Updated June 30, 2020

How to Make Side Cash with Flexible Hours

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Having a second income stream can be an important stepping stone to reaching financial goals once thought far off.

Are you sick of living paycheck to paycheck? Do you wish you could save more money?

A second income can help out a lot. And it's not as hard to achieve as you may think.

Learn why it's important to have multiple income streams. Read on for some of the best second income ideas you can start today.

Why You Need a Second Income Stream

Nearly half of Americans make under $50,000 a year, and even many high earners live paycheck to paycheck (according to recent Nielsen data).

If money is always tight, you may consider a second stream of income. Any extra money can help improve your financial standing.

Here are some ways a second income can help:

Active Income vs Passive Income

When looking for a second income, you have two options: active income or passive income.

  • Active income is money that you earn as a direct result of the hours you worked. Some examples of this include freelancing, driving for Uber, or tutoring.

  • Passive income is money you earn when you're not actively working. Some examples include rental income, profits from a business, or investment income.

In some cases, passive income may require upfront investment (like buying stocks). Passive income may also take some time. For example, if you start a blog, it could take a while to earn steady money. But then, you'll make money while you sleep.

On the other hand, you can get started on making active income almost right away. So this may be the best fit if you need a money stream right away.

In many situations, an active income may lead to a passive income. For example, if you start a blog, writing posts and posting to social media may be your day-to-day tasks. However, over time, you can build up a passive income by earning money from affiliate links, ads, and sponsored content.

Second Income Ideas

You don't need a revolutionary idea. Think about your current hobbies and skills and how you can offer that as a service to others.

To give you some inspiration, here are some popular options for second income streams.

1. Freelance Writer / Editor

Freelance writing is one of the most convenient side hustles. All you need is decent writing skills, a laptop, and an internet connection. In most situations, you'll be able to set your own schedule.

Your earning potential will depend on how much experience you have. In general, experienced writers and editors can make $30 - $40 an hour, or more.

If you are knowledgeable in certain niches, you can earn even better rates. This could be writing technical guides, white papers, business plans, etc.

You can find freelance writing jobs through platforms like Upwork and Freelancer. But a downside is that the platform will take a portion of your earnings. You can also find and pitch your own pieces to different outlets or companies. However, this requires much more effort on your part.

2. Virtual Assistant

If you are organized and have good communication skills, this job may be a good fit for you.

Virtual assistants (VAs) do everything from running social media accounts to scheduling appointments. You don't need special skills, though you should be proficient in basic computer programs.

This job also has a lot of potential for growth. New VAs average around $15-$20 per hour. As you get more experienced and learn more skills, you can earn more. Advanced VAs can even earn up to $80 an hour, depending on the clients.

Some common VA tasks include:

  • Calendar management
  • Travel arrangement
  • Inbox management
  • Editing and proofreading
  • Content research
  • Social media management

3. Website Designer / Developer

If you have an eye for design, a side job as web designer can be quite lucrative.

As a web designer, you'll be responsible for the visual design, user experience, mobile/desktop responsiveness, and more. You'll need to know how to use programs like Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Webflow.

In addition, if you know coding, you can combine the skills and add on web developing.

Freelance web designers average around $30 - $40 per hour. Web developers average about $50 - $80 per hour.

4. Real Estate Agent

Did you know that many real estate agents actually start out part-time? The job is quite flexible if you're willing to work odd hours.

Realtors work strictly on commissions. The average realtor commission is 2.5%-3% of the sale price (after splitting with the broker). If you sell a house or two every couple of months, that's a nice chunk of extra income.

However, it takes a lot of work and an initial investment to get your real estate license. And you can work for weeks showing houses, but if the client doesn't end up buying, you won't be paid.

In order to become a realtor, there are several requirements:

  • Meet state licensing requirements
  • Complete required real estate license courses
  • Pass the state exam
  • Submit a license application
  • Find a real estate broker

5. Start a Blog

A blog is a great way to potentially earn passive income while working for yourself. You'll need a solid foundation in writing and editing, as well as a stream of new and interesting ideas.

It'll take a lot of hard work and don't expect earnings right away. As you build an audience, you can start to earn an income from affiliate programs, ads, sponsored content, and more.

In general, having a niche will make more money than a "general lifestyle" blog. Don't be afraid to get super specific. Even a blog solely about camera equipment can make big money.

If you're a teen looking for more online money-making opportunities, don't miss this list of online jobs perfect for teenagers.

6. Paid Surveys

Paid surveys can be an easy way to earn extra money while watching TV on the sofa. All you have to do is share your thoughts and feelings on certain subjects. Then you can get rewards such as cash or gift cards.

Try some of these reputable survey sites:

Earnings will vary with each website. For example, Survey Junkie pays $1 to $3 per survey on average, while Swagbucks pay $0.40 to $2 per survey. Inbox Dollars could even pay up to $5 per survey.

7. Small Home Business

You can run your own small business from your house. If you are crafty, you can sell refurbished items, your own homemade items, or flip used goods.

You don't even need to sell physical things. You can sell digital products like custom fonts, clothing patterns, Lightroom presets, and card designs. The ideas and possibilities are endless.

Etsy and eBay will allow you to start selling right away. If you grow larger, you can even create your own webstore through Square or Shopify. This is another very scalable idea.

