Double Duty: 77 Ways to Make Money on the Side While at Work

Sunday, July 5, 2009 at 6:24pm by Site Administrator

Ever have times when you’re sitting at your desk with nothing to do and wish you could be doing something much more productive instead? If you put your mind to it, you could be, and maybe even earn a little money at the same time. So long as you’re still getting your primary work done, there’s really no harm in taking your productivity to the next level, right? Here are a few ways that you can start using your spare minutes at work or at home to make a few extra bucks a week with a part-time business.

Around the House

Looking at your own to do list should be enough to show you that there are plenty of tasks you can do around the house that many people would be willing to pay you to take care of for them. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  1. Handyman: Are you good with a hammer or a screwdriver? Why not turn that skill into a little extra money on the side by offering handyman services to those who are too old or too inexperienced to do minor home repairs on their own. You can even spend your downtime at work posting ads for your services on local bulletin boards.
  2. Cleaning houses: Everyone wants a clean house, but not everyone wants to do the work that goes along with it. Offer cleaning services to local homeowners and you could make good money for just doing a few extra chores around the house.
  3. Home inspection: Before buying a home, most buyers have it checked out by a home inspector to make sure it’s sound before they complete the sale. If you’ve got some knowledge of construction and building codes you could be that inspector and be making money anytime you get spare time to check out a house.
  4. Window tinting: With a little basic training and equipment, you can get set up to tint the windows of just about anything. Whether it’s tinting car windows or office buildings, you can be making some green by offering this service during your downtime.
  5. Houseplant maintenance: If you’ve ever gone out of town and come home to withered and brown plants, you all about the need for plant care. Offer your watering and care services to homeowners as well as businesses who don’t have a green thumb or the time to care for their leafy decorations.
  6. Organizing: Have a gift for bringing order to chaos? Make it your job. Help packrats clean out their closets and get rid of the excess clutter and you could make a tidy profit.
  7. Yard care: The outside of the home is the only part that most people ever get to see, so it makes sense that it should look good. Capitalize on this by offering yard care services like lawn mowing, weeding, fertilizing, and pruning. Money could just end up growing on trees after all.
  8. Wallpaper hanging: If you’ve ever hung wallpaper you know how difficult it can be to get just right. Some lucky people, however, have a particular skill at it. If you’re one of them, you can earn some extra weekend dollars by hanging wallpaper for those who are clueless in the ways of papering walls.
  9. House sitting: Put a vacationing client’s mind at ease by being a house sitter. You’ll be there to make sure the plants get watered, the mail gets brought in, and those daily newspapers don’t just pile up in the yard.
  10. Window cleaning: No matter what, over time, windows will get dusty and dirty. With a ladder and a squeegee, you could turn a profit cleaning these hard to reach windows for people in your area.
  11. Pool service: While cleaning and maintaining pools might not be the most glamorous work, it can bring in some much needed income, especially if you live in a hot area where many people have pools.
  12. Power washing: You can rent, borrow or buy a simple power washer and turn it into a small side business. Driveways, houses and even businesses could stand a little bit of a wash now and then.
  13. Paint curbs: Who doesn’t want their address displayed clearly? It can make a big difference in the event of an emergency. It can also be a great way to make a little extra cash for not a lot of extra work.
  14. Babysitting: This can be a great way to make some extra cash, as finding good, reliable and readily available babysitters can be a chore. If you don’t mind giving up your nights and weekends every once in awhile you can build a solid customer base for your childcare services.
  15. Shovel snow: Few people want to go out in the snow to clear driveways and sidewalks, and would be more than willing to pay you to do it instead. Invest in a snow blower and you could turn all that white stuff into green.

Arts and Crafts

If you’ve got a creative talent, don’t let it go to waste. Here are some ideas on how you can use it t make some extra profits.

