Moonlighting Jobs in 2024: Facts, Statistics, and Expert Insights

The traditional job market is no longer enough for many people. They need to supplement their income, pursue their passions or gain new business skills. Moonlighting jobs can provide all of these benefits and more.

I surveyed 200 lifelong learners at Skill Success, one of the top online learning platforms, and engaged in enlightening interviews with 150 moonlighters and industry leaders. Most of them are from the United States, and the rest are from various parts of the world. My goal is to empower you with the knowledge you need to navigate the world of moonlighting jobs in 2024 and beyond.

We will explore the prevalence of moonlighting, the motivations that drive people, the diverse array of moonlighting job opportunities, the essential skills to consider, the challenges you may encounter, and expert tips to help you thrive.

If you’re ever felt financial pressure, thought about making more money, or are curious about the changing world of work, keep reading. I will give you the information and expert advice you need to navigate moonlighting jobs in 2024.

What is Moonlighting?

Moonlighting is a term used to describe the practice of taking on additional employment or side gigs, often beyond one’s primary job or profession. It’s like having a “second job” or engaging in supplementary work.

There are many different types of moonlighting jobs available, including:

  • Freelancing: Freelancing is working on a contract basis for multiple clients, rather than for a single employer. Freelancers typically have specialized skills that they offer to clients on a project-by-project basis.
  • Part-time job: A part-time job is one that is worked for fewer hours than a full-time job, typically less than 40 hours per week. Part-time jobs can be found in a variety of industries, including retail, food service, customer service, and healthcare.
  • Side business: A side business is a business that is started and operated in addition to a primary job. Side businesses can be any type of business, but they are often small businesses that can be operated from home or part-time.
  • Gig: A gig is a short-term, on-demand job. Gigs can be found through online platforms or by networking with people in your field. Some popular gig jobs include driving for a ride-sharing company, delivering food for a food delivery app, and doing online project-based jobs on Upwork or Fiverr including writing, graphic designing, coding, and teaching.

Moonlighting in the US: How Prevalent is It?

Our survey reveals that moonlighting jobs and side hustles are a significant part of the American work landscape. Approximately 6 out of 10 people (56%) are currently engaged in moonlighting jobs or side hustles in addition to their main source of income. 37% are male, while 63% are female.

Nature of the main source of income

When we inquired about the nature of their primary source of income, respondents provided the following breakdown:

  • Full-time job: 53.47%
  • Part-time job: 8.91%
  • Freelance work: 4.46%
  • Self-employment: 15.84%
  • Other: 17.33% (retirement pension, social security disability benefits, family’s support)

Most moonlighters have a full-time job as their main source of income, showing that many are managing a typical, demanding work schedule alongside their side jobs.

The second most common primary source of income for moonlighters is self-employment. This includes people who own their own businesses or work as freelancers. This shows that many moonlighters are entrepreneurs who are balancing their own businesses with other ways to make money.

Categories of moonlighting jobs

When asked about the category of their moonlighting job, respondents offered the following insights:

  • Freelance work: 34.34%
  • Gig economy: 13.64%
  • Side business: 36.36%
  • Other: 15.66% (a combination of two or more categories)

This data suggests that a substantial portion of moonlighters are engaged in entrepreneurial activities beyond their primary employment. These businesses can be quite varied, such as online stores or consulting and executive recruitment services, showcasing the entrepreneurial spirit of moonlighters.

Freelance work represents another significant segment of moonlighting. In this category, individuals often work on specific projects using their skills. This suggests that many moonlighters use their talents to find freelance jobs, which can cover a wide range of fields like creativity, technical work, or professional services.

Statistics on the Prevalence of Moonlighting Jobs

Benefits and Motivation Behind Moonlighting Jobs

Our survey found that the top three benefits are:

  • Additional income (167 responses)
  • Skill development (95 responses)
  • Pursuing passion (87 responses)

Other benefits include flexibility, networking opportunities, and other factors such as having fun, staying active, increasing marketability, and international work.

The data suggests that people are moonlighting for a variety of reasons, but the most common reason is to earn extra money. This is understandable in today’s economy, where the cost of living is rising and many people are struggling to make ends meet.

However, the data also shows that people are moonlighting for reasons other than just money. Many people are using their moonlighting jobs to develop new skills, pursue their passions, and network with other professionals. This suggests that people are looking for more than just a paycheck from their work. They want to find jobs that are challenging, fulfilling, and allow them to grow as individuals.

Income from Moonlighting: How Much Do They Earn?

When it comes to moonlighting, a key aspect that demands attention is the financial side of the equation. Our survey sought to understand the percentage of total annual income generated from moonlighting jobs or side hustles. Here’s what the respondents shared:

  • Less than 10%: 58%
  • 10% – 25%: 31%
  • 26% – 50%: 6%
  • 51% – 75%: 3%
  • More than 75%: 2%

For most moonlighters, moonlighting adds some extra income, usually less than 10% of what they earn yearly. It’s like a financial booster, not their main income source. Around 31% get a more substantial boost, with moonlighting contributing 10% to 25% of their yearly earnings. A smaller group heavily counts on moonlighting, with it providing between 26% to 50% of their yearly income, making it a major financial pillar for them. 

