10 Side Hustles That Startup Founders Can Leverage For Success


The entrepreneurial journey can be difficult at times, especially when finances are tight. Between meetings, pitches, and just trying to keep the lights on, it’s a constant hustle.

But having an extra cushion of cash can ease financial stress and provide more freedom to invest back into your startup. To help you out, we’ve curated a list of 10 side hustles, tailored specifically for individuals like you.

These opportunities are not just about earning extra money, they’re about leveraging your entrepreneurial spirit to its fullest potential. And who knows? Your side hustle might turn out to be more lucrative than your own business.

What Is A Side Hustle And How Do You Make Money Through One?

The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines a side hustle as “a part-time job that a person does as well as their regular job.” Apart from the obvious reason of providing more money to grow one’s source of income, side hustles can also serve as an opportunity to build wealth and experience.

For a startup founder, a side hustle could mean an additional entrepreneurial activity that can be pursued alongside managing a startup. One that would serve as a practical and effective strategy to supplement income, while providing the financial flexibility to support business growth, cover operational costs, and reduce financial risk.

This is important, especially in the early stages of a startup, where revenue may not cover all business expenses. Considering costs such as office rent, supplies, payroll, and other overheads, the financial balance may be barely maintained. A side hustle can be a solution to this challenge.

How To Select A Side Hustle

With countless options available, selecting the ideal side hustle that aligns with your skills, interests, and lifestyle can be overwhelming.

This part of the guide aims to simplify the process, as we offer 7 practical factors to consider when selecting a side hustle that not only boosts your income, but also complements your career goals and personal aspirations.

1. Assess Your Skills And Interests

The first step in selecting a side hustle is to assess your skills and interests. Consider the activities you are good at.

A side hustle that aligns with your interests will feel less like work and more like a rewarding endeavor. This could range from writing, teaching, crafting, to cooking.

The ideal side hustle leverages your strengths and keeps you engaged and motivated. It should be something you find fulfilling and enjoyable, as it’s an additional commitment to your main work.

2. Consider Your Goals

It’s crucial to identify what you aim to achieve with your side hustle. Are you looking to generate a significant additional income, or perhaps you’re seeking a creative outlet, a way to gain new skills, or a means to network within your industry.

Understanding your goals will help you select a side hustle that aligns with your aspirations and lifestyle. This clarity will ensure that your side hustle not only supplements your income but also contributes to your personal and professional growth.

3. Work Out How Much Time You Can Dedicate

The third step in choosing a side hustle involves assessing the amount of time you can realistically devote to it. Some side hustles, like freelance consulting or tutoring, might require a substantial time commitment and a fixed schedule.

Others, such as blogging or selling products online, offer more flexibility and can even generate passive income over time. Ensure that the side hustle you choose fits into your schedule without causing undue stress or negatively impacting your work-life balance.

4. Research Market Demand

Once you’ve chosen a side hustle that fits your schedule and goals, the next step is to carry out market research. Conducting an in-depth research:

  • Helps you understand if there’s a demand for your product or service in the market
  • Helps you identify your competitors and their strategies
  • Provides insights into customer needs and preferences
  • Reduces the risk of failure by providing data-driven insights to inform your business decisions
  • Aids in determining the right pricing for your product or service based on what the market is willing to pay

Remember, a side hustle that aligns with market demand has a higher chance of success.

5. Work Out How Much It’d Cost To Start

The fifth step is to evaluate the initial investment required for your side hustle. Some side hustles, like offering consulting services or starting a blog, may have minimal startup costs.

Others, such as launching an e-commerce store or buying equipment for a photography business, might require a more substantial outlay. Remember to factor in not just the obvious costs, like purchasing equipment or inventory, but also the less apparent ones, such as marketing expenses or insurance.

Understanding the financial implications from the start allows you to see if the side hustle you picked is financially viable and sustainable.

6. Think About Long-Term Potential

The sixth step is to consider the long-term potential of your side hustle.

Some side hustles may provide a quick influx of cash but have limited growth potential, while others might start slow but have the capacity to grow into a full-time business or provide a steady income stream over a longer period.

