Balancing compassion and commerce: 29 pros for social workers

Balancing compassion and commerce: 29 pros for social workers

Social work is a rewarding career, but it can often be demanding. Many social workers struggle to make ends meet on their salary and look for ways to supplement their income. Fortunately, there are several efforts social workers can take to help increase their earning potential. In this article, we will explore the various opportunities available to social workers and how they can maximize their earning potential.

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

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

1. Build and strengthen your skills

Consulting can be a great way for social workers to develop and hone their skills in areas that may not be part of their daily work. For example, if you are a social worker working in the field of child welfare, you may choose to start a side business providing consulting services related to parenting or family dynamics. This will allow you to apply your social work knowledge in a different context, as well as strengthen or develop new skills.

2. Earn extra money

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

3. Add variety to your work

Side hustles offer an opportunity to break the monotony of a regular job and add variety to your work. Taking up a side hustle can also be a great way to explore different career paths and discover new interests. From developing apps to selling second-hand items, there’s a lot out there.

29 Best Side Hustles for Social Workers

Here are some recommended additional activities to consider during your free time:

consulting services

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

online course

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

review case files

Case files contain a large amount of valuable information that can be used to help social workers on their side of the story. By reviewing case files, you can gain a better understanding of the clients you are working with as well as the various services and resources available to 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 becoming 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 make meaningful changes in their lives. It provides individuals with support, encouragement, and accountability as they work toward achieving their goals. As a life coach, you can use your experience and knowledge to help people reach their full potential. Plus, it’s an extra effort that can be done on your own time and from anywhere.

Freelance Writing

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

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

private practice

If you are a social worker who wants to take your work to the next level, setting up a private practice is an option. This allows you to set your own hours and rates while 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 join public speaking events. You can speak to groups on mental health awareness, substance abuse, parenting, social development, and other related topics. This is a great way to connect with community members as well as earn extra money.

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 earn money while using their knowledge in the field.

art therapy

Art therapy is a unique way for social workers to earn money while using their skills. Art therapy involves using art as a form of therapy to help individuals express themselves and address mental health issues. This can include 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 provide 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 can include leading workshops, hosting events, and providing resources to community members. Community outreach is a great way for you to earn extra money while also connecting with community members and helping them access the resources they need.


Blogging is an excellent endeavor for social workers who wish to share their knowledge and experience with others. The best thing about blogging is that it allows you to work at your own pace from the comfort of your own 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 several 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 assist organizations with grant writing . This may include researching potential grants, preparing 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 fast becoming one of the most popular methods 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 can include creating event agendas, managing vendors, coordinating logistics, and more. This is a great way for you to earn extra money while using your skills in the field.

Research and Data Analysis

You can use your research skills to assist organizations with data analysis and other research projects. This can include 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 related to social work topics. This can include teaching classes on mental health, parenting, substance abuse, and more. Additionally, many organizations and universities hire social workers to lecture on various topics in the field. This is a great way for social workers to earn extra money as well as educate others on important topics in the field.

Affiliate Marketing

Social workers can use their networking skills to help organizations in affiliate marketing. This can include researching potential partners, creating campaigns, and managing the affiliate program. Affiliate marketing is a great way for social workers to earn extra money while using 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 an abundance of knowledge and experience in the field, so there are many topics you can explore. Examples may 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 endeavor for social workers who want to share their experience or knowledge. Writing about topics such as mental health, personal or professional growth, 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 out 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 need to decide your niche and choose topics that relate to social work. You can talk about mental health, trauma-informed care, substance abuse, or any other topic 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 daily operations by providing virtual assistance . You can manage their calendar, organize files, answer emails, and handle other administrative tasks. This is a great way for social workers to earn extra money while using 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, equipment and materials used in assisting clients will be deducted.

Take online surveys

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

Start an online business

You have a unique opportunity to start your own online business and use your skills to help others. Online business is an excellent endeavor because it can be done from anywhere and at any time, making it ideal for those of you who already have a full-time job or are otherwise busy 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. You can also decide how far you want to travel for each order—you can either stay in your local area or travel a little farther for larger orders. 

Newsletter Writing

Writing newsletters for social workers can be a big job. It involves creating informative, engaging, and timely content that is sent regularly via email to clients interested in the topic or industry. Newsletter writing can provide you with a unique opportunity to earn money as well as share your knowledge and experience with others.

start a rental business

Renting out items like furniture, household appliances, and even recreational equipment can bring in a steady source of income, plus you can 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 people in your community.


Babysitting can be a great way to apply some of the skills you’ve learned to your profession, such as providing compassionate care and connecting with children, while maintaining flexibility in terms of hours and scheduling. One advantage of babysitting is that you can often decide when and where you’re available to work. You can choose to work part-time, full-time, during the day, or in the evenings. 

pet Sitting

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

How to start a side hustle as a social worker in 5 steps?

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

1. Identify your passion and expertise

Consider specific areas of social work that match your passion and expertise. This could be providing counseling services, conducting workshops or training, providing consultation to organizations, writing educational materials, or creating online resources. Identify your area of ​​focus 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 additional 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 necessary steps you’ll take to start and grow your side hustle. Consider financial aspects, such as setting pricing that reflects the value of your services and estimating the initial investment needed. A well-thought-out business plan will help you stay focused and organized as you start and grow your business.

4. Build your brand and market yourself

Establish your professional brand by developing a compelling and cohesive online presence. Create a website or portfolio showcasing your expertise, qualifications and the services you provide. Use social media platforms, professional networking sites and local community networks to market yourself and your side. 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 gradually work your way up

Start small to gain experience and refine your services. Begin by working with a few clients or offering your services on a part-time basis. Gradually expand your client base and offering as you gain confidence and traction. Constantly evaluate and adapt your strategies based on feedback and market demands. Focus on providing high-quality services and building a reputation for excellence.

Turn Your Passion Into Profit With a Side Hustle

Side hustles can be a great way to boost your income and help you reach your financial goals. Although there is no one solution that fits everyone, there are many different endeavors social workers can pursue to earn extra money. From freelancing and consulting to starting an online business, there are plenty of options available for those looking to boost 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 hustle? Consider forming an LLC. With an LLC, you can enjoy limited liability and tax deductions. Dula can help set up your business structure, bookkeeping, and open a business bank account. Contact us now.

Frequently Asked Questions

What skills or qualities are needed to start a successful side hustle?

Time management, organizational skills, communication skills, attention to detail, self-discipline and creativity are essential skills when starting an extracurricular activity.

How can I balance my extracurricular activities with my social work job?

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

How much extra income can I earn with side hustle work?

How much money you can make with side hustle depends on the nature of your work, the amount of time and effort you put in, and the market demand. Some side hustle activities can generate a few hundred dollars per 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 other jobs require little or no experience or investment to start. However, having some relevant skills or knowledge can help you stand out and attract clients.

Where can I find clients or customers for my extracurricular activities?

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.

Meet Manicka

I created The Social Work Success Path blog and podcast, during the pandemic of 2021 to provide online education and mentorship for Social Workers. I felt very isolated and disconnected being only in the second year of running my private practice. I strongly considered going back to work when everything shut down. The resources and tools that I share helped me to maintain my practice through the pandemic and plan a successful transition as a Social Work content creator, doing work that I love and connecting with Social Workers all around the world. I did this in the span of 1 year, but using the resources, trainings and tools that I have pulled together, and all my all lessons learned, you can make your career transition much sooner than I did!

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