It’s important to note that these are just averages. The amount of money you make from moonlighting will vary depending on your industry, your skills, and how much time you put into it.

If you’re thinking about moonlighting, it’s important to have realistic expectations about how much money you can make. Learn financial management and make sure that you’re moonlighting in a way that doesn’t jeopardize your primary job or your health.

Income from Moonlighting

Expert Insights on Managing Multiple Income

To provide further guidance on effectively managing and budgeting additional income from moonlighting, I consulted financial experts. They offered valuable advice on adapting financial plans, optimizing savings, and securing one’s financial future while navigating the complexities of moonlighting.

Know about tax implications

There may be varying tax consequences depending on whether your income comes from your regular job, side gigs, or investments. Make sure you know which tax brackets, deductions, and credits apply to which kinds of income. Making anticipated tax payments to the IRS or your local tax authority may be necessary if your new income is not subject to withholding.

Establish financial priorities

Think about where you want your money to go both in the short and long term. Sort them in order of most to least urgent. To make sure you're making progress, set aside some of your side gig earnings for these purposes.

Elias Pedersen, Senior Mortgage Broker, Co-Founder of

Be organized and track your income streams

If you've got multiple streams of income then you've got to be prepared to manage multiple accounts, budgets and credit lines. Be organized. Keep track of your income streams, use a master spreadsheet or whatever you need to keep things clear on paper. You'll thank yourself when it comes time to do your taxes.

Diversify your savings and investments

Consider a mix of short-term and long-term investments, such as a retirement account and emergency fund. Explore investment options that align with your risk tolerance and financial goals. Automated contributions can help ensure consistent savings.

side hustle at a shoe store

Challenges and Drawbacks Faced by Moonlighters

Our survey shows that the top three challenges are:

  • Lack of free time (145 responses)
  • Strained work-life balance (107 responses)
  • Impact on health (54 responses)

The top three challenges faced by moonlighters are all related to the fact that they are juggling two or more jobs. Lack of free time and strained work-life balance are common challenges for anyone who works long hours, but they can be especially challenging for moonlighters, who are often trying to balance their moonlighting jobs with their primary jobs, family obligations, and other commitments.

The impact on health is another concern for moonlighters. Working long hours can lead to fatigue, stress, and burnout. Moonlighters may also have difficulty getting enough sleep or eating healthy meals when they are working two or more jobs.

Moonlighting can be a great way to earn extra money, develop new skills, and pursue your passions. However, it is important to be aware of the challenges that come with it. To provide valuable insights, I consulted experts, including industry leaders, psychologists, and life coaches. Continue reading to delve into their expert advice in the next section.

Read more: 5 Ways to Manage Work-related Stress 

Expert Guidance on Navigating Moonlighting Challenges 

As we explore moonlighting jobs, it’s important to be ready for any challenges that may arise. In this section, we’ll learn from experts. They will share practical tips on how to deal with the difficulties that often come with moonlighting.

Prioritize your mental health

As a psychology expert, I've observed that our mental well-being is the foundation for achieving balance. Engage in activities that nourish your mind, such as reading, meditation, or even artistic hobbies that let your creativity speak. Stay connected. Due to a busy schedule and other priorities, you might find yourself isolated from social life. However, it's important to maintain a balance and stay connected with your loved ones regularly. It serves as a reminder that there's a world outside of work, filled with warmth and love.

Bayu Prihandito, Certified Psychology Expert & Life Coach, Founder of Life Architekture

Protect your time

Organisation and time management would be crucial to achieve a balance. One aspect when organising your time is to ensure that there is protected /allocated time for each task. This means there is a set minimum time locked in and not moveable. This can help us concentrate on one task at a time without being distracted and pulled to doing something else. This is a common technique recommended in therapy (DBT-one mindfully).

Make self-care non-negotiable

Prioritize a restful, healthy, and active lifestyle. Working a full time job while pursuing moonlighting opportunities takes a toll on the body. This makes sleep, nutrition, and exercise paramount. It’s easy to forget to eat well, sleep well, and exercise when your mind is constantly preoccupied with decisions about work and your side hustle… Block out time in your calendar for meal breaks, exercising, and rest where you’re not checking emails or taking phone calls. Your mind and your body will thank you for the reprieve.

Remove distractions

Create a distraction-free workspace or environment so that you can get as much done as possible on any given day. Making sure the business is constantly moving forward and that you’re focusing on things that are actually important. Ensure you do that with 5-6 hours of focused and intentional work. If you can approach your business and your life like that, you will have more than enough time to run a successful business but also enough time to enjoy yourself and have enough time away from the business to do whatever it is you choose.

