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7 side hustles you can start from your couch

You don’t need an office, employees, or investment capital to launch a small business that could generate thousands of extra dollars a year.

7 side hustles you can start from your couch
[Photo: monkeybusinessimages/iStock]

If you’re alive in 2018, you’ve probably heard of the side hustle. These days, it seems like everybody has one. In fact, if you’re a millennial, half of your peers already do.

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Side hustles allow you to earn extra income, supplement a still-growing business, or get paid for a hobby you enjoy.

Many people hesitate to start a side business because they think it’ll be complicated. But the truth is, it doesn’t have to be. You don’t need to go to an office, hire employees, or spend hours cold-calling to succeed.

And sure, you may only earn a few hundred dollars per month at first. But because these side hustles cost almost nothing to start, the money you rake in will become pure profit.

Excited yet? Here are seven side hustles you can start from your couch.

1. Sell an information product

People love to learn new things, and you can profit from packaging your advice, knowledge, or expertise into a sellable product.

Are you an expert at getting the best deals at Disneyland? Know how to train pets? Give good dating advice? You can turn those insights into an ebook or course that people will pay for.

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With information products, you pay an initial cost to create the resource and the website where it’s hosted, but it costs you nothing to produce extra copies of the book or course for new customers. That means that after you cover the initial costs of creating the product, you’re looking at almost pure profits from each sale.

If you create a solid information product and promote it well, it could earn you substantial passive income for years to come.

For instance, if you sell an ebook about dog training for $10 and get an average of 25 people to buy it every month, you’ll rake in an extra $2,500 per year. Or if you build an interactive course teaching men how to talk to women and sell it for $1,000, just one purchase a month will boost your income by $12,000.

2. Become a virtual assistant

A virtual assistant is like a regular assistant, only they connect to the business person online. They’re often hired by the hour, which means you can work as many or few hours per week as you’d like.

A virtual assistant can do practically anything, but the work often includes organizing resources and documents, scheduling appointments, taking calls, accounting, research, writing, proofreading, or editing.

If you have great attention to detail and would rather work with others than start a business by yourself, this could be a profitable choice for you.

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Freelancing websites like Upwork and Fiverr often have job openings for virtual assistants. You can negotiate your own price with the client and clarify your tasks before accepting the job.

As a virtual assistant, you can charge between $15 and $60 per hour depending on how much value you’re able to bring to your client.

3. Create a niche review website

Creating an in-depth resource on a specific niche can be a profitable endeavor.

The secret to a niche website’s profitability is affiliate marketing and advertising. The website creator writes a number of informative, in-depth articles and product reviews to help readers know which items they should purchase.

As the website’s audience grows over months and years, and more readers begin to purchase items through the website’s affiliate links, the website owner can begin to earn hundreds and even thousands of dollars per month.

The passive income blog Income School expects a well-built niche site to earn an average of 2.5¢ per page view, per month, and bring in an average of 30,000 monthly page views by the end of the first year. A niche website with thousands of monthly page views will also often receive five- and six-figure bids from investors.

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4. Proofread

We all have that friend who corrects everyone’s grammar or finds typos in menus and street signs. If you have a knack for finding mistakes in your native language, you could get paid to proofread.

Freelancing websites like Upwork and Fiverr have a steady stream of proofreading jobs, or you can start asking your friends and business connections to help them eliminate errors in their writing.

Proofreading rates can vary widely. Proofreaders who charge per word can command rates from 2¢ to 7¢ per word, or anywhere from $10 to $90 per hour. Rates depend on the quality of the job, the turnaround time, and the importance of the final document.

5. Translate

Parlez-vous francais? Or Spanish, Japanese, or Arabic? If you speak a second language, you could get paid to translate from your second language into your native language.

To find translation jobs, try online freelancing platforms made specially for translation, like Gengo and Unbabel. Or post your profile on ProZ, where clients search for translators and post translation jobs on the site-wide job board.

Translators generally charge between 10¢ and 25¢ per word or $30 to $50 per hour. Like proofreading, rates depend on quality, time constraints, and the importance of the translation.

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6. Teach English

You’re reading this article in English, which means you’re a speaker of the most in-demand language on the planet. Millions of people attempt to learn English every year, which means English teachers are in high demand.

Websites like iTalki and Cambly are online platforms for anyone who wants to teach English or other languages to people of all ages. If you live in North America, you have more options, like teaching English to Chinese children through VIPKID or Qkids, or to Korean children through Englishunt.

Rates for English teachers can vary based on your experience and skill level. Cambly pays $10 per hour, VIPKID, Qkids, and Englishunt pay between $13 and $22 per hour, and iTalki allows teachers to set their own price.

7. Start a content site

I know what you’re thinking: “Seriously? Didn’t everyone and his cousin already bail on their blogs because they got tired of the content-generation hamster wheel?” It may feel that way, but if you’re passionate enough about a subject, it might not feel like work.

And believe it or not, the market is still not saturated. There are millions of topics that people search for every day, and many of them have not been written about yet.

Even if your blog is about a popular topic, you can still find your unique angle, says Henneke Duistermaat in her book Blog to Win Business. “You can safely assume that everything about your topic has been written already,” she admits. “However, nobody has said it yet in the way you can say it.”

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There are many paths to a profitable blog. Like niche websites, you can promote products through affiliate programs and collect a percentage of each sale. Or you can place ads on each page of your blog and collect a few cents for each impression, or person who views the ad. Another option is to sell information products (see No. 1) to the readers of your blog.

If you choose your subject well and use multiple money-making strategies for your blog, you can see monthly earnings of a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars over time.

If you have a smartphone or computer and an internet connection, the money is yours for the taking. Whether you choose to write, teach, or help someone else succeed, you can start building your profitable side hustle today.

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About the author

Arianna O'Dell is the founder of Airlink Marketing, a digital design and marketing agency helping companies create digital programs that drive results. When she’s not working with clients or traveling, you’ll find her making fun gifts at Ideas By Arianna.

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