Looking to earn a little extra money on the side? You’re not alone. Life can get expensive between paying off student debt, surprise expenses, and trying to save. Sometimes, one job just doesn’t cut it.
The good news is, nowadays, it’s easier than ever to find a side gig. In fact, a recent CareerBuilder survey found that 29% of all workers have at least one side gig, including 44% of millennials ages 25 to 34. What are these opportunities and how do you figure out which one is best for you?
Here’s everything you need to know.
Side jobs and how they work
Side jobs allow you to keep your day job while earning some extra money on the side. They have to be flexible so you can do them around your schedule. The CareerBuilder survey found the most common ones to be:
- Taking surveys
- Caring for children
- Freelance writing
- Designing websites
- Being a photographer/videographer
Side jobs online and the sharing economy
The wide adoption of the internet and smartphones has led to a shift. Many innovative companies are creating platforms that connect people who need something with people who can provide it to them. The result is hundreds of ways to make money by being the provider.
For example, people need rides, hence the existence of taxi services. However, finding a taxi company, getting cash, calling them, and explaining your location can be a pain.
Uber offers an alternative solution through its easy-to-use app. People can get a ride within a few minutes without talking to anyone. They can pay and share their location virtually. No more looking up phone numbers when they get to a new city, as they can always use the same app.
Uber needs drivers to give those rides in each city. Just about anyone with a good driving record and a decent car can sign up. You can work whenever it suits your schedule by logging into the app and accepting calls.
Another example is Airbnb. People need short-term vacation rentals and, before the platform’s existence, you would either stay at a hotel or go through a rental company. Hotels can be less than appealing and rental companies can be difficult to deal with.
Airbnb streamlines the process. Renters can go to the website and browse homes themselves. They can read reviews and contact the host directly. There are options in cities around the world, and they can experience places as a local does. Further, no matter where they go, they can use the same familiar platform to find a place.
Homeowners now have a platform where over 4 million people are looking for short-term rentals. You can easily become a host and start receiving rent requests; simple as that. You may not have wanted to go through the trouble of renting out your place before, but now it’s super easy because the renters find you.
These are just two examples of side jobs online. Many other platforms exist where you can earn by completing online tasks, being a delivery service driver, selling stock photos, participating in market research, and much more.
How to find side jobs? Review our extensive list.
How much can you make off a side job?
It turns out that 85% of people with side gigs make less than $500 per month, and the average monthly income from side gigs is $299, according to research performed by Earnest.
Here’s a look at the full findings:
Now, for a few highlights from the study and how the payment structures work.
Airbnb hosts made the most of any side gig. Their earnings came out to be about triple what people made from other side jobs, with half of the hosts making more than $500 per month.
What is the pay structure? It’s free to sign up and list your property. You can use the pricing tool to decide how much to charge guests, and you only pay Airbnb a 3% service fee. The rest of the money is yours to keep.
Rental prices are listed on a per night basis, and discounts are available for stays of 30 days or longer. Typically, you can earn more by renting out your place this way than you would get with a long-term rental or marketing through other mediums. The amount you can make will depend on the specifications of your place, where you live, and how much you decide to charge.
VRBO is a very similar platform but is a bit smaller, and charges hosts a $350 annual fee instead of a per-rental service fee.
Fiverr is a marketplace for tasks and services. It has many job categories including graphic design, digital marketing, video and animation, programming and tech, and digital marketing. You join, list your services, set your prices, and provide your services to business owners. According to the Earnest data, the average monthly income earned from working on the platform is $103.
With these ride-sharing companies, you earn money when providing rides to customers as well as when you refer new drivers to sign up. The average monthly income for Uber drivers is $364, while the average for Lyft drivers is $377.
The amount you can make will depend on the pay structure of the job you choose and how much you work. It can range from an extra hundred bucks a month to thousands.
Find the right side gig for you in 5 easy steps
If you’re not sure where to start, which side gig would be best for you, or how to compare them, follow these steps:
Find out what side gigs exist. By reviewing a wide range of opportunities, you can gain an understanding of what is out there.
2. Make a list of possible options
There will be some options that suit you better than others. Make a list of the side jobs that you could do, want to do, and are willing to do. For example, if you don’t have a home to rent out, Airbnb obviously won’t be an option.
On the other hand, if you have always liked writing, freelance blogging would be a good idea. You may also prefer side jobs you can do from home online. Write down all the viable options.
3. Calculate their profitability
Next, find out how the payment structure works for each gig and how much people earn per month on average. Be sure to consider how many hours you can (or want) to invest. Also, calculate how much you will make per hour that you invest and what costs you will incur to perform the work.
To figure out how much I could make, I started by finding the average rate for the work I wanted to do. Designers with my level of experience were getting paid $50 per logo. It takes me about three hours to design a logo, and I had nine hours to invest per week. That meant I could design three logos per week and make $150, adding $600 to my monthly income. I already owned the software I needed so wouldn’t incur any costs to do the work.”
One freelance designer said, “To figure out how much I could make, I started by finding the average rate for the work I wanted to do. Designers with my level of experience were getting paid $50 per logo. It takes me about three hours to design a logo, and I had nine hours to invest per week. That meant I could design three logos per week and make $150, adding $600 to my monthly income. I already owned the software I needed so wouldn’t incur any costs to do the work.”
Once you have run the numbers for each side-gig, look for those that are most profitable.
4. Narrow down your list
Now you have the information you need to narrow down your list. Compare the net profitability potential and desirability of each job to choose the right gig for you. Tip: Read reviews online to find out what others have to say about the side gig.
5. Sign up!
Lastly, sign up and give it a try! If you get started and decide you don’t like it, go back to your list and try one of the other jobs that made the final cut. With so many options, you can easily try your hand at several without any large risk or loss.
Browse and read reviews on the best side jobs, and start earning extra money today!
Jessica Walrack is a personal finance writer at SuperMoney, The Simple Dollar, Interest.com, Commonbond, Bankrate, NextAdvisor, Guardian, Personalloans.org and many others. She specializes in taking personal finance topics like loans, credit cards, and budgeting, and making them accessible and fun.