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How to Start a Side Business to Earn Extra S$1,000+

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Singapore’s full-time degree holders had a median income of S$8,190 in 2023 but had an annual decline of 0.8% from 2018 to 2023. According to Business Times, this is attributed to higher inflation and the Covid-19 recession.

Income inequality has been narrowing over the last decade. As the cost of living rises, Singaporeans increasingly turn to side businesses as alternative income sources. 

This article offers insights and strategies for starting a side business in Singapore that could earn you up to S$1,000 extra income, depending on your talents and skills.

What is the Best Side Business to Start?

The ideal side business for you depends on various factors, including your skills, interests, and resources. Consider what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing. 

For example, if you’re skilled in graphic design, you could offer design services freelance. If you’re passionate about cooking, you could start a small catering business or sell homemade goods online. It’s also important to consider your resources, such as time, money, and equipment. 

Choose a side hustle that aligns with your strengths and resources to increase your chances of success. 

The Best Side Gigs of 2024

Business IdeasServices You Can ProvideWhere to ApplyPotential Earnings
FreelancingWriting, graphic design, programming, or digital marketing on a project basis• UpWork 
• Fiverr 
Approx. S$3,800/month; varies based on services and experience
E-CommerceRunning an online store selling handmade crafts, vintage finds, or niche products.• Shopify
• WooCommerce
• Etsy
Varies; starting from S$500 to several thousand monthly
DropshippingSelling products without holding inventory by partnering with a supplier who handles storage, packing, and shipping directly to customers.• NicheDropshipping
• CJ Dropshipping
• Shein Singapore
Varies; some earn up to S$100,000/year
Blogging or Content CreationCreating and monetizing content through a blog or YouTube channel using ads, sponsorships, and affiliate marketing.Social Media (Instagram, TikTok, YouTube)S$3,000 to S$4,000 monthly on average
Online Courses or TutoringCreating online courses or offering tutoring services in areas of expertise, such as languages or music.• Udemy
• Coursera
• Private tutoring
S$20 to S$70 per hour; can lead to an extra S$400 to S$1,000/month
Pet ServicesProviding pet sitting, dog walking, or grooming services for animal lovers looking to earn income through their passion.• Pet sitting
• Walking platforms
• Grooming services
Average S$48,160/year; ranges from S$27,020 to S$72,700/year

1. Freelancing


Do you have a knack for writing, graphic design, programming, or digital marketing? Freelancing could be your golden ticket to extra income. By offering your skills as services, you can work on various projects and enjoy the flexibility of choosing when and where you work. Whether you’re a wordsmith, a design wizard, or a coding guru, there’s a demand for your talents.

How to Get Started

  1. Identify Your Niche: Focus on your strengths and interests to choose a niche that suits your skills and experience. Whether it’s graphic design, writing, programming, or consulting, having a clear niche can make you stand out.
  2. Build Your Portfolio: Create a portfolio showcasing your best work. This can be a personal website, a PDF, or a profile on professional networks like LinkedIn. Your portfolio should highlight your skills, experiences, and what makes you unique in your field.
  3. Set Your Rates: Research what others in your field are charging, but also consider your skill level, experience, and the demand for your services.
  4. Choose the Right Platforms: Singapore-based freelancers can find work on international platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr. These sites offer a wide range of opportunities across various industries.
    • Upwork: Great for finding both short-term and long-term projects. It’s ideal for freelancers specializing in writing, graphic design, web development, and more.
    • Freelancer: Similar to Upwork, it offers a wide variety of projects. The competition can be tough, so having a strong portfolio is key.
    • Fiverr: Best known for gig-based work, Fiverr allows freelancers to offer specific services at set prices, which can be a great way to start if you’re new to freelancing.
  5. Legal and Financial Preparation: Understand the legal and financial aspects of freelancing in Singapore. This includes registering your services if necessary, understanding tax obligations, and setting up a system for invoicing and payments.
  6. Market Yourself: Use social media, networking events, and word of mouth to market your services. Joining local groups or communities related to your field can also help you find potential clients and build a network.

Required Skills

Succeeding in freelancing requires a diverse set of skills, both specific to your field and more general ones that support independent work. Here’s a concise list of essential skills for freelancers:

  • Expertise in Your Niche: Be it writing, graphic design, web development, or another field, deep knowledge and proficiency in your area of specialization are crucial.
  • Communication: Excellent written and verbal communication skills are vital for understanding client needs, pitching services, and managing relationships.
  • Time Management: With the freedom of freelancing comes the responsibility of managing your time effectively to meet deadlines and balance multiple projects.
  • Marketing and Networking: Ability to market your services through social media, personal networks, and professional platforms to attract and retain clients.
  • Financial Management: Skills in budgeting, invoicing, and tax preparation are important for maintaining a healthy freelance business.
  • Adaptability: Being open to new tools, technologies, and changing client requirements helps in staying relevant and competitive.
  • Problem-Solving: The ability to quickly address and resolve issues as they arise can set you apart as a reliable and efficient freelancer.

