You’ve heard of the gig economy before – it’s a common way to refer to people who work as freelancers or independent contractors. Gig economy jobs are so popular because they’re an extremely flexible way to make extra money.
It’s no wonder that, according to a study by Upwork, over 59 million Americans are now freelancing. That represents 36% of the nation’s workforce.
The best side gigs make it possible to work on the side of your 9-5 and bring in some much needed extra money. Side hustling is a solid option if you want to attack your debt or stop living paycheck to paycheck. Some of these options can even turn into full-time work if you’re looking for a career change.
18 Best Gig Economy Jobs for 2021
1. Facebook ad management
Running Facebook ads for small businesses is simply digital marketing through Facebook, which continues to be one of the best online platforms for small businesses to increase their traffic and visibility.
This is the exact side gig I started after I quit my teaching job to run this site full time. My first client was the jeweler who sold me my wife’s engagement ring. That client led to another, then another, and pretty soon my side gig was earning me more than my full-time teaching job ever did.
Facebook ad management can be one of the highest paying gig economy jobs because it’s so scalable. You can make $1,000-$1,500/month per client, and it only takes around 2-3 hours a week to manage ads for one client once you’ve set their ad system up.
Many students who have taken my Facebook Side Hustle Course – which will teach you how to run Facebook ads and find clients who need your services – have scaled their side gig to $5,000/month in income or more.
There are even a handful of students who have grown their side gig into a $10,000/month income generator.
This is hands down one of the best gig economy jobs because Facebook has a massive reach that small business owners are just starting to tap into. Big companies have been doing this for a while, but many small business owners lack the resources and time it takes to run an effective ad strategy.
Check out the Facebook Side Hustle Course to get started today.
2. Virtual assistance
Technology has caused an explosion of growth in the area of virtual assistance. Things that once had to be done in person can now be done online by someone else entirely. This frees up valuable time for entrepreneurs, online business owners, and full-time freelancers.
I have several virtual assistants working for me and this site, and I can honestly say that growing my blog wouldn’t have been possible without their work.
Virtual assistants, or VAs, can perform a variety of tasks for their clients, including:
- Data entry
- Responding to emails
- Project management
- Blog management
- Preparing reports
- Simple digital marketing tasks
- Content creation
- Event management
- Managing Pinterest accounts
- Social media management
Your exact job description will depend on your client’s needs and your skills. Some business owners, like me, often have multiple VAs who are all skilled and trained in different areas.
This is a great gig economy job for anyone who has experience in human resources, executive assistance, project management, or administration. Learn more about what this job entails, how much you can expect to make, and how to start a VA business in the 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success course.
3. Get paid to grocery shop
Grocery delivery services like Instacart and Shipt are fast-growing gig economy jobs because more people are choosing to stay home and outsource their grocery shopping. Instacart alone added 250,000 new shoppers in 2020.
One of the reasons gig workers like this side hustle so much is because there are minimal requirements for shoppers – all you need is a reliable vehicle, smartphone, clean driving record, and to pass a criminal background check.
Also, this side job pays pretty decently too. You can earn between $15-$20/hour on average working for Instacart or Shipt. Learn more about the differences and how to sign up in my Shipt Shopper Review and Instacart Review.
4. Deliver food
Next to grocery delivery, delivering food from local and chain restaurants has been another steadily growing side gig. Companies like Uber and DoorDash have even expanded their service to deliver for convenient stores and pharmacies.
Food delivery drivers will tell you that the busy hours to work this side job are 11:00 am to 2:00 pm for the lunch rush and 4:30 pm to 9:00 pm for the dinner rush. Many drive for more than one company so they can accept more orders because more orders = more cash.
You can expect to make between $15-$20/hour delivering for services like:
- DoorDash: Partnered with more than 300,000 restaurants, DoorDash is now available nationwide. Dashers can schedule hours in advance and earn extra by completing Challenges and driving during Peak Pay hours.
- Uber Eats: Sister company of rideshare giant Uber, Uber Eats has seen a 197% increase in orders since the start of 2020.
- Grubhub: This is the original food delivery service that started back in 2004. You can schedule shifts in advance or open the app and pick up orders whenever you have spare time.
Check out my full list of companies in 13 Best Food Delivery Apps to Work For – Make $200/Day?
Working as a rideshare driving is one of the top gig economy jobs of the past couple of years. It’s turned into a massive business as companies like Uber and Lyft offer an affordable way to get around.
