The gig economy is booming. Today, workers of all types — full-time employees, part-timers and freelancers alike — are finding creative ways to make additional money.
But how do you find the best gig jobs? There are plenty of skills and credentials you can commodify in order to earn extra money. We’ve rounded up 30 of the best gigs in 2021 so you can find the ideal side hustle
The 30 Best Gig Jobs in 2021
Estimated hourly income: $60/hour (Career Karma)
Programming is extremely lucrative and high-demand work. If you know programming languages and have experience coding, whether you’re a full-time developer looking to supplement your income or want to work on a project basis, you’ll almost certainly find a need for your skills to build software, websites and other platforms and tools.
2. Ethical hacker
Estimated hourly income: $57 (ZipRecruiter)
Also called white-hats or white-hate hackers, ethical hackers are vital to keeping technological systems secure. They will look for vulnerabilities to assist organizations and individuals in protecting themselves against cybercrimes like data breaches. In order to land gigs, you’ll need to have cybersecurity expertise. You can expand your skills — and earning potential — by becoming certified.
3. Virtual assistant
Estimated hourly income: $16.08/hour (Payscale)
This is a great gig you can do without leaving your home. You’ll perform many of the same responsibilities as an in-person assistant, but you’ll be able to do them virtually. You might do bookkeeping, data entry, research and other tasks, depending on your client and their needs. It’s also critical for you to be highly organized.
4. Freelance writer
Estimated hourly income: $22.68 (PayScale — varies significantly by niche)
Freelance writers can focus on many different niches, such as blogging, copywriting, newsletters, journalism and much more. As you get more publications under your belt, you’ll gain exposure and be able to charge more for your work. And if you run your own blog or website, you might even secure advertisers, boosting your salary even more.
5. Freelancer editor
Estimated hourly income: $33/hour (ZipRecruiter)
Editors, meanwhile, are tasked with refining text. There are several different types of editors who work on different projects, such as articles, books, blogs, ad copy, social media and more. Again, as with writers, your earnings will vary depending on factors like experience and niche.
Estimated hourly income: $26/hour (Salary.com)
People with a passion for words and grammar can find plenty of work proofreading. This can be ideal for full-time writers or editors who want to make some cash on the side, as well as others with impeccable grammar. You must have strong attention to detail and be well-organized to succeed in this role.
7. Graphic designer
Estimated hourly income: $38/hour (PayScale)
Got a creative streak? Artists who have a strong knowledge of technology will find that they can put their skills as freelancers with individual clients or at companies in a wide variety of industries, such as media, advertising and publishing.
8. Survey taker
Estimated hourly income: Varies (pay is sometimes in the form of gift cards)
Where to find survey taker jobs: Survey Junkie
That’s right — you can actually get paid to take surveys! Through sites like Survey Junkie, you can earn money or alternative forms of compensation, such as gift cards to major companies like Amazon, solely by answering basic questions. The more surveys you take, the more you earn.
9. Video editor
Estimated hourly income: $39/hour (Salary.com)
A fast-growing field, video editing has many applications. You could edit videos for events, digital courses, YouTube and much more. As with a graphic designer, you’ll need to know how to use the technologies involved in the field, as well as have an artistic sensibility.
Estimated hourly income: $14.06/hour (PayScale)
Where to find landscaper jobs: Landscape Industry Careers
Combining art, the environment and gardening, landscaping is a versatile job with many different niches. If this is a side hustle, you might work for the government in parks, private clients and others.
11. Food deliverer
Estimated hourly income: $13.01 (PayScale)
With more and more people relying on delivery rather than heading into restaurants or grocery stores for food, particularly during the pandemic, food delivery workers are in high demand. You’re likely to find plenty of opportunities at major delivery companies, as well as individual restaurants or grocery stores. This is especially true in big cities. You’ll need to be adept on a bike or have a license to make your deliveries, of course.
12. Game tester
Estimated hourly income: Varies (sometimes compensation is in the form of gift cards)
Where to find game tester jobs: Mistplay
Getting paid to play games? Yes, it’s a real gig! Apps like Mistplay allow you to play new games and earn rewards that come in the form of gift cards to major retailers. Bear in mind that this is not the same as a game developer or QA tester, both of which require technical skills and are often full-time jobs.
13. Rideshare driver
Estimated hourly income: $16/hour (Glassdoor)
The rideshare economy is booming. If you have a car and a license and are adept at making small talk, this gig can be a lucrative side hustle for people of all ages. Plus, you’ll get to meet and interact with new people every day.
14. Fitness trainer
Estimated hourly income: $49.58 (PayScale)
If you’re a fitness enthusiast with the strength and athleticism and prove it, you could find your calling — or occasional gig — as a fitness trainer. You might work as a personal trainer on a case-by-case basis, teach classes at a gym and more. Certifications will increase your earning potential and expand your opportunities.
