Choosing a side gig has many benefits. It allows you to learn new skills, fill your spare time with an activity you enjoy and earn a second stream of income. But with so many options to choose from, how do you figure out what's your best choice for a side gig? Should you choose something creative or technical? Go with something you already know or try something completely different?
That's where the Big Five can help. The Big Five is a personality test that measures your personality according to five dimensions: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism. These traits or factors affect how you think and behave, so knowing more about your Big Five traits can help you choose the work you might find enjoyable and fulfilling.
Start by taking our free Big Five Personality Test to find your dominant trait(s) and then read on. We've rounded up five side gig ideas that might make you richer – in more ways than one!
Openness: Freelance writing
Scoring high on the trait of Openness indicates you are creative and get excited by new ideas and experiences. You're imaginative and try to avoid sticking to routines that make you lose your spark. Since you're curious about the world, you likely have a broad range of interests. You also enjoy thinking about abstract concepts.
People who score high in Openness are almost made for the side gig experience. You might choose innovation and science as your main career for example, but feel alive when you balance that with exposure to language, art and music.
If your trait is Openness and you want a fulfilling side gig, make sure it's creative to keep you stimulated, such as writing or blogging. You could write creative short stories or novels and submit them to online contests or get paid to be a freelance writer on your favorite topics, whether of a scientific or artistic nature.
Other side gig ideas: If writing’s not your idea of a perfect side gig, explore different creative activities, such as graphic design or teaching a language. These will help you access your imagination and explore the world in a new way.
How this compares with low Openness: People who score low in Openness tend to focus on practical, concrete ideas instead of abstract ones. They prefer hands-on tasks and activities and like more practical hobbies. They also prefer routine and consistency, and may find it more difficult to cope with changes. A good side gig might be one that's familiar and uses their existing skills, such as babysitting or garden care.
People with high Conscientiousness are focused on achieving their goals and being organized. They're self-disciplined, which enables them to avoid distractions that threaten to derail them from their path. They need a routine to help them perform at their best, but in the right environment, they are high achievers –the type most likely to be "employee of the month."
If you score high on this trait, you're likely to excel when put in positions where you lead and help others because you're a great planner. Your ambition inspires others, so tutoring is a great side gig idea. Your students will surely benefit from your organizational skills and how committed you are to working hard. You'll be a good example for them!
Other side gig ideas: Anything that involves strategy, planning or data analysis. These can be freelance gigs, where you help companies figure out how best to allocate their resources, analyze market trends, or something like coding and web design, where you need to be well organized and persevere until the project is finished.
How this compares with low Conscientious: By comparison, people who don’t score high in Conscientiousness are spontaneous and like to live in the present moment. They dislike being forced to stick to a routine. Good side gigs for these types may be jobs that are flexible and don't require extensive planning, such as running errands through Taskrabbit.
Extraversion: Social media influencer
Scoring high in Extraversion means you get energy from external stimulation such as receiving positive attention or building a new connection with someone. This stimulation makes you feel successful. It’s almost like a natural high! As someone with Extraversion traits, you thrive on being around others almost as much as you love the spotlight.
Based on this, it's no surprise that a meaningful side hustle is one that lets you interact with others. Working as a social media influencer or social media marketer on a part-time or freelance basis can fulfill you as you get to interact with people and spend a lot of time communicating with others. You have the skills required to be successful, such as a positive, upbeat attitude and excellent communication.
Other side gig ideas: Since you're a people person, you'll be drawn to hobbies or jobs where you can be around people. Consider running workshops to help your audience learn more about topics you’re passionate about, or becoming a virtual assistant to support entrepreneurs in their day-to-day tasks. Tour guide is another great option. Focus on choosing a side hustle that puts you right in the center of the action!
How this compares with low Extraversion: People who define themselves as Introverts don't get the same “high” from social interactions as those with Extraversion traits. They prefer side gigs where they can work independently and without too much external stimulation.
Agreeableness: Life coach
If you'd describe yourself as honest and trusting, you might fall into the Agreeableness category. People with high Agreeableness are empathetic and love helping others. You're always keen to put your energy and time into volunteering to make a difference in people's lives and are not a stranger to putting other people's needs ahead of your own.
Since you have high levels of empathy and want to support people, life coaching is a great side gig. People easily open up to you because you exude warm, helpful vibes. You can become a life coach part-time and it doesn’t require certification (although you can take courses to boost your skills).
Other side gig ideas: A different type of side hustle you could choose if you score high on Agreeableness is event planning – especially if you score high on Conscientiousness, too. You’ll be helping others and going the extra mile to make them feel special. Other options might include becoming a virtual assistant, any kind of caregiving or even a "friend for hire." When choosing a side gig, dare to think out of the box!
How this compares with low Agreeableness: People who have low Agreeableness scores tend to make their own thoughts and opinions a priority. They're independent and prefer jobs that let them take charge and don’t require too much interaction with other people. They might enjoy running a store on Amazon or freelance writing. Anything that doesn't require too much socializing can be a great fit!
Neuroticism: Yoga teacher
As someone who scores high in Neuroticism, you feel your emotions profoundly and can sometimes experience anxiety, guilt and fear more regularly than others. In extreme cases, this can cause you to be overwhelmed by your feelings. But, you’re realistic about situations and feel motivated by your fears, such as working on self-improvement and becoming the best version of yourself.
You can alleviate your stress by choosing a side hustle that helps you relax and center yourself, such as being a yoga instructor in your spare time. This has the benefit of making you help others, and it takes you out of your head. Physical exercise is also a healthy way to help you de-stress.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s possible to be Extraverted and display Neuroticism, so working with others can form part of a healthy side gig.
Other side gig ideas: Librarian and writer. Working in a library can be soothing, especially if you're Introverted and dislike spending much time in noisy places. Another side gig idea is to sell your crafts on Etsy, which can fit into a busy schedule and help you deal with your feelings. Or how about dog walking, where you get to be outdoors and enjoy nature?
How this compares with low Neuroticism: Someone who scores low on Neuroticism displays traits such as being positive and carefree. They tend to stress less about events that would cause someone with high Neuroticism more anguish, and can therefore take on riskier side gigs, like online trading, with more confidence.
Giulia Thompson is an Italian-South African freelance writer and editor with several years of experience in print and online media. She lives in a small town in South Africa with her husband and three cats. She loves reading, writing, and watching thrillers. As an Enneagram Type 4, she’s creative and loves surrounding herself with beauty.