30 Ways to Turn Your Talent Into Extra Income

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It’s nearing the end of the month and your flurry of bills are going to be due soon: rent, cell phone, student loan payment. Your paycheck is already stretched thin and there aren’t really more areas to scrimp on, short of losing your sanity or dignity.

The only other option is to earn extra money — but how?

To earn extra income, it might seem like you have to be entrepreneurial or have the next Big Idea. But that’s so not true! You can use your current talents and time to earn extra money on the side.

Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche recommends activating your passion and “Start charging for things you already do for free.”

If you’re good with words…

Are you a master word wrangler who enjoys writing for fun? You can turn your love of words into cash by helping others carefully craft their communications.

Writing is integral to nearly every aspect of life, from email, newsletters, social media messages, professional capacities, and more. Here are some options to consider if you’re good with words:

  1. Become a freelance writer in a specific niche. Are you passionate about travel? Star wars? Cooking? Watching movies? Feminist issues? Politics? Whatever you’re into, there are niches that need written content. You can work as a freelance writer and write blog posts, articles, op-eds, and more. Find gigs on FreelanceWriting.com.
  2. Write resumes. A killer resume can mean the difference between another deleted email and a new job. Earn extra income by helping others craft a resume that matches their skills to their desired profession. Tell your friends and family you’re available to help out.
  3. Write cover letters. Cover letters are often the first thing prospective employers look at when evaluating candidates. Unfortunately, most people suck at writing cover letters. If you are adept at writing, you can create a lucrative side business helping others write cover letters that get noticed.
  4. Write dating profiles. Side hustling requires thinking outside the box. You don’t have to write in a traditional way to make money. Try writing dating profiles for people as a unique way to put your words to work. Tell your friends, advertise on Fiverr, and look on Craigslist for opportunities.
  5. Work as a translator. Did you study abroad and become fluent in another language? Or are you naturally bilingual? Earn extra money by working as a translator — government agencies, community centers, and more all need help with translation in order to serve diverse communities. Make sure to advertise your proficiency level on LinkedIn.
  6. Create an ebook and sell it on Amazon. Share your passion, expertise, or stories by writing an ebook and selling it on Amazon. Self-publishing is now a viable business and with services available on Fiverr, you can put it together on the cheap and make a profit.

If you love animals…

Do you feel like animals understand you way more than people? Make money with your passion and talent! Consider the following:

  1. Become a dog walker. Busy professionals who are gone all day need someone to let Fido out of the house for exercise. Depending on your availability, you could walk several dogs in a day and earn extra money.
  2. Be a pet sitter. If you’re good with animals and love them as your own, being a pet sitter can be the perfect side hustle. I’ve worked as a pet sitter taking care of dogs and cats while their owners were away. I’ve made between $30 to $50 per day for very little work and get to spend some time with adorable pets.
  3. Work at a cat cafe. Cat cafes are popping up around the nation and if you love cats, consider working at one as a side hustle. Coffee and cats? Sounds like a perfect combination.

If you’re a people person…

  1. Become a brand ambassador. If you can talk to the public and stand on your feet for a few hours at a time, this job may be the right fit for you. Brand ambassadors are those high-energy people you see giving away free swag at sporting events, concerts, and stores. I’ve worked as a brand ambassador for the past few years representing Columbia Sportswear, Starbucks, Ghirardelli, and more, typically making between $18 and $25 per hour. The best part? You usually get to take home some of the free stuff (which for me has included $500 worth of clothes and top shelf whiskey).
  2. Coach/Consult. Do you have a unique talent that others are always asking about? Coach others on how to do what you do! “You can charge more money for a service when you’re an expert in a field. Think about how you can shape your education into an extra source of income,” said Aliche. You can also consult with companies and share your knowledge on your expertise. You can be a social media consultant, business strategist, curriculum designer, and more.
  3. Become a tour guide. Earn extra money by working as a tour guide in your city. In nearly every major city (and many not-so-major cities), there are tour companies that help tourists experience the city like a local. This side hustle is perfect for interacting with others and seeing your own city through the eyes of a tourist.

If you have design skills…

If you are savvy with design and have tech skills, you have a ton of options to make extra money.

