Money Is Good, but Skills Are Better: 5 Side Hustles That Can Make You Better at Your Day Job

That's not a valid work email account. Please enter your work email (e.g.
Please enter your work email


When you think of the value a side hustle can bring to your life, what comes to mind? If one of your first thoughts is “making extra money,” you’re not wrong. Starting a side gig is a great way to bring in extra income during your time away from your primary job.

But you might also want to consider how the right side hustle can make you better and more productive at your day job. While extra money may be your priority, picking up a side gig that complements your main job may provide more long-term value beyond your bank account.

5 Side Hustles That Boost Your Skills

Here are five side hustles that can actually make you better at your day job, while also bringing in that extra cash.

1. Freelance Writing

A side gig as a freelance writer gives you a creative escape while helping you develop all sorts of skills that directly translate to your day job. For starters, honing your writing skills can make you a better communicator — something that matters in most roles.

Furthermore, being a freelance writer can drastically improve your time-management and organizational skills. Most (if not all) freelance writing work is deadline-driven. If you’re juggling multiple projects for different clients, being unorganized simply won’t cut it. As you grow as a freelance writer, these skills will become second nature — and the same systems you have in place for writing can be used in your day job.

Before you know it, you’ll have a writing portfolio you can use to showcase your talents and open doors to new opportunities, too.

2. Customer Service

Customer service and client-facing roles put you on the front lines of an organization. You deal with customers and clients directly, and your main goal is to solve problems in ways that benefit both the customer and the company. That isn’t always easy to do, as the people you deal with can range from wonderfully pleasant to downright rude.

Whether you’re working with a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft or making money with Postmates or Doordash, a customer service role gives you the chance to learn how to properly communicate with a range of people and respond effectively to various situations. It can be a great way to develop your flexibility, reliability, problem-solving skills, and ability to work under pressure.

For more expert career advice, check out the latest issue of Magazine:

3. Teaching Fitness

There’s no denying the benefits of exercise  for both your physical and mental state. However, sticking to an exercise regimen is not always easy to do. It takes time, energy, and most importantly, discipline.

But what if you could get paid to work out? Well, you can by becoming a fitness teacher. You’ll get to exercise while getting paid — and a regular workout schedule will help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp. Those qualities will all come in handy at your full-time job.

4. Tutoring

Tutoring on the side is not only a great way to make extra money — it’s also a great way to sharpen some critical soft skills. To be a successful tutor, you’ll need the ability to create personal relationships, to listen and communicate, and to teach and convey ideas. You’ll also need patience. These skills can be incredibly beneficial in your day job, especially if you manage people.

What’s more, all of these tutoring skills will make you a better coach. People will turn to you to when they need help learning new things, which can make you invaluable in the workplace.

5. Managing Social Media

If you know your way around various social media platforms and can make engaging content, consider picking up a side gig managing a small business’s social media accounts. There’s no shortage of companies that don’t have the time or expertise to stay on top of their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.

Take it upon yourself to contact local businesses and offer your services for a fee. This requires an enterprising spirit, negotiation skills, and reliability, not to mention knowledge of social media platforms, analytics, and optimization tools. All of that can easily translate to more value for your day job, too.

Side Hustles Are Also Good for Networking

Aside from expanding your hard and soft skill sets, most side hustles will also help you network in unexpected ways. You’ll meet new people from a variety of backgrounds, and you never know who might need your skills and resources. You may gain access to opportunities you would never have had otherwise — and even if you don’t, you can always bring the fresh insights and perspectives you gain from meeting new people back to your day job.

Side hustles help you break out of your routine, giving you new perspectives and new avenues for expanding your skills. That, in turn, can have a positive impact on your performance at your day job.

There’s no shortage of side hustles out there, so finding one that best compliments your full-time gig shouldn’t be an issue. While extra money is always nice, consider picking a side hustle that helps you get better at your job and feel better in life as well. That may ultimately provide the most value in the long run.

Matt Miczulski is an associate writer at FinanceBuzz.

By Matt Miczulski