4 Side Hustles That Earn $20,000 a Year

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.

These four side hustles will help you rake in the dough so you can reach your financial goals in no time flat.

If you're looking for innovative ways to fill your savings accounts, there are lots of lucrative side hustles you can take advantage of.

Not all opportunities pay equally, though. As with 9-5 jobs, the pay and flexibility for side hustles varies. If you want to make the most of working in your spare time, the four side hustles listed below are some of the more profitable options -- and could help you earn $20,000 a year or more on the side. Not too shabby for a side hustle, huh?

1. Dog walker or pet sitter

Average pet-sitting rates:

  • Cost of a 30-minute visit: $25 per pet (on average)
  • Overnight pet-sitting: $75 to $85 per pet (on average)

If you love pets and need to earn some extra cash, you may want to consider starting a side gig as a dog walker or pet sitter. Pet care of all types is in high demand, especially pet sitting. Pet owners are willing to pay a premium -- between $25 and $85 on average -- to employ someone who's both trustworthy and good with their pets.

Pet care services are easy to market with sites like Care.com and can be offered on a long-term or short-term basis. What you offer to clients depends on your experience and comfort levels, but in general, pet sitters will typically offer the following:

  • Pet companionship while owners are away
  • Food services (changing water, feeding pets, etc.)
  • Exercise services (playtime, walks, etc.)
  • Cage, litterbox, and other pet mess cleaning services
  • Medication administration
  • Transportation to vet appointments

You aren't limited to offering services for dogs and cats, either. Pet owners need pet-sitting services for all types of pets, including:

  • Birds
  • Snakes
  • Guinea pigs
  • Rabbits
  • Fish

If you're comfortable with expanding your services into niche pet care, you will likely be able to maximize your profits significantly.

There are other potential perks to this side gig, too. Unlike many other part-time job options or side gigs, you're in control of what you charge and when you work as a pet sitter or dog-walker. You get to set your own rates and your own hours. And if you live in an area with a shortage of pet care specialists, you'll be in high demand (which means you can charge even more for your services).

2. ESL tutoring online

Average ESL tutor rates: $25 to $50 per hour

If you have a solid mastery of the English language, are comfortable teaching adults and children, and are looking for a side hustle that is both lucrative and flexible, you may want to consider a gig as an English-as-a-second-language (ESL) tutor.

English tutoring is in high demand for both children and adults in other countries like China, South Korea, or Russia. This can be pretty lucrative for the right person, and you generally don't need teaching experience or a college degree to pull this side hustle off.

If you have a computer, a webcam, are a native English speaker, and work well with other people, you may be a good fit to teach English to students of all ages. Tutoring is typically paid per lesson, and the pay rates will vary based on factors like your credentials, experience, and class time.

It's important to note that you may have to put in time early in the morning, late in the evening, or on the weekends or holidays, but working from the comfort of your own home can pay off for the right person. In general, ESL tutors make between $25 to $50 per hour, which is pretty good income for a side hustle and can easily add up to $20,000 per year or more.

3. Virtual assistant

Average virtual assistant rates: $19 to $20+ per hour

Do you have a laptop, internet connection, and a knack for getting tasks done in a timely manner? If so, you may be a good fit for a virtual assistant side gig -- which is both in-demand and profitable for the right person.

Virtual assistants are typically hired by busy executives or business owners who need someone to help with daily tasks. That could include:

  • Booking flights
  • Checking on travel arrangements
  • Making dinner reservations
  • Completing bookkeeping tasks
  • Publishing blog posts
  • Sending emails
  • Completing any other task under the sun

And all of these tasks can be done from anywhere in the world, which makes this side hustle a great option for digital nomads or travelers who want to keep their side hustles as flexible as possible.

There are tons of companies that offer to help you get started as a virtual assistant, but you can also use freelancing platforms to offer your virtual assistant services -- and set your own rates. The typical hourly rate for virtual assistants ranges from $19 to $20, but if you have specialized skills (hello, Excel whizzes!) you may be able to command a much higher rate.

4. Language translation services

Average language transcription rates:

  • $0.05 to $0.30+ per word
  • $25 per hour

Do you speak more than one language fluently? If so, you may want to look into offering language translation services as a side hustle. Language translators typically work to translate documents like books, articles, contracts, or legal documents from one language to another.

If you're multilingual, taking on this type of work is a great way to make some extra money, because these types of services are in high demand. There are all sorts of documents that need to be translated from one language to another, including business contracts, birth certificates, and citizenship and immigration forms.

Translators typically specialize in two areas: a particular type of document and a particular language or languages. If you have a specialized background in a niche field, like law or business and finance, you can make a ton of money with this side hustle. You typically won't need to meet any education or certification requirements to make money as a freelance translator.

Language translation is often billed as a per-word or per-page service, with some translators earning as much as $0.30 per word. That averages out to about $25 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And, if you're a solid writer and editor, you can offer those types of services on top of basic translation skills, like summarization, editing, and proofreading, which will increase your billing rate significantly.

Whether you need to make extra cash to pursue your dreams or you need to balance your personal finances, there are lots of side hustles you can get started on. Find something that fits with your lifestyle and your work schedule and then maximize that opportunity. You never know what could end up becoming a gold mine while putting in work during your spare time.

Alert: our top-rated cash back card now has 0% intro APR until 2025

This credit card is not just good – it’s so exceptional that our experts use it personally. It features a lengthy 0% intro APR period, a cash back rate of up to 5%, and all somehow for no annual fee! Click here to read our full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes.

Our Research Expert

Related Articles

View All Articles Learn More Link Arrow