What are the best side hustles for 9-5 working professionals? It’s hard to maintain a side hustle when you are working full time – you never have enough time or energy. So here is a list of 5 side hustles that you can do while keeping your full time job.

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main banner for side hustles
Daniel’s Brew

The internet is flooded with videos, articles and other types of content around side hustles and passive income opportunities — that realistically aren’t feasible for most people.

Especially content that promises tens of thousands of dollars a month in actual income — is really nothing more than false advertising and just click bait because those types of results happen for the rare few that were lucky enough to get in early, or have been doing this full-time for many years or have found some unfair advantage that’s propelled their success.

But the concept of having supplemental sources of income is sound — especially if you want other avenues to build wealth, alongside your full time job.

So in this article, I’ll go over 5 realistic side hustles you can do, what you can expect from them and how you can sustain these new income streams to help increase your wealth — all while keeping your full time job.

First things first — as a work professional, there are a few parameters or impediments that you have to address when you try to venture into a new side hustle. 

Obstacles to Side Hustles

First, and foremost is your lack of time. If you have a standard 9–5 job, most likely you’re occupied between the hours of 8:30am and 5:30pm on weekdays. And while on occasion, you might be able to sneak out of work a little early or quietly log off before 5pm — typically you’re bound to your desk within normal office hours.

Girl with head on desk
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

The second factor to recognize is that because you’re working a full time job, you’ll also likely be very tired at the end of the day. Between dinner & taking care of the kids (if you have them), you might only have about 1–2 hours of free time in the evening — and chances are, you won’t be at your freshest state, both physically or mentally. This means, any side hustle you dive into must be something that can be set up & sustained with only a couple hours of dedication each night and ideally should not be too physically or mentally taxing. In other words, something like an evening landscaping business or a building an IOS app in your spare time, might not be a viable side hustle option, in this case.

So in this article, we’re only going to be looking at side hustles that fit these criteria:

  1. Can be done at home/remotely
  2. Takes less than 2–3hrs per day
  3. Is not extremely physically taxing
  4. Is sustainable over the long term

This way, it becomes realistically feasible for you to start this and carry it on, without sacrificing your day job or your sanity.

And one more thing to note before I go on to the side hustles — none of these ideas are going to bring you thousands of dollars in passive income overnight. In fact, depending on how much time and effort you can expend on these side hustles, they may never actually get that lucrative.

But the point here is not to be able to create massive sources of cashflow instantly that could potentially replace your day job — the goal here is to simply create an additional, supplemental stream of income, however big or small that may be — that can help to augment your cashflow, on a regular basis.

Medium Blog

The first side hustle option is to start a Medium blog.

Medium Home page

Medium.com is kind of like the YouTube of articles — where you have writers that publish articles into the Medium platform for all Medium members to read.

To be a medium member, it costs $5 monthly — and it gives that member access to read any and all articles written by any Medium writer on the platform. Topics range from trending tech news to entrepreneurship, personal growth and everything in between.

And the cohort of writers here are pretty well established, with many notable figures already writing on the platform — including Katie Couric, and Gary Vaynerchuck.

But the beauty of this platform, is that just like YouTube, anyone can become a writer on Medium and earn money from their written words — it’s actually really simple to get started.

You begin by registering for an account, setting up your profile, and then entering the writing tool with the “Write a Story” link on your profile. This opens up a writing editor that functions very much like a WordPress site — which has built in copy editing tools that you can utilize. As you write, you can specify headers, page breaks and even incorporate images into your work. Then when you’ve finished composing your article, simply hit the publish button, select a cover image, label tags that are relevant to your content and decide if you want to make this a free or member only article, meaning you’ll get paid when a member reads your story.

Medium Partner Program site
Medium Partner Program

And that’s it — you’ve published your own article on Medium.com and as long as you satisfy the criteria to enter into their Partner Program, Medium will pay you a a percentage of a reader’s membership fee — in proportion to the time they spend reading your work.

Here’s an example of how you get paid. If last month, a member spent 10% of their monthly reading time on your story, you will receive 10% of their $5 monthly membership fee. So in that scenario, you will have earned $0.50 for that month, from that member. Now, that’s not a lot, but image if you had a small following of only 500 members… that all spent 10% of the monthly reading time on your articles — that’s $250 that month.

