Part-Time Income Ideas

by Chris Miksen
Some part-time opportunities put all the work of earning money in your hands.

Some part-time opportunities put all the work of earning money in your hands.

Whether you want to complement your full-time income or you're looking to start earning a paycheck in exchange for a few hours each week, plenty of opportunities exist for earning money part time. You can always go down the traditional path of finding an employer, or you may prefer to start a business or market your skills and find paying clients.


As of 2013, the advantages of freelancing have spurred 42 million Americans to pick up a freelancing career, according to the Freelancer's Union. Starting out part time in freelancing awards you the best of both worlds: flexibility and income. Since you're not employed by anyone, you can make your hours, to an extent, and bring in a sizable income by finding the right clients. Examples of freelancing fields include writing and editing, photography, graphic design, computer programming and consulting. The downsides to working part time in a freelance career mimic the upsides: flexibility and income. Some people find it difficult to maintain the discipline needed to consistently put in the few hours each day or week that finishes projects and finds new clients. It's completely opposite from the rigid structure of standard employment, where you punch in and punch out. Additionally, a freelancer's income varies. While a steady supply of clients enables you to make a fairly consistent income, it's never guaranteed like an employer-issued paycheck.

Part-Time Employer

Plenty of employers have a need for part-time employees. The retail field is known for its penchant of leaning on part-time workers, especially during the holiday season. Some positions are part-time year-around, while others are seasonal. Examples of seasonal jobs include landscaping, employment at your local park and roofing. While you can typically find part-time positions online and through specific employers, temporary job agencies can also help find you employment. Part-time employment income varies greatly depending on the position you hold. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes cashiers earned a median hourly salary of $8.89 in 2010. Grounds maintenance workers earned a higher hourly wage of $11.41 per hour.

Passive Income

Passive income meshes perfectly with a part-time schedule. The idea behind passive income is that you put in the work and then reap the benefits as time goes on. For example, suppose you write a blog post. The post took you two hours to write. You don't get paid for it immediately, but with ads — such as pay-per-click ads — you can begin earning money from that blog post for years to come. A few more examples include blogging, Internet marketing, website templates and — especially with the rise of self-publishing — e-books. Most passive income streams take very little to no money to start. Note that passive income is somewhat of a misnomer. You can't just throw up a blog post and expect income to start rolling in. You have to make a consistent effort to attract readers or buyers.

Start a Business

Owning a business might seem like a massive venture, but running one on the side for little investment is completely possible. Think of what you do well. Maybe you enjoy wood crafting. Stick to a part-time schedule and create wooden signs. Use as many free or low-cost avenues as you can think of to sell those signs and market your business. Examples include online marketplaces, online classifieds, forums, business cards and fliers. Most online marketplaces do not require a fee until after you sell an item. Because there is some investment required — such as purchasing supplies and making business cards — this might not be an option if you are looking to start earning income without spending a dime.

About the Author

Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.

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