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There are many different ways to hit the coveted six-figure income milestone. With enough hard work and persistence, you can make $100,000 doing pretty much anything.
For instance, buying and selling used items and making $100,000 per year is possible. You can even collect cans and recycle them all year long and make enough to hit the $100k benchmark. The top earners on Fiverr make millions of dollars per year, selling their services for as little as $5 at a time.
The point is there are more ways to make $100,000 per year than most people realize. Some of the methods just take more time and effort than others.
In this post, we're going to break down how to make $100,000 per year WITHOUT having to work crazy 100-hour work weeks. Let's dive into the most effective methods with the smoothest sailing possible toward our goal of making a $100K annual income.
Say it with me…
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The different paths to $100,000/year
There are three main paths you can take to make $100K.
2. Side Hustle
3. Salary + Side Hustle
Side hustles can mean different things to different people. I use the word side hustle as kind of a catch-all word for businesses that can be started on the side.
Sure, you can make $100K opening an accounting firm, steak restaurant, or self-storage facility. But these ‘aren't really side hustles. These full-blown businesses require your total commitment and hundreds of thousands of dollars to get off the ground.
In this post, we're not talking about businesses. We're talking about side hustle ideas that can be started on the side BUT also have the potential to grow into full-blown businesses over time.
Let's go through each one in more detail.
As we all know, doing business should be one of the fastest and safest ways to make money. Consider opening an online store in your spare time. You can choose your own website or use well-known platforms like Amazon, Etsy, and Shopify. To obtain greater profits, choosing popular products is the most crucial step after opening a store. According to authoritative data, the most popular product category is customized promotional products. They cover a wide range of groups and are very profitable since bespoke items can be tailored to an organization's activities and capture the most personalized groups. Customized promotional products include pins, stickers, mugs, lanyards, keychains, etc. Custom lapel pin can be turned into popular products, and the rest will follow. GS-JJ is a professional manufacturer of customized promotional products. Their products are sold at ex-factory prices and there is no MOQ, which can help you achieve your goal of earning 100K per year more quickly.
Make an extra $1000 to $2000 per week driving for DoorDash on the side
The most common path to six-figures in 2022 is through driving for delivery apps. The most common and best-paid app is DoorDash. We spoke to over 100 DoorDash drivers who worked part-time and the average earned per week was between $1000 to $2000. The best part about DoorDash is that you can work whenever you want. You can work mornings if you work later in the day, or in the evenings and weekends if you prefer.
If you can fit in around 30-40 hours per week, you can make between $1k to $2k per week. If you live in a more populated, higher-cost-of-living area, you can even make more than that. Yes, 30-40 hours on top of your day job can be intense. But for people who have the time, it can pay very well.
If you do it part-time, you can make $1000 per week, which is a nice $4000 per month, and around $50,000 per year before taxes. For many people, when combined with their income from their day job, that's usually enough to bring their total income past $100,000 per year.
DoorDash is a side hustle that's growing quickly. More and more people are using the app to order food and groceries. It's a sustainable, long-term side gig that pays extremely well.
If you don't want to work for DoorDash, other alternatives include Uber and Lyft.
Blog your way to $100K
Blogging is one of the best side hustles in my opinion.
Because it ticks three of the most highly coveted criteria:
1. It generates passive income
2. It allows you to build an audience
3. You build a sellable asset
Blogging is a fantastic side hustle because it has the same (or similar) income potential as something like a software app or startup without the need for learning to code. In other words, anyone can do it, and the amount you can earn is substantial.
There are bloggers out there making millions of dollars.
Blogging takes a lot of time to get off the ground. You likely won't make $100,000 your first year (though many people have). But it's a compounding asset. Everything you do and build for your blog compounds over the years, and your income grows higher and higher.
The best part about blogging is that you're building an asset. Blogs and websites are real estate on the internet. Sometimes they can fetch up to 30x to 40x monthly income if they are sold.
That means that if your blog makes $100,000 per year… let's do the math.
$100,000 / 12 months = $8,333 per month.
$8,333 x 40x = $333,333.
So you get to keep all the income you make while you're running the blog. And when you decide to sell it, you could make a cool $300,000.
The six-figure freelancer
The next best way to make $100,000 per year is freelancing. I love freelancing, and I still freelance to this day.
Because, like blogging… freelancing also compounds. I have years of experience in writing built up at this point. That means I get to charge a higher rate for my services than I did in the past. One of my friends started a business by creating custom pins and selling them on Fiverr; it really doesn't take much to get going!
