Side hustle ideas for summer

9 min read
Rebecca Coleman

Have you been dreaming about starting your own side hustle? If you have some time on your hands, now is a great time to start planning! There are plenty of side hustle ideas to choose from and most can fit alongside a regular 9 to 5 weekday job.

A side hustle is a business or a job you do, in addition to your full-time job, for extra income.

With a side hustle, you can earn a little extra income for a trip, retirement or a new shiny piece of technology.

Turning your side hustle ideas into a reality can be a rewarding business venture.

UberEats delivery man walking next to his bike

Most side hustlers work after hours, on the weekends, on days off or whenever they have extra time.

Many Gen X’ers or Baby Boomers run side hustles in their retirement; or it can be an additional source of income for stay-at-home parents.

9 side hustle ideas to consider this summer

If you need help coming up with side hustle ideas, we can get you started. Let’s take a look at some of the top choices by varying categories. Read each one to see if you’d be a match and begin your journey from there.

1. Creative/artistic

Are you a whiz with woodwork? Can you make the cutest earrings? Are all your friends clamouring for your macramé plant holders?

Our first side business idea is to sell those handmade goods you're already making.

Create a small side-business that features your artistic or creative pursuits. From painting to jewellery, these kinds of products will likely sell great on a site like Etsy.

2. Food

Can you meal prep like nobody’s business? Are you a genius at macros? Does your unicorn cake get all the likes on Instagram?

Person decorating cupcakes with intricate designs

You could start your own food-based business. It’s one of the most popular side hustle ideas out there and a great option if you enjoy:

  • Cooking
  • Developing recipes
  • Delivering meals
  • Baking desserts and special treats

If you can find a niche (like vegan, paleo or gluten-free), you’ll have a better chance at marketing yourself to stand out.

3. Coaching/teaching

Speak a second language fluently? Know how to do everything in Photoshop? Can you teach kids how to play the ukulele?

When it comes to side hustle ideas, these kinds of skills are very in-demand right now. You can either take private clients and charge by the hour, or you can build online courses through a service like Udemy or Skillshare.

4. Handyperson

If you enjoy doing repairs and tasks around the house, you could start a business as a handyperson. Services you could offer include:

  • Painting
  • Tiling
  • Cutting lawns
  • Building IKEA furniture

Check out TaskRabbit or post an ad to your local Craigslist to get started.

5. Property manager/cleaner

People who own a second income property or a vacation rental often don’t live nearby. Having someone close by to manage emergencies or clean in between guests is a service people are willing to pay for.

You may even want to look into investing in your own income/vacation property or buy, fix up and flip properties. Another option could be to look into house-sitting, plant-watering or pet-care for those who are away on vacation or travel.

6. Homecare

There are plenty of opportunities for people who enjoy homecare services. Options range from:

  • Babysitting
  • Eldercare
  • House cleaning
  • Organization

All of these services make great side hustle ideas and can easily earn you money with the right tools, training and resources.

7. Virtual assistant

Virtual assistants work from home and do a variety of administrative tasks. Typical tasks include:

  • Transcribing
  • Scheduling
  • Writing
  • Organizing

Try the Canadian Association of Virtual Assistants to see what’s out there.

8. Photography

Person holding a digital camera

Take your photography hobby to the next level by hiring yourself out for:

  • Family photos
  • Cover events
  • Weddings
  • Birthdays
  • Shooting product shots

You could also sell your already existing photos online as prints, cards, or sell them to a stock photography outlet like Shutterstock or iStock.

9. Technology

There are a myriad of potential side hustle ideas in tech. Some options include things like:

  • Building websites
  • Managing social media channels
  • Buying and running digital ad campaigns
  • Editing videos or podcasts
  • Writing

If you know your way around popular software applications or can easily navigate digital media, consider taking up one of these side hustle ideas.

Why start a side hustle?

For many people, a side hustle is a way for them to earn extra income. This extra income usually goes toward some kind of financial goal.

For example, I have a kid going to college next year.

Every little bit I can put towards his tuition will help.

Alternatively, you may want to save up for a dream goal. This could include a trip or that Fendi bag you’ve been lusting after.

