We’ve had hundreds of inspiring side hustle stories on the show this past year, but a few really stood out from the pack.
In this week’s roundup episode, I’ll be counting down the 10 best / most interesting / most inspiring side hustles of 2023.
To make it super easy to revisit any episode, I put together a Side Hustle Show “Best Side Hustles of 2023” playlist on Spotify with quick access to all the audio.
Get ready to have your side hustle dreams ignited as we reveal the year’s top ideas and strategies for earning outside of the conventional 9 to 5. The only question is – which one will you put into action this year?
Let’s dive in!
- Masterclass — Give one annual membership and get one free!
- Factor — Get 50% off America’s #1 ready-to-eat meal delivery service w/ code sidehustle50!
- Gusto – Get 3 months free when you run your first payroll!
1. The $100k/mo Niche Web Design Service
In Episode 550 of The Side Hustle Show, Ryan Golgosky explained how he turned traditional one-off custom website projects into a lucrative recurring revenue model targeting a niche audience. His business 180sites.com specializes in building and hosting sites for home service businesses like pressure washing services.
Rather than follow the typical web design pricing structure of charging thousands of dollars upfront per site build, Ryan developed a more accessible monthly subscription plan.
For $180-300 per month on an auto-renewing 2-year commitment, his clients get full website design, hosting, ongoing maintenance, and the flexibility to make content changes whenever needed.
As Ryan revealed on the show, “We just broke the threshold doing six figures in a single month this year alone, just in our accounts receivable…I have over a million dollars in accounts receivable already spoken for.”
So without even acquiring new customers, Ryan had over $1 million in existing client billings committed for the next two years.
To find his early customers when starting out, Ryan says he “joined as many Facebook groups as I could that were related to home service providers.”
He searched through group posts for any mentions of web design, marketing, or business issues he could provide value on. This allowed Ryan to organically get his offerings in front of his niche target customer base by being helpful.
So if you’re a web designer or digital marketer, consider a niche recurring revenue model. Finding an underserved audience like home services and providing tremendous ongoing value can result in lasting client relationships and a steady stream of monthly income.
2. $3k/mo Renting Out Mobility Scooters
In Episode 564, we met side hustler Lenny Tim who earns around $3,000 per month renting mobility scooters and wheelchairs in the LA area for travelers and those with limited mobility.
Rather than invest upfront in expensive equipment or building an ecommerce site, Lenny first tested demand by creating the simple website LA Mobility Scooter Rentals. Even without backlinks or detailed SEO, he began getting customer inquiries from local Google searches about renting mobility scooters.
Initially, Lenny would have to respond saying “sorry we’re booked up for those dates,” but it proved people were searching for rentals in LA. Only after hitting 5+ inquiries per day on his site did Lenny strategically buy his first used mobility scooter for around $500 on Facebook Marketplace.
As Lenny reveals, “I get my money back within 1-3 rentals.”
This meant he could recoup his equipment investment after just a few 1-3 rentals to vacationers and locals needing assistance.
Lenny’s success even inspired another Side Hustle Show listener named Brian Rautenberg to launch his own Minnesota Mobility Rentals after hearing the episode. Brian partnered initially with rental platform Cloud of Goods to test his local market.
Seeing steady demand and renter requests, Brian soon created his own site to market directly to travelers coming through Minneapolis.
Just 4 months since launching minnesotamobilityrentals.com, Brian now has 10 mobility scooters, 10 wheelchairs, both electric and manual in inventory, pulling in $3,500 – $4,500 per month in rental income by servicing tourist and resident renters.
3. The $50k Per Month Travel Blogger
In Episode 573, Shelley Marmor has built a mini affiliate marketing empire in the Mexico travel niche, with her portfolio of sites generating around $50,000 per month in commissions.
She honed in on helpful, long-tail keywords travelers would search when planning trips, like “things to do in Cozumel with kids” and “safe areas to stay in Mexico City.” This keyword research strategy allowed her to rank high in Google and drive traffic.
She then monetized that traffic using affiliate links, earning commissions when her readers booked hotels or tours she recommended. Affiliate marketing is a key component of her business model that allows her to earn passive income.
As Shelley explains, “It’s more of a science than an art. There’s a formula. We’re essentially just trying to please the Google gods.”
Shelley’s success proves that niche blogs still work in 2023 if executed correctly. It just took consistency over two years before she saw significant revenue. As Shelley says about what motivated her during the long ramp-up, “Just never wanting to ask a boss for the day off ever again.”
