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Side Hustles You Can Start With No Money In 2023

Side Hustles You Can Start With No Money In 2023

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Side Hustles You Can Start With No Money In 2023

Side Hustles You Can Start For Free

So, you’re eager to start earning extra money in your spare time, but so far, all the good side hustles seem to require an initial financial investment that you’re just not ready to make right now.

If that sounds familiar, the good news is that it’s entirely possible to start a side hustle with no money. I mean, literally, not one single dollar. 

If you think it’s just you wanting to start a side hustle to make a little extra money or even become a full-time business owner, a survey by Zippia, showed a whopping 45% of Americans have a side hustle in 2023. Men are nearly 19% more likely to have a side hustle compared to women, with 44% of men saying they have a side hustle, compared to 37% of women. Additionally, young workers are the most likely to have a side hustle, with 49% of those between the ages of 18-34 having one.

Related: 6 things to do before turning your side hustle into a full-time job

Below, I’ll share with you five profitable side businesses you can start with $0 investment, including the strategies, techniques, and free tools you can use to turn a profit. 

5 Profitable Side Hustles You Can Start With No Money

1. Selling Second-Hand Goods 

There are two reasons why selling second-hand goods online is the absolute best side hustle idea to pursue if you don’t have a budget to invest. 

A. It’s the Easiest No-Money Side Business to Start

You don’t need any special skills, knowledge, or equipment to do this one. 

If you have a device capable of accessing the Internet and taking photographs (i.e.; your smartphone), you’re already halfway there. 

The only other requirement is to have items in your home that you’re willing to part with in exchange for money. 

That’s genuinely all it takes. 

Related: Things to consider before starting a side hustle

B. It’s a Great Launch Pad for Other Businesses

You may be reading this guide because you’re eager to start a side business but pursuing your real passion requires start-up costs that are beyond your budget right now. 

For example, if you’re crazy about cars and love spending time keeping yours in immaculate condition, you may want to turn your passion into profit by starting an auto detailing business but don’t have the funds to pay for the expensive equipment you’ll need. 

One way to raise at least some of those funds is to sell old items that you own.

Alternatively, it may be that you find the whole process of selling stuff so enthralling that you decide to stick with it, reinvesting your earnings by buying items at thrift stores, flea markets, and yard sales, then flipping them online for a profit. 

Where to Sell Your Second-Hand Items 

Facebook Marketplace is the best place to sell most types of household items, electronics, and gadgets. 

Marketplace Side Hustle

The platform is completely free to use. Facebook doesn’t take any fees, even when you make a sale. 

What’s more, as the biggest social media platform in the world, Facebook already has a huge built-in audience. 

The latest figures from consumer data analysts Statista suggest that Marketplace boasts one billion monthly users around the world, while recent research notes that 474 million users log in to Facebook solely to shop on Marketplace. 

While it’s unreasonable to suggest that a billion Facebook users will see your item, the numbers do mean that there’s a good probability that there’s someone on Marketplace looking to buy what you have to sell. 

Other alternatives include Craigslist, Amazon, and eBay, though the latter two do charge a fee for every successful sale. 

What to Sell

As long as it’s legal and doesn’t violate the terms and conditions of your preferred selling platform, almost anything goes when it comes to selling your possessions. 

That said, there are certainly some items that sell better than others. 

I can tell you from personal experience that, with the exception of very rare or collectible items, things like books, CDs, and DVDs are practically worthless in today’s age of digital streaming. 

So, if you were hoping to kick start your side hustle career by finally getting rid of that DVD box set collection you haven’t watched since 2009, I’m sorry, but you may need to rethink your strategy. 

So what does make money?

E-commerce specialists MageComp note that the best-selling product categories on Facebook Marketplace include: 

  1. Clothing, shoes, and accessories
  2. Home furniture and furnishings
  3. Pet supplies
  4. Handmade goods
  5. Electronic goods.

Elsewhere, eBay provides its own data on its best-selling items

Ebay Side Hustle
  • In case you can’t see the image above, these items include: 
  • Car, truck, and motorcycle Parts & Accessories
  • In-car technology (such as sat-navs)
  • Men and women’s clothing
  • Small kitchen appliances
  • Crystals and mineral specimens
  • Jewelry.

2. Freelance Writing 

If you’re a talented writer with in-depth knowledge and experience in a particular niche, freelance writing can be a great side hustle to start.

Although the rise of AI-generated content and search engines like Google prioritizing high-quality content mean that competition for well-paid writing gigs is getting tougher by the day, those gigs do exist, and it doesn’t cost you a penny to pursue them. 

Here’s how: 

A. Pick a Niche 

There are some writers who thrive as jack-of-all-trade generalists, but to begin with, you’ll benefit from picking a particular subject or area of interest that you want to specialize in. 

This could be something you do in your day job, such as marketing, running a business, gardening, or accounting. 

Related: Can a conflict of interest stop your side business?

It could be a subject you have a great deal of knowledge about, such as automobiles, sports, or health and beauty. 

Whatever it is, focusing on a specific niche will help you develop your reputation as a knowledgeable writer on that subject, and that can make a big difference to both the quality and quantity of clients you attract. 

