Earn Side Hustles

The Best Way to Make Extra Money: 12 Side Job Opportunities

Rachel Cautero  |  January 16, 2020

What's the best way to earn extra money? From freelancing and telecommuting gigs to starting your own business, check our list of the best side jobs.

We’d all love to make a little extra money, right? And it’s possible if you’re open to freelancing, telecommuting or starting your own business. Many of these side jobs require nothing much more than a workspace and high-speed internet. You don’t have to leave your home to make some extra money.

But it’s not always easy to figure out the best side gig for your situation. How do you get a telecommuting job? What sites offer side job opportunities? Whether you want to freelance, telecommute or start your own side business, here’s a complete list of all the ways to bring in extra cash this year.

Side Job Success

To have a successful side gig, you need to have confidence in yourself — and your business. How do you do this? Pick something you love as your side gig and it will never feel like work.

Here is a list of promising side gigs that can be easy to get into and offer the possibility of making a nice chunk of extra money.

Start Your Own Etsy Store

If you’re creative or DIY-inclined, then starting your own Etsy store could be the perfect side gig. Whether you handcraft Christmas stockings or make hand-painted decorative letters, Etsy connects you to the right customer. Everything from shoes and clothing to vintage items and homemade deodorant-makers can find a home on Etsy.

To be successful on Etsy, great customer service is key. You’ll need to build encourage customers to write positive reviews and work on building a following of loyal customers to make money.

Become a Photographer

One of my favorite family photographs was taken by a woman who works in a doctor’s office full-time but takes photos on weekends and at night. While her rates are less than that of a studio photographer, she’s still making a decent side income.

To start your own photography business, you’ll need more than a point-and-shoot camera. You’ll need to have a high-quality camera body, a few different lenses and, at the very least, an understanding of shooting pictures in manual mode.

You can gain experience by working for free for other established photographers as either a second shooter or assistant. It’s a great way to see other photographers in action and learn how they interact with clients.

How much money you will earn with a photographer side gig business? Rates for photographers can run anywhere from $150 to $300 and beyond. How much you earn also depends on how much you hustle. Some photographers may do as many as four shoots a weekend.

Start a Food Business

If you love to cook, starting your own food business could be a great fit for making extra money. whether  you’re a baker or want to cook prepared meals, first you’ll need to research your state’s rules. Many states employ a cottage food law, with allows for the legal home processing and preparing of food. 

How much extra money you can make with a home-based food side gig varies. It depends on your local competition, market, skill level, and the time you commit to the venture.

Before you start, form a business plan that includes startup costs, supply prices, and how much you will price the items you produce. You can’t just start baking and selling; it’s a recipe for disaster.

Get Into the Pet Care Business

If you’re an animal lover, try starting your own pet walking or pet sitting side job. Pet sitters can command as much as $100 a day to watch other people’s pets while they’re out of town. If you’d rather stay at your home, check out sites like Rover or DogVacay.

Start Consulting or Coaching

Consulting and coaching jobs are in great demand right now. There are a ton of options in this field: success coaches, life coaches, retirement coaches, transition coaches, even career coaches. Check online for training programs that can help you with resources and finding clients. 

Some areas of coaching may require certification or credentials. For example, if you want to be an executive coach, you should have corporate leadership experience. If you’re interested in becoming a business coach, you should experience running your own business.

Another plus of coaching or consulting is that you don’t always have to offer your services in person. Many coaches also offer phone and/or email sessions.

Create an Online Course

Consider creating an online course, workshop, or seminar focusing on your area of expertise. If you’re willing to teach a live class, check with local schools or colleges. A local learning program or extension office could also have opportunities for you.

Website Testing

When a company launches a new website, they need real people to test them. The companies are looking for unbiased feedback on which parts work well and which ones don’t. Check out UserTesting.com for website testing opportunities, which pays $10 for every 20-minute video you complete.

Data Entry

Many companies need data entry, and it’s a great telecommuting job. To get a data entry side gig, you’ll typically need to take a test to prove your skill level. Average pay can run anywhere between $13 to $20 an hour.

Survey Taker

Do you have an opinion about everything? Then doing surveys as a way to earn extra money just might be for you. Many businesses rely on customer surveys to decide which products are meeting their needs — and which aren’t.

As a survey taker, you decide when you work, you don’t have to leave home, and you have the opportunity to make a healthy side income. Pay for surveys can range from $7.50 to $20 per survey.


Students of all ages turn to tutors to help with their schoolwork or to prepare for tests. If you’re a good communicator and have experience teaching, you could be a successful online tutor. You can offer your tutoring skills on social networks or find an online tutoring company to work for. 

Tutoring is the perfect telecommute job as you can work with students online using screen sharing, audio and video chat. Many teachers earn up to $50 an hour tutoring.


Proofreading is another excellent side job to make money. If you have strong grammar skills and a good eye for typos, you could find a job court reporting transcripts, proofreading for lawyers, medical professionals, college professors, even graduate students. According to the Editorial Freelancers Association, freelance proofreaders earn about $30 to $35 an hour.

When considering how to make extra money, it’s important to keep one thing in mind: You should always teach what you know. Most everyone is an expert in something, and people will very often be willing to pay you to learn what you do know.

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