Business owner and self declared side hustler Jason Mills takes a look at 21 of the best side hustle ideas that can be started in the UK today. There is something for everyone here so find your perfect side gig below…
With the rising costs of living and a growing trend of building income and wealth outside of traditional employment, I take a look at 21 side hustles that you can pursue alongside your job and that you can start relatively quickly and easily.
As someone who has turned a side hustle in to a full time business that generates 6 figures profit per year, I think I’m pretty well placed to share these ideas. Some of these I’ve personally tested, others I haven’t but have heard good things about – and some will be a good fit for you, whilst others won’t. The key is to find the perfect side hustle that aligns with your skillset, values and fits around your existing commitments.
If you are looking for a side hustle idea then browse through these, choose one that you think aligns best with your personality, your skills, your goals and then commit to it.
No matter which side hustle idea you choose (and whether it’s on this list or not) there is one golden rule I’d give you for increasing your chances of success – and that is to stay consistent with your effort and pursuit of it. I share a few other tips on how to be successful with your side hustle towards the end of this article so be sure to check that out too…
What Makes A Good Side Hustle?
What is a good side hustle for you, may not be a good side hustle for the next person – and vice versa. A lot will depend on how much time, effort and resources you are prepared to put in, as well as how that particular side hustle aligns with your values, personality, skillset and previous experience.
Some will just require hard work and will exchange your time for money.
Others may involve delayed gratification – with more upfront work, but no immediate reward – often these can be much more lucrative and sometimes even passive in the longer term.
There will be a side hustle for you, and so long as you have access to either a smartphone or a laptop and have an internet connection, then you will have an almost limitless number of options to consider.
The key to finding a side hustle that works for you is to know what you want out of it, how much you are prepared to put in and then to choose wisely.
My Top 21 Side Hustles
Let’s take a look at what I consider to be some of the best side hustles to make money both online and offline…
I had to include blogging at the top of the list as it’s the side hustle that I have personally turned in to a full time business.
There are many ways to go about it, and whether you want to call it blogging, niche sites, affiliate marketing, display ads etc. – it doesn’t really matter – in essence it’s all about creating a website with the intention of gaining an audience.
You then find a way to monetise the audience, whether that be through placing display advertisements on the site, selling sponsorship, adding affiliate links from affiliate programs to products or services your audience might like to buy, selling memberships or subscriptions, selling merchandise and more.
This is one of my favourite side hustles because it allows you to write about something you are passionate about – there’s not much sense in writing about something you don’t enjoy – and it can generate a very good side income.
This works well for anyone who can write to an acceptable level and allows you to work at your own pace. It can be a slow burner to start with, but once you have a loyal following or a steady traffic source (social media and organic search work great for this) then you really can make life changing sums of money through blogging.
I run a whole YouTube channel dedicated to blogging which you can check out here.
As you saw from my cheeky plug above for my own YouTube channel, YouTube is another great side project with huge earning potential.
You are likely familiar with YouTube, but you may not be familiar with how you can make big sums of money from the platform.
Essentially, it’s very much the same as blogging, but with video as the main type of media, as opposed to written word.
Anyone who finds it easier to communicate through visuals or spoken word will prefer YouTube over blogging – but you can even combine the two and create a YouTube channel to support your blog and vice versa.
Popular monetisation methods for YouTube include earning a share of the ad revenue (you get this once you’ve hit the metrics of 4000 watch hours per year and over 1000 subscribers), selling memberships, offering consultations in your area of expertise that your audience might like, selling sponsored video slots, building an email list and more.
It took my YouTube channel around 9 months to reach the monetisation stage and become accepted on the YouTube partner program – and so long as you are consistent with your content this is more than achievable. Sites that generate hundreds of thousands or millions of views per month can make enough to replace a full time income just through ad revenue alone!
Again, choose a niche that you find interesting and focus on that.
Like the idea of writing a blog but need cash now, not in 12-24 months? Why not consider freelance writing.
Even in a world full of AI writing tools, there is still huge demand for human writers and by going freelance you can earn money straight away. This is essentially the same as exchanging your time for money and so it’s not massively scalable, but it will bring in money for you quickly.
