The Top Online Hustles to Earn Money in 2021

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Americas SBDC recently published a study that revealed how more than 60 percent of Americans dream of becoming their own boss rather than working for someone else.

The same study also showed that roughly half of all the millennials in the States plan to become self-employed in the next three years.

The prospect of dictating your own work conditions is attractive because you do not have to answer to other people. Falling under pressure and wanting to quit because of the toxic work environment plays a prominent part as well.

With that said, becoming an entrepreneur or a freelancer is not that simple. The capitalistic environment encourages people to seek new sources of income rather than ways to save money.

Ideally, you should have some savings and the freedom to dedicate some time to start a business, but you need to take a different approach if that is not the case.

Instead of aiming too high and failing, you should start small and nurture a skill or a set of skills that you can turn into a profitable venture later.

Some attempts will end in failure, which is to be expected, but such experiences are great for teaching you how things work in the real world. And most skills that you learn should not go to waste regardless of what business you will do in the future. It is all about the accumulated experience.

Who knows, you might reach a point where instead of fearing to work for someone else, you will have people working for you. But before that happens, you need to pick a niche and focus on polishing your skills. Online education platforms like Skillshare or Udemy have a plethora of available courses about different topics, and some of the available content is free.

As for potential niches to try, here are some top picks of potential online business ideas that could become your ticket to financial independence.

Lead Generation

Generating leads is just one side of the coin. A business still needs to convert its leads if it desires to make money. But if there are no leads, there will be no conversions.

There are plenty of great tools for automating lead generation. For example, is an email verifier to reduce bounce rates, while TrustPulse leverages the power of social proof to increase conversions.

However, it takes more than knowing which tools to use. A great lead generation expert is someone who is also great at:

  • Identifying the right targeted audience;
  • Picking marketing methods wisely;
  • Leveraging social media channels;
  • Creating a sales funnel;
  • Turning bad outreach examples into successful ones.

Since lead generation should be a long-term and continuous process based on a system, businesses need to find an individual or a team that will commit to working on the campaign and help with the business growth. 

Video Editing

I really love editing. Watching a picture come together as i edit along.
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

According to PR Newswire, the global audio and video editing software market is expected to reach 4.8 billion dollars by 2026. This is a testament to how much the media-editing industry will grow.

Learning to edit videos does not require expensive equipment. One can create eye-pleasing videos with their smartphone. The question is whether such videos would look professional enough to sell. Probably not, but the bottom line is that thanks to a smartphone, a device you should already have, you can start tinkering with video editing tools and transition to more professional software later.

Some of the best video editing tools include Adobe Premiere Pro and Corel VideoStudio Ultimate.

Why is it worth becoming a video editor? Well, for marketing purposes, video content seems to be the king these days. An average person finds it easier to digest and memorize videos rather than walls of text.

Moreover, if you were to look at the most recent marketing campaigns on social media, you would notice that brands are focusing on videos. Be it collaborations with influencers, behind-the-scenes footage, or even live streams; videos are beginning to dominate digital marketing.

Website Builder Development

Thanks to Duda, Wix, and Squarespace, making a professionally looking website should not be a problem even if you lack coding skills.

These website builders offer a plethora of features, such as built-in email marketing, online payment gateways, and order fulfillment, to name a few.

Nevertheless, hiring someone else for the job is a better option for someone who is in a hurry and overwhelmed by the available platform choices and features.

Paying a developer 10 to 30 dollars per hour to have a website up and running on a builder platform will save time and trouble.

Since the demand for website builder developers is there, you can pick one or multiple platforms to learn the ins and outs of and translate the accumulated experience into a great business opportunity.

Content Marketing

One should not underestimate the value of content marketing. Improved brand reputation, awareness, conversion potential, social and referral traffic, and visibility on search engines are just a few advantages of high-quality content.

