3 Legit Side Hustles That Actually Make Money ($3,500 Last Month)

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Day job just not cutting it anymore? Need to figure out how to lock in some extra cash this year? Need something that has low startup cost but can be super lucrative? You’re not alone. We’ve got 3 legit side hustles that actually make money.

You’ve probably been promised all sorts of strange gimmicky penny penching techniques or been pushed towards apps that round up and save your change every time you buy lunch.

The fact of the matter is, none of these make real money, and none of these are going to put cold hard cash in your pocket anytime soon.

In today’s society most are realizing that all the money they’ve socked away for retirement over the years is just not going to add up when they finally decide to quit the workforce. Most people are also starting to realize that they need a side hustle to really achieve the level of financial freedom or financial independence they want in life.

With more and more people shifting towards building their own side hustle so that they can travel, purchase the house of their dreams, or just live comfortably, you’ll want to be ahead of the curve.

Looking for some REAL extra income?

Create an Online Business (Affiliate Marketing, Drop Shipping, Retail Arbitrage)

Creating your own online business has to be the top side hustle for anyone with a laptop and a wi-fi connection. Since you are reading this article it’s likely you’ve got both. This type of business requires little to no start up cost. Any of the good platforms that support you starting this type of business allow you to make it happen absolutely free.

So you’re wondering what types of businesses you can actually start online. Here you go:

Affiliate Marketing Business:

Did you know that almost every time you click on a link, someone, somewhere is getting paid?

Crazy, right?! I want to share with you my favorite side hustle first. This is the side hustle that made me just over $3,500 last month alone.

monthly commission incite wealth

Affiliate marketing has a very simple business structure to it. First, you must have a website where you can place content (like the one that you’re reading right now). You can do this simply by posting on your Facebook Timeline to get started.

Then, you must have some sort of product to market.

You’d be surprised at all of the different affiliate programs out there.

Amazon is a great example. You can market Amazon products for free and anytime someone clicks on your link and purchases an item, you get 7% of the sale in commission.

Another great example is a digital product or platform that generally charge membership fees. These types of platforms can be found on different sites like Clickbank, Commission Junction, or JVZoo. I highly suggest signing up for all three of these as it increases your exposure to different products.

clickbank incite wealthcommission junction incite wealthjvzoo incite wealth

Affiliate marketing is simple, you are provided with an affiliate link to a product, someone then clicks on your affiliate link somewhere on the internet.

Once they click your link they are directed to said product. If they make a purchase then you receive the commission from that purchase.

With many digital products or pre-built courses and platforms commissions can exceed 50% of the purchase price. In addiiton, commissions for this type of sale can be recurring. For example, if someone signs up for a subscription using your affiliate link and that subscription costs $50 per month… at 50% commission you would be collecting $25 per user.

I’m sure you can see how quickly that adds up. Imagine a site like this, bringing in over 10,000 monthly visitors. If only 1% signed up for the platform in the example above, I would collect $2,500 a month every single month they remained a subscriber.

If that compounds month over month, and you have a solid retention rate, you can see how that would turn into well over $10,000 per month easily clearing six figures this year.

Don’t believe affiliate platforms like this exist? Here’s an example of the affiliate commissions paid out by one of my favorite online learning platforms.

incite wealth commissions

If you’re interested in learning how to start your very own affiliate marketing website. Click here and read my review on what is probably the most educational free affiliate marketing resource out there. Everything you need to know is outlined within that platform all for free.

Drop Shipping Business:

drop ship incite wealthDrop shipping is a bit more unique than affiliate marketing. In addition, setting up a drop shipping site usually takes a bit more time and energy as well. While a drop shipping business may be a bit harder to get started than an affiliate website it can still be very lucrative.

Drop shipping is the practice of setting up a medium (usually in the form of a website) where you can market physical products.

Instead of a traditional E-commerce store where you purchase a bunch of items, store them in a warehouse or your spare bedroom for months, and then ship them once sold… a drop shipping store requires no up front capital and absolutely no handling of the physical product.

With drop shipping, someone visits your site or sales platform. Once they purchase a product you are notified. Once the item is purchased from you at a significant mark-up you will then order the item from your supplier (usually using AliExpress or something similar) and ship it direct to the consumer.

You never actually see a single product, you simply manage the purchase of the product from the supplier and make sure that it lands on the consumers door step.

If drop shipping sounds like more your speed than affiliate marketing, click here to learn about the most widely used platform for drop shippers that some of the most successful online entrepreneurs have used to generate revenue of well over $1,000,000 annually.

Retail Arbitrage Business:

Retail arbitrage is probably my least favorite of the three core types of online businesses you can start. I actually would almost say that retail arbitrage is a blend of flipping and online business.

