As each new year kicks off to a roaring start, you might be sitting at work, wondering how you're going to get through another year of the same ole, same ole… you're wondering how you got to where you are, how you let yourself be talked into being the person responsible for “staff morale”, and how the heck you're gonna get out of dodge…

Was that just me? Oops, sorry about that… I ended up talking about how I found myself feeling at the beginning of 2012, tired, dejected and downright disappointed that life hadn't turned out how I'd hoped it would so far.5 Side hustle business ideas to start within 30 days.

Luckily for me, I'd already started on a path that would later break the chains of this particular job and throw me into a life I'd been dreaming about for some 5+ years.

So now it's your turn…

If you're sitting at your desk reading this, wondering how you'll get through another year of office politics and crappy pay, then it's time to make a change, time for you to take back control of your life and do something different.

Before I jump into the cool stuff, it might help if we look at some stats, particularly if you're the sort of person who needs to have ALL the data in front of them before making that decision, which is totally cool of course.

In a recent survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it was discovered that over 15.5 million Americans were self-employed in May 2015 and that by the year 2020, that is going to increase by 40%, or 60 million people! 60 million people, just in America, will be working for themselves, doing their own thing.

If you'd like to delve in deeper, check out the full article on FastCompany that discusses why Freelancing is on the rise

“So what”, you're thinking… “I don't care what happens in America!” And that's a fair enough statement if you don't reside there, so for those of us that are outside of the land of the free, here are some numbers for you to digest:

  • In 2013, 29% of the global workforce was self-employed, or 3 in 10 people were self-employed
  • Based on data from, you can see in the map below that there is a good portion of people around the world are self-employed, particularly in Western countries, but there is also a rise in self-employment in developing countries too.
  • Today, it is a lot easier to get started as a self-employed person, thanks in large part to the Internet. As my motto has always been, “have a laptop, will travel”, you can quickly understand just how empowering being able to access the internet really is.

I hope that's enough data to show you that choosing to step into self-employment is a great way forward and that for your own personal development and happiness, it's time to take back the reins of your life and step out and do what you love…

And here's how you could do it!

5 Side Hustle Businesses You Can Start TODAY!

Starting a side hustle business is one of the best ways to kick off your newfangled approach to life and take back control of your career…

It offers the least amount of risk because you're still working your ‘normal' job and building a business that you could potentially move into full-time further down the track, although that doesn't have to be the case either.

Having a side hustle is simply a way for you to achieve what you want in life — whatever that may be and however that might look, it's all up to you.

To help get you started, below are five different side hustle ideas that you can start today. Remember, just because you start one side hustle doesn't mean that you have to keep it forever nor does it mean that you can't start other side hustles — that's the beauty of doing what you love and doing what you want — you get to decide how it all looks!

#1: Mystery Shopper

A mystery shopper is someone who is paid by a company to go and shop in a particular store and report back on the service of the employees that you encounter.

You might be asked to assess merchandise, quality of the products you find, cleanliness of the store, and how you're treated by the employees.

You'll be required to purchase something while shopping and you're typically reimbursed for this purchase plus paid for your time.

Assignments range in price from $20-$100 each and if you're doing this in your spare time, you could easily do 5 assignments each week and earn approx. $300 for doing something you're already going to do!

I personally love this idea and have done mystery shopping in the past. To get started, you'll need to sign up to a mystery shopping provider in your country and follow their requirements.

Simply Google “mystery shopping” or “mystery shopper” to find local companies in your area.

#2: Sell Your Crafts5 Ideas to start a side hustle business

Do you have a craft hobby that you spend a lot of time doing? Perhaps you design beautiful clutches for your friends or make baby outfits. Maybe you design your own hair accessories or jewelry. Whatever craft it is you're passionate about, you can make some money from selling it online.

Etsy is the #1 place to go to get started. You can get yourself set up for free and connect with people worldwide.

Keep in mind that this side hustle is a little more labor intensive, but if it's something you love doing, why not make a little moola for your time?

To get started, take a look around on Etsy for some inspiration and to see what others are doing. Make sure you read up on the Etsy guidelines so that you don't have your shop inadvertently closed because you broke a rule you didn't know about!

