Join our newsletter and get our free ebook on how to earn free money.

15 Ways to Use a Job to Make Money

15 Ways to Use a Job to Make Money
Steve Gillman Feb 17, 2017
Want to Earn Some Extra Money?


I don’t particularly like jobs, but I’ve used them from time-to-time. That phrasing is intentional, because I see jobs as tools to be used for various purposes.

For example, you might have a particular job because the work is something you love to do. In the 35 years since my first job I’ve never found one of those, but it’s a nice thought.

The most obvious purpose of a job is to get a paycheck. But if making money is your goal, that regular payday is just a start. There are many other ways to use a job to make money. Here are fifteen examples.

1. Use a Job as Business or Investment Training

It’s easy to find true stories of employees who became business owners. What better way to learn about an industry than to work in it? I personally know several successful business people who got the knowledge and skills needed for their business from a job.

There are several ways to use a job as training for investing or starting a business. One is to look work for a company you can possibly take over. For example, my brother sold his carpet cleaning company to an employee, who made the business more successful than ever.

You can also use a job as a way to get the knowledge and skills needed to go out on your own. For example, the three months I worked for a house flipper helped me with future profitable real estate investments. Your employer may not like it, but she’s often training future competition.

Beware that employers may require a non-compete agreement before hiring you. This can prevent you from opening a similar business in the area for years after you leave the employer. It may not matter (you might plan to move elsewhere, for example), but before you sign that agreement, review the terms carefully (with the help of an attorney if necessary) to be sure they won’t interfere with your plans.

Another way to use a job is to focus on some aspect of it that you like and use the knowledge gained to start a business. For example, if you work for a sporting goods store you might learn enough about camping gear to start a business selling it online.

2. Find Business Partners at Work

Your job can be a great place to meet people with similar goals. If you work at a restaurant, for example, you could get together with other employees to start your own restaurant.

Don’t think too narrowly when seeking out partners. Talk to your fellow employees about any knowledge and skills they have. You might find some way to partner on a short-term project or start a long-term business.

Small example: Years ago a coworker of mine found a Corvette selling cheap. I knew nothing about cars or why anyone would want an old fiberglass one, but he was certain there was an opportunity to fix the transmission and sell the car for a profit. I put up the money and a couple weeks later we split the $1,000 profit.

3. Recruit for Your Downline

The top MLM companies (multi-level-marketing, also known as network marketing), like Avon and Amway, bring in billions of dollars in revenue annually. If you’re involved in MLM you know you need people in your “downline” to really make money. A great places to start recruiting is at your regular job.

Employees where you work can also become your sub-affiliates if you do any internet affiliate marketing. Some of them probably have personal blogs, websites, or other places online where they can promote products. Sign up for two-tier affiliate programs and then recruit sub-affiliates so you can earn a percentage of everything they sell.

4. Make Your Employer Your Client

As an employee you’re in the business of selling your labor, so an employer is already a client. But perhaps there is something else you can sell to the boss.

For example, if you have a window-cleaning or janitorial business on the side, why not offer your services to your employer? If you sell something online that could be useful to your boss, at least be sure he has seen your website.

Another approach is to start a business specifically to provide a higher-quality or lower-priced service or product to your employer. You might note the poor snow-plowing job being done in the parking lot, for example, and put a blade put on your truck to provide a better service, with your current boss as the first client for your new business.

The point is that as an employee you know what your employer needs, and as their employee they should know they can trust you. So look for profitable opportunities.

5. Find New Employees for Your Boss

When I worked briefly as a security guard my employer offered $200 to refer a new employee. That’s nice, but a look at a list of companies offering employee referral bonuses shows that some companies pay out thousand of dollars for each new hire referred to them.

If your employer offers an employee referral bonus, ask around to find anyone looking for a job and send them in to apply. If your employer doesn’t offer a referral bonus you might want to suggest the idea.

6. Become a Loan Shark at Work

When I was much younger I made “payday loans” to my coworkers at the fast food joint where I worked. I charged $7 interest for a $100 loan for a week, and then, to collect, I cashed paychecks for a $3 fee on payday. The bank eventually told me I couldn’t keep depositing so many third-party checks, and I was probably breaking some law, so I’m not suggesting that you follow this example.

On the other hand, there might be opportunities to make honest and legal loans to the people with whom you work. For example, I once lent money to a coworker to buy tools to start a business. I financed a car purchase for another. Just be sure you understand the risk, and put everything in writing.

7. Sell Things You Find at Work

When the casino where I worked put new tops on their blackjack tables, I took one of the old ones and used it to make my own gambling table at home. After using it for a while (another way to make money), I sold it.

