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How to Start an Online Side Hustle (In 3 Steps)

Sometimes, your regular 9-to-5 job just doesn’t cut it. You may need an additional income source to pay bills, rent, or fund your retirement. Although you could look for a second job, you might not have the time to work extra hours.

Starting an online side hustle can boost your income while having a flexible work schedule. Instead of being limited by an in-person position, an online business can expand your reach while keeping start-up costs low.

In this post, we’ll explain why you should consider starting an online side hustle. Then, we’ll show you how to begin in just three steps. Let’s get started!

Why You Should Consider Starting an Online Side Hustle

Many people have side hustles to make ends meet. In fact, about 34% of Americans rely on side gigs in addition to their full-time jobs.

There are many popular in-person side hustles, such as food delivery or rideshare driving. While these gigs can boost your income, you might not have the time or energy to devote extra hours to them.

This is where online side hustles come in. Many of these virtual gigs have minimal start-up costs with the potential for high earnings.

For example, you could start a blog. By sharing your expertise on a particular topic, you can start earning income from advertisements or affiliate marketing.

Affiliate blog example

Although blogging is a popular option, there’s really no limit to the side hustle you can choose. You could create and sell an online course, find freelancing jobs on a job board, or sell handmade products on Etsy.

You can find the right hustle for your needs based on your talents.

One of the best benefits of online side hustles is flexibility. Once you start a gig, you can work from home without worrying about strict working hours. Plus, you can potentially reach a global audience since your services are virtual.

How to Start an Online Side Hustle (In 3 Steps)

Now that you know the benefits of online side hustles, it’s time to start one!

Step 1: Choose a Niche

First, you’ll need to consider your interests. This way, you can select a niche that matches your skillset.

As an example, you might choose to create an affiliate blog. Before signing up for affiliate programs and marketing products, you’ll need to select a specific niche for your website.

For an affiliate blog, consider choosing a content niche that you’re knowledgeable in. If you’re unsure where your interests lie, think about your main hobbies or lifestyle.

For instance, as a pet lover, you could share advice about how to take care of animals:

Pet care niche website

Knowing your niche can be the key to reaching your target audience. The same principle applies to other online side hustles as well.

If you’re launching an ecommerce website, you might consider what products or services you can provide. This planning can help you design content with your audience in mind.

Furthermore, consider researching your competition once you’ve found the right niche. By studying competing websites’ keywords and content, you might even be able to overtake them.

Step 2: Calculate Start-Up Costs

Since every side hustle is different, you’ll need to have the budget for your specific goals. Some gigs will require more extensive start-up costs than others.

When creating an affiliate blog, it’s essential to consider the costs of building a website. This process often involves purchasing web hosting and a domain name. If you want to hire a professional designer, you’ll also need to factor this cost into your budget.

Depending on your chosen side hustle, you’ll need to evaluate your essential start-up costs.

However, other side hustles can have higher start-up costs. Here are some expenses you might need to factor into your budget:

You might be tempted to buy top-of-the-line materials and technology for your business. However, consider starting small by keeping costs low. You can invest more into your side hustle as you gain customers and develop a loyal following.

If you’re not sure how to estimate your start-up costs, consider taking a free business financing course from the US Small Business Administration. This curriculum can help you develop a realistic budget for your needs.

Step 3: Develop an Online Presence

To start building your online side hustle, you’ll need to develop a brand. Regardless of your niche, making a website is a good idea. It can enable visitors to quickly learn about who you are and what you have to offer.

When selecting a domain name, be sure that it clearly identifies your niche. A unique, descriptive name can increase your brand awareness and draw in visitors that enjoy your content.

Side hustle domain name

However, creating a well-designed website can be a difficult process. As an alternative, you can market your side hustle on social media.

Using social media accounts can also be an effective way to build a following. When you post frequent, high-quality content, you can drive visitors to your services or affiliate products:

Social media affiliate

The bottom line is, your side hustle needs a constant stream of customers to get off the ground. With a website and social media, you can increase your organic reach and start gaining conversions.


Although you might be feeling discouraged due to a low-paying full-time job, you can easily start an online side hustle. This venture can be an enjoyable way to boost your income while working from home.

To recap, here are three simple steps you can take to start an online side hustle:

  1. Choose a niche.
  2. Calculate your start-up costs.
  3. Develop an online presence.

Do you have any questions about starting an online side hustle? Ask away in the comments section!

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