I’m a big fan of side hustles because I see them as one of the few ways to escape the rat race and reach financial independence, but not all of them are worth your time.
In many cases, you would earn more by taking overtime at your job.
1. Selling Crafts
Selling crafts might seem like a great side hustle, but it’s tough to make decent money. People are used to low prices and often won’t pay enough to cover your time and materials.
Handmade items on sites like Etsy go for really low prices, sometimes as little as $5. It’s hard to compete with that, especially when you think about the hours you put into making something.
A personal example: my sister-in-law used to make and sell handbags. As soon as one of her designs became popular, knock-offs started appearing at much lower prices, often falsely advertised as handmade.
This competition, especially from mass-produced items, makes it really hard to earn a fair wage from selling crafts.
2. Amazon Mechanical Turk
MTurk, might sound like a good deal at first – making money by doing simple tasks online. But let’s get real about what it’s like.
You could be spending hours doing tasks that pay only a few cents each. It’s like being offered pennies for professional-level work, and sometimes, your work might even get rejected.
Just imagine being asked to outline a complex image for just 2 cents, and you’ve got to get every single detail perfect. Or transcribe a super long receipt with dozens of items on it for a mere 3 cents.
IMO you’d be better off doing surveys. You’ll make maybe $50 a month spending your free time on it.
Jumping into YouTube with the goal of making quick cash? Think again. It’s a massive time sink – we’re talking hundreds of hours spent creating content. And let’s be real, it can be downright draining.
The catch with YouTube is you need to build an audience before you even start making money. You need at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of your videos watched.
For many, by the time they hit these targets, the fun’s long gone, replaced by the grind. And what do you get when you finally start earning? Maybe a whopping $0.05 a day.
My take? If you’re going to do YouTube, start it as a hobby and keep it fun. Don’t count on it for serious money unless, and that’s a big unless, it really takes off.
And even then, making more than what you’re putting into it is a pretty big “if.”
Unless you’ve got specialized knowledge that lets you charge big bucks (think $200+ for a 1,000-word article), you’re in a tough spot.
The market is incredibly competitive, and without a unique angle or expertise, it’s hard to stand out.
Nowadays, there are ChatGPT and writers from overseas who can afford to work for much less.
If someone can live on a monthly salary of $200-300, they can afford to write an article a day for $10 and make ends meet, working comfortably from home.
Blogging, especially with the goal of earning through Google ads, is a tough gig. I’ve got a couple of websites myself, including a blog that does bring in some passive income, so I’ve seen firsthand what it’s like.
When I first tried this, I quickly realized that the competition is massive. You’re up against countless others worldwide, many of whom are willing to put in loads of work for relatively little pay.
And let me clear up a common misconception: the idea that you can just set up a site, nail the SEO, and then sit back to collect ad revenue passively is far from the truth.
Keeping your site ranking high in search results and maintaining that traffic takes continuous work. It’s not just a set-it-and-forget-it deal.
6. Owning a Bar
Thinking about opening a bar? Sure, the idea sounds cool and the money can be good, but let’s talk reality. I’ve been there, done that, and let me tell you, it’s not all cheers and high profits.
Running a bar is a whole different ballgame. It’s not just about serving drinks and having a good time.
You’ve got to deal with all sorts of challenges – late nights, managing staff, handling difficult customers, and let’s not forget the constant upkeep and compliance with regulations.
And while the income can look great on paper, the stress and the never-ending to-do list can really take a toll on you.
It’s not as simple as it seems.
Often, you end up working late at night or during times when you’re more likely to have difficult passengers, like people who might be drunk and could even get sick in your car.
It’s often more time-consuming than you’d think. For each one-hour session with a student, you’re actually putting in over two hours of work. This includes finding students, coordinating schedules, and traveling to meet them.
There’s the stress of managing an irregular schedule. If you could line up several sessions one after the other, it might be worth it.
But that’s rarely the case.
The reality is that you’re likely to lose money, especially when you’re starting out.
The main cost? Advertising.
Many people end up spending hundreds on Facebook ads, trying to drive sales to their dropshipping store.
But more often than not, the sales don’t cover the ad costs, leaving you out of pocket.
10. Retail arbitrage
Breaking into this space today is tougher than it used to be, especially if you’re starting from scratch.
The key difficulty? Building relationships with retail stores.
Without these connections, getting profitable items to flip becomes almost impossible.
Starting a Side Hustle
Don’t get me wrong, some of these side hustles like YouTube and blogging are scalable.
If you pull them off right, and invest a lot of effort, time, and some money, you can even create your own location independent business.
But if you need quick cash, then as I already said, take a second shift on your 9-5 or try temp staffing agencies.