“How do I start making a side income??”
As a financial adviser, I’m often asked this question. Even though it’s perhaps more of a business coach’s role to answer questions of this nature...
I can’t deny that a higher income does play a super important role in dictating how soon you can achieve your desired wealth.
A quick side note: a financial adviser focuses on increasing your net worth and helping you reach your various financial goals via financial planning. In case you didn't know 😉
Putting the job role differences aside, since, like you, I am personally interested in business in general as well, I figured I could venture into research to help my young clients out. As it turns out, I managed to compile this MASSIVE list of actually viable and legitimate ways to make a side income in Malaysia! Out of 25 of them, you're bound to find at least a few that you can take on. So read on to find out more...
Open this editable 3-page worksheet to use along this article. Specially designed to help you evaluate each side income idea as you read through them. By the end of it, see at one glance which side hustle you can start today.
Other than to fund your next vacation, creating an additional income stream can have multiple positive effects on you.
A couple of them being - you will learn an incredible number of new skills and get to expand your horizons by being your own boss part-time.
And if you use the extra money well, you will see yourself on the fast lane to boosting your financial well-being in a short time (I kid you not!).
A few great ways to utilise your side income:
This article contains more than 11,000 words.
I know, that's a lot of words!
I also recognise that not every side income idea will be suitable to your interests or strengths. You may not necessarily want to read all 25 ideas.
So, to help you maneuver your reading, as you scroll through this article you will notice that I have tagged each idea with matching skills/interests/characteristics.
Own A Vehicle
Love To Write
Love To Teach
Love To Cook
I have a "General" tag for ideas that either don't require any specific skills or it can mean it's applicable for many different talents. And I have specific tags that describe a skill/interest/characteristic that you may have.
You can read based on the tags (Use Ctrl+F on desktop to search through the article with a tag you like), or you can read them all for maximum inspirations.
Or, lastly, you can use the Table of Contents below to click and jump straight to any one idea.
Some of these ideas may work extremely well for you while some may serve to spark new ideas of your own. Either way, I hope you will find this post helpful.
Bookmark this page to come back and continue reading if you can’t finish reading it today.
You’ve paid to be on those overseas vacations anyway, why not take a fraction of the time out of your schedule to partially fund your travels?
Heck, if you collect enough orders you can even cover an entire trip and make a profit on top of it.
Around the world there are highly sought after products from one location that are not available elsewhere.
(Think specialty Korean snacks from a Seoul market, handcrafted Australian skincare for ultra sensitive skin from Melbourne, photography gear from an American brand that unfortunately doesn’t ship worldwide!)
Buyers are paying personal shoppers to buy specific items abroad and bring them home to be delivered to the buyers.
Things you help purchase can range from common to precious, low to premium priced. You stand to make better margins with more expensive products. However, bear in mind also, with higher-priced items you stand more risks of loss, damage and a buyer flaking out on you before making full payment.
How much to charge?
You decide how much to charge your buyers. I’ve seen 5-10%, 20% and even 75% of an item’s original price as a personal shopper’s fee. If you're selling something very low-priced, you can also charge a fixed percentage and add, say, RM5 to each item.
It all comes down to how hard it is to obtain the item in question and what your buyer is willing to pay.
Do your research on the types of item you would like to help purchase. Oftentimes it works out better if you are shopping for things that you are already familiar with.
Finally, announce away your trip on your social media or to your circle of friends to start taking orders!
Don’t have prospects to sell to?
Granted, you will have less control over the type of products you shop for and how much to charge as commission, but the websites take care of attracting buyers for you.
Some other conveniences include, for example, with Jetspree you can drop your purchases right at the airport after you’re back from your trip. You don’t even have to worry about getting the products to customers yourself.
Know your way around notable local eateries or memorable neighbourhood activities? Or you understand a great deal about the history and landmarks of where you live? Also you’re naturally very hospitable?
Plan an itinerary or a specific activity that takes place in your city. Show a small group of tourists a unique experience and a local taste of life.
Platforms you can use
On sites like Triip, Airbnb (their Experiences section), Lokalocal and Tourplus, you can start listing your “offer” and get customers there. The price to pay for you to market your offers on their platforms is: when you make a sale, they take a cut of your fees.
Alternatively, you can also market the business on your own if you have a strong following on social media.
For instance, I’ve seen an Instagram page of a tour guide with international fans passionate about hiking trips in different countries. The tour guide gets customers for hiking trips via Instagram, then put all existing customers in a Whatsapp group to market his future trips to. Voila, repeat customers achieved.
“I don’t hike! What kind of experiences can I create?”
The sky's the limit! Or, rather, you’re only limited by your creativity. There are so many different interests you can serve.
You can do basic, get-to-know-a-place activities like a half-day city tour, secret spots in KL tour, cafe-hopping ‘for the gram’ (people want great Instagram photos out of their trip!).
An experience with a niche can do very well too.
‘Cook an Authentic Malaysian meal’, a photo-taking walk around famous landmarks, martial art experience, rock climbing session, vintage shopping tour, crafting workshop, dress up in traditional Malaysian clothings… ah, so many possibilities!
Do a search on the three sites above to get even more inspirations. It’s also helpful to see what people from other countries are offering in their cities, so do a search to see if there's anything you can replicate locally too.
Own A Vehicle
If you wonder why this is on every list of this kind, it’s because it works.
Even if you only casually drive for money, as long as you’re consistent, you can easily make an extra RM1,000-2,000 per month.
Use Grab’s earnings estimator to find out potentially how much is in it for you and your available hours.
Have a busy schedule to stick to?
To help you manage your drive time even more precisely, I love that the ride hailing company recently launched an app feature called My Destination.
You activate it while on your way home ready to complete your last ride, and you’ll only get jobs along your route. Perfect solution to gain control over your time when you have somewhere to be, like an appointment or a date 🙂
If you enjoy driving and are doing it everyday anyway, consider utilising your free time for a side income. Set a schedule, stick to it, and make a couple more thousand Ringgit than last month.
Not a point on its own since it’s similar to driving Grab.
Riding Pink is a ride-sharing platform exclusive to women only. If you are a female driver hoping to only get female customers, this will be quite perfect for you.