Are you looking for a temporary income boost, or do you hope your side hustle might evolve into a more significant venture? Understanding the growth prospects and scalability of your side hustle can help you choose one that aligns with your long-term financial and career goals.

7. Test And Iterate

The seventh step involves putting your side hustle idea into action and being open to making adjustments along the way. Start small and use the feedback you receive to refine your product or service.

This could mean tweaking your offerings, adjusting your pricing, or finding more effective ways to market your side hustle.

The key is to learn from each experience, embrace the iterative process, and continuously strive for improvement. Remember, success often involves trial and error, and the ability to adapt and evolve is crucial in any business venture, including side hustles.

10 Side Hustles You Can Start Today To Make Extra Money

10 Side Hustles For Startup Founders

1. Content Creation

Content creation is a valuable side hustle, especially for startup founders. And this is not just about having an additional income stream, but also about other inherent benefits—like bolstering industry reputation and startup visibility.

There are several forms content creation can take and each one comes with a different approach and earning potential.

Blog Posts

For startup founders, starting a blog can be a strategic move to not only share insights but also generate additional income. Here’s a brief guide:

1. Choose a Platform: Opt for user-friendly platforms like WordPress, Blogger, Medium, or Wix to set up your blog. Check out our article that offers a curated list of tools, platforms and resources designed to assist startups. It also contains a sub-section of various neat platforms that can help you in creating and managing professional websites, catering to various business needs and budgets.

2. Share Your Expertise: Write about topics you’re knowledgeable in, related to startups, entrepreneurship, or your specific industry.

3. Monetize Your Blog: To monetize your content, there are several strategies. You could collaborate with companies for sponsored posts, where they pay for content that showcases their products or services. You could also integrate ad networks such as Google AdSense, allowing you to earn based on page views and ad clicks. Lastly, you could delve into affiliate marketing by recommending products through networks like Amazon Associates or ShareASale, earning a commission on resulting sales. 


When it comes to podcasts, monetization becomes viable as your listenership grows. Introducing sponsored segments or ads is a common approach, with many companies keen on reaching niche podcast audiences.

Platforms like Podbean provide ad opportunities, while Midroll can connect you to potential advertisers. Spotify, a major distribution platform, also offers targeted ad features through Spotify Podcast Ads.

If you’re looking to offer exclusive content, consider Patreon, where listeners can access premium episodes for a fee. To host and reach a broad audience, consider platforms like Anchor, Libsyn, SoundCloud, or directly on Spotify.


For video creators, platforms like YouTube and Vimeo offer diverse monetization avenues, from ad-based earnings to direct video sales through Vimeo On Demand. As views and subscribers grow, so does potential revenue, especially with brand partnerships for sponsored content.

Alternatives like Dailymotion and Rumble provide additional hosting and earning opportunities, making video content a promising side hustle.

Social Media Posts

For those with a significant online presence, social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook offer lucrative opportunities. Sponsored posts become viable with a growing follower count, with platforms like SponsoredTweets and Influencity facilitating brand collaborations.

E-Books And Guides

For experts in a particular domain, e-books and guides present a chance to monetize that expertise. Platforms such as Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and Gumroad support the sale of these digital products, while tools like Canva and Google Docs aid in their creation.

Webinars And Live Stream

Webinars and live streams, on the other hand, capitalize on real-time engagement. Platforms like WebinarJam and Zoom not only host these sessions but also integrate payment gateways, allowing creators to charge attendees. Whether it’s a deep dive into a niche topic or an interactive Q&A, these platforms transform knowledge into revenue.

Content creation requires time and effort, but the benefits it brings to startup founders when properly executed is numerous and extends just beyond the additional income. This makes it an opportunity worth considering.

2. Dropshipping Business

Dropshipping is a retail model where you don’t need to stock products. When an order is placed, the item is purchased from a third party and shipped directly to the customer. This hands-off approach makes it an appealing side hustle, especially for busy startup founders.

