10 Side Jobs for Freelancers


I’ve always been a firm believer in the idea that a bad economy shouldn’t doom a freelance career, as long as you’re doing the hustle.

Apparently, I’m not hustling enough.

My income first took a hit when the New York Sun folded almost a year ago, and was hit again when Nerve.com revamped their site about a month ago. Despite several copy editing projects and magazine assignments (both in print and online), my income has failed to recover.

Which is why I’m researching additional sources of supplementary income. After the jump, I share 10 side job ideas for freelancers:

1. Copy Editing and Other Torturous Activities:

I’ve been neglecting my copy editing background lately to focus on the work I enjoy the most: writing. I think it’s about time I sucked it up and acknowledged the fact that there’s a high demand for those who specialize in the tedious stuff. Consider supplementing your more creative income by copy editing, proofreading, fact checking, or transcribing (ugh).

2. Consulting:

When my husband suggested I do consulting work for one of his clients (who happened to be a complete novice to blogging), I laughed at him. After all, like most everyone else online, I’m self-taught and, for the same reason I have trouble setting my rates, I also have trouble envisioning myself as an expert in anything. While it may seem that everyone is an expert these days, though, there are even more people who are clueless when it comes to new media. Feel free to help them out…for a price.

3. Becoming a Virtual Assistant:

It may seem menial, but why not consider admin work? Many at-home workers are becoming certified as virtual assistants so that they can make an easy buck without even leaving the house. I’ve previously listed several virtual assistant associations here.

4. Coaching:

Those who have been reading this blog for awhile know that I’ve been (slow) saving up the money for a career coaching certification. Getting certified would allow me to open a private practice that I could operate from home, with business hours set to my own, flexible specifications. While a lot of the coaching industry is unregulated, earning your certification could legitimize you in the eyes of potential clients, expanding your earning potential. Check out the International Coach Federation for more info.

5. Babysitting:

Babysitting. It’s not just for the junior high/high school set anymore. The business of care giving has become more businesslike than ever before, and sites like Sittercity provide sitters and nannies with a means of marketing themselves to desperate parents. You can beef up your profile by listing your qualifications, availability, location,  and more.

6. Teaching:

I’ve mentioned teaching on this blog before. Similar to consulting, teaching can be a means to share your knowledge with those desperate for information. If you’re not interested in becoming part of a larger institution, why not tutor or give music lessons at home? If you’re intimidated by the thought of teaching (as I am), consider becoming a teacher’s aide, or a substitute teacher.

7. Cashing In on the Wedding Industry:

Once upon a time, I briefly considered becoming a wedding celebrant. It seemed like the ideal gig: I could learn about a multitude of cultural marriage traditions, be privy to innumerable personal stories of romance, and charge big bucks just to write and perform ceremonies. I even thought I could up my cache because of my experience as a wedding singer. I never followed this path, but it still seems like a seductively good idea. And being an officiant isn’t the only way to cash in on the always-booming wedding industry. Harried brides and grooms also require wedding planners, photographers, DJs, and more.

8. Getting Paid to Sweat:

Can you juggle five hula hoops at once? Belly dance with the best of them? Salsa the hell out of a spicy beat? Work your friends’ cores with pilates, yoga, or callanetics? Make your workout more than a hobby. If you think you’re good enough, consider teaching a class at your local gym or college campus.

9. Decorating (and Other Assignment Spin-Offs):

The other day, a freelancer I’m following on Twitter tweeted about getting her first interior decorating gig. Pretty sweet, huh? Turns out she had become interested in the industry after writing about it. Have any of your writing assignments sparked additional entrepreneurial interest? My products blogging has also made me a bit obsessed with interior decorating, but just about any writing assignment could act as inspiration for a new side career.

10. Part-Timing It:

Back in February, a New York Times article about working retail made the rounds. The writer put forth the idea that having a low-pressure, part-time job that was so different from her freelance work kept her sane. Just about any part-time job could possibly do the trick for you.

Anyone else found the perfect source of supplementary income? Please share!

Other Helpful Posts About Side Gigs: A Little Something on the Side, Finding the Perfect Part-Time Work, 50 Side Businesses You Can Start on Your Own, The #1 Untapped Income Source That Freelancers Forget, 50 Ways to Make Money During Your Offtime

Related: My 5 Favorite Things In: One Person/Multiple Careers, Side Jobs: Go Back to School, How to Juggle Multiple Careers, Coffee Break: Let’s Passively Make More $ While We Drink Our Coffee


  1. This is a smart, creative list of side jobs! You know, with your background in being paid to blog, companies will definitely consider you an expert and listen to what you have to say. There is money to be made there! Freelancers Union offered a $30 class that covered social media overall and I found that provided some insight and research to help me talk to clients. While I’m more of a branding & marketing writer for retail and service industries, I’ve picked up a new industry (technology) to help keep the work flowing in this economy. I hope you will you share this particular journey with your readers!

  2. I tried 10 – got a cleaning job – kept me fit too. Unfortunately they thought they owned me and didn’t agree to a perfectly reasonable request for a day off – so that was an ex-job then! These days I focus more on building up my own websites which pay me income from Adsense and other affiliates – it takes a while to get going but in the end its a real business not a work at home job. My aim is retirement on passive income not a job at home or elsewhere

  3. I’m surprised that you say there is a high demand for copy editing. I’m a copy editor and can’t find much work that pays a livable wage. I guess the low pay would be OK for a side job, but as more people (and companies) view copy editing as a side job, people like me who make it our main job can’t earn a living.

  4. Hey there Jess – I must admit. I did a lot more copy editing before newspapers and mags started folding left and right. Still, I do get smaller-scale projects from individuals (rather than big companies), especially from those contacts I’ve made through previous jobs and online. I think what I want to convey here is that, no matter how badly big business is doing, there will always be individuals eager to outsource the more tedious stuff.


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