Best money-making side hustles to earn you extra income in 2024

best side hustles
A side hustle can provide additional income and help you achieve greater financial security. Source: AFP

You may find yourself burdened with the high costs of university education. From tuition fees to textbooks, accommodation and other living expenses, it can all get too much.

The best side hustles can be a big help for those of you without loans, scholarships, or financial support from their families to cover your expenses.

Side hustles also offer you the opportunity to gain practical experience outside of the classroom.

Whether freelancing, internships or starting a small business, you can develop valuable skills such as time management, communication, marketing, and problem-solving. 

Taking on some of the best side hustles often involves interacting with clients, customers, and collaborators from diverse backgrounds.

This allows you to expand your professional network and build valuable connections that can open doors to future career opportunities or collaborations.

The best part? Unlike traditional part-time jobs with fixed schedules, many side hustles offer flexibility in working hours and location.

This flexibility allows you to balance your academic commitments with your work responsibilities more effectively, reducing stress and burnout.

best side hustles

Side hustling allows you to find something you already enjoy doing, and change it slightly so that it earns you an extra income. Source: AFP

How to start side hustles

If you are looking for ways on how to start side hustles, here are some steps you can take:

  • Identify your skills and interests: Think about what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing. Identifying your skills and interests will help you choose a side hustle that you’ll enjoy and be successful at.
  • Brainstorm ideas: Once you know your skills and interests, brainstorm potential side hustle ideas. This could include tutoring, graphic design, social media management, writing, photography, or even creating and selling crafts or products online. 
  • Research the market: Before diving in, research the market for your chosen side hustle. Look at what similar services or products are being offered, how much they’re being sold for, and who your potential customers might be. 
  • Create a plan: Outline a simple business plan for your side hustle. This should include details such as what you’ll be offering, how you’ll market your services or products, how much you’ll charge, and how much time you’ll dedicate to your side hustle each week.
  • Start small: Don’t feel like you have to start big right away. Begin by offering your services or products to friends, family, and acquaintances or by setting up a small online store. 
  • Promote yourself: Use social media, word-of-mouth, and online platforms to promote your side hustle. Create a simple website or social media profile to showcase your work and reach potential customers. Networking with classmates, teachers, and local community members can also help spread the word about your side hustle.

8 best side hustles that pay well in 2024

best side hustles

Starting a side hustles can alleviate the financial burden that comes with studying abroad. Source: AFP

1. Marketing strategy 

Marketing strategy is one of the best side hustles that pay well for students.

The work often doesn’t require fixed hours in an office. You can work from anywhere, anytime, which fits well with your student schedule.

Almost every business needs marketing. Whether it’s a local coffee shop or a tech startup, they all need help getting their message out there. Even if you don’t see job ads for marketing roles, you can approach the shops near you to offer your services. 

Let’s say you spend a day helping a local bakery with its marketing strategy. You will be in charge of:

  • Brainstorming ideas for promoting their new line of pastries.
  • Creating social media posts with enticing pictures of their treats.
  • Analysing their past marketing efforts to see what worked and what didn’t.
  • Developing a plan for reaching out to new customers in the community.
best side hustles

A mobile app developer uses programming languages and development skills to create, test, and develop applications on mobile devices. Source: AFP

2. Mobile app developer

Mobile apps are everywhere, from games to productivity apps to social media platforms. This means there’s a huge demand for skilled app developers. 

App development requires many skills including, technical skills, creativity and problem-solving abilities.

By working on app projects, you can enhance your coding skills, learn about user interface design and gain experience with project management.

According to Glassdoor, the average base pay for mobile app developers in the US is around US$89,687 annually.

This can vary based on your experience, expertise, and the complexity of the projects you work on.

3. Presentation design

Presentation design is one of the best side hustles for students in 2023 because it combines creativity, flexibility and decent pay for just a day’s work. 

Businesses, students, and professionals always need presentations for many reasons, such as meetings, pitches, or reports. 

You can earn a good amount for this kind of work.

