Let's face it, your basic superhero simply can't do without a day job these days. They may be strong enough to punch an EldritchAbomination [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu in the face]], but they've still got to pay the bills. And unless they're [[http://www.agonybooth.com/agonizer/Action_Comics_176_Muscles_for_Money.aspx the opportunistic sort]], they're probably not going to be paid for their trouble. So, they have to do something else in order get by.

But why stop there? If you're a superhero, your day job should cater specifically to someone of your... unique position. You should be able to disappear at a moment's notice, without being held up, and without people wondering. Not only that, but you should have access to the news, so you can know when you're needed.

So here's a handy list of jobs your typical superhero should consider when planning a career in heroics (if you somehow [[RichIdiotWithNoDayJob don't need a job]]... lucky you):


->''Well, Lois, the truth is, I'm actually Superman in disguise and I only pretend to be a journalist in order to hear about disasters as they happen, and then squeeze you out of the byline.''
-->-- '''Clark Kent''' on his success as a reporter, ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries''

This is a superhero's goldmine. As a reporter, your whereabouts don't have to be accounted for during work hours, you'll hear about crises as soon as word gets out, and you'll have an always applicable excuse to rush to the scene without people getting curious. Plus, you can get paid for writing stories of your adventures. It's like getting paid for doing what you would be doing anyway! [[note]]In truth, reporting about yourself, while concealing that fact, is a gross violation of journalistic ethics, but this is usually glossed over.[[/note]] Notable heroes in this field include:

* UrExample, [[Franchise/{{Superman}} Clark Kent]]
* [[Franchise/SpiderMan Peter Parker]] (well, news photographer, but same position in the grand scheme of things)
* [[ComicBook/TheQuestion Victor Sage]]
* [[ComicBook/{{Shazam}} Billy Batson]]
* [[Franchise/TheGreenHornet Britt Reid]] (newspaper publisher (and, in the TV series, also general manager of a television station))
* [[ComicBook/TheCreeper Jack Ryder]]
* [[Comicbook/AstroCity Asa "Samaritan" Martin]] (actually a fact-checker rather than a reporter, but still for a newspaper)
* Two out of three Series/VRTroopers.
* [[Series/KamenRiderRyuki Shinji Kidou]], sort of.
* [[WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents Charles Hampton Indigo]]
* [[Comicbook/SpiderMan Philip Urich]], the heroic (at least in the MC-2 universe) Green Goblin
* [[WebAnimation/HappyTreeFriends Splendid]], an {{Expy}}/parody of Superman.
* [[ComicBook/TheSentry Robert Reynolds]] is a reporter for an ''encyclopedia'', at least in ''ComicBook/AgeOfTheSentry''.

[[folder:Busy Socialite]]
!![[RichIdiotWithNoDayJob Busy Socialite]]

If you happen to run a {{Fiction 500}} Company, then you've got a great position for a future in superheroics. You won't ever have to worry about money, and, as a busy socialite with few tedious day-to-day obligations, it's expected that you'd be out and about, enjoying life. If no one ever sees you, then they'll figure you just spend all your time out on the town, never suspecting that you really spend your time beating the crap out of criminals. Plus, if you act like a moron, [[ObfuscatingStupidity everyone will think you're too incompetent to be a hero,]] and if you're seen bolting the scene (to get in uniform, of course), everyone will just think you're a [[MilesGloriosus snobbish coward]]. It's the perfect cover--just don't expect to have a sparkling reputation. You'd be following such masters of social deception as:

* [[Franchise/{{Batman}} Bruce Wayne]]
* [[ComicBook/BlueBeetle Ted Kord]]
* [[ComicBook/GreenArrow Oliver Queen]]
* [[Comicbook/IronMan Tony Stark]], although in most continuities, he does have legitimate credit as a scientist
* [[Franchise/{{Zorro}} Don Diego de la Vega]]
* [[Literature/TheScarletPimpernel Sir Percy Blakeney]]
* [[WesternAnimation/GeorgeOfTheJungle Henry Cabot Henhouse III]] ([[WesternAnimation/GeorgeOfTheJungle Super-Chicken]])
* [[VideoGame/CityOfHeroes Justin Sinclair]] (Manticore)
* Lamont Cranston (in [[Radio/TheShadow the radio adaptation]] and [[Film/TheShadow film]])
* [[ComicBook/GreatLakesAvengers Ashley Crawford]], to an extent
* [[ComicBook/{{Watchmen}} Dan Dreiberg]] is something of a subversion: he's wealthy but reclusive and lives as a harmless ''intellectual''.
* [[ComicBook/{{Batwoman}} Kate Kane]], whose family became wealthy from weapons manufacturing and apparently "owns the half of Gotham that Wayne doesn't".
* [[Podcast/RedPandaAdventures August Fenwick]]. Another advantage of this kind of cover identity: being able to employ his sidekick as his "trusty chauffeur".

