24 Side Hustles That Are More Work Than Pay


If you want to make more money to supplement your income, add to your savings, or start a new career while still working your full-time job, a side hustle may be the perfect solution.

However, not all side hustles are created equal; while some may seem promising at first glance, they may end up being more work than pay.

You’ve probably heard of popular side hustles that promise good money, but do they really pay off when you think about the time you need to invest to earn from them?

Here, we take a closer look at 24 side hustles that may seem like great ideas to start with, but they have turned out to be more work than they’re worth.

By looking at these examples, you can learn what to avoid and save yourself the time and effort of pursuing a side hustle that may not be worth your while.

We chose these 24 side hustles because they require a lot of time and effort to be successful and have the potential to earn income.

So, before you start any side hustle, look at these examples to get a better idea of what you may be getting yourself into.

#1. Freelancer

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Freelancing may seem like a great idea for a side hustle and who doesn’t love the flexibility of setting your hours and choosing which projects you work on?

As a freelancer, you have to stay self-motivated, and it can be hard to find work that pays well. And in the beginning, you are going to have to charge a much lower rate to build up experience. So while this could be a good option for those committed over the long term, it’s not worth it if you need cash fast.

#2. Pet Care

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Just because you love animals does not make a pet care side hustle the best choice for you.

While pet care, such as pet sitting and dog walking, can bring in extra income, it also requires working long hours or being on-call at all times whenever you are needed, and it doesn’t pay as much as other side hustles.

Plus, not all animals you deal with will be friendly. There will be times when you have to deal with animals that have issues.

#3. Cryptocurrency Trading

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Cryptocurrency trading may seem like a great side hustle to get into, especially with the recent boom in popularity.

However, it is risky and has many cons, such as security threats, scam possibilities, and high volatility, which can lead to losing all your money. It has all the classics of a get-rich-quick scheme that leaves you with no money.

#4. Virtual Assistant

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Being a virtual assistant seems like a good option for a side hustle, but it can also be overwhelming and stressful.

You may have to work long hours for less pay than other side hustles while juggling multiple tasks and clients and dealing with difficult bosses. Additionally, if you are helping someone in another part of the country, or the world, you might have to work evenings or late into the night to get tasks completed.

#5. Mobile Car Wash

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Starting a mobile car wash business may seem like an easy side hustle that you can make good money at, but it requires a significant upfront investment for equipment and supplies.

Other drawbacks include the difficulty of setting your hours and finding enough clients, as well as dealing with competition.

#6. Mystery Shopping

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Mystery shopping seems like a fun way to earn extra cash, but it also has its own set of challenges.

You will have to spend a lot of time and money on gas and purchases, and for the most part, the money isn’t that good. Many of the companies that advertise this side hustle are scams, so finding a legitimate company to work for could take time.

#7. Delivery Driver

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Everyone orders stuff, so a side hustle as a delivery driver seems like a no-brainer. But it is long hours of inconsistent work and little pay.

If you do find consistent work, you have to consider the cost of your car’s wear and tear and expenses such as gas and vehicle maintenance.

#8. Blogging

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Blogging can be a great way to express yourself and potentially earn money, but it requires a lot of time and effort.

To make money, you have to spend hours creating engaging content, marketing yourself, and building a following. With the rise of AI, more and more content is being produced than ever before, making it even harder to stand out.

#9. Custom Design

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If you have a talent for art or design, selling custom pieces might be a side hustle to consider, but the market for custom art and design can be competitive, making it difficult to stand out and make any profit.

Additionally, creating custom pieces can be time-consuming and may require expensive materials, and you are not going to make much for the time you spend creating each piece.

#10. Tech Setup

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If you have a knack for technology, offering tech setup and troubleshooting services could be a side hustle you might consider, but there are some things you might think about before diving in.

This side hustle may require certain certifications or technical knowledge to be successful, and it may also require purchasing equipment or software upfront, which can eat into your profits. 

#11. Multi-Level Marketing

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Multi-level marketing involves recruiting individuals to sell products or services and earn commissions.

While it can be a profitable side hustle for some, there are potential downsides to consider as well, such as companies requiring you to purchase products upfront to become a distributor and the time and effort required to build a successful downline.

