From Deployment to Entrepreneurship: 26 Side Hustles for Active Duty Military

Being an active-duty military member can be a full-time job that leaves little time to pursue other interests. However, with the help of side hustles, members of the military can find ways to make extra money while still serving their country. Side hustles offer an opportunity to explore new skills, meet interesting people, and have fun while earning extra income. In this article, we will discuss some of the best side hustles for active duty military.

Are Side Hustles Allowed If You’re On Active Duty?

If you’re an active-duty military service member, you may be thinking about taking on a side hustle to supplement your income. While it depends upon the specific circumstances of each service member, generally speaking, side hustles are allowed while on active duty.

The most important factor that must be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not to pursue a side hustle is the impact it will have on your service. If a side hustle conflicts with your duties or obligations to the military, then it must be avoided. Additionally, it’s important to ensure that any side hustle you pursue is in accordance with the rules and regulations of the military and does not violate any laws or regulations.

26 Popular Side Hustles for Active-Duty Military Members

Explore these potential side hustles for active-duty military members and consider which one may suit your interests while serving:


Tutoring is a great way for active-duty military members to make extra money and use their skills to help others. From online tutoring platforms like Wyzant, Chegg, and Tutor Me Up, to local in-person tutoring opportunities, there are plenty of ways to use your expertise to make extra money.


Working for gig economy delivery services like Instacart, DoorDash, and Grubhub is a great way to fit side hustles into your military duty schedule. With flexible hours and the ability to work when it’s convenient for you, it’s an easy way to make extra money on the side while still serving your country.

Freelance Writing

If you like to write, becoming a freelance writer is an excellent side hustle for active-duty military members. With sites like Upwork and Fiverr, you can set your own hours and get paid for writing articles, creating web content, or even ghostwriting books. Not only can you make extra money with this side hustle, but you can also hone your writing skills.

A 1099 form is normally issued if you earn $600 or more from a client. If you want to save money, you might want to consider incorporating an LLC. Consult an LLC expert, such as doola, for assistance.

Pet Sitting

If you’re an animal lover, then pet sitting is a great way to make extra money while serving your country. With sites like Rover and DogVacay, you can set your own hours and choose when to accept jobs. Plus, this side hustle offers the bonus of cuddles from furry friends! 


If you have a passion for photography, then turning it into a side hustle is a great way to make extra money while still serving in the military. You can sell your photos online through sites like Shutterstock and Getty Images, or even accept commissions from local businesses or individuals. Plus, you can get paid to explore new places and capture stunning images.

Event Planning

If you’re a military member with an eye for detail and the ability to organize, event planning can be an excellent side hustle. With services like Splacer and Giggster, you can help people plan weddings, parties, and other events, as well as source vendors and manage all the details of the event. Plus, this side hustle offers the opportunity to work with new people and explore different venues.

Mowing and Yard Work

Mowing and yard work is a relatively easy way to make money on the side while still leaving plenty of time for military commitments. The best part about mowing and yard work is that it doesn’t require any special skills or equipment. All you need is a lawnmower and some basic tools.

Personal Training

If you have a passion for fitness, then why not turn it into a side hustle? With the rise of virtual personal training, active duty military members can make money on their own schedules by creating tailored workout plans and guiding clients through video calls or online chat sessions. Plus, this side hustle can help you stay in shape!

Car Detailing

Being in the military requires a lot of dedication and discipline, but it also means you’re often away from home for months at a time. This can make having a traditional job difficult, so many active-duty military personnel turn to side hustles as a way to make extra money. One popular option is car detailing: providing thorough cleaning and restoration services for cars of all makes and models. It’s an easy way to make money on your own schedule while still serving your country.


Print-on-demand or POD business allows entrepreneurs to create custom products like t-shirts, mugs, hats, posters, and more with minimal upfront costs. With print-on-demand, you can create and sell products without worrying about inventory or shipping. Plus, you can do it all from the comfort of your home.


With a little bit of training and practice, you can easily become a skilled barber or hairstylist. Not only will you be able to provide your fellow service members with much-needed haircuts, but you could also turn your skills into a profitable business.


