5 side jobs that will give you extra money and portfolios!

5 side jobs that will give you extra money and portfolios!


Working in Japan is a wonderful experience to have, but we cannot disagree that the cost of living in this country is expensive. No matter how much we budget or save, we often found ourselves wishing we had extra cash here and there, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the economy around the world. Many foreigners are struggling with reduced work and income, and today we listed up some good suggestions for side jobs, that will not only give you extra money, but also portfolios that will boost your career in the future.


1. The advantage and disadvantages of having a side job


According to the survey conducted by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare of Japan, the number of freelance in Japan is increasing every year, with more than 4% growth rate every year. The survey also mentioned that more than 50% of them started a side job to have an extra source of income. Having a side job, or sometimes several side jobs, in addition to your full time job can be good and bad sometimes, and below are the advantages and disadvantages you need to consider before you decide to get a side job in Japan.


1.1 Advantages

  • The schedule is flexible, most side jobs don't require you to work 8 hours a day.
  • Your income will increase,  having a side job will give you a new source of income, and if your client trusts you, your client will ask you to continue working for them. Increase of income also give extra points for those who desiring to upgrade their residence status to permanent residence since finacial stability is one of the requirements. 
  • You'll have more skills and achievements to add to your resume or portfolio, this applies if you decide to have a side job that is relevant to, or closely related to the current position of your full time job. For those working in IT backgrounds, taking side jobs is the perfect chance to expand your portfolio and the more you have, the more chances for you to land a high paying jobs that requires yeard of experiences.
  • A good training for those who want to run their own companies, you'll learn a lot of things by working as a freelance: time management skill, bookkeeping skill, accounting skill, finance skill, tax filing, tax adjustment, and tax refund.


1.2 Disadvantages

  • You'll work longer - even though the schedule is flexible, you will work longer as you will be working after work, or on the weekend for your side jobs. On average, people spend at least 9 hours per week on side jobs, but the hours can go up to 29 hours per week depending on your job.
  • You'll pay more taxes - having a side job will increase your income, and your income tax and residence tax will increase too. Please refer to our feature about "Kakutei Shinkoku" for more information on final tax return in Japan.
  • Your performance at work might decrease, this happens if you can't  manage your time; you are expected to perform well for both your full time job and your side job.


2. Type of work you can take as side-jobs

2.1. Web / app / software developer / designer


Source: Pixabay


Many Japanese companies have hired engineers to develop and design websites, applications, and software remotely from home, so it’s possible for you to continue working for this position even after you leave Japan. It requires a lot of learning and effort to get hired for this position, but it is totally worth it, as you can use the programming and engineering skills you got from this position to boost your future career in IT industry. You can start your learning immediately by taking the free courses offered online, and once you think you’re ready to work as a developer or designer, you can apply for the positions available online.

The type of work available are usually web design, UIUX related design work, mobile app developers and so on. If you take IT projects as a freelancer usually you will have to report to the PM (project manager). If your aim aside from money is to be able to expand your portfolio then make sure to check the project confidentiality from the beginning so you will face no consequence in publishing the work later.

Potential earnings: depends on project / work, but can go up to millions yen / project.


2.2. Social Media Manager


Source: Pixabay


Do you spend a lot of time on Instagram? How about turning your social media routine into a side job? Many companies look for social media managers, and this position will brush up your skills in providing analysis from Instagram and Facebook newsfeeds, creating and delivering specific advertisements to targeted users, and conducting market research on social media platforms. If you want to build your career as a web marketer, social media manager experience will give you portfolios that will boost your career in the future. The posotions available are usually tied to maintaining SEO and SEM of the company's website or social media channels.

This position can be done remotely, but you have to keep in mind that for most of the time these positions are not always run by English-speaking companies, so you should at least have a business-level Japanese to keep up with the tasks.

Potential earnings: varies.


2.3. Content creator


Source: Pixabay


Many Japanese companies have hired content creator to create well-curated features about Japanese culture, fashion, food, and sightseeing spots remotely from home, and this position gives you not only extra cash, but also features to add to your portfolios. You need to have good research and writing skills to be a professional content creator, and a Google Analytic skill will give you an added value as most companies are looking for content creators who can write good SEO features.

When you have vast experiences in creating multiple contents across multiple channels, the door for you to change it into a permanent job will open, right now many Japanese companie are eyeing foreign content creators with vast knowledge of their natibe country's market, this position is one of the example.

Potential earnings: varies, but usually starts from 2,000 yen per feature / content.


2.4. Game localization tester


Source: Pixabay


If you love video games, this position might be the perfect side job for you. Video game companies in Japan often look for native speakers of a different language to test their video games for game localization. The company will ask you to thoroughly test the video games before the final version is released to the market, so you must play the game for several times, from start to finish, to find linguistic and technical issues, including grammar errors, bugs, and glitches. This position can be done remotely; all you need is a good computer and a stable Internet connection.

Potential earnings: varies, but usually starts from 1,500 yen per hour.

Also if you are into gaming and interested in pursuing career in Japanese gaming business why don't you try applying to these positions? 


2.5. Freelance translator


Source: Pixabay


If you’re a certified JLPT N-1, and have lived in Japan for a while, a freelance translator may be your kind of gig. Japanese companies always look for a native speaker to translate Japanese documents, websites, press releases, videos, and other things into other languages, so the demand for translators is always high. If you’re fluent in Japanese and can do translation from Japanese to English or other languages, you should register yourself to the translation companies for higher rates, or create a profile on freelancer websites like CrowdWorks.

Translations can be done remotely in most cases, and your translation works can be included in your portfolios.

Potential earnings: depends on project/work, and rate per character varies by language.


3. Before you start your side jobs

You need to make sure you check the following things before you start your side jobs:

  • Check whether the company you’re currently work for allows you to work a second job or not. Some companies do not allow their employees to have a second job. 
  • Make sure your side job is still within the scope of your visa. If your visa is for humanities, engineering, and social services, you shouldn’t be having a side job at restaurants, hotels, or convenience stores. We have explained about this matter in detail here
  • Make sure you get enough rest; earning money is fun, but make sure you won’t face karoshi, a.k.a. “Death by work”.