30 Ways to Turn Your Talent Into Extra Income

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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. 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 to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with 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.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the financial institution.


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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 8 lenders of 2020!
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 3.20% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.99% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.89% 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 December 13, 2019, 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 12/13/2019. 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 our student 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 SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 3.46% APR (with AutoPay) to 7.61% APR (without AutoPay). Variable rates currently from 2.31% APR (with AutoPay) to 7.61% (without AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.31% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 2.31% plus 0.75% margin minus 0.25% for AutoPay. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your credit history and the term of the loan 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.

3 Important Disclosures for Figure.

Figure Disclosures

Figure’s Student Refinance Loan is a private loan. If you refinance federal loans, you forfeit certain flexible repayment options associated with those loans. If you expect to incur financial hardship that would impact your ability to repay, you should consider federal consolidation alternatives.

4 Important Disclosures for College Ave.

College Ave Disclosures

College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.

1College Ave Refi Education loans are not currently available to residents of Maine.

2All rates shown include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.

3$5,000 is the minimum requirement to refinance. The maximum loan amount is $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary doctorate degrees, and $150,000 for all other undergraduate or graduate degrees.

4This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

Information advertised valid as of 1/1/2020. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.

5 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Mortgage lending is not offered in Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.

This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.


There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties associated with the loan. Lender may assess a late fee if any part of a payment is not received within 15 days of the payment due date. Any late fee assessed shall not exceed 5% of the late payment or $28, whichever is less. A borrower may be charged $20 for any payment (including a check or an electronic payment) that is returned unpaid due to non-sufficient funds (NSF) or a closed account.


For bachelor’s degrees and higher, up to 100% of outstanding private and federal student loans (minimum $5,000) are eligible for refinancing. If you are refinancing greater than $300,000 in student loan debt, Lender may refinance the loans into 2 or more new loans.
For eligible Associates degrees in the healthcare field (see Eligibility & Eligible Loans section below), Lender will refinance up to $50,000 in loans for non-ParentPlus refinance loans. Note, parents who are refinancing loans taken out on behalf of a child who has obtained an associates degrees in an eligible healthcare field are not subject to the $50,000 loan maximum, refer to https://www.laurelroad.com/refinance-student-loans/refinance-parent-plus-loans/ for more information about refinancing ParentPlus loans.


Borrower, and Co-signer if applicable, must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident with a valid I-551 card (which must show a minimum of 10 years between “Resident Since” date and “Card Expires” date or has no expiration date); state that they are of at least borrowing age in the state of residence at the time of application; and meet Lender underwriting criteria (including, for example, employment, debt-to-income, disposable income, and credit history requirements).

Graduates may refinance any unsubsidized or subsidized Federal or private student loan that was used exclusively for qualified higher education expenses (as defined in 26 USC Section 221) at an accredited U.S. undergraduate or graduate school. Any federal loans refinanced with Lender are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment.

All loans must be in grace or repayment status and cannot be in default. Borrower must have graduated or be enrolled in good standing in the final term preceding graduation from an accredited Title IV U.S. school and must be employed, or have an eligible offer of employment. Parents looking to refinance loans taken out on behalf of a child should refer to https://www.laurelroad.com/refinance-student-loans/refinance-parent-plus-loans/ for applicable terms and conditions.

For Associates Degrees: Only associates degrees earned in one of the following are eligible for refinancing: Cardiovascular Technologist (CVT); Dental Hygiene; Diagnostic Medical Sonography; EMT/Paramedics; Nuclear Technician; Nursing; Occupational Therapy Assistant; Pharmacy Technician; Physical Therapy Assistant; Radiation Therapy; Radiologic/MRI Technologist; Respiratory Therapy; or Surgical Technologist. To refinance an Associates degree, a borrower must also either be currently enrolled and in the final term of an associate degree program at a Title IV eligible school with an offer of employment in the same field in which they will receive an eligible associate degree OR have graduated from a school that is Title IV eligible with an eligible associate and have been employed, for a minimum of 12 months, in the same field of study of the associate degree earned.


The interest rate you are offered will depend on your credit profile, income, and total debt payments as well as your choice of fixed or variable and choice of term. For applicants who are currently medical or dental residents, your rate offer may also vary depending on whether you have secured employment for after residency.


The repayment of any refinanced student loan will commence (1) immediately after disbursement by us, or (2) after any grace or in-school deferment period, existing prior to refinancing and/or consolidation with us, has expired.


After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship.

We may agree under certain circumstances to allow a borrower to make $100/month payments for a period of time immediately after loan disbursement if the borrower is employed full-time as an intern, resident, or similar postgraduate trainee at the time of loan disbursement. These payments may not be enough to cover all of the interest that accrues on the loan. Unpaid accrued interest will be added to your loan and monthly payments of principal and interest will begin when the post-graduate training program ends.

We may agree under certain circumstances to allow postponement (deferral) of monthly payments of principal and interest for a period of time immediately following loan disbursement (not to exceed 6 months after the borrower’s graduation with an eligible degree), if the borrower is an eligible student in the borrower’s final term at the time of loan disbursement or graduated less than 6 months before loan disbursement, and has accepted an offer of (or has already begun) full-time employment.

If Lender agrees (in its sole discretion) to postpone or reduce any monthly payment(s) for a period of time, interest on the loan will continue to accrue for each day principal is owed. Although the borrower might not be required to make payments during such a period, the borrower may continue to make payments during such a period. Making payments, or paying some of the interest, will reduce the total amount that will be required to be paid over the life of the loan. Interest not paid during any period when Lender has agreed to postpone or reduce any monthly payment will be added to the principal balance through capitalization (compounding) at the end of such a period, one month before the borrower is required to resume making regular monthly payments.


This information is current as of November 8, 2019 and is subject to change.

6 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.

Splash Financial Disclosures

Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers.

7 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 1.76% effective November 10, 2019.

8 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.

Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of  5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.

As of 12/019/2019 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.90% to 8.59% Variable APR with AutoPay and 3.49% to 7.75% Fixed APR with AutoPay.

1.99% – 6.89%1Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Earnest

2.31% – 7.36%2Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

2.06% – 6.81%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Figure

2.62% – 6.12%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit College Ave

2.29% – 6.65%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Laurel Road

1.99% – 7.06%6Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

1.85% – 6.13%7Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit CommonBond

1.90% – 8.59%8Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Lendkey

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. 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 to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with 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.

Published in Make More Money, Side Hustles