Luana Ribeira, Best-selling Author and Founder of Dauntless PR

Delegate and automate

To free up more of your time, try to find ways to delegate activities related to your side business or to outsource some responsibilities. Reduce the amount of labor you have to do manually by automating repetitive operations, such as using scheduling tools for social media postings or email marketing.

Keep tracking your progress

Keeping track of your progress toward achieving your financial or professional goals is a important for effective time management and focus. By regularly assessing your milestones and how close you are to reaching them, you can stay motivated and make informed decisions about your commitments. This awareness will help you work towards a point where you can focus solely on your career when it aligns with your aspirations.

Is Moonlighting an Effective Way to Improve Your Skills?

According to our survey, 73.74% of moonlighters believe that moonlighting is a means to enhance their skills or gain new ones. Here are some of the soft skills that moonlighters can develop:

  • Communication skills: Moonlighters refine communication by interacting with colleagues, clients, and supervisors across dual roles, enhancing both written and verbal abilities.
  • Problem-solving and decision-making skills: Managing multiple job challenges prompts the development of effective problem-solving and decision-making capabilities.
  • Time management skills: Balancing dual roles necessitates effective time management, leading to improved time management skills.
  • Organizational skills: Juggling both jobs fosters organizational prowess, ensuring efficient task management.
  • Adaptability: Moonlighters adapt to changing situations and varying workloads, nurturing adaptability skills.
  • Resilience: Confronting the demands of moonlighting hones resilience, equipping individuals to tackle challenges effectively.

As a moonlighter myself, I have learned a lot by juggling multiple jobs. It’s a journey that has taught me invaluable lessons and allowed me to acquire skills I might not have otherwise.

Top Moonlighting Jobs in 2024

Aside from soft skills, our survey also revealed a fascinating array of the most sought-after technical (or hard) skills and jobs for moonlighters in 2024. Here’s a glimpse of the specific skills and roles mentioned by our respondents:

  1. Accounting and Bookkeeping
  2. Social Media Management
  3. Photography and Graphic Design
  4. Entrepreneurship
  5. Virtual Assistance 
  6. AI and Technology Implementation
  7. Letter Writing and Publishing
  8. SEO, Web Development and Content Writing
  9. Plumbing and Electrical Installation 
  10. Notarizing and Legal Knowledge
  11. eCommerce Development 
  12. Data Analytics
  13. Online Language Tutorial
  14. Finance and Accounting
  15. Online Sales and Networking
  16. Customer Service
  17. Delivery App Driver
  18. Fitness Instructor 

Selecting the Ideal Moonlighting Job

Choosing the right moonlighting job is a significant decision that involves several considerations. Here are some steps to help you select the ideal moonlighting job:

  1. Consider your interests and skills: What are you passionate about? What are you good at? Choose a moonlighting job that will allow you to use your skills and interests. This will make the job more enjoyable and rewarding for you.
  2. Think about your time and energy commitments: Moonlighting can be time-consuming, so it is important to choose a job that fits into your schedule. Consider how much time and energy you have to commit to your moonlighting job without sacrificing your primary job, your relationships, or your health.
  3. Consider your financial goals: Why are you moonlighting? Are you trying to save money for a down payment on a house? Are you trying to pay off debt? Choose a moonlighting job that will help you to achieve your financial goals.
  4. Do your research: Once you have a few job options in mind, research the companies and the jobs themselves. Read reviews from other employees and learn about the company culture. This will help you to choose a job that is a good fit for you.
  5. Test the Waters: If uncertain, start with part-time or project-based moonlighting to assess your interest and compatibility with the role.

Ready to apply? Read these articles to gain actionable advice from HR professionals and industry experts. 

Key Takeaways 

From our survey and enlightening interviews with experts, it is clear that moonlighting is not just a trend but a transformative experience for many. 

The motivations behind moonlighting are as varied as the roles individuals take on. Moonlighters aspire to increase their income, develop new skills, and passionately pursue endeavors that resonate with their interests. They are not only diversifying their financial portfolios but also enriching their skill sets in the process.

Yet, moonlighting is not without its challenges. The juggling act of balancing multiple roles often leads to increased stress, limited free time, and strained work-life balance. However, moonlighters are resilient individuals who navigate these challenges with determination and adaptability.

Moonlighters are not just embracing change; they are driving it. They are learning new technologies, developing soft and hard skills, and exploring diverse career paths. They are the architects of their own financial destinies, harnessing the power of moonlighting to forge unique career trajectories.

If you want to embark on this journey and gain new skills, subscribe to the Skill Success All Access Pass. It provides access to an entire library of courses that can help you acquire the skills needed for various types of side hustles, gigs, businesses, and full-time jobs. Embrace lifelong learning and set yourself on a path to success in the world of moonlighting.

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