A statement in a 2016 news mentioned earning potential of RM500 in three weeks’ time with this ride-sharing company. By comparison it’s lower than Grab, but the number is from 2016. It should be higher now.
When I contacted Riding Pink about their compensation scheme, here’s what I got. There are two options for a driver:
- Gets to view and accept pending ride requests
- Collects stated fare + toll at end of each trip
- Receives a statement on the 15th and 30th or 31st of each month
- Pays Pink Riding back 20% of total fare earned, within 7 days of receiving statement
Fixed pay driver
- Gets paid fixed weekly base salary of RM200
- Like the part-time driver, pays back 20% of total fare earned to Riding Pink
- Gets assigned rides on a daily basis
- Has to be on standby from Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm in Klang Valley
I get that the second option is most likely not doable for you since you’ve come here looking for side income to supplement your main income.
Riding Pink had only been doing pre-booked rides, up until recently.
They just started a beta mobile app for riders, as they move towards providing on-demand ride-hailing service like Grab.
Let’s hope they grow to be a strong contender, one that also gives better peace of mind to female drivers and passengers.
Own A Vehicle
If you live in Klang Valley, Johor or Penang, chances are you’ve seen cars around you with colorful advertisement stickers stuck on the body or rear window.
Traditionally this was done on public transport like buses and trains only, but now you can cash in on the lucrative advertising world as well, with your car!
How much will you make?
Moola sticks vinyl stickers on your car and claims to pay anywhere between RM150 to RM500 per month (35km driving per day during daytime).
Rodeo claims to pay up to RM1,200 per month. This company also offers their advertisers more options other than vinyl stickers, so you have the potential to earn more out of such campaigns. Among the bunch, Rodeo is the only one that accepts bicycles, motorcycles and lorries. Find out more in their FAQ.
While MyBump doesn’t specify any earnings projection in their FAQ, a Facebook review thread shows commendable fast payment from the company to a driver. It also offers the least “obnoxious” type (these rear window stickers) if you don’t like so much attention on your introverted car.
There are, however, a couple of limitations when it comes to these opportunities.
It’s up to the advertisers to pick you based on how much you drive everyday, where you drive usually, the age, colour and model of your car, etc.
Secondly, not all three apps are available for both Android and Apple users, yet.
With that said, I see this as a great opportunity to make relatively good (side) money, especially if you pair this with driving as a Grab driver. You make additional money doing what you have to do anyway!
Own A Vehicle
I had a friend who decided to go for a working holiday in Australia, but was unwilling to pay the monthly loan for her idle car in Malaysia.
Her family had no use for it. The car would have been sitting around, offering zero value. So she signed a contract with a local car rental company who took care of renting out her car.
They were also supposed to pay for maintenance, road tax renewal, insurance, and repair cost if a renter damaged the car. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me.
It was the perfect solution for her. The earnings more than covered for her car loan and other costs of ownership.
This is something you can do too, if you leave your country or city for a long time with an idle car at home.
What if you’re not going away for a long period of time
If you’re not going away anytime soon, but still typically have days in a month that you don’t use your car, renting out your car via apps/websites can prove profitable.
Using Moovby as example here, the costs of rental on the website range
from RM6-8/hour (Myvi, Proton Saga)
to RM15/hour (City, Vios)
to RM30-48/hour (MPV)
to RM600/hour (Ferrari, Rolls Royce!).
Subtract 20%, which is the percentage that Moovby charges out of every transaction, that’s your potential earnings per hour!
For Kwikcar, they have a calculator on their website to estimate how much you can make based on your car’s model and age, but didn’t reveal what percentage they will take as their commission.
There is no upfront fee to start listing your car at either Moovby or Kwikcar.
Other than these two, I haven’t found other similar platforms that integrate mobile apps (easier for owners and renters). If you know of any good ones, comment below and I will add it to this list.
Own A Vehicle
If you have the flexibility to take a few hours off your main job as you need, make extra money on the side by running errands or making deliveries for people (or businesses) who are seriously low on time and desperate for help!
You can use an app/platform called GoGet to connect with people who need simple jobs done.
And what do you do actually? You help out with random errands. They could be anything, such as food dabao/delivery, flower delivery, picking up birthday cake for a busy mother, Ikea furniture assembling, one-time stock checking for a shop and etc.
How much can you make?
There’s no actual minimum or maximum since it depends on how many jobs you complete. According to GoGet’s website though, they claim a ‘GoGetter’ can make up to RM3,000 a month.
Essentially, how much you make depends on how much a ‘job poster’ decides to give as tips for a job.
GoGet takes 15% of your tips by default (meaning you get 85% of tips amount).
And then GoGet starts taking less of your tips once you achieve certain ‘volume’, e.g. after you’ve completed RM350 worth of jobs within 7 days, you get bonus 5% more for new jobs claimed (meaning you start getting 90% of tips amount) until the bonus expires.
This one works best for pet lovers! If you are a pet owner, you understand the pain - whenever you need to be away for a prolonged period of time, it can be a huge struggle to find a trustworthy and reliable caretaker for your pets.
Good news for you now and other pet-loving folks: websites like Petsodia, Jompaw and Petbacker connect you with fellow pet owners who need your help to pet sit or host their pets while they’re away for work or vacation.
Note though some of the websites mentioned above require you to be a pet owner yourself. One of them, Petsodia, even requires you to own the type of pets that you are going to take care of.
How much can you make?
You can make RM20- RM60 a day taking care of a pet via Petsodia. Other sites recommend similar rates, with Jompaw even stating a rate of up to RM80 a night for a large, over 18kg dog.
On top of a daily/nightly rate for pet sitting or pet boarding, you can also offer additional services that a customer can “top up” for, such as picking up the pet from its owner, attending to special diet requests, etc.
Choose your schedule, make up your own terms and conditions, decide what additional services you are happy to provide, and help your potential customers understand why you would make a good caregiver in a listing or a pitch.
Not to forget, if you're providing pet care in your own home (pet boarding), show pictures of your space to convince your potential customers that you can provide a great environment for their furballs.
