Whether you want to save for retirement, pay off debt, or have extra spending cash, supplemental income can help you achieve your financial goals faster. Simply put, supplemental income refers to money that’s earned in addition to your regular income. For instance, if your salary is $40,000 a year, supplemental income is anything you’re paid on top of that, whether it’s from a side job or an investment.
Additional income can be earned through your employer with avenues like overtime, bonuses, back pay, and commission. Be sure you understand supplemental income tax in those cases. Most of the time, supplemental income refers to when people find easy ways to make extra money outside of their regular job. From selling crafts to walking dogs, there are plenty opportunities to earn side income, no matter your skills or background.
No matter what you choose, supplemental income can help you improve your financial standing more quickly and give your budget a healthy buffer. As inspiration, we compiled 37 supplemental income strategies and second job ideas.
Tips for Building Supplemental Income
Before diving into supplemental income streams, keep in mind a few key details to help you be most successful. Review our expert tips below.
Understand Your “Why”
Determine your motivation for wanting supplemental income in the first place. Is it to save money for a downpayment on a house or a dream vacation? Is it to payoff your debt or save more for retirement? Getting crystal clear on your goals will make you more focused and successful in earning additional money.
Once you know why you want supplemental income, estimate how much you’ll need every month to achieve your goal. As an example, if you want to stock away an additional $5,000 this year for a downpayment, you need an extra $417 per month. When you start with a monthly dollar amount in mind, you can build a targeted supplemental income strategy to achieve just that.
Play to Your Strengths
As with any job, it’s important to do something you enjoy and are proficient at. When those two elements are in place, you’ll be more motivated to work and make money. You’ll also produce better results if you’re doing something that leverages your talents and strengths. For instance, if you’re an outdoorsman, you may excel at being a trail guide, but not necessarily at designing websites.
When building your supplemental income streams, consider your skills, hobbies, experiences, and education. If you need help generating ideas, ask your family and close friends what they see as your strengths. You can also take an online test that helps you hone in on your strengths and interests, like the High5Test or StrengthsFinder 2.0.
Use Your Network
The best way to start building a side income is to reach out to the people you know — your friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances. Let them know the services you’re offering and when you’re available. Your inner circle might connect you with additional people who could be good leads for your side business.
Once you have a base of people who know about your services, your network will naturally expand and reach more individuals. So, start small with who you know and grow from there — keeping your initial marketing costs to a minimum.
37 Supplemental Income Ideas
Luckily, no matter your skill set or experience, you can find something that earns you extra cash every month. Our 37 ideas below will offer you inspiration for the best ways to make money on the side, including ways to make extra money online and in person.
- Babysit. Use your evenings and weekends for watching children in your neighborhood and community. Sign up for an online platform like Angie’s List to spread the word beyond your network of family and friends.
- Give lessons. Your expertise — whether it’s climbing, swimming, or hunting — can be transformed into a lucrative side business as an instructor. Offer lessons on your own or collaborate with a gym or community center.
- Dog walk. Offer to walk dogs on a weekly basis or when neighbors go on vacation. Some people will pay a pretty penny — plus, it’s a fun way to exercise.
- Design websites. Have skills as a graphic designer, programmer, or web designer? Assisting with a web project is one of the easiest ways to make extra money online.
- Become an adjunct professor. Many community colleges, trade schools, and local universities hire instructors to teach a class or two each semester. Subject areas include everything from statistics and chemistry to plumbing and archery.
- Sell your creations online. Have a crafty side? Consider opening a shop on Etsy or ArtFire. Put your crocheted blankets, homemade cards, and handcrafted jewelry on the market.
- House sit. When folks go on vacation, they may need someone to watch over their house or pets. Get paid to collect their mail, mow their lawn, take their dog for a walk, and look over their property.
- Tutor others. Help someone improve their skills or knowledge. While you can tutor in the traditional subjects of math, science, and language, there are even tutoring opportunities in less conventional areas like video games.
- Lease out a room. If you have a spare bedroom, consider renting it out for a three, six, or twelve-month lease. Websites like Rotatingroom allow you to lease out your room to medical students who need a place to stay for short stints.
- Be a driver. Join up with Uber or Lyft to take people from point A to point B. If you enjoy cruising around the city and meeting new people, working as a driver can be just as fun as it is lucrative.
- Offer photography services. People hire photographers for weddings, family photos, senior portraits, and more. If you own a high-quality camera, market your services to family, friends, and on social media.
