Earning More Personal Finance

7 Side Jobs That Can Lead to High-Paying Careers

Everyone wants to use the new gig economy to earn a little extra money on the side. Maybe you’re looking to earn some beer money or pay off your debt. But what if you could earn a lot of extra money on the side? What if you could earn enough to turn it into a full-time career? Perhaps you could even make a solid work at home job out of your side gig.

While driving for Uber, walking dogs, and babysitting are all great ways to earn extra cash, there are plenty of more skill-based side jobs that can actually lead to a full-time, fulfilling career. Whether you’re looking for an industry change, a salary boost, or both, here are some of the best side jobs to land you a new high-paying career.

Each position will include salary information as well as the job outlook for the future. If you’re going to learn a new skill, make sure it’s in demand!

  1. Web design

It probably seems like a no-brainer that flexing your tech skills on the side can lead to a high-paying career nowadays. However, for those who are intimidated by tech language, web designers are less on the technical side of building a website and more on the artistic and marketing side. Instead, they focus on the layout and design of the website. They’re thinking about what needs to be placed where in order for a website to look good and sell its product? Thanks to platforms like WordPress and drag-and-drop web design programs, some web designers make a living with minimal knowledge of coding.

Average pay: $48,623 median salary according to PayScale

Job outlook: Expected to grow much faster than average according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook

  1. Web programming

If you are more interested in the technical side of things, web programmers, or web developers, do all of the coding for various programs, applications, and websites on the internet. Web developers can create custom code and build a website from the ground up for clients who need more personalized websites. Because their skills are more technical and extensive, they are in high demand and make good money. It’s possible to learn how to code online, and there are both free and paid courses available.

Average pay: $67,990 median salary according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook

Job outlook: Expected to grow much faster than average according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook

  1. Social media management

If you know your way around Instagram and Facebook, offer to start managing social media accounts for local businesses. You can get your start writing clever tweets and networking to get more followers. Once you’ve got that down, start learning some more advanced social media marketing such as giveaways and ad campaigns. If you can learn how to consistently run successful Facebook ads, you can make good money.

Average pay: $48,618 median salary according to PayScale

Job outlook: Investments in global social media advertising are expected to grow from around 32 billion U.S. dollars in 2017 to approximately 48 billion U.S. dollars in 2021 according to Statista’s Digital Market Outlook.

  1. Writing

Whoever told you that writers are all starving artists didn’t know what they were talking about. Fields like copywriting, content marketing, and even some niche journalism are booming. Writing is a skill that can’t easily be outsourced to either artificial intelligence or foreign countries, as native English speakers with a nuanced understanding of communication are usually required. This is also a skill you can practice on your own without any expensive training or equipment, although taking a writing class or two can help immensely.

Average pay: $61,820 median salary according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook

Job outlook: Expected to grow as fast as average according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook

  1. Graphic design

Are you a photoshop junkie? Was art your favorite subject in high school? Believe it or not, graphic designers can actually make a pretty good living designing logos, labels, advertisements, posters, and more. It’s also fun, creative work. To brush up on your skills, play around with some graphic design software and consider taking a course online, then get started by offering your skills up on freelancer websites like Upwork and Fiverr. Once you build up a strong portfolio, you can start going after clients yourself and demanding higher prices.

Average pay: $48,700 median salary according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook

Job outlook: Expected to grow slightly slower than average according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook

  1. Personal assistant

You can offer to serve as a part-time personal assistant to wealthy families or busy executives to get your feet wet. Often these positions are demanding but pay well. Alternatively, there is a growing need for virtual assistants, who work from home and help other professionals (who are often also working from home) with a wide range of tasks. Some virtual assistants are generalists, while others focus on specific skills like social media management, blog management, or travel booking. The more specialized your skillset, the more money you can make.

Average pay: $18.21 per hour for administrative assistants, $15.84 per hour for virtual assistants according to PayScale

Job outlook: Virtual assistants are one of the fastest growing positions when it comes to freelance and online work according to Upwork.

  1. Photography

Photography is another skill that gets a bad reputation. While many people think you can’t make any money off of it, if you pair it with some savvy business skills, you can bring in good cash on the side or full-time as a photographer. Brush up on your skills by taking a couple photography classes at your local community college or watching online Photoshop training demos. It’s also smart to take a few classes on starting your own business, as you will have to hustle to bring home the bacon with this one. Demand is lower in this field than others, and it’s fairly saturated with photographers. Find a way to set yourself apart.

Average pay: $43,436 median salary according to PayScale

Job outlook: Job growth is declining slightly according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

The gig economy isn’t just for side money anymore. With the right skills and hustle, you can turn it into a full-time career.

About the author

Elizabeth Aldrich

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and “digital nomad” specializing in small business, entrepreneurship, career advice, real estate, travel, arts, and culture. She’s written for outlets as varied as Rawckus Music and Arts Magazine, Itcher Entertainment, Sweden Tips, Houzz, Hometalk, JobHero, Tico Times, and Eugene Weekly. Thanks to a three-year stint in a travel job, a knack for mining great deals, and credit card churning, she has not paid for a single flight since 2012, despite her constant travels. You can find her on Twitter @LizzieAldrich or her website, www.elizabethaldrich.com.

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