4. $2k/mo Reviewing Products with the Amazon Influencer Program
The Amazon Influencer Program allows regular people to earn commissions by posting product review videos. In Episode 562 of The Side Hustle Show, Jon Corres and Tyler Christensen shared that both make over $2,000 per month in the program.
To get started, you simply apply to join the Amazon Influencer Program and link your social media profiles. Once approved, you can upload short videos reviewing products you already own. Jon recommends first filming reviews of items already in your household, even gifts you didn’t realize were sold on Amazon.
According to Jon, you can review “books, games, food items, supplements, the wide variety…It doesn’t have to just be tangible items.”
While Amazon’s commission rates are fairly low (around 2-4% on each sale), the key is to focus on more expensive products. As Jon explains, “With a $2,000 laptop, getting even one sale is a lot.” It’s a pretty decent commission when it comes to the Amazon Influencer Program.
Tyler shared that, over time, companies started sending him free products to review, sometimes even paying him over $100 per video. Last week, Tyler sent an email sharing that he had just earned over $8,000 in the program.
With the high holiday sales volumes on Amazon, this program represents one of the easiest ways to earn completely passive income online. Give it a try and start earning commissions!
5. The $300k Pet Waste Removal Business
Running a location-based service business can be extremely lucrative, but only if customers can find you. Kody Smith from awwcrap.com has perfected the local SEO playbook to earn multiple six figures with his pet waste removal business.
In Episode 555 of The Side Hustle Show, Kody broke down his systematic approach to dominating the first page of Google search results. The keys? Building online citations and quality backlinks that Google’s algorithm favors.
As Kody explained, “The main goal was to rank on Google, get in Google Maps. I knew in order to do that, I had to have other sites already created that had my map.”
A business’s online map includes its Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP). By manually submitting this NAP data across directory sites, review platforms, and industry niche sites related to his service, Cody seeded invaluable backlinks.
He also set up social media pages and began engaging with pet owners in local Facebook Groups. Kody shared, “I basically just started getting out there and putting the words out. Did some Facebook stuff. And then once I was ready, I created my Google business profile.”
Once he optimized his own Google Business Profile and claimed it in Google Maps, Kody was primed for local SEO domination. Ranking high for nearby zip codes and cities was extra icing on the cake.
6. Buying Cash Flow with No Money Down
In Episode 571 of The Side Hustle Show, Hannah Ingram shared how she acquired a $140,000 self-service car wash business without using any of her own money.
Hannah recalls about the decision to search for an existing business, “I was like, man, I am not going to work until I die. Like I’m going to be retired by the time I’m 30.”
As Hannah shared in the interview, she searched websites like LoopNet and Crexi for businesses for sale, focusing on car washes, laundromats, and storage units. After finding a car wash listed in her own town, she approached the motivated sellers who were looking to exit the business.
After touring the property, reviewing the financials, and checking the profitability, Hannah negotiated a seller-financed deal for $140,000. The sellers were willing to agree to seller financing terms in order to close quickly and avoid the longer process of traditional lending.
Hannah now runs the cash flow positive car wash business herself in about 30 minutes per day in exchange for around $5,000 per month in income. Though buying an established business is challenging, Hannah provides inspiration that it may be possible without requiring large amounts of capital to start.
7. AI-Assisted Digital Products
Becky leverages AI tools like ChatGPT to ideate potential digital products tailored to her blog website dedicated to helping mothers achieve success and balance in their lives.
As she explains in the interview, “You can actually ask ChatGPT to give you product suggestions based on your niche.”
The AI will generate a list of printable, digital product, or course ideas that Becky researches further. By analyzing trends on platforms like Etsy, she validates and refines the most viable ideas.
Her top-selling creation to date is a digital Home Planner combining home organization, cleaning, and decluttering checklists and printables. Since launch, this one digital product has earned over $50,000 in sales between her Etsy and Shopify stores.
Across all her Shopify store products, Becky earns over $10,000 per month. Though AI cannot replace human creativity, Becky proves it can accelerate the process of research, ideation, and execution.
If interested in leveraging AI to explore potential digital product concepts, be sure to check out Becky’s full interview in The Side Hustle Show Episode 582.
8. The Niche Daily Deals Affiliate Business
Imagine a business model requiring daily effort that also facilitates automation and passive income. That’s what David Paxton built with his Daily Golf Steals website, as covered in Episode 583 of The Side Hustle Show.
David’s niche is highlighting the best daily deals and price drops on golf equipment and apparel. The revenue comes from affiliate commissions earned when site visitors click special links and make purchases.
