Stop Falling For These 10 Side Hustles

Written by: Alexis Schroeder

Publish Date: April 6, 2024

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

It’s easy to fall for a side hustle that promises quick cash and minimal effort, however, anything that sounds too good to be true usually is. Not all side hustles are created equal and some can lead you into the arms of a scammer. Yikes.

In today’s post, you’ll learn:

  • Common side hustle scams
  • Valuable tips to steer clear of fraudulent opportunities
  • How to find real side hustles and remote jobs

Recommended reading: How Much Money I Make In A Week With Side Hustles

Here’s a list of side hustles you should stop falling for.

1. Multi-level marketing schemes

MLMs are some of the worst side hustles to go after and often make promises of quick riches. Instead, these schemes rely on the recruitment of new people to join the MLM rather than selling legitimate products or services. 

Here are some examples of MLM’s:

  • Herbalife
  • Amway
  • Avon
  • Young Living/doTERRA
  • LuLaRoe
  • Beachbody

2. Envelope stuffing

Envelope stuffing is another scam “work from home” opportunity you want to be wary of. The job sounds legit since the job description says you get paid to stuff envelopes with promotional materials or mailings, however, that’s not the case.

This scammy side hustle often requires you to pay a fee upfront for a starter kit or materials. Even worse, the advertisements for these “jobs” are often fake and they’re just trying to get individuals to recruit others to fall for the same scheme. 

3. Secret shopper

Although mystery shopping can be a legitimate side hustle, some people have found a way to make this turn into a scheme. If anyone ever asks you for money upfront to become a mystery shopper, this is 100% a scam.

My sister used to be a mystery shopper and I’d even join her on jobs, so I know this isn’t always a scam. It’s important to check credible sites for mystery shopping jobs like BestMark which matches you with jobs near you.

4. Cryptocurrency trading 

Cryptocurrency trading involves buying and selling digital currencies like Bitcoin to make a profit.

While cryptocurrency trading can be legitimate, there is so much volatility and complexity in the cryptocurrency markets. This means it often leads to huge financial losses for inexperienced traders. 

However, cryptocurrencies are known for their high price volatility and can fluctuate dramatically within short periods. Also, the market is new and less regulated than traditional financial markets. 

5. Selling herbal supplements 

Most herbal supplement companies operate as pyramid schemes and often prioritize recruitment over product efficacy. These companies promote health products with dubious claims and unrealistic earning potentials.

Besides that, herbal supplement companies are not regulated like pharmaceuticals, which can lead to inconsistencies in product quality, potency, and purity. Some people with certain health conditions even get adverse reactions.

6. Dropshipping

Dropshipping and e-commerce can be legitimate side hustles, but often these ventures require significant upfront investment and even then success is not guaranteed. 

There are a few drawbacks to dropshipping including:

  • Low profit margins
  • Supplier issues
  • Shipping complexities
  • Competition and saturation in the market
  • Customer service challenges
  • Complexities in sales tax, import duties, compliance with protection laws 

So while dropshipping can be a legitimate business model for some, it’s essential to consider the many drawbacks and have realistic expectations.

7. Reshipping

Reshipping is often a scam because individuals are recruited to receive packages at home, repackage them, and then ship them to a different address. Even worse, these packages often contain items purchased with stolen credit cards. 

These reshipping jobs are often fronts for criminal activities, making people accomplices who don’t even realize they’re committing fraud.

Also, some reshipping scams will often require participants to provide personal information like home addresses and personal documents, which are then used for criminal purposes.

8. Data Entry or Typing Jobs

Data entry and typing jobs are often legitimate jobs, but some places will falsely promise high earnings for these jobs. Some of these jobs even require you to make upfront payments for software or training materials. To take it a step further, some of these jobs never even materialize. They were always fake to begin with.

To find real data entry or typing jobs, check out FlexJobs, which is an online job board connecting job seekers with jobs that are:

  • Remote
  • Part-time
  • Flexible

FlexJobs is a reputable online job board that serves as a trusted resource for people looking for jobs that offer flexibility. I’ve used it many times myself to find jobs for myself and my friends. 