- Play music. Get a professional gig at a bar, restaurant, or wedding — or play the piano as background music in a lowkey cafe.
- Clean houses. Consider providing cleaning services to individuals and families in your area. All you need is a few basic cleaning supplies to get started.
- Be a barista at a coffee shop. Looking for second job ideas that fit with your work schedule? Barista shifts are often available in the mornings, day time, weekends, and evenings — making them ideal for pairing with another job.
- Resell items. Shop for discount items at a local store, garage sale, or second hand shop, then resell them online for a higher price.
- Write a book or eBook. Jot down your stories and knowledge in a book. Self-publish your words through an online platform like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing for a quick way to start earning side income.
- Teach an eCourse. Create an online course through a website like Teachable or Udemy. Once you build your modules, you’ll receive income for every person that registers to take your class.
- Paint houses. Do you know how to prep a bedroom or bathroom for a paint job? List your painting services on a website like Angie’s List or market yourself to family and friends.
- Edit and proofread. Knowing the ins and outs of grammar or APA style can make you an ideal candidate for an editor or proofreader job. From community grants to full-length novels, help others polish their words.
- Start a landscaping business. Mow lawns, shovel driveways, plant flowers, or rake leaves for extra cash.
- Complete online surveys. Market research companies pay users to fill out surveys about everything from kitchen supplies to the type of cereal you eat. Sign up with websites like Global Test Market and MySurvey to start earning for each survey you complete.
- Advertise on your car. Place an advertisement on your car with Wrapify or StickerRide. Earn hundreds of dollars every month by simply driving your normal routes.
- Provide trade services. Leverage the skills you have. Mechanical, electric, and plumbing contracts can quickly increase your cash flow.
- Partner with affiliates. Build supplemental income through affiliate partnerships on your blog or social media account. By promoting a certain product to your readers or followers, you earn a percentage of each purchase made.
- Be a guide. Turn your recreational hobby into an enjoyable second job. You can be a fly fishing guide or lead groups on backpacking trips.
- Participate in research studies. Opportunities to assist with research studies are nearly endless in the areas of science, medicine, psychology, food, and drink. While it may not be one of the most well-known side job ideas, you can make a good chunk of change by dedicating a few hours of your time.
- Sell plasma. Get paid per donation based on the volume you donate. Each session usually takes less than two hours.
- Start a hobby farm. Fruits and vegetables can be sold at a roadside stand or the local farmers’ market. If you raise chickens, you can sell your farm fresh eggs.
- Translate documents. Fluent in a second language? Sign up to be a translator on a website like Upwork or Gengo.
- Sell items you no longer use. Gather your unneeded belongings — whether that’s old clothes, home appliances, or sports gear — and sell them on eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace.
- Test websites. The functionality of a website plays a large role in how well a business or online store runs. Sites like UserTesting and Userfeel pay you for each website you review.
- Be a model. You don’t have to live in New York or Los Angeles to make money as a model. Audition with a local agency and earn extra income posing for advertisements, catalogs, or TV commercials.
- Launch a YouTube channel. Build a following on YouTube by posting videos regularly (weekly or biweekly) on a certain topic or theme. For every one thousand views, advertisements can generate a few dollars, making this an effective strategy for supplemental income.
- Sell refreshments. During high demand times, like carnivals, summer beach days, and festivals, provide cold beverages and snacks to passersby. Check the regulations in your area to determine if you’ll need a permit.
- Build a firewood stand. If you own property with trees, consider chopping your fallen wood and bundling it together. Sell your fireword by the side of the road or at a gas station.
- Become a TV or movie extra. Filming for movies and television shows happen across the world. Register with a local casting agency and get paid for each taping session.
- Open a consulting firm. Organizations hire consultants for varied projects in the realms of business, marketing, writing, and human resources. You might assist a business in streamlining their processes or boosting their earnings through social media avenues.
The beauty of supplemental income is that you can dedicate as much or as little time as you want to your side job. You can spend two, four, or twenty hours per week earning additional income. The amount of time you spend can ebb and flow based on your personal and professional commitments. The flexibility allows you to control how much time and energy you exert, which will directly impact the amount of money you make, unless you’ve established sources of passive income.Most of the supplemental income ideas we listed above require a low start-up cost, giving you the chance to try a few before settling on the ones that work the best for you. No matter what you choose as your supplemental income stream, know that it will help you achieve your goals sooner and give you more financial stability.