21 Side Jobs That Pay More Than $20 an Hour
With a bustling full-time job, it can be hard to find side gigs that pay well.
Sure, you could fold T-shirts at a local shop to earn a few bucks. But how can you find a part-time job that will really take a bite out of your bills?
Here are 21 flexible side gigs that pay over $20 per hour.
1. Freelance Writing
In August, Nicole Dieker earned $6,649 as a freelance writer. While she works full time, you can also make a nice chunk of change as a part-time freelance writer.
PayScale says the average rate for freelance writers is nearly $26 per hour.
Here’s a list of sites that pay $100 or more for a post, and another list of sites that pay $200 or more. You can even earn some cash writing about your favorite ways to save and earn money for The Penny Hoarder!
If you don't mind getting your hands dirty and putting in some physical work, landscaping can pay quite well. If you can operate heavy machinery, you can earn even more.
In my area, landscaping jobs often start at $20 or more per hour. But many of these opportunities are offered through word-of-mouth, so be sure to ask around.
Check Craigslist and local online bulletin boards for one-off gigs, or contact a local landscaping company to see if they need an extra hand on weekends during their busy season.
Be sure you have all the licenses and insurance you need, and always be careful connecting with unknown clients.
3. Graphic Design
An eye for design can earn you over $22 per hour on average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You'll need good computer skills and a great eye for design to succeed at this gig.
4. Massage Therapist
Earn your Certified Massage Therapist license, and then earn money on the side doling out massages and working weary muscles.
You may be able to get part-time shifts at a local health club or work as an independent contractor through a local massage studio. You can earn nearly $60 per hour, according to Payscale.
If you're bilingual or multilingual, consider offering your language skills as a translator. You can be an on-call translator for legal and medical services, or set up steady gigs ahead of time.
Interpreters and translators earn a mean hourly wage of $23.71, according to the BLS.
6. Sign Language Interpreter
Many events provide interpreters for their hard-of-hearing clientele. If you're fluent in sign language, consider getting certified and licensed by your state. Then look into opportunities translating on stage at events, in courtrooms and in classrooms.
If standing on stage isn't your thing, consider translating at mediation hearings and other smaller meetings. You can earn around $36.50 per hour with this job, according to FlexJobs.
I've tutored on and off over the years, and I was able to make well over $20 an hour. If you know your math, science and other subjects well, consider sharing your skills with students.
The more advanced and specialized the subjects, the more money you're likely to earn. Advanced math and science courses (such as Advanced Placement Calculus, Advanced Placement Physics, etc.) typically earn the highest rates, which can be up to $75 per hour, according to Care.com.
8. Test Prep Instructor
Kaplan and other companies look for skilled test-takers to teach students how to succeed at important exams, including the SAT, ACT, MCAT, LSAT, GRE and GMAT, among others.
Generally, you'll need to take a sample test to prove your testing prowess and perhaps even do a sample lecture to prove you can communicate well.
Instructors can earn $21 or so for an SAT course and up to $32 an hour or more for the GMAT exam, according to GlassDoor.
9. Personal Shopper
Busy people often need help shopping for gifts and other items. Working as a personal shopper and helping people select the best items is a great way to earn some extra cash. Plus, you can earn up to $33 per hour or more as a personal shopper, according to Payscale.
If you’re looking to be a personal shopper who also works as a stylist, having a fashion background is key. You can often get your foot in the door working in a department store or boutique and then gain the skills to work on your own -- where you can set your own rates.
10. Etsy Seller
Cash in on your crafty creations on Etsy. One woman earns $70,000 per month with her creations (which she now outsources to a team).
While you might not make quite that much, more 30% of Etsy’s sellers make a living from their creative work.
11. App Designer
If you know your way around an app, consider designing one and cashing in. This can even be a form of passive income. This man earns over $6,000 per month from the Bible app he created.
Kids always need loving caregivers, and working as a nanny is a great way to work with kids and make extra cash.
While some nanny jobs are full time, you can often find a part-time, weekend or nighttime gig, especially since school-aged kids may only need a few hours of attention in the afternoon.
Rates for part-time nannies in affluent areas typically start at $20-25 per hour, according to Care.com.
13. Personal Chef
Cook up a storm and fill your pockets with cash by working as a personal chef. Set up a weekly gig at someone’s house a few nights a week, cook a series of freezer meals for a client or work special events, crafting creations for individual tastes and needs.
Personal referrals are a great way to get these gigs, which pay an average of over $20 per hour (up to $45 or even more), according to Payscale.
When people have weddings and other large events, they'll need a crew to help set-up, serve and clean-up after the meals. Be ready to work evenings and weekends for this gig, and be prepared to work overtime for extra cash.
In my area, these gigs often start at $20 per hour, but they're generally word-of-mouth. Ask around, check out Craigslist and ask local restaurants if they may need a hand with events.
Pick up a few shifts a week as a bartender to round up some extra cash. Coveted weekend evening shifts are usually the most profitable and often go to employees with seniority, but you may be able to pick up a few.
Consider bartending at weddings and other events. You'll need to have some experience and know how to mix drinks, and many states require bartenders to have a certification.
One New York City hotel starts bartenders at $26 per hour, which doesn't include tips, overtime or other perks.
16. Personal Assistant
Drop off dry cleaning for your client, get their car's oil changed, take their dog for a walk and pick up a birthday gift for their friend -- these are just a few things you may do as a personal assistant.
But running these errands can pay off, with personal assistants earning up to $25 per hour, according to Payscale.
The best way to get the highest-paying gigs is generally through word-of-mouth. Posting an ad or answering ads on Craigslist and other job forums can also help connect you with people in need of assistance.
Snag a gig in a high-end restaurant and you can have an evening or weekend job that will pay off in serious cash tips. Serving generally pays the best, but hostessing or other jobs can also pay well.
In the town where I live, many professionals will even pick up a night shift or two during tourist season; they can earn hundreds of dollars an evening at some of the high-end restaurants in town.
18. Yoga Instructor
Teach yoga to aspiring yoginis to earn an average of $24.37, which can go up to over $49 per hour, according to Payscale.
To get started, you’ll need to take a teacher training class. The most basic is typically 200 hours and includes training, instruction and a final exam. You can then advance your skills with higher-level courses.
19. Fashion Consultant
An eye for fashion and cutting-edge styles will get you far as a fashion consultant. Many high-end clients want somebody to help them look sharp and trendy.
Personal referrals are a great way to get these gigs, which can pay $50-500 per hour according to one industry blog.
20. Dog Walker
Take pups out for their walks and earn money up to over $20 per hour as a dog walker, according to PayScale.
You can either work for yourself or work for a dog-walking company. You should have plenty of experience handling all different types of dogs and be physically fit and able to confidently control the dogs when you’re out walking.
If you work for yourself, you can make the most at this gig. If you can handle a few dogs at once, you'll be able to earn even more. But be sure to have all the insurance you may need.
A good way to start is to advertise your services at local pet-related businesses, such as groomers, boarding facilities, doggie daycares and pet supply stores.
21. Makeup Artist
Style bridal parties' makeup, prepare theatrical stars for their big performances and get people ready for special events as a part-time makeup artist.
You can make $23.50 per hour or even more helping people get ready for their big event.
Your Turn: Have you worked any of these jobs on the side? Was the money what you expected?
Kristen Pope is a freelance writer and editor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.