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A List of Side Jobs that Don’t Suck (and Pay Well)

What do moms, retirees, heads of household, students, and retirees all have in common? Not much, actually, unless they are looking for part-time gigs to bring in some extra money. Then, they are out looking for those freelance or direct employment opportunities that will fit their schedules, their skills and their interests. Fortunately, employers are quite happy to hire part-time workers on site, because they don’t have to provide benefits; and fortunately, there are also plenty of opportunities for those who wish to work from home and need really flexible hours.

In putting together the following list, it was necessary to define the term “doesn’t suck,” and so it is defined as jobs that don’t require hard labor or getting dirty, sweaty, or hot. And the term “pays well” has been translated to $12 an hour or more. The three categories of jobs are “Online,” “Both,” and “Offline.”

Online Gigs


Some of these jobs require a high level of technical skill, but many do not, and if you are willing to learn just a bit, you can find lucrative positions that are more flexible in terms of hours than many offline jobs.

1. Software Developer: If you have the skills, you can make up to $30/hour. Because most of this is project work, you may be able to determine your hours somewhat, but you must be able to meet deadlines. Most of this work involves website design and remodeling, developing new apps for clients, etc.

2. Content/Copywriting Specialists: If you write well, you can earn up to $25/hour doing a whole host of things. You might be updating content on a website, writing posts for business blogs, articles, press releases, and creating/maintaining social media pages and profiles. Creativity is a really hot commodity in this business, as is a solid understanding of content marketing and SEO. Some projects will have tight deadlines, so be certain that you can work under stress.

3. Data Processing/Transcription: These positions can be tedious and detail-oriented, so you will need to be certain that you like that kind of work. Many businesses and organizations contract out for their data to be continually updated. You will be given access to or provided the platforms into which the data is to be entered and, of course, the data itself. Medical transcriptionists update patient records, and confidentiality is a must. Good data entry and transcriptionist professionals can earn up to $15/hr.


4. User Tester: When eCommerce businesses create or make changes to their websites, they often hire a third-party testing firm to assess their sites for many things – how fast does it load, is it easy to navigate, can visitors find what they want, and so forth. The testing firm then hires people to do the testing. The testers are given specific tasks and then asked to respond to questions about those tasks. This is a pretty good job for students, because usually there is a window of time within which to complete the testing, and that allows for some flexibility. Many testers can make $12 an hour, although some companies pay a bit less.

5. E-Bay Re-Seller: This may take a bit more time than other part-time gigs, if you want to make some serious money, but many people do. They go to garage and estate sales (there go your Saturday mornings), scoop up saleable items, and then place them on e-Bay for sale at a profit.


6. Writing Services: There are a large number of online writing services that provide original writing for students, career professionals, and business owners. If you are a really good researchers and writer, with a college degree, then you can earn a pretty good side income. Payment is either by the word or project, so it varies widely, but most writers in this business earn from $12-$15 per page.

Both Online and Offline

1. Translation Services: There are a lot of opportunities for you, if you are truly fluent in a second language. $20/hour


Online: Ecommerce entrepreneurs in foreign countries who are looking for a complete translation to get an English-speaking customer base will employ freelance translators. Both English-speaking and foreign businesses may need documents translated, and they need highly skilled individuals for this.

Offline: Social service and legal professionals have an almost constant need for translators, especially with a growing immigrant population. Translators can set hours that they wish to work and will almost always have plenty of clients.


2. Bookkeepers: While many offices still want their part-time bookkeepers to come on site, a growing number are now housing all of their financial records in the cloud and will use an off-site bookkeeper to maintain accounts and reconcile balances. Skill with QuickBooks or some similar program will be required. Pay can run between $16-$18/hour.

3. Copy Writer/Editor: Businesses always have a need for skilled writers to review and edit their materials – reports, brochures, manuals, marketing materials, etc. These tasks can be accomplished either on or offline, as the business wishes. $15-$17/hour or by the project.


4. Writing Guides: Travel companies/convention planners hire freelance writers to produce brochures and guides for people as they visit new places. Real estate professionals also need neighborhood guides, to give their clients detailed information about the communities in which they are searching for home purchases. People who produce these need excellent skills in current apps for photography and graphics. Payment is usually by the project, but it is quite good.

5. Computer Repair: In times past, the only way to get your computer repaired was to take it into a shop or to the place from which it was purchased. Now, computer repair can be accomplished remotely by allowing the expert to access the computer wirelessly from a separate location, assess the issues and make the repairs. Some big-box electronics stores even a large staff of repair personnel who provide both in-home and remote repairs. This is a great gig for tech-savvy college students. You will need to pass a skills test and be bonded. Up to $25/hour is standard


6. Tutoring: A lot of tutoring is still done face-to-face; however, with Skype and other similar apps, tutoring can occur face-to-face online as well. Many national tutoring companies employ tutors for both off and online tutoring. You must have a degree in the subjects in which you will tutor, but the pay is good - $25/hour in most instances.



If you really do not feel comfortable with any of the online opportunities, there are just as many on-site jobs that pay well.

1. Sign-Language Interpreter: You can earn up to $36.00/hour with formal training and licensing from your state. Most training if offered through community colleges, in fact, so it is not horrible expensive. You may work part-time in school setting, in classrooms, interpreting for hearing impaired students; you may work in social service or governmental offices. You may work for private venues who hire interpreters for all major speaking events.


2. Photographer: You need excellent skills in photography, but also in Photoshop and other tools for editing and re-touching. As a freelancer, you can “work” weddings and other large events, or you can place your name with studios and work when they are short-handed. Expect about $20/hour.

3. Makeup Artist: To really get well-paying jobs and customer satisfaction, you need to go to school and really learn your craft. You can then demand up to $35/hour as you prepare makeup for television personalities and stage performers. Anneke La Grange, lead makeup artist from a makeup school says, “It’s important to be passionate about your work. If you want to succeed, you must love what you do. Our students really enjoy making people beautiful through makeup while making money from it.”.


4. DJ: If you love music – all kinds of music – and you are witty and outgoing, then this is a job for you. You can work weekends only, and still make $150 - $350 per night, depending on the length of the event.

5. Fitness: Health clubs employ both fitness instructors and massage therapists on a part-time basis; chiropractors also employ massage therapists. You can expect to earn $20/hour, but, in both instances, you will need training, and, in the case of massage, a state license.


6. Dental Hygienist: Most dental hygienists actually work part-time. If you have the training and license you can make $35-$40/hour.

Anyone who really wants or need extra money should be able to find something on this list that is appealing. If not, you can always go for the jobs that are a bit “sucky.”

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