Balancing Compassion and Commerce: 29 Side Hustles for Social Workers

Social work is a rewarding career, but it can often be a demanding one. Many social workers struggle to make ends meet with their salaries and look for ways to supplement their income. Fortunately, there are many side hustles that social workers can pursue to help increase their earning potential. In this article, we will explore the various side hustles available to social workers and how they can maximize their earning potential.

3 Reasons Why You Should Start a Side Hustle as a Social Worker

Starting a side hustle as a social worker can offer several benefits and opportunities. Here are three reasons why you should consider starting a side hustle:

1. Build and Strengthen Your Skills

A side hustle can be a great way for social workers to build and hone their skills in areas that may not be a part of their day job. For example, if you’re a social worker working in the field of child welfare, you may choose to start a side business offering consulting services related to parenting or family dynamics. This will allow you to apply your social work knowledge in a different context, while also strengthening or developing new skills.

2. Make Extra Money

Side hustles can be lucrative and can help supplement an already stretched salary. With a little bit of creativity and hard work, social workers can easily find side gigs that will help them bring in additional income. From providing online counseling services to freelance writing, there are many opportunities for social workers to make extra money on the side.

3. Add Variety To Your Work

Side hustles provide an opportunity to break up the monotony of a regular job and add variety to your work. Taking on a side hustle can also be a great way to explore different career paths and discover new interests. From developing apps to selling vintage items, there are plenty.

29 Best Side Hustles for Social Workers

Here are some recommended side hustles to consider during your free time:

Consultation Services

Consulting services are a great way for social workers to make extra money while still utilizing their skills and knowledge in the field. You can offer consultation services to organizations, individuals, and corporations on topics such as mental health, social development, substance abuse, and parenting.

Online Courses

You can create online courses to teach social work topics and offer them to individuals or organizations. This provides you with an additional income stream while also helping to build your brand and increase your visibility in the field.

Review Case Files

Case files contain a great deal of valuable information that can be used to help social workers in their side hustles. By reviewing case files, you can get a better understanding of the clients you are working with as well as the various services and resources that are available for them. This side gig can also help you identify gaps in service delivery and develop strategies to address those issues.

Life Coach

Social workers are often well-suited to become life coaches. Life coaching is a profession that focuses on helping people define and reach their goals, develop strategies for personal growth, overcome obstacles, and create meaningful changes in their lives. It provides individuals with support, encouragement, and accountability as they work towards achieving their goals. As a life coach, you can use your experience and knowledge to help people reach their full potential. Plus, it’s a side hustle that can be done on your own time and from anywhere.

Freelance Writing

You can utilize your writing skills to write for various publications or websites. You can write articles, blog posts, and e-books about topics related to social work that will provide a steady stream of income.

If you earn $600 or more through freelance writing, you will be issued a 1099 form. It is advisable to establish an LLC at this point to deduct equipment and material used in assisting clients.

Private Practice

If you are a social worker who wants to take your side hustle to the next level, setting up a private practice is an option. This allows you to set your own hours and rates while still utilizing your skills and knowledge in the field.

Public Speaking

As a social worker, you can use your knowledge and experience to give lectures and engage in public speaking engagements. You can speak to groups about mental health awareness, substance abuse, parenting, social development, and other related topics. This is a great way to make extra money while also connecting with members of the community.

Social Media Management

Social workers can use their skills to help organizations with their social media presence by managing their posts, responding to comments and messages, and creating content. This is a great way for social workers to make money while utilizing their knowledge in the field.

Art Therapy

Art therapy is a unique way for social workers to make money while still utilizing their skills. Art therapy involves using art as a form of therapy to help individuals express themselves and address mental health issues. This can involve painting, drawing, sculpting, or other forms of creative expression. Many organizations hire social workers to lead art therapy sessions as part of their mental health services. Additionally, social workers can offer art therapy services independently as a side hustle.

Community Outreach

Social workers can use their skills and knowledge to help organizations with their community outreach efforts. This could involve leading workshops, hosting events, and providing resources to members of the community. Community outreach is a great way for you to make extra money while also connecting with members of the community and helping them access the resources they need.


Blogging is an excellent side hustle for social workers who have the desire to share their knowledge and experience with others. The great thing about blogging is that it allows you to work at your own pace in the comfort of your home. You can write on any topic or subject matter related to social work, such as mental health, substance abuse, addiction recovery, family therapy, and more. There are many ways to monetize your blog, such as affiliate marketing or displaying ads on your website.