[[folder:Police/Rescue Worker]]
!!Police/Rescue Worker

->'''Policeman:''' Nice work! ''That's'' the way to nail a crook.\\
'''Forensic Scientist [[Franchise/TheFlash Wally West]]:''' It's one way.
-->-- ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'', "Flash and Substance"

Why not burn the crimefighting candle at both ends? Join the force and protect and serve 24/7. You'll know about every criminal related thing that happens in the town, as well as people in need of rescue or strange occurrences. It's especially good if you're also a confirmed ChronicHeroSyndrome case as people in peril are just a callout away. When things get a bit too hairy, zip off (just don't let your partners see you "abandoning" them), get into the spandex suit and solve the problem with superpowers. The main problem here would be that you can't always just "zip off"; the environment's pretty restrictive, so you'd better be good at making incredibly good excuses or get used to waiting until you get home to get your superheroing on. And you should avoid getting a partner at all costs, unless it's someone you [[SecretKeeper trust.]] Can overlap with 'Career Superhero' below, TheRealHeroes, and SuperCop. Good examples of this would be:

* Most of [[LegacyCharacter the]] [[Franchise/TheFlash Flashes]] have been affiliated with the police in some way or another, usually as some sort of analyst, but none as a full fledged officer.
* [[ComicBook/{{Nightwing}} Dick Grayson]] for a while
* [[ComicBook/MartianManhunter John Jones]], sometimes.
* Comicbook/TheSavageDragon.
* [[ComicBook/{{Watchmen}} Hollis Mason]]
* [[Series/{{Heroes}} Matt Parkman]]
* [[VideoGame/CityOfHeroes Blue Steel]], and Statesman in his early days.
* Comicbook/TheMightyThor spent some time as a paramedic.
* [[SerialKillerKiller Not quite a hero]], but Series/{{Dexter}} fits this perfectly
* ''ComicBook/TopTen'', all the main characters.
* Jim Powell from ''Series/NoOrdinaryFamily'' is a sketch artist for the police
* [[Literature/TheDresdenFiles Karrin Murphy]]. Notable in that the conflicting requirements (e.g. the police ''really'' don't like the lead investigator disappearing partway through their case and being unable to explain why) led to her being first demoted, then "retired".
* [[Series/KamenRiderDouble Ryu Terui]]
* ''Franchise/SuperSentai'' / ''Franchise/PowerRangers''
** ''Series/KyukyuSentaiGoGoV'' / ''Series/PowerRangersLightspeedRescue'': a rescue-themed team fighting demons. In both cases, at least some of them were rescue workers before becoming superheroes.
** ''Series/TokusouSentaiDekaranger'' / ''Series/PowerRangersSPD'' : the Earth branch of a massive SpacePolice force.
* Possible UrExample: Comicbook/TheSpectre. Jim Corrigan and [[Comicbook/GothamCentral Crispus Allen]] are both big-city detectives. In between was Hal Jordan, previously a member of a [[Franchise/GreenLantern galactic police force]].
* In both [[ComicBook/GrantMorrisonsActionComics Grant Morrison's run]] on ''ComicBook/ActionComics'' and ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' comics, Franchise/{{Superman}} creates a new identity as a fire-fighter.
** In one episode of ''Series/LoisAndClark'', he does one job disguised as a police officer or security guard.
* Jim Harper (the Guardian)
* Mon-El's temporary identity of Jon Kent
* [[Comicbook/FantasticFour Johnny Storm]] was a firefighter for a time, ironic considering [[PlayingWithFire his powers]].
* [[Comicbook/{{Hawkman}} Katar Hol]]
* [[Anime/SailorMoon Minako Aino]] is shown having worked with Scotland Yard for a time in the anime [[spoiler: and outright becoming a part-time cop in the ''Manga/CodenameSailorV'' manga, meaning she's a cop and a student for the entire run of the ''Manga/SailorMoon'' manga]]. In a variant, [[YouAreWhatYouHate Minako dislikes cops]].
* [[Manga/DeathNote Light Yagami]] joins the police force as a detective, giving him access to police records. Of course, he and his supporters are the only ones who think he's a superhero.
* Dan Garret, the first Comocbook/{{Blue Beetle}}.
* The Woman In Red, an early superhero who is considered to be the first female masked crimefighter. In a case of an UnbuiltTrope, her boss is also her SecretKeeper, and she reports her costumed exploits to him.

