Side Hustles That Work: 4 Success Stories

The world has changed in many ways since the global pandemic in 2020. One of the biggest areas of change is how people work and the landscape of the traditional 9-to-5 workday.

Interest in “side hustles” has grown steadily as indicated by the increase in internet searches on Google Trends.

Side hustles are a fantastic way to make extra money alongside your main income source. In your own time and on your own terms. Thousands of people across the US are topping up their savings with side hustles that work. And now it’s your turn.


Side hustles that work

In this article, we’ll look at 4 amazing side hustles and some success stories from people who are turning their free time into real money.

Read More: 14 side hustles that pay weekly (and how much they pay)


1. Matched betting

Beat the bookie

Before we hear from someone who knows that this side hustle works, we need to answer the question: What is matched betting? Even though it’s been a popular side hustle across Europe for over a decade, it’s a pretty new concept in the US.

Here’s start with a brief explanation but find out more about how matched betting works here.

What is matched betting?

Matched betting is a strategic technique that allows people to make guaranteed profits from the promotions and bonuses offered by sportsbooks and casinos. Despite having the word “betting” in the title, matched betting is not gambling and doesn’t require you to risk any money.

Instead, you use more than one online sportsbook to cover all potential outcomes of a sport event, ensuring a win-win situation and financial reward. It’s a tried-and-tested, legal and effective way to make money online. And you can start earning straight away.


Leah's matched betting side hustle success

Leah is a college student, living in New Jersey. She was looking for a way to earn money to help with college expenses that was flexible enough to fit around her schedule. She started her matched betting side hustle in May 2023 and has since successfully generated over $1,000 in profit.

“... this side hustle is amazing [...] You can earn hundreds, and even thousands of dollars, if you put in the time and effort to learn how it works and complete the offers.

Leah isn’t doing it alone though. She uses ProfitDuel, an online matched betting platform which provides software, training videos and offer guides.

ProfitDuel is “a genuine business with a real, human customer support team. The team are really helpful and you can reach out to them any time. My experience with them has been really good - they are always happy to help.

Matched betting doesn't involve any gambling - all outcomes are covered and every opportunity on the ProfitDuel platform is completely risk-free. You can try it out for yourself using the free trial - you don't even need to enter your card details.”

7-Day Trial: Try Risk-Free Matched Betting for only $1

What's so good about matched betting?

  • Risk-free profit: Matched betting allows you to make a guaranteed profit by covering all possible outcomes of a bet, eliminating the risk of losing money.
  • Recurring income: Ongoing promotions and new bookmaker offers mean there are consistent opportunities to make money.
  • Accessible to beginners: It's beginner-friendly, and you don't need extensive knowledge of sports or betting to get started.
  • Flexible schedule: Matched betting can be done at your convenience, making it suitable for those with busy lifestyles or part-time availability.
  • Low starting capital: You can start with a relatively small amount of money and gradually build your bankroll.
  • Minimal time commitment: Once you're familiar with the process, it can take as little as 15-30 minutes a day to make consistent income.
  • Use of free bets: Matched betting leverages free bets and promotions put out by online sportsbooks and casinos allowing you to make money without risking your own funds.

Read More:  How Does Matched Betting Work?

What are you waiting for?

Now you’ve heard Leah’s story, it’s time to start your own matched betting side hustle. Learn the basics, complete your first offers and earn over $100 completely free of charge. How? Start your ProfitDuel free trial today!


2: Photography

From hobby to hustle

With an estimated 136 million iPhone users in the US, a photography side hustle could be sitting right in your pocket. After all, “the best camera is the one that’s with you”.

Types of photography side hustle:

  • Photographing events and music gigs for local or online publications.
  • Wedding photography.
  • In-studio portrait shoots or more informal documentary photography at people’s homes.
  • Selling your images on a stock photo site.
  • Turning your work into prints and selling via an e-commerce website.
  • Creating and selling Lightroom presets.

r/B_Huij's photography side hustle success

In a Reddit thread, r/B_Huij discussed how their photography side hustle works and shared their top tips for success.

“I do occasional portraits, corporate headshots, family pictures, engagements, low-key weddings [...] even videography. But I average probably 2 bookings a month, and rarely are they time-consuming projects. I make just enough money to [...] keep myself in film/paper/chemicals for my hobby analog work.”


Tips for a photography side hustle (r/B_Huij)

  • Base your price on an hourly rate that makes the side hustle worth your time.
  • Put together packages that are quick  and easy to turnaround: “My most popular package is a 1 hour shoot with 1 location, and 6 photos the client picks to have edited and delivered as full-res JPGs with a print release.”
  • Market your side hustle online via a website or on social media. Decide how heavily you want to invest in organic and/or paid marketing. Encourage reviews, referrals and recommendations.
  • Under-promise and over-deliver. For example, consider adding a few extra images to your offering. As r/B_Huij explains, “The client expected to pay for 6 photos and get 6 photos, but instead paid for 6 photos and got 10."
  • Don’t undervalue yourself and know that it’s ok to refuse someone’s request for free photos.
  • Draw up a contract, discuss it with your clients and make sure that they understand everything. Ask them to sign it before you take any photographs.