Grant Writing

You can use your communication and writing skills to help organizations with grant writing. This could involve researching potential grants, composing applications, and managing the grant process. 

Mental Health Coaching

As a social worker, you can use your skills to help individuals with their mental health. You can provide guidance and advice on a variety of topics related to mental health, such as anxiety, depression, stress management, and more. 

Virtual Therapy

Virtual therapy, also known as teletherapy, is quickly becoming one of the most popular side hustles for social workers. Virtual therapy allows you as a social worker to provide counseling services remotely using video conferencing or phone calls. This type of therapy can be extremely beneficial for clients who are unable to come in person due to illness, disability, or distance.

Event Planning

Social workers can use their organizational and interpersonal skills to help organizations with event planning. This could involve creating event agendas, managing vendors, coordinating logistics, and more. This is a great way for you to make extra money while also utilizing your skills in the field.

Research and Data Analysis

You can use your research skills to help organizations with data analysis and other research projects. This could involve researching topics related to social work, such as mental health, parenting, substance abuse, and more. 


Social workers can use their experience and knowledge to teach courses relating to social work topics. This could involve teaching classes on mental health, parenting, substance abuse, and more. Additionally, many organizations and universities hire social workers to lecture on a variety of topics in the field. This is a great way for social workers to make extra money while also educating others on important topics in the field.

Affiliate Marketing

Social workers can use their networking skills to help organizations with affiliate marketing. This could involve researching potential partners, creating campaigns, and managing the affiliate program. Affiliate marketing is a great way for social workers to make extra money while utilizing their knowledge of the field.

Start a Podcast

When starting a podcast, one of the most important things to consider is the topic. As a social worker, you have a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field, so there are many topics you can explore. Examples could include mental health awareness, substance abuse, parenting, social development, and more.

Write a Book or E-Book

Writing a book or ebook can be an excellent side hustle for social workers who want to share their experience or knowledge. Writing about topics like mental health, personal or professional development, trauma-informed care, burnout prevention, or other relevant topics can provide a steady source of income and help make a positive impact on society. 

Creating an ebook is often easier than writing an entire book, as you can easily write short chapters and upload them to an online store. You can also use platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing to get your ebook to potential readers.

Start a YouTube Channel

With a YouTube channel, you can share your professional knowledge and expertise with the world while generating income from ad revenue. Before launching a YouTube channel, you’ll need to decide your niche and choose topics that relate to social work. You could talk about mental health, trauma-informed care, substance abuse, or any other topics that might be of interest to your target audience. Once you have a few videos up and running, you can start monetizing your channel with ads.

Virtual Assistant

As a social worker, you can use your skills to help organizations with their day-to-day tasks by providing virtual assistance. You can manage their calendar, organize files, respond to emails, and handle other administrative tasks. This is a great way for social workers to make extra money while still utilizing their expertise in the field.

If you earn $600 or more through virtual assistance, you will receive a 1099 form from your client. It is recommended that you form an LLC at this stage to deduct equipment and materials used in assisting clients.

Take Online Surveys

Many companies will pay people to take surveys online and give their opinion on various topics. This can be a great way to use your experience, skills, and knowledge as a social worker to help shape products and services. To get started with this side hustle, you’ll need to find survey sites that offer rewards for taking surveys. Once you’ve found a few reliable survey sites, you can start completing surveys and earning extra cash.

Start an Online Business

You have the unique opportunity to start your own online business and use your skills to help others. An online business is an excellent side hustle as it can be done from anywhere and at any time, making it ideal for you who already have a full-time job or are otherwise occupied with other commitments.

Food Delivery

With food delivery, you can set your own hours and decide when and where you want to work. Many food delivery companies offer flexible schedules, allowing you to pick up orders when it’s convenient for you. You can also decide how far you want to travel for each order—you can either stay in your local area or travel a bit further for larger orders. 

Newsletter Writing

Newsletter writing can be a great side hustle for social workers. It involves creating informative, engaging, and timely content that is sent out regularly via email to subscribers who are interested in the topic or industry. Newsletter writing can offer you a unique opportunity to share your knowledge and experience with others while also making money.

