9 Best Side Hustles That Made Unbelievable Success Stories

Can you find one employee who doesn’t want to leave his/her job every now and then? Who doesn’t want to have something of his/her own? I think you can’t. This urge for owning something leads people to invaluable ideas. And over time, these ideas can turn out to be amazing gifts for this world.

Look at the world’s leading companies. Apple, Facebook, Google, SpaceX – all started as just side hustles by their founders. And with all the twists and turns, they didn’t just become successful, they have also set the scale of success. There are loads of other businesses as well which have similar stories like them.

This post is about the incredible rising stories of some of the best side hustles. Let’s see how some simple secondary business ideas got to make a huge difference in the world.

Stunning Turnarounds by Some of The Best Side Hustles


github - best side hustles

Let’s start with GitHub – the social coding platform. In this June, Microsoft announced to acquire GitHub for $7.5 billion.  But this billion-dollar project today was a side hustle once. Tom Preston-Werner, Chris Wanstrath, and PJ Hyett, the co-founders of GitHub, only worked on weekends or nights to develop their own repository. They just wanted to provide simple social code sharing. But when people consistently showed interests in private repositories, only then they took this project seriously.


houzz - best side hustles

Alon Cohen and his wife, Adi Tatarko, started Houzz out of challenges that they faced while renovating their home in 2009. Only 20 parents from their kids’ school and a few architects and designers from the Bay Area were the first users of Houzz. But with the help of word of mouth it didn’t take long to thrive. Today? 40 million+ people use Houzz. And it’s worth $4 billion.


appsumo - best side hustles

Noah Kagan is the founder of daily deals website – AppSumo. When he was a full-time worker at the marketing department of Mint.com, he realized that a discount site can be of great use for everyone. So, he started building a website on that purpose with his own cold-hard cash. No doubt his website became a great help for the online companies. To hit $1 million in sales, it took only the first year.


instagram - best side hustles

It’s hard to believe that Instagram didn’t start out as what it is. In fact, it started out as Burbn, a location sharing app for whiskey lovers. Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger are the founders of Burbn. But when they realized that users were more interested in sharing photos than posting their locations, they scrap Burbn. And just like that, Instagram hit the road in late 2010. On the first day, 25,000 people signed up. Before selling it to Facebook for $1 billion in 2012, they had 30 million users.


twitter - best side hustles

The idea of Twitter was generated from a hackathon program. Podcasting platform Odeo started organizing a day-long brainstorming session for its employees in 2006. A group of the employees, especially Noah Glass, Jack Dorsey, and Florian Webb came up with a project called Twttr as a communication service, which has turned out to be Twitter later. No need to say, it’s one of the most used social channels now with 100m+ users.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy - best side hustles

A hedge fund analyst Salman Khan used to tutor his cousin during spare time over online. When his other cousins also got interested, he started publishing educational contents on Youtube for everyone. Great responses from people all over the world inspired him to create more contents on various topics. He started the famous Khan Academy. In 2009, he quit his job to pursue the endeavor full-time.

Under Armour

under armour - best side hustles

Want proof for the proverb – “Necessity is the mother of invention”? Look no further. Under Armour founder, Kevin Plank was a footballer. In the mid 90’s, when he got fed up with sweat-soaked T-shirts worn under the jersey, the idea of a moisture-wicking T-shirt came to his mind. He started using synthetic fabric to create lightweight, sweat-wicking shirts and eventually established the brand Under Armour. According to Forbes, his net worth is $1.9B now.


mash.ie - best side hustles

This is the story of an Irish couple who are teachers in their professions. They felt the lacking of sharing culture among teachers from different schools. So, they planned to start a sharing platform among the teachers of Ireland. With a combination of Dokan and WooCommerce, they built a marketplace where teachers could upload their lessons plans and other resources. With no time, teachers from all over the country flooded the site with resources. Now Mash.ie has become a marketplace of resources for the teachers.


Stewart Butterfield is a Canadian Entrepreneur and businessman. But Slack was never a priority of his business, neither was the Flickr. He founded his company to develop games. In 2002 his company developed a game which didn’t get expected traction. But the game had a photo uploading tool which became Flickr in 2004.

slack - best side hustles

Once again, at the end of 2011, his new company launched their second game. This game also failed to save the day. But again, the communication tool they used between their Canadian and US office seemed to be really prominent. In early 2004, they launched this tool in the name of Slack. And this time, the non-focused part of their project had been even bigger hit. In just 1.25 years it hit the billion-dollar mark.

Key Takeaways

All the entrepreneurial stories teach us great ideas and lessons. From the rising stories of the best side hustles mentioned in this post, we can figure out some patterns. So what are they? Let’s have a look.

1. Be flexible with plans

Proper planning is very important to achieve anything. But always be prepared to make any change when necessary. Improvisation is an attribute you’ll see in all the successful entrepreneurs.

2. Think like a customer

Don’t find the business opportunities from a businessman’s perspective. Try to think from a customer’s point of view. This will give you an edge over others to see the opportunities and timing.

3. Start today, not tomorrow

If you feel like starting something new, then start it. Don’t wait for the conditions to be perfect. Don’t overthink or hesitate much. While you’re spending time thinking about an idea, someone else may start working on that.

4. Time management

Wasting time is not an option if you want to see yourself on the top. Successful people tend to utilize their time carefully. Use time tracking tools to keep track of your office work if necessary.

5. Don’t give up

Don’t get frustrated if something goes wrong. Find the positive things from a failed project, and you can surely come back even with more strength than before. You never know what is waiting in the future.

The bottom line

A side business or small idea can pave the way to a grand success. If you have the intention to work hard, you can make your side business to your main focus with no time. If the idea doesn’t seem to be working initially, don’t think it as a bad idea immediately. It takes time to shape the result. And remember, many people can come up with great ideas, but only a few can make them through to work. So, don’t procrastinate, don’t stop working on your dream.

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