As a result, it's become a very profitable income source for me that would be a shame to just drop and let go at this point.
The downside to freelancing is that you don't build an asset like you would in blogging.
The upside to freelancing is that you can earn $100,000 yearly, MUCH FASTER than blogging. You can literally go and call your friends and family and pick up a few clients on Day 1.
If you charge $5000 per month per client, you only need 2 clients to make $100,000.
If you charge $10,000 per month per client, all you need is 1 single client and you're well over $100,000!
If your services are on the lower end of the price spectrum, and you charge $500 per month, all you need is 20 clients.
With freelancing, the math is straightforward.
Charge what you want, and hustle to get the number of clients you need to hit your milestone of $100K per year.
Make an extra $1000 per month doing simple tasks
Did you know you can make money doing simple tasks on the internet like completing surveys and watching video clips?
If you're looking for faster ways to make supplemental income online without starting a major project of your own, survey sites like Inbox Dollars are a great source of additional income each month.
With this exclusively, you won't make $100,000 per year, but it's a convenient way to earn some extra money. For example, you can complete tasks while watching TV or listening to an audiobook.
It's not the most fun work in the world, but it's probably one of the easiest.
The most popular companies are Swagbucks, Survey Junkie, and Inbox Dollars.
All of them operate similarly and pay you per task you complete. Companies on their platform pay users for surveys and user research data.
You can view a complete list of all of the best survey websites to make money from here.
Add $20,000 in supplemental income delivering food
Food delivery apps like Doordash are growing rapidly. With rapid growth comes rapid cash injection to the delivery driver economy. Where you could only make a few hundred per month in the past, drivers can now make thousands of dollars with food delivery apps.
If your goal is to make $100,000 per year, going full-time solely as a Doordash driver won't get you there. The highest earners on food delivery apps can make around $50,000 to $60,000 per year.
The better way to use Doordash would be as a side hustle.
Since the app allows you to set your own hours, you can deliver on your days off or nights when you feel like going out and making some extra dough.
Part time doordash drivers can make between $500 and $2000 per month, depending on the area you're in. I've seen friends make over $500 in a single night.
But we don't recommend quitting your day job and going at this full-time. The best way to get started is to sign up to their platform, try it out for a month or two, and then assess whether this can be a full-time business idea.
The best part about gigs like Doordash delivery is that you can choose your own hours. You can take days off, work nights, and do it all on top of a day job.
It takes a few days to approve your account and get up and running, so we recommend signing up now even if you don't plan to start right away. If you're bored on a Saturday night, just sign into your Doordash app, get out there and make a few hundred bucks.
Make $100,000 per year with a high-paying career
Some careers are obviously much better paid than others. Lawyers and physicians make median salaries of well over $150,000 a year. Of course, these careers also come with the highest education costs and at least a decade of school beyond high school.
If that’s not for you, consider this: We've compiled a list of the highest paying careers that don't require a degree here.
These include careers like actuaries, curators (for everything from museums to botanical gardens), economists, geologists and marketing managers. Some surprising well-paid careers include mathematicians (especially those working at government agencies and those holding an advanced degree) and nurses. Remember that most of these careers might not require advanced degrees but they do focus on experience and industry growth – meaning it might take a few years before you get a salary of at least $100k.
Other careers, like finance careers, are more likely to get you to that magic number much faster after graduation. Investment banking, strategic consulting, IT services, and high-tech fields all are likely to pay around the $100k mark once you have as little as a couple of years of experience.
Or if you're looking for something a little bit more unique and “weird” then check out our resource on the strangest jobs in the world. Not everybody wants to do them, but some of them pay quite well.
Get a Second Degree
If you choose the career/salary route to earn your $100,000 per year, then depending on your career and industry, it could be advantageous to continue your education.
Graduate degree holders earn an average $17,000 more per year than people with “just” a Bachelor’s degree.
The difference is more noticeable in some career fields, where master's degrees are more likely to get you a promotion, better positions, and a higher income.
For example, the median annual wages for somebody with a bachelor’s degree working in finances is $73,000 but that amount goes up to $101,000 (a $28k increase) for people with an advanced degree. Education is another field where an advanced degree pays off big and those with a Master’s degree earn as much as $89,500 a year or about 19 percent more than those with just a Bachelor’s.
On the other hand, people working in the food science field only earn about $10,000 more by obtaining a masters degree.
For those considering going back to school, it’s worth sitting down and doing some math. Weighing in the costs of a degree + your time investment against long-term earnings is a good way to decide whether the investment is worth it.