Estimated hourly income: $57.50 (PayScale)
Even at a time when everyone has a smartphone equipped with a camera, there’s still plenty of demand for talented and highly skilled photographers to capture events for celebrations like weddings or news for newspapers, magazines and more. Opportunities and rates vary by your niche, skills and experience. You’ll also want to develop a strong portfolio.
16. Tour guide
Estimated hourly income: $13.22 (PayScale)
Where to find tour guide jobs: ToursByLocals
Your knowledge of the history, culture and best spots in local areas will get you far as a tour guide. Some guides operate independently, while others work for tour companies. It’s a great way to meet people and get to know your city even better. Plus, tips can be very generous.
17. Dog walker
Estimated hourly income: $14.94 (PayScale)
Calling all dog lovers! There are a number of apps connecting dog parents with people willing to walk their pets. It’s a great way to get exercise, bond with furry friends and make a little money on the side. It’s also a flexible gig — you can set your own hours.
18. Pet sitter
Estimated hourly income: $25/hour (Thumbtack)
Now that people are traveling more, we’ll likely see an uptick in the number of dog and cat owners who need people to watch their little ones. Using reliable apps, they will be able to find people with experience looking after animals and feel rest assured that their babies are in good hands.
Estimated hourly income: $15/hour (Payscale)
If you have an eye for detail and can pay attention like no other, transcription can be a solid side hustle. It involves listening to speakers, recordings and other audio materials and transcribing the text.
20. Mover for hire/muscle for hire
Estimated hourly income: $50/hour (The Moving Blog)
If you have the requisite strength, assisting people with their moves can be a lucrative side hustle. Via freelancer and gig platforms like TaskRabbit, you’ll be able to set your own rates and hours. Having a truck at your disposal could expand your opportunities, too.
Estimated hourly income: $21.53 (ZipRecruiter)
Depending on your skills, you can find a wide range of jobs tutoring topics like foreign languages, writing, math, science and more. You can also assist students with standardized test preparation, often virtually. Bear in mind that while you can usually set your own rates, some platforms take a small cut of your earnings.
Estimated hourly income: $16/hour (Sittercity)
Do you love kids? Babysitting is a great side hustle — or, in some cases, a full-time job — for people with patience, creativity and childcare experience. To boost your earning potential and be better equipped to take care of your charges, it’s a good idea to become CPR and First Aid certified.
Estimated hourly income: Varies depending on product and marketplace
Where to find crafter jobs: Etsy
Artists now have plenty of outlets to sell their goods — jewelry, clothing, home decor, artwork, notecards and much more. Places like Etsy give crafters a market to display their work and find homes for it. Prolific crafters can earn plenty.
24. Social media specialist
Estimated hourly income: $24 (ZipRecruiter)
As you probably know, the demand for social media specialists is quite high. In the role, you’ll create compelling content and analyze its impact on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
25. Affiliate marketer
Estimated hourly income: $26/hour (Salary.com)
Design, writing, sales and promotional skills will get you far as an affiliate marketer. In this job, you’ll market clients’ products and services on your own channels, such as a blog, and earn money based on the traffic and sales you generate.
Estimated hourly income: Varies by space, location and other factors
Where to find host jobs: Airbnb
Have ample space? Looking to meet new people? Hosting guests in your home via apps like Airbnb is a great way to make extra money, whether you have multiple properties or rooms you’re not using. You’ll be expected to provide a comfortable space for your guests and clean before and after their stay. Some hosts go the extra measure and offer snacks, travel tips and more.
Estimated hourly income: $12.06/hour (PayScale)
Where to find housesitter jobs: Housesitter.com
As an alternative to hosting, you can also watch other people’s homes while they’re out of town. Often, this comes with a comfortable place to live (as well as some cash) in exchange for watering plants, taking care of pets and performing general upkeep.
28. Personal chef
Estimated hourly income: $22.23 (PayScale)
Where to find personal chef jobs: MyTable
Private chefs work with individual clients to cater events and parties, as well as cook daily meals on some occasions. Often, personal chefs require culinary education before finding gigs and clients.
29. Personal shopper
Estimated hourly income: $18/hour (ZipRecruiter)
Love shopping? Then personal shopping could be the right job for you. You literally get paid to shop, whether your client needs groceries, clothes or other goods. You’ll need to be okay with a fair amount of walking, and in most cases, you’ll probably need to have a car and license as well.
30. Online vendor
Estimated hourly income: Varies by products, platform and other factors
When you’re looking for extra cash, selling possession you don’t need is one of the quickest and easiest ways to turn a profit. People are always in the market for books, shoes, furniture and much more. You don’t even need to own these possessions already — you can pick them up for cheap at, say, stoop and garage sales. In addition to online marketplaces like eBay, look into physical markets, such as flea markets.
The gig economy has plenty of opportunities for people with all sorts of skills and experience. No matter what your area of expertise, you're bound to find a market for your qualifications and services. These are just some of the many types of gig jobs available in today's world.