8 Side Hustles You Can Do to Earn Six Figures a Year (With Less Than a $10,000 Startup Cost)

8 Side Hustles You Can Do to Earn Six Figures a Year (With Less Than a $10,000 Startup Cost)

8 Side Hustles You Can Do to Earn Six Figures a Year (With Less Than a $10,000 Startup Cost) 1024 683 Steven Dux

Looking to make an extra $100,000 a year? Here are eight things you can do while working on the side to make it happen, with the risks, time commitment and rewards outlined.

I stopped enjoying life. It just wasn’t… fun, anymore. The thrill of it had disappeared. When I first arrived in America, everything was new and exciting. Daunting and terrifying, don’t get me wrong. After all, I was just a kid in high school who didn’t know the language. Even worse, I didn’t know anyone outside of my host family.

Yet it was an adventure. Exciting. My life ahead of me.

My own version of the American dream…

Not anymore. Somehow, everything had grown stale. I could see my future. I’d be sent back to China and would have to face my parents. I would settle down doing some job I would undoubtedly hate. Have a family. Be responsible. Maybe I’d even finally get my father’s approval!

I wonder what that would feel like…

Soon, I’d graduate from college. In the beginning, I loved the idea of becoming an engineer. How exciting it would be to build things, break it down, and build it back up.

Not anymore. That too seemed… unrealistic with how much money it would cost to make something of value.

I mean, who would fund me to create a technological advancement that was life changing? An exchange student from China on an F-1 Visa?

The reality was I’d graduate and get sent home no matter what.

It didn’t matter about my grades. It didn’t matter if I worked hard or coasted. It didn’t even matter if I showed up and finished my courses. My life was out of my control. Everything was so… unexciting. I hated it!

I wouldn’t say I was depressed. But I wasn’t far away.

  • My girlfriend had left me.
  • I had a job I hated, working the graveyard shift in my college dorm.
  • I had some money saved up, but not enough to keep me in America.

I didn’t want to go back to China. It no longer felt like home, especially after my dad left our family to focus on his businesses. This was my home. My future was here in America. Yet… how? How could I stay? The odds stacked up against me and I saw no way out.

I guess that’s why I didn’t enjoy life. I worried this was it. That I’d be stuck with this feeling forever, knowing I could do so much more but unable to because I had to follow the path everyone else wanted for me: my parents, the school system, all those people who doubted I could make anything of myself.

I felt lost.

Yet something powerful can happen when you’re trapped at the bottom of a dark well with no way out. It only takes a small glimmer of light to prove that not all is lost. And just as I thought I was done and ready to quit, a flicker appeared before me.

The Flicker of Light That Changed My Life Forever…

As I look back on this period, I can’t say I’m proud of who I was or how I acted.

I felt worthless and without hope.

I went through the motions.

I acted like a victim and wanted someone to save me.

Yet nobody could save me but me.

I realized I actually did have control over my life and that I could choose what I did and didn’t do. If I wanted to stay in America, it was on me to figure out how to earn a six figure income. If there’s one thing my background in engineering has taught me, it’s that any problem is solvable.

You just have to break it down.

Tear it apart and stick it back together.

And keep trying and testing until it works.

And if there’s one trait I’ve always had, it’s work ethic. My mother gave me that. She showed me what’s possible when you commit to a seemingly impossible task.

So there I was, down-and-out and ready to quit. Feeling sorry for myself. Becoming a person I wasn’t proud of. But then, when I needed it the most, that flicker of light appeared. I had my answer and all I had to do was make it work.

I’ll explain how I did later…

First, I’d like to send you a message that you are not alone.

Because if you’re still reading this, maybe you can relate.

Maybe you too feel down-and-out, jaded and tired of the life you’re living. Maybe you feel like you’ve made some mistakes and chosen the wrong path. Maybe you feel pressure from other people.

Or maybe you feel the pressure from within, wishing you had more: money, freedom, success…

If you do, know this: You Are Not Alone!

I can’t promise you success or that you’ll figure it out. I did, but that’s no guarantee you will. What I can say is that so long as you have a GREAT work ethic and the drive to make it work, you have a chance.

I’ll explain how I did it later, but first I’d like to share 8 things that show you how to build a business and earn 6-figures (with less than $10,000 of investment):

  • Even if you have a full-time job or are studying…
  • Even if you have very little time or money to spare…
  • Even if you have a family or other responsibilities…
  • Even if you have no qualifications or experience…
  • Even if you’re already considered “successful” and don’t have to worry about money…
  • But you do worry because you’re terrified that this is it and it will be forever!

