20 Popular Side Hustles That Will Make Your Salary Soar
Traditional 9-to-5 jobs provide a stable, steady income for many Americans. But life isn't always steady, and some people need to find ways to make extra cash on the side to pay off debt or just to bolster their savings.
If you find that you're not quite satisfied with your salary, you're in luck: There's no shortage of weekend jobs or side gigs you can try out to make more money. Here are just a few part-time jobs you can pursue to supplement your income.
(By Beverly Bird)
Many people romanticize working as a bartender. What could be better than making drinks for friends, listening to a good playlist and pocketing cash tips?
However, as any bartender will tell you, the job isn't as easy -- nor as fun -- as it might seem. To get started as a bartender, you can enroll in bartending classes, but nothing can replace experience. Many bartenders work their way up to the position after working as hosts, bussers, servers or waiters. Most will work as barbacks -- which involves carrying heavy buckets of ice and cases of alcohol -- before they make it to that coveted spot mixing drinks behind the bar.
If you're able to work your way up to a bartending gig, expect to make around $17.60 per hour between hourly pay and tips. You can make more depending on your venue and rapport with customers.
If you've ever scrolled through the jobs section of Craigslist, you've likely seen a number of postings that call for a brand ambassador or brand marketing representative. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, a brand ambassador is someone who is passionate about the brand, builds brand awareness and connects and engages with customers.
Full-time brand ambassador jobs exist, but many of these opportunities pop up on a part-time basis to support special events. Brand ambassadors can make anywhere from the minimum wage to $52 per hour, which is not bad for a side hustle that calls for you to support a brand you know and love.
Data entry might not sound too exciting -- you're essentially just filling out fields in a document -- but it's the perfect job to veg out to. Data entry clerks provide logistical support to large projects that require filtering through a lot of information. Brush up on your Excel and Google Sheets skills before seeking out this easy side gig.
Sites such as Clickworker crowdsource at least hundreds of thousands of independent contractors to help with projects such as processing data. It's a bit like Uber but with keyboards instead of cars. With a data entry clerk job, you can expect to make over $12 an hour.
If you're the type of person who notices minute details -- such as the fold of napkins at a dinner party -- you might want to consider pursuing an event assistant gig. As an event assistant, you'll be responsible for completing behind-the-scenes tasks that help make weddings, birthday parties, corporate events and more run smoothly.
Event assistants earn an average of $14.43 per hour to help plan, set up and execute events. While the job might seem glamorous, be advised that event assistants work long hours, spending much of that time on their feet. Also know that event assistants are not event guests, meaning you will not partake in event happenings.
Focus Group Participant
One of the easiest ways to earn money on the side is to become a focus group participant. Focus groups are small gatherings of select individuals organized by market researchers to garner feedback on a specific product or topic.
If you are selected as a focus group participant, you'll have the opportunity to try out new products, taste test food and drinks, take online surveys and more. The best part? You're paid for sharing what you do and don't like.
You can find focus group opportunities using resources like Focusgroup.com. How much money you make as a focus group participant varies widely. Focus group participants can make up to $75 to $150 for their time by using Focusgroup.com.
Food and Beverage Delivery Driver
If you have a reliable car, a good driving record and free time on nights and weekends, consider part-time work as a food and beverage delivery driver. While at one time delivery drivers were limited to pizza parlors and restaurants that offered take out, the opportunities for delivery drivers today are endless.
For example, you can consider working for popular delivery apps like OrderUp, Seamless, Grubhub, Doordash and Postmates, to name a few. OrderUp delivery drivers, according to the company, generally earn a commission on the delivery fee, plus tips.
Freelancing encompasses such a wide range of skills and talents that it can be paralyzing to figure out which one to market. Some common freelancing opportunities to consider include:
- Graphic design
- Business consulting
- Web design
Check websites such as Upwork, Toptal, LinkedIn, Indeed and Craigslist for available opportunities.
Because of the range of talent and demand for particular jobs, it can be nearly impossible to assess how much a freelancing gig can earn you. Some sources even point out that dedicated freelancing can net you more than your 9-to-5 job. Freelancing gigs depend on a lot of things -- such as experience, skill set and networking -- but most of all, it depends on you.
Hair Salon or Spa Receptionist
Hair salons and spas are often bustling on the weekends with clients who want to kick, back, relax and pamper themselves. You can take advantage of busy weekends by finding a side gig as a hair salon or spa receptionist.
To be successful as a receptionist, you need a friendly demeanor, a great attitude, excellent customer service skills and the ability to stay organized and schedule appointments.
On average, spa receptionists make about $11.57 per hour, and salon receptionists make about $10.01 per hour. Receptionists often get discounts on salon or spa services as well.
Host or Barback
Securing a job as a host or barback is an excellent way to break into the restaurant business. These positions are ideal for individuals who have little or no restaurant experience but are interested in working their way up to waiting tables or working as a bartender.
Exemplary hosts have excellent customer service skills, as they are most often the first representative guests see when they enter a restaurant. They are required to keep track of reservations and waiting lists, to seat guests at their tables and to complete other miscellaneous tasks, such as cleaning menus. Hosts earn a median hourly rate of $9.03.
Unlike hosts, barbacks do not usually interact with guests. Instead, they can be seen stocking the bar with ice, glasses, alcohol and other necessary items. Barbacks sometimes also clear dining tables, though this is usually reserved for bussers. While working as a barback is much more strenuous than working as a host, the pay is roughly the same. The average hourly rate for a barback is $8.35 an hour plus tips.