B. Show What You Can Do

Rarely will you ever find a freelance writing client willing to hire you without first seeing that you’re a competent and capable writer, so you’ll need to put in some kind of portfolio to showcase your skills. 

Medium Side Hustle

This doesn’t have to cost anything. You can set up a free blog with either WordPress.com or Medium.com and use it to link to published examples of your work. If you don’t yet have anything published, simply create some high-quality content and publish them as blog posts on your platform of choice. 

C. Get Your First Clients

The easiest way to get your first paid writing gigs is to use marketplace sites like UpWork or Fiverr, which connect freelancers with clients who need their services. 

Upwork Side Hustle

First, set up a free seller account on those platforms.

Next, take the time to create a fully-optimized profile with a compelling bio that shows potential clients why you’re the right writer for the job and examples of your work. 

You then have two ways to get paying work. 

The first is to post your own offers, which are essentially advertisements for your service. Do this well, and that advertisement will show up when people search sites like Fiverr for a writer. 

The other option is to pitch directly to potential customers. People with buyer profiles can create their own job-listing style advertisements outlining their requirements. 

Your job is to then respond to that listing with your pitch, again detailing why you’re the best writer for the assignment and including other key details such as:

  • Your fee
  • How long it will take you to complete the work (with a set deadline)
  • Any other information you need from the client to do your best work. 

D. Explore Other Methods to Build Your Client Base

In the early days of my own writing career, one client-generating tactic I deployed successfully was to look for businesses in my chosen niche who had previously used blogs and other forms of content marketing but had since stopped. 

I primarily focused on web design back then, so I Googled as many web design agencies and similar companies as I could find and looked to see if their website featured blog articles.

Next, I looked for those blogs that didn’t have any new posts for six months or longer, and reached out with a basic pitch that went something like this:

I came across your blog on [SUBJECT] while researching an article on [SIMILAR SUBJECT]. 

“I noticed that you’d previously posted lots of useful content but haven’t made any new posts since [DATE OF LAST PUBLISHED BLOG].

“Is this something I can help with? I’m a freelance writer specializing in web design. [END THE PITCH WITH CREDENTIALS, PORTFOLIO, AND TESTIMONIAL]”

Feel free to copy that pitch template and tweak it for your own use. It won me more than my fair share of clients, so there’s no reason it won’t work for you.

3. Start Blogging

If you do love writing but aren’t so keen on pitching to clients, there are other options to explore, such as starting a blog on a subject you know well.

Although you’ll first need to lay the groundwork in terms of setting up your blog, creating content, and driving traffic, you’ll soon be able to monetize it by displaying paid ads generated by ad networks like  Google Ads, MediaVine, or Ezoic

Blogs can also be monetized through affiliate marketing, which involves linking to products and services and earning a commission every time someone clicks that link from your blog and makes a purchase. 

As a word of caution, I should note that monetized blogs aren’t necessarily the best side hustle business idea if you’re in a hurry to make a lot of money.

One study found that only 27% of bloggers make any real money within the first six months. 

However, if you are looking for a way to profit from your passion and don’t mind putting in the time and effort, the rewards are there, with the same report noting that long-time bloggers can earn an average of $4,929.45 per month.

Can You Really Start a Blog With No Money?

There are lots of people who will tell you that you can’t launch a profitable blog without any money. 

The reason for this is that to monetize a blog, you typically need your own domain name and web hosting, both of which can be picked up for less than $20. 

However, if you’re really looking to do this without spending a single dollar, there is a workaround.

Start publishing engaging articles on Medium.com and engage with other writers on the platform to build a following. 

When you have 100 followers, you can enroll in the Medium Partner Program for free and earn money when people read and interact with your work. 

Although you can’t put display ads on your Medium articles, you can always take the money generated from Medium and reinvest it in your hosting and domain. 

Other Free and Low-Cost Ways to Make Money Blogging 

The more revenue streams you can incorporate into your blog, the more opportunities you have to make extra money. 

Here’s how you can do that: 

A. Create a YouTube Channel Relating to Your Subject

You can create a free YouTube account using your existing Google credentials and start posting video content to accompany your blog posts. 

YouTube Side Hustle

Not only will these videos keep your blog readers engaged for longer, they can also be monetized in their own right.

Once you reach Youtube’s monetization criteria, you can earn money from ads displayed in and around your videos. 

Canva Side Hustle

Free tools you can use to create your videos include: 

B. Launch an Accompanying Podcast

Don’t like having your face on camera? You can always start a podcast instead. 

Audacity is an excellent free desktop software solution for recording and editing audio that is popular with podcasters. 

Once you’ve created your episodes, you can upload them to free podcasting hosting providers such as Podbean or Buzzsprout

To reach as wide an audience as possible, you can also start a podcast for free on Spotify. 

C. Sell Relevant Products and Services

One of the best ways to make extra cash with your blog is to create something to sell. 

Amazon KDP Side Hustle

For example, you could use Amazon KDP to publish books and promote them via your blog, or you could use print-on-demand companies like Printify to create merchandise with your branding.