These aren’t quick-rich schemes. You do have to work hard to make any of these ideas work.

And even if you do work hard, there’s no guarantee you’ll get the results you desire.

But if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll likely stay where you are.

So… which fear is greater?

The fear of failing and falling short?

Or the fear of not even trying?

If it’s the latter, keep reading because this is how to build a business or side hustle that makes 6-figures.

More and more people are making $100,000+ per year as independent workers, solopreneurs, freelancers and self-employed (rising from 1.1 million in 2013 to 3.3 million in 2018). You can too, and at the end of this article I’ll introduce you to the business model I chose, WHY, and how I did it.

1: Coaching / Consulting

  • PROFITABILITY: HIGH (although no passive income)
  • Essential Items Include: register as an LLC, state franchise fees, professional website, business cards and personal branding

For past generations, this was a tough industry to get into. It required a lot of experience. Yet in today’s hyper-connected world it’s one of the most attractive ways to build a business. It’s not that you don’t need a lot of experience, because often you do. But the barriers to entry are lower.

It’s more accessible to more people, and it’s possible to find clients and build a small practice.

So, what’s the difference between coaching and consulting?

  • Coaching: this provides hands-on help, guidance and accountability. As a coach, you act as a guide who listens and helps your clients figure out what their next steps should be.
  • Consulting: this focuses on high-level, practical expertise. As a consultant, you not only guide your clients but break down the actual steps they should follow and create a roadmap for them.

One of the main benefits of both coaching and consulting is that you can charge a premium rate for your services. This means you don’t have to have many clients to make 6-figures.

With just 10 clients signed up on a yearly contract, you can easily surpass $100k by charging them less than $1k per month. 

However, the problem here is time. Even with 10 clients, you’ll likely have to commit 2-3 hours (at least) each week per client. If you already have a full-time job this can be tough to balance.

Plus, your clients are paying for your time. This makes it harder to scale, and if you wish to take some time off to go on vacation, it means you don’t get paid. As such, a lot of coaches fall short of $100,000 per year (on average, life coaches make just over $60k and a business coach makes slightly above $70k).

So although coaching and consulting is a great business to launch, it’s not one that offers the most freedom (and it provides no passive income whatsoever). As such, it doesn’t make the best side hustle.

2: Freelancing

  • PROFITABILITY: MEDIUM (although no passive income)
  • Essential Items Include: professional website, personal branding, and computer equipment

This is another attractive option in today’s connected world. Especially if you have a specific skill:

  • Design
  • Copywriting
  • Video editing
  • Web development, etc…

There’s no shortage of businesses that need help with one-off projects you can fulfill. It can provide great extra income as a side hustle, and it’s a business model that provides a lot of freedom.

With no fixed hours and the freedom to work where you want and when, freelancing is a great option for those getting started with a side hustle and building a portfolio. The problem is that it can be hard to make 6-figures per year.

The average freelancers earn under $40k per year, and that’s with an average of 36 hours of work per week. This is largely because there’s a lot of competition amongst freelancers, which drives your hourly-rate down and means you have to work longer than you may like to.

On top of this, you must spend a lot of your time pursuing sales. This can become a separate job in its own right, because if the leads dry up then so does your money. So, depending on your situation, this may defeat the purpose of what you’re trying to build.

3: Write a Book or Create a Course

  • PROFITABILITY: MEDIUM (with some passive income)
  • Essential Items Include: professional editing, hosting fees, funnel software, design and layout, and video editing.

Here’s another popular business model that’s come of age over the last 10 years.

For our parents, it was hard to write a book.

  • You needed an agent,
  • who then had to find a publisher,
  • who had to believe in you enough to market your book to the masses.

Even popular writers didn’t make a lot of money, yet that’s changed since Amazon became the powerhouse it is.

Anyone can write and publish a book these days.

You can sell it online and receive 70%+ of the profits.

It’s a low-risk strategy with potentially high returns. Although for most writers, the reality is that you won’t make a fortune. The average book sells less than 3,000 copies in its lifetime. So, even if you sell your book at $20, after Amazon’s cut you’ll only make $42,000 from your book.

The same applies to building an online course, as the entire way we learn evolves.

It’s reported the E-Learning industry will be worth $325 billion per year by 2025.

It’s a booming market that provides massive opportunities for someone with a skill, method, process or idea to share. So long as you can provide your students with tangible value, an online course is a great way to make 6+ figures.

