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Need Extra Income? Top Side Hustle Ideas in Singapore Under S$500

side hustle singapore
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Despite the stable median income of full-time degree holders at $8,190 in 2023, inflation and the post-COVID economic impact push Singaporeans towards additional financial avenues. 

As reported by The Straits Times, more Singaporeans are turning side gigs into safety nets — and sometimes, these evolve into their main business. 

This article presents the most profitable side hustle ideas with startup costs under S$500, ranging from technology-related opportunities to freelancing gigs.

Understanding Side Hustles

A side hustle is your financial plan B; it’s the gig you turn to outside your 9-to-5. It’s that extra source of income that might begin as pocket change but has the potential to fill your wallet, according to Upwork, a popular freelancing platform. 

Unlike a full-time job, it offers a dose of freedom and personal choice. Imagine crafting, coding, or consulting on your own clock. It’s not just about the extra cash—it’s about fueling a passion, validating a business idea, or polishing a new skill set.

Popular options include:

  • Freelancing in areas like writing or graphic design.
  • Crafting and selling your own creations.
  • Blogging about your expertise or interests.
  • Providing services, like driving for a ride-share company.

How to Find The Perfect Balance

  • Ensure that your additional commitments flow smoothly with your day-to-day responsibilities. The goal is to earn extra income without wiping out your personal life or full-time job stability.
  • Set clear boundaries. Know when to switch gears—when to power through a project and when to power down for some well-deserved rest.
  • A side hustle should be sustainable. Find that sweet spot where your side projects provide financial and personal gains without leading to burnout.

Best Side Hustle Ideas in Singapore

At a Glance

Side HustleOverviewStart-Up CostsPotential Earnings
E-Commerce Store OwnerE-commerce redefines retail, allowing anyone to run a virtual store.Approximately S$500Varies (S$500 to thousands monthly)
Online TutoringTeach students remotely, sharing knowledge from home.Less than S$150S$20 to S$70 per hour
Online Translation ServicesMonetize language skills by translating documents for clients worldwide.S$0 – S$80Varies (up to S$3,900 monthly)
Ride-Hailing DriverEarn income by driving passengers around with apps like Grab and Gojek.VariesS$500 to S$900 weekly
Social Media MarketerCraft and share engaging content to build and monetize a social media presence.S$0Up to S$5,000 monthly
Affiliate MarketingEarn commissions by promoting products on your website or blog.Approximately S$300Varies (S$50 to thousands monthly)
Freelance Writing ServicesCreate and sell written content, from articles to blog posts.S$0Approximately S$3,800 monthly
Renting Out Your HouseGenerate passive income by renting out unused space in your home.VariesS$500 to S$1,500 per month per room/unit
Sell Homemade FoodShare your culinary talents by selling homemade meals.Varies but less than S$500Varies (depends on food and volume)

1. E-Commerce Store Owner

E-commerce has redefined the retail experience, allowing anyone with an internet connection to run a virtual store. It’s the market square of the digital age, where products meet pixels. Whether you’re selling bespoke bracelets or vintage vinyl, e-commerce platforms are the 21st-century stalls where your goods get noticed.

Required Skills:

  • Digital Marketing: To draw customers to your virtual doorsteps.
  • SEO Savvy: Helping your products rank higher in the endless sea of online offerings.
  • Customer Service Chops: Ensuring customers leave (and return) with a virtual smile.
  • Tech Know-how: Navigating website updates and checkout glitches like a pro.

Starting Costs: Approximately S$500

  • Domain Purchase: Think of it as your shop sign. Costs vary but expect to pay between S$20 to S$60 per year.
  • Website Hosting: Your slice of the online market. Hosting services can range from S$50 to S$200 annually.
  • Stock Inventory: This depends on your niche, but a modest initial investment could be S$500 to kick things off.
  • Marketing: Social media can be free, but paid ads start small – even S$100 can make a dent.

Potential Earnings: Varies

E-commerce earnings in Singapore can be as varied as the marketplace itself. A successful small e-commerce business could see monthly earnings from S$500 to thousands, depending on the niche, demand, and effort put into the enterprise.

2. Online Tutoring

Transforming knowledge into income is what online tutoring is all about. It’s the educational equivalent of working remotely, where your teaching skills can reach students across Singapore and beyond, all from the comfort of your home. You can look for online tutoring jobs through platforms, such as Tueetor and Snapask.

Besides tutoring, consider joining platforms where you can earn money by responding to students’ queries. On sites like Snapask, you receive $0.71 for each question tackled, with an added incentive of $8.98 after every ten questions you successfully address.

Required Skills:

  • Subject Mastery: Be an expert in what you teach.
  • Communication: Break down complex concepts with ease.
  • Patience and Adaptability: Every student learns differently.
  • Organization: Plan lessons and track progress like a boss.

