you can always ask friends and family if you would be able to sell theirs, with you taking a percentage commission from what you sell.

12. Start your own online community platform

Are you aware of a social issue that isn’t being addressed? Would people benefit from communicating online with others about this issue? Then you may have found the perfect niche to start an online community.

A great example of this is The Pitch 2022 People’s Choice Winner Talk Twenties, an online community that offers a safe space for twenty-somethings to ask life’s big questions.

13. Tutor local students

LinkedIn predicts that 2023 will be the year for tutors. With several years of disrupted and disjointed learning, parents and schools alike are looking for support to help students bridge the gap and make up for the lost education time during the pandemic.

To become a tutor there are no formal requirements, but if you’re thinking about doing this as a serious side business then you should consider getting a QTS qualification

You will also be expected to have some form of professional education in your teaching topic, such as an undergraduate degree – though this will depend on what level of education you want to teach.

14. Hair and beauty

With the hair and beauty industry bouncing back in 2022, there has never been a better time to start your own side hustle in this area.

Some examples of side hustles in this industry include:

  • Nail technician
  • Hair stylist
  • Tanning technician
  • Make-up artistry (MUA)
  • Body art (tattooing and piercing)
  • Spa therapy
  • Skincare specialist

It’s worth noting that most hair and beauty side hustles will require an upfront cost to secure equipment or a place in a salon, so you will need to have some spare cash to get off the ground. However, once you start gaining loyal customers, this side hustle can be very lucrative.

15. Gardening

People love having a beautiful garden, but there are lots of people out there who are physically unable to take care of it themselves.

Most people will only need a gardener for a couple of hours every week or two, so this is the perfect business to run as a side hustle.

To find your customers, ask friends and family, post on local Facebook groups or share flyers to see if anyone needs any help with their garden.

Ready to start your side hustle?

Before you get into the weeds of starting a new business, there are multiple things you will need to consider, for example: 

A great way to get funding and support is by getting involved in a startup competition, which can provide countless networking opportunities and a business community. 

The Pitch is one of the largest pitching competitions in the UK. Since its inception in 2008, it has developed into a complete programme of support, helping founders raise tens of millions in investment. 
Register here to get all our latest news and advice, and to find out when we next open for applications. Also, keep an eye on our side hustle hub which we keep updated with fresh content strictly for side hustle founders.

Siân Avent

Siân Avent

Siân Avent is the Content and Marketing Assistant at Inkwell, the company behind The Pitch.

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