Get a Job as Social Media Manager
Social media managers are in high demand.
You can earn a great salary as a social media manager, with benefits and bonuses. If you’re looking for a new job, then look for a company that offers great pay and benefits.
It’s also a good idea to look for companies that will give you the opportunity to learn new skills, work on your own projects, and be part of an entrepreneurial team. For example, if you work at one of the top 10 companies on Glassdoor (like LinkedIn), then you’ll be able to take advantage of opportunities like leadership roles or opportunities to join the company’s accelerator program.
Earning $100,000 annually as a social media manager can be achievable without obtaining additional education or certifications. However, it is essential to seek out job opportunities that not only offer a high salary but also comprehensive benefits, such as medical insurance, and a comprehensive training program. While several companies offer training programs, finding them on your own can be challenging. The best approach would be to inquire about such programs directly from the company where you are employed. Additionally, many companies offer paid internships that provide hands-on experience and a deeper understanding of their operations. By investing in your professional development through such opportunities, you can increase your earning potential and advance your career as a social media manager.
If you have a communications degree, you can consider taking a job as a social media manager. Most companies will accept you as long as you have experience in the field and you have completed your college degree. For example, someone who worked at Yelp (an online review website) got her degree in advertising and marketing and Yelp hired her without having to go back to school.
Many people choose to get their second degree by taking classes online, for example, through Skillshare, Udemy, or Coursera. Tons of universities offer an online Master’s program in social media management, such as The University of New South Wales and the Australian National University. Many people also choose to go back to school on their own, but that is another topic for another article.
Try Your Luck as an Amazon Seller
Many people start selling on Amazon because it is an easy way to make money, and you don’t have to go through the hassle of selling on eBay or your own website.
You can sell anything that is available for sale on Amazon. You just need to know how to sell, package, and ship it. For example, if you have a small jewelry business and want to start selling jewelry online, then you can use Amazon as your marketplace for sales.
You will have more control over your sales process, and your profit margins will be higher than if you were using eBay or other online marketplaces.
The good thing about being an Amazon seller is that the fees are relatively low, and you can set up your own store with just a few clicks of the mouse. This means that no additional fees are associated with having a website like Shopify or Squarespace, which may cost hundreds of dollars per month. The downside is that most sellers are newbies who don’t know how to price their products properly, so they end up losing money by not being able to cover their costs and shipping costs. That’s why there are plenty of tips on how to do things right (and avoid common mistakes).
Join Affiliate Marketing
If you don't have a product to sell, you can start your affiliate marketing business.
Affiliate marketing has become a popular way for people to earn extra income by promoting products on their websites or blogs. It's an attractive option for those who are looking to start a side hustle without the need to purchase inventory or deal with shipping and handling orders. To get started, you'll need to find companies that sell products that align with your interests and promote them on your website. The key to success in affiliate marketing is driving traffic to your website through search engine optimization, social media marketing, and email campaigns.
However, affiliate marketing is not for everyone, as it requires a certain level of knowledge and skill to effectively promote products and maximize your commission. You need to be knowledgeable about the products you are promoting and the commission structure offered by the company. Additionally, you need to be able to drive traffic to your website and convert visitors into customers.
Another alternative to consider is dropshipping, where you sell products directly to customers without having to hold any inventory. In this business model, the supplier takes care of shipping and handling the orders, freeing you up to focus on marketing and sales. Both affiliate marketing and dropshipping can be a great opportunity for beginners who are new to e-commerce, as long as they are willing to invest the time and effort to learn and grow their skills. Whether you choose affiliate marketing or dropshipping, both offer the potential for a flexible and lucrative income stream.
Become Etsy Sellers and Business Owners
Etsy is an online marketplace for creative people to sell their products. It’s similar to eBay, but is much more professional and has better reviews. If you have a great product (like T-shirts, stickers, etc.) that you can sell online, then Etsy is a great place to sell it.
It’s not just about selling products; you can also become an Etsy business owner and use the platform for marketing your own business, store your inventory, and connect with buyers.
Etsy is an easy way to start for a side hustler to make money. You can get paid relatively quickly (especially if you have a great product that people want to buy), and you don’t have to worry about shipping or handling the orders because the company will take care of it for you. You only need to worry about promoting your products and getting traffic from search engines, social media, and email marketing campaigns.
Create and Sell Online Courses
Online courses are trending nowadays.
