Need a Side Hustle? These Second Jobs Can Boost Your Income

Woman working at coffee shop as a second job
Photo: shapecharge / Getty Images

The number of American workers with second jobs has risen steadily over the past two decades, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: 7.8% of workers held multiple jobs in 2018, compared to 6.8% of workers in 1996.

A second job—sometimes called a “side hustle"—can be more than just a way to pad your bank account. Find the right gig, and you can pursue your passions, build skills for your resume, make connections, or try out a new career field without leaving your current position.

Thinking about finding a side hustle? Here’s an overview of your options, tips on finding a second job, and a list of possible job titles to pursue.  

Tips for Finding the Right Second Job

There are plenty of gigs out there but finding the best one for you takes some strategizing. Here’s how to make an informed decision about extra work.

Make Sure You Can Manage It

Before starting your search, think carefully about whether taking on a second job is the right choice for you. Make sure that you have enough time in your schedule to balance two professional commitments. If you have a busy, stressful first job, be cautious about adding a second job to the equation.


It may make more sense to consider looking for a new, higher-paying, full-time position rather than to look for a second job to supplement your income.

Also, make sure the money is worth the loss of free time. Weigh the pros and cons of a second job thoroughly before beginning your job search.

Look for Flexibility

Most of the second job ideas listed below don't require a full-time commitment and offer the flexibility to work around your schedule. The trend in hiring is toward contract and part-time employment, so you will find plenty of flexible job opportunities available.

In fact, many job applications will ask when you're available to work. Some employers will let you work from home, while others will offer weekend scheduling. In many cases you will be able to work around your full-time job schedule.

Be Flexible

When searching for a second job, you also need to be flexible yourself. If possible, consider jobs that involve working nights and weekends. These are jobs that fewer people want, so you are more likely to get hired.

Think About Location

You might also want a job with a flexible location. Perhaps look for jobs that allow you to work from home or apply to jobs at stores near your house for an easy commute.

Make a List of Your Interests

If you aren’t sure what kind of job you want, make a list of your interests. Is there a skill or passion you have that you are not able to develop in your current work? Perhaps this an opportunity to do it. Similarly, if there is a company whose product you are passionate about, you might look for a job with them.

Consider the Skills You Need to Develop

If there is a skill that is important to your first job, and which you feel you could improve, perhaps try to find a second job that will help you enhance that skill. Also, if you ultimately hope to switch career field, pick a job that will help you develop the skills needed for the new field.

Search in Multiple Ways

Spread the word in your network (through in-person conversations, on social media, via email, etc.) that you are looking for work. Look for part-time jobs online. Also, consider visiting companies you are interested in and asking if they are looking for part-time help.

Beware of Scams

Many online scams promise part-time jobs that are too good to be true. Be wary of any job that asks you to deposit a check, or that asks you for your credit card or other highly personal information (such as your Social Security number).

Types of Second Jobs

Below are five general categories of second job. Keep in mind that these categories do not cover every possible position–there are many more opportunities.

The 5 best types of second jobs, including freelance and seasonal jobs.
 The Balance

1. Freelance Jobs

freelance job involves completing work or projects for multiple companies rather than working for one company at a time. Companies often hire freelance writers, editors, graphic designers, data-entry specialists, and more.

The good thing about freelance jobs is that your hours are typically flexible–you can choose to take a job whenever you want the work and the money. You can also do most of these jobs at home.

2. Service Industry Jobs

Service industry jobs involve doing some sort of work for customers. Service jobs in the restaurant industry include host/hostess, waiter/waitress, busser, etc. Other service jobs include sales associates in retail and customer service representatives at call centers. The benefit of these jobs is that they are often part-time, and your schedule can be flexible. You can also try to find a service job at a restaurant you particularly enjoy, or in a store that you shop at.

3. Seasonal Jobs

Finding a seasonal job is a great way to make money during a period of the year when you have more free time. Seasonal jobs include working as a delivery person during the holidays, seasonal retail jobs, summer festival jobs, resort jobs, tour guides, summer camp positions, tax season positions, trail maintenance workers, and more.

4. Caregiving Jobs

Working as a nanny or babysitter of young children can be a great way to make extra money and have a flexible schedule. You can also look for caregiving jobs for adults, particularly the elderly, or people with disabilities who need a variety of assistance.

5. Starting Your Own Business

Another option is to start your own business rather than working for a particular company or companies. Starting your own business takes time and effort (and often a lot of money too), so this won't be ideal for everyone. However, if you are passionate about a project, you might decide to experiment with this route.

This option allows you to be in charge and gives you some flexibility in terms of your hours. Consider working in a business or franchise that in time you might start yourself, having gained industry experience. For example, if you are thinking of opening a pizza shop, gain some insight to the challenges and requirements by working for an existing shop prior to risking your capital.

Note that these categories do not include every kind of second job. Read the list below for even more examples of good second jobs.

More Second Job Options

A - Z

  • App Developer
  • Bartender
  • Blogger
  • Bus Driver
  • Business Coach
  • Cashier
  • Child Care Provider
  • Cleaner
  • Coach
  • Coder
  • Companion for the Elderly
  • Construction Worker
  • Consultant
  • Continuing Education Teacher
  • Craft Creator
  • Customer Service Representative
  • Data Entry
  • Delivery
  • Dog Walker
  • Driveway Sealer
  • Driving and Courier Service

E - M

  • eBay Reseller
  • Editor
  • Event Planner
  • Fitness Instructor
  • Flea Market Seller
  • Futures Trader
  • Graphic Designer
  • Grounds Maintenance
  • Home Health Worker
  • Host/Hostess
  • Hotel Front Desk Clerk
  • House Cleaner
  • Landscaper
  • Lawnmower
  • Lifeguard
  • Mediator
  • Medical Billing Service
  • Medical Transcriber
  • Musical Performer
  • Mystery Shopper

N - Z

  • Night School Teacher
  • Painter
  • Party Planner
  • Personal Coach
  • Pet Groomer
  • Pet Sitter
  • Pet Walker
  • Photographer
  • Programmer
  • Proofreader
  • Property Manager
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Restaurant Server
  • Retail Store Worker
  • Search Engine Evaluator
  • Security Guard
  • Senior Care Provider
  • Snow Removal/Plowing
  • Social Media Manager
  • Teaching Music Lessons
  • Telemarketer
  • Ticket Sales
  • Trader
  • Transcription (Medical or Legal)
  • Translator
  • Travel Agent
  • Tutor
  • Video Editor
  • Virtual Assistant
  • Waitstaff
  • Warehouse Worker
  • Web Designer
  • Wedding Photographer/Videographer
  • Wedding Planner
  • Weekend Landscaper
  • Writer
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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. Census Bureau. “Using Administrative Data, Census Bureau Can Now Track the Rise in Multiple Jobholders.” Accessed April 16, 2021.

  2. Lawrence F. Katz and Alan B. Krueger. “The Rise and Nature of Alternative Work Arrangements in the United States, 1995-2015,” Harvard University, Princeton University, and NBER. Accessed April 16, 2021.

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