Start-Up Costs: Less than S$150

  • Reliable Internet Connection: Essential for smooth sessions, costing around S$40 to S$80 per month.
  • Webcam and Microphone: Clear video and audio are non-negotiable, with good sets available from S$50 to S$150.
  • Teaching Materials: Free resources are abundant, but bespoke materials may require a small investment—let’s say S$30 for starters.

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

Online tutoring can be quite a profitable side hustle. Rates in Singapore generally range from S$20 to S$70 per hour, depending on expertise and level taught. For instance, SmileTutor’s rates start at S$20/hr. With a few hours each week, you could easily see an extra S$400 to S$1000 per month.

Online Translation Services

3. Online Translation Services

In our global village, online translation bridges the communication gap. If you’re a polyglot, this side hustle allows you to monetize your mastery of languages by translating documents, websites, or articles for clients around the world.

Seeking out platforms like Freelancer, Fiverr, or specialized ones like Gengo can be your gateway to this flexible side hustle. 

Required Skills:

  • Language Skills: Fluency in at least two languages is non-negotiable.
  • Cultural Understanding: Context is just as crucial as vocabulary.
  • Attention to Detail: One wrong word can change the whole meaning.
  • Time Management: Deadlines are tight and time is of the essence.

Start-Up Costs: S$0 – S$80

  • Competency Tests: Many platforms require passing a skill assessment, often free of charge.
  • Tech Setup: A dependable computer and internet, which you likely already have.

Potential Earnings: Varies but can reach up to an average of S$3,900 per month

Translation pay rates vary by language and complexity, ranging from S$0.03 to S$0.08 per word. This could mean anywhere from S$30 to S$80 for a 1000-word document—add up a few projects, and you’re looking at a tidy sum each month.

4. Ride-Hailing Driver

Grab your keys and hit the road because ride-hailing is not just about getting from point A to B; it’s about earning on the go. With apps like Grab and Gojek, your car becomes a source of income, and every ride is a step toward your financial goals.

For instance, if you use Grab, you will earn by commission. Yee Wee Tang, the managing director for Singapore, notes in an interview with The Business Times that Grab drivers don’t earn a set fee; their commission varies, depending on the distance covered and the time spent reaching passengers.

Required Skills:

  • Navigation Skills: Knowing your city’s streets like the back of your hand.
  • Customer Service: A friendly chat and a comfortable ride can lead to high ratings.
  • Safety Awareness: A safe journey is a top priority.
  • Flexibility: Being ready when demand surges, like during special events or rush hour.

Start-Up Costs: Varies

  • Vehicle: Whether owned or rented, a reliable car is your primary investment.
  • Insurance: To safeguard against the unexpected.
  • Fuel: Keep those tanks filled for uninterrupted service.
  • Maintenance: Regular check-ups ensure smooth rides and happier customers.

Potential Earnings: S$500 to S$900 weekly

If you dedicate three hours daily, you could be looking at approximately S$500 per week. Weekends might just be your peak hours for peak earnings.

5. Social Media Marketer

In the realm of clicks, likes, and shares, social media marketing is the kingmaker. According to Statista, there are 5.3 million social media users in Singapore. As such, the digital realm is ripe with opportunity. It’s not just about posting updates; it’s about crafting narratives that resonate and convert followers into fans, and fans into customers.

Digital marketing is a field that transcends boundaries, both geographically and industrially. To get started, you can look for freelance positions or consider international jobs on online freelancing platforms, such as Upwork, Fiverr, or Freelancer

Required Skills:

  • Creativity: To stand out in a sea of hashtags.
  • Strategy: Knowing when and what to post for maximum engagement.
  • Analytical Ability: Interpreting data to refine tactics.
  • Communication: Engaging with audiences authentically.

Start-Up Costs: S$0

With a computer and internet access, you’re set to start. The real investment? Time and creativity.

Potential Earnings: S$5,000 per month

Part-time social media marketers can earn from a few hundred to a few thousand SGD per month, depending on client load and campaign success.

6. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is the art of earning a commission by promoting other people’s or company’s products. You find a product you like, promote it to others via your personal blog or social media platforms, and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make. It’s as straightforward as it sounds, and yes, it’s completely legal in Singapore, provided you adhere to the IMDA guidelines.

Consider these websites if you’re looking for affiliate programs: Shopify, Amazon, and Bluehost.

Required Skills:

  • Marketing Know-How: Understanding how to persuade your audience without being pushy.
  • SEO Skills: To ensure your content ranks well and attracts organic traffic.
  • Analytical Thinking: To track which products resonate with your audience and why.
  • Consistency: Regular content updates to keep your audience engaged and clicking.