While the ads for MLMs make them seem like they are the path to wealth, in most cases, they are highlighting the success of the 1% that thrive. The majority of other people never make money, or worse, lose money.

#12. Online Surveys

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You might think completing online surveys sounds like an easy way to earn extra cash, but most survey sites only pay a few cents per survey, and it can take a lot of time to reach the minimum payout amount.

Additionally, some survey sites may not be legitimate and could potentially scam you out of your personal information.

If you are looking for something fun to do while bored, then surveys could be an option. But if you are looking to add an additional income stream, this is not the idea you should settle on.

#13. Digital Content Creation

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If you have a creative talent, you would think you could create digital content, sell it online as a side hustle, and make great money, but that’s not usually the case.

Sometimes, creating quality digital content takes a lot of time and effort. Building your business can take years, and competition is fierce in today’s online market.

#14. Online Course Creation

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If you have expertise in a certain area, creating an online course can be a great side hustle option you have thought about getting into.

However, it takes time and effort to develop a high-quality course that people will be willing to pay for, and like any other product or service, marketing and promoting your course can also take a lot of time and effort.

#15. Handyman Services

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If you are skilled in home repairs and maintenance, offering handyman services seems like the perfect side hustle.

But this side hustle requires the upfront purchase of tools and supplies, which can eat into your profits.

It is also very hard to commit to working when a client wants you to, and you have a full-time job. Also, depending on the work you are doing, you might need a license or get permits from the county to perform the work.

#16. Baking Delivery

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Another side hustle idea that you might think would be fun and profitable is baking drop-offs for events and parties.

However, this side hustle can quickly become time-consuming and expensive since you have to purchase ingredients, equipment, and gas for deliveries, plus you will spend long hours baking and delivering the goods.

#17. Selling Homemade Items

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From jewelry to home decor to clothing, there is a market for almost any type of handmade goods, but how much money can you actually make?

Considering the costs of materials and the time spent crafting each item, the profit margins are pretty tight, which means the hourly earnings are on the lower side.

#18. Stock Photos

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If you have a knack for photography, you can make money by selling your work as stock photos. However the market is highly competitive, and it may take some time to build up a portfolio of quality images that will attract buyers.

Also, most stock photo websites take a percentage of your earnings, so that’s even more of your profit gone.

#19. Social Media Influencing

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With the rise of social media platforms, there has been a surge in demand for influencers to promote products and services.

But you have to have a large following on Instagram, YouTube, or other platforms and a strong personal brand.

Even then, it can be difficult to secure partnerships with companies, and the pay can vary greatly.

#20. Playing Video Games

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Playing video games sounds like a great way to make extra money, but did you know that sometimes you have to pay money upfront to work for the companies that hire you as a game tester?

Also, it requires long hours, and the pay can sometimes be in the form of free games or gift cards rather than actual cash.

#21. Making Videos

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Many people dream of becoming a YouTube star and making money from their videos.

But the reality is that it takes a lot of time and effort to gain a large following and make money from advertising or sponsorships, and there is a lot of competition.

#22. Microtasking

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If you want an online side hustle, you may have thought about Microtasking for companies like Amazon or TaskRabbit to complete small tasks for pay.

While it may seem like an easy way to make money, the pay is usually very low, and there is no guarantee of consistent work.

#23. Dropshipping

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You have heard that dropshipping has become a popular method for starting an online business, but can you make money doing it?

You might not make as much money as you think due to high competition and the additional fees associated with platforms such as Shopify or Amazon.

#24. Data Entry

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Another popular online side hustle is data entry, where you input information into databases or spreadsheets.

Even with a fast typing speed and attention to detail, the pay can be low, and the work can be monotonous.

Best Side Hustles For Extra Cash

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Are you looking for more ways to make money on the side?

I compiled a list of over 100 side hustles in various categories.

Some allow you to make a few bucks month, others a few hundred, and some you can turn into a full-time career!

The Best Side Hustles You Need To Know

Apps That Pay Real Money

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Did you know there are apps that you can download and make money to use?

Some offer cash back, others pay you to do tasks, and some pay you to play games.

Here is a complete list of the best apps that pay you real money.

65+ Apps That Pay You Money

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