Best side jobs for extra cash

Photo illustration showing one of the best side jobs for extra cash photography

Who doesn't want a little extra money each month? The best side jobs or “side hustles” are popular ways to earn cash quickly, but it's also a fact of everyday life for many Americans now. According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 6.1 million U.S. workers are “involuntary part-time workers” or those who would prefer full-time employment but can't because their hours have been cut or they can't find full-time employment.

To find the best side jobs you need to be armed with enough information to avoid scams but also a sense of whether its a match for your particular skills and situation. For example, if you have small children and care is either unavailable or prohibitively expensive, things you can do from home in the off hours (nap-time, evening) is essential. To help, we've researched gigs that offer flexible hours, a reasonably simple way to get started, and what appears to be a fair wage. Our methodology is a subjective look into the benefits of each side job using the three factors we deemed most important:

  • How easy is it to sign up?
  • How much money can you make?
  • How easy is it to get paid?

We rated each of those elements on a scale of 1-5 (1 was the most challenging to land, or least-paying job opportunity, and 5 was the easiest to land and highest-paying job opportunity).

Editor's note: Our choices are not meant as a promotion for any of the websites/companies listed in the article. Some opportunities are spotlighted throughout the article, appearing in more than one category, because of the diversity of offerings on their website. The goal is to give a comprehensive overview of the best ways you can earn extra cash. In some instances, we personally registered for the websites to give the most accurate assessment possible.

Here are our top-ranked side jobs for extra cash that almost anyone can take advantage of.

Best Side Jobs For Pet Lovers

Two girls with three dogs


1. Care.com (for pet care) – Average rating overall: 3.67


  • On-boarding: 2
  • Money: 4
  • Ease of payment: 5

On-boarding

The on-boarding process is fairly quick with care.com: You follow the automated system through several windows asking basic questions. A few of the options regarding your profile are clearly up-sells, though, which is a definite turn-off in our book. For example, “You'll get more visibility if you pay $9/month.”

When you complete the entire profile, the care.com team will review your information before they clear you through the system. Once you are on-boarded, there are even more up-sells, like the ability to take a background check for more credibility.

Money

We liked that care.com allows you to choose your availability: “Do you want to work occasional, part time, or full time?” Pet care rates on care.com average $11.25/hour.

Ease of payment

Getting paid appears to be incredibly easy on care.com. You can choose your preferred payment method: credit card, cash, personal check, PayPal or direct deposit.

Side Note: Care.com sends a lot of e-mails to your account after registering, so be aware of this if you're spam-averse.


2. DogVacay.com – Average rating overall: 3.33


  • On-boarding: 3
  • Money: 4
  • Ease of payment: 3

On-boarding

The process of on-boarding seems a bit easier than care.com's process. There are fewer up-sell options and required actions to take after on-boarding that inhibit you from actually getting started. Basic on-boarding with dogvacay.com requires you to:

  • Submit photos of yourself
  • Include multiple photos of your home
  • Add info and photos about your resident pets

Money

Dogvacay.com states that you can earn up to $1,000/month or $30/night. (An extra $1,000 is a pretty sizable chunk of change.)

Ease of payment

The payout appears to be relatively limited with dogvacay.com. PayPal is the only option they provide for payments.


And if you need to open a savings account for your side income, consider these options:


Best Side Jobs For Writers or Creative Types

Woman composing document on computer


1. (Tie) Skyword.com – Average rating overall: 3.00


  • On-boarding: 2
  • Money: 4
  • Ease of payment: 3

On-boarding

Skyword.com is a great vehicle for writers who have established their reputation to some degree. The on-boarding process consists of creating a typical profile and adding writing samples.

With Skyword.com, you cannot apply for gigs as a writer right away. Rather, Skyword will assign them to you based on your portfolio and current online success, which makes it a bit more challenging to land jobs on this site.

Money

The payout is good once Skyword starts assigning opportunities to you. “Fluffy” articles pay around $25-$50, and more research-intensive articles pay upwards of $400-500.

