10 best side hustles in 2023
The beauty of side hustles is that they're flexible, fun and tailored to your own skills and interests. And the best part? You'll have the chance to make money doing something you love.
It's not uncommon for students to dip their toes into entrepreneurship. In fact, our latest National Student Money Survey found that 36% of surveyed students had their own side hustle or business. And it's not surprising when you consider the advantages of starting a side hustle.
For starters, they're usually flexible, focused on your favourite interests and add a lot of value to your CV. The experience will give you plenty to chat about in future job interviews, and could really help you stand out to employers.
Although, before getting started, make sure you're realistic about the potential earnings from a side hustle. The amount you'll make will depend on a number of factors, such as the type of side hustle you choose and how much time you can afford to spend on it.
And especially in the early days of your side hustle, there's a chance you won't make any money from it for a while. In this way, a part-time job could be a more reliable source of income.
However, if you are keen to start a side hustle, you have plenty of choices. They can range from small projects that you do as and when you have time, to ongoing businesses that require regular input. We've gone through a variety of side hustles below to help you find the money-making ideas that work for you.
Easy side hustle ideas
Here are the best side hustles to try:
Review products on YouTube
Ever been tempted to start a YouTube account? It can be an excellent side hustle, particularly if your channel has a commercial angle.
One option is to review products in your videos. Think about what kinds of products you know and love the most and focus on these. As a few examples, you could review ethical skincare, novels, gadgets and more.
As you gain subscribers and catch the attention of brands, you might find there's the opportunity to receive products to test and chat about in your YouTube videos.
Not only is this a great way to get freebies, but there's also the potential for you to earn money from it.
When talking to a brand about receiving samples, see if they're also happy to send you an affiliate link to share with your subscribers. Each time someone clicks that link and goes on to make a purchase or sign up for a service, you could earn a commission.
It's also possible to join networks to have access to more affiliate links. We explain more about how this works in our guide to affiliate marketing.
But remember, if a post is paid for, use #ad so it's clear.
Start an e-commerce site
Starting a website is easy, and if you focus on e-commerce, it could be a very profitable side hustle.
In case you're unfamiliar with e-commerce, it's essentially when products/services are bought and sold online.
As an example, Amazon is an e-commerce site. We're not saying you should try to be the next Jeff Bezos, but even a small-scale website can be a good money earner.
An easy way to create an e-commerce store is by using Shopify. At the time of writing, you can get a 3-day free trial, followed by £1/month for three months.
Other options include WooCommerce and WordPress. The prices vary for both of these platforms depending on the plans, so take some time to compare all of the options and decide which one would be most cost-effective for you.
It simplifies the process if you already have products to sell at the point of setting up the website, such as ones you've created or bought cheaply elsewhere.
Become an influencer
Increasingly, social media influencing is a popular way for people to make money online as a side hustle. While it can be difficult to build up your audience, there are definitely perks to becoming an influencer if you are successful.
There are a few ways to earn an income from social media, including affiliate marketing and brand deals.
And by working as an influencer, you'll gain valuable skills that could help you find a graduate job after university. Having the experience of creating online content, engaging with audiences and negotiating with brands will all look great on your CV.
However, keep in mind that, as the term 'influencer' suggests, you really could have the power to sway people's views and habits – so it shouldn't just be about the money. Make an effort to have a positive influence online.
Finding a niche will help you develop your brand, so you might want to consider focusing on a cause that you care about.
For example, if you love sustainable fashion, you could promote eco-friendly clothing brands and share thrifting tips. This has the potential to encourage others to ditch fast fashion and join you in celebrating ethical fashion. The chance to earn money and have a positive influence like that will make this a worthwhile side hustle.
Work on a flexible basis at events
Working at festivals, concerts and talks on an ad-hoc basis can be perfect for students – both as a way to earn money and experience incredible events.
And, particularly if you're looking for a summer job, do some research into the opportunities to work at festivals.
It is possible to get paid work at festivals, but there's also the option to volunteer through charities like Oxfam in return for a free event ticket. The volunteering work tends to involve things like providing directions to festival goers and checking wristbands.
So if you're hoping to attend an event anyway, working or volunteering there could be a great way to save (and even make) money.
Do freelance gigs via Fiverr
Fiverr is ideal for side hustles. There's such a huge range of freelance options on there, so you're bound to find a niche that suits your interests and skill set.
Some common types of Fiverr gigs include:
- Graphic design
- Art and illustrations
- Social media content.
Rent out your clothes
If you have things you rarely (or never) wear in your wardrobe, you could sell the clothes online... but that's not your only option.
Renting out your clothes gives you the chance to hold onto items you might wear again in future, while still making money from them.