8. Rideshare / Delivery Driver

Driving others around in your spare time is a great way to make instant side income. After passing a background check, you can start right away with Uber or Lyft. You just need a car that meets requirements.

You can earn more if you drive during peak times (weekday commute hours and Friday and Saturday nights). On a busy night, drivers can make a couple hundred bucks.

If you're rather not drive people, you can also deliver food for Uber Eats, Postmates, and Grubhub.

9. Rent Out Your Extra Space

Your unused space in your home can be a good source of consistent passive cash flow.

If you have a spare bedroom, you can rent it out. Or if you live in an area that gets a reasonable number of tourists, you can even put it up as an Airbnb.

Don't want to open your home to strangers? You can rent a part of your home as storage space. The platform Neighbor allows you to rent your room, garage, or parking space to store people's extra stuff. A garage in Los Angeles can rent for $100 - $200 per month.

10. Social Media Manager

Social media is necessary these days for the success of a business. A lot of small businesses may not know how to effectively use it or don't have the time.

If you're creative and know how to engage people online, you can manage businesses' social media accounts. It's best if you have a following on your own social media to show your ability.

Social media managers can earn between $20 - $50 per hour. Experienced managers for larger companies can earn even more.

If you're already good at developing your own following, you can even become a social media influencer. You can earn money with sponsored posts and ads.

11. Tutor

Do you have good knowledge in specific subjects? You can tutor students in subjects like English, math, science, music, SAT prep and more.

The best part is that you can do this online over Skype, so you're not restricted to only students in your area. Use a platform like tutor.com and Wyzant to connect to students.

12. Photo Editor

If you have a good eye for composition, color, and lighting, try your hand being a freelance photo editor. You need to be proficient in photo editing software like Photoshop and Lightroom. Practice as much as you can and have a good portfolio.

A lot of industries need photo editing for their websites, social media, and print media. The best places to start looking for jobs is on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr.

Other Second Income Ideas

Here are 10+ more ideas for different side hustles you can get started on immediately. You can combine ideas for multiple streams of income.

13. Voiceover actor
This is super popular right now. Voiceover actors are needed for everything from dubbing to online courses to video games. You can start by advertising your services on Fiverr. You will need to invest in some basic equipment.

14. Online language teacher
Teach a language over Skype. Even if you don't know another language, you can teach English. Use a platform like VerbalPlanet to connect with students.

15. Design logos
Are you artistic and creative? Try your hand at designing logos, business cards, etc. 99designs allows you to bid on jobs, but you'll only be paid if your design is selected.

16. Website tester
User Testing pays you to test websites and provide feedback. You'll need a microphone to speak aloud your thoughts. It pays $10 for every 20-min test.

17. Home daycare
This is perfect if you already look after your own young children at home. You can advertise daycare services to other new mothers in the neighborhood.

18. Personal trainer
If you love working out, help train others. You can either align yourself with a gym, make home visits, and/or even start a fitness YouTube channel.

19. Offer expertise
If you have expertise in a field (like law, finance, medicine, electronics, plumbing, etc.), get paid to answer questions on JustAnswer.

20. Part time house cleaner
Platforms like Housekeeper lets you find cleaning jobs in your neighborhood. The jobs can be cleaning a whole house or just doing dishes. Many more well-off families are willing to pay well.

21. Handyman services
If you're good at physical work, find odd jobs in your area on TaskRabbit. It can be anything from moving boxes to assembling furniture to mounting a TV.

22. Transcriber
Good at listening and typing? Work as a transcriber in your spare time on TranscribeMe! Beginners start at $15 -$22 per audio hour. Those with a medical or legal background are paid a higher rate.

23. Dog walker
If you have very flexible hours, being a dog walker is a great way to make some extra cash and get your daily exercise. On average, a dog walker on the Wag! app makes $17.50 an hour.

24. Wedding officiant
Anyone can get ordained online. And then you can start a little side business as a wedding officiant. Officiants can earn $200 - $500 per wedding.

25. Live stream video gaming
If you're really good at playing video games, live stream on Twitch (which gets over 15 million daily active users). This could allow you to earn some money on an activity you already enjoy.

What Makes a Good Second Income

A second income should be more than just a job. It should be a scalable, flexible way to earn extra money on top of your current work. Consider these factors for success:

  • Enjoyable: If you'll be doing a second job in your spare time, you should enjoy it.

  • Flexible: If you have a full-time job, a second income will need to be flexible to work around your schedule.

  • Sustainable: If you want passive income, looking for work that will generate funds even when you're not technically working.

  • Growth Potential: When looking for a second income, you want to find a job that will grow easily and offer the ability to generate increasing amounts of income.

  • Cheap: It's important to not invest too much money in a second job so you can recoup your investments quickly and grow your funds.

What Experts Say

Making a living isn't always glamorous. Lots of people are afraid of getting stuck in unfulfilling jobs.

In an unpredictable job market, you don't have to go it alone. As part of our series on gig work and employment, CreditDonkey asked a panel of industry experts to answer some of readers' most pressing questions:

  • What does the future of work look like?
  • How does one begin to find their purpose?
  • What skills will always be in demand?

Here's what they said:

Bottom Line

When it comes to a second income, it's important to invest your time and money into a job that allows you flexibility, freedom, and scalability. Once you find your perfect fit, your potential earnings will only grow.

Write to Samantha Tatro at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

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