Social workers are passionate about helping others, but many struggle to make ends meet. To supplement their incomes, more and more social workers are turning to side hustles or side jobs outside of their regular day job to bring in extra money.
Side hustling is a great way for social workers to earn additional income while maintaining the flexibility to balance work with family and other interests. There are plenty of options available. Some of these options utilize your existing skills and experience. Others may offer a nice change of pace from your full-time job.
In this article, we’ll explore the best side hustles for social workers who want to earn extra cash.
For more possibilities, see our huge list of side hustle ideas.
Best Side Hustles for Social Workers
1. Create and Sell Printables
One of the best ways to make money online in your spare time is to create and sell printables. Printables are digital files that can be printed and used in different ways. Popular printables include worksheets, checklists, planners, organizers, and journals, although there are countless possibilities.
As a social worker, you could create printables related to self-care, wellness, self-esteem, goal setting, and various types of therapy. Of course, you could also create other types of printables that have no correlation to social work if you prefer.
Social workers with experience in design or graphic arts may find this side hustle lucrative. It’s also possible to create printables without any prior design knowledge. Resources like Canva make it easy to create your own printables. Or you can hire a freelancer on Fiverr to create the digital products for you.
Etsy is the most popular marketplace for buying or selling printables. You can set up your own Etsy store and get your products in front of Etsy’s massive audience of buyers.
Selling printables is an awesome side hustle for a few key reasons:
- It’s completely flexible. You can work whatever hours fit your schedule.
- It can be as small or as big as you want it to be. You could use this side hustle to make a little extra money, or you could grow it into a full-time business.
- The work can be outsourced. You can easily hire a designer to create the products.
- Growth potential. Your income will likely increase as you add more printables/products to your store. You can also offer bundles that include several products to increase your revenue.
- Evergreen products. The printables you create can be sold for months or years to come.
- Strong demand. There are many people actively searching for printables to buy.
If you’re interested in learning how to make money with printables, we recommend the free e-book from Gold City Ventures.
Are you curious about selling printables on Etsy but don’t know where to start? This free ebook shows how to take advantage of seasonal trends to make sales. Plus, it gives you a secret list of the best-selling products by month, so you always know what to create.
Selling printables on Etsy is the perfect side hustle if you:
- Want to work from home
- Don't have much time
- Like the idea of selling on Etsy
- Don't have prior experience
2. Start a Blog
Starting a blog is another excellent opportunity for social workers to make money. Blogging can be an extremely rewarding experience, both professionally and personally.
As a social worker, there are many topics to write about. You could cover mental health, parenting advice, relationship advice, grief counseling – the possibilities are endless.
Of course, you could also start a blog on a topic unrelated to your full-time work. Maybe you have a hobby that you’d like to write about. Blogging can be an excellent way to make money doing something you enjoy.
Bloggers can make money in several different ways, including ad revenue, affiliate marketing, sponsored content, and selling digital products. (The printables mentioned in the previous point could be ideal products to promote through your blog.)
The income potential of a blog is unlimited. You could use your blog to make a few hundred dollars per month, or it could turn into a full-time business. Some bloggers earn six and seven figures while building a flexible lifestyle business.
The downside of blogging is that you’re unlikely to make significant income for at least the first six months, maybe longer. Building a blog is a long-term way to make money, so you’ll need patience. However, it’s an excellent online business model if you want to create a highly-profitable business.
3. Start a YouTube Channel
Starting a YouTube channel is an excellent way to make money in your spare time. You don’t need any special equipment or skills to get started. All you need is a smartphone with a camera and the willingness to share your knowledge with others. (You can upgrade your equipment as your channel starts to grow and produce income.)
As a social worker, you could create videos about various topics related to mental health, such as anxiety, depression, self-care, and more. You could also offer advice on relationships and parenting. Or, you can create a channel that focuses on any topic you choose.
The most obvious way to make money is through ads. You’ll need at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours to join the YouTube Partner Program, but that’s more attainable than it may sound.
Affiliate marketing is another popular method for monetizing Youtube. You can also land direct sponsorships or brand partnerships.
Starting a YouTube channel is like growing a blog. It takes time, and you shouldn’t expect to make money immediately. But the long-term income potential is unlimited.
4. Start a Podcast
Podcasting is another great side hustle for social workers. It’s an ideal way to share your knowledge and experience with others while also earning some extra cash. All you need is a microphone, a computer, and editing software (Audacity is free, open-source software).
Like other types of content creation, there are many topics that you can cover as a podcaster. You could talk about topics related to social work. And, of course, you could also start a podcast on a topic not related to social work.
You can make money from podcasting in several different ways. Some popular methods include ad revenue, affiliate marketing, sponsorships and brand partnerships, donations or Patreon subscriptions, selling digital products (such as printables or ebooks), and speaking gigs.
