The gig economy has always been here, but the pandemic turned it into a household name. And according to experts, it’s not going away. Research from Zippia reveals some interesting findings — all of which are great news for gig workers. Namely, in 2020 wages and participation for gig workers increased by 33%. Plus, between 2014 and 2018, the number of companies that relied fully on gig workers exploded by 554%. In other words, there are tons of opportunities for gig economy jobs. Heck, there are even ways to turn hobbies into money-makers as a gig worker.
Not just a buzz term, the gig economy refers to when employment is made up of a lot of contract or freelance work instead of the traditional full-time setup. If you like setting your own schedule, gig economy jobs may be for you. But we’re about to get into all of that below and offer some intel about which are the most lucrative to explore.
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Defining a gig economy job is pretty simple.
A gig economy job is a position fulfilled by a temporary and/or part-time professional, often independent contractors and freelancers. Think of it as an alternative to being a 9-to-5 employee. Gig workers enjoy the luxury of more flexibility and freedom, although gigs can be less stable than a full-time job. However, gig workers offset this by having multiple clients and, therefore, multiple streams of income.
Gig workers can find clients through means such as cold emailing or platforms like LinkedIn. But you can also use third-party platforms such as Fiverr and Upwork.
Some gig economy jobs pay better than others.
A gig economy job that leaves room for growth and scaling is going to offer better earning opportunities. One way to zero in on these jobs is by looking for where the demand is and where it’s not totally being met. Additionally, gig economy jobs that are more passive will also earn you more money because you don’t have to be as directly involved in them. In other words, you’re not trading your time for money.
25 Gig Economy Jobs to Earn Serious Cash
To better illustrate where there’s real money to be made in the gig economy, we’ve rounded up 25 opportunities you may want to explore.
1. Rent Your Space
Airbnb might be the pioneer, but there are other ways to rent out your home or even a portion of it. Trip Advisor offers a similar service, as does Vrbo. Pay attention to the fine print, including the cut that the website takes. (this is how they make money). For instance, both Airbnb and Trip Advisor take 3%, so you’ll want to factor this into your booking fees. Do you plan on paying for a cleaning service after each guest? Factor that in as well.
How to do it: Each platform offers different advantages. For instance, Airbnb is more well known, but Trip Advisor has a huge and more international audience. Your best bet is to list your property on multiple platforms. Just make sure to keep the availability updated across all.
Potential earnings: This depends on a number of factors, including the size of the space you’re renting, the demand, and where you’re located. However, some research says that almost half of Airbnb hosts make over $500 per month.
2. Drive for a Rideshare Service
Uber and Lyft — you’ve probably heard of them. Users request a ride, you pick them up, then drop them at their destination. Pretty simple, right? There are a few things to keep in mind. First is the wear and tear on your car. You need a reliable set of wheels. Next is gas, although since you’re an independent contractor, you can deduct some of this for your taxes. When doing this, be mindful of diligently tracking your mileage and expenses. Finally, we hate to say it but we’d be remiss if we didn’t: There is a safety concern when you’re letting strangers into your car. Will everything likely be okay? Yes! But we still want to mention it.
How to do it: Most drivers end up signing up for both platforms. This will maximize your driving (and earning) opportunities. Interestingly, some research says that Lyft and Uber drivers earn about the same, but drivers using both platforms earn more on Uber.
Potential earnings: It depends on how much you drive. Uber has a tool to help with this. For example, if you drive roughly 40 hours a week, you stand to make approximately $1,070. Lyft bases it on both time and distance. Don’t forget about tips and bonuses, too. With both platforms, drivers keep 100% of their tips.
3. Become a Transcriber
Transcribers take audio or video files and turn them into text. In other words, you type out what the person/people in the content are saying. What’s great about transcription work is that it’s low-maintenance and accessible. You don’t need much to get started — just an internet connection, a quiet room, and your computer. However, note that speed is the name of the game. You need to be an excellent listener and type very quickly if you want to earn real money with this gig economy job.
How to do it: The easiest way to get transcription work is to sign up with sites like TranscribeMe, Scribie, and Rev. With gig economy jobs, you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket, so I suggest creating an account with each.
