What are the best side hustles for writers?
The good news is writing is a great, in-demand skill to make money from. Yes, even in the age of Chat GPT, there are lots of writing side hustles that can earn you money in your spare time.
I compiled this list based on:
- My own 15+ years of experience as a writer
- Interviews with dozens of other side hustling and professional writers
- The potential earning power for each option
Ready? Let’s do it!
1. Build a Helpful Website
If you enjoy writing, building an informative website is the first side hustle I’d consider. I wouldn’t call it “blogging,” but more creating content that answers people’s questions.
I’ve done this several times, including with this site and another project that earned over $500,000 over its lifetime. Websites make money in several different ways, but most commonly through:
- affiliate partnerships
- selling your own products and services
One trend that’s been successful recently is what I’ll call “the modern comparison shopping site.” This model involves creating in-depth content comparing and contrasting two or more products in your niche.
For example, Fin vs. Fin does this really well with direct-to-consumer brands. Similarly, Tami Smith employed the same strategy with fitness equipment.
Next Step: If you’re ready to get started, my free 6-part video course will walk you through how to set up your site for less than you might think.
2. Sales Copywriting
Daniel Throssell was an electrical engineer working 12-hour shifts on a remote island off the coast of Australia.
He stumbled upon copywriting as a side hustle, and landed his first jobs on Upwork. “Because I had no experience, I just resolved to out-prepare my competition, and overdeliver on all my jobs,” Daniel explained.
Within a year, he was charging $200 an hour for his work — and left the engineering job behind.
3. Freelance Writing
Another common side hustle for writers is freelance writing. Most freelance writers get paid on a per-word basis, with rates ranging from $0.05-0.35 per word. That adds up to around $50-$350 per 1000-word article.
(This article, for the sake of comparison, is around 2,000 words.)
I sat down with Georgia Austin, who found customers for her content writing service on Fiverr. As demand increased, she raised rates and ultimately hired other writers to help fulfill all the work!
To learn more, check out this free guide from the American Writers and Artists Institute:
Writing is such an important skill, and one that many students struggle with. That’s why there’s an opportunity to turn your writing prowess into a tutoring business.
You could focus on English vocabulary, spelling, essay writing, creative writing, or reading comprehension.
And there’s money in this niche too — one Side Hustle Nation reader reported earning $1000 a week with his part-time tutoring business.
Platforms like Wyzant help connect students with tutors. As a tutor, you get set your own rate (typically between $20-60 per hour) and availability.
This side hustle could be a rewarding way to help the up-and-coming generation of engineers.
5. Teaching Online
While one-to-one tutoring can be rewarding and even pretty lucrative, it’s still trading time for money. One side hustle with a little more scale is to teach an online group class through a platform like Outschool.
On The Side Hustle Show, Jade Weatherington shared how she was earning $10,000 a month on the platform, primarily teaching middle school English writing classes.
Who knew all that 5-paragraph essay practice would pay off!
The peer-to-peer education marketplace focuses on students ages 3-18, and has courses on nearly every topic imaginable.
6. Create an Online Course
Since late 2014, I’ve earned over $20,000 on Udemy from a course I created about self-publishing.
With Udemy, you can create a video course in your area of expertise, and put it up for sale on their platform of more than 50 million students.
7. Email Newsletter
I think there’s a cool scaleable side hustle for writers in creating a “niche newsletter.” In this model, you email out your favorite content in a given niche on a daily or weekly basis.
The topic you choose could be based on your writing experience, or any other hobby you’re into. Since you’re probably already consuming content in the niche, it would be a valuable service to curate the best of the best for subscribers.
For example, Danielle Desir-Corbett took her grant-writing expertise and started a newsletter called Grants for Creators. With both free and paid versions, she shares grant opportunities she finds every two weeks.
Once you have people paying attention, you can monetize with affiliate offers, advertising, or your own products and services. This is a side hustle that’s low overhead, relatively simple to manage, and may even have a lucrative exit strategy — the popular daily business newsletter Morning Brew sold for a reported $75 million!
8. Publish a Book
Self-publishing is one of my favorite writing side hustles. It’s earned me over $80,000 over the last decade.
My titles have all been non-fiction so far, but fiction actually sells more as a category. Through Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, you can set your own price and earn a 70% author royalty on Kindle books sold between $2.99 and $9.99.
9. Children’s Publishing
Matthew Ralph is a children’s book author from England, who quit his full-time marketing job to focus on his publishing and freelancing business.
His bestselling work to date is Sam the Speedy Sloth. The idea of which came to him while walking through an airport, and by the time his flight landed, the book was almost written!
Matt has since added more books to his portfolio, while freelancing to help other self-publishing authors.
10. Proofreading and Editing Service
If you have an eye for detail, there’s money to be made as a proofreader or editor.
Like I mentioned above, self-publishing is exploding, and all those authors (at least the serious ones) need help editing their work.
For this side hustle, I found my first clients on Fiverr, but ultimately established positive word of mouth referrals in some Facebook Groups and among students of a popular self-publishing course.
