Best Side Hustles to Start in 2023 to Make Money Online14 minute read
Are you looking for the next side hustle to start in 2023 and make money online?
In today's article, we will share our favorite side hustle ideas to start this year, so stay tuned for our list of the best online side hustles to start in 2023.
Here are our top picks of businesses you can start this year:
- Create an Online Course
- Sell Digital Products
- Content Creation
- Run a Membership Site
- Affiliate Marketing
- Build an E-Commerce Store
Create an Online Course
Our favorite way to generate extra income online is with online courses.
An online course is an educational program delivered over the internet where a creator teaches a skill to their audience to guide them to a specific result.
You don't have to be a professor or even hold any qualifications to start creating online courses. Anyone can be a course creator as long as they are passionate about their chosen topic and you can provide value to their students.
Online courses can include pre-recorded video lectures and may be self-paced or follow a set schedule. They are often designed to be flexible and accessible to students who may not be able to attend traditional in-person classes.
The first thing you need to do to get started is to choose an online course topic. This should be something you are knowledgeable and passionate about. Next, conduct some research to understand if there is a market for your online course idea and if people are interested in learning more about it.
Once you have figured out your topic and done some market research, you can start creating the content for your online course. To do this, you need an online course platform like Heights Platform.
One of the reasons why we believe that online courses are the best online business idea to start today, is because of how simple it is to start an online course business. While there is hard work involved, you don't need to purchase expensive equipment or invest a significant amount of money. All you need is an internet connection, an online course platform and the willingness to put in the work!
If you are interested in creating your online course, check out our blog to learn all about it!
Pros of Selling Online Courses
There are several benefits to creating and selling online courses as a side hustle:
- Scalability: Online courses can be accessed by an unlimited number of students, allowing course creators to reach a global audience from anywhere in the world.
- Flexibility: Online courses are a flexible option for both creators and their students. For the creator, they offer the freedom to work on their schedule and be their own boss. For students, online courses can be accessed at any time and from any place, and students can go through the course content at their own pace.
- Cost-effective: Online courses can be more cost-effective than traditional in-person classes because they don't require physical space or materials. Compared to other side hustle ideas, you don't have to pay for any inventory, rent or expensive equipment.
- Leveraged income: Online courses can continue to generate revenue long after they have been created, allowing course creators to earn a leveraged income stream (otherwise known as passive income). With online courses, you are not trading your time for money as in other types of business models, such as a service business.
- Establish your expertise: Creating an online course can help you to establish yourself as an expert in your field and increase your visibility and credibility.
Cons of Selling Online Courses
As with any business model, selling online courses can be challenging too:
- Needs trial and error: Online course creation is a learning process itself, and it might take time before seeing the first results. Many course creators test and tweak their products over and over again before finding the right content for the right audience.
- You need to build an audience: Creating a great online course is not enough to be successful. You also need to get people to buy it: this can be done by building an audience around your brand, which takes consistent effort over a large period of time.
- Marketing efforts: You are the one responsible for promoting and marketing your online course to the world. To build a successful course, you need to know about digital marketing and how to get new clients. That said, this is true for most side hustle ideas and online businesses today.
Sell Digital Products Online
Another way to earn extra cash online is by selling digital products.
Digital products include any non-physical asset that exists in the digital world. Technically online courses are digital products too; however, in this guide, we refer to digital products as downloadable or streamable files like PDFs, videos, templates, photos, graphics and more.
Digital products include educational materials, audio files (like stock sound effects or music), digital templates, stock photos, fonts, filters, graphics, and many more. Check out this article from our blog to learn about different digital products you can create: 9 Profitable Digital Product Ideas You Can Start Selling Online To Earn Extra Income
If you are a graphic designer, you could design fonts or illustrations and sell them on online marketplaces such as Envato Market. If you are a web developer, you could sell code scripts online.
If you are a musician, you could create stock audio files and music for advertisement videos or movies. If you are a photographer, you can sell your photos on websites like Shutterstock, Getty Images and more.
Creators using Heights Platform can also sell their digital products online under their own store! This way, you can charge what you want for your digital products, you are not relying on a marketplace, and best of all, you get to keep everything you earn!
