15 Realistic Ways to Make $20k a Month

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How can you make $20k a month?

With the rising cost of living, many people have been asking that same question. Earning $20,000 a month equates to $240k a year — a healthy 6-figure income.

(That would you put in the top 8% of household income for the US.)

But whether you’re trying to make ends meet, pay down debt, or simply pad your savings, making $20k a month will definitely help you get there. 

In this post, I’ll break down some realistic ways to make $20k a month, both as an employee and as an entrepreneur.

These are based on:

  • Interviews with over 500 entrepreneurs
  • Feedback from the 50,000+ members of the Side Hustle Nation community
  • 15+ years of side hustle experience

Ready? Let’s do it!

How can you make $20k a month? With the rising cost of living, many people have been asking that same question. Earning $20,000 a month equates to $240k a year — a healthy 6-figure income. (That would you put in the top 8% of household income for the US.) how to make 20k a month

1. Software Consulting

Is there a software tool you’re an expert in? One you’re an early adopter of?

One popular side hustle is to “piggyback” on the popularity of a particular software tool, and provide training and support for it. My friend Brad Rice does this with Salesforce and earns over $200k a year part time!

As more people and companies use the software, there’s a growing demand for qualified training. This could be the perfect compliment to your tech job.

Plus, new software comes out all the time, which means even if you don’t have a software in mind today, it could be a side hustle idea for you down the road.

Check out this free challenge to see if a similar path is right for you:

free salesforce challenge

2. Start a Recruiting Business

With low unemployment, finding top-quality candidates is a challenge for many companies. 

But if love playing matchmaker, you can help them fill open positions — and get paid. A typical placement fee is 20% of your candidate’s first year salary. That means a single recruit could earn you $10-20k or more!

Jon Chintanaroad from Recruiting Accelerator is a seasoned pro, and stopped by The Side Hustle Show to share how you can start your own recruiting business

3. Compare Products Online

If you enjoy writing, building an informative website can be an incredible side hustle. Gone are the days of making money “blogging,” but creating content that answers people’s questions is still a viable business model.

I’ve done this several times, including with this site and another project that earned over $500,000 over its lifetime. Websites make money in several different ways, but most commonly through:

  • advertising
  • affiliate partnerships
  • selling your own products and services

One trend that’s been successful recently is what I’ll call “the modern comparison shopping site.” This model involves creating in-depth content comparing and contrasting two or more products in your niche.

For example, Fin vs. Fin does this really well with direct-to-consumer brands. Similarly, Tami Smith employed the same strategy with fitness equipment.

Next Step: If you’re ready to get started, my free 6-part video course will walk you through how to set up your site for less than you might think.

4. White Label Software

Software businesses are some of the most profitable in the world, but it’s tricky to try and create your own software from scratch.

The alternative is to become a software reseller, like Chris Lollini. The self-proclaimed “recovering engineer” reported earning multi 6-figures a year white labeling reputation management software to local small businesses.

How it works is you buy “seats” to a software product at a discounted or wholesale rate, and resell them at retail prices. Start with an industry you’re familiar with and see what common pain points could be solved with existing software tools.

The advantage of this tech side hustle is you have almost no upfront risk or expense.

5. Residential or Commercial Cleaning Service

It may not be glamorous, but commercial cleaning is something nearly every business spends money on. And since it usually gets done in the after-work hours, it’s a good fit for side hustlers.

Anthony and Jhanilka Hartzog built their cleaning business to $25k a month — and contract with other pros to do the work!

6. Start an Email Newsletter

An email newsletter is a low-cost side hustle to start. (Tools like Substack, SendFox, and Beehiiv make it easier than ever.)

One model to consider is a daily or weekly “curation” newsletter. How it works is you source the most interesting stories in your niche, and share those with your subscribers.

A well-known example in the tech space is Dan Ni’s TLDR Newsletter

tldr tech newsletter

With over 1.2M subscribers, Dan earns up to $30,000 every time he hits send!

7. Web Design Service

You might be surprised, but many businesses have a really outdated-looking site — or they don’t have one at all.

My advice: pick a niche to specialize in, and become the go-to provider for businesses in that space.

For example, Ryan Golgosky from 180sites.com primarily builds sites for pressure-washing companies. (Really!)

180sites homepage

When we spoke, he shared how this strategy — and a unique pricing plan — built his web design business to $100,000 a month.

Even if you did a fraction of the business Ryan does, you’d still be crushing it.

8. Sell Digital Products

Selling digital products is another way to earn $20,000 a month online. For example, Becky Beach sells a wide variety of planners and printable bundles through:

In total, she was bringing in $30,000 a month when we recorded.

Even more interesting? She uses tools like ChatGPT to brainstorm potential product ideas and help build out the content for them.

“You can actually ask ChatGPT to give you product suggestions based on your niche,” she explained. When I tested it myself, the suggestions were actually pretty solid!

