Side Gigs: Turning Free Time Into Dollar Signs

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Selling baked goods and unwanted items is a great way to get quick cash, but when you’re in need of a steady income stream to help knock down extra debt or save up for a big trip, it’s hard to beat side gigs. Instead of the hassles and frustration that can come with a part-time job, side gigs offer scheduling freedom and little oversight, letting you pack in online training or transcription at Money maker sites for online education sessions whenever you want or find the skills and knowledge that set you apart and parlay those into real income.


Everyone learns some skills as they go through life; sometimes we even do so in spite of ourselves. Those hobbies you had as a teen, the skills you learned in the scouts and even the chores you had to do as a kid can provide inspiration for skill-based side gigs. Think about what you’re good at, those things you really enjoy spending your time doing or what you think you enjoy more than most and determine how to turn them into extra cash.

If you know how to change oil or replace drum brakes, you’ve already got a marketable skill that people will pay to use. For other ideas of skill-based side gigs, consider:

  • Mowing lawns and landscaping, an old chestnut, but one that can pay very well.
  • Babysitting, the other chestnut of side gigs that will always be in need.
  • Pet-sitting services, especially if there’s one kind of animal you truly know and love.
  • Handyman work. People with limited time or abilities need skilled assistance.
  • Deliveries, if you have a car. Not just newspapers or pizzas.
  • Housekeeping. Few people want to wash things and clean; many would rather pay.

Specialized Knowledge

Life also gives us the opportunity to gain a lot of specialized knowledge. The expertise we develop just paying our bills, filing our own taxes and managing a household budget is often exactly the type of knowledge that busy professionals are likely to seek. Think about what you know more about than any of your friends and family. Your personal passions and experiences can help drive you to a knowledge-based side gig that fits your needs perfectly.

While few people have the skills and patience to be a full-time programmer, if you already tinker in this field, you may find listings on Craigslist for those who need a little help with computer training. You might even be able to put your personal knowledge of software like Microsoft Office and Excel to work creating spreadsheets for budget values and income statements in Excel-University for businesses. For other knowledge-based positions, think about:

  • Researching. Research assistants are in high demand, and many set their own schedules.
  • Tutoring. In many cases, the ability to pass a few tests and interviews is the biggest hurdle. Having a certificate goes a long way to full-time employment. State laws vary.
  • Training. Training is skill-based tutoring. Even if you no longer have the steady hand to do the job, you can still help others with your experience.
  • Creating your own blog. You’ve got the time and knowledge, and advertisers can deliver the money.
  • Instructional videos. The advanced form of blogging. With a decent camera and microphone, you can create an income stream that helps others learn the things you know.


Maybe the landscaping companies, professional housecleaning services, and learning centers in your area have you feeling beat to the punch. Maybe you just don’t feel that your skills and experience have yet reached a marketable level. Perhaps you spend all of your time playing and sharing on social media, and no one is going to pay you for that, right?

Do you know a guy? Do you know a guy who needs something? How about a guy who can do that thing? Networking side gigs are all about hooking people up with goods or services. And yes, you can get paid for it. You can earn real money, and good money at that, as you develop your skills and knowledge. Consider putting your social talents to work by:

  • Merchandising. An ever-growing number of companies outsource the setup of merchandise in retail stores to part-timers looking for side gigs.
  • Prospecting. Many small businesses outsource prospecting and lead generation to freelancers. Check local listings for cold-calling and similar prospecting opportunities.
  • Becoming a personal assistant. You can find plenty of people in local listings looking for someone to help manage their time and act as a gatekeeper for their daily tasks.
  • Joining affiliate programs. Think of the goods and services you already buy. Check their offerings for programs that reward you for spreading the word.
  • Mystery shopping. It may not seem like networking, but you’re the quality mechanism that ensures everything goes smoothly. Search for local gigs you’re comfortable taking.

Determining what your side gig is really worth at Earnest should help you figure out how much time you’re willing to invest. If it is something that you truly love doing, and you can make money doing it, you might just find yourself with a new career. If not, you have a great way to spend time away from your day-to-day grind that can help pay off lingering bills and give you a leg up if you ever decide to switch fields.

About the author:

Avery-Taylor Phillips is a magnificent freelance writer. You can contact her @

Side Gigs: Turning Free Time Into Dollar Signs. Do you have side gigs to make money online at all? Please, do share your comments below…

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