Ease of payment

Writers are paid through PayPal.


1. (Tie) Ebyline.com – Average rating overall: 3.00


  • On-boarding: 1
  • Money: 4
  • Ease of payment: 4 (because of frequency)

On-boarding

Ebyline makes it very clear that they will not accept just anyone. Approximately 2,000 freelancers have been approved by the Ebyline staff, which probably means that work is more abundant and of high quality with a smaller pool of available talent.

To be on-boarded with Ebyline, you will need to be even more established as a writer than with Skyword.com. Ebyline's profile requires a writer to have been published to at least 3-4 major publications, with work repeatedly being published.

Money

Prices for content are about the same as Skyword, $25-$500+. But the amount of work, once accepted, seems greater.

Ease of payment

Writers are paid weekly through Paypal. And although Paypal is a limited payment source, the weekly payouts are nice.


1. (Tie) Fivrr.com – Average rating overall: 3.00


  • On-boarding: 5
  • Money: 1
  • Ease of payment: 3

On-boarding

Of the sites we researched, one of the easiest sites to register for was fivrr.com.

Money

Perhaps the ease of registration mitigates the fact that there is less money to earn. As the name “Fivrr” suggests, all projects are worth $5. The money is not great, but the jobs are in abundance, and are relatively easy to land.

Ease of payment

Workers are paid through Paypal. Just think: Five jobs on fivrr.com can result in some additional stocking stuffers for the kids.


2. Crowdsource.com – Average rating overall: 2.67


  • On-boarding: 3
  • Money: 2
  • Ease of payment: 3

On-boarding

You can easily make a profile during the on-boarding process for Crowdsource.com; but in order to accept work, you'll need to pass tests to earn qualifying rankings. An example of a test might be a basic U.S. English test.

The more tests you complete, the more work for which you can apply. The positions you apply for clearly outline which tests you will need to take.

Tests are free, but they can be time-consuming.

Money

Payment for services appears to be relatively low. Of the assignments offered to me upon initial registration, $10/task was the highest rate I saw.

Ease of payment

Participants are paid through PayPal.

Best Side Jobs For Off-Beat Life Experiences

Crowd of people


1. (Tie) Wwoof.net – Average rating overall: 4.00
(World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms)


  • On-boarding: 3
  • Money: 4
  • Ease of payment: 5

Wwoof.net is an organization that matches candidates with international farm work. Much of the work offered through wwoof.net is abroad, which makes it great for the adventurous soul, but it also requires some additional work up front like the need to obtain a visa.

On-boarding

Signing up for wwoof.net typically costs a small fee (anywhere from $0-$72 depending on the program), which immediately makes it more of a stretch than other options. If you find an opportunity that suits your needs, you will also need to throw down for the travel expenses. If you have the money up front, though, on-boarding is pretty easy. It's just a surprise to learn about the fees, which actually exclude many hopeful candidates.

Money

What you earn is based around the opportunity you've decided upon. Most of the opportunities provide housing and meals, which is a great deal of course. Some opportunities provide a small stipend in addition to room and board, which is even more significant.

Ease of payment

Because your workplace is also your employer, payments will be given to you directly by your employer — which seems pretty easy.


1. (Tie) RV Park Host – Average rating overall: 4.00


  • On-boarding: 3
  • Money: 4
  • Ease of payment: 5

On-boarding

Being an RV host is perfect for anyone looking to explore the U.S. with limited obligations to tie them down. Applying for an RV host is much like applying for a traditional job.

Money

As an RV park host, the site you are hosting will offer you free lodging, either an RV site or a cabin, in exchange for maintaining the campground and responding to the needs of guests. Oftentimes the campground will offer stipends or reimbursements for your food.

Ease of payment

As an employee of the campground, you will receive a traditional paycheck or direct deposit.


2. Crowdsondemand.com – Average rating overall: 1.33


  • On-boarding: 1
  • Money: *3
  • Ease of payment: n/a

Crowdsondemand.com is a service that allows organizations to buy crowds for their event. The Atlantic recently wrote an article about how Donald Trump uses the service to lure larger turnouts for his speeches.