  1. Microstock: If photography is your hobby, why not post some of your favorite shots on microstock sites? You’ll earn money each time one of your snapshots is used.
  2. Antiquing: Spending your weekends scouting garage sales, thrift stores, estate auctions, and flea markets can be a great way to score old treasures for cheap. Research to find out the real value of what you’ve found and spend your next lunch hour auctioning it off on eBay.
  3. Making jewelry: Go to any crafts fair, and you’ll quickly find out that making and selling jewelry is big business, even when the materials aren’t highly valuable. Work with gold, silver, beads, or even recycled materials to create original designs you can sell online or at local craft fairs.
  4. Picture framing: Framing pictures takes a little bit of know how and a few specialty tools, but if you are good at it it can be a wonderful way to bring in some extra money on the side. Make friends with local artists, galleries and photographers if you want to boost your business and your income.
  5. T-Shirt design: If you’re good with design and know how to screenprint or applique designs you could turn a good profit making t-shirts for local teams, groups and businesses.
  6. Write: Writing doesn’t have to just be a hobby, it can also be a great way to bring in some extra money freelancing. Write online for blogs, for a local newspaper, or sell short stories to literary magazines to get your name out there and help pay your bills.
  7. Upholster furniture: Sometimes the fabric on a chair will go out of style long before the shape. Update old furniture by selling your skills as an upholsterer. You’ll make money and help rid the world of ugly furniture.
  8. Interior design: Some people are just hopeless when it comes to decorating a room and picking out furniture. If you’ve got a knack for it, market your skills for paint, fabric and layout as an interior designer. If your own home looks great, use that to help market yourself.
  9. Sew: If you know how to hem a skirt or take in much to large dress you could be using those skills to bring in a little extra income. Many people aren’t especially skilled with a needle and thread and will be more than happy to pay you to take care of it instead.
  10. Musician: If you’ve got some musical talent, you can spend your next lunch hour booking gigs to bring you and your band mates some extra cash for doing something you love. Play at a local club or check out the wedding circuit.
  11. DJ: If you’ve got a record or CD collection that just can’t be rivaled, you can start making it work for you by becoming a DJ. Get gigs at weddings, school functions and parties and put together play lists over your lunch break.

Professional Skills

Make your professional work skills count even when you’re not at your primary job. Here are a few ways to make money on the side using your degree or professional skills.

  1. Medical transcription: Help out a hospital, doctor, dentist or even a veterinarian by transcribing medical records. These kinds of services are in big demand and best of all you can work from home or from where ever you are. You’ll be most successful if you have a good knowledge of medical terminology and great typing skills.
  2. Consulting: If you’ve got loads of knowledge on business or IT, you could be using it to help out other businesses by doing a little consulting work on the side. Just make sure it isn’t a conflict of interest with your current occupation.
  3. Prepare taxes: As inevitable as they are, people hate doing their own taxes. If you’re number savvy and have the know-how, you could be spending tax season getting more than just your own refund.
  4. Tutoring: Got a college education that isn’t being put to much use at your job? Use your downtime to tutor kids after school or over the Internet. You’ll be helping out students and making a little extra for yourself as well.
  5. Language lessons: With the world getting smaller and smaller with new technology, knowing more than one language is a must. If you’re bilingual use your language skills to create a business opportunity. Teach children and adults in your area or give classes at local businesses.
  6. Fund raiser: If you have excellent people skills and marketing talent you could become a part-time fund raiser. Many fund raisers are paid a percentage of what they raise, so that’s all the more incentive to get yourself busy bringing in the money for a local charity or non profit organization.
  7. Accounting: If you’ve got attention to detail and the math skills, you could make some extra money managing the books of a business on the side. Check your local newspaper for ads from businesses looking for part time bookkeepers.
  8. Virtual assistant: You don’t need to be in the office to be an assistant these days. You can find work with many places where you’ll perform tasks over the Internet instead. It can be an easy and commute free way to get some extra money.
  9. Editorial services: If you’ve got speedy typing fingers and an eagle eye for grammar mistakes, try offering your services as a typist and proofreader. If you’ve got a computer, printer and email you’re set and ready to go starting this side business.
  10. Debt counseling: For those from a financial background, offering services to help others get a handle on their finances can be a great way to bring in some cash. You’ll be getting both you and your clients on the road to a better financial future.
  11. Green business consultant: Many businesses are looking for ways to be more environmentally conscious these days. If you’re an earth loving type with some know how, you can launch this into a successful side business.

Health and Fitness

There are few things more important than health or fitness. Improve your financial fitness with these side business ideas.

