15 Side Jobs to Make Extra Money

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Side jobs can help provide another source of income and even launch a full-scale business. Here are some side job ideas to get you started.

[Featured image] A smiling person in a black shirt and pink glasses stands in a co-working space with other business owners.

A side job is work that a person pursues alongside another, usually more structured or stable, job or degree program. Side jobs can vary greatly, from gig economy work that provides cash in a pinch to remote jobs with flexible hours. Taking on a side job is, well, extra work—so it requires plenty of motivation and time management skills. 

People who want a side job tend to be motivated by earning extra money. They may feel that they aren’t earning enough in their day job. Others may want to pay off student loans or credit card debt more quickly, save up for a house or another big purchase, or have extra funds to travel frequently. More ambitious individuals may want to strengthen a skill in hopes of turning it into a side hustle or even start a small business.

In the United States, side jobs gained popularity because of low wage growth and wage stagnation, as cost of living and inflation (up 7 percent in the last year as of October 2022) continue to rise [1]. Nearly one in three people with side jobs needed the extra income, and almost half of working Americans (45 percent) reported having a side job [2].

This article offers a list of 15 side jobs to help you make extra money. Whether you want to get started today or make a plan to monetize a hobby, you have plenty of options to consider. 

Choosing the right side job

When it comes to choosing the right job for you, think about why you want (or need) to work. Your reason, as well as your availability in terms of time, resources, and skill set, can help you decide what to pursue. Here are three types of side jobs to choose from:

  • Gig economy work is performing a series of tasks, usually through an app or website, in which you create your own hours. Just sign up for the app, log in, and request to be assigned a task.

  • Part-time work is completing shifts assigned weekly or with a fixed schedule, typically less than 40 hours per week. This may also involve transforming a hobby into a service or form of entertainment.

  • Remote freelance work is providing a service for a client that tends to include industry-specific skills. This type of work tends to be on a freelance or contractual basis. These side jobs are often remote, so you can do them from home or anywhere with an internet connection.

These categories can help determine what kind of side job suits your current needs. You may decide that there are additional skills you’d like to develop to achieve your goals.

Side job vs. side hustle

Side jobs and side hustles are similar and are sometimes used interchangeably.

A side job is pursued alongside a stable job or while attending school, out of financial need, creative desire, or to fill up time productively.

A side hustle is a small business that a person starts in addition to continuing a more secure job. Side hustlers might intend to quit their day job to run their small business in the future.


Gig economy side jobs

Gig economy work has been on the rise since the 2008 economic crisis, creating a need to take on multiple piecemeal jobs. As many as 55 million people in the US, or 34 percent of the workforce, were classified as gig workers in 2017, according to the International Labor Organization [3]. According to a Mastercard report, global gig-economy transactions are set to grow 17 percent each year to $455 billion by 2023 [4].

The gig economy includes transportation-based services, professional services (micro-versions of design, coding, and other administrative tasks), handmade goods or household services, and asset-sharing services like Airbnb. Due to the growing need for such services, gig economy work can be quite lucrative. Here are a few examples of popular gig economy jobs:

1. Rideshare driver

As a rideshare driver for apps like Uber and Lyft, you offer a tailored transportation service for customers. Some drivers offer hospitality in the form of mints, candy, tissues, and bottled water to earn more tips and maintain a high rating. On average, rideshare drivers can expect to make between $15 to $22 per hour [5]. The only requirements are that you must be 18 years of age with a valid driver’s license. If you don’t mind driving, this can be a profitable side gig for you.

2. Food delivery

Similar to ridesharing, another option is to deliver food and groceries. During the pandemic, global food delivery tripled since 2017, indicating the market is going strong [6]. Usually, you can sign up as a driver and begin fulfilling orders immediately, earning around $15 per hour with some collecting up to $29 in hourly wages [7]. Options include Doordash, Instacart, Uber Eats, Grubhub, and Postmates.

3. Babysitter or petsitter

If you enjoy taking care of children or pets, you might be keen to take on the role of babysitter or petsitter on the weekends and in the evenings. As parents are starting to go back to work, their children and furry loved ones need care. The average rate in the US for babysitting is around $20 per hour, and this number could be higher depending on their age, location, and number of children [8]. Look at sites like Care.com, Rover, and Wag! if this sounds like your kind of side job.

4. Home maintenance

For those with a green thumb or an affinity for neatness, consider a side job in lawn care or cleaning houses. These types of jobs might have you mowing lawns, pruning trees, gardening, wiping down surfaces, and doing laundry. As with babysitting, people tend to prefer hiring the same cleaner or lawnmower, so you’ll only need a few regular clients to build a steady schedule. With Handy, you can make up to $22 per hour as a cleaner or $62 per hour as a lawn care professional [9]. Other sites include Green Pal and Lawn Love.

5. Online language tutor

If you prefer teaching kids to playing with them, you can tutor English online for children in China through VIPKID, where you can earn up to $22 per hour [10]. Another option is iTalki, where you can choose from more languages to teach adult learners and make up to $15 per hour [11]. You can earn your income by teaching from home and creating your own hours.