Potential earnings: TranscribeMe claims to offer the best rates (although I’m finding this to not be totally accurate), starting at $15 – $22 per audio hour, with the top (not average) monthly earning at around $2,200. Average monthly earnings are $250. Scribie pays $5 to $20 per audio hour, and Rev pays $0.30 to $1.10 per audio minute for transcribing (so, $18 to $66 per hour) and $0.54 to $1.10 per audio minute ($32.40 to $66) for captioning. Important note: “Audio hours” refers to the length of the file, not the amount of time you spend on it. If it takes you four hours to transcribe/caption one hour of audio, you get paid for one hour, not four! Also, keep in mind that many files will only be a few minutes long. This is why speed is your best friend here.
4. Work as a Virtual Assistant
This is one of the more flexible gig economy jobs because your tasks can include just about anything. You might be managing an email inbox, scheduling appointments, filling orders, updating spreadsheets, making phone calls, booking trips, or a myriad of other responsibilities.
How to do it: Your best bet is using platforms like Fiverr or Upwork and create a profile for yourself. List all of the specific services you can offer, any tools/software you’re comfortable using (like Google Sheets), talk about not just the features of your services but also the benefits (like freeing up your clients’ time so they can focus on more important things), and include a few testimonials from people you’ve worked with in the past, even if they weren’t clients (example: former coworkers or managers).
Potential earnings: This varies greatly, but I poked around Fiverr and saw virtual assistants offering their services starting anywhere from $10 all the way up to $300. Job listings for virtual assistants on Upwork range from approximately $5 an hour to $78 an hour.
Pro tip: Remember that Fiverr and Upwork are two different types of platforms. Fiverr is a marketplace. You create your profile and clients purchase from you. Upwork is a bidding site. Clients list their job opportunities and you “bid” on them. Again, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.
5. Food Delivery
If you like the idea of driving for cash but dislike the idea of letting strangers into your car, delivering food might be the perfect gig economy job for you. If you live in or near a big city, you’re going to have even more opportunities to earn. Using an app, you can accept orders, pick them up, and drop them off at their destination. While you don’t have to deal with passengers, you still need to be mindful of tracking your gas and mileage. Also, keep an eye on the wear and tear on your vehicle.
How to do it: Sign up to become a “dasher” with DoorDash, do it through Uber Eats, or try Postmates (which is now owned by Uber). Similar to rideshare drivers, food delivery drivers usually use more than one app. Uber Eats is pretty cool because, unlike DoorDash, you don’t have to deliver by car. You can also do it on a scooter, bicycle, or on foot. Postmates also offers some flexibility here, depending on where you live.
Potential earnings: DoorDash pays a “base rate” that accounts for the estimated time, distance, and “desirability” of the order. You can also earn more during peak hours and when they run challenges. Postmates and Uber Eats aren’t super transparent with what you can potentially earn. Indeed says that Uber Eats drivers can earn around $19.76 per hour, and for Postmates drivers, it’s around $45,000 a year.
Related: Best Work From Home Jobs
6. Sell Your Freelancing Services
If you have a particular skill that you can sell, then freelancing might be the perfect gig economy job for you. There are all sorts of freelancing services you can sell, like writing, editing, graphic design, social media management, website design — the list goes on and on. While some professionals do sell their services for very cheap, I can personally confirm that as a freelancer, you can make six figures a year (if you want to, it’s totally okay for your gig economy job to be a side hustle, too).
How to do it: Similar to looking for work as a virtual assistant, try using platforms like Fiverr and Upwork. I also strongly recommend you get on LinkedIn. This platform was made for networking, and it’s a gold mine of freelancing clients. You can use direct outreach and message brands with whom you’re interested in partnering.
Potential earnings: This is all over the board. Payoneer’s 2022 Global Freelancer Income Report found that the global average hourly rate is up to $28, a steep increase from 2020 when it was $21 an hour. While this is promising news, don’t get too hung up on an hourly rate. Depending on the specific services you offer, you might charge a flat monthly fee or a per-project fee. And the more experience you have and the more niche you are, the more you can charge. So keep an open mind — your earning potential as a freelancer truly is unlimited.