Each platform charges different amount as commission. Petsodia takes away 20% of your earnings, Petbacker 15-25%, and Jompaw doesn't specify theirs publicly.
Don't like paying a commission out of your earnings?
Just like the other side income ideas suggested before, you can definitely market this gig on your own if you have a way of finding customers by yourself.
Perhaps you start off with one of the ready platforms, and start to build regular customers from there.
Perhaps you have relatives or friends who are big pet lovers and wouldn’t mind paying for your private pet hotel. Since they know you’d be a great carer for their furry (or feathery, or scaly) kids.
Collect good reviews and build your reputation over time. With some thoughts into it, this could become your way of making a side income while enjoying meeting more pets!
So many busy, working parents all over Malaysia need an extra pair of hands when it comes to taking care of their young children sometimes. And many are actually willing to pay a good fare to find a trustworthy, caring kid carer/babysitter.
If you have the experience and are happy to take care of young children during your free time, you simply need to start letting people know about your service and your schedule!
If you don’t have any experience, yet
Without any previous experience, I reckon it can be slightly harder to start. But it’s not impossible.
If you’re serious about giving safe and responsible care for children. You are capable and have good attention to detail. You are warm and communicate well with kids. And you can show wary parents all that during an initial contact... I don’t see how you won’t be considered a worthy candidate.
A note for the non-experienced, perhaps start with a lower-than-market rate (and slowly build up as you mature). Or, focus on the advantages of hiring you! Perhaps you cook a mean carbonara that kids love. Perhaps you own a Hello Kitty collection or have mad Lego skills that will impress the heck out of a 6-year-old. Find out what’s appealing about you to kids and parents!
Also, starting off with older kids instead of infants and toddlers should serve as a good idea in general.
For people who love the company of kids, this is one way to enjoy the work while making money on the side.
How much do you stand to make?
From what I’ve analysed, the basic hourly rate is RM20-RM35. Of course, parents of different financial capability or requirements will offer different rates.
Some require you to cook a meal for their kid, some may want you to read to the kid, or help out with homework while the kid is under your care.
You can decide how much your time is worth and think about what additional value you can offer if you want to charge higher.
Online platforms to help you land customers
If you’ve tried your neighbourhood/condo notice boards and had no luck with it; thankfully the internet provides everything these days.
Below are some websites where you can find babysitting jobs in Malaysia. The best part? They don’t charge a commission out of what you make.
Your property isn’t going to pay for itself!
Whether you have that extra bedroom that’s already furnished but is vacant most of the time, or you bought that second property but haven’t quite figured out what to do with it yet - consider renting it out.
To who and how? It depends.
If the space never gets used and you want stable income
You might like it better by renting it out the traditional way - to a permanent renter.
The pros and cons of going this way, I trust you’ve already heard and read too much. So I won’t go into details here.
This option gives you relative stability so you can operate on semi-autopilot and collect that rent money.
If you definitely need the space sometimes, or you’re willing to go the extra mile to make more money!
The platform connects you to more than 50 million users worldwide. You spend zero on marketing and pay only 3% per booking. Read more about Airbnb charges.
Other upsides? You decide what dates your space is available or not available for rent. You get to meet new people and enjoy being a mini hotelier.
Whichever route you choose, renting out your space can greatly reduce your monthly loan commitment and give you more money to spend (or invest).
Even if you make only RM80 nett per night and you successfully rent out for 14 nights a month. That's a total of RM1,120 per month.
If your monthly loan repayment is RM2,500, your earnings will help you pay off 44.8% of your loan!
What if your space is awesome and can generate more than RM80 nett per night? Or if you get fully booked out for a few months in a year? You stand to make a handsome income, very possibly even beating the traditional rental income.
Have I mentioned Airbnb is growing like crazy in Malaysia? In 2017, Malaysian Airbnb hosts welcomed
There are now 31,900 Airbnb listings in Malaysia, receiving travelers from 176 countries.
Already a lot? Not really.
There are far more than 30k vacant bedrooms, condos and interesting houses lying around us (nationally!) that should be generating rental income but they’re not.
The owner of the property may be too busy to host or even put up a listing. They may not have the experience. Or maybe they don’t speak the more versatile languages like English or Mandarin. But they have the space.
This is where you come in - to assist other property owners and make money as an Airbnb co-host.
Similar to Airbnb hosting, but instead of hosting your own space, you help other property owners run an Airbnb business.
You can choose to handle only part of the hosting experience, or you can take care of the entire process from beginning to the end. It's up for discussion between you and the owner(s).
What’s the scope of work as a co-host?
You decide together with the owner of a property what tasks you help out with, such as
How much do you stand to make?
Your fees as a co-host typically range between 10%-20% of booking earnings.
Naturally, the more tasks you handle and the more experienced you are, the higher you can ask to be compensated for.
Also, you can partner with up to three owners to increase the total income you make. Read Airbnb’s Pricing & Payment FAQ for more tips.
The growth of Malaysia’s gig economy has increased by 31%.
You may have never looked at your skill set in this light, but your expertise could be in high demand. AND can become a really healthy side income source for you.
Do you write or design at your job? Are you in accounting or marketing? Do you design websites or develop apps? Or can you provide admin or customer support?
Many companies, local and international, are looking to hire capable freelancers for tasks they’re hoping to outsource. The tasks could be for a one-off project, or a part-time contract, or something that requires more hours.
Check out an online freelancers’ platform today to find out how much you could potentially make on the side with your skills.
Online freelancing platforms you should check out
Fiverr.com is a good one too, also international, but typically for smaller-scale jobs. Every freelancer’s offer starts from USD5 on this site.
For comparison of the sites, read ‘Upwork vs Fiverr’ by TheFreelanceEffect.com
“Are there local/Malaysian platforms I should check out?”
Yes, there are.
However! I had a hard time finding a robust Malaysian freelancing portal. More accurately, none of the local sites look like they have enough hirers or job posters yet.
Either that, or the postings are mixed up with permanent job offers. For these two reasons, I won’t list my findings here.
If my observations are wrong though, and there are actually good local platforms you know about (and like or have used) - drop me a comment, and I will add it here with a credit to your name 🙂
How much do you stand to make?