Rideshare drivers get to set their hours, and I’ve met a lot of drivers who genuinely love meeting new people and being able to side hustle whenever they want. One rideshare driver I met told me she loves helping people get home safely from bars and parties, and it didn’t hurt that she gets to listen in on some hilarious late-night conversations.
There is a lot to understand about rideshare driving before you get started, and it’s worth noting that the average pay is often less than what is advertised. Drivers make around $10-$15/hour on average. Still, you can set your own hours and make money with your car.
6. Web developer
Because more people are working and learning online, web developers are in high demand right now. They are responsible for building and maintaining the technology that supports how we live right now.
This is one of the best paying gigs because freelance web developers can make anywhere from $40-$80/hour. Learn more in 11 Best Places to Find Freelance Developer Jobs.
7. Freelancer writer
Freelance writing is a broad field, and there are a growing number of gig economy jobs for freelance writers. The vast majority of what you read in print or online has been written by a freelance writer, including:
- Marketing campaigns
- Blog posts
- Email newsletters
- Online and print articles
- Catalog descriptions
- Ghostwritten books
- Web copy
- Grant writing
- Technical writing
- Content mills
Freelance writers earn a wide range of rates depending on what kind of writing they’re doing and their level of experience. For example, some new writers earn on the low end of $0.01/word writing for content mills (this is an industry term for sites that focus on quantity and pay very rates). Others get paid $1,000 to write a 2,000-word blog post.
This is one side gig with a lot of income potential, and you can learn how to get started in How to Become a Freelance Writer: The Ultimate Guide for 2020.
If you cringe when someone uses the wrong verb tense or can’t tell the difference between their/there/they’re, proofreading might be one of the best gig economy jobs for you.
Proofreaders are responsible for polishing written content for bloggers, content writers, website owners, and more. For people who write for a living, hiring a proofreader saves them time, and ultimately money.
Proofreading is extremely flexible and pays well, so much so that Caitlin Pyle of Proofread Anywhere left her day job to work as a proofreader, and then leveraged her skills to create a comprehensive proofreading side hustle course. You can check out her course here.
9. Video editing
Video editing is a growing freelancing field with more people producing online courses, starting YouTube channels, filming wedding videos, and more. If you know how to edit videos, this could be a good side gig to use your skills.
If you’re interested in working with YouTubers, you could approach creators who have subscribers in the tens of thousands range. They’re probably to the point that they’re ready to outsource this task.
You can contact local photographers about editing wedding videos. Listing your services on a freelance platform like Fiverr is another way to start.
10. Sound design/editing
These gig economy jobs have increased in recent years thanks in part to how many people are now listening to podcasts. Sound designers can help podcasters with post-production, creating intro and outro tracks, inserting ads, and more.
Just like video editing, contacting podcasters or listing your services on Fiverr is a good way to start.
Another option, if you have a lot of experience, is to teach people how to become sound designers by creating your own online course.
11. Online tutoring
Tutoring is a surprisingly high paying gig economy job – you can make around $30-$60/hour as a subject-specific high school tutor or $45-$100 as an ACT or SAT prep tutor.
As a former high school teacher, I know for a fact that parents are willing to pay good money to get academic help for their kids. Parents were always looking for tutors for math, science, foreign language, writing, history, and more.
You can find potential clients connecting with local schools, advertising your services on social media, or through an online tutoring platform like
Wyzant. It’s free to list your services on Wyzant, and they take 20% of your tutoring fee.
Wyzant tutors create a profile that details what subjects they can tutor, qualifications like an academic degree or work experience, preferred grade level to work with, and when you’re available.
Prospective parents or students contact you through Wyzant and set up a time online or in-person to meet.
12. Pet sitting
Whenever my wife and I go out of town, we rely on a pet sitter to come and stay with our dog Strider. He’s not the kind of dog we could leave with just anyone, so it was a huge relief to find the right pet sitter.
We found our dog sitter on Rover, which is an online platform where animal lovers can find gig jobs as pet sitters, dog walkers, cat boarders, and more.
The amount you can earn as a pet sitter varies based on where you live. In larger metropolitan areas, you can make around $70 for an overnight stay or $25 per walk.
Next to using Rover to find jobs, I highly recommend reaching out to family and friends and letting them know about your services – referrals go a long way when it comes to taking care of someone else’s pet.
13. Run an Etsy business
Since it was launched back in 2005, Etsy has grown from a small site for crafters to a $3.9 billion industry. Crafters can sell everything from hand-knit hats, custom wedding decor, vintage goods, home decor, original artwork, and so much more.
One of the more passive Etsy businesses you can run is creating and selling digital printables, like planner pages, invitations, thank you cards, etc.