In the period just before I gave up full time employment I started taking on freelance writing gigs, and I carried this on afterwards to help me stay afloat financially.
If you like writing it’s an easy side hustle to start. Use platforms such as UpWork to create a profile and apply for jobs as you see them. You can typically expect to earn between £0.05 to £0.08 per word if you are a native English speaker with a good grasp of written English language, and specialist writers can command much more – up to as much as £0.10-£0.20 per word.
So if you have a specialism such as health, beauty, finance, make-up, cars etc. then show this on your profile and look for specialist writing gigs – not only will you enjoy the writing assignments more, but you’ll get paid more too!
Social Media Management
We continue the online theme with social media management. There are literally hundreds of thousands of small businesses in the UK that know the power that social media can bring to their business, but simply don’t have the time or skills to implement an effective social media strategy.
Are you a whiz on Facebook? Do you know your Instagram reels from your YouTube shorts? Is TikTok second nature to you?
If so, why not offer your services to small businesses who could use your help? You probably already know at least one person who runs a business and could improve their social media.
Once you work with one, if you do a good job, you’ll get referrals. The good thing with this side gig is that you can sign them up on a retainer – often in the region of £100-£250 per month, depending on how many posts they want and the type of posts – anything with original video can be much, much more!
With some social media platforms, you can also schedule posts so you can fit the work in easily around your day job. Get this side hustle right and it could develop in to a full time social media marketing agency – should you want that of course.
Trading stocks and shares can be a side hustle worth pursuing if you have the right mentality and the knowledge. If you don’t, then I’d suggest you leave it well alone.
If you do decide to trade then only ever use a pot of money that you can afford to lose – so start small. And look for small, incremental gains rather than big booms – as the big boom stocks and shares are also the ones that can crash overnight and wipe out your portfolio.
If you know nothing about trading, then there are many safer options on this list.
Arts & Crafts
Selling goods is a great way to make a side income. If you can sell arts and crafts that you enjoy making and are skilled at, then this is a great side hustle that you can take as far as you like.
If you like talking to people about your arts and crafts then attend fairs and community events where people sell their arts and crafts. Prefer to work in isolation, then platforms such as Etsy and Ebay are ideal places to sell.
If you go for the first option then why not leverage your time and make your arts and crafts whilst being sat at your stall – people get to see the goods being made in front of them and you make the most of your time.
This side hustle does require a fair amount of time to be put in and will only make money for you as long as you continue to create. But if it’s a hobby or passion then it won’t feel quite so much like work and this is one side hustle that could become a full time gig if successful.
In the pandemic we saw a lot of highly qualified people from professional careers turning to delivery driving jobs to earn some extra money while they were furloughed or unable to earn from their regular jobs.
That’s because, so long as you have a driving licence and access to a vehicle, you can quickly and relatively easily set yourself up as a delivery driver.
Want to stay local? Then the likes of UberEats, Deliveroo, JustEat are all good options.
Want to see a bit more of the UK? Then Amazon, DPD and other nationwide couriers become an option – although these will likely want more of a time commitment so may not work so well as a true side project. Amazon Flex allows you to choose your own block of time and so does work well as a side gig.
Another side hustle I used to run was offering graphic design services. With free software such as Canva now rivalling the likes of Photoshop – at least in terms of the basics and ease of use – you could be creating billboards, digital artwork, website mockups, flyers, posters and the such like to small and medium sized businesses as a side project.
Again, use platforms such as Fiverr, 99Designs and UpWork to create a profile, showcase your work and apply for work.
Typically, companies using these platforms will want fairly quick turnaround times, but you will be able to work these around your main job and so offering design services really is a great side hustle idea.
The amount you can earn will vary wildly, but expect to earn less to begin with and as your reputation and quality of work grows you can command much higher figures for the same amount of work.
Are you the sort of person who loves animals? Why not take that love of animals and turn it in a side job?
People pay good money to put their pets in kennels or catteries when they go on holiday. Dog owners also often need help with walking their furry companions and this is where you come in.
Offer to house sit, or pop in for a few hours each day to keep their pets company, feed them and look after them. Set up a daily dog walking service – you could even start it during your lunch break – especially if you work from home.