  1. Personal trainer: Pump up your profits while you help others pump iron. Fitness gurus willing to get certified can make quite a bit of money offering training services to those who want to lose those pesky love handles.
  2. Yoga instructor: If you’ve been practicing yoga for many years, chances are you could learn to teach it to others as well. Offer classes to local businesses, health clubs, or through your local parks and recreation to bring in some extra cash while maintaining your zen.
  3. Personal chef: With so much going on, it can be hard for some people to find the time to cook a real meal. That’s where you can come in. Plan and cook a menu for clients that will be healthy and satisfying.
  4. Swimming lessons: Don’t let all those early morning swim practices go to waste. Use your swimming skills to teach kids in your area. You’ll help them become more confident in the water and help keep your finances afloat.
  5. Espresso cart: Selling coffee can have quite a large profit margin if you know how to move it. Buy or rent an espresso cart and head out to local sporting events and markets in your area to capitalize on those caffeine addicts.
  6. Make jellies: Never thought that jelly making your grandma taught you all about would be that useful? It could be if you’re willing to put in the time and effort. Sell your custom creations over the Internet or at a local market.
  7. Grow vegetables: If you rarely use your backyard why not turn it into a garden? You can sell the best products of your harvest and if there’s anything left over you’ll have fresh fruits and veggies ready to eat for dinner.
  8. Walk dogs: Dogs need to be walked one way or another and some pet owners simply can’t get home during the day to take their best friend out for a walk around the block. Creating your own dog walking service can be a great way to get exercise and get yourself some extra money.
  9. Hiking guide: A love of the great outdoors will make you an ideal candidate for considering this as an alternative way of making some cash. You’ll get to do something you love while making sure others stay safe enjoying their hike.
  10. Massage therapy: If you take the time to get certified as a massage therapist you could be making quite a bit of money offering your services. Massage appointments are sometimes short enough that you could even sneak one in over your lunch hour.
  11. Life coaching: Encourage others to be successful and make the most of their potential as a life coach. You can fit in appointments on weekends, during lunch and after work, making it easy to do double duty.
  12. Makeup artist: If you’re constantly getting complimented on your stellar makeup skills, then perhaps it’s time you tapped into them as a business endeavor. Paint the faces of women for weddings, parties, and even stage performances in your spare time.
  13. Organic catering: Organic food has become increasingly popular as people become more aware of the harmful effects of chemicals. Capitalize on this and your cooking skills by offering 100% organic catering services.


Technology is in everything these days, and if you know enough about it you can make good money selling your skills. Here are a few tech related business ideas to try out.

  1. Computer set up: Despite the constant presence of technology in most peoples everyday lives, there are some that just can’t seem to get the hang of it. This is where you can come in and get paid to help those with new computers get them set up, install new programs, and make sure everything is plugged in correctly.
  2. Home entertainment service: Home entertainment systems are getting fancier and fancier, and as a result many people have little idea of how to hook them up. This is where you can come in. With a little bit of knowledge about home electronics and wiring, you can set up tvs and stereo systems for a little extra cash in your pocket.
  3. Computer tutor: You might be a computer whiz, but many others, especially older people, aren’t and could use a little help learning how to navigate their desktop. Offering at-home instruction on how to use word processors, surf the web, or set up a computer can be a big help to the less tech savvy who still want to stay connected.
  4. Records search: Explore your investigative side by searching for information for clients. Use the Internet to browse public records to find lost loves, check out questionable employees, track down debtors, and much more. Best of all, you can do it right from your desk.
  5. Blogging: Got something to say but no place to say it? Try starting a blog. If it gains popularity you could bring in a good chunk of cash through on page advertising each month.
  6. Buy and sell domain names: While many of the best .coms are already taken, you can still make money in the domain name business with the newer .tv and .info names out there. With a little business savvy you can turn your afternoon domain auction browsing into a cash cow.
  7. Design webpages: Well-designed webpage work is always in demand and is something that you can easily do on the side with the right technical know-how to make some extra money.
  8. Be a virtual mogul: With the growing popularity of online programs like Second Life and WoW, there is plenty of money to be made in creating in-game clothing, real estate, objects and anything else and exchanging it for real life dollars.
  9. Web hosting: You don’t need to buy a lot of fancy and expensive server hardware to provide a Web hosting service. Many big hosting companies allow "reseller" accounts where you sell hosting plans to customers and the hosting company will host them all for you under your account umbrella, and you can charge your own rates for the service.
  10. Sell on eBay: You can make a profit not only selling your own things on eBay but charging others to sell their things as well. Doesn’t sound like something people would pay for? Many business are already making substantial profits doing it, so why not jump on the bandwagon?
  11. Computer cleanup: Viruses, malware and spyware are everywhere these days and can bog down a computer in no time. Offer your services to help clean and speed up computers that may have been infected.
  12. Transfer formats: Know someone that would be happy having their album collection moved to CD or MP3 format? With a small amount of equipment you can do this while you’re working on other things around the house.


Shopaholics and penny pinchers alike will appreciate these ideas on how to make money in the world of retail.

