A millennial is using side hustles to help meet financial goals and partially retire at 45. Here are a few of the gigs he’s had success with.

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Scott talked to Business Insider about YouTube, UserTesting, and other side hustles.Courtesy of Scott

  • Scott said he’s currently using side-hustle money to pay off his truck and aims to pay off his house.

  • One of his favorite side gigs is YouTube.

  • He wants to dramatically cut his working hours in the next few years, and fully retire by 60.

Scott, 32, wants to make the most out of life, which would include not having to work 40 hours a week for the rest of his days. He’s a financial analyst who wants to be able to eventually enjoy a paid-off forever home as a family and do what he considers early retirement.

“I recently got diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, and I’m just looking at it from a realistic perspective,” Scott, whose last name has been verified with Business Insider but left out due to privacy reasons, said. “It makes more sense for me just to try and live out my life as much as possible.”

His definition of early retirement doesn’t mean not working at all but lessening his work hours. Scott is interested in reducing his hours by the time he’s 50 years old — but his dream age for this would be 45. He said he hopes to fully retire before his 60s.

For now, he’s working on paying off some current financial obligations with the help of passive income and side hustles. While he said he was previously working on paying off the house with this money, he said he’s prioritizing his truck payments right now since his auto loan has a higher interest rate. He said he’s aiming to pay off his truck balance of around $60,000, which Business Insider verified, within a year and a half.

“Once the truck is paid off, I’m going to turn my complete attention to the mortgage, try and get the house paid off as soon as humanly possible,” Scott said. “Once that happens, hopefully some of my side hustles, either like an Amazon Influencer Program or YouTube will grow and I’ll be able to really attack the early retirement plan, meaning whether it’s investing or just saving money in general.”

Several people have talked to BI about side-hustle recommendations and why they think specific ones are good to try. One person recently talked to BI about how side hustles and passive income helped her save up money to put toward an eventual down payment. It may also be helpful for those looking to retire according to Scott. He said side hustles or even some type of side business “is an absolute must” if you’re hoping to retire early — however you define early retirement.

However, you might not necessarily make a ton of money quickly from these kinds of gigs.

“Side hustles typically tend to take a lot more effort to see a pretty penny, and you tend to realize how expensive things are,” Scott said.

Below are some of Scott’s preferred side hustles and passive income streams and some of his earnings, which have been verified by documentation shared with Business Insider.


YouTube has been one of Scott’s favorite methods to earn extra money.

“YouTube has been the game changer,” Scott said. “I had no idea that it could pay this well, especially for someone like me who wasn’t really anticipating it being a side hustle, and it’s quickly turned into my one that I’m focusing on the most.”

He said his original plan for YouTube was to use it as a way to be accountable for tracking his progress toward paying off his home where he would post updates on what he’s earned and how.

Scott posts on his YouTube account with over 17,000 subscribers about side hustles he has tried. Other videos include a ranking of side hustles and talking about taxes for this kind of work.

He suggests others interested in YouTube to try it as he didn’t know what to expect for himself after he said he started with what he considered a low quality webcam and microphone.

“Worst case scenario, you put yourself out there, you gave it your best shot,” Scott said. “If you’re patient and you keep going at it, people will pick up on authenticity.”


Scott recommends DataAnnotation, a site where “you will help train AI chatbots to contribute to the development of sophisticated AI programs,” per the site’s FAQ page, if you’re looking for a side hustle where you don’t need to have a social media presence. He has made around $1,000 from this gig.

According to the FAQ section of the site, pay for this work can start at $20 per hour or $40 per hour depending on the work.

“Pay starts at $20/hour for writing and general AI training projects and $40/hour for coding projects,” the site stated. “Bonuses are offered for high-quality and high-volume work.”

The site said that some of the skills DataAnnotation is looking for are computer programming experience for those looking to do coding projects, as well as good English grammar and spelling skills.

“As long as you are fluent in English and you’re a decent creative thinker, then you should be able to apply and get in assuming you passed the starter assessment,” Scott said.

Scott also has found the work is consistent, which he said is important if you’re looking to earn from side hustles. He has found though that this gig has become “oversaturated.”

Prolific and Connect

Prolific and Connect are two other gigs Scott has tried, both of which can involve doing surveys. He noted that survey work can be flexible.

“If you have really busy schedules, if you’re not looking to make a ton of money from side hustles, then these survey sites are definitely perfect for you, you just have to be really picky and choosy,” Scott said.

The minimum pay on Prolific, where researchers can put out studies, is £6 per hour but at least £9 is what Prolific recommends to researchers, the site stated. Meanwhile, CloudResearch, which launched Connect, stated on its site that a lot of the work from Connect pays $10 per hour on average.

“These are good income boosters, not necessarily going to make you rich, but you can get a few bucks here and there,” Scott said.


While UserTesting, which the UserTesting site noted involves sharing “your perspectives via tests you match with, and help best-in-class brands improve their products and services,” is a new side hustle for Scott, he said it’s quickly become one of his favorites.

UserTesting’s FAQ web page stated that those who use UserTesting to get people’s feedback will get “audio and video recordings of real people from your target market speaking their thoughts as they complete tasks you specify.”

Scott said the pay has been good too and that they can be short tests. For instance, he’s been paid $10 for tests.

This side hustle would be good for people who are comfortable being on camera or talking, Scott said.

“It never gets stale and you talk about different stuff every time you get a test,” he said. “So if you’re into mixing it up a little bit, as long as you’re comfortable being recorded, then it’s definitely fun to do and I highly recommend it.”

Amazon Influencer Program

Scott started trying the Amazon Influencer Program, which Amazon describes as being able to monetize content as a creator, around mid-2023. He had made nearly $3,800 last year.

“The Amazon Influencer Program came about because of my YouTube channel because you need some kind of social media presence in order to even get into that program,” he said.

Scott has made several videos about products, but he said that he didn’t put in a lot of effort.

“There are several ways creators can earn, including linking to qualifying products, promoting Amazon services like Prime video and Amazon Music, curating shoppable photo and video content and livestreaming and recommending products through Amazon Live,” an Amazon spokesperson previously said.

What side hustle people end up doing could depend on their goal. Scott suggested surveys or work from DataAnnotation if you’re interested in a few extra dollars.

“But if you want the ultimate goal of scaling, then you need to do something like YouTube where you can make it your own image and your own company almost, stuff like the Amazon Influencer Program that has passive income streams,” Scott said. “It just depends what your end goal is.”

How much have you made from side hustles? What are you doing to meet your financial goals? Reach out to this reporter to share at mhoff@businessinsider.com.

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