Start a Rental Business

Renting out items such as furniture, household appliances, and even recreational equipment can bring in a steady income stream while also allowing you to help those in need. This type of side hustle requires minimal start-up costs compared to other types of businesses, and it can provide a great way to supplement your income. Starting a rental business can also help you build relationships with the people in your community.


Babysitting can be a great way to apply some of the skills you have learned in your profession, such as providing compassionate care and engaging with children, while still having flexibility when it comes to hours and scheduling. One of the advantages of babysitting is that you can often decide when and where you are available to work. You can choose to work part-time, full-time, during the day, or in the evening. 

Pet Sitting

Pet sitting involves caring for animals in their own home while the owners are away. It often includes providing food, water, exercise, playtime, and companionship for the pet. Pet sitters also may be asked to provide medication or other treatments for the pet when necessary. Caring for animals can be a great way to make extra money and provide a valuable service to pet owners in your community.  

How to Start a Side Hustle as a Social Worker in 5 Steps?

Starting a side hustle as a social worker can be a rewarding way to leverage your skills and make a positive impact in different ways. Here are five steps to help you get started:

1. Identify Your Passion and Expertise

Consider the specific areas within social work that align with your passion and expertise. This could be providing counseling services, conducting workshops or training, offering consultation to organizations, writing educational material, or creating online resources. Identify your niche based on your skills, experience, and the needs you want to address.

2. Research and Validate Your Idea

Conduct thorough research to determine if there is a demand for your side hustle idea. Look for similar services or programs in your area or online. Assess the needs of your target audience and identify how your expertise can provide value and meet those needs. Seek feedback from colleagues, mentors, or potential clients to validate your idea and ensure there is a market for your services.

3. Develop a Business Plan

Create a business plan to guide your side hustle. Define your goals, target audience, marketing strategies, pricing structure, and operational details. Outline the steps you need to take to launch and grow your side hustle. Consider financial aspects, such as setting pricing that reflects the value of your services and estimating the initial investment required. A well-thought-out business plan will help you stay focused and organized as you start and grow your side hustle.

4. Build Your Brand and Market Yourself

Establish your professional brand by developing a compelling and cohesive online presence. Create a website or a portfolio showcasing your expertise, qualifications, and the services you offer. Utilize social media platforms, professional networking sites, and local community networks to market yourself and your side hustle. Share valuable content, engage with your target audience, and actively participate in relevant discussions to establish yourself as an expert in your field.

5. Start Small and Scale Gradually

Start your side hustle on a small scale to gain experience and refine your services. Begin by working with a few clients or offering your services on a part-time basis. As you gain confidence and traction, gradually expand your client base and offerings. Continuously assess and adapt your strategies based on feedback and market demands. Focus on delivering high-quality services and building a reputation for excellence.

Transform Your Passion into Profit with Side Hustles

Side hustles can be a great way for you to supplement your income and help achieve your financial goals. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, there are many different side hustles that social workers can pursue in order to make extra money. From freelancing and consulting to starting an online business, there are plenty of options available for someone looking to increase their income. With the right approach and a bit of creativity, side hustles can open up new opportunities for you to expand your skillset and reach your financial goals.

Expanding your side hustles? Consider forming an LLC. With an LLC, you can enjoy limited liability and tax deductions. Doola can assist with setting up your business structure, bookkeeping, and opening a business bank account. Get in touch with us now.


What skills or qualities are essential to starting a successful side hustle?

Time management, organizational skills, communication skills, attention to detail, self-discipline, and creativity are essential skills to have when starting a side hustle.

How can I balance my side hustle with my social work job?

It’s crucial to set clear boundaries and prioritize your social work responsibilities while also dedicating time and energy to your side hustle. You can also try finding ways to integrate your side hustle into your social work practice—for example, using your writing skills to develop grant proposals for your agency.

How much extra income can I make from a side hustle?

The amount of money you can earn from a side hustle varies depending on the nature of your work, the amount of time and effort you put in, and the market demand. Some side hustles can generate a few hundred dollars a month, while others can turn into a full-time job.

Can I start a side hustle without any experience or expertise?

Yes, you can! Many side hustles require little to no experience or investment to get started. However, having some relevant skills or knowledge can help you stand out and attract clients.

Where can I find clients or customers for my side hustle?

Social media platforms, online marketplaces, professional networks, word-of-mouth referrals, and advertising are some of the best ways to find clients for your side hustle. You can also attend networking events, use targeted marketing strategies, and collaborate with other professionals to expand your reach.

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