The income potential of a podcast is just as unlimited as blogging and YouTube. Some podcasters make a full-time income from their show, while others use it to supplement their day job. Like the other side hustles mentioned so far, you won’t start making money right away. But the long-term potential is excellent if you’re willing to put in the work.
5. Write a Book or E-Book
Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) makes it easier than ever to publish a book or e-book. You don’t need to spend countless hours trying to land a deal with a publisher. You’ll simply upload your book and start selling it on Amazon.
This business model also requires no startup costs. Since paperback books are printed on demand, you don’t need to invest in inventory or purchase large runs of books that you may not be able to sell.
Writing a book on social work topics is a great way to use your experience and make some extra money. And becoming an author may be very beneficial to your career. It’s an ideal way to brand yourself as an expert in your field, and it may lead to many opportunities in the future.
Of course, you can also write about any other topic, if you prefer.
The income potential from writing a book depends on how successful it is. You may not become the next J.K. Rowling, but a well-written book can generate a steady stream of income over time.
And if this is a side hustle you enjoy, you can write and publish several books to increase and stabilize your income.
Working as a tutor is another perfect side hustle. It’s an ideal way to help students while also earning some extra income on the side.
The majority of tutoring jobs are done online these days, so you don’t even need to leave your home to get started. All you need is access to the internet and a computer or laptop with a webcam and microphone. Some platforms require additional equipment (such as a tablet or smartphone), but that’s usually affordable and easy to obtain.
Instead of using a tutoring platform, you can also find clients on your own. Post an ad on Craigslist or bulletin boards at local schools and universities. You can tutor in person or virtually through Zoom or other platforms.
College students majoring in social work may need help with their coursework. But you can also tutor students in other subjects or help adults improve their job skills. You set the rules, hours, and rate of pay. It’s a flexible side hustle to fit your lifestyle and needs.
Teaching a course at a local college or university is another ideal way to use your experience. Adjunct professors often teach one or two courses per semester. If you have a 9 to 5 job, you may be able to teach a night class or an online course.
Adjunct professors are expected to have experience related to their field of study. This is a great opportunity if you have at least a few years of work experience as a social worker.
The amount of money you’ll make will vary, but it’s usually worth your time. Plus, experience as an adjunct professor is excellent for your resume.
You can offer your services as a consultant in your field of expertise. This can be done through freelancing websites like Upwork, or you can market yourself directly to potential clients.
As a social worker, you may be able to consult with other social service agencies or non-profits. You could also offer consulting or coaching services to families who need guidance and support from a professional.
You’ll have complete control over how much or how little you work. Plus, the income potential is excellent.
If you’re an engaging speaker, conferences and seminars may be a great way to make some extra income. You can also offer virtual presentations to reach even more people.
Speaking engagements are ideal for social workers who want to become experts in their field and increase their professional visibility. They provide the opportunity to network with potential employers, clients, and colleagues.
It may take time to land speaking gigs at conferences and seminars, but once you have established yourself as an expert in the industry, it can become a very lucrative side hustle.
You can also combine this side hustle with writing books and e-books. Authors are often preferred candidates for speaking gigs.
10. Virtual Therapy
Virtual therapy is becoming increasingly popular for mental health professionals to offer their services remotely. You can use video conferencing platforms like Zoom or Skype. You don’t need to leave your home office or workplace to provide effective therapy.
You’ll need to check the licensing requirements of your state, but this side hustle has excellent income potential. Plus, it allows you to help people who may not have access to traditional therapy services due to physical or financial limitations.
11. Review Case Files
Social workers often review case files to keep up with their caseloads. You can offer your services as an independent contractor to agencies and organizations that need help reviewing their clients’ cases.
Some organizations may not have enough employees to review all the necessary case files, and they may be interested in hiring you as a freelancer or contractor.
Depending on your background and experience, you may already have some connections in the industry that help with landing these gigs.
12. Become a Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants (VAs) can offer a wide range of administrative services (see our list of services for VAs). Your services could involve helping clients with tasks like scheduling appointments, making travel arrangements, responding to emails, managing social media profiles, and much more.
Typically, virtual assistants are paid an hourly rate for their services. VAs that specialize can often demand higher rates than generalists.
Social workers are usually familiar with the systems that organizations use, providing another advantage in becoming a successful virtual assistant within the industry. However, you can also offer services to businesses of all types.
13. Create an Online Course
If you have extensive knowledge and experience in the social work field, you can create an online course to teach other professionals or students. You can use platforms like Teachable or Podia to host your course and establish yourself as an expert in your niche.
Creating an online course can be a very profitable side hustle, but you’ll need a lot of time to create the course before you start making money. However, you can create a course once and reap the rewards for many years to come. And if you create several courses, you can increase your income exponentially.
14. Freelance Writing
Writing is a great way to make extra money outside your regular job. You can offer freelance writing services to online publications, blogs, and websites that need content from experts in the social work field. Credentialed writers are often able to charge higher-than-average rates.
