10 Achievable Six-Figure Side Business Ideas

10 achievable six-figure side business ideas

Table of Contents

A side business or side gig is perfect for those who work and want to earn a bit of extra cash on the side. Not all side businesses are created equal and some have the potential to earn you over six figures per year depending on your level of success.

1. Creating a YouTube channel

As a rule of thumb, YouTubers earn around $0.25 – $4.00 USD per 1000 views ($0.35 to  $5.00 AUD). This income is based on the type of advertising served, viewer engagement, and clicks. This can be quite lucrative when you start receiving tens of millions of views regularly. There have been several famous YouTubers that started out in minimum pay jobs before growing their channel to earn millions.

Many YouTubers started off doing it casually but focus on it full time after their channels skyrocket in popularity. If you have a passion for something and have enough technical ability to learn how to film and edit footage. YouTube is a potential six-figure side business down your alley.

To monetise your YouTube account, you will need to reach certain metrics as well as create an Adsense account. Some also have brand sponsorship which can pay into the thousands per video.

2. Instagramming

Instagram is one of the world’s most popular social media platforms in 2018. It has over 1 billion users worldwide. Users make money from Instagram through paid promotion, and are usually known as “influencers”. Joe Gagliese, the co-founder of Viral Nation, told Vox that micro-influencers (someone that has 10,000 to 50,000) followers can get a minimum of a few thousand dollars a post.

If you have a knack for creating aesthetic content that has viral potential, applying your skills on Instagram can be a really viable side business that has the potential to grow exponentially.

3. Freelancing design

Freelancing is a good way to earn side income if you have a specific skill that people are willing to pay money for ad hoc. Common skills include video editing, photography, website design and development, coding, admin, etc. Freelancing is best if you have access to a network of potential customers or contracts. If you work in a field where there is constant work then it may be a good idea to get business cards and contacts so that when you freelancer you can get steady work rather than be constantly looking for work.

Alternatively, if you want to find clients online, good platforms to start on would be Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiver. These platforms are large and have millions of potential clients. The downside is that these platforms are notorious for having too many freelancers that will do work for very little. Most of the freelancers also come from third world countries where their cost of living is much lower and can afford to do work for less.

4. Online courses

There are many education platforms now which allow people to post up online courses and sell them. If you have a special skill and have good presenting skills, teaching online may be the perfect side business for you. It doesn’t take much to earn six figures if you’re selling a course for $15.

Some courses have hundreds of thousands of views and whilst not every course has that many views, it certainly is achievable if you have several popular courses. The most popular websites to list your courses at the moment are Udemy and Udacity.

5. Creating a niche podcast

For the uninitiated, podcasts are basically talking back radio but in a format that resembles an episode. People love listening to them whilst on the train to and from work or whilst driving. A successful podcast might have hundreds of thousands of viewers. As a result, they’re extremely attractive to advertisers of their niche. Thisweekinstartups founder Jason Calacanis reportedly earns approximately $500,000 in profit per year from their podcast.

In a similar fashion to other social media type businesses, your income in running a podcast will solely depend on your reach and niche. To be successful, you will need to focus your podcast on a niche where there are large companies that would pay to access your viewers.

6. Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketers can make a lot of money. Ozbargain is a good example of how a highly efficient affiliate marketer can work. People click on links and the referrer is paid a percentage of any sales for a certain duration. Affiliate marketing is a good way of earning money if you have lots of viewers/followers on social media or a popular podcast/blog.

There are two main ways of getting affiliate codes to earn money. You can go directly to a company that sells services or products online and get a custom code but you can also join affiliate networks to use their code. Commission Factory and Clixgalore are two popular affiliate networks. Many YouTubers earn affiliate income by plugging Amazon products on their video descriptions.

7. Doing handyman work

Tradies or tradesman can earn good money working on the side. If they can do a decent job over the weekend they can earn thousands adding potentially six figures onto their bottom line. Most tradespeople we speak to who do work on the side started by getting contacts in their industry.

If you’re not qualified but have some skills, perhaps you can pick up some handy work that doesn’t require qualifications. Starting a lawn mowing business does not require learning a trade. Getting started requires only outlaying a few thousand dollars for a quality lawnmower and getting clients could be as easy as handing out pamphlets to nearby homes.

8. Creating a lead generation website

A lead generation website’s main goal is to create leads and either sell them to a related business in its niche for a cost per lead or a fixed amount per month. Although this business model requires the owner to have technical knowledge of online marketing, it can be a very profitable business as overheads can be quite low.

A successful lead generation website can also be turned into a successful standalone business if the owner is willing to be hands-on. Instead of charging for leads, the owner can take provide the services to the client directly.

9. DJ’ing & music production

While not everyone is musically talented, for those that have a knack for electronic music, DJ’ing is a possible side hustle. In terms of income, the sky’s the limit. Diplo was a teacher before becoming a DJ. Now he earns millions per year jet-setting across the world. Obviously not every DJ earns millions per year but venues regularly pay thousands of dollars for reputable local DJs that can bring in crowds.

10. Martial arts & fitness

Most martial arts and fitness classes are at night, so they are the perfect time to have a side hustle after working your day job. You might not earn over six figures starting out but it can easily transition into a very profitable business once you have a critical mass of clients.

There are many business owners in this field who successfully leverage social media and become influencers whilst running their fitness-related business.

Parting thoughts

Regardless of the side business idea that you end up pursuing, the potential income and the level of success that you will achieve is almost always dependent on your ability to execute your idea and the amount of effort you put in.

Read: Complete Guide To Starting A Business


The contents of this article do not constitute advice, are not intended to be a substitute for advice, and should not be relied upon for any such purposes. You should seek advice or other professional advice in relation to any particular matters you or your organisation may have.

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