Medium Pay Explained
How much you could get paid on Medium

And it’s a volume game, so the more articles you write, the more there is for members to read and the more followers you’ll get. If you have 2,000 followers and they spend just 10% of their reading time on your content, that’s an extra $1,000 per month.

But the best part about this side hustle is that the lift to get started is very light — all you really need is a computer and a commitment to write a few articles a month. Once you’ve written and published your articles, from that point on, the articles will continue to generate passive income for you — as long as they get read by other Medium members.

On my Medium account, I have articles that I’ve written a year ago, that are still generating a small amount passive income for me. This is definitely a feasible option for any of us that are full time professionals — because even if you only commit to writing one article a week, in one year’s time, you’ll have roughly 52 published works and that should be more than enough to bring you some sustained passive income, over time.

Shef — Online Meal Marketplace

This second side hustle option involves a homemade meal marketplace called Shef.

Shef home page

Shef is a really interesting online marketplace where local cooks make homemade meals and sell them to their communities — all through the help of the logistics service that Shef provides.

It’s very much like purchasing ready-made meals that you can simply reheat at home, but unlike some of the mass produced products out there, these meals are actually homemade, from scratch, from a local cook in your neighborhood.

Here’s how it works.

Shef meal options
Local favorites from Shef

First, anyone can be a Shef on the platform — but there are some safety qualifications you have to pass. You start by registering an account with Shef and then taking & passing an ANSI-accredited food safety certification exam. This online certification exam ensures that you are educated on the proper food safety practices that commercial restaurants have to follow — so that you can adopt them in your home kitchen.

Next, you set your menu and schedule of when customers can order your meals, which they’ll do one day in advance, to make sure you have enough time to to get ingredients and prepare the dishes.

packaging meals
Packaging for a Shef delivery

Then, as the orders come in, you simply cook, package and cool your dishes — and drop them off at a local delivery hub the morning of the actual delivery, so they can be sent out to your customers.

And that’s it — your customers get amazing home cooked meals and you have a thriving Shef business that brings in some supplemental income.

The reason why I felt like this would be a really good side hustle for working professionals, is that if you are the cook of your home, and if you prepare homemade meals regularly for your household, then cooking up a larger portion of your family’s meals each night and preparing them in to-go containers shouldn’t be a huge stretch in effort. You’re cooking anyways, and it would be very much like preparing a larger meal for your friends or close family and packaging it up for them to take home. You’d be leveraging an activity you already do each night to bring in some extra income — and that’s one of the best ways to develop a side hustle.

Shef diversity
Shef Diversity

Additionally, Shef is known for having such a diverse cohort of cooks on the platform with about 85% of the Shefs being women and 80% of them being people of color, representing over 85 different countries. That means, the variety of the meal options on Shef is vast and you’ll get so many different flavors and ingredient options to make all of your meals interesting and dynamic.

Even if you don’t become a Shef cook — it might be good to try out the service and get some amazing home cooked meals delivered to you.

Gear Rental — FriendWithA.com

The 3rd side hustle option is to start a rental business with a platform like FriendWithA.com.

Friendwitha site

FriendWithA.com is a really simple peer-to-peer rental marketplace where you can list gear that you have lying around for other people in your community to rent.

Getting started is really easy — you simply sign up for a free account, list your gear and then when renters reach out to you, simply confirm the bookings and arrange a convenient pick up location. But what’s really great about this site is that they also provide the lender of the equipment — property insurance and liability insurance as part of their service, for a small fee.

popular rentals
Popular categories of rentals

They have a Lender Damage Guarantee program, which provides coverage for up to $10,000 USD per incident, in the event that a borrower damages or steals your equipment. And they also have a Lender Liability Guarantee program, which provides liability coverage for up to $100,000 USD per occurrence, in the event of third-party claims of injury while using your gear. From a lender’s perspective this gives me piece of mind that if I rent something out to someone, I’m covered in the event of a loss or accident.

And again, this is something that can be set up without a lot of effort and time — and depending on the volume of equipment you have on the platform, FriendsWithA claims that you could potentially earn and extra $1,000 through this service.