  1. Design websites. Having a good design on a website is huge for first impressions — and many people just don’t know where to start. If you know how to design websites, you could earn extra money. Bonus: you can do it from anywhere!
  2. Create logos. Every website and business needs a logo. If you have design chops, you can create logos for other people.
  3. Make book covers. Authors of print and ebooks all need book covers.
  4. Design presentations. You know how boring PowerPoint presentations can be. Help professors, business executives, and brands by designing their presentations so they actually engage the audience instead of put them to sleep.
  5. Design signs for events. Think about how many printed materials are required for events and special occasions. You could be the designer of wedding invitations, hashtag signs, posters, marketing materials, business cards, and more.

If you’re crafty…

Do you like making things with your hands? Are you good at knitting and sewing? Making furniture or jewelry? You can make anything from picture frames, mugs, earrings, cat-related anything, etc.

  1. Sell your wares online using sites like Etsy, DaWanda, ArtFire, Bonanza, ShopHandmade, iCraft, Zibbet, MadeItMyself, SilkFair, and Big Cartel. Sandy Smith from the blog Yes I am Cheap sold cell phone cases and mugs on Amazon and made $25,000 in 2014!

If you have photo skills…

Do you know your way around a camera? Put your skills to use and earn extra money.

  1. Take headshots. It’s not just actors or models who need headshots these days — anyone looking to up their LinkedIn profile or social media game needs a great picture. Advertise on Craigslist or through Facebook to build your clientele.
  2. Edit photos. Help others out by making their photos picture perfect by editing in Photoshop.
  3. Become an event photographer. Live events such as panels, conferences, weddings, and parties need someone to capture the moments. You can leverage your photo skills and make money by taking photos at live events. There’s never a shortage of events!

If you have musical or theatrical skills…

If you majored in music or theater, you can leverage your skills to make money and not be a starving artist while waiting for your next big gig.

  1. Create an opening song for podcasts. Are you a composer who can come up with a catchy tune on the piano or guitar? Create an opening song for podcasts.
  2. Sing telegrams. Yes, this is still a thing. Brighten someone’s day and earn extra income for a small amount of work. Google telegram opportunities in your area.
  3. Work as an actor. Medical students often practice with “standardized patients” or actors who portray real patients. Contact local medical schools for opportunities.
  4. Be an extra. Television shows and movies are always in need of extras. The pay may not be great, but the work isn’t that hard either.
  5. Do standup comedy. Comedian Dan Nainan was an engineer at Intel and took a comedy class on a lark. “I took a comedy class to get over the fear, and the comedy kind of took off,” he said. His side gig turned into his new career. “Now I travel the world, performing for people like President Obama, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, etc. for up to $20,000 a show.”
  6. Work as a DJ. Turn your love of music into cash by becoming a DJ for live events such as weddings, parties, birthdays, and more.

If you’re good with kids…

Some people have a natural affinity for kids and are just plain good with them. If that’s you, consider these side hustles.

  1. Be a babysitter. This is a side hustle that will always be in demand. You can watch kids and help parents out. Win-win.
  2. Work as a tutor. Do you love kids and have a specialized skill? Become a tutor. Set your own rates and be sure to get testimonials from your clients. Once you help one student, the parents will talk. Pete Abilla, founder and CEO of www.findtutorsnearme.com became a tutor to pay back his student loans. “I went to a very expensive graduate school and had to borrow for tuition and also to help me support my wife and three kids at the time,” he said. So he started working as a tutor to help him earn extra money. “As that business grew, I created a website where others could also become a tutor.”
  3. Become a teacher. After-school programs and community centers are always in need of teachers to work nights and weekends. Even if they don’t have classes with your specialty, you can pitch them your idea. It doesn’t hurt to ask! I taught theater to elementary school students after I realized that a theater program didn’t exist at the local school. I made $25 per hour and had a great time!

How Much Money Can You Actually Make?

You may be thinking, “How much can I really make with these side hustles?”. The answer: it’s up to you. It really depends on how much extra time you have and what talent you will be monetizing. The best part is that for most of these gigs you can set your own rates.

You can make hundreds or even thousands of dollars each month. All of that money can be put to your student loans so you can get out of debt faster.