The income potential for freelance writers is excellent, but there are also a lot of low-paying gigs out there. The key is finding the right ones that are worth your time.
You may already have industry connections to help you find your first client. If not, you can use LinkedIn to start connecting with editors and business owners, or check freelancing writing job boards like ProBlogger and Freelance Writing Jobs.
One of the benefits of this opportunity is the ability to start making money almost immediately. You don’t need to wait months or years to build a business. Simply find your first client, and you could make money next week.
15. Take Online Surveys
You won’t make a fortune by taking surveys, but you can increase your income by dedicating a few hours here and there to this side hustle. Swagbucks and InboxDollars also offer several other ways to make more money, like downloading apps, watching videos, and playing games.
This isn’t specifically a social worker side hustle, but it’s a flexible way to earn extra cash.
16. Food Delivery
Food delivery services like DoorDash are an excellent way to make money on your own schedule. DoorDash is very popular for part-time workers since it doesn’t require a minimum number of hours worked each week. Also, you can use any vehicle for deliveries, so you don’t need a newer model.
Delivery drivers receive wages plus tips from their customers. You can sign up to be a Dasher and start making money within a few days (after you pass a background check). This is a great option if you need to start making money quickly.
17. Start a Rental Business
If you’re looking for a source of passive income, a rental business could be ideal. There are many things you can rent out for money.
One of the best options for many people is to rent storage space through Neighbor. You can list your basement, attic, garage, shed, closet, or spare room, and people in your local area can rent it for storage space.
Neighbor handles all the details related to payments (you set your rates), and they’ll market your space to renters in your area. All you need to do is ensure that renters can access the space.
Neighbor makes it easy to earn extra cash by renting out storage space in your basement, attic, garage, or even a shed. Make extra money each month without needing to spend time on a side hustle.
- Earn thousands of dollars per year
- Very little time or effort required
- Neighbor markets your space to people in your local area
- Set your own rates
- Neighbor handles all the payments for you
Another option is to rent a pickup truck or cargo van through Fetch. According to Fetch, you can make up to $1,800 per month per truck. People in your area may need a truck for moving or buying a large item, and you can earn easy money.
Rent out your truck and make money passively with Fetch. Fetch's platform automates most of the process for you. They'll promote your rental to people in your local area, handle all customer inquiries, renter verification, and payment. The Fetch smart device even allows renters to unlock your truck with their phone so you don't have to meet them in person.
- Great side hustle for busy people
- Turn your truck into an income-generating asset
- Excellent income potential
- Rent out a single truck or build your own fleet
- Fetch guarantees that you'll make at least $1,500 in the first 90 days
If you own an RV or camper, you can rent it out through RVshare. This peer-to-peer rental platform allows you to make up to $22,000 per year by simply renting out an RV when you’re not using it.
Do you own an RV? If so, you can make a great passive income by renting it out when you're not using it. RVshare is a platform that connects RV owners with renters.
- Use the RV when you want, rent it out when you don't need it
- Turn your RV into an income-generating asset
- Passive income opportunity
- You control all the details like pricing
- Largest RV marketplace
Passive Income for Social Workers
If you want to increase your income, but you don’t have much time for a side hustle, you may want to focus on sources of passive income.
Several passive income apps make it easy to earn small amounts of money. These apps aren’t going to generate huge amounts of money, but you can use a few of them to increase your earnings. Some of the best options include:
FAQ About Social Work Side Hustles
There are many side hustles for social workers. If you want to use your skills and experience, you could create content (start a blog, YouTube channel, or podcast) on related topics. You can also create and sell printables related to wellness, mental health, and more.
And if you’re open to side hustles that don’t involve your expertise, you can deliver food with DoorDash or take surveys at Swagbucks, InboxDollars, and Survey Junkie.
Salaries vary based on location and experience. Some social workers do earn salaries that exceed $100,000, but it can take many years to reach this level of income. However, most social workers find this field pays below-average salaries.
It’s also possible to supplement your income by creating content (blogging, YouTube, or podcasting) in the industry, offering consulting services, or working part-time gigs like food delivery or dog walking. These options can help you increase your earnings and work towards your financial goals.
Yes, it’s possible to make a living as a social worker. Many entry-level social work jobs do not pay very well. If you’re in this situation, you may want to consider starting a side hustle to increase your overall income.
According to PayScale.com, the average social worker earns over $51,000 per year. However, it’s important to understand that salaries vary significantly based on location, experience, and the responsibilities of the job.
Final Thoughts on Side Hustles for Social Workers
These are just a few ways social workers can make extra money outside their full-time jobs. With dedication and hard work, any of these side hustles for social workers can become an excellent supplement. And many offer advantages like flexible hours, higher pay rates than traditional social services jobs, and the potential to increase your professional visibility in your field.