What are the best side hustles for introverts?
Don’t worry — if you don’t like talking to people, there are still plenty of ways to make extra money and start a business!
I get it. I identify as an introvert myself:
- Walking into a crowded room where I don’t know anyone gives me anxiety.
- In group settings, even with friends, I’m usually pretty quiet.
- I sometimes have a hard time coming up with conversation topics, especially with strangers. (Though hosting 300+ interviews on The Side Hustle Show has definitely made me better at this!)
Yes, there’s some irony there. I make a living — in part, at least — by talking to other people.
And I think that’s an important note. Interacting with other humans isn’t going to kill us, and there’s even probably some value in doing those things we find uncomfortable, but there are certainly side hustles better suited to those of us on the shyer or quieter side.
Network marketing? Door to door sales? Renting a spare room on Airbnb?
Thanks, but no thanks!
Fact: Introverts are Actually Great Entrepreneurs
This might be counter to the common perception of an outgoing, outspoken, gregarious salesperson-type of business owner, but I could find no evidence to suggest extroverts made better entrepreneurs.
In fact, in Entrepreneur, Jeffrey Hayzlett argues that introverts may actually have a slight edge due to their focus, critical thinking, and unique, empowering style of leadership.
He identifies Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Mark Zuckerberg as famous examples of entrepreneurs who classify themselves as introverts.
But let’s get into the list of ideas. I’ll start with some that have actually worked for me, and then share lots more to get your creativity flowing.
I’ve been blogging since 2009, first as a personal journal and creative outlet, and now as a business.
It’s never been easier to start a blog, but it’s also never been harder to stand out and get noticed.
The blogs I see having success today are less “personal journal”-type sites, and more focused on creating helpful content on a specific niche.
That way, when people are searching for answers or ideas in Google or Pinterest, they can find you.
Self-publishing on Amazon is one of my longest-running side hustles. I started in 2012 and still remember the thrill of receiving my first author royalty direct deposit.
(It was something like $46.42!)
I’ve added several more books to my portfolio since then and consistently earn a few hundred dollars a month.
My latest is actually free on Kindle if you want to check it out:
If spending hours alone at your keyboard sounds like a dream come true, you’re already on your way to becoming an author.
3. Affiliate Marketing
With affiliate marketing, you earn a commission for helping sell another company’s product or service online.
The big advantage? You usually don’t have to talk to anyone! People can just click a link, and boom–the referral is automatically credited to you.
My first real side hustle was an affiliate marketing business. It was a comparison shopping site that helped people find the best deal on their next pair of shoes.
When someone clicked over to Zappos or another store and bought, I’d earn a commission.
Eventually I earned enough from this business to quit my job!
If that sounds interesting, here’s a step-by-step guide to getting started with a simple affiliate website.
4. Freelance Writing
Freelance writing is a fantastic side hustle — you can use skills you already have and just need one client to get started.
In the past, I got paid to write articles on creative ways to save money at Starbucks, or to summarize and re-purpose some of my podcast interviews. I made around $75 an article, but have paid freelance writers anywhere from $10 to $500+ to help me create content.
Here’s a quick video interview I did with a freelance writer on how she got started:
5. Proofreading and Editing
If you have an eye for detail, there’s money to be made as a proofreader or editor.
Like I mentioned above, self-publishing is exploding, and all those authors (at least the serious ones) need help editing their work.
For this side hustle, I found my first clients on Fiverr, but ultimately established positive word of mouth referrals in some Facebook Groups and among students of a popular self-publishing course.
I started out charging $100 for every 10,000 words, but slowly inched up rates as I improved. This was far more successful than my freelance writing income, and all client communication was over email.
(And as a bonus, I got to read some pretty interesting books!)
6. Retail Arbitrage
Retail arbitrage is the business of “buying low” from nearby stores (or online), and “selling high” — usually on Amazon.
I was skeptical that this could actually work, but ended up making a little over $600 from my experiment.
You’ll need an Amazon seller account to get started. There’s a free personal version, but it can be hard to find. (The Pro level is $40 a month and well worth it once you start to sell 40 items or more per month.)
After that, download the Amazon Seller app on your phone. While you’re out shopping, stop by the clearance section and scan some barcodes to see how it works.
The app will tell you what the items are selling for on Amazon — and what your profit after fees would be.
To learn more about this business, I actually sat down with professional Amazon “flipper” Jessica Larrew. Over the last few years, she and her husband have sold over $1 million worth of stuff following this retail arbitrage model.
