In the era of the so-called gig economy, making some extra cash on the side through non-primary employment is known as a side hustle. Unlike traditional second jobs, where the employee is formally hired to perform part-time work on a set basis, gigs or side hustles generally entail working on a contract-by-contract basis as an independent freelancer, such as with Uber and Lyft drivers. For many Americans, some extra hustling is paying off nicely. According to a new study from Bankrate.com, nearly four employed Americans in 10 have side hustles, and many of them are earning enough cash to make a real difference—hundreds of dollars a month in supplementary income, on average. If you’re considering pursuing a second income stream, the results of this study can show you which side hustles are most popular, how much you can expect to earn and how frequently you’ll likely have to work your side hustle to earn it…
Working on the side is the new norm. According to the study, which included interviews with more than 1,000 working adults, 37% of respondents work a side gig, the average of which pays $686 a month—that’s more than $8,200 in extra income per year. For those who work their side hustles at least once a month, that monthly average jumps to $836. However, because a small percentage of high earners at the very top raise the average, the median earner in the exact middle earns much less. Among the entire pool of respondents who work a side hustle, nearly half—49%—earn $200 a month or less. The next-largest group is the 17% who earn $201 to $500 a month. Another 9% earn $501 to $1,000, and 15% earn more than $1,000 a month.
Men are more likely than women to work side hustles, and they earn far more on average than women when they do. The average man takes in $989 a month through his side hustle. The average woman earns roughly one-third of that at $361 a month. One reason: 14% of the men with side hustles reported working them every single week compared with only 9% of the women.
The most popular side hustles might give you ideas for one of your own. According to the study, the most common side hustle is a combination of landscaping and home repair, with 12% of respondents claiming that as their side gig. About 7% reported making money on the side through online sales and another 7% through making and selling crafts. After that: child care (6% of respondents) and artist, musician and substitute teacher 4% or fewer each.
Although jobs ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft have caught on quickly in many cities, only 1% of respondents in the survey who said they are earning extra money through side jobs indicated that they work for one of these.