One important thing to note is that many of these gigs are independent contractor positions, not employee positions. That means you are responsible for paying for your own taxes, so be sure to set aside a percentage of your income every time you get paid and avoid being hit with a surprise tax bill you can’t afford.

Where to Find Gigs

You can find gigs using a variety of resources — you simply need to be open to new opportunities and keep your eyes peeled.

Sarah Brown, a college student who has earned extra money as a freelance writer said, “Utilize the internet; many job openings or talent opportunities are posted there if you just look for them.”

She got her start through blogging and looking for sites that hired contributors through Google, but says anyone can turn their talents into extra income.

“If you are a band, search for open mic nights in your area — a lot of people will be offered time slots to play music for money based off of open mic performances. If you love video games, search for game testing opportunities in your area.  All the information you need to succeed can be found online,” she says.

  • Start by telling your network of friends and family about your new side hustle
  • Look on social media networks for opportunities.
  • Join relevant groups on Facebook (such as Brand Ambassadors of [Your City])
  • Search relevant keywords on Twitter (e.g. “looking for writers”, “paid”, etc.)
  • Connect with your ideal clients (such as parents)
  • Learn from others who are already making extra money

Aside from leveraging your network and searching on social media, you can use these resources to find opportunities:

You can also make your own flyers and business cards and post your services at the library, coffee shops, and community centers. There are so many ways that you can earn extra money on and offline by using your talents!

Start with your network and try different avenues of marketing. Once you get your first client, it only gets easier. Put that extra money to debt and say “bye” to debt sooner rather than later.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.

Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.

Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.

The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at hello@earnest.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.

© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.


2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

  1. VARIABLE APR – APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes.

3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 3.899% APR to 8.179% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.570% APR to 6.980% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. SoFi rate ranges are current as of September 14, 2018 and are subject to change without notice. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.570% APR assumes the current index rate derived from the 1-month LIBOR of 2.08% plus 0.740% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score.
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

LendKey Disclosures

Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.


5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

  1. Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). The following table displays the estimated monthly payment, total interest, and Annual Percentage Rates (APR) for a $10,000 loan. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) shown for each in-school loan product reflects the accruing interest, the effect of one-time capitalization of interest at the end of a deferment period, a 2% origination fee, and the applicable Repayment Plan. All loans are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in interest rate by agreeing to automatic payment withdrawals once in repayment, which is reflected in the interest rates and APRs displayed. Variable rates may increase after consummation. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.08% effective July 25, 2018.

6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Education Refinance Loan Rate DisclosureVariable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of August 1, 2018, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.07%. Variable interest rates range from 2.57%-8.17% (2.57%-8.17% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Fixed interest rates range from 3.75%-8.69% (3.75%-8.69% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Lowest rates shown require application with a cosigner, are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan.
  2. Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer with the Education Refinance Loan. Borrowers should carefully review their current benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans and replace those with the benefits of the Education Refinance Loan. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision at http://www.citizensbank.com/EdRefinance, including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.
  3. Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Eligibility: Eligible applicants may not be currently enrolled, must be in repayment of their existing student loan(s) and must make the minimum number of payments after leaving school. Primary borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The co-signer (if applicable) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer will be required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Education Refinance Loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, certification of borrower’s student loan amount(s) and highest degree earned.
  4. Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  5. Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
  6. Co-signer Release: Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply.
  7. Estimated average savings amount is based on 14,659 Education Refinance Loan customers who saved on loans between August 1, 2017 and July 31, 2018. The calculation is derived by averaging monthly savings across Education Refinance Loan customers whose payment amounts decreased after refinancing, calculated by taking the monthly payment prior to refinancing minus the monthly payment after refinancing. We excluded monthly savings from customers that exceeded $4,375 and were lower than $20 to minimize risk of data error skewing the savings amounts. Savings will vary based on interest rates, balances and remaining repayment term of loans to be refinanced. Borrower’s overall repayment amount may be higher than the loans they are refinancing even if monthly payments are lower.

2.57% – 6.98%3Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit SoFi
2.47% – 5.87%1Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Earnest
2.47% – 8.03%4Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Lendkey
2.80% – 6.22%2Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Laurel Road
2.48% – 6.25%5Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit CommonBond
2.57% – 8.17%6Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Citizens
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.