[[folder:Private Eye]]
!!Private Eye

Here's a job with most of the perks of being a Policeman with much less restriction. Here, you don't have to worry about hours, tricking partners, or being accused of negligence. Your hours are yours to dictate, meaning that, as soon as you get a case, you can pretty much investigate as your hero identity any time you want. However, you've lost the ability to be in the know; unless you work closely with the police (or are willing to break the law in the name of good by snooping at their files), the only info you'll get will come from people who walk into your office, meaning that you'll probably only get a few cases a month. Of course, these will probably be incredibly interesting, especially once you make a name for yourself as a detective who can solve even the strangest cases. You'll start off as a gumshoe, but you'll have such role models as:

* The ComicBook/MartianManhunter, sometimes.
* Just about any of the protagonists of the many VampireDetectiveSeries.
* [[Comicbook/ElongatedMan Ralph Dibny]].
* [[Comicbook/TheSpectre Jim Corrigan]].
* [[Literature/TheDresdenFiles Harry Dresden]] is a legitimate private eye, he just works in weird conditions.
* [[Series/KamenRiderDouble Shotaro Hidari and Phillip (and their mentor Sokichi Narumi)]]
* Zig-zagged with Comicbook/JessicaJones, who became a private eye after a ''[[DarkAndTroubledPast very]]'' [[DarkAndTroubledPast failed attempt at super-heroing]], but finds herself all too frequently (for her liking) pulled into super-hero related crimes.
* Jessica Drew, the original Comicbook/{{SpiderWoman}} (who was the inspiration for Jessica Jones).
* ComicBook/KateBishop, the second Hawkeye, goes into business as a private eye in her 2016 series, following in Jessica Jones' footsteps.
* Series/{{Angel}}, though it's something of a RunningGag that he and his team lack the skills to do any real detective work (mostly they just track down and fight demons and monsters). In one episode, when the gang questions how he tracked down a normal human person, he explains that he hired a ''real'' private detective to do it for him.
* [[ComicBook/TheQuestion Renee Montoya]], who ''used'' to be a cop, and now is more or less a self employed sleuther.


Here, we have a sort of mix between the reporter and the private eye, at least in practice. Here, you'll take the case of your client as your SecretIdentity, and find the evidence to clear him as your hero identity, putting away the ''real'' bad guys at the same time. On the opposite track, you can prosecute a known criminal as your citizen identity, and attack them at the same time as a hero, putting two times the pressure on the villain. It's the perfect way to connect your two identities and help people as both a hero and a regular person. Here, it's probably best to pretend to be an associate of yourself (unless you don't have a SecretIdentity), so that people won't get suspicious that a superhero is always giving you information. Also, beware the vengeful crook: here, they'll know you put them away, even if they don't know your dual identity. Oh, and as a lawyer you have to keep track of the copious amounts of time you're supposed to spend working, so be prepared to lie a lot or [[TripleShifter not get much sleep]] even by superhero standards. Other people in this field include:

* [[Comicbook/{{Daredevil}} Matt Murdock]]
* [[Comicbook/SheHulk Jennifer Walters]]
* [[ComicBook/{{Manhunter}} Kate Spencer]]
* [[Comicbook/ResurrectionMan Mitchell "Mitch" Shelley]]