Your freelancing income is entirely dependent on you. Your expertise, quality of your work, your industry, how much you charge, how good you are at securing clients - all play a factor in your earning potential.
Start by creating an outstanding, clear profile detailing what it is that you do, your level of expertise and why you would be a great candidate for a hirer.
I won’t sugarcoat the fact that freelancing can actually be very challenging, especially in the beginning. The term “freelancing” often implies it’s easy work, or you have extreme flexibility, or depicts a picture of you working on a beach with a margarita in hand.
Truth is, freelance work is still work.
But it is a money-making option with great potential, so much so that there have been many examples of people replacing their main income with freelance hustle.
Focus on building your reputation and collecting great reviews and references in the beginning. Over time, you’ll be able to demand higher rates and make freelancing your dream side hustle.
Businesses are draining money whenever they hire the wrong people. Which is why they do the best they can to avoid hiring mistakes and attract the right talents.
Much like matchmaking your two friends who didn’t know each other existed (but your gut feelings just tell you they’re perfect for each other!), hop on these websites I’m listing below to match a friend with a job.
If they find each other a great fit, you get rewarded with a referral fee.
I know, I know. It sounds less romantic now that money is involved. But I think it’s just as much a good deed if you help your friend move up and onwards with a new job that appreciates (and compensates) him/her better. No? 😀
How much do you stand to make?
It depends on the salary your friend ends up getting! The higher the eventually agreed salary, the more you get paid a referrer’s fee. Here’s an example from Seekers.com.my.
Making money by referring people to jobs may not be as regenerative/repeatable as other points on this list. After all, we have limited number of friends. But maybe this will give you a reason to mingle around more at your next networking opportunity… :p
Love To Write
Are you an expert in your field? Or you’ve become fairly good at a hobby you are passionate about?
If you have useful information to offer to people who want to learn about a specific topic you are well-versed in (or a skill that you have), blogging has the potential to become an income source for you!
To succeed at this, you do need a certain level of marketing knowledge and writing skills. Having said that, there are so many free or affordable resources around nowadays that if you are willing to buckle down and put in the work, you’ll be able to learn whatever you don’t know now.
“What should I do with a website of my own?”
You can do whatever you like, it’s your website!
But I recommend picking a niche and sticking to it. Decide which two or, at most, three topics you want to talk about. And offer content around those topics that brings value to your target audience.
Today, more people prefer getting information from targeted sources because they usually are (or at least they seem) more reliable, more in-depth and perhaps as a result, turn out more helpful.
The end goal is to get more people to know about your brand, content or products, and fall in love with it (so they keep coming back for more).
And to get people to do that, you need to give your audience what they want - be it entertainment, inspiration, helpful information or, better yet, a combination of the three. Make content that can help or benefit your website visitors somehow.
Once you start to establish a steady web traffic, there is a multitude of ways to monetise a blog. Most people start off with displaying ads and affiliate links (see next points), and some even by rolling out their own products (physical goods, ebooks, courses, speaking gigs, etc).
For example, a figurine maker with a blog that details all the know-how to figurine making. A successful blog will inevitably bring him more product sales. And if he chooses to, he can also start offering chargeable online or offline classes to teach figurine making.
Another example, a career coach sharing her knowledge and tips on how to move a career forward. Her great content goes viral and gets her more coaching clients. Eventually she could go on to develop her online courses (one-time effort that generates passive income), organise her once-a-year paid, intensive seminar, and get invited regularly to speak for a fee.
How to get started?
You need a:
Optional: if you’d like your own domain name, then you’ll also need
To do it with no cost at all, I recommend using Wix (your url will be username.wixsite.com/sitename) or Blogspot (your url will be sitename.blogspot.com) or WordPress (your url will be sitename.wordpress.com).
Lately I’ve seen a few business sites use the free version of Wix site. Personally I think it’s fine. Especially if it’s a personal blog that’s just starting out or just somewhere to house information of a new business with a small product line...
…even though normally I really appreciate a self-hosted domain! It feels more committed to me. It looks cleaner. And the brand is less “diluted” when the url is not shared with the name of a CMS.
Which route you should choose is highly dependent on how much you’re ready to spend, how much control you need over your website, and whether you have big plans for your website in the long term.
Now, if you decide to invest some money in this, there are many affordable ways around getting your custom domain name, web hosting, themes and content management system.
What I recommend for
CMS: WordPress.org, it’s completely free
Web hosting: Starts as low as RM15 per month (some web hosting companies like Bluehost even includes a free domain)
Web design theme: Optional. Shell out money from the beginning, or use a free theme and upgrade to a paid theme after your website gains momentum.
Love To Write
The most immediate way to monetise the traffic to your active website is by displaying Google ads through Google AdSense.
Google AdSense is the most widely-known advertising network for blogs. It acts as an intermediary, between you and advertisers, for you to start displaying relevant ads on your website.
You get paid whenever a reader clicks on your Google ad. To maximise your earnings with display ads in general, do your best to have:
Good quality, unique and useful content (e.g. how-to, tips, etc.)
Stable, growing traffic to your website
High loading speed & mobile responsiveness
There is a whole lot of geeky science behind optimising Google Ads, so that you make as much money as possible! Make sure you find out what you can apply to make the best of them.
Additionally, when your site traffic grows big enough, you may get contacted by interested businesses who want to advertise directly with you. For example, a kid-focused business wanting to display an ad on your parenting blog and will pay you a fixed amount per month for 12 months.
Love To Write
Affiliate marketing is another immediate way to monetise your website traffic. It also works on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Youtube, as long as your account has a strong following.
How it works: You recommend a product or service to your audience with a unique URL (aka your affiliate link, published on your website/social media), and get commission every time someone makes a purchase via your link.
Essentially it’s businesses sharing their profits with you.
What businesses offer affiliate programs in Malaysia?
Many big brands like Lazada, Agoda, Apple, Zalora, Easybook.com and Motherhood.com.my offer affiliate programs for you to sign up and start making commission. Even small local businesses do too. A few examples include…
This e-commerce product photography shop, Photolab
women’s shapewear and maternity wear brand, Shapee
Online contact lenses store, MrLens
bike & outdoor accessories shop based in Penang, Bikelah
While I’m sure there are many more local brands with their independently-run affiliate programs, one way to manage it all more easily (once you start affiliating yourself with a dozen brands it will become hard to keep track) is to use Involve Asia.