Right now, content marketing campaigns revolve around more than just articles or blog posts. Brands are also looking to publish e-books on Amazon or create educational courses, and they hire professional ghostwriters. Such jobs for writers pay a hefty sum, meaning that if you can learn the craft of writing, there is money to be made.

Podcasts are worth a shout as well. Nowadays, listening to a podcast has become a popular pastime. Thus, if you could start and grow a podcast, you can expect to collaborate with brands that will ask you to promote their goods or services.

Finally, you have streaming. Top streamers on Twitch TV are making more than six figures. They are similar to influencers because a big chunk of their income comes from sponsorship deals, but there are more monetization methods, such as donations from viewers. Can streaming be your way to the top? You would need to try it first to find out.

Social Media Management

Even though social media marketing has been around for years, it continues to be one of the digital marketing cornerstones.

There are more than 3 billion active users on social media worldwide, and this number will continue to grow.

With social media marketing, things that worked in the past might do poorly these days. The marketing strategy is no longer about publishing regular content. No, right now, brands are focusing on targeting the right demographic, engaging with their followers, and collaborating with influencers—tactics that ultimately lead to social selling.

You can take advantage of social media automation tools to outsource or automate certain tasks. For example, Sendible makes social media management easier by letting you schedule content in advance and send regular reports to others, whereas BuzzSumo is great for content ideas.

Nevertheless, it is about the person behind the social media management, not the tools. With the right resources and some experience, cracking the social media code and discovering what different platforms have to offer to brands can translate into a great entrepreneurship venture. From small to large, all businesses will hire a social media manager so long as there is substantial value for these businesses.

Conversion Rate Optimization

An eCommerce store owner might think that the more traffic their website receives, the higher the revenue will be. To some extent, this idea is true since there would be no profits without website traffic in the first place.

However, smart online businesses are looking to optimize their conversion rate without overinvesting in ridiculous advertising campaigns that focus on attracting as much site traffic from random channels.

Even if you lack the expertise in conversion rate optimization, you can still start the trade. Thanks to ConversionXL and other learning hubs, you can slowly build your repertoire and become a CRO master.

Personal Assistant

Two sales people working in a meeting with laptops
Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

Working as a personal assistant has its perks. Landing a position with someone you can learn from will be great because you can use the accumulated experience for yourself in the future.

Why are personal assistants in demand? Well, entrepreneurs are busier than ever, but they still want to remain active on social media or respond to relevant emails. The problem is that such manual stuff can take a lot of time.

With enough preparation, assistants can accomplish virtually any task after receiving instructions. Since the responsibilities for personal assistants are usually easy to explain, employers do not have to worry about wasting resources. The balance between efficiency and affordability makes having a personal assistant so popular.

A reliable personal assistant should be tech-savvy, resourceful, and adaptable. Anticipating their executive’s needs and volunteering for various projects are greatly appreciated as well.

Despite lacking some of these qualities, you can learn them with time and become a reliable personal assistant.

Web Design

Despite what some might think, web design and development are still in great demand, and the trend is unlikely to change. From eCommerce giants to stay-at-home mom bloggers, there is no shortage of sites on the World Wide Web.

But are there guarantees that every website looks professional? Unlikely. If anything, there are plenty of bad site examples, which are usually the result of web development inexperience or just someone being lazy.

Sure, some website owners might not be too bothered with their site’s appearance, but the majority still wants a professional look. Even more so if their website is a source of income.

By becoming a recognized web designer with a solid portfolio, you can offer your services to those who want to refurbish their current sites or wish to have one developed from scratch.

You can start as a theme designer on WordPress or Drupal and move up the ladder by learning other web development intricacies. And since there are numerous courses and tutorials on YouTube and online educational platforms, becoming a self-taught web developer should not be a problem so long as you combine theory with practice.


2021 is a promising year that presents multiple side hustle methods for those willing to adapt to the trends and seize the opportunity. So long as you dedicate yourself to learning one of the crafts mentioned in the article, you should find your first customer and build the business from there.

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