If you're anywhere from a KidHero to a college student, you're going to have to deal with being a student. This isn't the easiest thing: not only do you have to deal with [[PartTimeHero villains and superhero stuff]], but you have to [[WakeUpGoToSchoolSaveTheWorld go to class, pass tests, and keep up your grades.]] [[TripleShifter Expect one or the other to suffer,]] people to constantly wonder where you are, to have to deal with suspicious classmates, and to pine for a beautiful girl while your powers keep any serious relationship from ever happening. But it's not that bad... at least you don't have to worry about money! Unless, of course, your folks are broke... then you might need a second job... Anyway, there's a huge amount of these, but a few notables:

* Peter Parker again.
* [[Comicbook/{{Static}} Virgil Hawkins]]
* The Comicbook/{{Robin}}s, particularly [[Comicbook/RobinSeries Tim Drake]] before he dropped out of High School.
* The original ComicBook/{{Batgirl}} in most TV and film adaptations[[note]] though she was a college graduate when first introduced in the comics[[/note]], and [[ComicBook/{{Batgirl 2009}} Stephanie Brown]] in her own series.
* Terry [=McGinnis=], of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond''.
* [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Buffy Summers]]
* [[WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls Bubbles, Blossom and Buttercup]]
* [[ComicBook/BlueBeetle Jaime Reyes]]
* Most of the Comicbook/XMen were this in the beginning. Several of them have lasted long enough to grow up and become ''teachers''. Whether the institute is a full-blown SuperheroSchool or a mutant school where only ''some'' of them are superheroes depends on the writer.
* [[Franchise/SailorMoon The Sailor Senshi]] -- not that some of them were very good student to begin with.
** Minako, alias [[Manga/CodenameSailorV Sailor V]] and later Sailor Venus, is shown cheating using her TransformationTrinket, a pen that [[MundaneUtility will only write the truth]].
* [[Comicbook/SquirrelGirl Doreen Green]]
* The {{Shonen|Demographic}} heroes who have school and just about all [[MagicalGirlWarrior magical girl warriors]].
* In ComicBook/UltimateMarvel, [[ComicBook/UltimateSpiderMan Spider-Man]] and the [[Comicbook/UltimateXMen X-Men]] are teenagers. So is the [[ComicBook/UltimateFantasticFour Human Torch]], but he doesn't go to school until the post-ComicBook/{{Ultimatum}} ReTool; prior to that, he's a Career Superhero.
** In one issue of ''[[ComicBook/UltimateSpiderMan Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man]]'', Peter actually [[LampshadeHanging lampshades this trope]], as he tells [[spoiler:J. Jonah Jameson]], who had recently discovered his identity, that he needs a job that he can leave at a moment's notice so that he can go be Spider-Man.
* ''Franchise/PowerRangers'':
** The Series/{{Mighty Morphin|PowerRangers}} and [[Series/PowerRangersZeo Zeo]] rangers were students, as were any replacements in that period, before graduating at the start of ''Series/PowerRangersTurbo''. By that season's midway point, the entire team of former students had been replaced with more teenagers. Since the end of ''Series/PowerRangersInSpace'', the show has used new Rangers with each season, so every so often the Rangers are once again students.
** ''Series/PowerRangersDinoThunder'' revisited the trend, even bringing back Tommy as a teacher. After that, it wasn't used until the anniversary season ''Series/PowerRangersMegaforce''.
** This also pops up in Sentai series such as ''Series/KousokuSentaiTurboranger'', and ''Series/DenjiSentaiMegaranger.''
* [[Series/KamenRiderFourze Kisaragi Gentarou]] may be considered this, even though just about everyone in the school knows who Fourze is.
* [[WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom Danny Fenton]]
* UsefulNotes/{{The Silver Age|OfComicBooks}} ComicBook/{{Superboy}}, though Clark was also shown working part-time in the Kents' general store.
* Captain Crandall, Skate Lad, and Rope Girl of ''WesternAnimation/TeamoSupremo'', overlapping with Career Superhero (on a part-time basis), as they formally work with the governor, plus the state provides their super-equipment.
* [[ComicBook/MsMarvel2014 Kamala Khan]]
* [[WesternAnimation/MiraculousLadybug Ladybug and Chat Noir]]


