Freelancing and the gig economy are booming. But how much time do you have to devote to it? What if you have a full-time job already and don't want to let it go? Or maybe you have family or school commitments? 

From gigs for college students, to people looking for a fun way to make money; whatever your personal circumstances, there are side gigs that can work for you. This post will highlight side gigs that take a minimal time investment and give you an idea of what you need to get started with each one. 

1. Start Typing 

If you’re in front of a computer during the day and frequently use your keyboard, put your typing skills to work after hours doing transcription work. While legal and medical transcription may take additional schooling or training, general transcription work can be a great way to supplement your income with little to no experience in the field.  

Transcription positions generally require strict attention to detail and the capability to transcribe at a high word per minute rate without mistakes. Think you have what it takes? Head over here to take a free typing test to gauge your speed and accuracy. 

If you’re new to transcription, there are a few companies you can check out. QuickTate hires newbies to the trade and they have a sister company iDictate that takes those who have a greater skill in transcription. Keep in mind, you will have to pay for the $20 background check fee to complete the application process. 

Another great option for those getting started in transcription is Rev. With no application fee, they offer applicants a comprehensive FAQ section which answers a lot of the common questions they receive about transcription work and how to get started. They also allow you to work as little or as much as you want—a definite perk if your time is limited. 

2. Start Talking

If you have a voice that’s unique or easy to listen to and have elocution skills, give voice over work a shot. More experienced voice over work (think commercials, corporate videos, and more) may be more difficult to come by as a beginner, but there are other options if you’re just getting started. 

First off, you will need some basic equipment for this gig. A quality microphone and a space that’s well insulated for starters. This will allow you to produce quality narration. 

If you’re looking for a way to break into voice over work, you might try ACX. ACX is a marketplace where authors can select a narrator to create an audiobook version of their book. To get started, you’ll create a profile and upload samples of your voice. You can also look for books you’re interested in narrating and audition to be selected. Pay comes as a set fee or as a portion of the royalties (think residual income). 

3. Start Shopping

Don’t let the name scare you off. Retail arbitrage simply means you buy something in a retail store (or online) at a discounted price and resell it for a profit. This side gig might be one of the simplest ways to earn a few extra dollars on the side. Simply keep your eyes open when you’re shopping for things you need—do you see an amazing deal? Pick it up and resell it on sites like eBay or an app like Mercari for a profit. 

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you’re browsing the shelves. First, make sure the item isn’t discounted because of a defect. Some stores will discount an item if it has a flaw and that will make it harder for you to sell. It’s also a good idea to stick with recognizable brand names and items. You want to focus on items that have a demand. 

Whenever I’m shopping and see something I think might sell, I will quickly check my phone for what the item is currently selling for online. If I think I can double my money, then I move forward with the purchase. 

4. Put your Pen to Paper Part 1

Freelance writing gigs can be very flexible, making them the perfect part-time side gig. If you’re comfortable putting your pen to paper, here are some things to keep in mind. 

First, write in a style and topic you’re comfortable with writing about. If you’re an aspiring journalist, then your style will be more formal and objective while focusing on a newsworthy event or person. However, if you’re sharing the parenting hacks you’ve learned over the past decade, your tone will likely be more personable with some anecdotes and humor thrown in the mix. Pieces like that might fit well in a parenting magazine or on a blog. 

Once you know what the type and topic of writing you wish to focus on, there are several approaches you can take to land some gigs. One option is to apply to be a freelancer on a freelance website. Sites like Fiverr and Upwork allow freelancers to create a profile and respond with proposals to clients looking for freelancers. The advantage of using a freelancing website is having a third party mitigator for things like payment and supplying quality leads. The downside is that they take a cut of the pay. 

Aside from freelance websites, writing gigs can be found on craigslist, writing job boards and more. When searching for opportunities, be mindful that fraudulent opportunities are out there—here are some good ways to avoid them. 