Neither option costs anything as you only pay once you’ve made a sale via a small commission that is automatically deducted from your earnings.

Alternatively, you could use your blog to offer paid services such as consulting, coaching, or done-for-you activities like graphic design. 

4. Offering Virtual Assistant Services

Starting a part-time virtual assistant business is a perfect side hustle for anyone who likes variety. 

Depending on the specific services you offer, you could find yourself creating spreadsheets for a tractor supply company one day, managing emails for a marketing consultant the next day, and writing social media posts for a fitness coach the day after that. 

Here’s how to start a virtual assistant side gig with $0 investment. 

A. Identify Your Skills and Resources 

As a virtual assistant, you can potentially offer a whole host of different administrative tasks and back-office support to your clients.

The first task then, is to determine what services you’ll offer by thinking about what you’re good at and what tools you have at your disposal. 

For example, if you’re detail-orientated and incredibly organized, you may want to monetize those skills by offering to help businesses manage their calendars and schedules, whereas if writing is your biggest strength, marketing and communications tasks may be more up your alley. 

B. Register on Marketplace Sites

The same freelance marketplaces we shared for freelance writers (Fiverr and Upwork) can also be used by virtual assistants to find clients. 

Fiverr Side Hustle

The process is the same. 

  • Create a free account
  • Build a high-quality profile that impresses potential clients
  • Post free listings advertising your services
  • Browse the “help wanted” listings posted by buyers and message those buyers with your pitch. 

C. Expand Your Business 

Once you’ve worked with your first few clients, consider reinvesting some of your earnings in expanding your business. 

Purchase a domain name (myvirtualassistantbusiness.com etc.), and use a low-cost website-building platform like Wix or WordPress to create a site that showcases your skills, services, and client feedback in a way that helps you stand out from the crowd.

You may even want to invest in traditional marketing materials like business cards and flyers and use those to attract clients from your local area. 

Alternatively, if you’d rather keep 100% of your earnings as pure profit, simply focus on growing your reputation on your preferred marketplace site by delivering outstanding work each and every time. 

The more you do that, the higher the rating and the better the client reviews that are posted on your profile, making you an attractive candidate when clients are searching for a good VA.

For more advice, see my detailed, step-by-step guide to starting a virtual assistant business.

5. Joining ‘The Gig Economy’

Last but not least, the app store on your phone is full of tools you can use to make extra money in your spare time. 

Uber Side Hustle

If you have a working car with gas in the tank, a driver’s license, or insurance, you can sign-up to ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft or get paid as a food delivery driver via services such as Instacart or Doordash.

Prefer to walk than drive? You can get paid for that, too, by using apps like Rover, where you can earn money from activities like dog walking and pet sitting.

Don’t forget about Airbnb too. If you have a spare room in your home, you can rent it to guests as an alternative to hotel accommodation.

Other gig-based apps you could try for free include: 

  • TaskRabbit – General day-to-day tasks such as furniture assembly, delivering groceries, and more
  • Qwick – Events and entertainment services such as bartending and waiting tables
  • Amazon Flex – Use your car to deliver Amazon packages. 
  • Grubhub – A delivery app similar to Uber Eats and Doordash
  • Dolly – Deliveries and Removals
  • Ivueit -Make money taking photos of your smartphone 
  • Wonolo – Find shift-based work at companies in your area.

Also see: How to start a business from home

How to Start a Side Hustle With No Money: Final Thoughts 

If the five zero investment side hustles above prove anything, it’s that the old adage that “you have to spend money to make money” is no longer as true as it once was. 

Related: Are side hustles worth it?

Thanks to a plethora of free platforms such as Facebook Marketplace, Fiverr, and Medium, and a host of apps like Uber and Doordash, there’s never been more opportunities to earn supplemental income for free. 

Although each of these good money-making options requires a slightly different approach, you may have noticed that they all share at least a few similar traits, including: 

  • Opportunities to grow – I’ve shown you how you can start a variety of side businesses using free tools and platforms, but once you start earning from those tools, you can take your side gig up a level and even build towards making it a full-time job by reinvesting some of your earnings on things like marketing materials or upgrading any tools you use.
  • Picking a niche helps – The only problem with no-money side hustles is that the barrier to entry is so low that scores of people are trying to make money from them. One way to stand out from the crowd is to specialize in a particular niche, developing a reputation as a go-to source for a particular type of service or product.
  • Deliver your best work at all times  -The only true way to grow your side hustle is to ensure your customers get the very best from you at all times. That may mean you produce the highest quality work, sell high-quality products, or go above and beyond to provide five-star service. Doing so can increase customer loyalty and encourage referrals and positive online reviews, all of which can attract more clients to your side business.

For more advice, see our 11 steps to starting a side hustle with a full-time job

Author

  • Greg Bouhl

    With over two decades as an entrepreneur, educator, and business advisor, Greg Bouhl has worked with over 2,000 entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their businesses. Fed up with clients finding and acting on inaccurate and outdated information online, Greg launched StartUp101.com to be a trusted resource for people starting a business.

Side Hustles You Can Start With No Money In 2023

Side Hustles You Can Start With No Money In 2023

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