It’s hard to describe the scale of how massive Amazon really is. In 2020, it had $386 billion in sales. Amazon might not be described as the most reputable company, but one thing’s for sure: there’s money to be made with Amazon if you need extra cash.
There are many different opportunities to earn money through the online retailer, most of them aren’t high-paying, but some are (like software engineering). Most Amazon gigs tend to fit well on the side of your day job, and are a great way to earn extra income as a side hustle. Here are some of the top choices to learn more about.
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Best for: People who like thrift shopping
When people think about making money on Amazon, the first thing that comes to mind is often its Amazon FBA (or “Fulfilled by Amazon”) program. This is essentially a digital bazaar; you’re a middleman who goes out and finds cheap, in-demand products, and then sells them for a higher price to make a profit.
People often find these cheaper products in bulk at store sales, such as drugstores or Target. Armed with third-party, product scanner apps, you can quickly see an item’s going price and its popularity on Amazon and decide whether to purchase them. Then, you simply clean up any stickers from the products and ship them to an Amazon warehouse where they’ll be sent out as people order them.
It’s a super flexible and popular side gig. According to one survey from JungleScout, most people spend under 10 hours per week doing this, and around half of people earn between $1,000 and $25,000 per month. Keep in mind though that there are costs to sell through the Amazon FBA program or any of the programs described below.
Currently, it costs $39.99 per month (plus fees) for a Professional seller account. If you choose to use a paid third-party app to compare product prices, you’ll need to account for a monthly app fee (some apps are about $10 per month), too.
Sell Your Own Items
Best for: People with a scalable product to sell
Aside from Amazon’s FBA program, you can also sell your own products in a few different ways. After all, people sell their own beauty products, shelf-stable food items, or imported items directly through Amazon all the time.
Bumblebee Linens is one example. Steve and Jennifer Chou started their business after being inspired by their own wedding favors. They began importing fancy napkins and fabrics to personalize and sell through their Amazon shop and other online outlets.
It worked so well that Jennifer was able to quit her job, and now the couple also teach people how to start ecommerce businesses through their aptly-named site, MyWifeQuitHerJob.com.
Merch by Amazon
Best for: Creative people who like to make quippy t-shirts, hats, and other wearables
Chances are you’ve had a great t-shirt idea at one point in your life. If you get these strokes of genius a lot, you can make a tidy income uploading your design to Merch by Amazon, where it’ll be listed for sale. When someone orders it, Amazon handles production, orders and shipments to the customer, and you’ll get a cut of the profits.
The amount you can make varies by product and how much you price it. A tank top priced at $17.99, for example, nets you $2.07, while a $21.99 tote bag gets you $5.35.
Best for: Crafty types who can kick out orders fast
If you sell your own hand-produced items, you might be eligible for Amazon Handmade. It’s like Etsy, except it’s a bit more difficult to get into due to the approval process. Each application undergoes a review by Amazon.
Additionally, it’s best for people who can churn out crafts quickly. It’s not the greatest place to sell your hand-knitted sweaters that take 100 hours to make, for example.
But if you have a scalable product, Amazon Handmade has a lot of perks compared to selling through the main site. You won’t have to pay the $39.99 monthly fee for the Professional-level selling plan, for example, although you will have to pay a 15% referral fee on all sales.
Publish Kindle Ebooks
Best for: Writers and creative folks
If you like writing, a fun way to make extra money is by publishing ebooks. Certain genres lend themselves well to Kindle publishing, such as romance or fan fiction. It’s not just a matter of writing up a story and popping it on the internet, though.
You must be equal parts marketer and writer, because without a good marketing plan, no one will ever find your ebook. But if you persist, you’re talented, and you develop a following, the rewards can be even greater than with traditional publishing.
Best for: Bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, and those with a social media following
You might not have any products of your own to sell, but you can certainly recommend ones already on Amazon. You’ll get a kickback ranging from 1% to 10% of the purchase price of items you’ve recommended through the Amazon Associates program.
First, you’ll need to apply to the program. Once accepted, you’ll see a browser bar at the top of your page. When you find a product you want to recommend in a video, blog post, or social media post, simply click a button to get a custom referral link. You’ll need to disclose that it’s a referral link, and when people click on it and buy a product, you’ll earn back a percentage of the purchase.
Amazon Mechanical Turk
Best for: People who like to earn small bits of cash through quick online jobs
This program has a strange-sounding name, but it’s similar to Fiverr or other quick online task gigs. Businesses or individuals post small jobs they need help with, such as transcribing audio files, filling out surveys, or editing videos. You can choose which jobs you take, along with the up-front price.
Heads-up, though: while you can find jobs that don’t require a lot of expertise, they also generally don’t pay that well. According to one study, most people only make the equivalent of about $2 per hour. Still, if you need a small amount of cash and you don’t have many other marketable skills, it could be worth a look.
Best for: Active people who don’t mind driving
Amazon ships packages through the regular mail, but it also has two separate programs for delivering its own packages.
The first is a full-time job available through one of Amazon’s regional Delivery Service Partners (or DSPs). You won’t be working for Amazon itself, but rather one of its contractors that provide you with a dedicated van, so no other equipment is needed. Pay rates vary, but generally start around $15 per hour.
If you prefer to keep your day job for now, most people looking for a side hustle prefer Amazon Flex. This side gig pays between $18 and $25 per hour, and you’re required to provide your own mid-sized car, van, SUV, or a truck with a covered bed.
It’s an app-based system and you sign up for delivery blocks through the app as it fits your schedule.
Don’t Pin Yourself Down to Amazon Too Much
Amazon offers a lot of flexible ways to earn money as a side gig at home. But it’s important not to pin yourself down too much to one platform.
Instead, consider your skill set and interests, and go from there. If you really like making crafts, for example, take a look at whether other platforms, like Etsy or Ravelry, might work better for you. Although Amazon is a major online retailer, it’s only one of many side hustle opportunities to explore.