11 Best Recession-Proof Side Hustles for 2023

It’s possible to make a little extra money even if there is an economic downturn this year.

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Updated July 11, 2024
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A side hustle can be a great option to boost your bank account during good times or bad. However, some side hustles might be better than others for making extra cash during economic downturns.

There are plenty of side-hustle options to choose from, depending on your interests or strengths. Check out a few of the following side hustles that can help you ride out tough times.

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Child care

lordn/Adobe preschool teacher with children playing

No matter how bad the economy gets, there is always a market for parents who need additional care for their children.

One way to make extra cash is to take a part-time child care position, such as nannying for school-age children in the afternoon or evenings. Or baby-sit on nights and weekends to give parents a “date night,” or to help a working parent who has unusual work hours.

Pet care

silverkblack /Adobe A happy woman with a dog she's pet sitting while house sitting

Recessions don’t stop pet owners from needing extra help to care for their favorite animals.

You can offer daily services such as walking or grooming dogs, or visiting a client’s home to feed and pet their favorite cat.

You can also pet-sit by bringing a dog into your home for an extended period.

Furniture seller

Ralf Broskvar/Adobe flea market

Have you driven through an area on trash day and noticed some great furniture by the curb?

Sure, some people might look down on so-called “dumpster diving.” But smart folks look at that “trash” and see dollar signs.

Look for pieces that are in good shape and need minimal effort to get them into sellable condition. Take it an additional step and repaint or repurpose existing pieces to make them unique and appealing to buyers.


bugarskipavle3/Adobe woman in kitchen preparing lunch

Baking enthusiasts can build a successful side hustle making cookies and cakes.

There will always be birthdays, weddings, or other celebrations during a recession. Many customers want something special rather than just a store-bought cake or pastries.

Buy ingredients in bulk to cut down on costs and use free social media to promote your creations.

Virtual assistant

fizkes/Adobe entrepreneur giving command to virtual assistant on cellphone

A virtual assistant can help people or businesses with administrative tasks such as booking travel, helping with social media and marketing, and other things that keep a business running smoothly.

You might even end up using your side hustle as a virtual assistant to boost the success of someone else’s side hustle.

Mystery shopper

Rido/Adobe man at supermarket

A mystery shopper walks the aisles of a retailer and helps the business gain insights into what they are doing right and wrong.

As a mystery shopper, you record details about the store and your experience shopping in it. You then earn cash for your feedback.


Halfpoint/Adobe man with Down syndrome and his tutor studying indoor

Kids and adults will always need some extra help with classwork. Tutoring can be a good gig if you are a teacher or simply specialize in a specific topic, such as math or science.

Tutors can set their own hours. You also might be able to tutor online from home or in person. The flexibility will allow you to find the best way to make money using your particular skills.

Online seller

JenkoAtaman/Adobe woman using laptop

Do you feel like you’re drowning in stuff? Try to make some cash by selling those items online and helping others who are looking for a good deal during a recession.

Take pictures of your items and create a listing online at websites such as eBay or Facebook Marketplace. You get rid of clutter and receive cash in exchange.

Ride-hailing driver

Snapic.PhotoProduct/Adobe taxi driver driving a businesswoman

If you like driving, consider turning your car into cash as a ride-hailing driver. You decide when to work and where you want to drive in this activity, which many refer to as “ride-sharing.”

Pro tip: Gas is a major expense for ride-hailing drivers. So, look into ways to save money on fuel so you keep more of your earnings.

For example, a great Costco hack is to purchase gas at the warehouse retailer, which often charges cheaper prices than local gas stations.


NanSan/Adobe female stock market trader

Working as a bookkeeper is a side-hustle option if you’re good with accounting and organizing data. This service is needed regardless of whether a business is booming or struggling during a recession.

Look for clients such as small businesses that might need your help.


goodluz/Adobe woman meeting notary for advice

Every day, people sign documents that require the services of a notary. Notaries witness the signing of important documents, including things such as mortgages and articles of incorporation.

As an independent notary, you can choose your hours and how much you want to charge. You will have to do a little research to find out how to become a notary public in your state, which might require training and a background check.

Bottom line

Dragana Gordic/Adobe woman wearing glasses and wireless headphones

A side hustle is a good way to increase your income so you can stop living paycheck to paycheck. There are plenty of options that can help you build a new revenue stream.

Even during a recession, many services remain in demand. Choosing an option from this list might help you generate more income when times are tough.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.