As a side hustle, it would work well for clothes you've bought for special occasions like university balls or job interviews. It means you can hold onto the outfits for when you next need them, but until then, they're not just gathering dust.
To rent out clothes, one potential site to use is Swished. Just make sure you're aware of the fees involved before starting.
At the time of writing, Swished's fees are capped at 10% + 50p of the rental price you've chosen for the item, including the postage costs paid by the renter. There are also fees of 1.5% + 20p charged by their payment provider, Stripe.
Hayfa Hamdan, Co-Founder of Swished, has shared some excellent tips on how to successfully rent out your clothes online:
When you list an item, make sure you use good photos to really help boost your listing – especially, if you can, pictures of you wearing the outfit so people can see how it looks on.
It also really helps if you describe the fit so renters know if it will suit their body shape.
Don't worry if you don't have a lot of items; many users start by listing one or two outfits and we accept all brands, although going out and formal dresses tend to do the best. Just make sure the item is clean and in good condition.
Being a good lister will help increase the chances of people coming back to you to rent again and again. Turn on your notifications in the Swished app so you don't miss any requests, and respond to messages quickly.
Finally, what boosts the most rentals is sharing that you rent out your wardrobe. So make sure you tell your friends and link your profile to social media so people know they can rent from you. Be sure to tag Swished so we can reshare.
When you get a rental, communicate well with the renter and try to package it up nicely and add an extra touch such as putting a note in with the outfit – it helps them build a relationship with you.Use the code STSDEC5 for £5 off your first Swished rental.
Become a rider or store assistant with Getir
If you'd like to work for a food delivery company like Getir, there are generally two key ways to do this: either as a store assistant or as a rider. Both of these should have the option to fit flexibly around your studies, making them good side hustles.
To be an e-scooter rider, you need to be 21 or over. So, while this will be an option for some students, it won't be available to those who are aged 20 or younger. There are other eligibility criteria to meet, such as needing to have a full driving licence (or a CBT certificate if you don't have a full motorcycle licence).
To become a store assistant, on the other hand, you must be 18 or over. The main tasks involve picking and packing orders.
Some of the perks of working at Getir include earning the living wage per hour, having holiday pay and sick pay, and not paying fuel or insurance costs.
Sell handmade products on Etsy
A side hustle like this would look amazing on your CV. It not only shows your creativity, but you also need to be very organised and self-motivated to run an Etsy store. Plus, you'll be developing customer service skills by answering questions from buyers and keeping them updated about their orders.
And if the store takes off, you could end up making quite decent money from this side hustle.
Find out more in our full guide to making money on Etsy.
Teach your hobbies as an online tutor
Working as a private tutor can be a great way to make money as a student. But, if you're not keen on the idea of teaching an academic topic, remember there's the option to teach your hobbies instead.
For this side hustle, you'll need to be at a pretty high skill level to teach your hobby to others. As an example, to teach the piano, you'd likely need to be at grade eight standard (at least).
If you are skilled at something like music, art or video games, teaching them to others could be a very fun and rewarding way to earn an income.
To get started, try Superprof as they have tutors teaching students about a wide range of topics.Looking for a steady source of income at university? Find out the best-paid part-time jobs for students.
Create pet portraits while pet-sitting
Pet sitting, in itself, might not be the most surprising idea. But why not take it one step further and combine it with a pet portraiture business?
Granted, this does require some very specific skills as you'll need to be confident with looking after animals and creating art. But if you do have those talents, what a great side hustle to make money from!
Tempted? You'll need to start by thinking about how it will work logistically.
If, say, you're looking after a young dog with loads of energy, it could be tricky to get them to sit still long enough to have their portrait drawn. In this case, you'd likely need to just focus on pet sitting.
However, if you can spend extra time on it (and the pet owners are willing to pay you for the overtime) you could take photos of the pet while you're there and then draw/paint the portrait in your spare time at home.
For calmer animals, such as older dogs, it would be much easier to create a portrait while looking after them.
You could also advertise your pet sitting/pet portraiture services on sites like Fiverr.
And, to find websites that connect pet owners with sitters, see our guide to becoming a pet sitter.
Paying tax on side hustle earnings
The money you make from a side hustle is potentially taxable. But, there are tax allowances in place that mean, if you're earning below a certain amount, you won't need to pay tax on those earnings.
Firstly, there's a trading allowance which allows you to earn less than £1,000 from self-employment without needing to declare it.
If you do earn more than that from self-employment, you're required to declare it in a self-assessment tax return. You might find it helpful to seek out an accountant for help with this.
However, even though you'll need to declare the earnings of £1,000 or more, you generally won't need to pay any tax until you earn over £12,570 in a tax year (April – April). This is known as the personal tax allowance, and it applies to any money you make, including from employment and self-employment.
Are you owed a tax refund?