9. Content Writing Service

Gabe Arnold is the founder of Business Marketing Engine, a subscription-based article writing service.

In his early 20s, Gabe saw his construction business hit by the real estate crash. Facing a $1 million bankruptcy, he began freelancing to support his family.

As he started to build websites for clients, he happened upon a common problem: the companies had no idea what to post online! Gabe started offering monthly website article packages, and quickly took the business to $20k in monthly recurring revenue.

10. Create an Online Course

We’ve seen a number of music-related businesses over the years on The Side Hustle Show, but perhaps most inspiring is Jacques Hopkins’.

Jacques took his unique approach to learning piano, and built an online course business that does $30,000 a month in sales.

Customers connect with him through Google or YouTube, and a certain percentage funnel through to his paid course. He was able to quit his engineering job and focus on this course business full-time.

11. E-Commerce: Create Your Own Product

For Lou Rice, side hustle inspiration struck when she dropped her Kindle on her newborn’s head while breastfeeding late one night.

strapsicle homepage

That led to her and husband creating the Strapsicle: a simple silicon device hold your Kindle reader with one hand.

Initial feedback on the product was positive, but sales really exploded when Lou discovered BookTok, a community of book lovers on TikTok. She reached out to influencers in that space, sent them free straps and affiliate codes, and they began promoting Strapsicle to their engaged followers.

In a little over a year, Strapsicle is now earning $50,000 per month in sales. 

12. Fix What’s Broken (and Film It)

Matt Bochnak is a mechanical engineer in Chicago. His original side hustle was a motorcycle repair service he ran out of his garage.

The business was going well, earning around $500 a month very part-time. Then Matt had the great idea to film himself doing the repairs.

That led to over 100,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel, and created several new streams of income, including:

  • Selling digital products (full-engine rebuild videos)
  • Sponsored content
  • Affiliate commissions
  • YouTube ad revenue
  • Developing his own physical product

When we last caught up, his business was up to $20,000 a month in revenue!

13. Answer Questions on a Website

Google and Pinterest are what I call “answer engines.” People have a problem they need solved, so they ask the Internet.

(And if I had to guess, I’d bet that’s how you landed on this article.) 

If you can create super helpful answers, you can make money. 

For example, Debbie Gartner is “The Flooring Girl” online. Her site is all about flooring trends, products, and paint colors. 

Based on her years in the flooring and interior design space, she has an easy time writing those posts. She monetizes the traffic with advertising and affiliate partnerships — to the tune of $20,000 a month!

14. Rental Arbitrage

Rental arbitrage is a real estate side hustle that gives you a chance to make money from property you don’t even own.

How it works is you:

  • Sign a long-term lease on a property.
  • Turn around and list it as a short-term rental on Airbnb or other platforms (with the landlord’s consent, of course).
  • Profit on the spread between whatever you can collect in short-term rental fees and your fixed monthly rent.

For example, maybe your monthly rent is $2,500, but you can earn $200 a night on Airbnb. If you rent it out 20 nights a month, you’ll be brining in $4,000 a month in revenue, and roughly $1,500 a month in gross profit.

At that rate, it would take 13-15 units to earn $20,000 a month.

There’s an art and a science to rental arbitrage, and it’s controversial in tight rental markets. Still, some enterprising Airbnb hosts report bringing in over $200,000 a year in profit — all while traveling the world.

While startup costs are pretty low here, furnishing the property is one upfront expense to consider.

15. Level Up Your Skills / Get a Better Job

If you’re not happy with your current job prospects or earning power, there’s still good news:

You can change that!

And it may not require going back to school either. There are plenty of free or relatively inexpensive career training programs that will help you learn in-demand skills to improve your earning prospects.

Not all of them will realistically get you to $20k a month, so make sure you’re looking at options with the best upside. (And something you think you’d enjoy doing!)

One of the fastest ways to make more is to simply stack on a remote part-time job to your current employment — provided you have the time and energy to do it.

Our favorite resource for that is FlexJobs, the leading work from home jobs site.

With more than 50 career categories, you’re sure to find options here that match your expertise.

flexjobs homepage

FlexJobs does charge a nominal monthly fee to access their listings, but you’ll easily earn that back — and then some — with just one job.

Pro Tip: Before you join, use their job search filter to see what part-time positions are currently being advertised for.

flexjobs job search

When you see something that’s a great fit, you can join the site to apply.

Serious About Making Extra Money?

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Nick Loper

About the Author

Nick Loper is a side hustle expert who loves helping people earn more money and start businesses they care about. He hosts the award-winning Side Hustle Show, where he's interviewed over 500 successful entrepreneurs, and is the bestselling author of Buy Buttons, The Side Hustle, and $1,000 100 Ways.

His work has been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Forbes, TIME, Newsweek, Business Insider, MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Hubspot, Ahrefs, Shopify, Investopedia, VICE, Vox, Mashable, ChooseFI, The Penny Hoarder, GoBankingRates, and more.

Usually Hustling, Occasionally Social

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