If you have experience in the field, then you can start creating online courses. For example, if you have a degree in computer science or programming, you can create an online course and sell it to people who want to learn more about that topic.
You can use a platform like Udemy or Skillshare to sell your course. You will have more control over your profits, and you will be able to make a higher profit margin if you’re willing to invest more time and money into your course.
You don’t need special skill sets or experience to sell online courses. All you need is an idea for a course that people will want to buy and the desire to make money while teaching people how to do something new.
Offer Service as a Virtual Assistant
If you have a skill set that other people need, you can offer your services as a virtual assistant. You can easily find clients on Upwork or Craigslist.
Virtual assistants typically work remotely and have full control over their time. They can take on various tasks from data entry to bookkeeping to editing and proofreading documents to creating reports.
They are also in charge of ensuring that their clients’ projects are completed on time and they can decide what they want to do in their free time.
Some companies prefer virtual assistants because they don’t have to pay them as much as they would if they hired someone in person.
Transform Yourself into An Airbnb Host
Airbnb is an online marketplace for renting rooms and apartments. You can rent out your own home or apartment to make extra money. This is a great way to make money on the side without having to spend a lot of time selling your products or promoting other people's products.
You can also use AirBnB as a business platform if you want to start renting out your property regularly. If you already have a full-time job, then this may be the best way for you to start earning a lot of money because it will be easy for you to keep track of all of your payments and commissions without having to deal with the hassles of having your own business (and running it by yourself).
You can even transform yourself into an Airbnb host and use the platform as a tool for building an online business. For example, if you have lots of spare time on your hands, then you can rent out rooms in your house on Airbnb so that you can earn some extra cash and enjoy some free time simultaneously.
The key is that you need to know how Airbnb works so that you can build a successful business on it (without having any bad experiences). Also, ensure that you provide multiple payment methods, such as debit and credit cards, mobile wallets, Paypal, etc.
Provide Freelance Writing Service
You can start a freelance writing business if you have a unique skill that other people want to hire. This is an easy way to make money on the side without having to work for someone else.
For example, suppose you have experience in the field of psychology, business, or SEO writing. In that case, you can get hired by companies and individuals who need help with their marketing campaigns. You will only need to provide them with your expertise, and they will pay you for it.
It’s also a good idea to look for clients on your own instead of relying on referrals from others because you will know exactly what they want, and they won’t be able to find another freelance writer who can give them what they need (like the kind of article that they are looking for).
Go For Graphic Design Industry
Graphic designers are in high demand, and they earn a great salary. If you are good at what you do, you can work as a freelance graphic designer or for a company that offers graphic design jobs.
Not only companies but even small businesses and e-commerce sites are also in need of graphic designers. The best part is that it’s not always necessary to go back to school to get a job as a graphic designer.
You can find plenty of companies on the internet that will offer you jobs, and you don’t have to worry about getting paid if you are looking for something part-time. It’s also not necessary to spend years getting a degree in graphic design either because plenty of colleges offer degree programs in this field. For example, Georgia Tech offers an online Master’s program in graphic design, which costs about $15,000 per year (for all of the classes).
In fact, there are many online colleges and universities that offer online degree programs in the graphic design field, such as the University of Texas Austin and Syracuse University (with some requirements like taking college classes on campus). You can also take classes on Skillshare or Udemy.
Sign Up for Online Surveys
If you have a good internet connection and an internet-enabled device, you can make money online by taking surveys.
Online surveys are typically paid for by companies looking to find out what their customers think about their products or services. It’s a great way to earn extra money without having to buy anything or spend any time at all.
There are also many companies that offer free money when you sign up as a new member, and they want to get your opinion on what they should be doing. They will send you surveys and other questions related to your personal information to qualify you for the paid surveys they send out.
This is a great side hustle you can do for free while earning an extra income at the same time.
Become a Podcast Host
Podcasts are a great way to start a side hustle and make money.
If you are interested in a particular topic, you can start your own podcast and start making money by asking people to subscribe to your podcast. Podcasts are an easy way to start a side hustle and make money.
You don’t have to spend any money on equipment or anything you need to get started. All you need is a computer with internet access and the desire to start your own podcast. You can create a podcast using your own website or you can use software like Libsyn, which will allow you to upload your content directly onto their website.
Many services offer premium plans where they will host your podcast for free so that it is available online 24/7 without having to worry about setting up your own website or using software like Libsyn.
Move to a State with Better Salaries and Lower Taxes
No matter what career you’re pursuing, some states will pay you higher wages to the same job.