If that sounds interesting, check out her free 7-day email series on how to get started.
Now it might sound weird to include podcasting on this list, but let me explain why it’s a great side hustle for introverts.
First, I’m able to connect with listeners and guests all over the world from the comfort of my own home.
And second, I host a weekly interview show–I let the other person do most of the talking!
Starting The Side Hustle Show has completely changed my life and today brings in $1000-2000 per episode, just in sponsorship revenue.
(Of course to be fair, that’s an overnight success 6 years in the making.)
8. Real Estate / Rental Properties
Real estate can be a true wealth building side hustle. And if you don’t want to deal directly with tenants, there are property management services happy to help you out — for a fee.
One interesting platform to take a look at is Roofstock, especially if homes in your area are too expensive. The site specializes in “turnkey” rental properties for out-of-state investors, most of which already have tenants and property managers in place.
Still, I like the instant-diversification and (assumed) professional management and deal-vetting of a REIT, or real estate investment trust. These investments own or control multiple properties, and pay cash flow dividends to investors.
Fundrise is a leading platform where you can add commercial real estate into your portfolio starting at just $500.
9. Online Course Instructor
Online education is poised to become a $325 billion industry by 2025.
I’ve created a few online courses over the years, including my most recent attempt, The Side Hustle Quick Start Challenge.
I like this model because you can help many people with the same material (as opposed to one-on-one coaching, for example). The course is an asset you create once and can sell over and over again, as long as it remains relevant.
If you don’t want your face on camera, you can do screen recording or voice over PowerPoint. A couple of the courses I bought myself actually didn’t have video at all — they were entirely text/image-based.
Since 2014, I’ve also earned over $20,000 as an instructor on Udemy.com, a leading peer-to-peer education platform.
10. Credit Card Rewards
Credit card rewards are probably less a side hustle than they are an addiction in our house.
But when you’ve been able to earn thousands of dollars in free cash and travel — just from buying the stuff you normally would — you might be addicted too!
If you’re brand new to this, signing up for a new credit card and qualifying for the bonus is some of the easiest money you’ll ever make.
For example, the Capital One Quicksilver card offers $150 cash back bonus after you spend $500 — with no annual fee.
If you know you’re gonna spend $500 in the next 3 months, that’s #freemoney.
The Next Step: Check out my free course, Credit Card Rewards 101: How to Earn Free Cash and Travel by Spending Smarter
11. Online Surveys
While online surveys won’t make you rich, they definitely are an easy way to make extra money. If you’ve got time to kill while waiting for the subway or watching TV, here are some options to check out:
- Springboard America – Higher payouts than many other survey sites, but requires a $50 minimum to cash out.
- Survey Junkie – Popular online survey site with more than 3 million members.
- Swagbucks (free $5 bonus; earn up to $35 a survey)
- Prize Rebel – Earn $10-12 an hour doing surveys or completing other tasks. Just avoid the low-paying ones.
- InboxDollars (free $5 bonus)
- Opinion Outpost – Cash out at just $5 via PayPal or Amazon gift cards. Each survey enters you into a $10,000 quarterly drawing.
Now if you don’t mind talking to people, my favorite “online survey” company is Respondent. (If I’m getting paid, all of a sudden my introversion dissipates a little!)
They facilitate online and in-person research studies and focus groups. With an average payout of $140 an hour, it blows the other options out of the water.
The downside is the studies don’t happen all that often. In my first couple months on the site, I was chosen for only one; a $200 2-hour in-person focus group.
12. Food Delivery
I’ve had my share of introverted Lyft and Uber drivers, but I can see how having strangers in and out of your car all day might not be the most comfortable side hustle.
With these apps, you’re essentially a takeout order delivery driver. You don’t have to worry about keeping your car super clean or making awkward small-talk conversations with passengers.
13. Grocery Delivery
I connected with one Side Hustle Nation reader who reported earning $10,000 in his first 6 months as an Instacart Shopper–all on the side from regular 9-5.
With Instacart, you choose what hours you’re available to shop. Then, when orders come in, you head to the store and pick up the requested items.
Almost all customer interaction is handled via text message.
14. Virtual Assistant
As more and more of the workforce shifts to remote and freelance work, there’s a growing demand for work-from-home support professionals, or virtual assistants.
There are a few established companies that hire work-from-home assistants, but they are notoriously hard to get accepted. (Most brag about only hiring the top 1-3% of candidates, and even then, may only pay $12-16 an hour.)