To get started with dropshipping:

  1. Choose a Niche: Select products that resonate with a specific audience. This could be based on your personal interests or market research. Use tools like Google Trends or Dropshipping platforms’ analytics to identify products gaining popularity.
  2. Select a Supplier: Platforms like AliExpress or SaleHoo can connect you with suppliers. It’s crucial to vet them for reliability and quality.
  3. Set Up an Online Store: Websites like Shopify or WooCommerce make it easy to set up a dropshipping store. They often have integrations specifically designed for dropshipping.
  4. Price Products Strategically: Ensure you cover costs and make a profit, but remain competitive.
  5. Promote Your Store: Use digital marketing strategies, such as social media advertising or search engine optimization, to drive traffic to your store.

Dropshipping, while competitive, can be lucrative with the right strategies. Success hinges on product selection, customer service, and effective promotion. With the right approach, dropshipping can be a valuable income addition.

3. Selling Handmade Products

Producing and selling handmade products is another side hustle idea. Not only does it allow you to utilize and monetize your crafting skills, but it also offers a therapeutic break from the digital world and the routine of running a startup.

Handmade products, ranging from jewelry, home decor, and clothing to art, beauty items, and woodwork, offer a unique blend of creativity and craftsmanship. These items often command a higher price due to the personal touch and effort invested.

Platforms like Etsy, Handmade at Amazon, and Storenvy have made it easier for artisans to reach a global audience, turning their crafting passion into a profitable venture.

For startup founders, diving into the handmade market not only monetizes their skills but also enhances their brand, connecting them with a community that values authenticity and creativity.

4. Business Coaching

Startup founders are in a unique position where they have firsthand experience and deep insights into the world of entrepreneurship and business operations.

This makes you uniquely positioned to offer business coaching as a side hustle. Business coaching involves guiding aspiring entrepreneurs or other business professionals through the process of starting, managing, and growing a business.

This could include:

  • Advising on business strategy
  • Leadership Coaching
  • Product Development Coaching
  • Stress Management and Resilience Coaching
  • Network and Relationship Building
  • Finance, Operations, and Team management

Your firsthand experience in dealing with the challenges and successes of running a startup can provide invaluable lessons to those just starting their journey or looking to overcome specific hurdles.

To find business coaching options:

  • Consider exploring professional associations like the International Coach Federation (ICF) for accredited members.
  • Online platforms such as Coach.me and LinkedIn provide directories of business coaches.
  • Local networking events, chambers of commerce, and business schools often connect individuals with experienced coaches. Referrals from fellow entrepreneurs can be invaluable.
  • Additionally, attending workshops, browsing online courses like Udemy, checking social media profiles of coaches, and reading books by renowned business coaches can offer insights.

For this side hustle, not only can you charge premium rates for your expertise, but you also have the opportunity to influence the success of other businesses and entrepreneurs, which could make for great partnerships further down the line.

5. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing strategy where you earn a commission for promoting another company’s products or services.

As a startup founder, you can moonlight as an affiliate marketer, leveraging your existing network and platform to generate additional income.

Simple Guide To Start Affiliate Marketing

1. Understand the Basics: Affiliate marketing involves promoting products or services and earning a commission for every sale made through your referral link.

2. Choose the Right Product: Select products that align with your personal or business brand and resonate with your audience. Ensure they don’t compete directly with your startup’s offerings.

3. Sign Up for an Affiliate Program: Platforms like Amazon Associates, ClickBank, and ShareASale offer a wide range of products. Join a program that aligns with your niche.

4. Promote Strategically: Use your existing platforms – be it a blog, social media, or email list – to promote the affiliate products. Create genuine content that adds value to your audience.

5. Track and Optimize: Use analytics to track your sales and conversions. Understand what works and refine your strategies for better results.

6. Maintain Integrity: Always disclose your affiliate relationships to your audience. It builds trust and is also a legal requirement in many regions.

Remember, while affiliate marketing can be a lucrative side hustle, it’s essential to promote products that complement your startup, ensuring you maintain brand consistency and trust with your audience.