With retail arbitrage you will need to able to procure physical products and know how to find great deals at local stores. Whether this is through hitting the clearance rack at all of your city’s big box stores like Walmart, Target, etc. or you chase down higher end items at your thrift shop around the corner, you will need some way to find cheap goods.

clearance incite wealth

You will also need somewhere to store these goods. Generally, things will be stacked all over your living room and become a playground for animals or small children, this should be avoided if possible.

There are a few things that you will need before you can just tackle the sourcing of goods.

You will need to setup an online platform for selling these goods. One of the best ways to go about this is utilizing Amazon FBA to sell the products you source. Understand that Amazon does have a limited number of things you can sell.

Once you have an online platform, you will first need to price everything out using in depth research of competitors and a clear understanding of your own purchase price. Lastly, you will need to ship all of your items to Amazon for fulfillment. Once Amazon has a hold of your products, the rest is usually done for you until you need to source products again.

Retail artbitrage is always an interesting business venture.

If you want the complete guide and you want to hear about my interesting experience with retail arbitrage, click here.

There are many opportunities out there aside from just building your own online business. The second most legit side hustle is flipping.

Flipping (Cars, Real Estate)

Flipping is a bit more self explanatory than some of the online business ventures above, so I won’t bore you with too many details. The basics of flipping are to buy low and sell high, just like stocks.

I do talk about real estate investing a great deal, but I don’t necessarily dive too far into flipping.

I first learned about flipping as a small child. My dad was always finding deals on used cars, fixing them up, and selling them again. At first I didn’t understand that he was making a profit, but once I figured this one out, a maniac was born.

We lived in an area that was almost unbearably hot in the summer months. 110 degrees F was normal for us. The rule of thumb was that if a used vehicle ran and had Air Conditioner it was worth $1,000. My dad was always finding deals on cars that cost maybe $500 in decent enough shape that someone would purchase them for $1,000.

While this opportunity was maybe not insanely profitable it easily goes down as profitable if it is only a side hustle. An extra $500-600 a month can go a long way when money is tight. That’s a car payment for most, and for some that’s their rent.

Today, I have graduated from flipping cars for $500 profits. Now I flip homes for upwards of $20,000-$30,000. I can flip about as many homes in a year as my dad used to flip vehicles. If that doesn’t put things in perspective I’m not sure what will.

With flipping homes, you simply seek out foreclosures, distressed homes, or decent deals on the MLS. Typically these homes are in the type of shape that they need a bit of TLC. After you purchase a property you go through the process of rehabbing. This can include remodeling the kitchen, installing new fixtures, whatever it takes to get the property in proper sales condition.

Once you increase the property’s value and have some equity, you sell the property for a profit. I know that sounds simple enough… and you might think you could never do that. That’s absolutely not true!

real estate incite wealth

I talk about taking it slow and building wealth gradually. However, tying up a bit of capital and building an understanding for how to flip real estate can provide you with an easy $20,000-$30,000 in additional income per year. Since the average income for a household in the United States is only $55,000 two flips a year would put you over the median income threshold.

As a side hustle, you cannot beat it.

If you are interested in learning more about real estate flipping, how to come up with the capital up front via hard money lenders or banks, or you simply want to check out other methods of real estate investment, I suggest checking out the BiggerPockets podcast or website. I listen to the podcast weekly and I usually am surfing the site hustling for real estate deals at least three times a week.

Head over to my profile on BiggerPockets and let’s connect!

Aside from online business building and flipping cars, homes, or anything else you can get your hands on you can always…

Become a Freelancer (Fiverr)

So you’ve got some skills that you want to put to use. That’s totally fair as well. Being self employed beats the heck out of being a W-2 employee any day. You are able to work as hard as you want for as many hours as you want and thus are in control of your own paycheck.

The gig culture has been sweeping society over the past few years. More people are turning to platforms like Fiverr to advertise their skills to someone looking for specialty work that they either don’t have time for, or are too lazy to do themselves.

With the gig culture, I’m not so much talking about freelance handy man work like fixing washers and dryers, changing light bulbs, basics like that. Then you would essentially just be a general contractor. There is nothing wrong with this type of gig culture, I am just staying away from it as being a lucrative side hustle for the purposes of this article.

When freelancing is your side hustle, you will want to stick to the simple stuff, freelance writing, graphic design, things you can knock out simply by investing a couple hours.


At Fiverr, people will pay for logo design, other types of graphic design, often times people who run websites and are in need of content will reach out sellers on Fiverr to take care of it for them.

Solid freelancers with good ratings can easily clear $20-$30 per hour worked. That’s probably closer to the average if you ask me. If you are really good and showcase your talents well, understand how to market yourself, and deliver awesome results consistently, I would be surprised if you didn’t see upwards of $50-100 per hour.

Freelancing can support you full time so it most certainly is a viable side hustle. You choose your hours, you choose what gigs to accept, and you choose how fast you offer to complete them. You really can’t beat it.

