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13 Second Jobs That Will Help You Pay the Bills

Are you thinking about taking on a second job?

Second jobs can be a great way to make extra money, pay off bills, grow savings and have some extra cash in your wallet. Also, these second jobs might lead to opportunities to develop new skills, find more job options and explore your passions.

But before you sign up for a part-time job or dive head first into a side hustle, you have to think about which second jobs are best for you. With that in mind, here are 13 gigs to consider and some questions to help you find the right second job.

The 13 Best Second Jobs for Anyone

If you don’t already have a specific job in mind, here are some second job ideas to consider. These jobs are broken down into categories, including jobs that are app-based, in the service industry and remote.

  1. Ride-share driver
  2. Meal delivery
  3. Doing odd jobs
  4. Restaurant server
  5. Bartender
  6. Fast-food worker
  7. Transcriptionist
  8. Customer service associate
  9. Freelance and creative writing
  10. Teaching English as a second language
  11. Online tutoring
  12. Fitness instructor
  13. E-commerce seller

App-Based Jobs

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

1. Ride-Share Driver

Of course, ride-share driving has to top this list. Over the last several years, it’s become one of the most popular ways to earn extra income.

It’s not just a trend anymore. It’s a full blown industry with no sign of slowing down. Eligibility requirements – related to the minimum age of the driver and age of the car – for Lyft and Uber vary based on the part of the country you live in.

The average Lyft and Uber driver makes in the neighborhood of $30,000 per year, according to Indeed. The best part of the whole deal is you can do all the driving whenever you want. Work days, nights or weekends — it’s up to you.

2. Meal Delivery

Food delivery services have also exploded in recent years on the heels of ride-share service success. With meal-delivery services like Uber Eats, Grubhub and DoorDash, drivers pick up customers’ take-out orders from restaurants and deliver the items to them.

The amount of money drivers earn depends on several factors, such as when they work, demand for deliveries and tips. Drivers can earn pickup, drop-off and trip mileage fees and may keep 100% of their tips, depending on the company.

Delivering during peak hours and being smart about which orders you accept can boost your pay. At the end of the day or throughout, you can access your earnings immediately for a small fee.

Pro Tip

Don’t spin your wheels as a DoorDash driver. Use our top tips to maximize your earnings and put more money in your pocket faster.

3. 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.

On average, taskers earn $36 an hour and keep 100% of their earnings and tips. 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 — and wages have risen with staffing shortages. The hours and pay can vary, so make sure these shifts will not interfere with your day job.

4. 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 $16 per hour, including tips, according to Zip Recruiter.

5. Bartender

You may need some previous experience behind a bar before getting a gig serving cocktails. Bartenders earn around $14 per hour, including tips, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, you can make a lot more extra money, up to $50 per hour, by taking on freelance bartending gigs.

6. 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. Wages have gone up as the labor market changed and shifts may fit well with a 9-to-5 job.

Some of the biggest fast-food chains have added more benefits for their employees and offered hiring perks, such as signing bonuses, paid interviews and tuition assistance.

Getty Images

Work From Home

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 during off hours from the comfort of your home office.

7. Transcriptionist

If you like solitude, transcribing might be the perfect second job for you.

A transcriptionist primarily listens to recordings and converts them into text. Doctors and lawyers frequently use them, but there are many other industries that transcriptionists work in as well — journalism being one.

Many reporters may use transcriptionists to convert their interviews into text so they can include accurate quotes in their articles.

According to Indeed, transcriptionists make, on average, just under $19 per hour.

8. 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.

9. Freelance and Creative Writing

So you have a way with words. Why not get paid to use them? You can find freelance work opportunities and get paid to write copy and original creative writing pieces.

One of the ways to make your writing more in-demand and earn more 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 Duotrope.

Here’s a breakdown on how to get started as a freelance writer and a list sites that are willing to pay for your services.

10. 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 part time and earn between $16 and $20 per hour, including loyalty bonuses. The average lesson length is 30 minutes.

Jennifer Ross, a former schoolteacher who quit her job to go part-time with VIPKid, told The Penny Hoarder in 2018 that she made more than $520 working 24 hours a week.

11. 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.

12. Fitness Instructor

If your primary job is later in the day, a fitness instructor position — either online or in-person — might work perfectly as a second job for you. Many fitness instructors schedule sessions in the morning with their clients, allowing them to get some cardio or strength training in before the work day begins.

Fitness instructors come in all different types — from gym trainers to performance trainers to physique and group instructors. The average fitness instructor makes around $44,000 per year, according to Salary.com.

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.

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.

A female bartender laughs as she mixes a drink.
Getty Images

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 non-essential activities.

McKinzie Bean, who runs the website Moms Make Cents, recommends recording your schedule for one week to find which events, like binging 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, former 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 work 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 your search to find your marketable skill. Don’t forget about transferable skills.

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.

Matt Reinstetle is a former staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Senior writer Robert Bruce contributed to this article. 

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