4 Side Income Streams to Sustain You as You Pursue Real Estate Full-Time

by | BiggerPockets.com

Today, I am reminded about how excited I was when I quit my very stable, very awesome day job to jump full force into real estate.

I was very stupid, but very excited all the same.

I remember thinking, “All I have to do is just get one deal, and I’ll make more money than I would in one year working where I am now.”

And it could have been true if I had actually been able to come up with the funds or facilitate the rehabs, both which I had no experience doing.

What I got instead of my “one deal and I’ll be more wealthy than ever before” fantasy was a promise of 1% of the purchase price as well as mentorship in exchange for door-knocking for some established fix and flippers in my area.

It definitely wasn’t what I thought I was signing up for, but it was a great situation all the same — or so I thought.

You see, the truth is, it is very typical to not make any money your first year in real estate. If you are going to jump in full force like I did, you need to have a plan and some side income to cover your bases while you make your real estate business happen.

How do you do that exactly? That’s why I wrote this post.

How to Invest in Real Estate While Working a Full-Time Job

Many investors think that they need to quit their job to get started in real estate. Not true! Many investors successfully build large portfolios over the years while enjoying the stability of their full-time job. If that’s something you are interested in, then this investor’s story of how he built a real estate business while keeping his 9-5 might be helpful.

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4 Ways to Generate Side Income While Pursuing Real Estate Full-Time

You see, I’ve now had to leave “full-time” real estate in order to go back into the work force so that I could survive.

When I quit my job, I justified it and fought through, believing that in a couple of months I’d become successful enough to get by. But 10 months later, I still didn’t earn any money from my real estate pursuits, so I ended up needing to change course.

Looking back, I realized there were some things I could have done differently that would have made it so I could’ve sustained myself and pushed through.

You see, at the time, my thinking was, “I can’t get a day job! It will take my focus and energy off of real estate!” and in a lot of ways, this was true.

But recently, I’ve found out there are some “odd side jobs” that are completely flexible and doable around your primary passion, and once I found them, I was like, “Man, if only I had known about these, my whole real estate situation would have been different!”

Today, I want to share 4 of these side jobs with you and hopefully help make your living situation a bit more feasible as you pursue real estate full-time. So with that, let’s get into it!


1. Become a Driver for Lyft/Uber

So I’ve recently signed up as a driver for Lyft, a taxiing app-based service that is super easy to sign up for and make money with using your own vehicle.

There are no set hours, and you typically make about $25-$28 per hour, part-time at your own leisure!

Now, there is a bit of a location game to this — you really need to be in or near a big city to make this worth your time, but if you meet that criteria, this may be a very easy solution that you can do in the late evenings (I typically go out from 6:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m.) around your real estate pursuits during the day.

It’s sure helped me a ton!

Related: Why I’m Glad I Chose Now To Quit My Full Time Job to Pursue Real Estate Investing

2.  The Fulfillment by Amazon Program

Amazon has a department where you as a consumer can became a vendor and outsource the headache to Amazon.com.

There are a ton of courses and books on how to do this right, but the premise is you use an app to go around retail stores, buying things on sale that would sell for premium on Amazon, and then you simply ship your items to them, upload your products online, and start getting paid.

I have heard of people who literally make their full-time living doing this, working only 1-2 days a week!

As an aspiring real estate investor, if you could take just one day out of your busy week to do this, you could easily be making a really comfortable base while making real estate your priority.

3. Mobile Notary

Becoming a notary only takes a day of classes and a couple weeks to get things processed.

Once everything is set up, if you were to go around to all your notary republics in your area and say, “I’ll be your on-call mobile notary,” you’ll definitely get business and can make a pretty good source of income (you can set your own price for the driving distance, so you could easily make between $60-$150 per day).

This one is a little more time consuming than the ones above, but if you set your hours around real estate, it could easily work.


Related: The 5 Best Side Hustles for Investors Growing Their Wholesaling Business

4. Craigslist Furniture Flip Business

Something I’ve done in the past when I really needed money was scour the “For Free” section on Craigslist.org for items I could turn around and resell.

I’d simply look for gently used furniture and mattresses people were getting rid of and then turn it around and list it right back on Craigslist for a price.

This definitely is the most time consuming option, but again, it’s something you could do evenings and weekends, and if you set it up correctly, it can be done while pursuing real estate.