Passive income as a side job

Other ways to make money on the side might look less like jobs and more like passive income. This means you’re providing a service with something you already own, or creating a product or service to sell that requires some upfront work but produces ongoing or repeat returns based on that initial effort. Passive income ideas include:

• Renting out your home or car through AirBnB or Turo

• Reselling gems found at thrift and vintage stores on platforms like Depop, Etsy, and Instagram

• Creating an e-book, app, or online class, investing in dividends, stocks, or cryptocurrency (if you are risk tolerant)

• If you happen to be a social media influencer, you can try affiliate marketing and earn between $50 and $25,000 per post [12].


Part-time side jobs

Before the rise of the gig economy, part-time work was a popular side job. This type of work tends to be assigned in shifts, rather than by task, which can feel more stable and steady than gig work. Most of these require you to interact with people and be on your feet, so it can be a welcome break from working at a desk job or studying.

6. Server or bartender

Working as a waiter or bartender can be a well-paid job, especially if you factor in earning tips. You might enjoy mixing or serving drinks and chatting with customers. Both require standing or walking for long hours, which can be appealing if you stare at the computer or textbook during the week. Waiters can make $11 to $15 per hour, but if you factor in tips, location, and type of restaurant, you could make more [13, 14]. 

7. Soccer referee

If you are a sports fan, especially of soccer, you might be interested in becoming a part-time soccer referee for youth games. Through the US Soccer Federation, you can be certified for this in-demand side job by paying a class fee (based on your state referee association) to take lessons online, attending a six-hour class, and passing the referee exam. At around $25-35 per hour, you can make at least $50 to $90 per game (lengths vary by age), and up to $800 per game for top divisions [15, 16].

8. Nursing assistant

For those who find health care environments more rewarding, you may consider a side job as a nursing assistant, making around $19 an hour [17]. Nursing assistants are needed in hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, clinics, and even in patients’ homes as home health aides (which have a 25 percent growth rate over the next 10 years) [18]. They are in charge of monitoring patients’ vital signs and helping them eat, bathe, and perform other daily needs. For this, you will need to complete a state-approved education program and pass a competency exam, in addition to on-the-job training.

9. Yoga or fitness instructor

Teaching yoga or other fitness classes can be an enjoyable side gig, especially if you have been a practitioner for a long time. Becoming a yoga teacher requires a 200-hour training certification that teaches you the fundamentals of yoga poses, anatomy, and more. The average hourly wage for a yoga instructor is almost $25, however this can easily go up if you receive more training and cultivate a following [19].

10. DJ

If you are musically inclined and prefer to enhance the mood of a crowd, you may want to try your hand at becoming a disk jockey (DJ). Though rates will depend on the type of event, you can typically expect to make around $50 per hour [20]. As a DJ, you can play at weddings and sponsored events or have a residency in clubs and festivals—and have more power to choose whether to mix hip hop, electronic, or other genres. 

Remote freelance side jobs

Just like gig economy jobs, taking on freelance work can mean creating your own hours around your work or school schedule. For freelance jobs, you may complete work on an ongoing (ad hoc) basis, or on a contract that has a final deadline. You can often do these types of jobs remotely, too.

11. App developer

Ever dreamed of developing an app that sold for millions? Then perhaps starting out as a freelance app developer is in your future. Learning how to design an app may take a few months, but the median hourly rate for app developers is around $60 [21]. Some companies may negotiate a full project rate to be paid upon completion. Check out Coursera’s Full Stack Cloud Developer professional certificate from IBM to launch your freelance career in app development:

12. Writer

Writing is one of those age-old professions that continues to evolve with the times. As a freelancer, writing as a side job can take different forms: copywriting, journalism, academia, technical writing, SEO and content writing, curriculum development, grant proposals, and more. Rates vary due to the wide range of possibilities, but you can expect to make $30 per hour and up as a freelance writer [22]. This side job is ideal if you can write with clarity, empathy, and discipline.

13. Bookkeeper

As a contracted bookkeeper, you are responsible for behind-the-scenes accounting tasks, such as managing payroll, accounts, and account reconciliations. You would act as a company’s in-house accountant, delivering financial status reports. If you are detail-oriented and organized, this side job can be a good fit. You can expect to earn between $19 and $24 per hour [23].

To get started, consider Intuit’s professional certificate in Bookkeeping and learn job-ready skills in four months:

14. Social media marketer

Social media is a high-performing marketing strategy for many companies today. As a social media marketer, you specialize in using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok to promote your products and services to new and existing customers. Freelancers are often hired to work for hourly rates ranging from $45 to $59 [24]. You may be interested in Facebook’s Social Media Marketing professional certificate:

15. Photographer

Whether you choose to become an artistic or professional photographer, turning a hobby into a side job can a great way to earn extra income. You can take photos while traveling, and sell them to stock photography sites. Photographers can capture special occasions, where rates vary from $300-$500 for birthday parties and up to $3,000 for a wedding [25]. Many companies and non-profit organizations hire photographers for events or marketing purposes on a contract or ongoing freelance basis.

Invest in your future

Taking on a side job help you earn more to achieve your goals. Consider boosting your job skills in app development, bookkeeping, and social media marketing from top industry companies like IBM, Intuit, and Meta. Or turn your side gig into a career with a specialization in Building Your Freelancing Career from California Institute of the Arts. You can complete the course entirely online within six months; no degree or experience is required.

Article sources


US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Consumer Price Index-December 2021, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cpi.pdf.” Accessed November 10, 2022.

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