7. Grocery Shopper
In this case, you’re not just picking up the food and dropping it off at its destination. You’re also the one shopping for it in the first place. Instacart is one of the most common platforms for this gig economy job. Do it as much or as little as you want, whenever you want.
How to do it: Download the Instacart app, sign up, and go through a quick approval process. You have two options from which to choose: shop and deliver or only shop. Keep an eye out for promotions that they run. These can help you work and earn more.
Potential earnings: You get paid per “batch” that you complete. The app estimates your earnings for every order, as well as per week. The amount you earn will depend on how many items are in the order, the types of items, how far you’re driving (if you deliver), and the effort involved. Plus, you keep 100% of the tips you make. Glassdoor says that the average hourly rate ranges from $15 to $22.
8. Provide Storage Space
Don’t want strangers renting out your home? No problem. Charge them to store their belongings instead. If you have a spare room, large closet, or garage space, you can rent it out for storage. This is 100% passive income. Just be sure that the space is clean, safe, and relatively temperature controlled. Insurance helps, which some of the peer-to-peer platforms provide.
How to do it: There are numerous platforms for this, including StoreAtMyHouse and Neighbor. Neighbor is nice because it provides $1,000,000 host liability protection. According to StoreAtMyHouse’s Terms and Conditions, they don’t provide anything like this. So you want to be more careful in doing your due diligence and ensuring you’re adequately protected.
Potential earnings: Neighbor says that their hosts make anywhere from $100 to $400 a month, although this will depend on how much space you’re renting out and how often. They’ll even cover the cost if the renter fails to pay. For every monthly payout, they do charge 4.9% + a $0.30 processing fee. With StoreAtMyHouse, you have to list your space at 50% to 70% below the median self-storage pricing in your area, and you keep 85% of the amount billed to the renter.
9. Walk Dogs
Getting paid to spend time with furry friends? Sign me up. If you love dogs and also need an excuse to get more steps in, this gig economy job is for you. You can even take it one step further and dogsit, either inviting dogs to your own home or going to their home to watch/check up on them. Understandably, boarding your pet can be stressful. A personal dogsitter is often the preferable solution.
How to do it: Two of the more popular sites to use are Rover and Wag. Through Rover, you can offer boarding, sitting, drop-in visits, daycare, and walking. Through Wag, you can offer walking, overnight stays, drop-in visits, and training.
Potential earnings: This varies drastically, but to give you an idea of what other people are charging for walking, I used Rover like I’m a customer and said that I wanted someone to walk my dog three times a week here in Las Vegas. I have a chihuahua.
I’m seeing listings for people charging anywhere from about $15 to $18 a walk. From what I can tell, though, they do take a 20% service fee, so keep that in mind when you’re setting your rates.
If you’re better with inanimate objects, yes, you can get paid to housesit. This offers major peace of mind for people who travel a lot. A housesitter helps with the maintenance and upkeep of a home and also ensures that it stays active. The last thing a homeowner wants is their property looking like it’s completely deserted from the outside. Keep in mind that some of these homeowners will ask you to look after their pets, too, but that’s not always the case. And you can simply pass on those gigs.
How to do it: Sign up with a site like House Sitters America, TrustedHousesitters, HouseSitter, or HouseSitMatch. Be mindful that some of these have membership fees, but if you book even one gig, you’ll likely pay for that.
Potential earnings: Aside from an annual $49 membership fee, House Sitters America doesn’t charge any commission on your bookings. TrustedHousesitters works the same, although they have three membership plans that are more pricey (but include more).
HouseSitter isn’t super transparent about their pricing, but some internet sleuthing told me it’s $99 a year. Finally, HouseSit Match has two membership options that cost roughly $73 and $95 a year.
11. Complete Basic Tasks
People need help with all sorts of things — like building an Ikea dresser, gathering dead leaves in their yard, or hanging pictures on the wall. TaskRabbit is great for picking up these quick gigs for extra cash.
How to do it: Create your account, build your profile, and define your work area and availability. It’s pretty easy to get started.
