Quick Pay Side Gigs vs. Sustainable Extra Income Streams: Which is Better?

One of the best ways to improve your cash flow is to make extra money. Cutting expenses is a great start. However, it has its limits. You can only lower your spending by so much.

Once you have reduced and expenses and established a comfortable budget it’s time to focus on earning more. I recommend side hustling to people who don’t want to pick up hours at your current job.

There are so many unique ways to make extra money. Most side hustles fall into two main categories: quick pay side gigs and opportunities that are sustainable and scalable long term.

So when it comes to the quick pay side gigs vs sustainable extra income streams, which one should you choose?

What is a Quick Pay Side Gig?

As the name suggests, quick pay side gigs are great for when you need extra money fast. Depending on the task, you may not even need to put forth a ton of time or effort either in order to make money.

Side hustles like taking surveys, testing websites, completing short tasks online, mystery shopping, and selling items online can all be classified under quick pay side gigs.

On a positive note, you don’t need a ton of experience or money to get started. Another easy option is becoming a rideshare driver for apps like Uber or Lyft.

You can also deliver meals with GrubHub or Postmates.

What’s a Sustainable Extra Income Stream?

While it’s great to get paid quickly without having to put forth a ton of effort, there are other extra income opportunities that require a little more planning and ongoing management.

Take freelancing for example. You can earn money by offering a service but you must first gain the necessary skills and find clients who will pay. This may involve taking an online course, getting a mentor, and setting up a website. Still, freelancing will likely pay you more than surveys and you can do it long-term.

Sustainable extra income ideas are things that you can do over time and possibly even scale up to increase earnings.

Other ideas like babysitting, walking dogs, tutoring, bookkeeping, and mowing lawns/snow removal are all sustainable extra income streams that you can take on for months or even years.

Yes, they will require more work and time, but they will pay well too.

Quick Pay vs. Sustainable Extra Income: Which One Should You Choose?

When it comes to deciding which side hustle is right for you, carefully weigh these important factors.

How much time do you have?

Making extra money takes time unless you’re going the completely passive route. Still, earning passive income does require time and energy upfront. If you’re investing, you also likely need to wait for some time to allow your investment to grow.

Some people say that they have time for a side hustle when they actually don’t. The good news is that you can always rearrange your schedule to free up time.

Be honest and realistic about how many hours you plan to spend on your extra income stream per week. Then start reorganizing your schedule whether that involves cutting out television time, getting up an hour earlier, or saying no to other things.

If you’re in a season of life that is truly busy, you may do better with a quick pay side gig that you can do in 1-3 hours per week.

How much are you looking to make?

Money is often a key motivator and while most people like the idea of making extra money, they don’t consider narrowing that number down. Are you looking to make $100 extra or $1,000? Your answer could heavily affect the type of side hustle you choose.

Also, think of what your intention is for the money. Do you wish to pay off $20,000 of debt? Or do you just want to have some extra money for activities like dining out and trips?

When I first decided to get serious about paying off my debt, I sought out a side hustle that would allow me to make an extra $1,000 per month. I choose freelance writing because I enjoy writing and already say people making a ton of money with that income stream.

The odds of me making $1,000+ per month with sites like Swagbucks or Rakuten were slim to none. Still, these easy-pay reward sites did help me round up extra money for the holidays each year.

Quick pay side gigs and sustainable extra income streams are both great options. Click To Tweet

How long do you want to side hustle for?

Some people don’t want to side hustle forever and I don’t blame them. If you have no intention of quitting your job, you probably don’t want to spend late nights and weekends working hard on your sustainable extra income stream.

In that case, there should be an expiration date. You should either hustle hard for a fixed period of time or stick with a low-effort side hustle that will allow you to take breaks from time to time.

What skills are you gaining?

Being able to side hustle is great but in the long run, you have to keep your future in mind. Do you want to drive for Uber forever even if the company makes significant changes? Will you keep earning the same wages as a babysitter when you could be making more with a certification or degree?

As a freelance writer, I’ve branched out into other similar types of work over the years including content and digital marketing. Sometimes, I think about applying to a 9-5 job and I actually have that opportunity since I decided to keep learning and maintain sharp skills in my field.

If you’re doing a side hustle that you enjoy now, see how you can gain more skills necessary to that field so you can increase your income or find similar work in the future.


Choosing how and when you make extra money is totally up to you. However, the choice should always be intentional. Think of your goals and expectations when it comes to choosing the right side hustle for you. Also, don’t be afraid to mix in a quick pay side gig with your sustainable extra income stream as well and diversify.

Let us know your favorite way to make extra money (and why) in the comments!