On-boarding

This seemingly easygoing opportunity actually proves rather difficult to on-board for, unless you have actual acting experience.

The signup process is easy enough — you just fill in your name, e-mail address, professional portfolio, and why you are interested in the program. The catch is that crowdsondemand.com is highly selective about whom they let in. Because of their need for discretion, crowdsondemand.com is looking for actors, primarily, to come on board.

Money

* The Atlantic piece wrote that actors were paid $15/hour to $50/day.

Ease of payment

I was unable to get on-boarded, so the payment process is a bit of a mystery.

Best Side Jobs For Finicky Schedules

Caregiver playing with baby


1. Care.com (for other caregivers) – Average rating overall: 3.67


  • On-boarding: 2
  • Money: 4
  • Ease of payment: 5

On-boarding

As noted above, the on-boarding process is fairly quick with care.com. You follow the automated system through several required windows that ask basic questions; but we found the policy of up-selling to ensure that your profile gains more visibility if you pay $9/month to be a negative.

Once you have completed the entire profile, the care.com team will review your information before they clear you through the system. Again, once you are on-boarded, there are more up-sells like the ability to take a background check for more credibility.

Money

We liked that you can easily choose your availability — occasional, part-time, or full-time work. Care.com reports average babysitting rates at $12.50/hour, and child care rates average $13.00/hour.

Ease of payment

It appears to be incredibly easy to get paid on care.com. You can get paid by credit card, cash, personal check, PayPal or direct deposit.


2. Rideshare driver: Uber.com, Lyft.com – Average rating overall: 3.00


  • On-boarding: 2
  • Money: 3
  • Ease of payment: 4

On-boarding

Uber.com and Lyft.com share many requirements when it comes to the on-boarding process: You must be 21 years of age (or older), must own a smart phone (iPhone or android), eligible drivers will pass a DMV check and national/county background check. Additionally, to be a driver you'll need a state issued driver's license and social security number. The car you will be driving must have four exterior door handles and at least 5 seat belts. Different states have different age restrictions for cars. On-boarding is a bit lengthy, but at least it's paid for by the company.

If you don't have the appropriate car or smart phone, Uber.com offers services to help you acquire what is necessary to be a driver — although that assistance may come at a cost.

Money

Lyft states on their website that drivers can earn up to $35/hr. and Uber claims drivers can earn up to $22.70/hr, though the location you are working in will likely adjust this rate. Some ride share companies offer a bonus upon initial sign up.

Ease of payment

Lyft deposits money into your account each week. Uber's payment method is not clearly stated on their website.

Related: How Many Jobs are Too Many Jobs
Related: Side Jobs Versus Day Jobs

Readers, what are your experiences finding good side jobs? Please offer your suggestions. We'd love to keep adding opportunities to the list!

More about...Side Hustles, Career

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Paul
Paul
4 years ago

I would go for online, I am into writing and it has more opportunities.

Alex Welk
Alex Welk
4 years ago

I have been making a bit of extra money on Fiverr, and just to correct the misconception about it being only $5, the gigs just start at $5. It does require a little creativity, but if you can find something you’re willing to sell at $5 that also has an upward range, you can do add-ons. I write short pieces for people’s tabletop rpg games. My ‘add-ons’ include additional pages, getting the commercial rights to the writing, and a faster than normal turn around. I’ve been pretty happy with it, and I credit this blog with encouraging me to branch… Read more »

Claire
Claire
4 years ago
Reply to  Alex Welk

Yes, but you don’t make the $5 minimum from each gig. For each $5 gig you do, Fiverr keeps $1. Also when you first start out, you can’t do add-ons or anything other than $5 gigs until you start getting ratings. I’ve looked into Fiverr, but $4 per gig is just too low for me to waste my time.

