Do you earn money outside of your job? Tell me about it

Ramit Sethi

Do you earn money outside your fulltime job? If you earn money on the side as a consultant/freelancer or a side job, please tell me about how you do it. Pick all that apply.

Specific occupations

  • You’re a writer who makes over $900 per month. Click here.
  • You’re a programmer/developer who makes over $900 per month. Click here.
  • You’re a designer (web, print, etc) who makes over $900 per month. Click here.
  • You’re a business/marketing consulant who makes over $900 per month. Click here.
  • You do something unusual (like training pets, babysitting) and make over $900 per month. Click here.

Random questions on side jobs

  • You earn over $100,000/year doing independent consulting/freelancing. Click here.
  • You’re an independent consultant interested in doing a “Freelancer Diaries” entry similar to the Money Diaries. Click here.
  • You earn money on the side to support a lifestyle (i.e., you could make more, but you spend your time traveling, doing yoga, being with your family). Click here.
  • You started out with a job that doesn’t typically translate to freelance work (e.g. a physicist, cardiac surgeon, middle manager) but figured out a way to earn money on the side. Click here.
  • You overcame a limiting belief to become a successful freelancer (“Nobody will pay for this,” “Freelancers never make any money”). Click here.

For everyone

  • For anyone (not just independent consultants): You spent over $1,500 on personal development in 2009 (courses, business travel, books, Spanish lessons, etc). Click here.

Do you know your actual earning potential?

Get started with the Earning Potential quiz. Get a custom report based on your unique strengths, and discover how to start making extra money — in as little as an hour.

Start The Quiz

Takes 3 min


  1. Tyler

    Exactly the kind of study I wish my blog had the heft to do. I’ll be very excited to see the results of this.

  2. Patrick

    yes please post so we in the comments so we are alerted when the results are in.

  3. George

    What a great idea! Can’t wait to see the results!

  4. Shevonne

    Interesting. It should be kind of hard to consolidate them into one blog post, so I can’t wait to see how it’s done.

  5. Lisa

    I hear that catering and landscaping generate nice cash.

  6. Scott

    I earn money on the side but no where near those amounts. I would love to make that kind of money (an extra $900/month would be a huge increase in my income).

    I freelance write and earn about $100/month. I keep looking for more of it but it’s rather scarce and hard when people want to pay $1 for a 500 word article.

    Will this post be followed up by something on how to improve your freelance income?

    • Ramit Sethi

      Probably : )

  7. Anthony

    i dont make $900 a month on the side, but ive been doing tons of focus groups which give me a nice little extra spending money.

    last month i did three focus groups which totaled up to $450 in extra money. im trying to do more in the upcoming year.

    also, another weird way i earn some extra money (not much, but a little) is playing sweepstakes online. they usually come in the form of gift cards which helps me with my monthly spending. sometimes i win amazon dollars, best buy gift cards, etc. i say that i average about $150-$200 worth of prizes, gift cards, and cash a month. it helps me keep my spending low, because not much comes out of my actual checking account and it gives me an opportunity to get some things for myself that i normally would not spend my own money to buy.

  8. Scott


    Where do you find your focus groups and sweepstakes? I’ve searched for them before, but any time I email a focus group expressing interest they say I don’t fit the criteria.

  9. Andy

    I am a full time teacher but also teach private piano and singing lessons two nights a week. How many people can say that they earn $50 an hour at their part time job? 🙂

  10. Dani

    Hmm. Rather than freelance on the side, I start up little businesses. Which hopefully will grow. I’ve been writing weekly cookbooks for over a year to help people discover new foods and save money on groceries. Right now that makes me about $135 a month but I love doing it. Now I’m working on starting a membership-type site where people can buy eco-friendly household goods at wholesale prices. But these questions make me wonder: should I be doing something that is an offshoot of what I do for money? (Right now that’s work at a “career center” where we spend most of our time getting people on the phone with the unemployment folks. It doesn’t ring my bell.)