I started out charging $100 for every 10,000 words, but slowly inched up rates as I improved. (And as a bonus, I got to read some pretty interesting books!)
According to PayScale.com, proofreaders can make an average of $12-$30/hour.
Check out companies like ProofreadingServices.com to apply for a remote part-time or full-time position.
11. Writing Coach
Through her business, Paper Raven Books, Morgan Gist MacDonald helps authors turn their ideas into books they can be proud of.
The service starts at $10,000 and includes:
- narrative arc outlining
- accountability check-ins
- editing and design
- building a launch and marketing plan
Could you start a similar service for first-time authors?
My friend Joshua Lisec is a freelance writer turned sought-after ghostwriter, specializing in entrepreneurship books. Over the last few years, he’s helped create over 80 titles and built a multi-6-figure ghostwriting business.
When we last spoke, he had a unique way of generating qualified leads through YouTube.
13. Creative Writing Workshops
Jeff DiOrio, a math teacher and high school dean in Illinois started teaching after school chess lessons. Today, EliteChess is a 6-figure side hustle with classes both in-person and online.
I believe there’s an opportunity to create a similar business for students (or adults) to get together and just write. You could provide story prompts, guidance on structure, and constructive feedback.
14. Social Media Management
Another side hustle idea for writers is to manage Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. These are still primarily “writing first” platforms, meaning if you can craft compelling hooks and threads, you can help other business owners grow their following.
For example, Pete Macleod (@petecodes) turned this into a $10k/month business. Creating Twitter and LinkedIn content was something he enjoyed doing anyway, and began offering it as a service to other content creators.
15. Resume and Cover Letter Writing
Mike McRitchie has a unique writing service, specializing in cover letters and LinkedIn profiles for the telecom industry.
He’s been doing this for years on the side from his day job. Because of his industry expertise, he’s able to command premium rates.
And since the outcome of a strong resume and cover letter is so strong — a new job — candidates are happy to pay for help in this area.
16. Mystery Shopping
Mystery shopping isn’t directly related to writing, but many of the tasks involve writing a report about your experience at the store or restuarant.
Jenn Trinidad reported earning $2,000 a month as a mystery shopper.
17. Virtual Assistant Service
Virtual assistants generally charge $15-40 an hour to provide remote administrative support to clients. Those tasks might include:
- Drafting social media posts
- Managing email and scheduling appointments
- Creating blog content or email newsletters
- Providing customer support
If that sounds like a fun side hustle you can set up shop on your own or jump on board with an established VA company.
To learn more about starting your own virtual assistant company, check out the free video training from my friend Abbey Ashley, who started her VA business on the side.
18. Live Chat Customer Support
FlexJobs is the leading site for work from home jobs. With more than 50 career categories, you’re sure to find options here for your writing experience.
One area that comes to mind is live chat customer support jobs, where skills like compassion, speed, and multitasking are critical.
FlexJobs does charge a nominal monthly fee to access their listings, but you’ll easily earn that back — and then some — with just one job.
Pro Tip: Before you join, use their job search filter to see what part-time positions are currently being advertised for.
When you see something that’s a great fit, you can join the site to apply.
19. Transcription Service
Transcription—turning audio recordings into text—is often a part-time work-from-home position. Many transcribers specialize in a given industry, like medical, legal, or podcast transcriptions.
Several sites, including Rev.com, hire transcribers. If you’re fast, you might be able to earn up to $15 an hour.
To learn more about transcribing work, check out this free 7-day mini course on how to get started.
More and more businesses are realizing the importance of translation. In fact, the employment of interpreters and translators is projected to grow 19% from 2018 to 2028.
That’s pretty surprising in the age of Google Translate, right?
Spanish, French, Arabic and the Asian languages are all in high demand.
However, being a translator isn’t just about translating. It’s about having strong writing skills and an understanding of the niche.
21. Online Surveys
Finally, an old fall back of pretty much every list of ways to make extra money: surveys.
These definitely won’t make you rich, but they are an easy way to for writers to make a little extra money in between projects or during breaks in your day.
Here are some of Side Hustle Nation’s top picks:
- Swagbucks – Earn up to $35 a survey with this mega-popular app, and get a $10 bonus just for signing up!
- Survey Junkie – Earn up to $40 a month and cash out beginning at just $5.
- InboxDollars – Get a $5 bonus just for signing up!
- Branded Surveys – One of the best-rated survey sites with millions paid out.
- Pinecone Research – Earn $3 for each 15-20 minute survey. They’ll send you a $3 check after your first one.
- American Consumer Opinion – Join millions of free members and earn up to $50 per survey.
- YouGov – Long-running survey panel, with data often cited in the media.
The Best Writing Side Hustles: Your Turn
What do you think is the best side hustle for writers? Of course, which option you choose depends on your unique experience, interests, and goals.
Some writing side hustles (like freelancing) are relatively easy to start earning money quickly. Others, like starting a website, will require a bit more time and education to start to see results.