Pros of Selling Digital Products
- Easy to do: Selling digital products is an easy side hustle idea, especially if you already have the materials ready to sell. All you need to do is create your digital product and upload it on a marketplace (or sell it on your own website with Heights Platform).
- Quick revenue: This type of side hustle can be a way to earn a quick buck on the side, without spending too much time and resources to build a business from the ground up.
- Leveraged income: After creating your digital product, you can sell it over and over again, making it the perfect way to generate a leveraged income stream.
- Get paid for doing what you love: If you are a creative person and you love what you are doing, you can make a side hustle by following your passions.
- Flexibility: You can work on your own schedule and create digital products from anywhere in the world.
Cons of Selling Digital Products
- Lower earning potential: Especially if you are selling digital products through a marketplace, you are bound by their rules and earning structures. Many online marketplaces will take large commissions on your earnings and put a limit on how much you can charge. You can eliminate this con by using Heights Platform to retain full ownership of your digital products and charge as much as you want.
- High competition: This depends on which digital product you are selling. However, generally speaking, the market for digital products is very crowded, and it can be hard to stand out from the competition as downloadable products typically require less effort to create.
- Hard to build a brand: Especially if you are selling digital products through a marketplace, you are not building a loyal audience or a brand.
Content Creation (Monetized)
Content creation refers to the process of producing and publishing various forms of media, such as text, images, videos, and audio, for the purpose of engaging and educating an audience.
This can include creating blog posts, sharing on social media, starting a YouTube channel, running a podcast and more. The goal of content creation is to attract, engage, and retain an audience and ultimately drive profitable customer action.
Content creation can be a profitable endeavor if done correctly. One of the most common ways to monetize content is through advertising, by displaying ads on a website or social media channels. These ads can come in the form of banner ads, sponsored posts, or sponsored videos.
Another way to earn money is through sponsorship, where a brand or company pays you to create content that promotes its products or services. This could include creating sponsored blog posts, videos, or social media posts.
Additionally, you can also sell products or services related to your content, such as digital products, online courses, or merchandise (earlier in this article, we talked about online courses and digital products as side hustle ideas).
Another way to monetize your content is through affiliate marketing, where you promote a product or service and receive a commission for any sales generated through your unique referral link (we will talk more about affiliate marketing later in the article)
Pros of Monetizing Content Creation
- Flexibility: Content creation allows for a lot of freedom and flexibility in terms of schedule, location, and format.
- Low barrier to entry: It can be relatively easy to start creating and publishing content, especially with the availability of free or low-cost tools and social media platforms.
- Scalability: As your audience grows, your revenue potential also increases.
- Diversifying income streams: Content creators can monetize their content in various ways, such as advertising, sponsorships, and selling products or services.
- Building a community: Creating content can help to build a community of loyal followers and fans.
Cons of Monetizing Content Creation
- Highly competitive: The market for content creation is highly competitive, and it can be difficult to stand out and attract an audience until you’ve created a significant amount of content.
- Time-consuming: Creating and publishing high-quality content on a regular basis takes a lot of time and effort, and it might take a long time before you can start seeing the first results.
- Unpredictable income: Revenue streams can be inconsistent, and it may take a while to establish a steady income.
- Constant content creation: To keep the audience engaged, you need to consistently create new and high-quality content.
Run a Membership Site
A membership site is an online space where creators deliver content to paying members on a regular basis.
Generally, members pay a monthly or annual subscription to access the exclusive content on a membership site. The content offered on a membership depends on the nature of the business: from online courses to digital products, live events, a community space and so on...
Together with online courses, membership sites are a great way for creators to monetize their knowledge, generate a recurring leveraged income stream and build an engaged online community.
Heights Platform allows you to create and run a membership site: you can set your monthly or annual price, limit students' access based on time, upload your content and get the flexibility to structure your program the way you want.
Check out this article from our blog to learn all about creating your membership site: How to Create a Membership Site and Generate Recurring Revenue
Pros of Membership Sites
- Build a feeling of community: Since students in a membership site stay for a long time, you can create a feeling of community and interact more with them.