They are an affiliate marketing network with a long compiled list of more brands’ affiliate programs (they have Booking.com, Malaysia Airlines, TIME Internet, Digi, Uniqlo and lots more).
With their website, you get to consolidate all your affiliate earnings and manage them in one place.
As you can see, there is an abundance of opportunities available, but be sure to only recommend and promote products and brands that you strongly believe in (or, even better, products that you already like and use).
A bad product or unethical company can drag you down and ruin the trust you’ve worked hard to build with your audience. 🙁
With that said, when done right, affiliate marketing can create a decent side income (or even a full-time income over time).
Love To Write
Have you always wanted to publish your own book?
Many people dream of writing a book one day but the traditional route of publishing can be very intimidating and, not to mention, costly.
Today’s technology has completely disrupted/transformed the book publishing game. If you weren’t familiar with digital publishing before reading this, you’d be pleased to learn how easy it is to self-publish an ebook with Amazon now. Benefits include:
You can sell worldwide.
You get up to 70% royalty (with traditional publishing you can expect only 10%)
It costs you nothing to start publishing.
Your book can appear online for sale within 1-2 days.
It’s pretty amazing. You can’t possibly ask for more speed or convenience than this. Learn more from Amazon’s site if you’re intrigued.
“Will my ebook be readable only on Amazon’s Kindle e-readers?”
Nope, not just on Kindle devices! Your ebook will also be able to reach anybody with a smart device (smartphone, computer, tablet).
Other than Amazon, you can also check out these self-publishing outlets:
How much do you stand to make?
This is another the-sky’s-the-limit situation.
The success of your ebook relies on several factors other than just your writing. What kind of readers you are targeting, the competitiveness of your ebook’s category/genre, and how well you market and promote it - each can affect your sales.
Will you make big money on the day you publish? Most ebook authors would tell you it’s more of a growing and accumulative scenario (even though there are authors who begin promoting their books before the actual launch, and as a result make great sales on launch day).
The way I see it, the best parts about publishing an ebook to make side income are: the earning potential, the growing habit of online reading (worldwide and around us in Malaysia), and last but not least, how little it costs now compared to traditional publishing.
Videos have become such a BIG way we consume information daily. I feel like everywhere I look I see videos.
With YouTube getting these stats below (data from Jeff Bulla’s site), it would be fair to say anybody can stand a chance at making good money from YouTube today:
Over 4 billion videos are viewed per day
70% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US
YouTube pays out millions of dollars a year to partners
Hundreds of partners are making six figures a year
Partner revenue has more than doubled for four years in a row
So how do you qualify to become a YouTube partner then?
To successfully apply for monetisation, your channel needs to achieve at least 4,000 watch hours in the past 12 months and has 1,000 subscribers.
The principles to having a successful channel are similar to starting a blog: find your niche and be consistent in putting out quality content.
YouTubers earn money only when people either click on an ad or view an ad for a certain amount of time.
You can learn more about the ins and outs with a simple search on the internet, but I found this video to be very helpful from an entrepreneur’s perspective. The same video is also a testament to the fact that even small Youtube channels can make nice profits.
Love To Teach
Most Malaysians grow up going to public schools and learning in a rigid group setting.
Some manage to thrive in the regular classroom environment while many students may be needing more individual attention, a different pace of learning or even a completely different teaching style.
This is where tutoring can come in, and become very valuable to a struggling student (and the parents).
Quality and effective tutoring is needed by kids, young adults and even fully-grown adults (for learning a new language/to sit for a standardised test, e.g. IELTS for migration purposes).
If you have the right education background and the passion to teach, you could become a tutor to make side income.
It’s an option that gives you quite a bit of flexibility. You can teach on weekends or after your working hours during weekdays. Also, you can teach in person or even online.
Online platforms to help you find students
Each platform charges commission fees differently (some are free of charge). There are quite a few good, active ones that you should check out to help connect you to students:
How much do you stand to make?
The above serves as a guideline. Your qualifications and experience, among many things else, will of course come into play to determine your rate.
Make use of technology (more specifically, a mobile app) to tutor online
I wanted to write about online tutoring sites that you can use to tutor foreigners and charge in USD, but truthfully I haven’t seen enough successful examples. When I do, I’ll make sure to come back and update this article.
Until then, I’ll mention a very successful app with which you can apply to become an online tutor, and make money by answering students’ homework questions.
The Hong-Kong based app is called Snapask (download on Android or Apple). You get RM1.50 for every question answered. It seems small but that’s only for one single question. If you dedicate an hour or two at a time to this gig, your earnings will quickly accumulate.
Don’t believe me? Read these tweets of a Malaysian who made RM1,200 in less than 3 weeks on Snapask.
I bet you wouldn’t believe that your iPhone photography could be sold as stock photos, even if you’re not a photographer - but it’s true!
Take a look at samples of smartphone stock photos in a forum thread.
If you’re constantly snapping pictures of beautiful people, sceneries or even flat lays of your food (either with your smartphone or “proper” camera), create an account on a stock media agency, e.g. Shutterstock, Fotolia, iStock, Pond5, Alamy, etc; and try submitting your photos for sale. You may be surprised by your new hidden talent.
How much do you stand to make?
The key thing with stock photography is volume. How so?
Firstly, almost all agencies have a tiered model in place which basically says the more stock photos you sell, the more you make out of each sale.
(When you manage to “sell” a stock photo through an agency, it means somebody pays to download a digital copy of your photo.)
Taking Shutterstock as an example, one stock photo sells for only USD0.25 in the beginning. But as you grow you will make more money for each photo sold.
Secondly, even if we’re just talking about USD0.25 per photo... if 900 people download/buy your USD0.25 photo, you’ll make a total of USD225. And that’s just with one photo! People are submitting 200 - 10,000 photos online to be sold, and earning a side income every month as a result (passive income alert).
What does it take to be a stock photographer?
