3 Side Hustle Business Ideas

For many Millennials, long gone are the days of the status quo of climbing the corporate ladder and working for the same employer for their entire 30+ year career. Instead, Millennials “plan to work for many employers over their lifetimes, or for many employers and themselves, along with becoming business owners,” according to Accountingweb.com. This is due to of many of us Millennials having the “attitude that life planning should center around experiences rather than wealth accumulation.” We are effectively living by the mantra “work to live, not live to work.” We view money more as a means to an end with the goal of gaining experiences versus accumulating wealth. So, it’s no surprise then that many Millennials are turning to side hustles in a search to garner greater financial freedom so we can pursue the experiences that are meaningful and fulfilling to us. Many of us are also looking for ways to make more money outside of our regular 9 to 5’s to help pay off student loan debt quicker or save towards a big financial goal such as a trip around the world or our first home purchase. If this sounds like you, but you haven’t decided on a side hustle yet or are not even sure where to start, we’ve come up with 3 side hustle business ideas that have a lot of long-term earning potential without taking up too much of your time.

Please note, we do provide several direct resources such as training programs and signup links to get you started on these 3 side hustle business ideas, but we are in no way compensated for recommending these to you. We simply want to provide them as a resource in the case you’re further interested in researching these ideas. 

Affiliate Marketing

You’ve probably heard of this before. Affiliate marketing is simply promoting another brand’s products and getting paid a commission anytime someone buys from their site via the unique affiliate link that that particular brand provides you. There are endless affiliate programs out there, with some companies and affiliate networks going overboard and loaded with clickbait (see ClickBank.com). However, there are many reputable affiliate networks/programs that only do business with top-notch companies. It boils down to finding a brand or product that you’re passionate about, connect with, and can easily promote. This all seems very simple on the surface, but to be truly successful at it, you need to have a strong grasp of digital marketing and various ways to promote your links. It also helps to have a decent budget to spend on paid advertising.

Reputable Affiliate Marketing Programs:

Popular Ways to Promote Your Affiliate Links:

  • Blogging – this is probably the most popular way of becoming an affiliate marketer. You’d create a blog around a specific theme, say outdoor adventuring, then promote different outdoor product brands that have affiliate programs (e.g. Cotopaxi) using banner or coupon ads the brand provides. You can also promote specific products by writing blog posts about them. This is very common with Amazon Associates, where you’d write a blog post on say the top 5 baseball bats of 2017 and place your affiliate link to each of those products in your post. Anytime someone buys, you get a commission. There are two main challenges with using blogging to do affiliate marketing: 1. Creating quality content that is not just keyword-rich, since Google now shuns keyword-rich sites that do not have quality content to support it, and 2. Driving traffic to your blog.
  • Facebook Fan Pages with Facebook Ads – everyone is on social media these days and it’s a great place to promote “lifestyle” brands. If we stick with our outdoor adventuring example above, we could assume you’d create a fan page on Facebook geared towards people who love the outdoors, post regular content, and harness the power of Facebook ads to gain a following and drive people to your affiliate links.

Quality Resources and Training Programs to Help You Get Started:


According to Shopify, one of the biggest eCommerce platforms right now, dropshipping is “a retail fulfillment method where a store doesn’t keep the products it sells in stock. Instead, when a store sells a product, it purchases the item from a third party and has it shipped directly to the customer.The awesome part about this is you, the retailer, have no inventory risk at all. In fact, you never even see or handle the product you sell to your customers. You might be thinking that sounds great, but how do you even set up a business model like that, to begin with? Believe it or not, there are tons of companies out there that would be happy to have a drop shipping relationship with you because they know how to make good products, but not how to market them and that’s exactly where you come in. It’s a win-win. You take all the marketing off your supplier’s hands and they, in turn, handle shipping the product directly to your customers and allow you to buy directly from them at wholesale pricing. They make a profit, you make a profit, and your customer gets an awesome product.

Now, there are a lot of self-professed “gurus” out there in the drop shipping arena that will sell you their courses for thousands and thousands of dollars. However, most of these courses tote drop shipping from China using AliExpress. This was a good strategy 5 or 6 years ago, but with the explosion of online retailers and the expansive growth of Amazon, dropshipping from China is difficult. Due to long shipping times, hit or miss quality and responsiveness with the individual vendors, and the need to generate high volume in sales in order to make a decent profit. Instead, a better approach nowadays is to source and sell locally. Pick a good (and rather narrow) niche, and stick to higher-ticket items. There are a couple great online courses with step-by-step instructions on how to find your niche, build your store, and drive traffic and sales. However, they do require a rather substantial investment of ~$1,500 for the course plus $200-$300/mo to cover overhead for the eCommerce platform you’ll use, any additional apps on that platform, plus advertising expenses. That being said, we’ve followed the online communities attached to these courses and have seen some really great successes where people are generating tens of thousands of dollars per month in sales.

Just as in any business, you have to put in the time and effort, make smart decisions, and be persistent in your vision and execution in order to see the success you’re looking for.

Online Step-by-Step Courses:

**Please Note: As stated in our intro, we are NOT compensated in any way for recommending these courses and have no affiliation whatsoever to the businesses/people that sell them.**

Uber/Lyft Driver

Although certainly not as sexy as the above side hustle business ideas, being an Uber or Lyft driver is definitely the easiest to get started and be successful with. All you need is a valid driver’s license, clean driving record, a newish car, good car insurance, and good people skills. Other than that, the only other thing required is money for gas and your time. The reason we listed it as a good side hustle is the flexibility it offers. You can work literally whenever you want. All you do is turn the app on on your smartphone and start driving. The earning potential is also there, with many drivers able to earn $25-$30/hr during busy times in busy areas. Our very own Chad Rixse has been driving for Uber as a way to pay his bills while growing Millennial Wealth and he credits the flexibility and earning potential for allowing him the time needed to invest in getting the business off the ground. If you like driving and enjoy meeting new people, this could be an excellent side hustle for you.

Finding a good side hustle business idea is all about finding something you are passionate about and won’t mind spending extra hours on every week.Then finding a way to monetize that passion! We met someone recently who makes his own leather bags and wallets and sells them on his own website and on Etsy.com. He’s been putting this extra income straight into his savings account so he can buy a house in the near future. He was able to turn a hobby into a hustle and put the additional cash flow to good work. So ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What are you passionate about?
  2. Can you monetize it?

Happy hustling!

Chad Rixse grew up in Anchorage, Alaska and lived in Seattle, WA for 11 years where he graduated from the University of Washington before moving back to Alaska. He is fluent in Spanish, loves to travel and connect with other cultures. He’s been helping clients plan for their financial futures since 2014 and has an immense passion for helping others and making a positive impact in their lives. Outside of work, he’s a self-professed golf addict, foodie, and master taco maker.