According to ZipRecruiter, the average hourly rate for presentation designers in the US is around US$42.86 per hour, but it can go higher based on experience and the project’s complexity.

You don’t need fancy equipment or an expensive studio to start designing presentations. You only need a computer, software like PowerPoint or Canva, and your creativity.

4. Website designer

Becoming a website designer is a great side hustle for students because it opens the doors to many opportunities. 

Every business needs a website nowadays. Yet, 46% of small businesses in the US still don’t have a website.

This means there’s a huge demand for website designers. That’s where you and your skills come in.

According to ZipRecruiter, website designers can earn an average hourly rate of around US$29 per hour

Designing websites helps you develop coding, graphic design, and problem-solving skills. These skills can benefit you in many areas of your life and future career.

As you work on different website projects, you can build a portfolio to showcase your skills to potential clients or future employers. 

best side hustles

Songwriting is a side hustle you can do at any time and anywhere. Source: AFP

5. Songwriter

Becoming a songwriter allows you to express your creativity while earning money.

If you love music and have a knack for writing lyrics or composing melodies, songwriting can be a natural fit for you.

It’s a way to channel your passion into something productive and potentially profitable.

As a student, you have a lot going on with classes and other commitments. Songwriting allows you to work on your own schedule.

You can jot down lyrics or create melodies whenever inspiration strikes, whether during a break between classes or late at night.

While the music industry can be competitive, songwriters have opportunities to earn money.

For example, you can sell your songs to artists, license them for use in commercials or movies, or even perform them yourself if you’re also a musician.

According to BLS, the median pay for songwriters and composers in the US is around US$62,940 per year, but this can vary based on success and experience.

6. 3D industrial design

3D industrial design is one of the best side hustles for students in 2024.

The demand for 3D industrial designers is growing steadily. Many industries, such as manufacturing, architecture, gaming, and advertising, rely on 3D design for product development, visualisation, and marketing.

According to BLS, the employment of industrial designers is projected to grow 2% by 2030.

A side hustle in 3D industrial design lets you work on projects that challenge your imagination and problem-solving skills. It’s like bringing your ideas to life in a virtual space.

Unlike other side hustles that may require upfront investment or specialised skills, getting started with 3D industrial design is quite easy.

You can learn the necessary software skills through online tutorials, courses, or even your own experimentation.

Earnings vary based on factors like your skill level, the complexity of projects, and your client base, 3D industrial design has the potential for high income.

According to ZipRecruiter, the average hourly rate for freelance 3D designers in the US is around US$22.97.

7. Brand style design 

Brand style design is one of the best side hustles for students because: 

  • This line of work allows you to unleash your creativity. You can play with colours, fonts, and graphics to create visually appealing identities for businesses or individuals.
  • This job is flexible. Allowing you to work on projects at your own pace and whenever it fits into your busy schedule. 
  • It is in demand. In today’s competitive market, businesses understand the importance of branding to stand out. This means there’s a growing demand for brand-style designers.
  • According to ZipRecruiter, freelance graphic designers in the US earn an average of US$34.67 per hour, but experienced designers can earn much more.
  • With the rise of remote work, you can take on brand-style design projects from clients anywhere in the world. This means you’re not limited by location and can work from the comfort of your dorm room.
best side hustles

This allows you to transform any text script into a captivating spokesperson video featuring real humans or avatars. Source: AFP

8. AI spokesperson videos

Creating AI spokesperson videos typically doesn’t take long.

With advancements in technology, user-friendly platforms and tools allow you to generate these videos quickly and efficiently, often within a day’s work.

Once you create an AI spokesperson video, you can earn passive income from it. By uploading your videos to platforms like YouTube or selling them on marketplaces, you can earn money through ad revenue, sponsorships, or direct sales without needing to work on new projects continuously.

Businesses and content creators increasingly turn to AI spokesperson videos to engage their audience and deliver their message effectively.

Unlike traditional spokesperson roles that may require acting or public speaking skills, AI spokesperson videos can be created using text-to-speech technology.

This means you don’t need to be in front of a camera or have any particular speaking abilities to create compelling videos.