Start-Up Cost: Approximately S$300

  • Website or Blog: The cost can vary, but setting up a website typically runs between S$100 to S$300.
  • Content Creation: This could be free if you do it yourself, but hiring writers could increase costs.
  • Affiliate Program Fees: Some programs may require a sign-up fee, but many are free to join.

Potential Earnings: Varies

Earnings can be as varied as the products you endorse—from S$50 to thousands per month. It all hinges on your ability to drive sales through your affiliate links.

7. Freelance Writing Services

Freelance writing and content creation are the engines behind the ever-growing content machine. Every article, blog post, or social media update is a piece of the vast puzzle that makes up the internet. If you have a knack for storytelling or a talent for turning phrases, this side hustle could be your stage.

From SEO-focused articles to captivating social media posts, your words can drive traffic, engage audiences, and even convert leads. 

Required Skills:

  • Writing Prowess: Clear, engaging, and error-free writing is a must.
  • Research Skills: Digging deep to find the facts and figures that support your content.
  • SEO Understanding: Knowing how to optimize content for search engines can set you apart.
  • Adaptability: Each client may have different style guides and requirements.

Start-Up Cost: S$0

  • A Reliable Computer: Chances are, you already have one.
  • Internet Connection: Essential for research and submission of work.
  • Writing Tools: From word processors to grammar checkers, many are free or low-cost.

Potential Earnings: Approximately S$3,800 per month

Freelance writers in Singapore can earn anywhere from S$25 to S$100 per hour, depending on experience and the complexity of the project. Content creators might earn per project or through ongoing contracts.

Renting Out Your House

8. Renting Out Your House

Renting out your house or a portion of it can be a lucrative side hustle, turning your property into a passive income stream. It’s a way to monetize unused space and help with mortgage payments or other expenses.

If you’re residing near popular tourist attractions in Singapore, you have the opportunity to cater to the influx of tourists by providing accommodations in your home. This can be achieved by creating a listing on home-sharing platforms such as Airbnb and Vrbo.

What You Need to Know:

  • Understanding URA and HDB Rules: For private homes, ensure compliance with URA regulations, such as the minimum three-month rental period. HDB flats have their own set of rules, including a six-month minimum stay and restrictions on the number of bedrooms that can be rented out.
  • Tenant Screening: Conducting background checks and verifying references to find reliable tenants.
  • Property Management: Regular maintenance, addressing tenant concerns, and ensuring a pleasant living environment.

Start-Up Cost: Varies

  • Repairs and Renovations: Ensuring the space is attractive and functional for tenants.
  • Furnishings: Providing basic furniture and amenities, if offering a furnished space.
  • Legal and Administrative Fees: Drafting lease agreements and possibly consulting a lawyer.

Potential Earnings: Anywhere from S$500 to S$1,500 per month

Earnings vary based on location, property size, and amenities. In Singapore, a private room can fetch anywhere from S$500 to S$1,500 per month, while renting out an entire unit can bring in significantly more.

9. Sell Homemade Food

Selling homemade food taps into the universal love for delicious, comforting meals. It’s a side hustle that allows you to share your culinary talents with others while earning more money.

However, possessing a license or not, it’s crucial to comply with food safety standards in your home-based culinary venture. Additionally, selling your homemade meals at food establishments, fairs, or through catering is off-limits unless you’re officially licensed.

To reach out to a broader market, consider showcasing your culinary creations on online food-sharing communities such as Share Food.

Required Skills:

  • Culinary Expertise: Great cooking or baking skills are a must.
  • Marketing Savvy: Attracting customers through social media or word-of-mouth.
  • Time Management: Balancing food preparation, sales, and other responsibilities.
  • Customer Service: Building a loyal customer base through excellent service.

Start-Up Cost: Varies but less than S$500

  • Ingredients: Quality ingredients are essential for tasty dishes.
  • Kitchen Equipment: Depending on your menu, you may need special tools or appliances.
  • Packaging: Proper packaging ensures food safety and attractiveness.
  • Permits and Licenses: Check local regulations for selling food from home.

Potential Earnings: Varies on type of food and volume of order

Earnings can vary widely based on your offerings, pricing, and demand. A successful home-based food business can generate anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand SGD per month.