Active-duty military personnel have a unique set of skills, including problem-solving, physical fitness, and the ability to work well under pressure. These skills can easily be applied to side hustles such as working as a mechanic. If you have an interest in and knowledge of car repair, becoming a mechanic is a great way to make some extra money while still serving in the military.


Babysitting is a great side hustle for active-duty military personnel due to its flexible nature and ability to work around military commitments. It can also provide supplemental income when there is a need for extra cash. The beauty of babysitting as a side hustle is that it requires no formal training or certification, which makes it easy to start and get going. 


Handymen perform small jobs like replacing broken fixtures, painting walls, repairing appliances, and more. So if you have the skills to do these types of jobs, this could be a great side hustle option for you. Plus, the flexible hours make it easy to fit in with your military schedule.

Virtual Assistant

Being a virtual assistant is a great side hustle for active-duty military members who have organizational and administrative skills. With services like Fancy Hands, you can find plenty of work helping people with their projects, scheduling meetings, and managing emails. Plus, as a virtual assistant, you can set your own schedule and work from anywhere in the world.

A 1099 form is usually issued if you earn $600 or more from a client. If you want to reduce expenses, consider incorporating an LLC. Seek the advice of an LLC specialist, such as doola, on what exactly you should do.

Start a Podcast

Podcasting is a great way to share your knowledge, experiences, and passions with the world. As a member of the military, you have access to unique perspectives and stories that could make for informative and entertaining podcasts. With the right strategy, setting up a podcast could give you extra income while giving you an audience. 

Start a Blog or Niche Website

If you’re an active-duty military member looking for a side hustle, starting a blog or niche website may be the perfect way to make extra money. With your expertise and knowledge of the military, you can easily create content that is both interesting and informative to readers. Plus, creating your blog or website gives you the flexibility to work when and where it works best for your schedule. 

Write a Book or E-Book

Writing a book or eBook requires dedication and hard work, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. The first step in creating a book or eBook is deciding on the subject matter. It’s important to choose something that will be interesting to readers and that you can speak knowledgeably about. Once you’ve chosen a topic, the next step is to create an outline for your book or eBook. This outline should include key points and sections that you want to cover in your work. After creating the outline, it’s time to start writing! 

Start a YouTube Channel

A YouTube channel allows you to showcase your talents, create content that people find interesting or educational, and even monetize it if you choose. Using your existing talents or hobbies as a basis for content ideas is a great way to get started. You can also use the channel as a platform to spread awareness about issues that you care about, such as veterans’ rights or military family life. 

Donate Plasma

The process of donating plasma is very simple and straightforward. After filling out the necessary paperwork, you will be asked to provide a sample of your blood. Once this is done, you will be paid for your donation. Plasma donations are typically paid per visit and can range from $20 to $50 depending on the location and your medical history.

Rent Out Your Vacation House

If you’re an active-duty military member looking to make some extra money on the side, renting out your vacation house could be a great option. Not only can it help you make a few extra bucks, but it can also give you peace of mind knowing that the property is being looked after while you’re away on deployment or TDY assignments.

Library Assistant

Being a library assistant can be a part-time job that provides flexible hours and the ability to help others while earning income. As a library assistant, you are responsible for ensuring the smooth functioning of library operations, providing customer service, shelving books and other materials, assisting patrons with research requests, organizing events, creating displays, maintaining computer databases, and more.

Medical Transcriptionist

Medical transcriptionists are responsible for converting recorded medical notes into writing, such as patient history, physical exams, and doctor’s orders. As a medical transcriptionist, you are required to have a moderate level of technical skill and knowledge of medical terminology, so it can be easily acquired with the training and education provided in the military. 

Social Media Coordinator

A successful social media coordinator will need to have a good understanding of how different platforms work, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You will also need to have an eye for creating content that is both engaging and visually appealing. As a social media coordinator, you will be responsible for creating posts, responding to comments and inquiries, monitoring analytics, and more.

Sell Unused Belongings

As an active-duty military member, your time and energy are often limited. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make extra money on the side through a side hustle. One way to do this is by selling any unused belongings that you may have lying around. This could be anything from clothes to furniture and electronics that are taking up space in your home or barracks. 

Start Driving for Uber and Lyft

If you are an active duty member of the military looking for a side hustle, driving for Uber and Lyft could be a great option. As a driver, you can set your own schedule and make as much or as little money as you want. You also have the opportunity to meet new people from all walks of life, which can be both interesting and rewarding. 