Potential earnings: If you’re interested in becoming a “tasker,” head to their site to see roughly how much you can earn in your area based on the task at hand. For example, in Las Vegas I could make $24 an hour washing cars and $32 per hour assembling furniture. Note that there’s a $24 registration fee. From what I’m able to find, taskers then keep 100% of their earnings.
12. Work as a Handyperson
Are you really good with tasks around the house? Charge for it! These folks get hired for all sorts of tasks. In the past, I hired handymen to hang ceiling fans, mount TVs, and install solar film on our windows.
Potential earnings: From what I see, these pros can charge per hour or by the project. Thumbtack seems to favor hourly rates, and I’m seeing pros charge anything from $49 to $100 an hour. Keep in mind that if you’re using one of the above platforms to find work, they’ll likely take a cut. However, Thumbtack offers some nice perks (but you do pay a fee for leads and bookings — learn more on their site).
13. Become a Tutor
Students are always looking for supplemental help with specific topics. If you’re patient and well versed in a particular subject, you can earn a pretty solid hourly rate. Note: If you have a Master’s degree or beyond, bonus points! You’ll probably be able to charge even more.
How to do it: Sign up with a site like Tutor.com, TutorMe, Preply, or Cambly — the latter two focus on teaching people English. Note that you might need to go through an application/screening process so they can better vet you.
Potential earnings: Tutor.com sets the hourly rate for you, based on the subject you’re tutoring. Preply allows you to set your own rate, and their tutors are making between $15 – $25 an hour. TutorMe pays $16 per hour, and Cambly pays $0.17 per minute (and $0.20 per minute on Cambly Kids). On all four sites, you can set your own schedule and work as much or little as you want.
14. Loan Out Your Vehicle
First, we had ridesharing, and now we have car-sharing. List your car on Turo and charge people to borrow it. You can even list multiple cars if you want to maximize your earnings.
How to do it: What’s great about Turo is that $750,000 in liability insurance is included, they offer 24/7 support, and have a prescreened customer base of more than 14 million people around the world.
Potential earnings: This depends on the value of your car(s). We found one vehicle owner on Quora who rents their midsize car out for $38 a day.
People need babysitters they can trust. Be sure to think in advance about things like first aid and CPR training, how many kids you’re able to watch at once, whether or not you’re comfortable administering medication, and if you feel safe driving with them in your car.
Potential earnings: There are many ways you can charge as a babysitter. From what I’m seeing, a lot of sitters charge per child per hour. Rates are as low as $15 an hour and go as high as $50 an hour.
16. Help People Move
Hiring an actual moving company can get expensive, so some people opt to hire independent movers. That’s where you come in. Make sure you’re in good shape and can lift at least 50 pounds. You also need to be comfortable hauling heavy things up and down stairs.
How to do it: If you need help finding gigs, try Bellhop. Set your own hours and they’ll even give you on-the-job training if you want extra support and guidance. Note that Bellhop does run a background check.
Potential earnings: Movers on Bellhop are making up to $21 an hour. And don’t forget you can keep all of your tips and bonuses.
17. Sell Your Photos
Yes, you can capture special memories at live events. But did you also know that there are websites that’ll pay you to list your photos to their customers?! If you’re more of an introvert and want to work solo, this is a great route for you.
How to do it: If you sign up on sites like Shutterstock and Adobe Stock, you can upload high-quality photos that you own (for free!), and every time a user downloads a piece of your work, you earn a commission.
18. Work as a Secret Shopper
This can mean a lot of things. You might actually visit a physical location, or you might be tasked with calling their customer service department to see if you have a positive experience with their representative.
Potential earnings: Secret Shopper normally pays $15 to $25 a pop. If you’re required to purchase anything on the job, they’ll reimburse you for it. I couldn’t get a solid answer on what Field Agent pays, but it looks like it’s about $3 to $15 per gig. Remember that for some gigs, you’ll be able to finish in a few minutes.
19. Sell Small Digital Products
Don’t want to deal with inventory or physical goods? Sell digital goods instead. Because you can infinitely scale this type of gig, your earning potential will literally be unlimited. When I say “digital products,” I mean things like short e-books, lists, guides, tutorials, and templates.