From my research I conclude these 5 points:
1. Be observant of trends and seasons
As a consumer of stock photos myself, there have been many times I struggle to find natural-looking images to use. Be aware of the kind of photos that are in demand by the current entrepreneurs and businesses. And plan ahead (minimum 3 months earlier) for festival seasons such as Hari Raya, Christmas, Chinese New Year and so on.
2. Shoot a variety of images
If you limit yourself to only shoot and submit photos of kittens, only a limited group of people will be able to peruse your work! Branch out and try a variety of images to make sure your photos can be used for a wide range of purposes.
3. Learn how to edit your photos
Businesses buy stock photos to make their websites or marketing materials look more presentable. Learn how to crop, colour correct and edit out elements you might not want in your photos. It will make your submissions be approved more quickly too.
4. Have a strategy for your photos
Do your research to help make sure your photos are as “sellable” as they can! From finding out what types of image work best on which agency’s site, to strategising around the keywords for your stock photos, to filling in the market gap (e.g. Alamy puts out photo requests for upcoming months) - having a strategy ensures you your best earning potential.
5. Constantly learn, research and hone your skills
This includes researching for stock photography strategies and trends, and ways to improve your photo taking skills.
For more tips on how to start making a side income selling stock photos, check out these videos:
Photography is not your thing, but videography is? Read how this filmmaker earned his first $150K by selling stock footage.
Love To Teach
I don’t know about you, but I have learned a great deal of what I know now from none other than the internet.
One evident example is this website that you’re on.
A Udemy course actually inspired it all. And before that, I knew absolutely nothing about how to (and why) build a website. I relied (and I still do) on the Udemy course I bought, and also lots of google and youtube evvvery step of the way.
How I managed to have a website of my own now still feels downright magical to me, because not so long ago I had never even thought about ever creating one.
My point is, you can learn plenty online. And online courses work.
A report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc has said that online courses will be a $240 billion industry by 2022.
And you know what? YOU can have a slice of that billion-dollar pie.
How much do you stand to make?
There’s no cap on your earning potential with this one. I truly believe you will make money as long as you put out quality courses!
If you need more convincing data, there’s no shortage of success stories you can find online, including this 25-year-old course creator who made USD66,000 in a month by teaching programming and app development.
What to make an online course on
In essence, teach your expertise/teach what you know.
You can teach skills that you use at work, e.g. graphic design if you’re a graphic designer, engineering fundamentals if you’re an engineer, how to eat more nutritiously if you’re a nutritionist/health expert.
Or, you can also teach trending topics you’re familiar with or a hobby you’re passionate about on the side, e.g. cryptocurrencies/blockchain, street photography, presentation skills, etc.
Having said that, I personally think the first thing on your agenda should be... to do your research before deciding on what to teach exactly. Your research should cover the current bestselling courses (these 2017 & 2018 lists for top Udemy courses are helpful), price points, contents, market gaps and the like.
After all, you don’t want to spend the time to create a course from start to finish, and then realise there’s no demand for it.
Also worthwhile to note, gear your teaching towards topics that address specific pain points of your target audience, and make sure your course provides actionable solutions or, at least, clearly directs the steps a learner can take to solve a problem.
Best format for your online course
Technically, you can choose any format to deliver your online course. But the most popular or, for our purpose, most marketable format? Mainly video with a few pdf worksheets or quizzes.
You may think you need professional equipment to get started with filming, but the truth is - any device/camera that can shoot 720p and a clip mic are enough to get you going (did you know iphone’s native recording app makes a great microphone too?).
For more equipment guidance, check out Udemy’s recommended audio and video equipment list.
Instead of fussing about top-notch visuals and sounds, focus on what actually dictates the quality of your course: the quality of your content.
Online platforms to help you find students
There are several easy-to-approve online learning platforms that you can upload your courses onto. They are:
Cash is lying around your home in the form of preloved furniture, clothes or appliances! Believe it or not, your trash could very well be another man’s treasure.
While I encourage donating to the needy, some items that aren’t strictly necessities (let’s say, a name-brand polo tee or an iPad) would do your money better justice if you sell them off as secondhand items.
Get creative during your spring cleaning next time!
Find clothes, children's toys, books, old gadgets, jewellery, glassware, furniture, plants or even old currencies… that can be turned into money. They’re your rewards for finally decluttering your space!
Another great idea is to leverage your parents or grandparents’ hoarding habits. Offer to help them konmari their space (=clear their junk) and, in return, you get to sell the interesting findings for profit. Split the profit if it helps you entice them ;)!
Where to sell your preloved items
Do your friends love it when you give them your handcrafted projects as gifts?
If you have a knack for making beautiful art, accessories or decor stuff… other than your family and friends’ heartfelt gratitude, your handiwork might also fetch you something more practical - an additional income! 🙂
There are endless options for places to sell your arts and crafts.
One outlet that gives you an international reach is Etsy, a global marketplace for handmade and vintage goods. On the site, you can find all kinds of interesting and unique items for sale.
As an Etsy seller, you pay listing fees for items to be listed on the popular website. Each listing costs USD0.20 (around RM0.80) which will stay active for four months or until you sell one item. Out of every sale, the site charges 3.5% of your sales and a standard PayPal payment processing fee.
And oh, if you know any seller on Etsy, have him/her send you a referral link. Sign up with it and you will both get 40 free listings. 🙂
What to sell on Etsy
A world of things! The possibilities are so vast that it’s hard to specifically name a few of them and risk making you think that only those certain items can be sold on Etsy.
Because, really, it’s everything and anything you can think of… that appeals to a creative audience, and either can be shipped easily (not too fragile, not too heavy, not alive, not liquid) or can be delivered digitally (via email or a download link).
Typically, people go on Etsy to find unique or customisable products that cannot be found in regular stores. So if your craft can be personalised or can be customised to appeal to a subculture/niche, you could do really well on Etsy!
To add to that, arts and crafts that take time or skills to create (e.g. paintings, to be sold to people who can’t paint), and even the supplies to create arts and crafts can sell well too (e.g. this nail art supply Etsy shop, this jewelry-making supply Etsy shop).
