During my internet travels, I frequently come across posts or questions in regards to making money doing side jobs. What are good ways to earn extra income? What are some ways I can earn money from home? What are some side jobs I can do after working full-time? Excellent questions, often accompanied by answers people don't want to hear - there is no magic, instant way to make side money, it still requires time and work.
As most of you know, I've worked three other "side" jobs, in addition to my full-time job, for the past 16 months of this journey and they have all been a complete life saver. For 12 of these 16 months, I was making just $41k/yr at my full-time job, while living on my own and paying for things like rent, internet, cat food, electric, heat, etc. There wasn't much left over every month after my expenses (and minimum student loan payments) were paid and I knew I wouldn't make nearly the amount of progress I wanted to make in my student loan debt had I been relying on just that one income.
So, while many receive inheritances or get married and have duel incomes, which helps them overcome their debt, I knew that wouldn't be me. Something had to give, and it was my time. Time with my boyfriend and our two cats, the time spent relaxing on the couch after work and watching TV, the time for playing video games. Over these past 16 months, I have sacrificed my time in order to secure a good financial future without debt - thus these side jobs were taken on.
Here is what I do in addition to my full-time job:
Overnight Pet Sitting
From 7PM to 7AM I spend the night at clients' houses and take care of their pets! I make between $40-$60 per night and it can either be just one night, or 3+ weeks - it varies depending on clients' needs. I head to the client's house after I get out of work, walk/feed the dog(s), take care of any additional pets (like litter boxes, bird cages, etc), play with the pets, and just hang out with them while watching some TV/internet, then go to sleep. In the mornings, I feed/walk and head straight in to work (if it's not a weekend). Easy money, no customer interactions, I get to play with puppies - can't beat it!
I work for a small local company and I'm the dedicated overnight employee, so I get the majority of my clients through her (the business owner). She also has all insurance and whatnot covered, at no cost to me. I pet sit independently for friends and family as well. If working for an established local business is not an option, you can easy find clients via Craigslist and Facebook town-specific groups. Some towns even have groups dedicated to just pet related things. There are also websites, like Rover.com, that will connect you to local clients and get the ball rolling.
I make anywhere from $5,000-$10,000 a year overnight pet sitting.
My Etsy/Shopify Store
When I got laid off from my first "real job" back in 2013, I opened an Etsy shop selling handmade video game related ornaments, as it was the start of the holiday season and I had bills (and loans) to pay. It turned out better than I could have expected and I ended the holiday season with over $8,000 in sales. I've had two more holiday seasons since then, totaling about $17,000 made from the sales. I would come home from work and make ornaments till midnight, most nights, and throughout my entire weekend.
I was able to turn my simple love of crafts into some serious money to help pay off my loans. If you have a craft you're good at, something you can make and profit from, Etsy is super easy to set up. They have a huge user base, giving you all the SEO you'll ever need, and their selling/listing fees are pretty reasonable. It's about $0.20 to list an item and get started.
Freelance Design Work
My last side job is freelance graphic/web design. I have a Bachelors of Science in graphic design (my field of work full-time) and have a few steady clients who ask for work from me every month. Most jobs make me a couple hundred for a few hours of work, which is great. Sometimes I do the work during my regular work day (lunch break) or on weekends. I will also work on a lot of these projects while I am pet sitting. I don't recommend doing design unless you are a professional, but if you have some other skill like coding or programming or something, you can do similar freelance work!
Once again, I get most of my freelance clients through Craigslist and local town Facebook groups. I'm also established enough now where word-of-mouth does the majority of the work for me. I occasionally use Upwork, but it's hard to get clients when "designers" overseas are bidding pennies on projects that should cost hundreds (for a professional). I refuse to sell my time and professionalism for shit money when my normal rate is $60/hr and I spent $100k on a degree, so I try and avoid it.
With my full-time job and side jobs combined, I can make over $100k/yr (before taxes), with the majority of it going straight to my student loans.
Since I started this journey on August 26th, 2014, I owed $48,496 and some change - I now have $9,000 remaining. That's $39,469 paid off in just 16 months - 12 of those months on a $41k/yr salary (while living on my own). No inheritance, no duel/combined income from a spouse, NO SECRET - just damn hard work and the willingness to sacrifice my time (and life, essentially) for the betterment of my future.