How to do it: You can create these products for free using something like Canva. Then list them for sale on Gumroad and Etsy. If you have a minicourse, you can list it on Udemy. You want these to be more like impulse purchases, so think of keeping your products listed at $50 or less.
Potential earnings: As I said, there is no limit. Don’t be discouraged if sales start slow — this is very normal. Over time, it can amount to hundreds and thousands of dollars per month in extra cash, and it’s almost entirely passive income.
20. Create and Sell Print-on-Demand Products
This is another great way to sell things online without the hassle of inventory. Here’s how it works, put simply: Create a design using something like Canva or Photoshop. Use a third-party platform to sell products with that design, like T-shirts or tote bags. When a customer purchases an item, the company prints it on the spot and ships it to them for you. Simple!
How to do it: Amazon Merch on Demand, Zazzle, and Redbubble all make this process pretty easy. If you’re a beginner and especially if you don’t have any design experience, keep your artwork simple. Be sure to list several products because you’ll find that a few vastly outsell the others.
Potential earnings: These sites are free to use but will take a cut of your sales, which is to be expected. There’s no one answer because each platform has different royalties for different products and sometimes at different “thresholds.” But to give you an idea, check out how Amazon Merch does it. It’s normal to make only a few dollars on a sale. This is why you need to offer your shoppers options.
Technically, you don’t even need a college degree to offer bookkeeping services. However, a related degree or even basic training will help you. Bookkeepers help companies and individuals keep their financial records accurate and current. You’ll need to know how to categorize and reconcile their transactions, handle bills and invoices, and prepare financial reports and statements.
How to do it: You can list yourself as a bookkeeper on Fiverr. You can also hunt for gigs on Upwork. Venture out into the world of LinkedIn and connect with people who might need your services. Additionally, you can try cold emailing.
Potential earnings: On Fiverr, I’m seeing sellers as cheap as $5 and as pricey as $400. While it depends on your experience level and who exactly you’re working for, Salary.com says that the average hourly rate is between $18 and $23.
22. Buy and Sell Domains
Full disclosure: There’s a bit of a learning curve to this, but once you find your stride, you can make significant cash. You buy a domain (like www.thisisadomain.com) and sell it for a profit.
Potential earnings: This depends on how much you have to invest in domains and how hot they are. It might be a few hundred dollars a month, but it can also be six figures a year.
23. Buy and Sell Websites
Whereas the domain is simply the website URL, you can buy websites that are ideally turning a profit, fix them up to improve their sales, then sell them for some serious profit.
How to do it: Head back to Flippa. This is once again a great place to start. Remember, you want a website that’s already turning a profit. So filter the results by “Most Profitable” and start your search there.
Potential earnings: My research tells me that if you know how to flip a website, you can charge 30 to 40 times whatever its monthly earnings are when you go to sell it. In other words, it’s worth 30 to 40 times its monthly sales.
24. Become a Dropshipper
When you’re a dropshipper, you have an online storefront where people can buy products from you — except you don’t hold the inventory or ship it out yourself. The order will come from the manufacturer or another warehouse which handles all of that for you.
How to do it: Create a simple storefront using something like Shopify (they’re very dropshipper-friendly). Start by tracking down brands you know and love, and see if they offer a dropshipping program. Then list their products on your website.
Potential earnings: Remember that you only keep a cut of what you sell. You’ll have other people to pay and expenses to finance (like your website). If you can list products where there’s a 30% margin for you to keep, you’re in a good place. Anything less than that might not be worth your time and can even make your gig unstable. We think 30% is a safe number because it gives you plenty of cushion “just in case,” which you’ll sometimes need.
25. Clean Houses
“I love spending my free time cleaning!” said no one ever. Chores are one thing people will happily outsource because it gives them their time back.
How to do it: Similar to babysitting, you can hang flyers in your neighborhood. Or head back to TaskRabbit and list your services there.
Potential earnings: Charge per property, per hour, or based on the square footage. On TaskRabbit, I’m seeing taskers charging anywhere from $20 an hour to about $77 an hour. While your overhead won’t be bad, do factor in the costs of cleaning products and gas, both of which you should be able to deduct from your taxes. Maximize your earning potential by throwing in “add-on” services, like folding laundry and picking up dog poo.