Here Are the 13 Best Second Jobs — Plus What You Need to Land One

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Are you thinking about taking on a second job?

Sometimes called “side hustles” or “side gigs,” they can be a great way to supplement your income to pay off bills, grow savings and have some extra cash in your wallet. Also, these gigs might lead to opportunities to develop new skills or explore your passions.

But before you sign up for part-time work or dive head first into an independent-contractor gig, you have to think about which side jobs are best for you. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to find the right second job — plus 13 gigs to consider. 

How to Find the Right Second Job

Here are some specific questions to ask yourself about a gig and your situation when hunting for a second job.

Will This Gig Interfere With My Day Job?

When searching for the best second job for yourself, make sure it will not cause conflicts with your regular job. The last thing you want to do is get fired from your day job in pursuit of a second job.

Every company is different, and some may have strict guidelines on what you can and can’t do regarding side hustles. Take some time to look through your company’s employee handbook or schedule a meeting with your human resources manager to find out for sure. Once you figure out that you can do a second job, look for ones that can be done during your off hours.

How Flexible Is Your Schedule?

Although you may be able to find a second job that has some schedule flexibility, you also need to be willing to make changes to your personal schedule. This means being willing to do your side gig before or after work or eliminating nonessential activities.

McKinzie Bean, who runs the website Moms Make Cents, recommends recording your schedule for one week to find which events, like bingeing on Netflix on a Tuesday night, you can cut.

“Just see which pieces you’re willing to give up because it is going to take some sacrifice to get to that point where your business is growing,” she says. 

Will You Need Additional Training?

When narrowing down your list of potential second jobs, keep in mind that not all gigs will be available right away. Some jobs may require a specific skill certification. Some industries have official certifying bodies that conduct competency tests that allow people to work within a field for a period of time.

If you don’t have a certification needed in your field, factor in some extra schooling or studying before opening up shop.

“They’re looking for reasons to hire candidates,” says Tim Gates, senior regional vice president at Adecco Staffing. “So if they see anything that’s relevant to their industry, to their company, to the specific position, it’s definitely going to help to make that candidate more attractive.”

One way to learn additional skills is by signing up for massive open online courses. These 100% online courses can be completed at your own pace, offering online certifications in personal branding and social media literacy.

Having these certifications shows employers that you have ambition, says Robin Colner, director of Fordham University’s certificate program in digital and social media.

“It shows a desire and an understanding of the marketplace, which every employer wants,” she says. 

Where Do You Want to Work?

So, where do you want to conduct your second job? Are you interested in being an assistant in an office, a sales associate in a store, a server in a restaurant or a ride-share driver in your car?

If going to another business after work to do your second job doesn’t sound appealing, then consider looking for a work-from-home job. Check out The Penny Hoarder’s Work-From-Home Jobs Portal for jobs such as customer service associates, part-time English tutors, transcriptionists and much more. 

What Are You Looking for in This Job?  

Ask yourself what you’re trying to get out of your side gig. Are you trying to find a second job that pays a lot of money, expands your skills or explores a passion? What if you don’t know what job is best for you?

If you don’t know where to begin, write down your strengths on a piece of paper and what you’re looking for in a second job. This piece of paper can be a reference point to help with in your search to find your marketable skill.

In addition, consult your friends and coworkers to find out what skills they think you excel at. Their observations may help you figure out which job is best for you.

“Until someone else sees that [skill] in you, you don’t realize it’s a unique skill or a skill [other] people are having trouble with,” says Sol Rosenbaum, who runs The Engineering Mentor, a website that helps engineers develop interpersonal skills such as communicating and collaborating.

The Best Second Jobs

If you don’t already have a specific side gig in mind, here are some second-job ideas to consider. These jobs are broken down into categories, including service industry, smartphone apps and work-from-home.