  11. Leif David

    I’m a magician (, but on the side I also do a little bit of graphic design, and I also have started creating products for other magicians like

    Along with trying to create more money from my main business (performing), I’m always looking for ways to earn money elsewhere because there’s always going to be time when I’m not performing, and doing shows I can only be in one place at a time which limits the amount I can bring in.

  12. Anthony

    Hi Scott,

    I signed up for a few different focus group sites in NYC and they call me when I fit the criteria for a group they need. I guess I’ve just been a bit lucky lately fitting into three this past month. There’s nothing you can do if you don’t meet the criteria except to keep trying. It comes in spurts, every few months or so I get called for one but this past month was hot.

    All of the sweepstakes, I learn about through If you go to “forums” and then “contests and sweepstakes” you’ll see a ton. I hope that helps man.

  13. Bn$Grl

    I earn extra money from owning income producing rental property (big $$) and freelancing (little $).

  14. Quest

    I own rental properties, I blog, by domain names and write. Outside of the rental companies, I don’t make anywhere near that kind of monthly income from side gigs.

    Any suggestions on how to improve my blog is appreciated.

  15. rackgen

    Ramit, I am making some more money by renting out 2 cars to the taxi company where my wife works. Does this count as unusual?

  16. iphonekönig

    Thanks for the great posting – and happy new year to you all 🙂

  17. Steven Diamond

    When will the results of your study be published?

  18. Peter

    Part of my day job includes design responsibilities at the advertising agency I work at. I have a design site where I do logos/etc for bloggers – and it brings in $1000-1500/month extra for my family. I also bring in extra income from my blogging activities at the site linked in my name.

    I started making extra income as way to allow for my wife to stay home with our children. Now that my income is doing quite well, and we’re expecting our first child – we’re elated!

  19. Sep

    I’m a researcher, but I dj on the side. In grad school, I had months where I made just as much dj’ing as I did doing research.

  20. Mike

    I’m a real estate agent and launched a web site that caters to a different market that I am in and market the hell out of it. When I get buyer leads, I refer them to an agent in that area for a referral fee. Brings in about $500 a month.

  21. Kevin

    I make $2,200 extra per month working 10 extra hours per week doing statistical analysis and database development at the university. Easy stuff that any university graduate could do. With that money, I am shaving 3 years off my student loans and have saved over 10,000$ in just over 2 years.

    And, I make 5$ more per hour at my part-time job than my full-time government job 🙂

  22. Mike

    Kevin, how do you get signed up with local universities to do that kind of work? I just graduated from my college in May and live about 5 minutes away. That would be perfect for me.

  23. Kevin

    Mike, I was fortunate in that I had made some connections through a previous job, so I was able to play on that to get a 6-month ‘trial’ contract, which turned into a lot more work once word got around that I was available and could do the work folks needed done. My own sense is that it really helps to have some kind of ‘in’, at least to get your foot in the door, but once you are in, make sure you ‘get known’ somehow among the research people at the university. Perhaps you could say that you are studying to be an IT developer etc and you would be willing to volunteer to do a project. Somebody will take you up on it, and assuming you do good work, within 6 months there will likely be someone looking for someone with your skills. Good people really are hard to find and when somebody has a need, and they know just the individual who they know will be able to do the job with no hassles, they will call you first every time!
    Btw I’m 32, planning on exiting the traditional ‘money economy’ by 39 (mortgage and all debts gone) to focus on playing music, volunteering, reading, writing, and possibly teaching part-time (paid or not, doesn’t matter).

  24. Jean

    I just wanted to say I admire your goals to exit the traditional ‘money economy’ in favor of things like music, volunteering, etc..that’s an inspiration for me to get creative about a side job so I can pursue what I love like traveling, etc.


  25. Ilir S

    I’m a landlord -own/managing a few rental properties in the DC area… If you buy real estate in growing areas and hold on for a period of time, you will prosper!

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