But again, the reality for many is much lower than this with the average course creator making just over $5,000 per course. It’s true that some people do make a good living off both writing books and creating courses, but most don’t.

It’s hard to make 6-figures this way. Even if you do, it requires a lot of ad spend and many hours of marketing. And of course, one of the biggest downsides to both writing a book and creating an online course is time: time you must spend upfront, which further increases your risk.

If you already have a full-time job and are looking to start a side hustle, it can be hard to justify the extra time you’ll need to spend writing a good book or creating a valuable course.

4: Blogging / Vlogging

  • PROFITABILITY: LOW (with some passive income)
  • Essential Items Include: professional website, video equipment, lighting and audio equipment, and personal branding

This is one of the most routes budding entrepreneurs take, especially those who dream of becoming an influencer. There’s no shortage of options:

I’m a huge fan of this approach on how to build a business. I love writing articles like this, and I love the content I share on my Youtube Channel and over Instagram. It’s a great way to engage with people, learn what content is the most valuable and generally help people find their own success.

It can lead to a great income stream, too.

You can leverage your following to build several passive income streams:

  • Affiliate Income
  • Advertising (and promotional content)
  • Joint Ventures
  • Courses and Programs
  • Books and Training Guides

But again, most bloggers and vloggers don’t. How much the average bloggers make varies, but it’s reported that those who make a regular salary only earn around $24,000 per year.

Yet the biggest problem with this business model is that you need to build an engaged following. Size doesn’t always matter, but engagement and loyalty do. Creating content is the easy part, but having a die-hard audience that consumes it… that’s another question.

The only way to make money (even if it’s as little as $24k per year) is to have a highly engaged audience.

This is hard to achieve these days as competition is high. And as more wannabe influencers join the game, the harder it will be to stand out and make any money at all.

5: Affiliate Marketing

  • PROFITABILITY: LOW (with a lot of passive income)
  • Essential Items Include: personal branding, hosting/platform costs, professional website and PR

This links with the previous business model, as Affiliate Marketing requires a loyal following and good content. This is always a popular option for those starting out with a side hustle because you don’t need to create a product.

Instead, you promote other peoples’ and get a share of their revenue.

The main affiliate routes include:

  • Joint Ventures (JVs): this involves promoting a launch/campaign, often through a series of emails, online ads, and live events such as webinars.
  • Amazon/Youtube Affiliate: where you leverage these huge platforms and promote their existing products or link promotional ads to your videos.
  • Blogging / Vlogging / Reviews: this involves creating content, building an audience, and getting a share of the revenue when your audience purchases.

It’s possible to make tens-of-thousands each month through Youtube’s Partner Program. But you need to build a popular channel and produce regular videos that get a lot of views. The same applies to Amazon’s Partner Program, Joint Ventures with other thought-leaders, and anything to do with blogging, writing reviews or creating content.


If you have a loyal one, you can make 6-figures of passive income each year without having to commit too much time. Whereas if you don’t have one a loyal following like this, you’ll likely make a few bucks each month and waste A LOT of your precious time.

I mean, the average affiliate marketers earn less than $70,000 per year.

BUT this includes those with millions of followers who bump up this statistic.

If you were to remove those with the largest followings, I suspect the average salary would be smaller.

6: Dropshipping

  • PROFITABILITY: LOW (with some passive income)
  • Essential Items Include: personal branding, hosting/platform costs, professional website, copywriting, and design

This continues to be a popular side hustle option, and it’s clear why as the eCommerce industry expects to reach $2.5 trillion in sales by 2022. A popular trend among this is Dropshipping, which involves selling physical products without having to hold the stock or fulfill the order.

Basically, this means you:

  • Source popular products (often from China)…
  • Create a store (on Amazon, eBay or Shopify)…
  • Optimize your store for SEO and promote your products through ads…
  • Partner with a “Fulfillment House’ who processes the order and sends the product…

It’s a low-risk approach to eCommerce (in theory) because you don’t hold the stock or have to fulfill the order. You simply find products that sell, source the best deal possible and focus on marketing.

Yet once you dig deeper it’s clear there are greater risks associated with Dropshippingsuch as supplier issues, small profit margins, expensive fulfillment errors and return policies.

The reality is you end up doing everything a regular eCommerce business owner does, aside from manufacturing the product.

This means the more successful your store becomes, the more time you’ll have to invest into it and the less passive income you earn. It also means to make 6-figures per year, you have to sell large volumes!

