Trying Popular Online Side-Hustles From Scratch: Week #1 — All About Learning

The first update of the series: Learning and Starting up

Photo by fauxels from Pexels Intro

On April 21, 2022, I decided to start a series of articles to document the process of me trying out popular online side-hustles from scratch. I will share with you my struggles, successes, and learning process along this journey.

I will post updates on my progress and what I’ve learned along the way every Thursday. If you would like to follow along, use this link to get these stories directly to your inbox. If you just stumbled upon this you might be interested in reading the previous article. When there are more articles I will also organize a list for your convenience.

 Week #1

As I am starting from scratch and this is the first week most of what I did was learning, creating accounts, and getting familiar with different platforms and rules.

This week I will share with you what I have learned about the side-hustles so far, show my progress, and lay some foundations for future updates (Feedback and suggestions are very welcome for this part).


This chapter is pretty self-explanatory, I will be updating the earnings from the side hustles. Each week I will update the total amount earned. I will break down the numbers for each category. And I will do the same for the weekly earnings.

Total: $0


This week: $0



This chapter will be dedicated to a list of milestones reached during the project. For example first sale on a platform or the first $100 earned. The list will keep growing over time.

  • Series started — April 21, 2022
  • First photos accepted to Shutterstock — April 26, 2022

Progress update

In the past week, I have read countless articles, watched tons of videos, and even found some value in TikTok's. Although some of the content out there shares promises of easy and quick money. I don’t think that the series will prove these claims to be true.

I expect to spend a lot of time learning, and then more time implementing what I have learned with results that get better over time. Let’s look at what I’ve learned so far about the side-hustles.

What I did this week was laying the foundation for the future of the series. I did research on the side-hustles I chose and decided how I am going to do all of this.

Affiliate Marketing

This is one of the most popular side-hustles online. And it is so for a reason. The amounts of money people are making with affiliate marketing are mind-blowing. But can it be done with no huge social media following? Can it be done from scratch?

There are different ways to take part in this glorified money-making method. The obvious one is just leveraging the following you already have online to sell products and services. But for this series, we will be looking at how we can do this from scratch. With no money for ads.

2 challenges

To succeed we need two important things. Products to sell, and an audience to sell to.

Affiliate programs

Those of you who have heard of affiliate marketing are most likely familiar with the Amazon affiliate program. But there are lots of other sites that offer similar programs for earning commissions.

Here is a list of Affiliate programs I found this week:

MaxbountyShareASaleFlexoffersAmazon AssociatesClickbankCPAgripAdmitadPantheraNetork.

Some of the programs are easier some are more difficult to get accepted into. I still need to learn more about them, try my luck, and find the best ones for me. I will share more in-depth views on some of them in future updates.


To find an audience to sell products to I will need to leverage social media. As I don’t have a large online following I will need to build it from scratch or look at platforms where it’s easier to get noticed without a large audience. I will surely be trying out Pinterest. As it is commonly mentioned in content focused on affiliate marketing. And I might also try TikTok or even YouTube shorts. But for the first weeks, I will be focusing on Pinterest.

Stock Photography/Video (with my iPhone)

I am no professional photographer, but I have always loved to take pictures. And I believe I have taken some good ones along the way. As I recently upgraded from my old Android device to a new iPhone 13 mini I decided that I need to find out if this device is powerful enough for stock photography.

My expectations for earnings from this side-hustle aren’t big. It’s a numbers game and the more quality stuff you have out there, the more likely you are to make money. But I take pictures regularly anyway. So, why not?


While doing my research I found out that there are a lot of sites that offer uploading stock photos to earn commissions.

Here is a list of some that I found:

ShutterStock, Adobe StockDepositPhotosMostPhotosYayImagesDreamsTime

So far I have signed up and submitted some photos to Shutterstock. But I will try out more platforms in the following weeks.


One major thing that I wasn’t sure about was if my iPhone photos will be good enough to get accepted. And the answer is: Yes! I submitted 13 photos as soon as I signed up and 4 of those have already been accepted. If you are interested, you can check those out here.

Editorial vs Comercial

When you are uploading photos to platforms like Shutterstock you need to choose if your photos are meant for editorial or commercial use.

Editorial use means the photo will be used by journalists to illustrate a news story or a magazine article etc. These photos need to be realistic and can’t be edited. On some platforms, you need to meet certain requirements before you can upload editorial photos.

Commercial use means that your photo can be used to sell services or products. These photos can be used in advertisements, blogs, billboards, etc.

If there are models or buildings which are private property in your commercial use photos, you will need a signed model or property release form to upload these photos. Some of my photos with buildings got rejected because of this very reason.


Print-on-demand allows you to sell your designs printed on various products without the need to keep an inventory of these products or handle the shipping to customers yourself.


There are several platforms out there offering print-on-demand services. The bigger more well-known ones are Printful and Printify. But these still require you to set up your own shop. And that means expenses. Since our budget to begin the series is 0$ we are going to choose a different platform. The platform is Redbubble.

Redbubble offers not only print-on-demand services, but you can have your store directly on the site. It might be a trade-off for wider possibilities of branding, but I see this as the only way to go for now.

I am also not a graphical designer, but I do believe I have some creative ideas and can give it a shot. I have some basic photoshop skills but haven’t used them in quite a good while. So this is going to be interesting.

I have set up an account on Redbubble. So going forward it’s going to be about getting designs done and uploading them.

Faceless Youtube Channel

I have seen TikTok videos that suggest downloading a stock video of nature and then adding some free-to-use peaceful music on top of that can make you rich. And although there might have been some people who made money this way. The market is way too saturated. To succeed these days you need to find a good niche.

Other ways to go would be making compilations, doodle videos, or data visualization with free tools available. And I want to try something like that in the future.

But for now, I have decided to try turning my own written stories into videos. I chose to go this route because I want to create a youtube channel that covers the topics I am writing about anyway and this will be a great way to learn about youtube improve my skills and lay a foundation for the channel. For now, I will use text-to-speech software and the channel will be faceless, but it may change in the future.

Goals For The Week

Starting all of these side-hustles at the same time while still managing my regular day-to-day tasks will be quite a challenge so I need to set realistic goals.

Overall goals:

Get a feel of what I can realistically manage to do in a week's time in my spare time. And create a plan with a set of deadlines to keep me accountable.

Affiliate marketing:

  • Get accepted into an affiliate program
  • Get a product or service to promote
  • Create at least 5 pieces of content around the product

Stock Photography:

  • Submit at least 100 photos to Shutterstock
  • Sign up to 2 other platforms and start uploading there
  • shoot at least 10 photos good for uploading


  • Create and upload 5 designs

Faceless Youtube Channel

  • Create and upload the first video

Closing Thoughts

This week was all about learning. The next one is going to be about seeing what's possible. How much I can manage in my spare time. I will try my best, see what I can do, and adjust future goals accordingly.


If you have any suggestions, questions, or just want to share your thoughts, leave a comment below.

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