According to information based on the Census ACS survey results, the District of Columbia has the highest median household income in the country at $82,604. This is an interesting number since Washington DC also has a poverty rate of 15.5%. Still, high income from certain areas drives up the average income, with the high-end median reaching an impressive $134,358.
Maryland comes a close second with a median household income of $81,868, plus an interesting position as the state with the second-highest percentage of degree holders (right behind New Hampshire). New Jersey, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Alaska, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Virginia and California complete the top 10 list of states with the higher salaries.
Of course, cost of living plays a role too. Salaries in California are high but the state is also the second most expensive state to live in – a place where the average home price is over $1.2 million and your monthly energy bill will set you back $237 (more than in NY and barely less than in Alaska). In fact, California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts are the three most expensive states to live in, so even a high salary won’t go very far there.
Other states, like Alaska, might be expensive but offer tax benefits (like no taxes on personal income –which means that you get to keep a lot more of what you earn). Plus you’ll still earn a lot closer to $100,000 in Alaska than in other states.
Have More Than One Stream of Income
Bestselling author and motivational speaker Thomas C. Corley, who spent five years studying millionaires and how they made their fortune, concluded that “Self-made millionaires do not rely on one singular source of income. They develop multiple streams.”
This advice still holds true even if your goal is not to earn a million but “just” $100k a year. Corley’s studies show that “65% of self-made millionaires have at least three streams of income,” with some having as many as five. These are usually a combination of a main income (usually a salaried job) with things like profits from selling and buying, rentals, dividends from stocks, and residual income (such as selling subscriptions or receiving royalties).
For those without additional streams of income, an easy way to get started is with a side hustle. According to research conducted by personal-finance company Bankrate, almost 45 millions Americans had a side hustle in 2019, with the average hustle income bringing in over $1100 per month.
While many workers are using the extra money for basic living expenses, others are saving or investing. Plus, interestingly enough, many are pursuing a side hustle that’s related to a hobby or a passion of their own. More than one-quarter (27%) say they are more passionate about their side hustle than their main job/career.
The key to transforming that small side hustle into a steady income revenue? Entrepreneur says it’s all about treating it as a business and having a plan for financial stability. This could mean putting vacation plans aside for a while so you can use your free time to earn more and grow your business.
Salary VS Side Hustle: Which one is better for making $100K?
The most traditional path to making $100K is the conventional salary. This is the most straightforward path because it's the most common one, and it's what we've been taught to do since we were children.
Get good grades, go to a good school, graduate with a good degree, and eventually work your way up to a six-figure salary.
The problem is (or should I say… the good news is…) this method is outdated. It is NOT the best way to make $100K per year anymore.
Trading time for dollars isn't the end goal anymore. Getting freedom over your own time is the ultimate goal (for most people), and is the reason why side hustles are the more attractive path to crossing six-figures.
Also, a salary is capped. You could make $100K per year as a pharmacist, but you can't make $5 million per year as a pharmacist – at least not conventionally.
With a side hustle, how much you can earn is unlimited. And you don't have to trade time for dollars. Yes, you'll have to work extremely hard, and there are more risks to side hustles and business than traditional careers, but your earnings aren't directly correlated to the hours you put in.
You can take days off, and still make sales. You can go on vacation and your business will still operate and generate income.
This is why side hustles are, in my opinion, much much much better than chasing a six-figure salary.
Wrapping up: Earning $100K seems more within reach now
The decade of the 2020s presents a unique and exciting opportunity for starting a side hustle. Advances in technology and the growing trend of remote work have opened up a world of new possibilities that were not available even just a few years ago. Whether you're looking to supplement your income or launch a full-fledged business, the tools and resources available today make it easier than ever to get started.
Working remotely from home, in particular, offers a significant advantage for those looking to start a side hustle. Instead of wasting time on a daily commute, you can use that extra time to build your side business and generate additional income. With more and more companies embracing remote work, this opens up opportunities for people to pursue their passions and turn them into profitable ventures.
The opportunities are endless if you're interested in starting a blog, offering freelance services, or launching an e-commerce store. The most important thing is to find a side hustle that aligns with your skills and interests and that you are passionate about. With dedication, hard work, and the right resources, starting a side hustle in the 2020s can be a fulfilling and profitable experience.
If you want to learn more about side hustles, check out our full list of best side hustles here.
Whether you want to pursue a six-figure salary, or start a side hustle, best of luck to you. Success comes from failure. Do not give up. Keep pursuing. It is more within reach than you might think.