Supplemental Income and Side Gigs for Job Seekers

The good news is the job market is rapidly improving with a new low for unemployment, but there is still a growing percentage of Americans grappling with long-term unemployment. According to reporting from CNN Money, long-term unemployment is still a pressing problem and 22.6 percent of jobless Americans fall into that category of looking for work for six months or longer. Whether you worked in a highly-skilled job that is rapidly being outsourced, or you simply can’t find more opportunities in your industry near your home, long-term unemployment can feel suffocating and never-ending.

Focus on the fact that the job market is, in fact, improving and that you have some control over your income situation. From marketing yourself as a consultant or freelancer to tapping into proven business models, there are ways you can earn supplemental income while you look for a new job. Here are four ideas for flexible and rewarding jobs you can do from almost anywhere.


Job seekers often overlook consulting in favor of going straight for high-level jobs. In reality, consulting can open doors to new leads and experiences while providing more income during the limbo of looking for a new job. Of course, finding consulting gigs isn’t always simple without a network in place. Let friends, colleagues, and anyone in your network know that you’re offering consulting services and pinpoint a specific niche. Offering consulting in a specific area, such as in cybersecurity or setting up systems and processes for a new office, will be an easier sell than offering generic services that cover everything under the sun. At the end of your consulting gigs, you’ll walk away with new skills, a wider network, and rapidly close the gap on your resume.

Product Based Businesses

Selling a product is no small feat if you’re planning to launch into scaling up a Shopify store or Etsy shop. Instead, you can focus on selling your wares at farmers markets and consignment sales, or tap into an established business model based on your current interests.

For example, if you’re interested in beauty products or home care, a company such as Amway already offers a variety of product lines to sell through relationship marketing. It’s also a smart way to refine your sales and networking skills as you continue your job hunt. You can even apply to work with their corporate offices directly or follow best practices and sales tips through Amway’s LinkedIn page.

Gig Economy Jobs

The gig economy is no longer a rising trend but in full force and integral to our economic reality. Although it’s not always easy to scale gigs into a full-time income, it works remarkably well for supplemental income when you need it. Whether you want to use your car to drive for Uber, run errands on TaskRabbit, or deliver groceries for Amazon Fresh, you can find gigs when you need them most to fit into your schedule around job interviews. You might even decide to keep supplementing your income once you land your dream job to catch up on bills and restore your savings.


Many companies are also opting to shake up their structure and switch to a freelance model, or hire contractors to see if it’s a good fit before extending a full-time offer. In fact, according to the Freelancing in America Study, 57.3 million people freelance and the majority of workers will be freelancers by 2027. The good news is launching a service freelance business is one of the fastest ways to immediately earn money without the need for a website or large network. It’s an added bonus that you can test out new passions like graphic design and slowly scale. To get started, leverage platforms like UpWork or Contently to find clients looking for new talent, and let your peers know that you’re looking to pick-up new work.

The beauty of supplemental income is being able to control when and how you work. Choose gigs and contract work that interests you the most or pays the most to keep your income afloat. And once you land that dream job, it doesn’t mean your gigs are over. You can use those supplemental income streams to restore your finances and build up your next emergency fund.