9. Work-from-Home Assembly Jobs

If you ever see an ad for a work-from-home assembly job that claims you can make money by putting together products at home, stay away. These jobs often require you to pay for a starter kit and materials, and assembled products are often rejected for quality reasons, leaving workers with no income.

These jobs also have unrealistic earning claims, misleading job descriptions, lack of consistent work, and the list goes on.

10. Rebate Processing

Rebate processing is a scam that promises that you can earn money by processing rebates from home. These jobs often require upfront payments for training or access to rebate processing programs, when there’s no legit work even involved. 

What’s even funnier about this is there are usually no job tasks and you’re instead asked to recruit others for the job so that they can spend money on the “training”. 

Legit side hustle ideas

Let’s pivot to legitimate side hustles because there are many out there. I’ve also included side hustles I currently make money from.

Graphic design

Graphic design has become one of my favorite side hustles because it’s fairly easy to get into and lets you explore your creative side. If you’re brand new to graphic design, there’s a sea of free online graphic design courses.

It’s important to develop your skills and build a strong portfolio to showcase your work to potential employers. 

Jobs you can find in graphic design:

  • Social media manager
  • Brand and digital marketing materials
  • Print designer (brochures, posters, flyers)
  • Illustrator for books, magazines, advertisements

Tip: If you’re already an experienced graphic designer, I recommend heading to sites like Upwork, Indeed, and FlexJobs and typing the keyword “graphic designer” into the search bar. You can also type in the keyword of the software you use, like “Canva” or “Adobe” and a ton of job listings will come up. 

Freelance writing

Another popular, legitimate side hustle is freelance writing. This is another one of my side hustles and I know exactly how to find jobs.

If you’re new to freelance writing, I recommend:

  • Improve your skills by practicing writing regularly
  • Build a portfolio of writing samples showcasing your skills 
  • Contribute guest posts to blogs or websites to gain credibility and exposure 
  • Optimize your LinkedIn profile by highlighting your writing experience and skills
  • Apply for freelancing jobs on Upwork, Indeed, and FlexJobs

Virtual Assistant

I’m a part-time virtual assistant and find this area incredibly easy to get into. As long as you’re organized, have a self-starter attitude, and can figure things out for yourself, this is a great job.

At the time I’m writing this, there’s a long list of virtual assistant jobs. I did a quick search in Upwork, FlexJobs, and Indeed and have found both part-time and full-time virtual assistant jobs for tasks like email management, social media management, etc.

Jobs in this field typically pay between $15-$50, although I wouldn’t accept anything less than $25/hour if you already have experience working as a virtual assistant. 

Sell printables on Etsy

Making printables in Canva and selling them on Etsy is another great side hustle. 

As a printable maker, you can make and sell things like:

  • Party decorations
  • Wall art
  • Planner inserts
  • Organizational tools
  • Educational resources
  • Business and marketing materials
  • Gift tags and labels
  • Scrapbooking supplies

I have two friends in the printable space and they earn around $1,500 a month with this (mostly) passive side hustle.

Here’s a free printables workshop that teaches you what’s a popular sell on Etsy, how to start your Etsy shop, and how to make sales. 


FlexJobs offers a curated selection of job opportunities, ranging from remote, part-time, freelance gigs, flexible schedule jobs, seasonal work, etc. The platform is unique from other job boards like Indeed due to the job listings being personally vetted before being listed on FlexJobs. Many of the jobs listed are entry-level, so you don’t need any experience to find a job.

Examples of jobs listed on FlexJobs:

  • Graphic designer
  • Virtual Assistant
  • Customer service representative 
  • Data entry specialist
  • Online tutor
  • Medical coding specialist
  • Writer

Key takeaways 

  • Not all side hustles are created equal
  • If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is
  • There are a lot of legit side hustles out there

Have you ever been the victim of a side hustle scam?

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