Potential Earnings: Approximately S$3,800 per month

Potential earnings will vary depending on the services you’re offering. For example, In Singapore, freelance writers typically charge an hourly rate that ranges from S$25 to S$100. This is influenced by their experience level and the project’s intricacy. Content creators may receive compensation on a per-project basis or via continuous agreements.

2. E-Commerce


If you want to start running your own business, e-commerce might be an excellent business idea! Whether it’s handmade crafts, vintage finds, or niche products you’re passionate about, platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, or Etsy make it easy to set up shop. With the power of the internet, you can reach customers far and wide, turning your passion into profit.

Steps to Get Started

  1. Choose Your Niche: Decide on the products you want to sell. It’s best to start with something you’re knowledgeable about or passionate about.
  2. Select a Platform: Pick an e-commerce platform like Shopify, WooCommerce, or Etsy that suits your needs and budget.
  3. Set Up Your Store: Customize your store’s design, add product listings, and set up payment and shipping options.
  4. Market Your Store: Use social media, content marketing, and SEO to attract customers to your store.
  5. Manage Orders: Once you start receiving orders, ensure timely processing and shipping to keep your customers happy.

Is Registration Required for My E-commerce Business in Singapore?

In Singapore, anyone engaged in activities that generate profit, including operating e-commerce websites, must register their business. This applies even to small business owners, who are obligated to fulfill government regulations and complete the necessary documentation to officially recognize their enterprise. 

Required Skills

  • Digital Marketing Expertise: Essential for attracting visitors to your online store.
  • SEO Skills: Key to elevating your products in the vast online marketplace.
  • Stellar Customer Service: Vital for fostering satisfaction and loyalty among customers.
  • Technical Proficiency: Crucial for smoothly managing website maintenance and troubleshooting checkout issues.

Potential Earnings: Varies

The income range for a thriving small e-commerce business spans widely, starting from S$500 monthly to potentially several thousand. The variability in earnings is influenced by factors such as market niche, consumer demand, and the level of dedication invested in the business.

3. Dropshipping


Dropshipping is a popular e-commerce model where you sell products without the hassle of holding inventory. Instead, you partner with a supplier who takes care of storing, packing, and shipping the products directly to your customers. This setup allows you to focus on marketing and customer service, making it an attractive option for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Thomas Sleeth, the mind behind Dropshipping Hustle, spent 14 years as a dedicated disability support worker before venturing into dropshipping on the side.

“The allure of the business model was irresistible, and I threw myself into it, dedicating every spare moment—and even some during work—to mastering it,” Thomas recounts in an interview with Shopify.

However, this side hustle isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. It took Thomas five months before his side business started generating steady profits.

“Still, I held onto my day job for nearly a year,” he reveals. “Looking back, leaving my long-standing position was daunting at the moment, though I now realize I should’ve made the leap months sooner.

“After four years in the dropshipping and e-commerce realm, I earned significantly more than I ever did in my traditional employment.”

Steps to Get Started

  1. Research Your Niche: Find a profitable niche with products that have high demand and low competition.
  2. Find a Reliable Supplier: Look for suppliers who offer quality products and reliable shipping. Platforms like AliExpress or Oberlo can help you connect with suppliers. Furthermore, it’s crucial to verify whether the supplier holds any certifications like ISO, GMP, or HACCP, which indicate compliance with global standards.
  3. Set Up Your Online Store: Use platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce to create your dropshipping store.
  4. Add Products: Import products from your supplier to your store and set your prices.
  5. Market Your Store: Use digital marketing strategies like SEO, social media, and email marketing to attract customers.

Required Skills

  • E-commerce Platform Proficiency: Understand how to navigate and optimize platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce for your store.
  • Market Research: Identify profitable niches and products that meet market demands.
  • Supplier Relations: Build and maintain strong relationships with reliable suppliers.
  • Digital Marketing: Master advertising strategies to drive traffic to your store.
  • Customer Service: Provide stellar support to resolve issues and ensure customer satisfaction.
  • Analytical Skills: Analyze data to refine marketing strategies and improve sales.

Potential Earnings: Varies; some earn up to S$100,000 per year

According to Shopify, numerous dropshipping entrepreneurs achieve annual earnings of up to $100,000 through their side ventures which is potentially higher than their full-time job. Achieving this level of success in dropshipping involves selecting top-notch suppliers and effectively branding your business.

4. Blogging or Content Creation

Blogging or Content Creation

If you have a flair for writing or a talent for creating engaging videos, blogging or content creation might be your ideal side hustle. By starting a blog or a YouTube channel, you can share your knowledge, experiences, or creative expressions with a wider audience. Monetizing your content through ads, sponsorships, and affiliate marketing can turn your passion into a profitable venture and be your own boss.

Take Edmund Chong, a 26-year-old entrepreneur, as inspiration. He navigates his day with hustle and bustle, generating $10,000 monthly from diverse activities like content writing, advertising, affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, sales leads, e-books, and broad digital marketing efforts. His work approach aligns with what CNBC describes as a “Gen Z rebrand,” where individuals assemble a mix of jobs and side hustles that hold personal significance.

