Side Jobs

Any work that you do outside of your regular, full-time position is considered a side job — a supplemental source of income coming from extra work you're finding time to fit in. A side job can be a fun and productive way to spend time away from work, but it can also be a drain on your time and energy when it's not the right position for you.

What Is a Side Job?

Most of us have a single source of income, our primary job that we’re (hopefully) doing full time. However, for a lot of people, they may want to pursue other challenges in different arenas or make some extra cash to pay down debt or bolster their investments. Whatever the reason, the right side job can be rewarding both financially and for your career.

The ideal side job will usually be related to an activity or hobby that you’re likely to pursue on your own time anyway. If you’re looking for a side job that will suit you, consider examining how you spend your spare time first. If you’re interested in woodworking or painting, it may be a relatively easy move to reposition your hobby as a second job by selling the furniture you make or looking for jobs painting houses on weekends.

The unfortunate reality, though, is that for some, a side job is a necessity to cover their bills. While tough times can often mean taking on more work, it’s important to remember that too many responsibilities can lead to you burning out, especially if your side job isn’t personally rewarding. If you’re having trouble making ends meet and none of your hobbies or out-of-work activities present good options for extra money, it may be a better idea to re-examine your budget and make cuts before you opt to take on a side job solely for the money.

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Types of Side Jobs

There are a lot of different types of side jobs you can use to supplement your income and/or pursue new opportunities.

Second Career

Your side job may be the first step in pivoting your career. If you’re interested in jumping into a different field, you might prefer easing the transition by building experience in your new profession on the side while working full time at a job you know is more stable. That way, you can benefit from the extra income and be sure you’ve established yourself in the new career before completing your move.


Plenty of us have a passion for something other than what we do for work, and that can usually make for an ideal side job. Even if you have no intention of pursuing it as a career, exploring ways to turn your favorite hobby into an additional income stream can make a lot of sense, particularly if it’s an activity you plan on investing time in anyway.

Professional Development

You may also pursue a side job as a way of building skills you intend to put to work at your main job. You might want opportunities to develop management skills or learn how to function in a different space in the same industry that your current job isn’t providing. In those cases, taking on extra work and making extra income can serve to both help you advance your career and make more money.

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About the Author

Joel Anderson is a business and finance writer with over a decade of experience writing about the wide world of finance. Based in Los Angeles, he specializes in writing about the financial markets, stocks, macroeconomic concepts and focuses on helping make complex financial concepts digestible for the retail investor. You can also catch him in the series “Invested” on the GOBankingRates YouTube channel.

Joel Anderson holds shares in Ford, Walmart, Verizon, AT&T, the Guggenheim Solar ETF, the United States Oil ETF and various other broad stock ETFs. Read more.