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Want to Escape Your 9 to 5? These Side Hustles Can Replace (or Even Exceed) Your Regular Pay Picking up an extra gig can help you pay the bills, save for retirement and more.

By Amanda Breen Edited by Jessica Thomas

Key Takeaways

  • By being strategic about side hustles, you can supplement — and even exceed — your 9 to 5 income.
  • A 2023 survey from Bankrate found that 39% of American adults have a side hustle.
  • You need consistency, a healthy savings and a proper strategy to turn your side hustle into a full-time career.

If your wages aren't keeping pace with inflation and you want some extra cash (perhaps to build your retirement nest egg or board a never-ending cruise), you've probably considered the power of a side hustle. Thirty-nine percent of U.S. adults already have one, according to a 2023 Bankrate survey.

But if you're overwhelmed by all of your options, which might include creating online courses, tutoring over Zoom, driving for Lyft and just about anything else, it's time to think about where you'll see the largest financial gain — and what has the potential to supplant your regular earnings altogether.

Related: These Are the Fastest-Growing Side Hustles. No. 1 Is Something You Might Already Do.

Fortunately, there are resources to help narrow down the options. The gig economy experts at Gigworker.com compiled a list of the highest-earning side hustles that can help pad your bank account quickly — and maybe even replace your current income.

Here are the four gigs the experts recommend, plus their estimations for potential income:

1. Online instruction

Have a talent or skill you want to share with the world? Consider building your side hustle on virtual instruction sites like Coursera or Khan Academy. IT and computer courses can be especially lucrative, as these workers are in high demand and require training.

Average earnings: $21-42 per hour

Related: A Simple Household Chore Turned Into a Side Hustle — Now She Earns Up to $24,000 Per Month

2. TaskRabbit

This side hustle allows you to set your own rate, which often means higher earnings as you increase your skills and experience level. Mount TVs, fix repairs, unclog sinks and supplement your income with TaskRabbit jobs. Gather enough work and positive reviews, and you could set your rates to make TaskRabbit your primary source of income.

Average earnings: $40 - $55 per hour

3. Airbnb

One of the more passive options for additional income, Airbnb can be a low-lift way to make quick money by renting out spare rooms or vacation properties. Allowing strangers into your home might make you uncomfortable, but Airbnb's host damage protection and liability insurance should keep side-hustlers covered. Be sure to check local laws to ensure you can rent in your area.

Average earnings: $920 per month

Related: Here Are 7 Well-Paying Side Hustles You Never Knew Existed

4. Online reselling

From fashion-focused resale sites like Poshmark and Depop to catch-all arenas like eBay and Facebook Marketplace, there's a digital audience for just about any side-hustler looking to offload items for extra cash. It remains one of the most popular side hustles among those ages 18 to 25, according to the Gigworker experts.

Average earnings: $23-$50 per hour

How to escape your 9-to-5 job and replace your income with a side hustle

For those who dream of leaving their 9-to-5 jobs, working side hustles can seem like an attractive route to financial freedom and flexibility. But making enough money to not only supplement but replace your full-time income isn't easy. It takes time, preparation and plenty of hustle.

If you want to escape the monotony of your 9-to-5 and work for yourself, first consider this advice:

Consistency is key

While you still have a main source of income, slowly grow your side hustle workload. This can't be a work-when-you-feel-like-it hustle. Set a schedule and stick to it — whether it's taking jobs on TaskRabbit or teaching a certain number of online courses each week. It might be your side income (at the moment), but to transition full-time you'll need to treat it as a serious money-making venture.

Do your research

Before jumping into a side hustle full-time, see how others have made the transition. Draw up a business plan, map out your hours and talk to others who've done the same. Not every side hustle is meant to be a main source of income. It's much better to find that out before you quit your job.

Start saving

Unless your side hustle is booming, you might end up making less money (at the start) than at your 9-to-5 job. This can be a source of stress and anxiety, so give yourself a runway by saving up a few months' worth of wages.

Do the work upfront

There are so many things to keep track of when becoming a solo entrepreneur: taxes, marketing, networking, legal documents, new clients. Save yourself the stress by handling most of this before you leave your job. You'll know you're ready when your side hustle is chugging along, making good money and demanding so much of your time that you can't juggle both a 9-to-5 and side hustle. This likely means working long hours, but it will all be worth it when you start working for yourself — setting your own schedule, finding your own clients and building your own wealth.

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a senior features writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

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