- Consistent revenue stream: Students pay a monthly fee to access the content of a membership site. This means more financial security for the creator as you can foresee the revenue you will get each month.
- Exponential revenue growth: The more students you get into your membership site, the more your revenue compounds and grows exponentially (assuming your students' turnover is low)
- Flexible: The content in a membership site is ever-changing, allowing you to deliver up-to-date content and improve your site according to your students' feedback.
- Higher customer lifetime value: Students on a membership site stick around for a longer time compared to an online course, so your customer's lifetime value is also higher.
Cons of Membership Sites
- More work involved: compared to building an online course, you need to put in a more consistent effort with a membership site. You constantly need to release new content, keep your members engaged, answer their questions and work to improve the site.
- Lower price point: Most membership sites choose to charge a monthly subscription fee to their members, which generally is below $100, making it a lower price point compared to online courses.
- Hard to keep the churn rate low: The average churn rate (amount of students leaving the site) is around 6-7% annually. It can be hard to keep this percentage low and get your students to stick around for longer.
Freelancing is a way of working in which an individual offers their services to multiple clients on a project basis, rather than working as an employee for a single employer. This type of work has become more popular in recent years due to the growth of the gig economy and the increasing
number of opportunities for remote work.
Freelancers are self-employed and are responsible for finding their own clients, setting their own rates, and managing their own time.
As a freelancer, you can offer a wide range of services, such as freelance writing, editing, graphic design, web development, programming, consulting, and more.
Freelancers can work on a project-by-project basis, or they can have long-term contracts with clients, and they can choose to commit full-time or keep freelancing as a side hustle.
Offer your skills as a writer, designer, developer, or consultant on platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, or Freelancer.
Benefits of freelancing
- Flexibility: Freelancers have the flexibility to choose when and where they work, which can lead to a better work-life balance. They also have the freedom to choose which projects they take on and which clients they work with.
- Control over income: Freelancers have the ability to set their own rates and can often make more money than they would as an employee. They also have the ability to increase their income by taking on more work or raising their rates.
- Projects variety: Freelancers can work on a wide range of projects and with many different clients, which can be more interesting than working on the same tasks for the same employer.
Cons of Freelancing
- No potential for leveraged income: As a freelancer, you are offering a service in exchange for compensation. Therefore, you are trading your time for money. Compared to selling online courses or digital products, freelancing is not scalable, and you cannot generate leveraged income.
- Lack of job security: As a freelancer, you are self-employed, and you have to find clients for each new project, making it less secure compared to having a day job as an employee.
- No employee benefits: Since they are not employed, freelancers lack employee benefits as well.
Another side hustle idea to make extra cash online is with affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing strategy in which a business rewards its affiliates for the new customers brought by the affiliate's own marketing efforts.
The affiliate typically promotes the business through content creation efforts and earns a commission on sales referred to the business through a special affiliate link.
Getting started with affiliate marketing can be relatively simple, but it does require some effort and planning.
To be successful with affiliate marketing, you need to build an audience or have a significant social media presence or a large number of visitors and traffic on your site.
Once you have built your audience, identify a product or service that you would like to promote and then find a company or individual that offers an affiliate program for that product or service.
Once you have found an affiliate program that you would like to join, you will need to apply and be accepted into the program. After you have been accepted, you will be given a unique affiliate link or code that you can use to promote the product or service on your website or blog.
Create content, such as blog posts or videos, that highlights the features and benefits of the product or service and includes your affiliate link or code. With affiliate marketing, you are the one responsible for promoting your content through various channels, such as social media and email marketing, to reach potential customers.
As you begin to gain more experience and drive more traffic to your website or blog, you may be able to negotiate better commission rates or other perks with the companies you work with.
Pros of Affiliate Marketing
- Low start-up costs: Unlike starting your own business, affiliate marketing requires minimal investment and can be started with just a website or blog.
- Flexibility: Affiliates can work from anywhere and at any time, as long as they have an internet connection.
- Potential for high earning: With the right marketing strategy and a sizable audience, affiliates can earn significant income through commissions and other incentives.
- Risk-free: Affiliates do not need to worry about creating, stocking, or shipping products, and are only responsible for promoting the product or service.