It’s passive because you create one digital file that can be sold and delivered over and over again. You’re not storing and shipping physical inventory either, so much less work on your end.
14. Sell things online
Selling stuff online is one of the easiest ways to make extra money right now. Most people think of it only as a short-term side gig, but you can turn this into a long-term way to make extra money by flipping things for a profit.
It’s exactly what it sounds like. You find things at flea markets, garage sales, Goodwill, and online marketplaces and sell them for a profit. A lot of people don’t understand the value of what they’re selling, especially if they sell it through the right channels.
Melissa and Rob of Flea Market Flipper make around $10,000/month or more as full-time flippers. In November of 2020, they made over $16,000. Here are a few things they flipped:
- Welder purchased for $100 and re-sold for $1,700
- A dance board for the game Dance Dance Revolution that they picked up for $50 a flipped for $600
- Stroller bought for $25 and sold for $230
- Two gas tanks found in a dumpster and sold online for $50 apiece
You can learn more in their free Flea Market Flipper Webinar.
I sound like an old man saying this, but I’ve become very passionate about my yard in the past year. I dream of a nicely trimmed, weed-free, and green lawn.
There are lots of people like me who will pay good money to have our yards maintained. This gig is more hands-on than many of the other gig economy jobs on this list. It’s very physical work that can involve:
- Trimming bushes
- Raking leaves
- Cleaning gutters
- Shoveling snow
You can advertise your services by passing out flyers in neighborhoods near you. Share your new business venture with your friends and family. Local Facebook groups and Nextdoor may be another good way to advertise.
There are often gigs for electricians, welders, plumbers, carpenters, etc. These jobs take field-specific training, and there’s currently a shortage of workers in these fields and a high need for these skills.
Your pay is dependent on the trade and your level of experience and training, but here are some averages:
- Electricians: $20-$26/hour
- Plumbers: $16-$35/hour
- Welders: $15-$25/hour
- Carpenters: $20-$25/hour
17. Help people move
Moving is hard work. There’s packing everything up, all the heavy lifting, and then actually driving things from one destination to another. That’s why people are willing to pay $20-$30, even more in some markets, to have someone help them move.
Dolly and Bellhopper are really similar in how they work. You apply online, go through a background check, and go through an onboarding process. From there you use the apps to find jobs and get paid.
As far as low commitment gig economy jobs go, becoming a Tasker for TaskRabbit is a solid choice. When I say low commitment, I mean you’re doing one-off jobs instead of starting your own freelance business.
TaskRabbit is a platform where people go to find help with individual jobs like:
- Assembling IKEA furniture pays $40-$70/hour on average
- Running errands for an average of $35/hour
- Doing yard work pays an average of $20-$25/hour
- Cleaning houses for an average of $50/hour
To start finding side gigs on TaskRabbit, you’ll need to register with the site. This includes a background and ID check. Then you create a strong profile that lists what services you want to provide, any experience, your price, and a “quick pitch” that explains why someone should hire you.
Clients pay through TaskRabbit, and you receive 100% of your fees. TaskRabbit charges a 15% service fee to your customers.
Where to find gig economy jobs?
You can find gig economy jobs in a lot of different places these days. Here’s a round-up of some of the best places to find gig work:
- Fiverr: This is a freelancer platform where you can list gigs for as little as $5. Learn more in Everything You Need to Know to Make Money on Fiverr.
- Upwork: Freelancers create profiles, and clients post job listings explaining what they’re looking for. Then, freelancers submit proposals, and the client can look over the freelancers’ portfolio.
- Guru: This platform is well-suited for freelance tech jobs, especially from highly skilled freelancers.
- FlexJobs: This site aggregates listings from other online job boards and matches you with listings based on your skills and experience. FlexJobs is designed to help you save time hunting for work.
- Craigslist: Yep, don’t forget to check the Craigslist Jobs or Gigs section. This site has gotten a bad rap in the past, but it’s still a place to find legitimate side jobs.
The final word on gig economy jobs for 2021
At the beginning of this article, I mentioned a study done by Upwork about the growing gig economy. That same study found these key findings:
- 8% more people earn a living as full-time freelancers
- 75% of people surveyed say they freelance to make more money
- 58% of non-gig workers say the are considering freelance work in the future
I bring these data points up because working in the gig economy is a legitimate source of income for many people nationwide. It’s serious work that has serious income potential.
Besides income potential, freelancing is inherently flexible and fits in really well for people looking for more remote work. And as you just read, there are options for all kinds of people looking to start making money with a side job.