Another condition to this is that it also needs to be in a highly populated area.

Being in the Bay area, we have a lot of affluent people who don’t realize the value of the stuff they’re getting rid of, so it works really well here.


So I hope this post helped you start thinking about ways to make side income while you make your real estate dreams come true.

[Editor’s note: We republished this article to help our newer members looking to invest full-time find side streams of income. Let us know what you think with a comment!]

Is there anything else you’d add to this list?

Be sure to leave your comments below!

About Author

Jaren Barnes

Jaren Barnes is passionate about what the BiggerPockets community has to offer and is very active in his local real estate market. Come say hi to him on Twitter!


  1. Very helpful. I am interested in learning more about #number 2. This caught my attention because I am currently in this situation right now! I will get more money, I will…
    Thanks! 🙂

  2. Great ideas. Thanks for the awesome post. Short and to the point. All options have their merit but I agree with Lutonya, #2 might be the one best for me and my wife. I’ll have to research it some more. I’m retiring from the USAF this fall and will be searching for more income. Thanks.

  3. Brett Synicky on

    Hi Jaren.

    I got my notary commission back in February but only recently started getting after jobs. During the past few weeks I have spent countless hours calling signing companies, title companies, and escrow offices asking them what it takes to be added to their “database”. Then they usually have you fill out some kind of application and either fax, email, or upload it to a website along with all your other documents proving that you’re a notary public and notary signing agent. I can’t say I recommend others do it (at least not yet since it hasn’t paid off) but I’m really hoping my efforts will begin to pay off not too far down the road…I do know there are tons of successful signing agents out there…

    Thanks for writing a great ariticle!

      • Brett Synicky on


        Good call on the insurance agents. I’ve been using Craigslist and finally figured out how not to get my ad flagged and deleted. lol. I’ve been using CL for about a month and received one job for it. I’ll try different ad copy each time to find what works best.


  4. Brandon McCombs on

    “Would of” and “could of” don’t exist as proper phrases in the English language. When people say what sounds like those phrases they are saying contractions that are spelled “would’ve” and “could’ve”.

    As for jobs, home inspections are more profitable while still allowing you to set your own hours for the most part (obviously you still have to work during the day) and it takes only a couple thousand to get started if you take a course and then the test. You can easily get your name out there by contacting realtors, Craigslist, bulletin boards, etc.

    • “become a house inspector!” is exactly why house inspectors are an absolute scam. Any schmoe off the street can take an online course and proclaim themselves an inspector, meanwhile the rest of us have to deal with morons who tank deals completely, or don’t find major problems which cost massive money and time.

      • Brandon McCombs on

        Interesting because I know that any schmoe off the street can take an online course and then a written test and proclaim themselves a real estate agent.

        But does that mean everyone who becomes an RE agent doesn’t know anything and only memorized test questions? No. Same with being a home inspector. Some people actually know a lot about what they do. I can’t speak for Jared Barnes but just because other people are lazy or don’t know a lot doesn’t mean everyone will be the same way. I’ve heard agents say things that aren’t always true, correct, accurate, etc. so it goes both ways.

        It doesn’t make sense to tell someone not to do something just because other people you are aware of who have done the same thing haven’t been competent at it.

    • Brandon, this is not a very wise response. As a Realtor, I only used experienced home inspectors that have a legitimate background in construction. They charge more, but they are thorough and they know which repairs are truly necessary. As a listing agent, I have dealt with idiots who point out issues that even I know are not really issues and I’ve had inspectors that would not even crawl under the house to check the foundation. I do 3 out 4 of these things (furniture flipping is over saturated in my area) and I feel that overall, FBA is the most profitable route for me in terms of providing passive, quick and substantial income.

  5. I totally agree with you.

    It’s better to have a “job” to finance while you are pursuing real estate full time.
    Or else it is very easy to get too stressful when things go wrong.

    But at the same time, an investor has to take “risks”. Life’s a roller coaster =)

  6. David Zuhlke on


    Great input on income options. I too signed up for UBER but found out that you need to know regulations on transportation in the counties you might serve. I am in Tampa Florida and you cannot provide this service in Hillsborough county without charging the client a minimum of $50.00. That would be just across the street if they got in the car.
    Uber is making a big push nationally but for your readers check in to see if your county allows these services to be provided. You may sign up and not hear from them for months. This is probably the reason why. So hang in there. We are trying to address this issue here now.
    continued success!

