Many TikTok side hustles promise big money for little effort, but do they work?
To find out, I spoke with Daniella Flores, founder of ILikeToDabble.com. Daniella is a self-proclaimed side hustle queen who went from 0 to 12 income streams in 4 years, paying off over $40,000 of debt in the process.
Daniella broke down a bunch of trending TikTok side hustles on my podcast, The Side Hustle Show. You can hear our full interview below.
Here’s a summary of our conversation.
In drop-shipping, suppliers ship products directly to customers on your behalf.
Daniella dabbled in drop shipping, running a print-on-demand store on Etsy. Print-on-demand is a fulfillment process that drop-ships products to customers only after a sale goes through.
Using tools like Canva, Printify, and Printful, Daniella designed and sold custom products online for bachelorette parties, such as T-shirts, hoodies, and wine coolers.
Daniella preferred Etsy over other e-commerce sites because of its large user base. Users on Etsy also tend to search for niche products, so as long as you target the right keywords for your niche, you should be able to drive traffic to your store easily.
Etsy also charges as low as $0.20 for each item you list, and you won’t need to do as much marketing there as you would on Shopify and other online marketplaces.
But drop shipping is labor intensive. Daniella shut down their store after a few months, realizing how much customer service went into it.
Daniella’s advice on drop-shipping as a side hustle? Do SEO and talk to manufacturers first before launching in.
You’ll still have to double-check the quality of the transcriptions, but you can make $1 per finished-audio minute doing this side hustle. One TikTok user claims you can easily make $500 daily on Rev if you work eight hours daily.
But Daniella did some digging and found that some freelancers made as little as $100 a month on Rev. Many also worked eight hours a day — not exactly a side hustle.
Ultimately, Daniella thinks transcribing on platforms like Rev is a great side hustle for beginners but not for those who want to make real money on the side.
3. Low-content publishing
This involves uploading an almost blank book to Amazon and having the company print and ship it on your behalf.
Think journals, diaries, planners, sketchbooks, and notebooks. With these types of books, the value comes from how you’ve structured the mostly-blank pages and prompts and who you’re targeting as your customer.
For the most part, low-content publishing is marketed on TikTok as a shortcut for those who don’t have the expertise or the time to write and self-publish a 25,000-word book.
But as Daniella observed that most TikTok users who do low-content publishing never give distinct numbers or show anything on the back end. They often focus on the creation part, which seems easy enough until you have to sell the book on Amazon.
Low-content publishing on Amazon is a highly competitive space where people pretty much throw their products at the wall and see what sticks.
That’s why Tammie Chrin, a long-time Side Hustle Show listener, developed her method for creating branded books for businesses featuring their content. She calls it KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) 4 B2B.
With this method, rather than rely solely on Amazon for sales, you go to existing businesses and create custom books for them that they can buy or gift to their customers.
4. Selling printables
You create the products on programs like Canva or Adobe Photoshop and market them to your target audience.
The best part? You don’t need to ship anything or meet anybody in person. As soon as someone buys your printable, all they need to do is download it.
TikTok users say this is a great source of passive income, but Daniella says that’s not entirely true. “You’re still a business. You have to provide customer service — all that fun stuff.”
And as with any online business, you probably won’t make much money doing this for the first few years.
Nonetheless, this side hustle can scale once you get the hang of it and don’t give up.
5. Naming companies
Do you have a knack for names?
Squadhelp is an innovative crowdsourcing platform for business names, tag lines, logos, and other similar marketing projects.
For just a few hundred bucks, a startup can submit a proposal to Squadhelp containing the details of their business plan and a request for crowdsourced naming ideas.
Once the proposal is processed, the startup can hold a naming contest on Squadhelp. Contests typically run for about a week and usually attract tons of user entries.
At the end of the contest, the startup chooses one name from the pool of entries, and the winner receives a minimum $100 prize. Some contests pay as high as $500.
The downside? Contests on Squadhelp typically attract hundreds of submissions, so your odds of winning are generally low.
6. Affiliate marketing
With affiliate marketing, you earn a commission on sales referred through your blog or website.
On TikTok, creators say they make as much as $2,000 daily in affiliate sales, even though the platform doesn’t allow users to add affiliate links to their videos.
Some of the ways users get around that are:
- upgrading to a business account
- putting affiliate links in their profile bio
- redirecting traffic to their other social media profiles
- using third-party tools like Linktree
- promoting discount codes in their videos
While affiliate marketing is a legit passive income generation strategy, Daniella says it only works for TikTok users with thousands of followers.
Also, affiliate marketing is a partnership between businesses, not a partnership between a business and any old TikTok user whose profile can disappear any day, Daniella explains,
Affiliate marketing can be a great side hustle, just not by itself.
7. Dumpster diving
Dumpster diving involves diving through dumpsters, usually at night, to discover what got thrown out. You might have better odds of scoring a good haul if you do this in an affluent part of town or check out dumpsters behind a strip mall near you.
You could even cut out the middleman completely and talk to your local stores to see if they’d be willing to give their trash to you directly.
Some TikTok users who dumpster-dive on the side report flipping their finds and selling them for a profit on eBay or Facebook marketplace. Meanwhile, those who are not so lucky share videos detailing their gross or unfruitful experience.
For those grossed out by dumpster diving, Daniella offers an alternative. Help people unpack after moving into a new home and offer to take things they don’t need.
8. Painting house numbers on the curb
This side hustle is arguably better suited for teenagers looking to earn cash over the summer. It requires no more than $50 to $100 worth of materials from Home Depot, some door-knocking, and half an hour of painting.
The only challenge with this is you can pretty quickly saturate your local market.
9. Niche cleaning businesses
Niche cleaning services are another side hustle especially popular among TikTok users.
Daniella shared how they watched a TikTok of kids washing people’s trash cans. The kids would power-wash up to 20 trash cans a day, earning around $2,000 weekly.
Aside from washing people’s trash cans, you could offer to clean yards, headlights, or gutters. Whatever it is, there’s probably someone out there who’d pay to have it cleaned.
Low-tech services like these also have little to no competition online, so you could easily create a brochure-style website or a Google Business Profile to find prospective customers.
10. Freelance content creation
In this side hustle, TikTok creators make videos for brands. First, they promote the company they eventually want to work with on their page for free. Once they build up an organic following around those brands, they’ll shoot the brands a message and ask if they’re interested in working together.
Rates vary per creator due to the contract negotiation involved, but creators are paid anywhere from $250-2000 per TikTok video, depending on the brand they’re working with.
But be warned: This side hustle requires lots of video know-how. “You have to learn about video marketing and short-form content marketing,” Daniella said.