5 Underrated Gig Economy Jobs With Great Earning Potential

If it seems like everyone around you has a side hustle these days, you’re not that far off. An estimated 50% of American workers earn extra income from gig work. And it’s quickly become a big business, with the industry expected to grow to $455 billion this year, up from about $297 billion in 2020.

Most people use gig work to improve their personal finances by using the additional income to pad their savings or pay off debt. And some jobs come with significant earning potential. Here are a few gig economy jobs with decent pay that you may not have considered.

1. Freelance writing

While some people may have assumed that artificial intelligence bots, like ChatGPT, are taking away all the writing jobs, the freelancing platform Upwork still lists writing as one of the best gig economy jobs.

Freelancers can earn between $15 to $35 per hour for their writing, according to Upwork, with some specialty topics, including medical writing, paying between $23 to $50 per hour. Freelance writing has been my only job for the past 11 years, so you can indeed make a living doing it.

2. Online tutoring

There’s lots of demand for online tutoring, and there’s a nearly endless number of topics you can choose from. Sure, there are traditional subjects that kids need help with, like math and science or helping with homework, but there are also non-traditional topics, like music and even games, that kids are looking for.

A recent CNBC report said that if you have a hobby or interest in a topic, there’s likely someone who wants help learning it. One tutor began teaching English and essay writing through the online platform Outschool and was making $10,000 per month two years after starting.

Obviously, that’s an outlier amount, but some estimates put the earning potential of an online tutor at $28 per hour.

If you’ve spent time looking for jobs on gig platforms, you’ve likely come across social media manager jobs. Many companies need content — including videos, graphics, and written posts — added to their social channels, but may not have enough money to hire someone full time, hence the prolific postings.

Upwork says you can earn up to $35 per hour with this side hustle, and data from ZipRecruiter shows that top freelance social media managers can make up to $95,500 annually.

4. Handyperson services

There’s a lot of demand for people who come out to homes and replace a toilet, hang a ceiling fan, mow a lawn, or complete nearly any other home-based task. That’s caused platforms like Handy and Thumbtack to increase in popularity and give freelancers plenty of opportunities to make extra money.

These handy services can pay good money too. Thumbtack says the average hourly rate for doing such work is between $60 to $75 per hour.

5. Accountant

Accountants are in demand right now, considering 300,000 of them quit between 2019 and 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, and fewer people are pursuing accounting degrees than in the recent past.

You’ll likely need a bachelor’s degree in a related field and a CPA certification, but if you have the credentials, a freelance accountant job can be a great high-paying gig. The online job company FlexJobs says that you can earn up to $38 per hour crunching numbers for clients.

How to launch your freelancing career

If you’re interested in making extra money with a side hustle, here are a few ways to get started:

  • Pick a gig: There are nearly unlimited freelancing jobs you can do, so narrow it down to what you have experience in or what you’re passionate about. That could be anything from pet sitting to creating websites.
  • Pick a platform: There are plenty of freelancing platforms to choose from, so spend some time considering which ones offer the jobs you’re looking for. It may be helpful to sign up for more than one to compare them and give yourself a better chance of finding the right gigs.
  • Evaluate your efforts: After you’ve spent a few months trying your hand at your freelancing gig, it may be a good time to evaluate whether it’s working out. While you have to give your freelancing job time to grow, you also don’t want to spend too much time doing something that’s not paying enough.

The good thing about freelancing is that you can begin doing it whenever you want and stop doing it if it’s not working out. But taking time to plan out your side hustle strategy will help you know that you’ve put all the necessary effort into a gig to evaluate whether it’s worth your time.

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