Here I’ll list notable shops that I’ve found interesting and have achieved noticeable sales:
Non-Malaysian Etsy Shops
The shop sells...
Number of sales
Art prints, posters & stickers
Contemporary embroidery patterns
Creative paper cutout cards
Custom pillows, specialty gifts
Custom wine labels for weddings, bridesmaids, and more
DIY baby headbands and crafting supplies
Exquisite Japanese textiles
Freeze dried and silk rose petals for weddings and more
Handcrafted Mickey/Minnie ears
Heirloom bridal accessories
Jewelry making supplies
Knives, gouges, chisels and sets for wood carving art
Natural gemstones and minerals
Personalized initial necklace
Plastic eyes & noses for Amigurumi (animal craft)
Printable wedding stationery templates
Rare and wondrous seeds from around the world
Real wood phone cases, wallets, Speakers & power banks
Soft sole leather baby shoes
Unfinished wooden cutouts
Vinyl photography backdrops
LabelWithLove - Custom wine labels for weddings, bridesmaids, and more | 69,480 sales since 2014
CoverLove - Custom pillows, specialty gifts | 20,631 sales since 2012
ArtisticSlimez - Slimes | 31,831 since 2017
RosePetalsEverywhere - Freeze dried and silk rose petals for weddings and more | 14,580 sales since 2015
ShyMyrtle - Ribbons | 33,525 since 2012
ParadisePapercraft - Creative paper cutout cards | 8,928 sales since 2012
CrazyCutouts - Unfinished wooden cutouts | 6,333 sales since 2016
PRRINT - Art prints, posters & stickers | 48,991 sales since 2011
SmittenPaperProps - Printable wedding stationery templates | 16,603 sales since 2016
HeirloomGarterCo - Heirloom bridal accessories | 20,208 sales since 2016
Clbeads - Jewelry making supplies | 522,007 sales since 2008
MignonandMignon - Personalized initial necklace | 227,898 sales since 2017
Ulous - Handcrafted Mickey/Minnie ears | 30,278 sales since 2015
LuxeSupplyCo - DIY baby headbands and crafting supplies | 111,412 sales since 2012
Zipit - Zippers wholesale | 305,325 sales since 2009
SarahKBenning - Contemporary embroidery patterns | 20,063 sales since 2013
6060 - Plastic eyes & noses for Amigurumi (animal craft) | 167,384 sales since 2007
SmartSeedsEmporium - Rare and wondrous seeds from around the world | 95,149 sales since 2012
RockParadise - Natural gemstones and minerals | 73,747 sales since 2014
Kimonomomo - Exquisite Japanese textiles | 31,286 sales On Etsy since 2007
CitivaCreationz - LED hoops | 7,998 sales since 2010
StryiWoodCarving - Knives, gouges, chisels and sets for wood carving art | 1,681 sales since 2017
Carvedproducts - Real wood phone cases, wallets, Speakers & power banks | 15,806 sales since 2011
SwankyPrints - Vinyl photography backdrops | 79,325 sales since 2011Ebooba - Soft sole leather baby shoes | 27,541 sales since 2012
Etsy shops' sales data accurate as of Dec 2018
Malaysian Etsy Shops
The shop sells...
No. of sales
Printable planner stickers
Leather journal, scrapbook album, stationery & gifts
Kuala Lumpur & LA, USA
Motivational poster & inspirational quote print
Handmade colorful wedding, bridesmaid & bridal jewelry
Handmade handbags and purses
Custom embroidery & printed wedding handkerchief
Art & decor
Handmade baby bibs, baby carrier accessories and etc
Modern maternity clothes & nursing tops
Skyejuice (Kuala Lumpur) - Handmade colorful wedding, bridesmaid & bridal jewelry | 1,771 sales since 2010
SeptemberWindStudio (Johor) - Printable planner stickers | 6,728 sales since 2016
JingleBib (Kuala Lumpur) - Handmade baby bibs, baby carrier accessories and etc | 6,483 sales since 2013
ModernMummyMaternity (Kuala Lumpur) - Modern maternity clothes & nursing tops | 6,909 sales since 2013
TropicalGarden (Kuching) - Art & decor | 326 sales since 2010
PapergeekCo (Kuala Lumpur) - Leather journal, scrapbook album, stationery & gifts | 30,730 sales since 2013
Kinies (Kuala Lumpur) - Handmade handbags and purses | 20,692 sales since 2009
NeueGraphic (Kuala Lumpur & Los Angeles) - Motivational poster & inspirational quote print | 2,419 sales since 2012
EmbroiCollection1 (Kuala Lumpur) - Custom embroidery & printed wedding handkerchief | 6,999 sales since 2015FasyShop (Kuala Lumpur) - Planner stickers | 12,146 sales since 2015
Etsy shops' sales data accurate as of Dec 2018
You will find that the global market provides a much wider variety. This translates to lots of opportunities for you to fill the different gaps in the local scene! Perhaps there are things that you can sell at better price points than an American seller, for instance.
Alternative marketplaces to list your handcrafted goods
If you’ve decided to start selling your crafts on Etsy and have stocks to spare, there’s no harm in having more platforms to sell your items (as long as you have the resources to manage them).
If you’re going into business, consider listing your products on these sites/apps also:
If you are after bigger margins than affiliate marketing but you don’t want to dump in a bunch of money to start a side business, a reselling business might be for you.
There are companies who put out reseller programs that you can sign up for, so that you can resell their products under your own business name or online shop.
As with any kind of business, the entry costs vary among different reseller programs. So do the level of technicality and risks.
Some are completely free to start; you do not need any capital at all. And for some you may need a couple hundred Ringgit or more.
A few examples of reselling programs that require technical knowledge include HP Enterprise’s for IT solutions, OrangeSoft’s for web designs, Digital Signage’s for, well, digital signages, and even web hosting solutions such as GoDaddy’s, Exabytes’s and lots more.
You can see why they may not make a suitable solution for one without the specific technical knowledge. But if they’re in your field, you’ll have the additional options!
My last point in this section involves a trendy word in a digital entrepreneur’s world - dropshipping.
If you’ve been wondering what the term means...
