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Ask HN: How do you make money on the side?
12 points by paxys 8 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 15 comments
I was on a work visa in the US for the longest time and wasn’t allowed to earn anything outside of my paychecks. I just became a permanent resident and so have a lot more options open to me.

I don’t want to build the next hot startup, make a billion dollars or anything of the sort. I have a great job and my employer is pretty cool about moonlighting as long as there are no conflicts and it doesn’t affect my work. I want to commit 1-2 hours a day and some weekends — all from home — to try and build an alternate income stream, partially for the experience and partially to earn some “fun money”.

I am skilled in all things tech and programming, but that’s about it. Has anyone had any luck in this area, or have stories to share?






I'm exploring Amazon FBA. Is not a success story because I'm still in the midst of it, but from what I'm seeing it is something that I can learn, my tech salary allows me to save for some capital and try that business.

Before this I explored day trading, which also has the potential to create money on the side. It does take a lot of training and risks...

Another option which I've done too is taking contracts, configure a server, update a website, etc.

Good luck!


amazon fba works well as a side hustle. There was a lot of upfront work but then became mostly automated/ passive. I ran one for a couple years whilst working as a PM and eventually sold it.

That's really cool! I'm hoping to have it grow to a point where it can be sold too. If you wanna share some FBA wisdom, I'm all ears :)

But it's really encouraging to hear about other people that have done it since what I'm facing right now is mostly fear TBH, Idk, fear of unknown, fear of failing, and whatnot... I'm thinking that to get over that I'll just pick a few products, order 50 or so from Aliexpress, learn the game and scale from there.


I create Udemy courses about coding. More than 1-2h a week, though. I made around 7k last year - over the moon.

I'm a beekeeper. The work probably averages to a couple hours per week for just having a few hives. After the first couple years, you could earn maybe $500-1500 per year. More time and more money is your operation is larger.

I have some Android apps, but they never made any money for me, so now they're free.


Years ago I created several apps for different niches that I found in social networks, monetized them with banners and I still receive a nice check every month. That's passive income. The key is finding a niche with critical user mass and promoting the app with them.

I have a GraphQL course on Educative. It doesn't make crazy money, but definitely nice beer money every month! You could make several of these to increase the income and it's pretty passive (after writing your course obviously).

I like to monetize my hobby. I make fancy work clocks and sell some occasionally. I don’t feel pressured to sell since I like the hobby. But I also like to sell one now and again. Plus it’s a big ego booster.

Work for a company in "the trades" like plumbing, electrician, insulation installation, etc. Get a license yourself after your apprenticeship. Hire people. Make a mint.

This sounds a bit more involved than "on the side" though, particularly everything leading up to licensing.

If you are hiring people to do the work, why do you need to spend time in apprenticeship?

In California, at least, it is required. The owner is responsible for the employees' work. The employees don't have to be licensed, so the employer must be. An apprenticeship is mandatory, in California. You have to be employed by a licensed contractor for 4 years and be able to prove it (timecards, etc).

Probably to determine quality of employee and to fully understand the process. It seems pretty risky to just assume you're not gonna screw all that part up

You could try photography and move on to wedding/engagement photography.

wedding photography is a full time job in itself. Not only are you giving up a bulk of your weekend to be at the event taking thousands of photos, you then have to edit them under a deadline previously agreed upon. It doesn't help that the people who want those photos are fairly demanding overall (because who doesn't want perfect wedding photos), so if you mess it up in any way there goes your wedding photography credentials.



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