Selling products that directly compete with your startup could potentially undermine your business. Promoting a competitor’s product may lead to confusion among your audience and could dilute your brand’s uniqueness. Worst-case scenario, it could drive potential customers away from your startup and towards the competition.

For instance, if you’re a startup owner selling handmade organic soaps, promoting similar products from another company can confuse your audience and potentially divert them towards the competition. This can negatively impact your startup.

6. Public Speaking

As a startup founder, you’ve likely gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in your industry. Public speaking can be a great way to share this expertise with others and establish yourself as a thought leader.

You could offer your services as a keynote speaker at industry conferences, guest lecturer at universities, or presenter at webinars. Topics could range from entrepreneurship and business strategy to the specific challenges and successes of your startup journey.

Many events, ranging from industry conferences like SXSW and CES to corporate events, university lectures, trade shows, workshops, and even TedX events, offer compensation to their speakers.

Public speaking not only can be a source of income, but it can also help to raise your profile and the visibility of your startup.

7. Digital Marketing Services

In today’s digital age, effective online marketing is crucial for any business. As a startup founder, you’ve likely had to become adept at various forms of digital marketing to promote your own business. You could leverage this expertise to offer digital marketing services as a side hustle.

This could include search engine optimization (SEO) to help businesses rank higher on search engine results, social media management to engage with customers and build brand awareness, or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to drive traffic to a company’s website. By offering these services, you can help other businesses grow while generating additional income for yourself.

8. Co-Working Space Rental

If your startup’s office has surplus space, an advantageous side hustle could be to rent it out as a co-working space to other startups, freelancers, or remote workers.

Unlike other side hustles that require active participation, co-working space rental is more about capitalizing on an existing resource – your unused office space. It’s a passive income stream that doesn’t demand a significant time investment once the initial setup is complete.

The process involves a three-step process:

  1. Setting up the space to accommodate others comfortably,
  2. Listing the space on a co-working platform or marketing it through your own networks,
  3. And then managing the "bookings".

Beyond the direct financial benefits of rental income, this arrangement can also foster a vibrant entrepreneurial atmosphere in your office. It can also lead to networking opportunities, the exchange of ideas, and potential collaborations, enriching the entrepreneurial journey for both you and your co-working tenants.

However, it’s important to ensure that the co-working setup doesn’t disrupt your startup’s operations and that all tenants respect the shared space rules. With thoughtful management, co-working space rental can be a profitable and beneficial side hustle that leverages your existing resources.

9. Freelance Project Management

Numerous organizations often require interim project managers to oversee specific projects. Starting as a freelance project manager requires a blend of industry knowledge, certifications, and networking.

  • Begin by assessing your understanding of key methodologies like Agile and Scrum. Certifications, such as PMP (Project Management Professional) or PRINCE2 (Projects in Controlled Environments certification), can bolster your credibility.
  • It’s crucial to pinpoint a niche, be it IT, marketing, or construction, leveraging your expertise.
  • Enhance your visibility by crafting a compelling LinkedIn profile and joining platforms like Upwork or Toptal. You could also cold-pitch or network with potential clients. Attending industry events can also pave the way for valuable connections.
  • Lastly, set competitive rates and master tools like Trello or Asana to streamline project management tasks.

This side hustle not only allows you to capitalize on your existing skill set but also provides opportunities to work in different industries and learn about various types of businesses.

10. Investing In Or Mentoring Other Startups

If you’re a startup founder who has successfully navigated the entrepreneurial journey and accumulated some capital along the way, investing in or mentoring other startups can be a rewarding side hustle.

  • Investing in other startups not only provides the potential for financial returns if these companies succeed, but it also allows you to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem. You can contribute to the growth of innovative ideas and potentially disruptive businesses, which can be a satisfying endeavor in itself.
  • Mentoring other startups allows you to share your knowledge, experiences, and lessons learned with budding entrepreneurs. This can be incredibly fulfilling as you guide others through their entrepreneurial journey, helping them avoid pitfalls and maximize their chances of success.