App-Based Gig Jobs

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Thanks to smartphones, app-based gig jobs have risen in popularity in recent years. Companies such as Uber and Lyft, Rover and GrubHub make it easier for people to accept jobs on the fly and work a flexible schedule. Here is a breakdown of some of the more popular gig jobs involving smartphone apps.

1. Ride-share Driver

Turn your car into a taxi on your terms. Try driving with Lyft!

Demand for ride-sharing has been growing like crazy, and it shows no signs of slowing down. To be eligible, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old with a year of driving experience, pass a background check and own a car made in 2007 or later.

We talked to Paul Pruce, who had been driving full-time with Lyft for over a year and earning $750 a week as a driver.

Best of all, he could do it on his own time. You can work days, nights or weekends — it’s up to you.

Because it’s easy to switch between apps, Lyft drivers often also sign up to drive with Uber.

2. Grocery Shopper

Not comfortable with driving strangers around? How about picking up groceries instead? Shipt and Instacart are two services that deliver supermarket essentials to a customer’s door. Drivers for the services receive an order, go to the store, pick out the items and drop them off.

Destiny Frith of Nashville, Tennessee, told The Penny Hoarder she earns about $600 in a 35-hour workweek as a Shipt shopper.

3. Meal Delivery

Luckily, there are other food-delivery options for people who don’t want to wait in the deli line for someone else’s cold cuts. With meal-delivery services like Uber Eats, Grubhub and DoorDash, drivers will pick up customers’ take-out orders from restaurants and deliver the items to them.

According to Uber Eats, the amount of money drivers earn depends on several factors, such as when they work, demand for deliveries and tips. Drivers earn pickup, drop-off and trip mileage fees. Uber takes a cut of the overall payout, but drivers keep 100% of their tips.

Like traditional Uber, surge pricing can boost your pay during popular times, and Uber’s Instant Pay feature lets you access your pay from trips immediately after they conclude — for a 50 cent fee each time — up to five times per day. 

FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM

4. Dog Walking  

If you’re looking for a flexible, independent way to earn money — and you love hanging out with dogs — Rover might be your perfect gig.

The online network connects dog walkers and sitters to local dog owners through its 4.9-star-rated app, so you don’t have to staple flyers on every utility pole across town.

Rover says top sitters earn an average $450 per month.

Rover dog-sitter requirements vary by location. In general, you must:

  • Be 18 years or older.
  • Pass a background check.
  • Have access to the Rover app (iOS or Android).

Here’s how it works: You’ll create an online sitter profile where you’ll answer questions about your experience with puppers and your schedule availability. 

You can choose to offer a variety of services, including dog walking, overnight boarding at your home or theirs, and daycare. Boarding is the app’s most popular service, so offering it can get you more gigs. You set your own rates. (Rover keeps a small percentage as a service fee.)

Dog owners will reach out to you. Accept which gigs you want, then start snugglin’ pups. As soon as you complete a service, you’ll be paid within two days.

5. Odd Jobs

For those who are a little more handy around the house and don’t want to be stuck in a car all day, think about putting your odd-job skills to good use.

TaskRabbit, a service that connects workers with people who need help at home, lists a variety of tasks that people can accept, including assembling furniture, mounting TVs, cleaning and more.

According to Brittany Benson, a TaskRabbit spokeswoman, “Taskers” in the United States earn an average of $35 per hour. Check out our overview of how to make money on TaskRabbit.

Service Industry

The service industry depends on people looking for extra work as servers and bartenders. The hours and pay can vary, so make sure these shifts will not interfere with your day job.

6. Restaurant Server

Since most servers rely on tips, do your best to find busy restaurants that have expensive food and drink. That way, you have a better chance to get a more lucrative tip at the bottom of the receipt. Restaurant servers earn $8.33 per hour, including tips, according to a The Penny Hoarder analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.  

7. Bartender

You may need some previous experience behind a bar before getting a gig serving cocktails. Bartenders earn $11.54 per hour, including tips, according to a The Penny Hoarder analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. If you have the necessary know-how to become a bartender, try out these 16 tricks to maximize your tip income.

