36 ways to make extra income on the side

Young woman in her bedroom, taking a photo of a pair of running shoes she's going to sell online to make extra incomeImage: Young woman in her bedroom, taking a photo of a pair of running shoes she's going to sell online to make extra income

In a Nutshell

Extra income can help you pad your budget, build an emergency fund or save for a down payment for a house. There are many things you can do to build an extra income online or in person.
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Whether you want to save for retirement, pay off debt or have more cash for spending, extra income might help you achieve your financial goals faster.

You may be able to find additional income through your employer with overtime, bonuses or commissions. Other times, you may be looking for outside sources of income, such as walking dogs or babysitting.

No matter what you choose, extra income can help you improve your financial standing and give your budget a healthy buffer. As inspiration, we compiled 37 extra income strategies and second job ideas.

Tips for building extra income

Before diving into extra income streams, keep in mind a few key details that may help you. Review our tips below.

Understand your “why”

Determine your motivation for wanting extra income in the first place. Is it to save money for a down payment on a house or a dream vacation? Is it to pay off your debt or save more for retirement? Getting crystal clear on your goals might make you more focused and successful in earning additional money.

extra-income-reasonsImage: extra-income-reasons

Once you know why you want supplemental income, estimate how much you’ll need every month to achieve your goal. For example, if you want to save an additional $5,000 this year for a down payment, you need an extra $417 per month. When you start with a monthly dollar amount in mind, you can build a targeted supplemental-income strategy to achieve just that.

Play to your strengths

As with any job, it can help to do something you enjoy and are proficient at. When those two elements are in place, you may be more motivated to work and make money. You might also produce better results if you do something that leverages your talents and strengths. For instance, if you’re an outdoorsman, you may excel at being a trail guide.

When building your extra income streams, consider your skills, hobbies, experiences and education. If you need help generating ideas, ask your family and close friends what they see as your strengths. You can also take an online test that helps you hone in on your strengths and interests, like the HIGH5Test or StrengthsFinder 2.0.

Use your network

Another way to start building a side income is to reach out to the people you know — your friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances. Let them know the services you’re offering and when you’re available. Your inner circle might connect you with additional people who could be good leads for your side business.

36 extra-income ideas

No matter your skill-set or experience, it’s possible to find something that can make you some extra money on the side. Our 36 ideas can offer you inspiration on ways to make extra income, including online and in person strategies.

1. Babysit

Use your evenings and weekends to watch children in your neighborhood and community. Sign up for an online platform like Care.com to look for work beyond your network of family and friends.

2. Give lessons

Your expertise — whether it’s climbing, swimming or hunting — might be something you can transform into a lucrative side business as an instructor. Offer lessons on your own or collaborate with a gym or community center.  

3. Dog walk

Offer to walk dogs on a weekly basis or when neighbors go on vacation. You can also check out websites like Rover to find work in your area. You may be able to make good money — plus, it’s a fun way to exercise.

4. Design websites

If you have skills as a graphic designer, programmer or web designer, you can make extra money online. Sites like Fiverr can connect you with clients who need work done.

5. Become an adjunct professor

Some community colleges, trade schools and local universities hire instructors on a part-time or contractual basis to teach a class or two each semester. Subject areas might include everything from statistics and chemistry to plumbing, archery and more.

6. Sell your creations online

If you have a crafty side, consider opening a shop on a site such as Etsy. Put your crocheted blankets, homemade cards and handcrafted jewelry on the market.

7. House sit

When people go on vacation, they may need someone to watch over their house or pets. Get paid to collect their mail, mow their lawn, take their dog for a walk and look over their property. Try apps like TrustedHousesitters to look for jobs.

8. Tutor others

Help someone improve their skills or knowledge. While you can tutor in traditional subjects like math, science and language, there may be tutoring opportunities in less conventional areas like video games.

9. Lease out a room

If you have a spare bedroom, consider renting it out for a three-, six- or twelve-month lease. Websites like RotatingRoom allow you to lease out your room to medical students who need a place to stay for short stints.

10. Be a driver

Join Uber or Lyft to take people from Point A to Point B. If you enjoy cruising around the city and meeting new people, working as a driver might be as fun as it is lucrative. Plus, this side job can be flexible as you choose your own hours. 

11. Offer photography services

People hire photographers for weddings, family photos, senior portraits and more. If you own a high-quality camera, market your services to family, friends and on social media. You can also sell stock photography on sites like Shutterstock.

12. Sell refreshments

During high-demand times, such as carnivals, summer beach days and festivals, provide cold beverages and snacks to passersby. Check the regulations in your area to determine if you’ll need a permit.

