How to Make Money With a Side Hustle

You’ve put in the time, hard work and stress from four years of college, and you finally landed your first full time job! Perhaps you have some free-time in between your 9-to-5 that you’re looking to fill. Maybe your starting salary isn’t quite what you would have hoped, and you’re dreading student loans. Or maybe you’ve found yourself in a not-so-fulfilling entry-level job and you’re looking for a creative outlet.

We’ve got you covered with a handful of ways to side hustle, all while getting paid:

Related: 4 Reasons Why Having a Side Hustle Can Actually Advance Your Career

1. Freelance Writing

One of the most obvious and popular side gigs is freelance writing. Whether your full-time job is already in the editorial world or not, writing is a great way to build an online portfolio of work, and is a key skill that is needed in a majority of industries.

Not all writing gigs are paid, but if you do your research, you can find news sites looking for paid writers, such as ATTN: and Inc.. The topics you can write about are endless: hard news, entertainment, lifestyle, op-eds, you name it! However, writing doesn’t end at traditional online or print publications—you can lend your skills to marketing and advertising companies looking for copywriters as well. Some of the best sites to get started finding work include Freelancer and Upwork.

This is a side job that can be done completely from the comfort of your own home and allows you to make your own schedule (just as long as you can handle deadlines!). Once you complete a few assignments, you can put together your own website to showcase your work to the public. Some of the best sites for easy portfolio creation include Squarespace and Wordpress.

2. Photography

Is your Instagram profile top-notch? Were you the friend who took photos of every noteworthy event in college with a professional-quality camera? Maybe you can get paid for it.

There are many reasons people need to have professional photos taken. You can capture headshots for aspiring actors or LinkedIn profile pictures for business professionals. Once you start building a portfolio, you can take pictures at events in your area or at family gatherings. 

Stephanie Page, a 2012 graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design, embraced her talent for the visual arts. While balancing a 9-to-5 job as a television producer with a side job as a professional photographer, she says, “I quickly learned that if you’re going to spend the majority of your days working, it’s imperative to love what you do. At times, I may have 70 hour work weeks, but I have never dreaded an hour of work in my life.” While she’s very passionate about her full-time job and notes that it has provided her stability, she has also found a way to turn one of her hobbies, photography, into a side job and a second source of income.

3. Babysitting/Nannying

Who says the only side hustles out there are in the creative fields? Babysitting is a great way to make some extra cash, because the hours typically change every week/month, giving you some flexibility. Plus, who wouldn’t want to play with kids for hours and watch the Disney Channel? Babysitting is a big responsibility that should be taken seriously, but if placed with a great family, it can be a fun and rewarding experience.

Marisa Shapiro, a 2013 graduate of Tufts University, describes her positive experience working part-time as a nanny, saying, “I love it because the hours are super flexible. I use Care.com, so I can respond to the families I want to, and families can reach out to me easily. Plus the kids sometimes make me art, which is adorable!”

4. Fitness/Dance Instruction

Were you extremely active in high school or college? Ever taken a SoulCycle class and imagined yourself as the instructor? Getting certified as a fitness or dance instructor not only helps those in your class, but has obvious benefits for you as well!

Saniya Waghray, a 2015 graduate of Babson College, balances a full-time job at Walt Disney Studios (job goals!) with a Bollywood teaching gig in her spare time. In order to prepare, she became certified in Zumba, and notes that the training helped her with the fitness aspect of dance classes. She says, “I started doing it because I really wanted something to keep me grounded and sane while everything else was changing in my life, like moving across the country and starting a new job. Dance has been a constant for me my whole life, and I especially love Bollywood."

5. Job/Resume Coaching

You went through the process of perfecting your resume and applying for internships and jobs yourself—maybe you have some advice to impart onto others! If you were the friend in college who looked over other people's resumes and cover letters to check for formatting and grammar, consider starting a side business where you can get paid for it.

Sarah Sax, a 2014 graduate of the University of Southern California, started a side business right out of college, helping people with their resumes, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles, called Write for The Job. She says, "My journalism background [in college], which trained me to write clearly and succinctly, enabled me to help my friends include personality and originality in their resumes. I love writing about other people and having their individual stories be reflected in their professional materials." Regarding how she finds time to put into this job, she says, "Balancing it with my full time job isn't difficult because I am careful with how many clients I take on per week. Doing this allows me to deliver quality results to all of my clients."

6. Food/Retail Industry Jobs

Working in a bar/restaurant or retail clothing store is a great option for making some extra cash, because oftentimes managers are understanding of your schedule and can provide part-time opportunities to work on nights and weekends.

Rebecca Cuthbertson, a 2013 graduate of Hofstra University, reflects on her positive experience working part-time as a barista at Starbucks and the skills she gained from that job. She says, "[Starbucks] values soft skills in their employees, like customer service and using their experience to make someone's day just a bit brighter. The most important thing I took away from that experience was to talk to your managers/supervisors. They are there to support, help, and guide you. That has been integral for me in the past and no doubt will continue to be as I look to further my career in the food and beverage industry."

7. Unpaid Side Hustles

While most of the ideas above can help you make some extra cash, there’s no question that any side project or hobby, even one that’s NOT paid, can add great benefits to your life. An unpaid activity may allow you to gain experience to boost your resume, build contacts and help you explore your different passions. Some examples include blogging on a personal website, joining an organization in your area such as a college alumni club, volunteering for a non-profit on the weekends and taking classes online or in person to increase your skills in a certain area. 

In a Forbes article discussing how to find purpose in your 20s, career coach Ashley Stahl (watch her TED talk!) notes some of the benefits of pursuing a side job, saying, "...creating a side hustle is a great way to dip your toe into new opportunities without quitting [your job] ... In fact, one in three millennials already have their side gig up and running and are reaping the benefits, and the freelance industry is more robust than ever."

There is no doubt that juggling a side job with one that is full time can be extremely time consuming, and you may find yourself sacrificing some happy hours and other social gatherings in your life. However, with focus and a clear goal in mind, they can provide you financial stability and bring you that much closer to your career and life goals.