In both cases, you’re leveraging your experience and success as a startup founder to support and uplift other entrepreneurs.

This not only benefits the startups you invest in or mentor but can also enhance your reputation in the startup community, create networking opportunities, and provide you with new insights and perspectives.

Tips For Succeeding With Your Side Hustle

To help you navigate this journey and increase your chances of success, here are some practical tips to keep in mind as you start and grow your side hustle.

1. Be Passionate

Passion is the fuel that drives the engine of your side hustle. It’s the element that keeps you going when challenges arise and things get tough. When you’re passionate about your side hustle, it doesn’t feel like work.

Instead, it becomes a way to engage in something you love while also earning extra income. Passion also resonates with customers, clients, and collaborators, attracting them to your product or service and making them more likely to support your venture.

2. Start Small

Starting a side hustle doesn’t mean you have to go all in from day one. In fact, it’s often more beneficial to start small and grow your side hustle gradually. This approach allows you to test your ideas, make adjustments as necessary, and learn as you go without taking on too much risk.

According to a 2023 report, side hustlers who dedicate 12 hours per week to their business earn a median of $1,122 per month. This shows that starting small and dedicating a few hours per week to a side hustle can lead to substantial earnings over time.

Furthermore, 32% of side hustlers spend just 5-10 hours per week on their side business, indicating that a significant portion of side hustlers are indeed starting small and growing gradually

Starting small allows you to get your side hustle off the ground without overwhelming yourself or putting your financial stability at risk.

3. Set Clear Goals

As a startup founder, you understand the importance of goal setting in driving your business forward. This principle applies equally to your side hustle.

Clear, well-defined goals provide a roadmap, helping you stay focused and motivated, measure progress, make necessary adjustments, and ultimately achieve your desired outcomes.

When setting goals for your side hustle, ensure they are SMARTSpecific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These goals could be related to income, growth, or personal development, but they should align with your broader objectives as a startup founder.

For instance, if your startup is in the tech industry, a relevant side hustle goal could be “to develop proficiency in a new programming language within six months.”

As a startup founder, your time is very precious. Having specific goals for your side hustle allows you to focus your efforts on high-impact tasks and activities, ensuring your side hustle doesn’t detract from your primary business.

Finally, reviewing your goals and assessing your progress regularly provides a sense of accomplishment and tangible proof of the value your side hustle brings.

4. Plan Your Time

Effective time management is a critical factor when juggling a side hustle alongside a startup. It’s vital to ensure that your side hustle doesn’t infringe on the time dedicated to your primary business or personal life.

To achieve this: 

  • Consider setting aside specific time slots strictly for your side hustle, such as early mornings, late evenings, or weekends.
  • Using digital calendars can help you plan your schedule in advance. This allows you to visualize and allocate sufficient time for each aspect of your life, including your side hustle.
  • Look for opportunities to repurpose unproductive time. This includes commuting or waiting for appointments, to work on your side hustle. Establishing a routine can also help integrate your side hustle into your daily schedule seamlessly.
  • Additionally, consider automating or delegating tasks within your side hustle to free up your time for more critical aspects.

The goal is to manage your time effectively, allowing you to run your side hustle without it interfering with your startup or personal life. This requires careful planning, discipline, and adaptability.

5. Networking

Networking is a powerful tool that can propel your side hustle to new heights. As a startup founder, you already have a network of connections from your primary business.

You can leverage these connections to promote your side hustle. Reach out to your existing contacts and let them know about your new venture. They might become your first customers or refer you to potential clients.

Networking will not only help you stay updated with the latest trends but also give you a chance to learn from the experiences of others who are in the same field. But remember that networking is a two-way street. While you should take advantage of the opportunities that networking provides, you should also be willing to help others.

Share your own experiences and insights, offer help when you can, and be a valuable member of your network. This will not only enhance your reputation but also strengthen your relationships with your connections.

6. Deliver Quality

The quality of your product or service is a critical factor in the success of your side hustle. High-quality products or services not only meet customer expectations but also help build a positive reputation for your business.