8. Fast-Food Worker

Working in a fast-food restaurant is a common first job for high schoolers, but now may be the time to give it another shot.

Some of the biggest fast-food chains have added more benefits for their employees. McDonald’s announced in early 2018 that it was planning to expand its college tuition assistance program. A few months later, KFC started offering employees access to personal finance education and budgeting software. Fast-food workers earn $6.41 per hour, according to a The Penny Hoarder analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

Work From Home

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Work-from-home jobs are a great option if leaving your day job and going straight to another gig doesn’t sound appealing. These jobs offer the flexibility to do your duties from the comfort of your home office.

9. Customer Service Associate

These gigs come in many forms, requiring reps to resolve issues for customers on the phone and by chat and email. Fields include technology, health care and finance. Customer service jobs require patience, a desire to help people and a proper computer setup. Check out the customer service jobs available on The Penny Hoarder Work-From-Home Jobs Portal for more information.

10. Freelance and Creative Writing

So you have a way with words. Why not get paid to use them? You can find opportunities to get paid to write copy and original creative writing pieces. One of the ways to make your writing more in-demand is to focus on a specific niche or topic, such as finance or technology.

Also, stay away from writing for sites and services that pay little per article. Those articles usually need to be written in a hurry and are not worthy to be clips in your professional portfolio.

If you’re interested in getting paid for your original creative writing pieces, then sign up for a submission-management website, such as Submittable or Duotrope, says Jerrod Schwarz, a creative writing professor at the University of Tampa and a managing editor of Driftwood Press Literary Magazine.

Here’s a breakdown on how to make more money as a freelance writer and a list of magazines that pay for creative writing submissions.

11. Teaching English as a Second Language

If you’re a former teacher looking to make some money from home, you should check out VIPKid, Qkids or Italki. These companies connect U.S. instructors with students who want to learn English.

According to the Qkids website, most online teachers work 10 to 20 hours per week and earn between $16 and $20, including loyalty bonuses.

Jennifer Ross, a former schoolteacher who now works for VIPKid, told The Penny Hoarder in 2018 she makes more than $520 working 24 hours a week.

12. Online Tutoring

Another teaching opportunity available outside the classroom is online tutoring. Several companies give educators a chance to help students while working from the comfort of home.

Tutors with Chegg, for example, earn $20 or more per hour teaching grades 6-12, college and working professionals in topics such as calculus, computer science, zoology — and more.

Most companies require teachers to have a bachelor’s degree or be working toward one. But not all companies, like Tutor.com or Yup, require previous teaching experience. Here’s a roundup of work-from-home online tutoring companies.

13. E-Commerce Seller

Maybe you’re not interested in working in a service-industry gig and want to explore your crafty side. Thanks to the popularity of platforms like Etsy, eBay and Facebook Marketplace, craft merchants and small business owners have an outlet to sell their goods.

Etsy seller Lena Gosik-Wolfe encourages new sellers to do their due diligence in the beginning by obtaining the necessary tax documents, business licenses and web domain for their companies before making a first sale.

“It’s better to take it seriously and get that stuff in order from the start rather than having to go back and fix it later on,” she says. If you’re considering selling on Etsy, here are five more tips to help boost your sales.

In addition to Etsy, craft sellers can open up online stores using Amazon and Shopify. One of the benefits of selling on Amazon is the sheer number of people who use the site every day.

The downside is that there’s increased competition from people selling similar products. An upside is that sellers have access to features such as Prime and Fulfillment by Amazon.

Shopify is another option for sellers who prefer control over their online store to merely listing their goods on a large aggregate like Etsy. Shopify is user-friendly for sellers who aren’t especially tech-savvy, offering more than 100 free, customizable online store templates. Find out more about different e-commerce services here.

Matt Reinstetle is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.