3 Simple Side Hustles That Won’t Cost You a Dime to Start

Side hustles can be a great way to make some extra cash on top of your day job, but these three offer a way to make cash right away at no cost!

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The side hustle. It’s something that’s become part of our culture, if not our way of life. It’s a way to bring in extra cash flow on top of your day job, supplement retirement income, or as part of several side hustles.

Whatever your reason for wanting to start a side hustle, it can be difficult to begin if you don’t have cash on hand. Beyond that, not all of us are experts in wood carving or making jewelry to sell online.

But don’t worry! I’m far from crafty, yet have found several opportunities to start a side hustle that won’t cost you a dime. Heck, they won’t cost even a penny! So let’s look at three options to find out what’s right for you.

1. Online surveys

Online surveys are some of the easiest side hustles out there. They don’t take a lot of your time and can be done while you’re watching television, and at your convenience rather than a strict schedule. Furthermore, there are plenty of sites out there offering cash in exchange for online surveys.

How does this work? Well, either a company or even the government wants to know your opinion and will pay you for it. In the case of many of these sites, you take in points for every survey you do. The longer they take, the more points you collect. The more you do, the more points, and so on. Then, when you reach a certain amount of points, you can either collect your income through a cheque or through gift cards.

The only downside is you’ll have to do a lot of surveys before collecting cash. It usually takes thousands of points just to collect something like $20. However, if you have the time and patience, and if you’re watching a four-hour football game while doing them, why not?

2. Transcription services

Here’s another side hustle anyone can do, and again won’t cost you a cent. Companies will pay you to simply listen to transcriptions and write them down, word for word. If you’re a fast typist, you can take in serious cash by simply listening to different topics and writing them up!

What’s great is a lot of companies will allow you to choose what interests you. This can be everything from writing out books to lectures on different topics, or simple manuals. While the range varies, these services typically pay between $0.75 to $1.50 per audio minute of transcription. So that’s up to $90 for an hour-long recording!

Now, this is another simple side hustle that won’t cost anything but can be time-consuming. It’s likely to take far longer than just an hour to make sure the audio is recorded properly. Still, making $90 a night before sitting down to relax is a great side hustle, adding over $20,000 in annual income should you do that five nights a week for a year!

3. Write a book!

This is the most work for the most long-term reward. It’s been said that everyone has a book in them. And before you think, “Well, not me!” think about what you know. There are plenty of free videos, websites, and more that offer tutorials on how to get started writing a book and coming up with ideas. It doesn’t have to be fiction either. Whether you know how to bake some mean cupcakes, are great at teaching car mechanics, or are a financial writer, you likely have expertise that someone may pay to read.

What’s great is these days, unless you want to be a full-time author, it doesn’t cost anything to get online. Once you’ve written your book, you can publish on everywhere from Amazon to the Apple ebook store, all for free! You don’t even have to worry about cover art or anything!

Now of course the one downside is here is that it’s a waiting game. It’s quite unlikely you’re going to make the $20,000 per year that you could with transcribing. However, once it’s out there the hard work is done! You can now look forward to cash coming in on an annual basis for the rest of your life! That’s passive income that never goes away, creating small but stable income literally forever.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Fool contributor Amy Legate-Wolfe has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon and Apple.

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