11 Ways to Make Money Without Sitting Behind a Desk

by / ⠀Career Advice / April 10, 2021

A classic 9-to-5 can offer financial stability, job security, and a sense of routine. However, the desk-job lifestyle isn’t for everyone. If you’d rather be on the go than on the grind, you might be looking for an alternative path.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to fill your pockets without succumbing to office life. The right path for you just depends on your skills and interests. To get started on your corporate exit strategy, here are just some of the ways you can make money without sitting behind a desk.

1. Invest in Real Estate

Real estate investing can be an exciting and lucrative opportunity. You just have to find an investing strategy that works for you. Methods like wholesale real estate allow you to invest and make a profit without requiring up-front capital. Alternatively, house flipping can be great for anyone looking for a longer-term project. Consider how much time and money you’re ready to commit when breaking into the industry.

2. Sell Your Art

If you’re artistic, you’ve likely dreamed of making a living off your creations. Luckily, the internet provides plenty of ways to turn your prowess into profit. Shops like Etsy are a secure starting point for selling your art online. However, you might be able to cut out the middleman by selling on your own website. Stock photography and music are also in demand for other creatives, so consider taking several avenues if you’re multi-talented.

3. Get Social 

You don’t need to be a glamorous influencer to make money online. Platforms like YouTube and TikTok allow everyday people to monetize their content — you just have to find a niche and stay consistent. Publish new content regularly and establish a distinct personal brand. You can also pocket some spare cash by keeping up a blog. It’s true that making money on social media requires some administrative work. But the combination of brand deals, payments from the platforms, and affiliate marketing can pad your wallet over time.

4. Write a Book

Writing a book certainly requires time in front of a computer, but the resulting sales could generate passive income for life. If you dabble in fiction writing or have a passion for a certain topic, book writing could be a potential path for you. You simply need to find time to write. Once the book is complete, novice writers can either connect with a publisher or take the self-publishing route. Even a self-published e-book can provide some income while opening the door for future writing opportunities.

5. Care for Pets

Animal lovers ditching the 9-to-5 might find their ideal career in pet care. There are endless opportunities to work in the booming pet industry. You might become a professional pet sitter, walk dogs in your city, or even learn to be a dog groomer. Dog training is another possibility if you’re able to pick up the skills. What starts as a side hustle in the pet industry could become your full-time business with time.

6. …Or Care for Kids

Ready to swap your meetings for games of tag? Child care is another desk-job alternative to consider. If you love kids and have child care experience, you might become a full-time nanny or part-time babysitter. Both of these paths can be high earning in certain cities. Nanny agencies and online child care directories are safe ways to connect with families, so be sure to research options in your area.

7. Focus on Fitness

Workout enthusiasts might find success in the wellness industry as personal trainers or fitness instructors. This career path allows you to stay active, connect with others, and positively impact lives. When the COVID-19 pandemic emptied gyms, many trainers were able to work with clientele online or make socially-distanced house calls to individual clients. 

If you’re interested in a more holistic path, you might consider a career as a massage therapist or yoga instructor. In these fields, showing up at work can be energizing rather than draining.

8. Learn a Trade

Those who took the “college to career” path might have overlooked skilled trades. However, these jobs allow you to work with your hands and earn a high wage. If you want to forgo the desk job but still work regular hours, a trade could be a suitable option.

You might find fulfillment as an auto mechanic, electrician, HVAC technician, or carpenter. Typically, entering a trade means going to trade school, which lasts anywhere from eight months to two years. You can then work for an established business or start your own.

9. Sell Your Clothes

Fashionistas, this one’s for you. If you revamp your wardrobe every season, you could be missing opportunities to make money on your pre-loved threads. Clothing resale has become a popular industry and can be lucrative for some. This is particularly true when you get into the luxury space.

Some sites to take a look at include Poshmark, ThredUp, and The RealReal. However, there are plenty of online clothing marketplaces to consider. Finding your niche and building a brand can help you target your ideal buyer, turning a passion project into a business.

10. Try Tutoring

Whether you’re a natural math wiz or speak a second language, there are plenty of tutoring opportunities available for you. The shift to online learning in 2020 created a lot of opportunity in this field, and pent-up demand is huge. 

Tutoring can be done in person or online, as needed. Tutors typically set an hourly rate for supporting kids and adults, so you can boost your hourly earnings with this path. You might start by marketing yourself within your network, on social media, or at local colleges. Knowledge is valuable, so people will pay for your time.

11. Go Back to School

When revamping your whole career, self-starting isn’t always the answer. Some people might want to leave their desk job without sacrificing job security. And this could mean getting another degree. 

Careers in healthcare and teaching are secure alternatives to a desk job, but you’ll need certain degrees or certifications to enter those fields. Going back to the classroom may just be the fresh start you’re looking for. Be sure to balance the cost of your education against projected future earnings.

A desk job might be a traditional path, but it certainly isn’t the only one where you can make money. People are trading their desk jobs for new vocations every day. With the right skills and creativity, you can take a risk in your career and never sit behind a desk again.

About The Author

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Editor in Chief of Under30CEO. I have a passion for helping educate the next generation of leaders.

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