But even if you don’t earn that much, once you have your equipment listed, the upkeep would be very minimal — so the income here would be mostly passive, which is why this might be a good option for those of us that are full time professionals.

Sell Digital Goods on Etsy

The Next Side Hustle on our list is to sell digital goods on a platform like Etsy.

Etsy home page

Etsy is typically known as a marketplace for selling jewelry, accessories and clothing, but did you know that there is also a thriving ecosystem of digital goods that exists on this platform?

Do a quick search for “checklists” and you’ll see nearly thousands of different type of checklists that you can download and use — on just about any subject matter you can think of.

etsy listings
Many checklists on Etsy

Here’s another one, budget sheets. If you search for “budget sheets” — again, you’ll see hundreds and hundreds of excel or google sheets all tailored towards keeping a budget.

And if you use the number of reviews as a proxy for sales of any one of these listings — you can easily estimate the amount of revenue any posting has made.

budget sheet
This budget sheet has over 3.5k sales

This one budget spreadsheet as an example, has about 3,500 reviews, so if we assume that they must have purchased in order to leave a review — that’s 3,500 orders, at least, at a price of roughly $10 each — which equates to about $35,000 total for that listing.

Of course, I don’t know how long this product has been live on Etsy, but even if it took a couple of years to reach this level of sales, $35k in sales over the course of 2 years would be an average of over $1,400 per month. Not bad, for a source of passive income.

If you’re a working professional, you’re likely already proficient in productivity tools like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel. So, if you decide to use these tools, and dedicated just a little bit of time and effort into creating a digital good, like a checklist or template — you might find that there are people on the Etsy marketplace willing to buy your goods.

Getting established here easy — you simply register an account on Etsy, create your digital product, and upload your listing, specifying the price and download method.

If you’d like, you can check out the Daniel’s Brew Etsy store to see my collection of resume templates and career resources available for purchase.

Affiliate Marketing via Short Form Video

And the last side hustle I have for you, is Affiliate Marketing via Short Form Video.

tiktok affiliates
TikTok Amazon Affiliate Influencers

Now, I know there are tons of videos and tutorials out there that talk about Affiliate Marketing— so I’m not going to go into the basics of what this is or how you set up affiliate links. But rather, I want to talk about one tactic you can employ to ensure that affiliate marketing gains traction for you and becomes something you can viably sustain, for the long term.

The single key factor in any affiliate marketing business is traffic. You have to get enough traffic to your links because it’s a volume game and you are counting on a certain percentage of your traffic converting into using your links and ultimately leading to a sale. So the more traffic you have, the more chances of conversion — and the more revenue you’ll earn.

And one of the easiest ways to get exposure and drive traffic to your links is to utilize short form video platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts.

Check out this affiliate creator on TikTok — she’s done a great job in garnering interest and consumption of her affiliate links, with just one straightforward method. 

paige tiktoker
TikTok: dailydealswithpaige

You see — creators like Paige search for enticing deals and sales on Amazon, make a quick short form video sharing these deals with their audience and drive them to use their Amazon affiliate links. 

If you’re an avid online shopper, you are likely searching for deals on a regular basis anyways, so aggregating the offers you find and simply sharing them on TikTok or Instagram Reels— would be a low time/effort engagement. But doing this creates immediate interest for those searching for great online deals and when the viewer uses the affiliate links to purchase the offers you are highlighting, it generates a small amount of passive income for you — all from an activity you are likely doing on a regular basis anyways.

It’s a low effort and entertaining method of earning some side income — especially if you enjoy online shopping.

And that’s it — those are the top 5 side hustles, in my opinion, that you can easily do, while keeping a normal 9–5 job.

working on desk
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

For more personal finance articles, check out my Medium profile, or simply go to my site, danielsbrew.com.

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**** Disclaimer *****

The content here is strictly the opinion of Daniel’s Brew and is for entertainment purposes only. It should not be considered professional financial, investment, or career advice. Investing and career decisions are personal choices that each individual must make for themselves in accordance with their situation and long term plans. Daniel’s Brew will not be held liable for any outcome as a result of anyone following the opinions provided in this content.

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