Alex Welk
Alex Welk
4 years ago
Reply to  Claire

Weird, Fiverr let me start doing add-ons from the get-go but maybe that was because my initial gigs were custom orders based on the commissioners request? If so, that might be a useful way to skirt that initial ruling if you thought it worthwhile to give it a try. It works well for me since I want to be creating content anyways to eventually package into booklets and content This way I get paid along the way and someone gets exactly what they need. I will concede that the chunk fiverr takes out is a bit steep and rather annoying.… Read more »

Your Living Body
Your Living Body
4 years ago

Eh. It seems like these all require you to trade your most important thing – time – for money. How about something that is passive?

Ryan Takach
Ryan Takach
4 years ago

Dividend, bond, rental and royalty income are the only truly active opportunities. Honestly, earning passive income requires up-front capital, without that you have to trade your time for money. Unless you wrote a song, source code, or some other type of licensable intellectual property you won’t be able to get trade your time today for long-term passive earnings in the future. Most online income opportunities involve trading your time (completing surveys, writing articles, etc.) for non-recurring cash payouts. Even if you created a website that had affiliate links to Amazon products you’d still have to invest a tremendous amount of… Read more »

Ryan Takach
Ryan Takach
4 years ago
Reply to  Ryan Takach

Where I said “active” I meant passive

Randy Conley
Randy Conley
4 years ago

What is the website address for RV Park Host???

Carla
Carla
4 years ago

I found UserTesting.com to be a decent way to earn extra money. You basically review websites for various business and you record (verbally and on screen) your user experience based on specific questions. The testing phase is very quick (10-15 minutes) and you earn $10 for each test you complete. In less than two months I’ve earned about $150. Payment is direct to your PayPal account. The downside is you may not qualify for every, if not most tests. You also have to be near your computer (already working from home, etc) to get to the tests on time before… Read more »

Keri
Keri
4 years ago
Reply to  Carla

We use user testing.com for usability tests at work and I love the results. Participants cost like $50 now where they used to cost $700-800 per participant so it’s cheaper for us and easier for you guys! Win win!

Jeff
Jeff
4 years ago

Crowdsondemand.com sounds so shady, just like anyone who hires from such a service.

Also how much of that money being made by Uber drivers goes right into gasoline and wear and tear on their car? C’mon, only fools believe that it’s “ride sharing” rather than an illegal taxi service and that these drivers are only picking up people who happen to be going the same way as them.

Kyle
Kyle
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff

But if you believe they’re only picking people up who are going the same way as them, then there is no additional wear and tear on their car than would already occur, correct?

Chris
Chris
4 years ago

If you write frequently and dedicate tons of time to getting better at the art, you can make a decent amount of money at it … great list!

Jake
Jake
4 years ago

5$ bucks a project seems a bit low. There are plenty of other sites out there that give you the option of charging what ever you want for your services. This makes the pricing more competitive though…

Nick
Nick
4 years ago

I think another good resource for those who like to write content would be to look at http://jobs.problogger.net/. There are several different types of writing jobs available.

Allyson
Allyson
4 years ago

Thanks very much for the article! Great suggestions in the comments as well!

Reelika @Financially Wise on Heels
Reelika @Financially Wise on Heels
4 years ago

Thank you for sharing this information and really painting the picture! I had heard many of these opportunities but some of them were news to me! I always look for opportunities to make some extra cash, especially around the holidays.

Centsai
Centsai
3 years ago

This was such a great post to read! Care.com is a great website for all sorts of jobs! Not only do they have jobs for child care(babysitters and nannies) and pet care (pet sitters, dog walkers, grooming and training), but they also have home care services (house sitters, errand runners, and housekeepers) and senior care! I do have to agree with you on the emails though, quite an excessive amount!

Lenders Club
Lenders Club
3 years ago

Hi,
I read your article and really nice.
Thanks you for sharing this information

Desi H
Desi H
3 years ago

I think the post is precisely written on what all jobs can be done and how you can kill the boredom. These jobs definitely helps you to become financially independent and earn a little extra.

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