Moderately common, but because writers generally don't want to put the research into real world science, also commonly glossed over or left behind for one reason or another. As for how this job is relevant to a superhero's life... well, it depends. Usually, if you decide to go the route of the scientist, it means that your superpowers will probably be either the result or a byproduct of your experiments. It also means that, lucky you, you most likely won't have to worry about money, since your inventions will support you. In fact, most people in this field are usually career superheroes. If you don't feel you have what it takes to be a ScienceHero or GadgeteerGenius, never fret! Many a scientist superhero are not, or only ease into the role later on in their career (though you may still want to keep an eye out for symptoms of a developing case of [[MadScientist Science Related Memetic Disorder]]). You'll be joining such luminaries as:
* [[ComicBook/IncredibleHulk Bruce Banner]], when he's employed, is employed as one of these.
* [[ComicBook/AntMan Henry Pym]]
* [[Franchise/TheFlash Jay Garrick and Barry Allen]]
* [[ComicBook/BlueBeetle Ted Kord]]
* [[ComicBook/FantasticFour Reed Richards']] main source of income, besides Career Superheroing (q.v. below)
* [[Comicbook/SpiderMan Peter Parker]] ''again''.
* [[Comicbook/TheAtom Ray Palmer and Ryan Choi]]
* [[VideoGame/CityOfHeroes Raymond Keyes]] (Positron)
* [[ComicBook/{{Morbius}} Michael Morbius]] worked as a hemato(patho)logist during one of his stable periods.
* [[ComicBook/{{Watchmen}} Dr. Manhattan.]] That doctorate's not for show, folks.
* [[ComicBook/SwampThing Alec Holland]]


If there's a SuperheroSchool around, then this can overlap with the "Career Superhero" below, but if it doesn't work out that way, you can't just skip out on class to fight crime when you're the teacher. On the other hand, if you started your hero career as a student, [[WakeUpGoToSchoolSaveTheWorld you'd have already figured out how to work around school schedules]], so teaching is a fairly simple job to transition into when you grow up. Besides, working at a school means you'll have a mountain of useful information right at your fingertips. And who knows? You might even find a KidSidekick in your class. A common form of BadassTeacher. Other heroes who followed this path include:
* Most of the Comicbook/XMen have been teachers at one time or another, since they have a SuperheroSchool.
* [[Franchise/FantasticFour Susan Storm]], during the "Wolf at the Door" arc.
* [[Franchise/SpiderMan Peter Parker]] ''yet again!''
* Not an actual teacher, but [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Buffy Summers]] becomes a school counselor when she grows up. Her Watcher Rupert Giles was the school librarian when she was a student, and other heroic school staff members have also appeared in the series.
* [[ComicBook/BlackLightning Jefferson Pierce]] is a high school principal with lightning powers.
* [[ComicBook/{{Huntress}} Helena Bertinelli]] is an English teacher.
* All five Hoshiwaka siblings of ''Series/ChikyuuSentaiFiveman''.
* [[Franchise/PowerRangers Tommy Oliver]]. Spent most of his early Ranger years as a high school student, then graduated and stepped down, and eventually returned in ''Series/PowerRangersDinoThunder'' as both teammate and science teacher to the newest group of Rangers.
* [[Franchise/SailorMoon Michiru Kaiou]] is an art teacher in at least one continuity. Her teammate Setsuna Meiou works as a school nurse.
* There was a short-lived ''Franchise/ArchieComics'' series called ''Faculty Funnies'' where four of the regular teachers became a superhero team.

[[folder:Career Superhero]]
!!Career Superhero

The Holy Grail of super day jobs: being paid to be a full time superhero! Like all things that seem too good to be true, this isn't exactly easy to get. First off, it usually requires [[SecretPublicIdentity you to give up your secret identity]], then you'll either need [[MutantDraftBoard some government agency]] or [[CorporateSponsoredSuperhero corporation to sponsor you]], or be brilliant enough that your grants will pay for everything. Then, be prepared to have absolutely no downtime: you'll be expected to leap into action for anything, which, if you find having a normal life as well as a super one important, might be a turn off. Not to mention that your employers [[ConspiracyRedemption may not be as benevolent as you are]]. But, if everything goes well, you'll be living like a king doing what you would be doing anyway; you'll have ton of respect, groupies, a cool house and a ludicrous bank account that probably won't ever empty. Of course, one crisis later and you might lose it all, but, don't worry, [[StatusQuoIsGod you'll get it back... eventually]]. You'll be joining such luminaries as:

* All the [[Comicbook/TheAvengers Avengers]], particularly after Comicbook/CivilWar.
* ComicBook/FantasticFour.
* [[ComicBook/{{Watchmen}} Edward Blake, Adrian Veidt and Dr. Manhattan]]
* Series/TheMiddleman
* The Comicbook/XMen
* [[WesternAnimation/DuckTales Gizmoduck]]
* ''Anime/TigerAndBunny'' is built on the premise of [[CorporateSponsoredSuperhero "salaryman superheroes"]] who are effectively part law enforcement, part reality television stars.
* [[ComicBook/{{Superboy}} Conner Kent]], especially in the Hawaiian years.
* [[ComicBook/TheFlash Wally West]]
* The average [[TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons D&D party]].
* ComicBook/{{Stormwatch}} was originally a team funded by the United Nations, the New 52 team is funded by a mysterious organization.
* ComicBook/TheAuthority more or less funds itself full time, while blackmailing the planet into rewarding them.
* [[Series/PersonOfInterest John Reese]], basically.
* WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck was eventually revealed to be funded by S.H.U.S.H. in [[ComicBook/DarkwingDuck the comics]].
* The world of ''Manga/MyHeroAcademia'' has had superheroes for so long that they effectively serve as government-sanctioned agents.

[[folder:Freelance Bum]]
!!Freelance Bum

So... maybe things didn't work out so well. It could be that your superhero career just didn't exactly pay the bills. It could be that your powers or superhero identity cause you to be unable to have a place of your own. Maybe you're a fugitive of some kind, and can't afford to have a long-term home. In any case, you're out on the street and have hit rock bottom. Well, chin up, at least you can still be a hero (as long as you don't need money to do it). As a man of the streets, you'll probably find out about disasters relatively soon, and, the best part, you'll have ''complete anonymity.'' There's nothing more dangerous than someone with nothing to lose. You'll survive... somehow... maybe you can take some food from the crooks you put away! In any case, you'll be joining the ranks of such successful heroes as:

* [[ComicBook/{{Watchmen}} Walter Kovacs]]
* [[Comicbook/{{Venom}} Eddie Brock]] ([[HeelFaceRevolvingDoor when he's not a villain]])
* [[Comicbook/IncredibleHulk Bruce Banner]], most of the time.
* WesternAnimation/TheTick, sorta. He lives with Arthur but doesn't seem to contribute anything financially.
* [[Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles Donatello, Raphael, Michaelangelo and Leonardo]]
* [[Comicbook/ThePunisher Frank Castle]]. He's got no permanent home, but plenty of safehouses and hidden weapons caches. And a boatload of cash from all the mobsters he kills.
* Len/Kamen Rider Wing Knight from ''Series/KamenRiderDragonKnight''.
* Film/{{Hancock}}: Being immortal, he doesn't need a job at all.
* The ''Comicbook/{{Runaways}}'', since they don't go to school and are constantly...on the run.
* Hei in the second season of ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack'', which combined with his general hygiene and alcoholism earned him the FanNickname "Hobo Hei".
* Comicbook/{{Spawn}}
* ''ComicBook/{{Paperinik|NewAdventures}}'' is a way; since his alter ego is WesternAnimation/DonaldDuck, he retains Donald's habit of being unemployed, unemployable, or stuck in temporary low-paying menial jobs most of the time. While this is explained by Donald's general bad habits, bad luck and less than stellar personality in regular Disney comics, in these stories the fact that Donald has to run off all the time, spends all nights patrolling, and constantly lies about his whereabouts gets him fired again and again.
* [[Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfSuperheroGirl Superhero Girl]]
* Bowen from ''Film/{{Dragonheart}}'' between being a knight and meeting Draco.
* ComicBook/TheMaxx
* ComicBook/CaptainAmerica's friend D-Man.
* Series/{{Hercules|TheLegendaryJourneys}} and Series/{{Xena|WarriorPrincess}}, possibly. It's never really explained how they make a living. Herc is shown turning down money and even food constantly. Xena plays it straighter, since she and Gabrielle seem to be permanently on the road whereas Hercules comes back to his mom's house every so often and Ioalus has a home of his own, but no apparent job.