Tips for Starting a Side Hustle

  • Set Your Goals: Begin with the end in mind. Define what success looks like for your side hustle. Is it extra income, a creative outlet, or a stepping stone to a new career? 
  • Set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This clarity will guide your efforts and keep you motivated.
  • Properly Manage Your Time: Balancing a side hustle with other commitments can be challenging. Create a schedule that dedicates specific hours to your side gig. Use tools like calendars and to-do lists to stay organized. Remember, consistency is key—even a few hours a week can make a difference.
  • Follow Regulations: Stay on the right side of the law. Research any permits or licenses you may need for your side hustle. Understand tax implications and keep accurate records of your income and expenses. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to legal matters.
  • Choose the Right Side Hustle: Pick a side hustle that resonates with your passions and strengths. When you enjoy what you’re doing, it doesn’t feel like work. Plus, you’re more likely to stick with it and succeed. Assess your skills and interests to find a side gig that’s both enjoyable and profitable.

Real-Life Success Stories

From Frustration to Freelance: Muhammad Irfan Azman’s Barber Business

By day, Muhammad Irfan Azman is a diligent polytechnic student studying computer engineering. But come the weekend, he transforms into a skilled freelance barber, wielding his clippers with precision. The idea for this unique side hustle sprouted from a personal annoyance, proving that sometimes, a little frustration can lead to fantastic ventures.

Empowering Through Education: Ms. Aine Wong’s Swimming Lessons

When Ms. Aine Wong’s dyslexic sons faced challenges in traditional swimming classes, she didn’t just stand by. She took matters into her own hands, becoming a swim coach tailored to their needs. Her story is a testament to a mother’s love and the power of understanding and patience in teaching.

Riding to Success: Hasteven Jeremiah Anandan’s Food Delivery Journey

Hasteven Jeremiah Anandan, a 26-year-old with a diploma in business management, turned food delivery into more than just a job—it became his ticket to financial freedom. Working diligently for eight to ten hours a day, he upgraded his lifestyle, investing in a gaming computer, a DJ set, and a high-end bicycle. Though the golden days of earning S$4,000 a month have waned, he still manages a respectable S$2,400, showcasing the potential of hard work and dedication in the gig economy.

What can we learn from these success stories?

  • Turn Challenges into Opportunities: Muhammad Irfan Azman turned personal frustration into a profitable side hustle by becoming a freelance barber.
  • Fill a Niche Need: Ms. Aine Wong identified a gap in the market for swimming lessons tailored to dyslexic children and stepped in to fill it, showcasing the importance of understanding and catering to specific needs.
  • Dedication Pays Off: Hasteven Jeremiah Anandan’s commitment to working long hours in food delivery allowed him to upgrade his lifestyle significantly, demonstrating the potential rewards of hard work and perseverance in the gig economy.
  • Adaptability is Key: All three individuals adapted to their circumstances and found creative ways to earn extra income, highlighting the importance of flexibility and innovation in side hustles.
  • Passion and Personal Experience Drive Success: Each story is fueled by personal experience or passion, underscoring the importance of choosing a side hustle that resonates with your interests and expertise.

Navigating Challenges

Business Challenges


Burnout is a common challenge for side hustlers, especially when juggling multiple commitments. To prevent it:

  • Set Boundaries: Allocate specific times for your side hustle and stick to them.
  • Take Breaks: Regular breaks can prevent burnout and keep you fresh.
  • Prioritize Self-Care: Exercise, meditation, and hobbies can recharge your batteries.


With many jumping onto the side hustle bandwagon, standing out is crucial:

  • Unique Selling Proposition (USP): Identify what makes your offering unique and highlight it.
  • Continuous Learning: Stay updated with industry trends and skills to stay ahead.
  • Networking: Connect with others in your field for collaboration and growth opportunities.

Financial Management

Managing finances can be daunting, but it’s essential for side hustlers:

  • Track Income and Expenses: Use budgeting apps or spreadsheets to monitor cash flow.
  • Set Financial Goals: Define clear financial objectives for your side hustle.
  • Separate Accounts: Keep your personal and side hustle finances separate to avoid confusion.

Legal and Tax Implications

Understanding and managing the legal and tax requirements can be complex. Here’s what you can do:

  • Consult with a tax professional to understand obligations.
  • Keep thorough records of all business transactions.

Customer Acquisition and Retention

Attracting and keeping customers is crucial yet often hard for side hustlers.

  • Utilize social media and word-of-mouth for marketing.
  • Provide exceptional service to encourage repeat business.


Starting a side hustle in Singapore can boost both your finances and personal development. Choose one that matches your talents, manage your time well, and understand the rules, and you’ll open up new possibilities for additional income, from digital ventures to food businesses.

Key Takeaways:

  • Singapore offers a breadth of side hustles, from digital domains to freelance gigs. Pick one that suits your abilities and financial aims, considering start-up costs and income potential.
  • For activities like property rental or food sales, it’s critical to comply with URA, HDB, and food safety regulations to sidestep legal troubles and penalties.
  • To juggle a side hustle alongside other duties, practice sharp time management and financial prudence. Keep business and personal finances distinct and monitor your cash flow for sustained success.

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