5. Put your Pen to Paper Part 2

In a more literal sense, putting a pen to paper can bring in extra cash as well. If you have a knack for penmanship or currently practice calligraphy as a hobby, try putting that hobby to work. 

Keep in mind, this side hustle requires supplies and might not be the best option for beginners since there is a learning curve to the art of calligraphy. Practice will make a difference in the quality of your work, so the more proficient you are, the better your ability to market your portfolio to potential clients. 

When you’re ready to pursue work in this niche, you might try setting up a shop on Etsy. Since Etsy caters to handmade craftmanship, those looking for a calligrapher will likely head there versus other online venues. Word of mouth, local stationary shops and social media outlets can also help you market your talents to potential clients. 

6. Put your Pen to Paper Part 3

If creating your own content isn’t your thing, you might try editing for others. For example, there are some companies that hire out content writing to freelancers out of country and as a result the content needs to be reviewed by a native language speaker to ensure grammar and language usage is correct. 

Similar to freelance writing gigs, you’ll find quality editing job leads on major freelance sites. You can also find gigs here and on other blogs dedicated to help writers and editors find work.  

7. Whisk Away

If you love to cook or bake, turn that passion into profit. Whether it’s something you do year-round or capitalize on during holidays or other busy times of the year, turning your hobby into extra cash might be easier than you think. 

A friend down the street markets her baking talents during holidays. Leading up to holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, she solicits orders for homemade rolls via social media and the word has spread. Not only does she have regular customers, they spread the word about the time and effort it saves them, leading to more customers.

Another excellent example, this woman decided to take her baking skills to the next level and supplements her 9-5 gig by crafting and selling cakes, cookies and more. While slow to get started, she now turns work away when it doesn’t fit within her busy schedule or range of expertise.

8. Snap some Photos

While many professional photographers have had extensive training or schooling in their craft, others got started simply by taking pictures and learning on their own how to make them better. 

But, while this side gig doesn’t require extensive experience, if does require equipment. For starters, you’ll need a quality camera which can be costly. But if you’re an amateur photographer to start with, it’s just a matter of putting that hobby to work. 

To get started, you’ll need a portfolio of work. Whether you take some family photos for your neighbor or co-worker, or offer to cover your cousin’s wedding, you’ll need to build a collection of photos to showcase your talent to potential paying clients. 

Once you have a portfolio, use a website, social media and word of mouth to spread the word. Booking one to three photo shoots a month could be the picture-perfect way to supplement your day job. And who knows, maybe you’ll turn it into a full-time business like this guy

9. Pet a Pooch

If you’re an animal lover, consider dog-walking or animal sitting. Often flexible, watching or caring for animals can be an easy to start side gig that takes a minimal time investment.  

To get started, look on local classifieds such as listings on Nextdoor, a social network for those living in the same area. This is a great way to find gigs that are nearby and who knows, maybe you’ll meet some of your neighbors in the process. 

This is another side gig that you can capitalize on around the holidays when many will be traveling. Summer is another good time to get this side hustle going. 

10. General Labor

If you’re not averse to physical labor, there are plenty of year-round opportunities for general labor. Lately, I’ve seen requests for people to help rake leaves, pack boxes, coach their kids in skiing and more. 

The best place to find these types of one-time gigs is on social sites like Nextdoor. You may be able to work a Saturday or two a month and build up some extra savings. 

The Takeaway

Whether you’re using a skill or monetizing a hobby, side gigs are out there, and they don’t have to take up all your free time. A few hours a week here and there may be just the side hustle you need to help you build up savings, pay off some debt or make your holidays extra special. 

For more great articles on ways to make money on the side, check out:

Author bio: Rachel enjoys reading when she takes a break her side hustles. She also writes for the Built for Teams PTO tracker blog. Built for Teams provides HR tools specifically for small businesses. The software aims to help small business owners streamline hiring, onboarding and time off management. Created by Objective Inc. developers.