5 Steps to Start Your Side Hustle as an Active Duty Soldier

Starting a side hustle as an active-duty military member can be a great way to explore your interests, supplement your income, and gain valuable skills. Here are five steps to help you get started:

Identify Your Skills and Interests

Begin by identifying your skills, hobbies, and interests. Consider what activities you enjoy and excel in, both within and outside your military role. This could include skills such as writing, graphic design, photography, fitness training, or even tutoring. Assessing your skills will help you determine the type of side hustle that aligns with your capabilities and interests.

Research and Select a Side Hustle

Once you have identified your skills and interests, research potential side hustle ideas that can be pursued alongside your military commitments. Consider flexible opportunities that allow you to work on your own time, such as freelancing, online tutoring, e-commerce, or starting a blog. Look for options that can be easily managed remotely, as military life often involves relocation and deployments.

Plan and Manage Your Time Effectively

Military service comes with unique demands and a structured schedule. It’s crucial to plan and manage your time effectively to balance your side hustle with your military responsibilities. Create a schedule that accommodates your military duties, training, and personal time. Allocate specific time blocks for working on your side hustle, ensuring that it doesn’t interfere with your military obligations.

Leverage Your Military Network

Your military network can be a valuable asset when starting a side hustle. Tap into your connections within the military community to find potential clients, customers, or collaborators. Inform your colleagues, superiors, and friends about your side hustle and ask for referrals. Additionally, consider joining military spouse or veteran entrepreneur groups that can provide support, advice, and networking opportunities.

Maintain Legal and Ethical Compliance

As an active-duty military member, it’s essential to ensure that your side hustle activities comply with military regulations and ethical standards. Review your service branch’s policies and guidelines regarding outside employment or business activities. Seek guidance from your unit’s legal office or the military ethics department if you have any questions or concerns. It’s important to maintain the integrity of your military service while pursuing your side hustle.

Remember to consult your chain of command, superiors, or legal advisors within your military unit if you have any specific questions or concerns about starting a side hustle. Always prioritize your military duties and adhere to any applicable regulations to maintain a successful balance between your side hustle and service to the country.

Make Extra Money with Military-Friendly Side Hustles

Side hustles are a great way for active-duty military members to make extra money while still serving their country. From freelance writing and virtual assisting to pet sitting and photography, there are plenty of opportunities to explore new skills, meet interesting people, and have fun while earning extra income. With the right side hustle, you can supplement your military income without compromising your service.

And if your side hustle is a booming success and you want to make it a full-time career or business, consider partnering with doola. We can assist you with establishing your business structure, such as an LLC, as well as opening your business bank account and handling your bookkeeping.


How much money can I expect to make from a side hustle?

The amount of money you can make from a side hustle varies greatly depending on the type of work you do, the hours you put in, and other factors. Some people are able to earn a full-time income from their side hustle, while others make only a few hundred dollars a month. The important thing is to focus on what you enjoy doing and what works best for your situation.

Do I need to get permission from my commanding officer to start a side hustle?

While it’s always a good idea to be transparent and communicate with your CO about your plans, you generally don’t need permission to start a side hustle as long as it doesn’t interfere with your ability to carry out your duties as an active-duty military member.

Are there any restrictions on the type of side hustles that I can do as an active-duty military member?

Certain activities may be restricted or disallowed due to conflicts of interest, security concerns, or other reasons. For example, you may not be able to work in a business that competes with or provides services to the military, or engages in activities that are considered illegal or unethical. Always check with your CO or legal department if you have any doubts.

Can I use my military connections to promote my side hustle?

It’s generally not recommended to use your position in the military to promote your side hustle, as it could be seen as a conflict of interest or misuse of resources. However, you can certainly leverage your military background or expertise in your marketing efforts and highlight the skills or values that you’ve acquired through your service.

Is it possible to turn my side hustle into a full-time career after I leave the military?

Absolutely! Many successful entrepreneurs and business owners started a side hustle while working a full-time job, and eventually turned it into their primary source of income. If you’re passionate about your side hustle and have a solid plan in place, it could be a great path to follow after leaving the military.

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