Make the Most of Your Spare Time: Land the Ultimate Side-Gig

You’re a responsible person. You probably have a main source of income, and work hard to keep it. That said, not everyone is fortunate enough to have one job pay all our bills. If you’re among them, and overtime isn’t an option at your main gig — open yourself up to the exciting world of side-gigs.

Generally speaking, side gigs are any odd jobs you can take on that, in themselves, wouldn’t be dependable or well-paying enough to earn a living. That said, the effort they require is often considerably lesser than your typical 9–5, and either way, you’d be earning more. By investing varying levels of effort and talent during your spare time, you could do more than earn an extra chunk of change every month — you could be building lasting stability.

First, you need to figure out which options are on the table: What’s out there for your skill-set?

Are You an Accomplished Professional? Set Yourself Free

Whether you’re a lawyer, a programmer, a copywriter, a graphic designer or a beautician, there are clients out there willing to pay for your expertise, and who cannot pay to hire a team or company. If you’ve always wanted to pick and choose your own projects, consider freelancing or consulting for private clients on the side (assuming your work agreement did not include a non-compete clause). Best of all, you’ll be building your reputation for a possible foray into self-employment in the future.

Spare time required: Between 5–20 hours per week

Potential payoff: $1000-$3000 per month

Got a Unique Talent? Share it

You’ve probably heard the saying, “If you’re good at something, never do it for free”. Think hard: There’s probably a couple of things you do significantly better than others. Are friends always complimenting your desserts, your fashion taste, your vast local knowledge, or even your meticulously clean home? Find your forte and run with it, by offering to teach it to others — or even do it for them.

If you’re particularly stylish, offer closet consultation services. If you make a mean pie, bake 5 extra ones to sell each week. You can even take it a step further and offer monthly workshops, or take the time to write thoughtful guides and e-books, then sell them to interested parties. Since you’re truly great at what you do, you’ll see demand swell in no-time.

Spare time required: Between 2–10 hours per week

Potential payoff: $500-$1000 per month

Spend All Your Time Online? Make it Count

Bet you never thought your Instagram addiction could be lucrative — but it can. Many side gigs await those who live online: Try affiliate marketing and get paid to share product recommendations online on Social Media or on another influential platform; start a blog and earn money through advertising and guest posts; or help emerging brands get a leg-up on Social Media by managing their Facebook, Twitter and Snap Chat feeds during your spare time. This may be the most difficult side-gig to get off the ground, but if you manage it, you’ll be immersed in the content you love, and making money for it. What could be better?

Spare time required: Between 5–10 hours per week

Potential payoff: $200-$1,000 per month

Additional Side Routes

If you’ve read this far and haven’t had a “Eureka!” moment, we can suggest odd jobs that suit a wide range of individuals. First, consider signing up to participate in focus groups — where you would essentially be paid for your time and opinions. Secondly, you could score a job as a mystery shopper, getting sent to various retailers and businesses, to later report on customer service. Another option would be to enlist as an Uber, Lyft or Via driver, to pick up extra cash during your idle hours using only your car (and driver’s license). Finally, consider moonlighting by running errands for busy people, using an app like TaskRabbit. The best thing about these jobs is that you can make as much — or as little — as you want with them, choosing to work few or many hours, or pick up few or many assignments.

Spare time required: Between 2–5 hours per week

Potential payoff: $100-$300 per month

Branching out onto side gigs can cause anxiety about how to best use time, and whether it will impact your main job. We can’t tell you how to live your life, but we recommend choosing a side gig you won’t have to keep a secret from those around you, including your colleagues. However you see your next side gig, remember that it can unfold as more than an opportunity to earn more money in the short term. If you’re lucky, it can uncover a hidden passion that leads to a lasting revenue stream in the long term. So keep an open mind — and don’t forget to save some of that extra cash for a rainy day.


Originally published at gochange.co on December 15, 2016.

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