This won’t be a huge earner to begin with but will be enjoyable (so long as you do actually love animals).
One of the most enjoyable side gigs I ever had was mystery shopping. I’ve done this for retail and hospitality – and let me tell you, there is nothing better than getting free food and drinks – and being paid for the privilege.
MarketForce was the company I worked with, and once registered you can simply pick and choose your mystery shopping projects. Some are better than others, but lots of chains use them and some can be done over the phone meaning you don’t even need to leave your house.
More advanced and more highly paid mystery shopping gigs will require you to wear a camera and microphone, write up full reports and maybe even attend training – but these will ensure you are compensated in line with the amount of time you put in.
Regardless of which you choose, you can usually opt to do the mystery shop at a time convenient for you within a certain window of time. It’s genuinely one of the most interesting side gigs I’ve ever done.
As much as I loved mystery shopping, product testing is perhaps even better. I once got paid £20 (which would be more like £50 now in line with inflation) to drink 4 pints of lager and then answer 8 questions after each one.
It was a test to see how branding effected your perception of taste, as we found out afterwards that each lager was the same, but it was essentially like spending the night in the pub – and what’s more, they put on a hot buffet and paid for my taxi home!
Not all product testing will be like this. Some you can do at home, and you may get to keep the product, others you might need to use it for a longer period of time.
Clicks Research is one of the more famous product testing companies – but there are plenty out there and some will be advertised locally (like the one I did above).
The downside to product testing is that it might not be a regular source of income and you might not always enjoy the product you are testing.
Ever seen Gary Vaynerchuk on social media walking in to a garage sale (like a car boot sale here in the UK) and buzzing because he’s just bought a rare baseball cap for $1 and values it at around $50?
Whether you have or haven’t – this is known as flipping – and it essentially means you buy something for a lower price than what you know you can sell it for.
This can even work when supermarkets have deals on certain products but can then be sold online at double the price.
I’ve flipped websites in the past. Domain names can even be registered at a standard price of £6 or £7 and then sold for 5, 6 or 7 figures – although these opportunities are much harder to come by these days.
If you have knowledge around something collectible or that holds value then you can make good money by flipping. Something like Pokemon cards for example, or pottery.
If you can spot the diamond in the rough, polish it up and then sell it for 2x or more then you can make a lot of money flipping as a side hustle.
You’ve likely heard people telling you they get paid to fill out surveys online – well it’s true – you can indeed get paid to fill out online surveys.
Websites such as Swagbucks pay as much as £25 per survey – and although the higher paid surveys will take longer to complete, you can do them from anywhere so long as you have an internet connection and a laptop or phone.
Some are even completed over the phone so you don’t even need the internet.
Again, this is a simple side hustle that anyone can do and is a straight swap for your time and personal opinions for cash. Simple.
This is a little more specialist and will of course appeal to anyone who has a passion for, or a skill related to photography or video. From taking product photographs to filming weddings or from photoshopping modeling shoots to editing YouTube videos – within the realm of photography and videography there are plenty of ways to make money as a side hustle.
Don’t have the skills yet but have a real interest in it? No problem – learn.
You can even learn some of it on the job, but be upfront and tell the person hiring you that you are new to it and make sure your rate reflects that. Probably best not to do this for a wedding though!
Once established, you can command daily rates of upwards of £1000 and often these can be slotted in to weekends or evenings. If it’s editing, then you can fit this around your existing job easily enough.
Similar to the delivery driving but a touch more sociable. It’s not that hard to set up as an Uber driver (there are other options too) and so long as you have your own car, this can be a quick way to earn extra cash.
If you have a premium car you can command more money or you could even offer to be a part time driver for one specific person – this way you will be able to command much higher fees and a lot of your time will be sat around waiting for them – why not crack out a good book and get paid to chill.
Selling Goods Online
Similar to flipping and arts and crafts, but rather than selling goods you have bought second hand or have made yourself, why not consider selling goods you buy wholesale to sell online.
This is the whole premise of retail. Retailers buy goods at wholesale prices (cheaper) and sell them at retail prices (higher) to make a profit.