Fiverr is the best platform to take advantage of direct to consumer advertising. As you gain more experience freelancing within the platform, more and more business will come your way.

Click here to sign up for Fiverr and give freelancing a shot. If at first it’s a bit slow, don’t give up! You’ll always be struggling to see results if you don’t follow through.

There are so many different side hustles out there today it is becoming ever harder to decide which are legit and which can actually be real money making opportunities. I’ve personally made money on all three of the side hustles I’ve outlined above. As always, I will never market or advertise something I don’t believe in.

If you want to get started with a side hustle where you can make real money with zero start up cost all in a place where you are taught exactly what you need to do in order to become profitable… I highly suggest you check out Wealthy Affiliate and all that they have to offer. It’s free to sign up and you can immediately be on the road to building your own revenue generating side hustle just like 1.4 million other members.

If you have any questions about the side hustles outlined here, drop a comment below!

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8 thoughts on “3 Legit Side Hustles That Actually Make Money ($3,500 Last Month)”

  1. Great article Dalton, Just a question though. Can someone who has basically ZERO knowledge about online business, marketing, etc. succeed in this type of setup? I really wanted to have an online business because as you’ve mentioned it, the main job is just not cutting it. BTW, I also love how you’ve said things here simply. For someone who is new on these kinds of stuff, simplicity means a lot. It helps us understand the concept on a beginner’s point of view which is awesome.

    1. Hey there!

      The short answer is yes. That’s exactly how I started in this space actually! 

      I had very little html background from high school that helped with some basic web design elements. Overall, however, I learned everything I know now about Affiliate Marketing from Wealthy Affiliate. Beyond that I’ve done much self education on different topics like drop shipping, retail arbitrage, etc. 

      Real estate has been the biggest uphill battle, but it is learn-able. Generally takes a bit more time than setting up a website and rocking and rolling though!

      I always try and make sure that what I’m writing translates to all levels of entrepreneurs. I’m glad that this hit the mark. I was a beginner once also, learning was tough, I try and make it easy and offer up the best resources to help you get ahead.

      Let me know if you have any questions!


  2. To be honest side hustle is a term I have just started hearing in the last year and the funny thing is the first place I hear if it was on the popular Canadian show Dragons DenIf you want to succeed online I really think side hustles are the way its going to have to be to make any head way online.Thank you for a great review of your side hustles.  Its going to make me think more about the direction I want to take.Dale

    1. Haha, yes Dale! It is a bit of a newer term I have to say. I’ve never seen or heard of Dragon’s Den myself, I will have to check it out. I just try and keep up with the lingo, it converts. 

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading, check back in soon and I’ll have more for you. Any direction you choose, I’m sure it will be the right one. Keep up the good work,


  3. Great article, so much information, I am in the process of learning everything I can about SEO and your information about Jaaxy opens the door for many ideas. I appreciate how took time and clarify terms that are very popular in the marketing world as; QSR, SEO traffic, I hope you continue updating your post with new valuable information, thank you. 

    1. Hey Jerry,

      SEO is actually a fantastic way to drive traffic to your website. You can’t beat it, it’s a valuable tool, and a valuable skill to learn! Glad I could help with the clarification. If you are ever struggling with SEO feel free to drop back by or feel free to find me at WA and ask any questions you may have. 

      Wealthy Affiliate is also a great platform for teaching SEO and is actually where I learned many of the key concepts I apply today to drive folks to my websites. 

      Thanks for reading! Best of luck to you and stick with the SEO education, it’ll pay off.


  4. This site is beautifully presented, easy to read and so full of valuable information. You seem to have a real handle on ways to make money both online and offline. Do you spend a lot of money advertising your products or are you managing to gain traction with SEO?

    The concept of house or car flipping has some appeal.

    I have tried drop shipping but unsuccessfully, so I need to look at other avenues. You have given a lot of options here.

    I am keeping a link to this site to refer back to. Thank you for sharing

    1. Hi Judy!

      Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad that my presentation is pleasant enough for readers. I have been working at the online part only for a couple of years. I definitely have had to work pretty hard to gain the type of authority I was looking for in a site.

      I actually utilize ads very little. SEO is the easiest way to drive organic traffic to your site without breaking the bank with trial and error. With ads you sort of target people that might not be looking for what you’re selling. Yes, targeted advertising can go a long way… however, I feel that when I promote products within articles, the organic search traffic has a better conversion rate. They come to the site looking for something, and if I present it in the right way, usually they find it here.

      It definitely is a different type of concept than building a successful online business. I personally think flipping takes a bit more blood, sweat, and tears. 

      Drop-shipping is a tough one. Good side hustle if you can nail it down, but very unique and sometimes can be confusing or hard to break into. It’s also hard to keep customers happy with lead times from suppliers. 

      I appreciate you keeping the link around for later! Best of luck to you and your online adventure!


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