If you want to start a side hustle and don’t have a car or a computer, you might think you’re out of luck. But that’s not the case. There are ways to make money in your spare time that require no special equipment other than your smartphone—whether you’re looking for an easy way to earn a few bucks, or want to launch a full-fledged side business.
5 side hustles you can do from your phone
Keep in mind that the amount of money you earn will depend on the level of service you provide. “It is essential to note that some side hustles may require some additional skills or training. Therefore, it is crucial to research and choose a side hustle that aligns with your skills and interests,” says Matthew Warzel, president at MJW Careers. “The earnings may also depend on the demand for the services, location, and the quality of work.”
So if you’re looking for some side hustle ideas, consider these options that you can do 100% from your phone.
1. Sell stock photos
You won’t earn the kind of living that successful, full-time professional photographers (rightfully)do. But if you enjoy taking photos on your phone and have a creative eye—plus great editing skills—you may be able to sell those images for extra cash. After all, today’s smartphones now have capabilities that rival professional cameras.
One site that pays for user-uploaded stock photos is Foap. You create an online portfolio of photos and videos you’ve taken, and then a brand or agency (or anyone else) who wants to use one of them can purchase it. Photos sell for $10 each, and the proceeds are split 50/50 between you and Foap. There’s an inspiration page where you can see examples of great work. To earn more, you can also join a Foap Mission photo contest.
Dreamstime is another site that allows you to upload and sell stock photos, videos, and images. You receive a 25%–50% revenue share in each transaction. Exclusive files get a 10% bonus, and exclusive contributors receive a 60% revenue share for all their sales, plus a $0.20 bonus for each approved submission. Pricing is based on the size, age, exclusivity, and number of downloads for a particular file. For example, an extra small, nonexclusive file with a content level of 0 sells for $1.25, while an extra large, exclusive file with a content level of 5 sells for $7.43.
2. Create online courses
If you’re a subject matter expert, you could make money by creating a course that teaches your skills or knowledge to others, which can be done right from your phone.
First, you’ll want to plan out your curriculum. Brainstorm some ideas in your Notes or a similar app. Then you can record instructional videos from your phone. There are plenty of video editing apps as well, such as Adobe Premiere Rush and LumaFusion. You’ll need to invest some money upfront for these tools, which can help you give your courses a polished, professional look. But if you don’t want to spend the cash, you could opt for a free video-editing tool such as iMovie.
Once your course is ready, you can upload it to the platform of your choosing.
Udemy (available for iOS, Android, and web) is one popular platform for selling online courses, with more than 57 million students. To get paid by the platform, you first need to complete the instructor identity verification process and set up a payment method. U.S. instructors can get paid through PayPal, Payoneer, or direct deposit. You must also have at least 30 minutes of video content per course and at least 5 lectures or learning modules.
Other popular online course platforms with mobile capability include Skillshare, Kajabi, and TrainerCentral.
3. Design and sell merch
Print-on-demand services could help you earn side income by allowing you to sell T-shirts, mugs, tote bags, and more with your designs on them.
Canva is one user-friendly design tool that has mobile functionality, making it possible to create slogans, logos, and unique original images from your phone. Canva is free to use, though there is a pro version that comes with even more capabilities.
When it comes time to sell your merchandise, there are several platforms to choose from. Printify is one well-known drop shipping and printing company for e-commerce. Here, you can print and sell merchandise using your designs with no upfront cost. You simply choose the products you want your design on, and when a customer buys from your store, Shopify prints and ships the product. You set your prices and keep the profit.
4. Do mindless tasks
Do you ever find yourself mindlessly scrolling through sites, videos, and quizzes on your phone to kill time or relax? If so, you might want to start getting paid for it.
There are multiple companies that pay users to take surveys, watch videos, play games, and more.
For example, Branded Surveys is a market research company that pays rewards points in exchange for opinions. You start by answering a few simple questions about yourself, and then your profile is matched to a variety of surveys, which are provided by market research clients on behalf of Fortune 500 companies. Once you reach 500 points, you can redeem them for gift cards or cash via PayPal or Branded Pay. Most surveys pay the equivalent of $1–$3 each, though there are opportunities to earn more.
Survey Junkie is another well-known platform for paid surveys. It works similarly, matching your profile to surveys that you complete for rewards points, which are then redeemed for eGift cards or cash via PayPal. The earnings opportunities are also similar to Branded Surveys’.
Other similar sites to consider include Swagbucks, KashKick, and MyPoints.
5. Sell your mobile data
If you want an easy side hustle that lets you earn passive income, you could consider getting paid to help improve the internet.
MobileXpression is one company that pays users for installing special software on their phones and letting the company track their activity. The company notes that your private conversations, photos, and voicemails are never monitored or recorded; its research software will simply know the names of the apps that you may have installed to send text messages or make phone calls.
Payment is made in the form of credits, which are paid out each week and can then be redeemed for eGift cards to retailers such as Amazon. You can earn two credits per week. Every 10 credits can be redeemed for a $5 gift card, while 15 credits can be redeemed for a $10 gift card.
Nielsen is another company that pays users to install its software and agree to have activity monitored. After answering a few questions about your household and the devices you use, you can install the Nielsen app and unlock up to $60 in rewards points per year, which are redeemable via PayPal or gift cards from retailers such as Amazon and Walmart. You’re also automatically entered into a $10,000 monthly sweepstakes.
You don’t need a ton of special equipment to start a side business and earn extra money to put toward your savings, investments, or daily spending. All you need is your phone and some free time (design skills are a plus). Just be sure that whichever side hustle you pursue, you do your due diligence and ensure that any downloads or services are legitimate, as there are a lot of scams out there too.