Instead, you might consider setting up shop as your own virtual assistant business. My friend Abbey Ashley, who started her VA business on the side, put together a free training that shares:
- Where to find thousands of potential clients.
- How to make a full-time living working from home.
- What clients are really looking for in a VA. (hint: it’s not prior VA experience)
Sites like Rev.com pay you to transcribe audio or video clips. This one is definitely best if you’re a fast typist.
Members of Side Hustle Nation report earning anywhere from $5-12 an hour doing this.
16. Graphic Design
Graphic designers know that great design often speaks louder than words. Doing work for clients is one angle here, but another may be putting your designs up for sale online.
With platforms like Merch by Amazon, Redbubble, and others, it’s easier than ever to get your creative work in front of customers.
These are all print-on-demand platforms, where you can upload a digital file, set your pricing, and never have to touch a physical product.
If you have an accounting background or are just good with numbers, you might be excited to learn than bookkeeping is often one of the first roles new companies hire for.
It’s work you can do remotely, and virtual bookkeepers can earn $60 an hour or more. Here’s a free training on how to get started.
18. Private Labeling
Private labeling is allowing new e-commerce entrepreneurs to play inventor. The typical process is to find a product that’s already selling well on Amazon, and then make some tweaks or improvements.
(Or rather, asking a factory to make those changes.)
The biggest challenge is figuring out what to sell. In this chat with 7-figure Amazon seller Greg Mercer, he shares his favorite product research strategies:
19. On-Site Inspector
Insurance companies and other customers occasionally need people to physically inspect something, like a damaged property or vehicle.
When they don’t have anyone nearby, they turn to sites like WeGoLook to connect them with a local “looker.”
The work isn’t particularly challenging, and typically pays $15-30 per “look.” But it does require getting out of the house.
20. Job Spotter
At a conference last month, I was walking to lunch with some other attendees. When we passed a help wanted sign in the window of a restaurant, a couple of them stopped.
The pulled out their phones and snapped a picture of the sign.
I asked if they were looking for a new gig as a chef, and they explained the picture was actually for Indeed’s Job Spotter app.
The app pays you to help crowdsource its job listings — usually between $0.05 and $1 for every sign you submit.
Not a huge money maker but these guys said it added up to a few bucks a month. Every little bit counts!
Side note: If you have a knack for recruiting, take a look at the referral program for Hired.com, which pays over $1300 for every placement.
21. House Cleaning
Most house cleaning takes place when your customers are at work, so you don’t have to worry about making conversation.
This is a relatively low overhead business to start, and is a super fragmented industry. By that I mean there really aren’t any dominant regional or national brands.
I think that’s definitely an opportunity to build a side hustle or something larger, like Chris Schwab has done with Think Maids in the Washington, DC, area.
Again, this one isn’t much of a business, but is an interesting way to make extra money if you’re already committed to a weight loss journey.
Sites like HealthyWage will actually pay you (sometimes $500 or more!) to lose weight.
The downside is you’ve got to put your money where your mouth is (or your scale). HealthyWage collects your “bet” upfront, and only pays you back plus your prize when you reach your goal. Check out their calculator to see how much your prize could be. Here’s more on how HealthyWage works.
23. Vending Machines
If in-person sales is an introvert’s nightmare, a silent, automated sales process should be a dream-come-true, right?
That’s the promise of vending machines–an always-on, passive sales force.
This one takes a lot of upfront work in getting the machines placed though, and can quickly turn into a tedious restocking job if your inventory is selling quickly.
24. Furniture Refinishing
Picking up pieces of old wood furniture and restoring or refinishing it is definitely a hot side hustle right now.
These items can often be purchased for $30 or less–sometimes even free–and with a little TLC, resell for a nice profit.
One recent guest of mine gave the example of buying a solid wood dresser for $20, adding a fresh coat of paint, and reselling it for $180.
25. Parking Lot Cleanup
Perhaps one of the most surprising and inspiring side hustle stories I’ve heard came from Brian Winch.
Brian began picking up litter in parking lots back in the early 1980s before heading off to work.
Within a few months, he’d turned it into a full-time business. Today, it’s a $600k+ per year operation!
And it makes a great side hustle for introverts since the work needs to be done in the early morning hours or after businesses close at night — you’ll have the whole place to yourself!
Side Hustles for Introverts: Conclusion
There are tons of side hustle options for introverts!
Don’t let that label or self-identification stop you from pursuing your goals of earning extra money and starting a business.
What Are Your Favorite Side Hustles?
Let me know in the comments below!
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