13. Clean houses

Consider providing cleaning services to individuals and families in your area. It may be as simple as investing in a few basic cleaning supplies. You can also market your services on sites like Facebook (try posting in a few local yard sale groups) or Angi.

14. Be a barista at a coffee shop

If you need a second job that fits with your current work schedule, try looking at a local coffee shop. Barista shifts can be available in the mornings, daytime, weekends and evenings — so they may be flexible enough to pair with another job.

15. Launch a YouTube channel

Build a following on YouTube by posting videos regularly on a certain topic or theme. If you’re wondering how much YouTubers make, every 1,000 ad views can generate an average of $18. While building an audience may take a while, this can be a flexible part-time job since you decide when and where you want to film.

16. Write a book or eBook

Jot down your stories and knowledge in a book. You can try self-publishing through an online platform like Amazon Kindle Direct. Your story can be anything from a fictional romance to a workbook teaching a skill you know, like how to play guitar.

17. Teach an e-course

If you have a skill you’d like to share, you may enjoy creating an online course through a website like Teachable or Udemy. Once you build your modules, you can receive income for everyone who registers to take your class.

18. Paint houses

Do you know how to prep a bedroom or bathroom for a paint job? List your painting services on a website like Angi or market yourself to family and friends. If you’re interested in this kind of business, you may want to consider purchasing the appropriate insurance.

19. Complete online surveys

Market research companies pay users to take surveys that inform their product and service offerings. Sign up with websites like Survey Junkie to start earning for each survey you complete.

20. Advertise on your car

Place an advertisement on your car with Wrapify or StickerRide. You may earn hundreds of dollars every month by simply driving your normal routes.

Additional extra income ideas

If you need more ideas on making supplemental income, here are 16 additional options.

  1. Edit and proofread. If you know the ins and outs of grammar, you may enjoy taking on extra work as an editor or proofreader.
  2. Start a landscaping business. Mow lawns, shovel driveways, plant flowers or rake leaves for extra cash.
  3. Provide trade services. Leverage the skills you have. Mechanical, electric and plumbing jobs may be ways for you to increase your cash flow. 
  4. Partner with affiliates. Build supplemental income through affiliate partnerships on your blog or social media account. By promoting a certain product to your readers or followers, you can earn a percentage of each purchase made.
  5. Be a guide. Turn your recreational hobby into an enjoyable second job. You can be a fly fishing guide or lead groups on backpacking trips.
  6. Participate in research studies. You may be able to assist with research studies in science, medicine, psychology, food and drink. Try looking on Userinterviews.com.
  7. Start a hobby farm. Consider selling fruits and vegetables, which can be sold at a roadside stand or the local farmers’ market. If you raise chickens, you can sell your farm fresh eggs.
  8. Translate documents. If you’re fluent in a second language, sign up to be a translator on a website like Upwork or Gengo.
  9. Sell items you no longer use. Gather your unneeded belongings — whether that’s old clothes, home appliances or sports gear — and sell them on eBay, Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
  10. Test websites. The functionality of a website can play a large role in how well a business or online store runs. Sites like UserTesting and Userfeel pay you for each website you review.
  11. Be a model. You don’t have to live in New York or Los Angeles to make money as a model. Audition with a local agency and earn extra income posing for advertisements, catalogs or TV commercials.
  12. Resell items. Shop for discount items at a local store, garage sale or secondhand shop, then try reselling them online for a higher price.
  13. Play music. Try getting a professional job playing at a bar, restaurant or wedding — or play the piano as background music in a local cafe.
  14. Build a firewood stand. If you own property with trees, consider chopping your fallen wood and bundling it together. Consider selling your firewood by the side of the road or at a gas station.
  15. Become a TV or movie extra. Working as an extra in a movie can pay anywhere from minimum wage to $100 a day or more.
  16. Open a consulting business. Organizations hire consultants for varied projects in the realms of business, marketing, writing and human resources.

The beauty of extra income is that you can dedicate as much or as little time as you want to your side job. You can spend two, four or 10 hours per week earning additional income. The amount of time you spend can ebb and flow based on your personal and professional commitments. It’s all up to you.

What’s next: Learn about taxes

From working as a contractor to writing a business plan and becoming an entrepreneur, be sure you understand the tax implications of your side job. If you earn $400 or more from part-time or gig work, the IRS requires you to file a tax return and pay taxes on that income.

If you plan to itemize deductions, remember you can claim business expenses as a deduction. This is why putting your business purchases on a business card rather than a personal card can be so important in staying organized.