8 Side Hustles I Tried In My 20’s

Written by: Alexis Schroeder

Publish Date: April 7, 2024

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I receive a commission for purchases made through these links, at no cost to you.

Starting side hustles in my 20s gives you the experience of new skills, experiences, networking, and seeing what kind of work you most enjoy.

While side hustles are great at providing additional income, they can also lead to full-time jobs down the road. For example, say you pick up a side hustle of freelance writing and find you enjoy it. You could go full-time as a freelancer or work for a website.

Today’s post shares the side hustles I did in my 20s and what side hustles I wish I had done in my 20s.

Here’s a list of 8 side hustles I tried in my 20s. 

1. Freelance writing

I’ve been a freelance writer since my early 20s. Freelance writing is where you provide writing services to companies or clients on a contract basis. You work independently and are not employed by a specific company, but instead hire out your services.

Types of jobs for frelancee writers:

  • Blog posts and articles
  • Website copywriting
  • Content marketing materials
  • Social media content

I recommend freelance writing to others because of its flexibility in being able to work from home and set your schedule. You can work as little or as much as you’d like.  

How to find freelance writing jobs: Browse job postings on Upwork, Indeed, and FlexJobs. Build a portfolio showcasing your best work. If you’re completely new to freelance writing, I recommend checking out Big Money Writer which is a course that teaches you how to make up to $5000/month doing this.

2. Social media management

I spent most of my twenties working in social media management. This doesn’t require formal training since almost everyone knows how social media works, but it’s important to know how to market to a target audience, create high-quality graphics, and know a thing or two about copywriting.

Tasks include things like:

  • Creating original content such as posts, graphics, videos, and infographics
  • Planning and scheduling social media posts
  • Monitoring social media channels for comments, messages, and mentions.
  • Tracking key performance metrics such as reach, engagement, clicks, conversions, and follower growth.

How to find social media management jobs: Finding jobs involves searching online job platforms and networking. Ensure your resume and portfolio highlight your social media skills, including different platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and others. 

3. Selling online courses

I’ve created and sold an online course in my 20s called Making Sense of Sponsored Posts. This is a course I created with my sister where we talked about how to find brand partnership deals.

Making a course is a lot of fun, especially if you have knowledge you want to share with others. There are also benefits like generating extra income (which can become passive income), delivering content on your schedule, and placing you as an authority in the field. Plus, online courses can enhance your credibility in the field and lead to additional opportunities like consulting, speaking engagements, and even book deals. 

How to create an online course: If you have a topic you’re passionate about and have expertise in, consider creating a course using Teachable. This is a lot easier if you already have a social media following. 

4. Affiliate marketing 

One of the top ways I made money in my 20s was through affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is when individuals (affiliates) earn commissions by referring people to products or services.

When a customer makes a purchase using an affiliate link, the affiliate earns a commission. This is a great way for influencers and bloggers to earn money.

You can become an affiliate for:

  • E-commerce platforms like Amazon
  • Retailers like Sephora, Wayfair, Nordstrom
  • Digital products like Coursera, Udemy
  • Financial and bank apps

How to make money with affiliate marketing: Become an affiliate for your favorite courses, products, services, etc.

5. Rover dog walker

One of the side hustles I talk about most often is dog walking. This is because it was one of the easiest, most enjoyable side hustles I’ve ever had. I spent about 30 minutes a few times a week walking one or two dogs. This not only brought in extra income, but I also got exercise. 

How to make money as a Rover dog walker: Become a Rover dog walker. If you have no references or reviews yet, consider posting your rates lower than your competitors. This will give you more jobs in the beginning and you can slowly increase your rates when you get more reviews.

6. Care.com babysitter

I was a date night babysitter and long-term nanny in my 20s. While I’m not having kids myself, this was still a great job and I worked with many great families.

Generally, babysitters earn $10-$20 an hour, with that rate being more or less depending on your experience. I found all of my jobs on Care.com. 

How to make money as a babysitter: Ratings and references are crucial on Care.com, so make sure previous people you’ve worked for leave a reference. Also, getting a background check on Care.com is another way to stand out among others.  

7. Personal fitness trainer

When health and fitness were my entire life (to the point of it being obsessive and unhealthy) I was a personal trainer. This is a great job for someone who enjoys working out and helping people meet their fitness goals. 

Hours and pay were all over the place and it takes a long time to build up a client list. 

How to make money as a fitness trainer: Get certified through one of the top personal trainer certifications and apply for a job at your local gym. Depending on the gym and if you’re completely new to training, the staff will train you on how things work, how to get clients, etc.

8. Virtual assistant

I was a virtual assistant in my 20s and still am in my 30s. This is a great job with the potential to earn up to $45/hour, with many jobs available on FlexJobs, Upwork, and Indeed. To find jobs, enter the keyword “executive assistant” or “virtual assistant” on job boards. 

As a virtual assistant, you may be in charge of tasks like:

  • Email management
  • Calendar management
  • Travel arrangements
  • Providing customer support via email, live chat, or phone.
  • Writing and editing blog posts, articles, or social media captions.
  • Assisting with personal tasks such as online shopping, gift ordering, or appointment scheduling.

How to make money as a virtual assistant: You probably already have skills you can use as a virtual assistant, and if you don’t, it’s easy to get experience. Jobs are easy to find on FlexJobs, Indeed, and Upwork. 

Side hustles I wish I did in my 20s

Web development

I’ve always wanted to get into web development because it sounds crazy cool to be able to build a website from scratch.

To make money in web development, start by building up your skills through an online boot camp course. There are so many opportunities for web development on sites like FlexJobs and Upwork. It’s important to continuously build on your skills by offering additional services like SEO optimization or e-commerce integration. 

Online Coaching

I love the process of helping someone to achieve their goals. If you feel the same, consider becoming an online coach. You can coach people for things like career goals, relationships/marriage, fitness, and personal finance. 

Many online courses teach you how to be a coach and how to best market yourself to get clients. It’s important to create an online presence and showcase your expertise, testimonials, and coaching services. 

RV camper restoration 

I love campers, especially when they’ve been remodeled. To become an RV restoration specialist, it’s crucial to gain knowledge and skills in RV mechanics like electrical systems, plumbing, and interior design through courses, workshops, or hands-on experience.

You can source affordable RVs on sites like Facebook Marketplace or local dealerships. Once restored, market your RVs across online platforms, social media, or your local RV community. 

Selling plants

With over 150 houseplants, I wish I spent a few years selling them. From 2020-2023, houseplants were all the rage, and selling them was quite easy and you could make good money. Now’s not the case as the markets become saturated and you can get rare plants for quite cheap now.

If you do decide to get into this market, research popular houseplant varieties that are in high demand. You’ll need a setup in your house that can house the plants with the right lighting, temperature, and humidity requirements. Start a social media profile and consider selling at farmers’ markets and small business popups.

Recommended reading: How To Make Money Sleeping Houseplants

Selling handmade crafts

If you love creating handmade things, consider selling these crafts on online platforms like Etsy, Shopify, a social media channel, or through your website. I’ve always loved the idea of selling my crafts (pottery, watercolor, crocheted items).

You can make and sell things like:

  • Pottery
  • Jewelry (polymer clay)
  • Resin
  • Art prints
  • Candles
  • Soap

Recommended reading: 13 Best Things To Sell On Etsy

Key takeaways:

  • Try out different side hustles to see what you enjoy and excel at
  • Side hustles build experience and networking
  • Juggling side hustles teaches time management and organization

What’s your favorite side hustle?

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