One could argue that an “ideal” reselling business today also has to have the shipping of goods taken care of (which means you can sell something without carrying any stocks). And there’s a name for it that you can probably guess - it’s called dropshipping.
Just a few opportunities for you to look into...
Below I’ll list a few non-technical, dropshippable, and either free or low-cost reseller business opportunities I’ve found:
This site focuses only on fulfilling dropshipping services and nothing else.
You can open a Lazada, Shopee, Lelong or 11street store (or create a website that sells stuff). Then, select products available on Kumoten that you’d like to sell (there are more than 100,000 products on there!), and sync product details and images right up to your online store!
They update stock balance. They ship your orders without your customers knowing it’s Kumoten’s product. It is pretty brilliant.
The existence of such companies makes it really easy to start and run your very own online shop. Best of all, it is free to use... No subscription cost needed.
Here's how it works:
Similar to Kumoten, KNT Marketing is another dropshipping fulfilment company that carries a range of different products. You need minimum RM200 to start. You can learn more about their reseller program here.
Printcious is an online DIY gift printing platform. You can print any image onto a mug, t-shirt or other gift items with their website. They call their reseller program a Dealer Program, which takes minimum RM150 to start. You can resell DIY gifts, or, sell your own designs and only print them when you get an order!
An online fashion wholesaler. They supply wholesale and also retail women’s clothing and accessories. Their main products focus on Muslimah fashion. It takes minimum RM250 to start as a reseller for Ezytred.
Love To Cook
If your colleagues habitually swarm to your desk for your delicious homemade goodies or your friends look forward to your dish the most at potlucks, it’s time to turn your hobby into a business to make extra money... like this Malaysian lady who was making (she probably makes more now) RM20,000 per month baking cookies to make side income.
Being in the food industry, which is said to be an evergreen industry, gives you the great advantage of having massive demand anywhere, any day. Everyone has to eat and everybody loves eating!
Online platforms to help you land customers
Cooking is fun, but building and marketing a food business aren’t?
Use online marketplaces and Facebook groups because they have ready interested customers to help you get started immediately! More information as dissected below.
Specialty websites like Kravve, Food Connection and ShaFoLo (available in mobile app only) are online marketplaces for homemade food and snacks. A few benefits of signing up and selling your homemade food on these sites, in exchange of 15% of your sales (Currently ShaFoLo don't charge any fees from the sellers), are:
Alternatively, if you don’t mind putting your social self out there, Facebook groups are a great place to promote and sell your homemade delicacies.
The drawback obviously includes the reduced privacy. You may get strangers checking out your Facebook profile or a particularly nosy boss to find out about your side business activities.
But, on the other hand, you can benefit from gaining that much more exposure in the early stage of your side business. Note: Many Facebook groups have a huge following (it’s not hard to find groups with 10k-50k members).
How to find relevant Facebook groups?
Just type the name of your neighbourhood or the word “food” on Facebook’s search bar and look for Groups that have a lot of members. Read each group’s description and stated rules to check if they do not prohibit advertisements, then request to join them. Once you’re approved, promote away appropriately!
In addition, if you sell food that fits a certain diet requirement, such as Keto, low carb, vegetarian, raw food, confinement food; or if it should appeal to certain demographics, such as parents, children, women - then do a search with those keywords as well (e.g. “keto” or “parents”) to find more groups of potential customers.
While there are drawbacks to using Facebook groups, in return you get an engaged audience of a certain interest, demographics or location.
Better yet, use both methods to really amplify your side income potential!
Love To Cook
If you were fortunate enough to grow up eating hearty home-cooked meals all the time, you would understand the magic of having a really good meal cooked with love, care and attention from a loved one’s home kitchen.
Now it’s time for you to share that magic with fellow foodies and travelers who want to immerse in your (food) culture... in your very own home and kitchen! And make it a side hustle that you enjoy working on.
By being a home chef, you will also get to socialise with new interesting people, exchange great stories, grow your culinary skills and, best of all, watch how much people appreciate your good food.
And, thankfully, it’s not hard to execute with the existence of certain online platforms.
Online platforms to help you get food-loving customers
It would have been difficult to begin a venture like this from ground zero. Setting up an online profile somewhere, taking care of marketing, finding a way to secure payments...
Lucky for you, there are a few existing websites that can help connect you as a home chef to hungry food lovers. And they take care of a considerable amount of nitty gritty background work for you.
You do need to go through screening and home visits to be verified that your home and kitchen passes several necessary standards. One of the sites even requires you to get vaccinated.
Once you get accepted by the platform though, all that’s left to do is to set your schedules and house rules. Put up your star dishes or meals. And be ready to get booked with these sites:
Founded in 2013 by a couple of Lithuanian entrepreneurs, PlateCulture is the biggest platform of this sort (social dining/”Airbnb” but for food).
You can organise dining sessions or cooking classes in your home
PlateCulture charges 20% as commission
Founded in 2016, Dinez-in is a Malaysian start-up. While the platform is similar to PlateCulture, there are a few additional things you can do with this platform as a home chef (in bullet points below).
You can provide 4 types of products/services, namely:
Dining sessions (in your home OR delivered/picked up by customers)
Sell homemade sweets/snacks
Offer catering services
Offer cooking classes
Dinez-in charges 15% as commission
Visit Dinez-in’s FAQ for more.
You may be interested in reading about the successes of these home chefs who started on PlateCulture, such as this Iranian PhD student whose cooking was recognised as KL’s best Persian food and an experienced chef in Hong Kong serving up award-winning Italian cuisine.
So many choices! So many ways to add an income stream in 2020!
Having a hard time to narrow down which one is perfect for you?
Write all the ideas down and go through each of them to visually see which ones end up in your shortlist.
Or you can use my interactive, downloadable & printable worksheet. It's designed to help you evaluate and identify which of these 25 business ideas YOU would enjoy doing, be capable of doing, and have the capital to start.
Last but not least, comment below and let me know if you like this kind of article! How many of these ideas have interested you? And what do you plan to use your additional income for?
If you need any feedback on one of the side income ideas you want to explore, drop it in the comment section, and I will share my opinions with you! Free market research 🙂
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