It's important that you brand yourself and your store — particularly if you think this might turn into a full-time side hustle. People connect with brands and if they see your stuff coming up more and more and it easily connects with your brand, it makes it easier for them to know, like, and trust you leading to sales.

Before you get your shop set up, it's important that you decide on what stock you're going to provide. While you only need 1 item to get started, successful Etsy store owners tend to start with 12-28 items, so think about this BEFORE you get your store live.

For a more in-depth look at how to get started, check out the details in this great Etsy store setup article.

#3: Ghostwriter

Just so we're clear—ghostwriting is NOT writing ghost stories! A ghostwriter is someone who writes words as if you were the person who is asking you to do the ghostwriting.

There are many infamous instances of ghostwriting in play…

  • 12 of the Bond novels were written by Raymond Benson, a ghostwriter. He also wrote Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell
  • The Sweet Valley High books were written by a number of different ghostwriters
  • The Hardy Boys series was written by a number of ghostwriters
  • Nancy Drew was also written by a number of ghostwriters

Being a ghostwriter can take many forms, from ghostwriting books to ghostwriting blog posts for company blogs. Being a ghostwriter can be very lucrative and if you're ok with not having your name associated with any of the work you produce, then this is definitely a great route to take.

If you want to make the most of ghostwriting, you'll make the most money in ghostwriting books, particularly fiction. If you can whip up 30,000 word stories in a week, then you will easily make $1000+ per month as a ghostwriter.

You could also flip the coin and be a self-publishing author like moi! Either way, writing books and freelance writing in general, is one of the easiest ways to get started as a side hustler.

#4: Blogging

Similar to freelance writing, being a blogger is a great way to kick off a side hustle, particularly if you love to write, have a strong opinion on something you're passionate about, and start NOW!

There are lots of different ways to make money as a blogger, but the two main ways are by creating your own products and selling others' products for a commission, referred to as affiliate marketing.

I've been blogging for over 4 years now, but haven't taken the opportunity to fully monetize my blog, in 2016 that is changing and I'll be promoting products that I personally use because affiliate income is a great way to add to your income streams.

The best thing about affiliate income is that it doesn't cost your readers anything more to buy through your affiliate link, so it's a win:win as far as I'm concerned.

To get started with blogging, you'll need a website, a hosting account (because you can't make a good income from blogging without a self-hosted blog), and a domain name.

I'd recommend you go with WordPress for your website. You have a ton of customisations available to you and more often than not, you can get away with a free theme.

For hosting, I like SiteGround and you can find domain names kicking around on Godaddy.

Another great thing about blogging is that you can get paid to write for other blogs as well. There is a huge list of 79 paid opportunities here plus if you jump on Pinterest, there are even more opportunities just waiting for you to grab them.

Blogging is definitely top of my list when it comes to starting a side hustle business.

#5: At-Home Travel Agent

If you have experience in the travel industry or are prepared to do a little bit of training, then working from home as a travel agent could be your next side hustle idea!

Being a travel agent means you get to help others arrange their holidays and if you're a mad organiser like me, then this is something that will come very easily to you.

You'll need to join a travel agency group in order to get access to the airline databases and of course, they'll be the ones that pay you. Typically, travel agents get paid on commission and you wouldn't charge your customers at all for the service you provide.

One of the perks of being a travel agent is the massive discounts you'll receive — this alone would make up for the initial low commissions you might receive.

Some companies to check out include World Travel Holdings and Carnival, as these guys will pay for your training!

If you'd rather stay an independent agent, then you'll need to pay for your own training and you'll likely need to pay fees upfront to your host agency, but it's doable if you're serious about making this your full-time hustle.

Some host agencies to check out include Outside Agents and Travel Planners International.

I hope this list lights a fire in you. There are so many more options open to you when it comes to starting a side hustle. All you have to do is think outside the square, figure out what skills you have, and then hit the ground running!

Join the Digital Business Lab and start your side hustle today.

Lise Cartwright
Lise Cartwright

Founder of Hustle & Groove and your creative business strategist. If you want to get notified of new posts just like the ones you see here, then make sure you join the awesome H & G community — Join Now!

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