Sites such as AliExpress make it possible to buy products from overseas in bulk, often at low prices, which you can then sell online over here in the UK or to other western countries at a much higher price.
You will need to check the legalities and tax implications around this and make sure you comply, and there will be upfront costs – but if you choose the right products and get the right margins you can make good money.
If doing this as a side hustle, you can start small and build up – either selling on your own online store or using platforms such as Ebay or even Amazon (check out FBA – Fulfilled By Amazon).
Do you play an instrument? Have a teaching qualification? Are you good at singing? Why not pass on your knowledge and skills by teaching and tutoring part time.
This works particularly well if you have an existing 9-5 job, as often people will be wanting teachers and tutors at evenings and weekends.
You can offer one-to-one services (usually offered in their homes) or you could set up group tuition and hire an appropriate space to deliver it.
You will likely need to get yourself DBS or CRB checked if you are working with young people or vulnerable people so make sure you look in to this first. But expect to charge/earn anything between £20-£75 per hour depending on your level of expertise.
Love working out? Have knowledge of exercise and nutrition? Why not take up personal training as a part time gig and earn extra money doing what you love – whilst helping others to achieve their own health and fitness goals.
You could even take things online and leverage the power of online training, sell courses, nutrition plans and more – which will allow some of your personal training income to become more passive.
Either way, when on the gym floor, expect to command at least £25 per hour – 4 sessions per week would be an extra £100 minimum in your pocket.
Matched Betting (arbing)
Matched betting is not simply gambling, and as someone who has previously had some pretty bad experiences with gambling I would never suggest it as a money making side gig. Instead, matched betting is where you leverage one bet against another where the odds are not quite aligned – meaning no matter the result, you will make a profit from each matched bet.
This is sometimes known as arbing (arbitrage), and can be applied to many aspects of life – not just betting. It works particularly well if you have access to lots of new sign up bonuses – and although it does take time to manage, you can arb your way to in the region of £1000 pretty quickly.
If you feel you are susceptible to be lured in to gamble outside of the matched betting then I’d advise you to not choose this option.
Another form of arbitrage, but this time leveraging your driveway – something that could be a precious commodity if you have a city centre home or are close to an area that has limited parking.
JustPark and Your Parking Space are both websites where you can advertise your rental space or you could even come to a long term deal with an individual if they need it for work purposes. If you are out at work yourself during the day or you live near a football stadium and the driveway is free then why not make use of the space and earn a nice passive side income.
Household Chores (Gardening/Cleaning)
Everyone hates cleaning their own homes don’t they? Well, maybe not everyone, but most people do. Some also hate gardening or simply don’t have time to do it.
If you are one of those strange individuals that loves cleaning or if you have a skill or passion for gardening then this can be a great side hustle. Even something as simple as mowing peoples lawns can earn a good amount of side income and requires very little upfront capital.
Make some leaflets (remember, Canva is ideal for this), get them printed and pop them through 1000 or so local letterboxes and see what comes back. If you do too good a job, you may find you get a lot of referrals, at which point you can charge a little more or even take your side hustle full time.
Being Successful With Your Side Hustle
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the key to being successful with your side hustle is consistency. I’ve had a lot of side gigs over the last 25 years.
That means I’ve swapped and changed a lot, often not sticking to one side hustle for more than a week or two.
What I’ve since learned is that by sticking to one idea and seeing it through, leads to better success and more money.
You see, as you become more skilled, more proficient, gain a better reputation, grow your audience (whatever applies to your chosen side hustle idea most), you will command more money for it. Or sometimes, the income will just increase as a byproduct if it.
Take online selling for example. If you sell products online, the longer you do it the more you refine your systems – so your costs lower. You are also likely to have more repeat customers, so you make more sales – but each sale is making more money as your profit margin is higher.
All of the above leads to a higher level of income, but doesn’t necessarily involve more work.
Where possible, I would also suggest you choose something you at least have an interest in or enjoy. If you like being outdoors, then dog walking or gardening can be great. If you genuinely like driving, then delivery could be a great fit for you.
Either way, if it’s for the long term or is something that you’d like to one day turn in to a full time job then choose something you will enjoy – as you are much more likely to sustain your efforts.
Whichever you choose – good luck with your hustle.