Seven unconventional ways to earn an income without working a 9-to-5 job

Freelancing, tutoring, and joining focus group discussions can all be ways to earn an income without working full-time.

Noreen Shazreen

Probably the coolest cat lady you’ll ever meet.

Published: 17 August 2022, 2:54 PM

Whether you’re trying to pay off a student loan debt or go on that trip you’ve been dreaming of since you were a kid, saving up can be challenging, especially if you are still a student with not much income. 

Although working full-time and part-time are the most common methods of generating income, modern technology and online resources have provided a variety of other ways to supplement one’s income without having to work a traditional job.

Here are seven unconventional ways to earn an income without a nine-to-five:

1. Share your knowledge as a private tutor

Have a knack for writing, math or the sciences? If you have a forte in any of the subjects taught in schools, tutoring can be a great way for you to make money as it offers great autonomy that a traditional job cannot provide. 

From pre-school to primary school, secondary school, junior college and even university, you can choose to tutor students from any educational level based on your academic qualifications and years of experience.


Tutoring is a great side hustle for students who are interested in the education sector as it gives them firsthand experience with teaching. PHOTO CREDIT: NICK MORRISON VIA UNSPLASH


If you don’t know where to start, many online tuition agencies such as ChampionTutor and Tutor City provide a step-by-step guide where you can register yourself as a tutor and charge your lessons at a desired rate. 

Alternatively, you may also list your tuition services on platforms like Carousell where people are more likely to find your service and contact you directly. 

If you’re interested in tutoring as a side hustle, don’t just do it for the money; do it because you want to help a child improve too!

2. Sell used clothing and items on Carousell

Is that red beanie and ripped denim jeans no longer sparking joy? 

Selling your old clothes online is another way to earn extra cash and is by far the easiest way to generate an income without having to do much. 


Decluttering your wardrobe and reselling old clothing is always a good idea as it supports sustainability and lets your clothes have a second life. PHOTO CREDIT: ANGELA BAILEY VIA UNSPLASH


With a variety of resale websites like Carousell, Depop and Facebook Marketplace, setting up an online shop from the comfort of your own home has never been easier. Simply take a photo of each clothing item and list away!

3. Join focus group discussions on Telegram

Happy to share your views on topics like e-commerce or the latest hair products? If so, joining focus group discussions could be a great way for you to earn some cash from the comfort of your own home. 


Focus group discussions are usually held in person to gather in-depth insights from a selected group of people. PHOTO CREDIT: FAUXELS VIA PEXELS


Many companies and organisations conduct focus group discussions as part of their market research. Through Telegram channels such as SG FocusGroup and, you can expect to earn between $100 to $300 in incentives if you participate in a one to two-hour focus group discussion. 

In most cases, companies employ screening procedures in order to ensure that the applicants are suitable for focus groups before inviting them to participate.

4. Get crafty and start an online business

If you’re an artsy one, consider starting an online business and get paid doing the things that you love! 

Painting, crocheting, illustrating, and jewellery making are just a few of the many crafts you can do. 

It’s also a great way to jumpstart your entrepreneurial journey while learning new skills such as copywriting and digital marketing – all of which are skills you will eventually need to expand your business in the future. 


Most clients buy illustrations as gifts for their loved ones, making it a great side hustle. PHOTO CREDIT: INSTAGRAM/@ILLUSTRATIONBY.LYD


The most common way to market and start selling your art is through social media platform Instagram, which has an Instagram Shopping feature for you to sell products if you register for a business account. 

In addition, Etsy is also a great website to garner international customers as it is a global online marketplace for all creative goods.

5. Rent out equipment on Carousell

Another popular way to earn some cash without entirely selling your belongings is renting it out to others. 


Depending on the camera model, renting a professional DSLR camera for a day typically costs $25 to $150. PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM CAROUSELL


From photography gear to vehicles and musical instruments, you can list out most of your belongings online for rent at any price that you wish. 

Best of all, it is a side hustle that doesn’t take much of your time or require you to work endless hours. 

You can also prepare a contract that is signed between you and the renter in order to protect your equipment and ensure that it is returned in the same condition.

6. Sell your services on Fiverr or Upwork

Have you always dreamt of living the digital nomad life? If that’s the case, getting started as a freelancer is a great way to kickstart your journey in living out a location-independent job as you’ll be doing your work remotely.

With online platforms like Fiverr and Upwork, freelancers can list out their services and earn an income based on their rates. Clients can then browse through the various services offered by different freelancers, choose freelancers they wish to work with and contact them to work on a project together.


Some common freelancing jobs include proofreading, copywriting, photo editing, video editing, logo design and website design. PHOTO CREDIT: JAI


If you don’t have a particular skill that you can leverage on, you can always take online courses or watch YouTube tutorials to build your skills before diving straight into freelancing. When you gain several five-star ratings and build a network of clients, you will receive more job offers from other potential clients.

Meet new people on RentBabe

Down for drinks or love to go cafe-hopping? As unbelievable as it sounds, you can get paid for going on dates and hanging out with new people through RentBabe


Meeting someone for coffee is a common activity done on RentBabe. PHOTO CREDIT: NATHAN DUMLAO VIA UNSPLASH


Through the website, users can rent a member to hang out and do activities with, have lunch or even invite someone to be their plus one for a big party or event. As the website allows users to find companionship, nothing intimate is encouraged.

If you’re looking to earn some cash and love meeting new people, this could allow you to kill two birds with one stone.

It is important to note that RentBabe does not control the behaviour of its users on the website and is not responsible for any wrongdoing that may occur. Sign-up is also only available to individuals aged 18 years old and above. 

Give any of these seven jobs a try if you’re looking for something with good flexibility, yet pays decently. No harm in starting a side hustle to help you reach financial independence early. 

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