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11 Aug 2021 Austin Belcak

13 Side Business Ideas That Can Actually Make You Over $100k

Side hustles are becoming pretty popular these days. Everyone is tired of being limited by a single salary that only increases a tiny bit every few years. Forget that! It's time to start making some money on the side so that you can begin living life on your terms. The first obstacle everyone encounters is looking for side business ideas.

There have been a lot of articles published with “business ideas you can start this weekend.” The problem is, these “side business ideas” consist of things like delivering groceries, babysitting, getting a minimum wage job, or even becoming a barber. (I kid you not, that was a real suggestion.) Those are all incredibly lame options!

If that's what you were looking for, then this is not the right post for you. However, if you're looking for side business ideas that:

  • You can start immediately
  • Maximizes your income:time ratio
  • Has the potential to replace your full time job completely
  • You can operate from anywhere

This is definitely the article for you. Each of the side business ideas below have been proven to bring in at least $100,000 annually, in addition to meeting all of the above criteria. I'll also put you in touch with an “expert” in the field who has all of the info you need to get started!

Ready? Let's dive in.

#1: Dropshipping

What Is It?

Dropshipping is an eCommerce model where you serve as a middleman between the customer and the supplier. The customer purchases the product from your store, and then your purchase it from the supplier who then ships the item directly to your customer. This is ideal because it mitigates the age old problem of sinking $5,000 in your first batch of inventory that may end up collecting dust in your garage (while you eat the cost). Instead, you list your supplier's inventory directly on your website, and when an order rolls in, they ship it to the customer while you collect the profits.

The best part? You don't need any coding, inventory, shipping, or eCommerce experience to get started!

Cost To Start: $29 a month for a Shopify plan

Expert: Oberlo

Article To Get You Started: How To Start a Dropshipping Business

#2: Paid Ad Specialist

What is it?

Running Google Ads is a great way to make money if you're familiar with paid internet marketing. You can get started on platforms like Freelancer and Upwork to either find one off clients or join a larger company to help manage their Google Ad campaigns. You can grow your business by adding more clients, or work with companies that have large ad spends. Interested in getting certified as a Google AdWords Specialist? Check out Viget's guide on how to get certified in only 2 days!

Cost to start: FREE!

Expert: Isaac Rudansky – Check out his Udemy course

Article To Get You Started: An Insider’s Guide To Becoming A Google Ads Specialist

#3: Build An Instagram

What Is It?

Forget Facebook and Twitter. If you want to build a social media brand, Instagram is the place to be. The platform has 500 million monthly active users but the real kicker is that the average post engagement is 57x higher than on Facebook and 120x higher than on Twitter!

We've all dreamed about having a massive social media following and a influential online presence, and it's actually much easier to achieve that you think. There are plenty of automated tools to help you grow, all you need to do is post consistently (that's how I built my Instagram account to >10,000 users in 3 months!). Once your following is large enough, you can begin to charge for shout outs, product promotions, and drive traffic to a blog or email list.

Cost To Start: FREE!

Expert: Nathan Chan @

Article To Get You Started: A Guide To Getting More Followers On Instagram: 10,000 In 2 Weeks

#4: Write a Kindle Book

What Is It?

Have you ever dreamed about writing a best selling book? Well, Amazon's self-publication platform Kindle Direct lets you do just that. With the right market research you can write your category killing book and sell it to the masses without dealing with the cost and bureaucratic hassles of traditional publishing. The best part is, once you've published the book, it will continue to bring in revenue month after month with little effort on your part! People are earning anywhere from a few hundred dollars to well over $100,000 publishing on Amazon.

You don't need to be the world's best writer and you don't need to be the world's most renowned expert on a topic to publish a best seller. If fact, you can outsource almost every aspect of your book from the cover to the writing! All it takes is a little market research on your end.

Cost To Start: ~$200 (including cover design, editing and formatting)

Expert: Dave Chesson @ Kindlepreneur

Article To Get You Started: Author Basic's Ultimate List of Self Publishing Resources (as recommended by Dave)

#5: Online Course Instructor

What Is It?

In 2019, the online learning industry hit $107 billion dollars. That's billion with a B. Tons of 9 to 5'ers are realizing they have unique skills that other people want to learn. Getting started is simple too. All you need is a copy of PowerPoint, a pair of headphones with a mic, and some screen recording software. Then you can either drop your course on Udemy or you can build your own site. Start collecting emails in an ESP (here's a list of the best email marketing platforms) and save the royalty fees!

People just like yourself are making anywhere from $3,000 to $120,000+ off of their first course launch (check out David's testimonial's through the link below).