What else can you find at work to sell? I once made over $1,500 in about a year from soda cans I collected from the break room of an employer. There is a 10-cent deposit in Michigan and thanks to a soda machine and a lot of thirsty employees I gathered up about 300 cans per week.

Look around for anything valuable being thrown away. Offer to buy old equipment cheap if you think you can sell it for a profit. Keep your eyes open for opportunities.

8. Sell Products and Services to Coworkers

If you sell something, why not make coworkers into customers? Rena Klingenberg, publisher of Jewelry Making Journal, says work is a great place to sell jewelry. I’ve sold my hand-carved walking sticks to fellow employees and I’ve bought farm-fresh eggs from them.

Most employers allow small transactions at work if they’re not interfering with their business. Make your sales before and after shifts and on breaks. Keep it in the parking lot or even off your employer’s property if you get complaints.

In addition to products you can offer services. While working for one employer I gave rides to employees who were without a vehicle for various reasons. Sometimes I had three passengers going to and from work with me, each paying a fee.

When I was a real estate agent, one of my first commissions was earned selling the home of a co-worker ( a good reason to keep your regular job for a while if you get into real estate).

You can babysit or pet-sit for coworkers, or offer resume-writing services to those who want to move on. These are people who know you, making it easier to sell whatever you have to offer.

9. Reduce Your Job-Related Expenses

Reducing the expenses of having a job is equivalent to making more money. In fact, if you spend $20 less per week, it’s like making about $24 more per week because, in the case of the latter, $20 is what you would have left after income and payroll taxes. Here are a few ways you can reduce expenses related to your work:

  • Carpool with other employees to save on gas
  • Ride a bicycle or walk to work
  • Bring your own food instead of eating out for lunch
  • Convince your employer to pay for employee uniforms
  • Consider proximity of your job when choosing a home

10. Work Overtime

If you work an hourly position and get “time and a half” for any hours over 40 that you work each week, get those overtime hours! If you don’t want to work that much, try to arrange to work 4 days one week and six the next. That way, with an entire shift of overtime pay every other week, you work the same number of hours but make more money.

11. Work Weekends and Holidays

If your employer pays more for certain shifts, like Sundays, holidays, or late shifts, try to get more of those specific hours added to your schedule. Again, if you don’t really want to work more hours aim to get these higher-paid shifts anyhow, and then reduce your regular shifts.

12. Network to Find a Better Employer

One survey shows that most jobs are found through networking. Your current workplace is therefore a great place to start a search for a new job that offers a higher salary. Talk to suppliers, customers, and others with whom you interact. Ask about job openings and how much other employers pay.

13. Do Other Paid Work While On the Job

When I was a tram driver for a high-end community in Florida, I sometimes sat a station for twenty minutes waiting for passengers. I was encouraged to keep busy with books or even a laptop if I desired. I used the time to take notes for articles I later sold.

To use this “two jobs at once” strategy you need work that can be done just about anywhere. That can include making small crafts, writing a novel, and working online in various ways.

You also need a job that gives you free time to do that other work. You might squeeze it into breaks and lunch hours if you don’t have such a position. Otherwise you can specifically look for jobs where you have free time to make money in other ways while earning a paycheck. Here are some potential examples:

  • Night Watchman
  • House Sitter
  • Pet Sitter
  • Babysitter
  • Elder-Care Driver
  • Campground Host
  • Late Shift Hotel Clerk

14. Find Investing Opportunities Through Work

If you know your employer is about to announce something big and you buy company stock, that could be illegal insider trading. On the other hand, your employment might give you enough basic understanding of industry trends to profitably invest in various stocks.

There may be other investing opportunities. For example, I’ve made large loans to a real estate investor for whom I worked. I’ve made thousands of dollars in interest several times. He used the money to flip homes for a profit, and usually repaid me within a few months. If you try this, make sure you have a first mortgage on the property.

15. Use Free Time at Work to Get Educated

We covered doing two jobs at once, but there is another way to use free time at work: Study ways to make money. This won’t make you anything now, but it can lead to big money down the road.

During breaks, lunch time, or any other time where you’re allowed some personal pursuits, you can read magazines and books on real estate investing, starting a business, trading stocks, or writing a better resume. Get educated in this way and you might someday get a promotion, find a better job, start a successful business, or make great investments.

If you have internet access at work, that’s even better. We suggest taking one of these 14 Udemy courses for learning a new professional skill.

If you know of other ways to make more money at work, please comment below. Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!

Steve Gillman

Leave a Reply