  7. You’re a great writer Jaren, I always feel drawn in to your articles and this one is no exception. These are 4 cool ideas (as Al said, I love the hustle mentality). I appreciate your honesty too – it’s okay to shuffle things around until they fall into place. Some people would just give up but I love how you keep trying to figure it out and learn more along the way. Keep it up buddy!

  8. Great ideas Jaren, exactly the kind of ideas I’ve been looking for to create income while studying and getting into REI. Can you expound on what types of products you’re selling via Amazon to generate income? I was laid off from my full time job here in the Sacramento Ca (company merged with Intuit and laid off local sales force) area in April as I was just starting to research RE investing, flipping etc. I’m a musician as well , so gigs are getting me by for now but it’s a meager and unstable income by itself. That said, any of you here that have musical skills, another side income that doesn’t interfere with REI type hours…thanks again for a helpful article!

  9. Faye Taylor

    I was working as a mobile notary as a friend had done it for years. There are notary service websites you can join to get your name out there. Do I like it and does it bring in money? No and no/yes.
    Typically you are on a very tight deadline. Like: can you do a job about 25 miles from you for $60-100?? The companies set the price; you don’t. The only time you can negotiate more money is the signing is in a rural location and they have no others to call.
    Take job, wait for instructions and paperwork to be faxed or email. Call client and set up appointment; then start to work printing out paperwork. Required laser print that can do legal size print. Typically 2 copies of 30-75 pages of legal size paperwork. One copy to be left with client and one copy returned to notary service. Legal requirements on how the paperwork is signed. Review paperwork; put it together noting all the places the client has to sign and you have to notarize. Can be numerous areas so could be initials and / or signatures on most pages. This process can take up to 2 hours but not less than 1. Then you have to meet the client; get signatures; verify all signatures are correct; go home and review again. Then it it either Fedx’d to company or uploaded. Typical job including drive and sign time: minimum of 4 hours; typically 6+ hours for about $100 or less. IF you miss anything you have to get back to client and have it corrected. AND there is a time deadline. Normally you will get the papers at about 2 pm for a 6 pm closing and it has to be back at the company by the next day or at the least you have to have at FedX by the next morning. Very stressful if you are a meticulous person. You can be sued for errors.
    IF the client is on a deadline for a loan lock which is very common, any failure on your part to get this done in a timely manner would cause major issues.
    Also here in Texas I cannot do any type of cash out equity closings due to the regulations. I can only do things like refinance.
    Now if I wanted to pursue this for a better income I would have to network and get out to individual title companies or attorneys which have their own notaries. It’s just that they might not want them to travel so would use you. Most title companies like American have relationships with notary services. Google that to sign up with them for work.
    Many people have made this a career and have a fairly decent income from it. It drove me crazy as I always felt like I was on a treadmill with a deadline. Basically to make $500/wk would have to take at least 5 jobs and work about 30 hours a week. You only control your hours to some degree.

    • Tina Peters

      @faye taylor, fantastic write up, thank you. I was just getting ready to review the notary option. You answered many of my questions and some I didn’t think of! For those persuing opportunities for notary assignments, you can sign up at wegolook.com, that’s what peaked my interest.

  10. Marvin Gunn

    Jaren, great perspective and moxie in trying to find creative ways to make a few extra dollars to feed your passion. Oddly enough, the neighbor left a chest on the sidewalk this morning with a big ‘ole ‘FREE’ sign on it… maybe furniture flipping is in my future.

  11. Matt Gouge

    A great example of how someone who wants something bad enough will make it happen and find creative ways to do so. I have no doubt that @JaronBarnes is somewhere 2 years later doing great.
    If you want something in life go out and get it. Period.

  12. Derrick H.

    Another option is to be a Field Service Reps for Banks. Those are the people who take pictures of houses going through Foreclosure for the Banks. It normally avgs $30 to $50 per job depending on the distance. The skills I learned doing that, taught me alot when it came to taking pictures for my investors when I wholesale and also builds relationships with the local and national banks.

  13. Brandon Shewbridge

    A few other options:

    1) Monetize your hobbies. If you’re in to some sort of collectables, sell them on Ebay.

    2) Woodworker, artist, crafter? Sell your stuff on Etsy.