Cost To Start: ~$200 (for a domain, hosting and online course software)

Expert: David Siteman Garland @ The Rise To The Top

Article To Get You Started: David's guest appearance on Pat Flynn's Smart Passive Income Podcast

#6: Business Broker

What is it?

Business brokers are considered the “middle person” between buyers and sellers. Their job is to help make the process of purchasing and selling private businesses easier for the party they represent.

This side business idea can easily turn into a full-time move as commissions earned through sales are usually between 10-12%, and the potential to earn over $100k a year from just a few deals is high. In order to become a Certified Business Broker, you'll need to complete some course work and pass an exam. Having any business operation experience will aid in the success of this role!

Cost To Start: < $1,000 for required course material and exam fee

Expert: International Business Brokers Association

Article To Get You Started: How To Become A Certified Business Intermediary

#7: Start a Podcast

What Is It?

Podcasts are catching on like wild fire. Actually, that's not true. They've already caught and the spark has turned into a bit of an inferno. Who says long-form content is dead?

If you're not familiar, podcasts are essentially self-published talk shows. The audiences tend to be extremely engaged and it's one of the best outlets for networking that I've ever seen. The engagement also makes it one of the best marketing channels out there right now. Many podcasters are reaping the benefits, with some like John Lee Dumas bringing in $2,000,000+.

Cost To Start: ~$80 (break down here)

Expert: Nick Loper @ Side Hustle Nation

Article To Get You Started: How to Get a Podcast to the Top of iTunes in 8 Weeks — With No Audience or “Celebrity” Guests [Case Study]

Ready To Finally Start Your Side Hustle & Make More Money?

Click here to get my free Side Hustle Startup Toolkit and land your first client in 14 days.

#8: Create a Newsletter

What Is It?

I'm sure you're familiar with newsletters so I'll skip the intro and dive right into the juicy stuff. Newsletters are a fantastic vehicle for driving revenue. Every single successful business has some type of newsletter. Why? Because they are the only way to build, store, and directly reach your audience. Facebook can change its policies, Google's cost-per-click can go up, but if you have someone subscribed to your newsletter, you own all of the messaging.

Once your following becomes large enough, you can begin implementing any of the other strategies in this article. You can drop in links to affiliate products, you can market a course, a podcast or even sell a product. The poster child for this model right now is The Hustle – a newsletter geared towards millennials that focuses on the tech space. Sam Parr, its founder, was able to drive 100,000 subscriptions in 5 months and leveraged that audience to create HustleCon, a startup conference for non-techies. During his first year of the conference, he sold 400 tickets and made $50,000.

Cost To Start: ~$70 (for a domain, hosting, email and email service provider)

Expert: Sam Parr @ The Hustle

Article To Get Your Started: The Beginner's Guide To Starting A Newsletter – Pat Flynn

#9: Affiliate Marketing

What Is It?

Let's say that your friend has a product. They want to sell a million units on their website but there's one little problem…They have ZERO idea how to market online. Being the digital marketing guru that you are, you offer to help drive traffic to your friend's product on the condition that he pays you 2% of each sale that you influence. That is affiliate marketing.

It is a MASSIVE industry which means there is bound to be a niche that fits your knowledge base and skill set. You're also not limited to marketing for one product. In fact, the more products you market for, the more money you make! It's also extremely fun because it allows you to get super creative. You could arbitrage clicks from Google AdWords campaigns, work on building your own audience and include the products in your newsletter, or you could join an affiliate network and have a lot of the hard work taken care of for you!

The possibilities are endless.

Cost To Start: ~$100 (depending on your marketing strategy, but you'll most likely need a website, a theme and some hosting)

Expert: Neil Patel

Article To Get You Started: What Is Affiliate Marketing? – Neil Patel

#10: Freelancing

What Is It?

Ahh, the wonderful world of freelancing. Freelancing is a bit different than many of the other options on here, but it is equally as lucrative and there are many different ways to go about it. If you have a specific skill that you excel at, you can make money freelancing. And I'm not just taking about coding here. You can earn money formatting Kindle books, as a photographer, as a copy writer, as a virtual assistant or even playing Pokemon Go!. These side business ideas can turn into a full time position!

If sales and marketing isn't your forte you can use a platform like Upwork or who have large active audiences already looking for your skills. The kicker there is that these platforms tend to take a significant cut of your fees. If you want to keep 100% of your dough you can handle the sales process yourself and start by reaching out to local businesses or focus on a specific niche.

