7 side hustles for the creative entrepreneur

Times of financial strain call for inventive thinking with your income streams.

7 side hustles for the creative entrepreneur
[Photo: Avi Naim/Unsplash]

With the pandemic causing layoffs, budget cuts, and widespread distress, many people’s finances have taken a hit. In turbulent financial times, I’ve turned to passive income streams and side hustles to stay afloat. Many creative and savvy business owners and individuals are doing the same. From picking up side jobs to starting new businesses, there are many ways to start earning extra income today.


These seven side hustles are easy to start with just a computer, phone, and Wi-Fi connection.

Commit to your online shop

Many people think they can get rich fast with passive income and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Recently, my Etsy store hit an impressive milestone of $100,000 in revenue. I was able to hit this market by committing to my shop for the long-term.

Over the past three years, I’ve worked on my store 5-10 minutes a day, creating new designs and adding listings. I’ve sold an array of digital products online including yoga mats, T-shirts, and mugs. With print-on-demand technology, a seller doesn’t have to create any inventory. You simply supply the design and choose a supplier who will help print, pack, and ship the order on your behalf. Suppliers I have used to offer a broad range of products include Gooten, Printful, Teelaunch, and Printify.

Lean into a love for music

A new passive income stream for me is music. I taught myself with no experience how to make music from reading articles online and partnering with musicians on sites like Fiverr and Soundbetter.

After gathering knowledge and working at it over time, I’ve created a new revenue stream where I can earn royalties from my sounds on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. Each month, I now earn a royalty check for the streams of my music.


“If you align yourself with the right music library or agency,” says Wellington Lora, founder at The Cueniverse. “You can turn your music catalog into the soundtrack for the latest reality show or the hottest new Apple commercial. This can equate to hundreds, even thousands, of dollars quarterly of residual income that will keep coming in as long as they continue to air the content.”

Leverage strong writing skills

If you can write, with clarity and precision, you can turn this skill into a means of income. Whether you build your own content site or freelance for publications, well-written content is in high demand. In the past, I’ve commissioned my blog posts to top publications around the web and also helped businesses create high-quality blog content and marketing materials.

“Of the many side hustles I’ve experimented with over the years, blogging has been by far both the most financially lucrative,” says Ryan Robinson, blogger and a contributor to Fast Company. Robinson draws out that certain brand sponsorships, sales of his own digital products, and relationships with freelance clients help him bring a side hustle around writing. “I get to spend time writing about topics that excite me,” shares Robinson.

Teach others

Many savvy digital enthusiasts are creating courses to generate side income. Whether you’re an electrician or a baker, you have expertise to teach others.

Experts around the web praise online courses and the ability to make income as you sleep. “If you want to start a passive income stream, the quickest way is to use the knowledge that’s already in your head” shares business coach ​Lisa Johnson.​ “The first thing you’ll need to do is work out who you want to help and then grow an audience of those people online and give them value.”


Sell your expertise

Whether you make digital or tangible products, there is a space for you to sell your work online.

If you’re a graphic designer, goods like graphic templates, social media banners, and more can be sold as digital downloads on sites like Creative Market. If you are an artisan, chances are there is a marketplace for you. Consider which of your hobbies—one you have some knowledge of and can develop more expertise around—can turn into an opportunity to sell.

Use your space

Many homeowners are leasing their vacant spaces to earn extra income this year. With a large percentage of the workforce working from home, there is an uptick in need for rental spaces and safe socially distanced getaways.

With sites like Airbnb and Peerspace, both homeowners and businesses can rent out their unused spaces, under safe conditions according to local health guidelines. Sorob Louie, the founder of ​VirtuLabs​, an experiential design company, recommends coming up with unique and creative experiences for your short-term rental properties to increase your popularity and income. “As the major entertainment hubs are no longer the safest options to go for vacations, families [want] alternatives. Living in a farmhouse [for a big family], a princess-themed bedroom for the kids, or investing in a good projector for a romantic outdoor movie night could take your passive income to another level.”

Take up computer design or coding

Today there are thousands of resources online that teach computer programming. With a computer and a Wi-Fi connection. Nearly anyone can take the reins of a new career as a designer or software engineer (myself included).


In the past, I’ve outsourced my website creation skills to both business and individuals looking for help—and I have no background in website development. “Looking for an extra source of income, my husband and I combined our design and coding skills to launch a website design business,” explains Mariah Smith Gentry, ​Founder of Wild Wing Studios​. “We work remotely with all of our clients, enabling us to work from anywhere in the world while providing our clients with legendary customer service. We started with just Wi-Fi, a computer, and a dream!”

Embrace your drama nerd sensibilities

Acting isn’t just for A-list stars and red-carpet celebrities. Earlier last year, I fell down an information rabbit hole learning about background acting and auditions. Turns out there are many opportunities for newbies with little training. I picked up a number of shifts working on shows where you not only had your daily meals provided but also got to be on a hit show.

If being an extra isn’t for you, try your hand at auditioning for key roles. In my free time, I browse Backstage and Casting Networks and apply for all the opportunities relevant to me. I’ve made extra funds doing both digital and in-person shoots. From commercials looking for certain types of personalities to reality TV, these opportunities can be fun and put cash back in your pocket.

No matter what your financial picture, you can start side hustling today to improve your future outlook. Think creatively and develop new acumen, so you can make money from your passions and skills.

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 and songwriting at Outsourced Feelings.