1 in 3 side hustlers brought in $500-$1,000 per month in 2021: Here are 3 side hustles that can pay well

"I was making $800 per month at the school, and in September I made $5,200 on Fiverr."

Jones and her daughter.
Photo by XOXO BrittMarie Photography

One in three Americans, 34%, has a side hustle, according to a December 2020 Zapier survey of 2,001 U.S. adults. And a lot of those people are making bank: One-third of them brought in an extra $500 to $1,000 per month in 2021, according to an October 2021 DollarSprout survey of 500 U.S. adults with side hustles.

If you're considering picking up a side hustle in 2022, the task may seem daunting, as there are so many to choose from. There are side hustles for introverts, side hustles for creatives, side hustles for passive income, and so on.

Here are three well-paid side hustles to consider, according to people who've found success doing them.

Start an Etsy store

Rachel Jones, 34, who uses a pen name for privacy, was already a veteran side hustler when she went on maternity leave in 2018. The California-based mom took the opportunity to buckle down on a couple of new ones, a blog and an Etsy store, to see if either could find a regular audience or clientele.

Jones decided to sell printables, or items buyers download and print on their own, like greeting cards or calendars. "Etsy is a really powerful platform for digital products," she recently told Grow.

She started out selling budget and savings planners, and eventually began making more niche, seasonal products, like an Elf on a Shelf kit for Christmas. These days, her store brings in an average of $12,500 per month in passive income.

Jones recommends would-be Etsy sellers use tools like trends.google.com and trends.pinterest.com to get a sense of what buyers are actually looking for. These helped her tailor the Elf of on a Shelf product, for example: Were people searching for "Elf on the Shelf ideas? Are they looking for a letter to Santa, or a letter to the elf or from the elf?" she told Grow.

Do freelance video editing

Jessica Herring, 36, had been selling her graphic design skills on Fiverr for a few months when the pandemic hit. An avid video gamer herself, the Florida-based mom made graphics for others streaming their games on sites like Twitch.

March 2020 brought uncertainty to her job as a teacher's aide, and she decided to look into other ways to make money on Fiverr. She'd been dabbling with video editing for years, so when Twitch began allowing streamers to feature a trailer on their pages, she jumped on the opportunity to edit them.    

Jessica Herring.
Courtesy Jessica Herring

In April 2020, she brought in just $24 from Fiverr. By June, after starting to offer some video editing services, she made $2,600.

Herring's school job let her go in September 2020, but by then her side hustle was well established. "I literally made about six times that month on Fiverr than I did at the school," she says. "I was making $800 per month at the school, and in September I made $5,200 on Fiverr."

She's now working full-time as a Fiverr freelancer.

Teach others via private classes

Jena Ellenwood, 36, was working as a bartender at a bar and two restaurants in New York City when the pandemic hit. "I was working seven days a week," she recently told Grow, because "I just never felt like I was caught up enough" financially.

Juggling those jobs was necessary to make the $1,000 per week she needed to cover living expenses, college loans, and credit card debt.

In March 2020, however, all three establishments shut down, and she was forced to rethink her earning strategy. A globally ranked mixologist, she'd been teaching cocktail making classes for one of her employers, Dear Irving, and offered to take them online. Eventually, people started reaching out for her to teach private cocktail making classes.

Jena Ellenwood at Dear Irving.
Photo by Elke VanBree

These days, Ellenwood makes a minimum of $250 per hour-long class, with some customers paying as much as $1,500. She also designs cocktails at a starting price of $300.

She has no interest in stepping back behind the bar.

"I've been able to do other things like to take classes and buy books and not freak out over buying groceries," she said. "I feel a lot more secure than I did going into shutdown."

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