Word-of-mouth marketing can help to attract new customers and a loyal customer base without additional advertising costs. Quality isn’t just about the product or service itself. It’s also about the entire customer experience.

This includes everything from the initial marketing and "sales process" to customer service and support. A high-quality customer experience can set your side hustle apart from the competition and make customers more likely to choose your business over others. By prioritizing quality, you can ensure that your side hustle provides real value to customers and stands out in the market.

7. Be Persistent

Success in any venture, including a side hustle, is rarely achieved overnight. It requires persistence, a trait that is especially important for startup founders who are used to facing and overcoming challenges.

It’s important to note that persistence doesn’t mean stubbornly sticking to a failing strategy. Persistence is about staying the course despite setbacks and disappointments. It’s about maintaining your focus and effort, even when things don’t go as planned. 

In the context of a side hustle, persistence might mean

  • Continuing to work on your venture even when it’s not immediately profitable.
  • It might mean refining your product or service based on customer feedback, even if it means going back to the drawing board.
  • It might mean trying out different marketing strategies until you find one that works.

Persistence can be the difference between a side hustle that fizzles out and one that becomes a significant source of income and satisfaction.

8. Learn From Others

One of the most effective ways to accelerate your learning curve when starting a side hustle is to learn from those who have already walked the path you’re embarking on.

Successful entrepreneurs, whether they’re in your network or not, can provide invaluable insights and lessons that can help you avoid common pitfalls and make smarter decisions.

Start by seeking out successful examples of people who have started their own side hustles. This could be through:

  • Reading case studies
  • Listening to podcasts
  • Attending webinars
  • Or even reaching out to them directly for advice.

Don’t limit yourself to people in your industry. Entrepreneurs from different fields can provide diverse perspectives and innovative ideas that you might not have considered. Learning from others also involves being open to feedback.

Constructive criticism can be a powerful tool for improvement. Encourage customers, mentors, and other entrepreneurs to provide feedback on your products, services, or business operations. This can help you identify areas for improvement and come up with solutions to problems you might not have noticed.

9. Invest In Yourself

Investing in yourself is a critical aspect of starting and maintaining a successful side hustle. This can take many forms, such as acquiring new skillsexpanding your knowledge, or even improving your health and well-being and through different means, be it an online training or personal tutor.

When you invest in yourself, you are essentially enhancing your most valuable asset – you. This is particularly important in a side hustle where, in most cases, you are the driving force behind the business.

Investing in yourself also has a positive domino effect on other areas of your life. It can boost your confidence and broaden your perspective. Improving your health can increase your productivity and energy levels, enabling you to put more into your side hustle.

10. Take Care Of Legal And Financial Aspects

Starting a side hustle also involves understanding and managing the legal and financial aspects associated with it. This includes things like taxes, insurance, and any regulations specific to your industry.

It’s important to ensure that your side hustle is compliant with all relevant laws and regulations to avoid any legal issues down the line. This might involve registering said side hustle, obtaining necessary licenses or permits, and understanding your tax obligations.

Wrapping Up

In the dynamic world of startups, diversifying income streams can be a game-changer. Side hustles offer a unique opportunity to leverage your skills, fuel your passions, and earn extra cash. Remember, the key to a successful side hustle lies in aligning it with your interests, managing your time effectively, and persistently striving for quality.

So, take the leap, explore these opportunities, and unlock the potential of a rewarding side hustle. It’s not just about the extra income, but also about the growth, connections, and fulfillment that comes along with it.

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About the author: Joy Samuel

Joy Samuel is a renowned content writer currently contributing to Startup Geek. With a rich background in editorial writing and a unique ability to blend business methodology with customer-focused content, he helps startups flourish by building enduring relationships with their audiences. His area of focus encompasses product reviews, copywriting, tech features, and the analysis of marketing case studies. He showcases a deep interest in productivity and inbound marketing strategies. Joy has collaborated with prominent brands including ScreenRant, Craft Your Content, Marker.io, Rigorous Themes, and iTechTalk. His passion lies in creating valuable experiences that drive growth and support individuals in achieving their goals.

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