Steps to Get Started

  1. Choose Your Niche: Pick a topic you’re passionate about and that has an audience.
  2. Create Your Platform: Set up a blog using platforms like WordPress or start a YouTube channel.
  3. Produce Quality Content: Consistently create and publish valuable and engaging content for your audience.
  4. Promote Your Content: Use social media, SEO, and email marketing to attract viewers and readers.
  5. Monetize Your Platform: Apply for ad programs like Google AdSense, seek sponsorships, and join affiliate marketing programs.

Required Skills

  • Content Creation: Ability to create compelling and engaging written or video content.
  • SEO Knowledge: Understanding of basic SEO principles to increase visibility.
  • Marketing Skills: Skills in promoting your content through social media and other channels.
  • Consistency: Commitment to regularly producing content and engaging with your audience.

Potential Earnings: S$3,000 to S$4,0000

In Singapore, the average monthly income for a Content Creator stands at $3,000.

5. Online Courses or Tutoring

Online Courses or Tutoring

Leverage your expertise by creating online courses or offering tutoring services in subjects you excel in. For example, if you are multilingual and want to share your linguistic expertise, you can tap into the online language learning market which is projected to be worth $41.6 billion by 2030.

Teaching a language like English, Mandarin, Hindi, Spanish, or French can be a lucrative side business. Whether you create your own website for one-on-one virtual classes or join platforms like SmileTutor, Skooli, VIPKid, or Qkids, tutors can earn up to S$20 per hour. 

Alternatively, if you have skills in other areas, such as music, you can offer tutoring, online workshops, or courses through community groups or co-working spaces.

Steps to Get Started

  1. Identify Your Expertise: Assess your skills and decide what subject or language you can teach.
  2. Choose Your Platform: Decide whether to create your own website or join an existing online tutoring platform, such as Skooli, VIPKid, or Qkids. You can also sell courses online through Udemy or Coursera.
  3. Develop Your Course or Curriculum: Plan your lessons, materials, and teaching approach.
  4. Set Up Payment Options: Decide on your pricing and set up a payment system for your students.
  5. Promote Your Services: Use social media accounts, online forums, and local platforms like Eventbrite or Meetup to reach potential students.

Required Skills

  • Subject Matter Expertise: Deep knowledge of the subject or language you’re teaching.
  • Communication Skills: Ability to clearly convey information and engage with students.
  • Organizational Skills: Efficiently planning lessons and managing schedules.
  • Patience: Providing support and guidance to students at varying levels of proficiency.

Potential Earnings: S$20 to S$70 per hour

In Singapore, hourly rates for services can vary between S$20 and S$70, influenced by the provider’s expertise and the complexity of the subject matter. For example, rates at SmileTutor begin at S$20 per hour. Committing just a few hours weekly could result in an additional monthly income of S$400 to S$1000.

6. Pet Services

Pet Services

If you’re passionate about animals, consider offering services like pet sitting, dog walking, or grooming. These services not only allow you to spend time with animals but also to earn income through your passion.

Steps to Get Started

  1. Identify Your Service: Decide whether you’ll provide pet sitting, dog walking, grooming, or a combination of these services.
  2. Gain the Necessary Skills: Although specific services might require different skills, basic animal care knowledge is essential. Consider taking courses on pet welfare and animal management.
  3. Legal Requirements: Ensure you understand and comply with any local regulations or licenses needed to offer pet services professionally. For example, running a pet shop or offering certain pet services might require a specific license.
  4. Set Up Your Business: Choose a suitable business structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership). If your services expand to a pet shop, be prepared to apply for a pet shop license.
  5. Marketing: Develop a marketing plan to reach pet owners in your area. This can include boosting social media presence, flyers in local veterinary clinics, or creating a website.

To apply for a pet shop license, you must be a sole proprietor, partner, or director of the company. It’s necessary to attend and pass mandatory training on pet welfare and animal management by recognized course providers before applying. Applications for the pet shop license are submitted online through the GoBusiness Licensing Portal, under the “Licence for pet shop” section.

Required Skills

  • Basic animal care and first aid
  • Knowledge of animal behavior
  • Strong communication skills for interacting with pet owners
  • Patience and reliability

Potential Earnings: Average base salary of S$2,541 per month

In Singapore, a Pet Sitter’s annual income generally falls around S$48,160 on average. Salaries in this field can vary, starting at a lower average of approximately S$27,020 and reaching up to a higher average of S$72,700.


Starting a side business can boost your income and help counter rising living costs. Options like freelancing, e-commerce, and online tutoring cater to different skills and interests, offering growth with smart planning and financial savvy.

Key Takeaways

  • Select a side business that aligns with your skills, interests, and market demands to increase your chances of success.
  • Excel in freelancing, e-commerce, or other ventures by mastering your niche, improving communication, managing time, marketing, handling finances, adapting to changes, and solving problems.
  • Create a solid financial plan to manage income from your side business effectively and counter rising living costs.

Ready to take control of your finances? Loan Advisor offers the best loan options in Singapore! Whether you’re looking for personal, home, or business financing, we’ve got you covered. Request and get up to three free loan quotes today!

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