Making money on the side is popular for the youngest generation entering the workforce. Nearly 46% of Gen Zers, ages 18 to 23, have a side hustle, according to a 2020 LendingTree survey. And for Gen Z, the world is ripe with opportunities when it comes to making extra money.
Gen Zers are digital natives, well-positioned to take advantage of moneymaking opportunities that involve technology. And avenues like social media and content creation are perfect pathways for discovering lucrative side hustles.
From low-commitment opportunities to those that are more involved, here are the eight best side hustles for Gen Zers looking for ways to earn more money.
Last updated: Sept. 28, 2021
Create Niche Pages on TikTok
"One side hustle that is extremely lucrative and has the potential to grow beyond a side hustle is creating niche pages on TikTok and growing an audience that can be monetized through sponsorships, " said Kyle Dulay, co-founder of Collabstr, an online marketplace to find and hire content creators on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. "The idea is pretty simple, you pick a niche that is interesting to you and post consistently until you build your audience over 10,000 followers. The great thing about TikTok is that it's much easier to grow on there compared to other platforms like Instagram or YouTube. I personally accumulated over 100k users across two pages in less than 12 months. As you grow, it will become much easier to make money off of your page. At first, you may have to reach out to brands manually and pitch them on a potential sponsorship, but as you grow you'll begin to get more deals coming inbound."
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Create In-Demand Content
"People of any age can make a sizable income through content creation, but in my experience, Gen Z really thrives with cryptocurrency and e-finance topics," said Nate Tsang, founder and CEO of WallStreetZen. "Many of the biggest TikTok financial influencers are in their teens and early 20s, and finance companies of all sizes want the clout and digital native skills that Gen Z has in spades.
"Content creation can extend to blog writing on trending topics, creating TikTok and YouTube videos for companies, graphic design, and even podcasting. What brands are looking for is authenticity more than anything else--they can supply the experience and expertise while Gen Z content creatives provide the engagement."
Create Simple Websites
"One of the easiest side hustles Gen Zers can get into at the moment is creating and selling simple websites and landing pages," said Drewbie Wilson, the vice president of Break Free Academy and bestselling author of "Crushing the Day: A Simple Guide to Success in Business and Life Through Service to Others." "With [COVID-19] and the increasing number of contactless businesses, there is a massive need for simple websites that can list out menus and details. Just about every restaurant you walk into these days has a QR code that needs to be scanned in order to pull up the menu."
SwaS or Software With a Service
"One side hustle I'm excited about right now for Gen Z is what I call SwaS or software with a service," said Nick Loper from Side Hustle Nation, founder of an award-winning blog, podcaster, TEDx speaker and author of six books dedicated to improving people's finances. "How it works is you piggyback on the popularity of a software tool that already exists, and help companies or individuals use it. On Side Hustle Nation, we've seen people run with this strategy for Quickbooks, Asana, Salesforce, Tailwind, ActiveCampaign, Ahrefs, and more. As a younger entrepreneur, you're at an advantage because you could be an early adopter for an up-and-coming software tool that most people don't know about yet. If you can create video tutorial content about it -- introducing yourself as a consultant -- I can almost guarantee you'll have people reaching out and asking for one-on-one help."
Create Digital Products
"The best side hustle for young people is to create digital products," said Mitchell Stern of SideHustle.Tips. " These include fonts, design templates, document templates, Shopify store themes, ebooks, and music. Unlike traditional jobs, you don't have to answer to anybody and you can work at your own pace whenever is convenient for you. Plus, you can work from home and actually make decent money. Creating digital products is the perfect side hustle for anyone with a computer who is looking to earn extra money without having to make any type of commitment."
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Sell Stock Photos
"For more visually creative Gen-Z people, selling stock photos can be another great side hustle," said Maria Juvakka, founder of Chic Pursuit. "The process is as simple as posting on social media: Upload the photo on Shutterstock, Adobe Stock or another site, and get paid every time someone licenses it. Think about the type of pictures editorials or businesses would need in their articles and content, and upload that type of content. Some examples include famous landmarks from well-known cities and office environments."
Become a Virtual Assistant
"Hiring a virtual assistant has been one of my best decisions recently," said Simon Brisk, CEO of Click Intelligence. "It saves up a lot of my time and effort. Almost all the business executives I have met have an assistant, and most of them prefer a virtual setting."
"There's a huge demand for virtual assistants, particularly post-pandemic. And most employers prefer younger people for the job. That is because young people are generally more tech-savvy and flexible. Therefore, Gen Z should consider getting into this gig.
"Apart from the decent compensation, VAs can get the opportunity to work with industry leaders and possibly learn from their experiences and expertise. Not to mention, the prospect of getting a permanent job with their employer. My virtual assistant works at $30 per hour, and she is highly skilled at the job."
Screenprint and Sell T-Shirts
Mike Nemeroff, CEO and co-founder at Rush Order Tees, said that screenprinting and selling T-shirts is a side hustle that's fairly lucrative for younger people. "It's how I got started, and now Rush Order Tees has grown from a one-high schooler operation in the back of my parents garage to over 150 employees," he said.
"A decent screen printing press is less than $200, and the supplies aren't much more either. Selling T-shirts at or ahead of major events or with creative designs via Facebook Marketplace can get you back your investment in the first batch of shirts. Take it from me--people love buying from students and will be happy to support your cause, even if your cause is just starting your own small business."