Lawn Maintenance Worker
If you want to make extra money on the weekends but don't want to spend your time indoors or inside of your car, consider a gig as a lawn maintenance worker. To get started, you can contact landscaping companies near where you live, or you can look for opportunities on services like GreenPal, which connects individuals who need yard services with lawn professionals via its website, YourGreenPal.com.
Described as "the Uber for lawn care" by CEO Bryan Clayton, GreenPal lawn pro workers earn an average of $55 per hour, making it a great way to score some quick cash. The pay you'll earn when working for private clients might vary, so do your research so you know what an acceptable hourly rate is.
Another great outdoor job is that of a lifeguard. Working as a lifeguard at a local pool, gym, water park or beach is not exclusively for high school students on summer break. In fact, any person certified through an accredited lifeguard training and certification course -- which includes CPR, first aid and automated external defibrillator (AED) training -- can do the job.
Soak up those sun rays and collect an average of $9.18 per hour -- just don't forget your sunscreen.
Nanny or Caretaker
Even families that employ full-time nannies or use day care services often need extra help taking care of their children on the weekends. You can help fill this need so parents can get more done -- or simply go on a date every now and then -- by working as a nanny, caretaker or babysitter.
Word of mouth is still a powerful method for finding good work in this field; however, you can also sign up with reputable resources like Care.com or Sittercity.com. Be advised that caretaking experience is expected. Some parents might also prefer candidates with certifications in CPR and some early childhood education or training. One perk of this job is that you might be able to watch your own children while watching the children of others, making it an ideal job for stay-at-home parents.
As of 2016, the average babysitting rate was about $13.97, according to Care.com. Pay might be higher depending on your geographic location and experience.
It's hard to beat getting paid to walk among nature. There are certainly people who prefer to spend their time outdoors year-round, but park work can also be seasonal. Park ranger duties might include general surveillance of the park, cleaning up trash, and ecological projects such as restoring wildlife habitats. If you work in an area with a high tourism rate, such as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee, expect to field a lot of tourists' questions.
The National Park Service offers seasonal employment opportunities, though salaries depend on the park, the scope of duties and the type of position itself. Seasonal park rangers can earn around $15 an hour.
Pets are part of the family, and some people are willing to shell out cash to ensure their fur babies receive endless love and care. If you have experience caring for animals like dogs and cats, you should consider a side gig as a pet sitter.
Websites like Rover.com and PetSitting.com can help you find pets that need care in your area. Services offered by these websites range from daily walks to caring for an animal in your home while the pet owner is away.
How much you make as a pet sitter depends on many factors, including the service you are providing and your experience with animals. Rover.com says its pet sitters can earn up to $1,000 per month.
Retail Sales Associate
Retailers are often busiest on weekends, which presents a great opportunity for those looking to bring in a little extra cash. Retail sales associates work in the customer areas of stores to help maintain orderliness and appearance and to assist shoppers with any needs they might have. Retail associates spend the bulk of their shifts standing and are often required to be able to lift items weighing up to 25 pounds.
The average retail employee makes $10.16 per hour. Additionally, most retailers give their employees a discount on store merchandise.
Security Guard or Bouncer
Clubs, bars and music vendors are always on the hunt for extra muscle on weekends and for major events. To increase your chances of being hired as a security guard or bouncer, sign up for a training course that culminates with licensure. Physical fitness is another requirement of the job, as you'll need to be able to handle unruly and, oftentimes, inebriated patrons. Also, security guards are among the most dangerous jobs you can get.
Bouncers make an average of $11.31 per hour.
There are countless part-time telemarketing jobs available for anyone willing to work nights or weekends. Even better, these jobs sometimes allow you to work from the comfort of your own home -- which is perfect if you're looking for jobs that offer work-life balance.
As you likely know, telemarketers call potential customers over the phone in the hopes of persuading them to buy products or services. Sales skills are a plus, though not necessary, as most companies provide their workers with a prepared pitch. A thick skin, however, is a must.
You can find telemarketing opportunities online on FlexJobs.com and via internet job boards. The median pay for telemarketers comes in at $10.36 per hour.
If you love the cinema and enjoy order, ushering might be the perfect side gig for you. Theater ushers are the last lines of defense between a popcorn fight and a pleasant viewing experience. A good sense of customer service and patience will serve you best in this gig, as well as a willingness to be on your feet most of the time.
Look up theaters such as AMC or Cinemark for usher jobs, or check in with your local theater. Ushers can make more than $8 an hour, but benefits likely include free movies and popcorn.
Tutors provide an invaluable service to those seeking academic help or alternatives to professional help. Customers, most of whom will likely be students and their parents, will want you to field their questions and concerns about math, English, history or science. You'll have to take their class schedule into account, working primarily after school or on weekends. Tutoring might work best if you live on or near an academic campus.
Tutors are free agents when it comes to pricing, with the hourly average approaching $18. Sites like Care.com can link up tutors with prospective students.
Uber or Lyft Driver
Ridesharing apps have become so popular that "Uber" is now used as a verb as well as a noun. You must meet several requirements to become a driver for a rideshare service. For example, to become a Lyft driver, you must be at least 21 years old, own an iPhone or Android phone, have a state's driver's license that is at least one year old and pass a DMV and background check, in addition to certain vehicle requirements.
As a driver, you'll set your own hours and generally choose the area where you want to drive. According to Lyft, drivers can make up to $35 per hour. Uber says its drivers average $19 an hour, though they can make up to more than $30 per hour in certain markets.