Cons of Affiliate Marketing
- High competition: With many affiliates promoting the same products, it can be difficult to stand out and generate significant income.
- No control over product or service: Affiliates have no control over the product or service they are promoting, and are at the mercy of the company or individual behind it.
- Lack of brand recognition: As an affiliate, you are promoting someone else's brand, which can make it difficult to build your own reputation or personal brand.
- Compliance with laws and regulations: Affiliates need to be aware of laws and regulations regarding affiliate marketing and make sure they are compliant, such as disclosing that they use affiliate links.
- Commission rates can be low: Depending on the product or service, commission rates can be low and offer little money, meaning that it may take lots of traffic and sales to earn a significant income.
Build an E-Commerce Store
Building an e-commerce business means selling physical products over the internet, typically through your own website.
Starting an e-commerce store is a process that involves a number of steps to ensure that your business is set up correctly and is able to generate revenue. The first step is to identify a niche or market that you want to sell products or services in. This involves researching different markets and identifying areas where there is a demand for the products or services that you want to sell.
You will need to do some market research to understand the demand for your products or services, as well as your competition. This will help you to develop a business plan outlining your goals, target market, revenue streams, and costs.
The hardest part of running an e-commerce store is producing or finding the inventory.
If you want to sell a product online without manufacturing it, you have to find the right supplier that produces it for you. This can be very complicated and expensive.
Selling a physical product also means that you have a limited amount of stock your customers can buy. You constantly need to keep an eye on your stock quantity to ensure you don’t run out, and manage cash flow to order the optimal amount of product.
Also, there is always the possibility of shipping damaged products to your customers, and dealing with returns and refund requests - usually at your loss.
If you want to build your e-commerce store, there are many platforms available, such as Shopify or WooCommerce.
Once your website is live, you will need to build and implement a marketing strategy to drive traffic to your website and convert visitors into customers. This can include using social media ads, email marketing, and search engine optimization strategies.
Pros of Running an E-Commerce Business
- Low overhead costs compared to a brick-and-mortar store: An e-commerce business typically has lower overhead costs compared to a brick-and-mortar business, as there is no need to rent or maintain a physical storefront.
- Reach a global audience: With an e-commerce business, you can reach customers all over the world, which can help to increase sales and expand your customer base.
- Ability to operate 24/7: An e-commerce business can be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which allows customers to make purchases at any time.
- Flexibility: An e-commerce business provides greater flexibility to the owner in terms of the location from where it can be run and operated.
Cons of Running an E-Commerce Business
- Very complicated: Although briefly, we have already outlined the many steps required to build and run an e-commerce store. Compared to other types of side hustles or online businesses, it is an extremely complicated business model that requires many different parties to come together.
- Larger upfront investment: Unless you choose to start a dropshipping business, you need to purchase large amounts of products upfront to then resell them in your online store. This can be risky and expensive.
- Low profit margins: Compared to selling digital products, the profit margins for e-commerce stores are lower. There are many different costs involved in producing, shipping and marketing your products that have to be deducted from your revenue.
- No control over your products: If you are not the manufacturer of your products, you have very limited control over how your products are being built.
- High competition: The market for e-commerce businesses is highly competitive, and it can be difficult to stand out among the many other small businesses.
- Shipping and handling costs: An e-commerce business must take care of shipping and handling costs, which can be a significant expense and can also be a challenge to manage.
- Returns and refunds: E-commerce businesses have to deal with more returns and refunds as customers cannot physically see or touch the product before buying, which can be a cost and logistic burden.
- Continuous reinvestment: As you grow, you’ll need to forecast how many more products you need to order, and often it takes a long time before you can comfortably take the profit out of the business since it is going to be reinvested into larger purchase orders of products as you are growing.
There are many online side hustles you can start in 2023. This article outlined the best ways to make money online and start your own business. Which side hustle idea is your favorite?
Our favorite way of earning extra money online is by selling online courses. Compared to other side hustle ideas, creating online courses is relatively easy to start and requires very little investment. Plus, you are creating something unique and following your passions!
To create your first online course, sign up for Heights Platform. Create your free account today!Create Your Online Course Today