    3) Buy things at thrift stores and estate sales and resell them on Ebay or Etsy. I’ve been doing this for a while now and enjoy 300% – 800% margins. Spend a few hours hunting on weekends or lunch breaks and list the items in the evenings while you’re watching TV.

  14. Ashley Cast

    Great creative ways for making money. I am quite interested in the buy and sell on Amazon method. Could you give a little more detail into how that works? I have been researching this for a while there is different methods on how to make money on Amazon.

  15. One of my income streams involves network marketing. I figured I needed to make some changes in my life anyway so I found a reputable suoerfoods products company and started using the products. Pleasantly surprised when Imet the goals I had and also started a supplemental income. I am retiring from the fire dept very soon and I am looking at my pension check as a passive income stream. Add that to the nwm stream, and then activate a couple of your ideas, find a mentorship opportunity to where I can provide value to an investor while learning the ropes, and that should keep me busy while creatimg multiple streams of income. Great article. Gave me a few ideas.

  16. Kevin Leonce

    Thanks Jaren,
    I recently joined BP and I’m grateful for articles like these. I am really interested in #2 as I am full time as an investor (similar position as you were) looking for that first deal. So I need to generate income!

  17. Denise Southard

    You can buy text books from Amazon and other book selling sites and send them right back to Amazon on their buy back program and make as much as $35 or even more per book. You pay shipping to your location. Amazon gives you a free shipping label to send the book back to them. I saw a webinar where the presenter created software to search the sites for you…he charges $997 and a monthly fee to use his software…but you can do this on your own at a slower pace. That’s how he got started.

  18. Jonathan Walker

    Hi everyone. I’m in my senior year of high school and the plan is to go into real estate full time, most likely not going to college. Which do you think is the better option for me: try to get a full or part time job (that doesn’t require a college education [obviously], which probably won’t pay much) or try doing one of these options full/part time instead?

  19. Brian Mitchell on

    This a very great article because your always going to need income in multiple streams. I am currently working a fulltime job right now that is flexible. I also delivery food with Door Dash instead taxing people with Uber or Lyft.

    I am signed up with the FBA with Amazon but need to put the pedal to the medal to work so I can
    see some results.

  20. Jose Guevarra

    As a beginner, it might be helpful to work as a junior loan processor or transaction coordinator. You don’t need a lot of experience to get in at the bottom level although they might want you to get a real estate license. The benefit is you learn in detail what happens in a real estate transaction and build relationships with others in the industry.

  21. Dmitriy Fomichenko

    Nice post. It’s good to have a secondary income, especially during the initial months when you aren’t making any money through your real estate hours. It is during these times that the lack of a side income could literally deplete your investment funds.

    Thanks for sharing!

  22. Peter Mckernan


    This was a great article to open someone’s eyes to what is out there to do and what is the best way to pickup some side cash. I just mentioned to someone on the forums that picking up a side hustle would be the best thing for them to do!

    What career did you transfer into after you realized that you needed more money?

  23. Daniel Alhadeff

    Thanks, but these are all short term solutions that will take your eyes off the long term prize. Sure, you may make a buck or 2, but if you spent that time scouting deals, hustling and chasing your dreams, you will achieve your goals. Not everyone is cut out to be a RE investor, just like not everyone is cut out to go to college. Better to have a little bit of savings or access to funds before you decide to quit your day job and go into this full time.

  24. Brandon THIS IS MY STORY OMG!!! 2014….I put in my RETIREMENT PAPERS and bragged to the world that I was going to stop teaching and pursue Real Estate full time. I was only 34. And I had made $8600 on my first deal!!! I thought I could do that month after month. Well….2015 came around and I was living off my retirement check and thinking to myself…I have to make a deal happen. Shit. I made about $7000. That was all. 2016 got here and I lost my house AND my car. I had to move back home. So now…I am back Teaching and ready to restart this whole process A LOT SMARTER. My side business is my housekeeping business and I know how to work real estate and not have to give up working full time. My advice to any newbie: Until your cash flow from real estate that you HOLD is 2xs your take home pay….KEEP WORKING!!! Those were good side hustles. Personally, my housekeeping/maid business brings in as much as my full time job and I only work MAYBE 10 hours a week. OAN, anyone wanting to buy property in Memphis and you are sick of wholesalers who bring you bad deals…get in touch with me!

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