What’s so good about photography?

  • Creative outlet: Photography allows you to channel your creativity and express yourself through visuals, providing immense personal satisfaction.
  • Diverse income streams: From selling prints to licensing your work, photography offers a range of income opportunities.
  • Flexibility: You have the freedom to set your own schedule, choose your projects, and work in various settings, making it ideal for those seeking work-life balance and creative control.
  • Scalability: As your portfolio grows and your skills improve, you can scale your photography business, attracting higher-paying clients and larger projects.
  • Low initial investment: Starting with a basic camera and gradually investing in better equipment as your business grows allows for a low initial investment.

3: E-commerce

Accidental entreprenuer

There are so many ways to make money online through e-commerce. From dropshipping to selling original art or selling your old clothes, there is huge potential for a successful ecommerce side hustle.


James' commerce side hustle success

James is a UI/UX designer based in Yorkshire, UK. His e-commerce side hustle started accidentally when he created some Lightroom presets to go along with the Wes Anderson trend we saw take over social platforms earlier this year.

When people saw his photos looking like they came straight out of a Wes Anderson movie, they asked if they could buy the presets. James packaged some up, as well as deciding to sell his own photos as prints and The Ilkley Creative online store was born!

When James first posted about his accidental side hustle, his Etsy store had made 100 sales in 3 weeks. As of October 2023, that number is now over 400 and James has since decided to open a Shopify website for customers to buy directly from him.

What started as an accident has become a side hustle that works! James took his existing skills (photography, photo editing and experience using Lightroom) to make money online via a brand-new side business.

What’s so good about e-commerce?

  • Global reach: E-commerce enables you to reach a vast audience worldwide, tapping into a global market for your products or services.
  • Diverse product offerings: Whether selling physical products, digital downloads, or subscription services, e-commerce provides versatility in the types of products you can offer.
  • Automation and efficiency: Utilize e-commerce platforms to automate processes like order management, payments, and customer communication, saving time and increasing efficiency.
  • Analytics and optimization: Leverage data analytics to understand customer behavior,  and optimize your offerings and marketing strategies for better results.
  • Low overheads: Compared to traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, starting an e-commerce venture requires minimal overhead costs, allowing for higher profit margins.

Read More: How to Make Money Online For Beginners


4: App/web development


 The community impact side hustle

Sometimes, the idea for a side hustle comes from the need to solve an everyday problem. It might be a problem faced by an individual, a group, or an entire community.

Traffic, congestion and travel issues exist in most major US cities. And it was web developer Steven’s morning commute in San Francisco which led him to build the traffic app, Routesy.

Steven's app development side hustle success

Like thousands of fellow commuters, Steven was looking for ways to improve his daily journey. Leveraging Bay Area transit systems' GPS data, he envisioned Routesy - a real-time traffic app to help commuters navigate the city.

By pulling together public data and transit information, Routesy informed users about delays and optimal routes. According to Steven’s LinkedIn profile, “Routesy was one of the first 500 iOS applications in the Apple App Store when it launched in 2008, and has been downloaded millions of times. The app serves around 30,000 commuters daily, and 100,000 users per month.”

Steven used his existing development skills to meet a genuine societal need and fill a void in commuter resources.

At its peak, Routesy was earning Steven over $7,500 monthly, which reflects the success of a simple yet innovative idea sparked during a routine morning commute.

The app has encountered some issues over the years, so if you do choose to use public data or 3rd party APIs, please be aware that there may be some hurdles for you to jump over.

What’s so good about app development?

  • Growing demand: The increasing reliance on technology has led to a surge in demand for mobile applications, providing a vast market for app developers.
  • Innovation and creativity: App development allows you to bring your ideas to life, addressing specific needs or providing entertainment.
  • Freelance opportunities: You can work as a freelance app developer, giving you flexibility and diverse experiences.
  • Continuous learning: Technology is constantly evolving, offering app developers the chance to continuously learn, ensuring long-term career growth.
  • Global accessibility: Apps can be used globally, offering the potential for a wide user base. The digital nature allows for remote work and collaboration.

It’s time for your side hustle success story to begin

In the ever-changing work landscape, side hustles have exploded in popularity. And they can really work. Why? Because they offer a flexible and fulfilling way to supplement your main income.

Each of the stories in this article reflects unique circumstances, skills and opportunities. But they all share a common thread: the individuals’ courage to have a go!

The road to a successful side hustle may have its challenges, but the potential rewards in terms of financial gain, personal fulfilment and creative expression make the journey worthwhile.

Remember, your side hustle journey begins with a single step, driven by your passion, dedication and the belief that, yes, your side hustle can work.

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*DISCLAIMER: We're legally required to state that there is no guarantee of specific results each month. The amount of money that you earn can vary dependant on the time and effort that you commit each month.