7: Cryptocurrency

  • PROFITABILITY: MEDIUM (with some passive income)
  • Essential Items Include: hosting/platform costs and enough capital to buy at least one bitcoin outright

You’ve no doubt heard of Cyptocurrency, have friends that invested and maybe even own a few Bitcoins yourself. A lot of people have made a lot of money trading cryptocurrency…

Yet I’m afraid to say there are more people who have lost money.

A lot of people think digital currencies are the future. Well, that isn’t the issue here.

The likelihood is that cryptocurrencies will change how we transfer and use money.

Yet this has nothing to do with how you trade them now.

Right now, trading digital currencies like Bitcoin is like trading stocks.

There’s a science behind it that includes both real data and human psychology.

This leads us to the final Business Model you can focus on…

The one I use, and the one that provided that flicker of light when I needed it the most.

8: Day Trading

  • PROFITABILITY: HIGH (with some passive income, in time)
  • Essential Items Include: training/education and at least $1,500 — ideally $3,000+ — to invest into your trades

With the right strategies and a relatively small investment (anywhere between $3,000 – $5,000), you can realistically make $100,000+ within your first year trading. Best of all, you can do this by working just 2-3 hours per day (once you’ve learned the correct strategies).

The problem is, 94% of first time traders fail within the first year because they follow the wrong advice and assume this is a quick rich scheme. It isn’t! You need to invest a lot of time upfront and learn how to study the markets the right way. You need to follow the right advice and implement the right strategies.

You need to want to learn, and you need to understand how to manage your risk.

If you do this you can build a 6-figure portfolio relatively quickly. If not, you’ll likely fail.

Day Trading is what gave me hope, motivation and purpose during my low-point a few years ago.

I’d resigned myself to finishing my studies and returning to China.

I researched all the Business Models I’ve shared with you today, but none of them attracted me.

They required too much time…

Or wouldn’t offer big enough returns or passive income…

Or needed a big investment upfront (which I didn’t have)…

I needed a solution that offered an ROI of 50%… 100%… 150%… 200%+ in a short period of time.

If I was to stay in America, I needed something that would help me WIN BIG… quickly!

That’s when I found Day Trading. 

I didn’t need a huge investment (I could get started with just $3,000 – $5,000). I had a lot of studying to do, but my dead-end job gave me that time. Plus, my engineering studies suited the numbers, data and patterns that appeared in Day Trading.

I understood and could see how it worked.

I made a lot of mistakes in the beginning, that is for sure.

But I also made a lot of progress and could see potentially how much money I would make. I knew, with the right strategies and patterns, I could double and maybe even triple my investment in just 30-60 days.

Now, those were the sort of returns that could save me.

This was the sort of solution that could keep me in America.

I never looked back!

I won’t go into the full story because I’ve written about this already. What I will say is, Day Trading gave me what I needed to build the life I’ve always dreamed about:

A life here in America, where I spend time flying between my home in Cincinnati and the sunny LA. Day trading was the solution I needed. It helped me rise from my dark place and enjoy life once more.

This didn’t just happen.

I had to work REALLY hard and STUDY a lot.

I see so many first time traders fail because they think it’s a quick fix. Nope! If you think this you’ll fail like the 94% of traders who quit within the first year. If you follow the wrong advice, you’ll waste time, lose money and struggle to make trading your primary income source.  

But if you have a GREAT work ethic and the motivation to build a life of financial abundance and freedom… Day Trading may be the answer for you. I recently appeared on the Off The Pill Podcast with Ryan Higa (who has 20+ million subscribers) to discuss this.

If you want to learn more about Day Trading and see if it’s the solution you need, watch the video above.

I continue to trade and build my portfolio, but my mission today is to also help other people do the same.

I’ve followed all the bad advice, fake gurus and so-called experts who overwhelm you with so much information that you have no idea what to do next. I’m tired of seeing people fail, not because they’re incapable of success, but because they don’t execute the right strategies.

So if you do choose Day Trading, please take the time to do it the right way.

Watch the above video, read the articles I’ve linked to and check out my Youtube Channel.

You may even like to look at The Freedom Challenge: the program I’ve created for new traders committed to building a successful and profitable portfolio.

It’s the program I wish I had when I first started. Learn more about it here ⇒

1 comment
  • Tyra Wettach March 6, 2021 at 11:44 pm

    Hi there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok. I’m absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.|

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    If you’re new to all of this and have limited knowledge as to how the stock market works, I highly recommend you invest in The Freedom Challenge.