You also might want to save for financial reasons. In this case, you could put extra money towards:

  • Retirement
  • A down payment on a piece of property
  • A new car

Whatever your goals may be, these side hustle ideas have the potential to become something lucrative with enough time and dedication.

How to choose which type of side hustle is right for you

Side hustles fall into four distinct categories. Below, we’ll review the different types and how each one works.

Second job

This category of side business ideas includes jobs that have fairly high demand for workers, but take place outside of the traditional 9-5 weekday hours.

Examples include:

  • Working at a retail store
  • Working in a restaurant (either in the front or in the back of the house)
  • Providing customer service in a large call center

If you have extra time on weekends, consider looking into a second job for extra income.

Gig economy

These kinds of jobs are like a hybrid between a part-time job and self-employment. You get the flexibility of setting your own hours, but you’re also guaranteed income (unlike self-employment).

These jobs include:

  • Driving for Uber or Lyft
  • Delivering food or groceries
  • Dog walkers
  • Couriers
  • Airbnb hosts 

One in 10 Canadians rely on gig work, either as a primary or secondary source of income.

Network marketing

This type of job is often referred to as Multi-Level Marketing (MLM). They are the OG side hustles, dating back to the 50s.

You might remember your grandmother selling Tupperware, Mary Kay or Avon back in the day.

MLMs come with a lot of unseen risk, however. There is usually a substantial buy-in, and unfortunately, most who join do not end up making significant income.

Self-employed business

You can also start your own side hustle business. The advantage here is that there is no limit to the kind of business you can create. And while there is more financial risk starting your own business, the potential financial reward is also significantly higher.

In general, starting a side hustle business tends to be less difficult and quicker to profit from than starting a full-time business.

Related: 31 small business ideas that are easy to start on a small budget

What you need to start your side hustle

In this section, we’ll provide some tips on what you need to get started. Read each one and take notes on how you can prepare yourself for success.

Develop your side hustle ideas

You probably already have an idea as to what you want to do. But if you don’t, think about things you’re passionate about. What kinds of activities can you lose yourself in? These might be good options for your side hustle.

Two people sitting across from each other with a podcast mic between them

If you already have an idea for a side hustle, think about what might differentiate you from the competition. Can you narrow down a niche?

For example, instead of marketing yourself as a generalized podcast producer, could you be a podcast producer in the food niche?

Start a survey for proof of concept

One great way to see if there’s any interest in your side hustle idea is to survey your family and friends. You can easily create a survey on Survey Monkey or Google Forms to see if there is interest in your side hustle.

Once you have your first client, that is proof of concept. If you can get one person to buy in, hopefully more will follow.

Set goals

What’s your endgame? Is it to make some extra cash or to quit your day job and ride your side hustle into retirement?

Do you just want a few steady customers or world domination?

Set realistic, SMART goals — you’ll be more likely to reach them.

Promote yourself online

You need a website for your side hustle, so potential clients can find you. Even if you are listed on gig websites, having your own website is a must.

It’s not that hard to do — you can DIY it, or hire someone to build your website for you. Another option may be to barter with a fellow side-hustler who specializes in web design.

Editor’s Note: If you want to create your own website, GoDaddy’s Website Builder has all the tools to simplify the process (no tech knowledge required). Try it free!

Schedule your time

Be realistic — a side hustle is a job. You have to devote time to it.

Determine how much time you need for managing your life outside of work. Consider things like family commitments, running your household, etc.

Planner with smartphone, pen and laptop nearby

Then, schedule your side hustle work times from there. This could be early in the mornings before anyone is up. You might also consider evenings, weekends or late night shifts after everyone has gone to bed.

Don’t forget your day job

Running a side hustle can be a lot of work, so don’t let your day job suffer. Be a good employee and avoid doing your side hustle at work. It’s always best to be ethical and honest.

Hire out the things you don’t excel at

If you’re not great at doing bookkeeping for your new business, hire someone who is.

Too busy running your side hustle to vacuum? Hire someone to come in and do it once a week.

If your time pursuing your side hustle is worth more than they charge you, it’s worth it.

Turn your side business idea into a reality

If you’ve ever dreamed of starting a side hustle, there’s no time like the present! The great thing about a side hustle is that it doesn’t need to be a fully-formed idea for you to pursue it. Just get started and see where you end up!

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