Freelancing lets you become what career expert JT O'Donnell calls an “instant entrepreneur.” You have the ability to make money quickly, you pick & choose your projects and you can hone a skill set you may not use on a regular basis. That's a huge win-win.

Cost To Start: Free!

Expert: Ryan Robinson @

Article To Get You Started: 10 Steps to Start a Freelance Business While Working Full-Time (and Why You Should)

#11: Hosting Virtual Summits

What Is It?

Over the past decade, conferences have completely blown up. Previously, there were several major conferences within an industry each year that everyone and their mother attended. Now, there seems to be events every weekend on any topic you can dream up! Why? Simple. Conferences are a win-win for everyone involved.

If you're an attendee, you get direct access to thought leaders in your space as well as a whole squad of like-minded people. If you're hosting the event you can immediately position yourself as a thought leader in your industry, generate tons of visibility for your brand and turn a pretty nice profit while you're at it.

The problem with traditional conferences is that they can be super expensive to run. You need to rent the venue, buy the catering, pay the speakers, hire event staff – those costs add up fast. What if there was a way to host the conference without all of the unnecessary costs? Well, a few smart people figured out that by running the conference virtually you effectively mitigate all of the expenses allowing you to discount ticket prices while still turning a profit and delivering massive value to your audience!

If you're looking to build influence in an industry, generate massive amounts of leads, and make a little money while you're at it, this may be the model for you.

Cost To Start: $500 – $1000

Expert: Imran Esmail @ Escape Your Desk Job

Article To Get You Started: How I Sold $15,375 Worth of My Course With My First Virtual Summit

#12: Become An Uber Driver

What Is It?

Which one of these is not like the other? Uber driving may not be one of those side business ideas that you can start online, but it hits all of our other criteria, and you can start making money instantly. If you need some additional cash to fund any of the ideas above (or just take a trip to Thailand and lay on a beach sipping Mai Tais), this may be your ticket.

Business Insider broke down the number of weekly trips you'd need to make to rake in $100,000 in dozens of American cities. In San Fran you only need 96 trips (13 per day) while in Dallas you'll need to pack in 198 (28 per day). If you live in a major metropolitan area, Uber & Lyft are definitely worth a look.

Cost To Start: Free!

Article To Get You Started: How To Get Started As An Uber Driver

#13: Executive Coach

What is it?

An Executive Coach is someone who provides support, professional development, and leadership coaching to Managers and C-Suite Executives. Their role is to guide clients through challenges and changes while inspiring personal growth and increased performance.

It's important to have a background in leadership and an ability to teach others with confidence. You will be advising clients on how to effectively manage their teams as well as identify and solve problems.

Cost To Start: Free (Unless you want to become certified)

Article To Get You Started: Indeed's Guide To Executive Coaching

* * *

There you have it, 13 side business ideas that are proven to gross at least $100,000 that you can start on right this second. These side business ideas may even turn into long-term gigs! The only thing you need to do now is to actually get started!

If you're hungry for some work from home ideas, check out this post with 10 Side Hustle Jobs That Can Make You Some Extra Money!

Ready To Finally Start Your Side Hustle & Make More Money?

Click here to get my free Side Hustle Startup Toolkit and land your first client in 14 days.

Austin Belcak

Austin is the founder of Cultivated Culture where he helps people land jobs without connections, without traditional experience, and without applying online. His strategies have been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, & Fast Company and has helped people just like you land jobs at Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, & more.

7 thoughts on 13 Side Business Ideas That Can Actually Make You Over $100k
  1. Wow, what a great article AB! Thanks for the mention, it’s an honor 🙂

  2. Thanks so much , Austin. Great ideas!

  3. Maito says:

    Loved this article. It’s so precise, I finally managed to plan the ideas around my head. Had been sticking to these ideas for a long time, though I wasn’t sure where to start and how to manage each one. After reading this I took my pen and put things into paper, and definitely made me feel much better.Thank you Austin.

  4. Aleaji Uzoma says:

    Thank you Austin for this piece of good work.

    The ideas are all so on point.
    There’s a lot we can do these days to raise money on the side. Selling insurance for example. But it’s primarily necessary one has the basic sales skills.
    This always comes to fore many times.

    For ideas you gave like becoming an uber driver, these need no special sales skills and can be done by anyone who can drive and has a car.

    Thanks for sharing such an illuminating piece.

    1. Glad you liked it Aleaji! I always recommend having a side hustle no matter where you’re at in your career or where you want to go. There’s so much upside!

  5. Jon Snedeker says:

    What a great list of ideas, thank you so much for sharing Austin! I love it



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