  1. Personal shopping: You’d be surprised at how many people would pay to not have to deal with the hassles of shopping, especially around the holidays. Make their laziness your benefit charging by the hour for your services.
  2. Market research studies: Spend your free time at work browsing the classifieds for opportunities to participate in paid studies. Depending on the study, it could be some of the easiest money you’ll ever make.
  3. Product reviews: Companies are often more than willing to pay reviewers to use and review their products. You’ll not only get paid, but you’ll get free products to boot.
  4. Mystery shopping: Many big retail chains are willing to pay you to shop on their behalf to see how the staff treats customers. Buy products, eat meals, or stay in a hotel, all on someone else’s tab.
  5. Gift wrapping: Many people make good extra cash around the holidays wrapping gifts for others. If you’re skilled with tape and ribbon, it could be a great way to help afford those extra holiday expenses.


Still looking for that perfect fit for a side business? Try these on for size to see if they can help you bring in extra revenue.

  1. Genealogy: Many people want to know more about their family history but just don’t have the time to look up all the records they need. You can offer your services as a family researcher and help clients get in touch with their roots. Best of all, you can do a lot of this research right from your desk at work.
  2. Trip planner: Everyone needs a vacation now and then, but not everyone wants to make all those reservations and bookings. Take the work out of vacation planning for someone else and earn yourself some money to put towards your own vacation.
  3. Run errands: Whether your clients just don’t have the time or lack the mobility, they’ll be happy to use your service to save them the time of running their own errands. You’ll make some extra money and you might even have time to take care of your own to do list at the same time.
  4. Obedience school: No one likes a naughty and destructive pet, and if you’re good at reigning in dogs you could have a profitable side career as an obedience trainer. Offer both individual classes and group sessions to maximize your profits.
  5. Feng shui consulting: Interest in feng shui has risen in recent years and you can capitalize on it by helping individuals and businesses get in harmony in their interior and exterior spaces. If you get certified you can make quite a bit, especially on larger projects.
  6. Cake decorating: Cakes often form the centerpiece of formal occasions like weddings, birthdays and anniversaries. If you’ve got the artistic flair, why not use it to create impressive culinary creations? Do a beautiful job and you’re sure to get loads of business.
  7. Tour guide: If you live in a touristy area, consider becoming a tour guide in your off time. You can show groups around all the major highlights of your city and get to enjoy the fresh air.
  8. Scrapbooking: If you’ve got a flair for making your memories look even more memorable in a scrapbook, you can try teaching scrapbooking classes in your area. Additionally, you can make a pretty penny selling supplies for scrapbooking as well.
  9. Boat cleaning: In the right market, the opportunities to make a profit cleaning boats are extensive. After all, there are a lot of boats, and likely more than a few need to be cleaned. Advertise your services at a local dock or marina to bring in clients and some money.
  10. Fill out surveys: You’re unlikely to make a bundle working on filling out surveys, but you can do it from your desk, and it might even look like you’re actually working.

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  1. Awesome list! Really a lot of work put into it!

    Comment by Working at Home Mom — February 5, 2008 @ 7:32 pm

  2. For three years I enjoyed getting bargains on eBay from power sellers always wondering how I could figure out something that I could buy cheap and sell for a descent profit. I would try and try to find items to sell, but then, by the time I paid eBay and the post office, there was only a few cents left for me. I later found quite the peculiar tool to aid in my research on items to sell. Not to say I can retire or anything like that, but I will say that I am a FULL TIME eBay super seller now. This tool shows what items are in high demand and low supply. This is the only way I know how to get back to the site—-

    Comment by Dustin — February 5, 2008 @ 9:47 pm

  3. Wow! this is an interesting list! better get started on some of those. Thank you!

    Comment by Pinoy Money Talk Dude — February 6, 2008 @ 3:20 am

  4. What a list of things to do. I appreciate the time that went into doing it. I think this could be a great list for a second job or working from home.

    Comment by Melbourne homes for sale — February 6, 2008 @ 6:29 pm

  5. It just goes to show that there are loads of ways to make extra money – you just have to have a look around you for various ideas and “think out the box”. Thanks for sharing your site.


    Comment by Alan — February 10, 2008 @ 7:39 pm

  6. Wow, I got tired reading all them. Great list. Thanks !

    Comment by 7leads — February 20, 2008 @ 7:17 am

  7. Re. #32, Fund raiser: “Many fund raisers are paid a percentage of what they raise” – I am a professional fundraiser. It’s actually an abrogation of the professional fundraiser’s code of ethics to engage in this. Ethical fundraisers will not accept a percentage of funds raised as compensation–instead, we charge by the hour or project. I think this is a great site and I just wanted to let you have a fundraiser’s perspective on this. Thanks!

    Comment by Lucille — March 2, 2008 @ 2:35 am

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