In the first month, by sharing deals on r/golf, the largest community of golf enthusiasts on Reddit, David earned over $2,000 with hardly any content.
As he recalls: “From the get-go, I was like, Hey, there’s something here. I don’t know quite how big it is, but with a couple thousand dollars in the pocket, I was like, I can actually make this doable.”
David knew he couldn’t manually curate deals forever or scale. So he automated parts of the process by comparing product catalogs day-to-day to identify newly marked down items.
As David explained: “I was basically across—I think it was about 10 different partners coming up with that list.”
With contractors sourcing and uploading deals, David developed an efficient system around a concept not typically regarded as scalable or passive. By recognizing the opportunity with daily deals and niche focus, he’s built an impressive automated affiliate marketing machine.
9. Getting Paid to Be Curious: The $80k Niche Podcast
Can simply being curious about an industry lead to a profitable side hustle podcast? Harry Duran proves it can.
As he recalls, “I think what a lot of people overthink sometimes is this idea of reaching out to people and saying, Oh, this person’s never going to say, hi, I’m a little embarrassed to ask.”
Harry used the credibility of early interview bookings with industry leaders to secure even more high-profile guests. This allowed him to charge premium sponsorship packages, earning over $700 per episode on average so far.
One smart sponsor strategy? Selling an entire season with 13 episodes to a single sponsor for $9,000 before even airing the first episode.
Harry proves having deep expertise in an industry is not a requirement for starting a profitable niche podcast. As he advises:
“Do the things that don’t scale. Spend the time, just reach out to people. People with relatively small followings love to hear from you.”
By reaching out for interviews with founders and CEOs in the vertical farming space, Harry leveraged his podcast to satisfy and monetize his curiosity.
10. The Simple Invention Turned $50k/mo Side Hustle
She explains her initial market testing tactic, “I was in a couple of Facebook groups, a female entrepreneurs Facebook group, and then a local Facebook group. Posted in there and it went absolutely nuts in both groups.”
After testing demand for her simple silicone Kindle strap invention, Lou explored partnerships with micro-influencers on BookTok (a community of book lovers on TikTok). By sending free samples and affiliate codes, these small influencers actively promoted Strapsicle products to their engaged followers.
Lou then leveraged this user-generated content and her own organic social media presence to drive traffic to her Shopify store. After optimizing the shopping experience, she eventually expanded to Amazon.
Just over a year since launch, Strapsicle is now earning $50,000 per month in sales. Though Lou identified an idea based on her own need, by understanding her target customer and leveraging creative marketing tactics, she was able to scale globally.
For the full story, be sure to listen to Episode 589 of The Side Hustle Show.
Links and Resources
- Episode 550: Setting Your Side Hustle Up for Recurring Revenue: From Zero to $100k MRR, with Ryan Golgosky
- Episode 564: $3k a Month Renting Out Mobility Scooters Part-Time, with Lenny Tim
- Episode 573: How I Grew My Hobby Travel Blogs to $50K Months in Just 3 Years, with Shelley Marmor
- Episode 562: Amazon Influencer Program: From Zero to $2k a Month Part-Time, with Jon Corres and Tyler Christensen
- Episode 555: How to Dominate Local SEO: From Side Hustle to $300k a Year, with Cody Smith
- Episode 571: How One Side Hustler Bought Herself a $5k/mo Income Stream — w/ No Money Down, with Hannah Ingram
- Episode 582: How to Use AI to Create Digital Products: $30k a Month, with Becky Beach
- Episode 583: How to Start a Daily Deals Business: $1000s/mo Sharing the Best Bargains in Your Niche, with David Paxton
- Episode 586: Monetize Your Curiosity: $80k in Revenue for a Part-Time Vertical Farming Podcast, with Harry Duran
- Episode 589: How a Simple Idea Turned Into a $50k a Month Side Hustle, with Lou Rice
- LA Mobility Scooter Rentals
- Minnesota Mobility Rentals
- Cloud of Goods
- Travel Mexico Solo
- Amazon Influencer Program
- Mom Beach
- Home Planner
- Daily Golf Steals
- Vertical Farming Podcast
Serious About Making Extra Money?
- Start Your Free $500 Challenge. My free 5-day email course shows you how to add $500 to your bottom line.
- Join the free Side Hustle Nation Community. The free Facebook group is the best place to connect with other side hustlers and get your questions answered.
- Download The Side Hustle Show. My free podcast shares how to make extra money with actionable weekly episodes.