Here’s how to make extra money and love what you do.
If you have a full-time job, but you're still looking to make some extra money, you might be wondering where to look for side jobs. According to a January 2016 survey released by the research and employment company Indeed, 33.6 percent of the 3,058 Americans surveyed moonlight in addition to their regular job. For the majority of that crowd, the side job helped make ends meet. Others saw it as a way to start their own business or make extra money doing something they enjoy. I often worked a second gig because I liked the idea of being my own boss and having some extra cash on hand to pay off debt or save. I also love experiencing new things, and I even worked part-time as an independent jewelry consultant to have some extra money to donate to charities one year.
Whether you're looking to pay down those ever-lingering student loans, want to build that emergency fund of at least $1,000, as recommended by personal finance expert Dave Ramsey, or you're looking to save some money for your dream vacation or home, you definitely have options.
Which type of side job would you be good at or enjoy?
There are a number of good second job opportunities available. To begin the process of identifying what's best for you, brainstorm a list that includes all of your competencies and the tasks you enjoy doing. For example, do you love helping others succeed and enjoy your current line of work? Maybe part-time coaching is in your future. Do you enjoy hosting parties for your friends and family? Maybe the service industry or wedding planning would be right for you. Are you good at photography, graphic design, or writing? Then freelance work might be a great fit.
If you still need help coming up with side job ideas, peruse the Job Posting page of your local Craigslist board to see what opportunities employers or individuals are currently requesting. You might also consider asking friends or family members what they think you might be good at. Mind Tools and My Career Quizzes have some fun (free!) quizzes that might help you answer this question as well. Below, you can find a list of potential opportunities to help you find a side job that you’ll enjoy and will allow you to make a little extra money.
Part-time and work-from-home opportunities.
Below is a list of side hustles you can take on in your spare time while maintaining your regular nine-to-five job.
Freelance work. Writing, graphic design, video editing, photography, web design, coding, and digital marketing are just some of the areas where freelancers make some nice part-time, and often full-time, income from the comfort of their homes. Companies and individuals use sites such as Remote.com, Guru, and WriterAccess to find help in completing various tasks and projects. Each site works a bit differently, but most allow freelancers to build a profile page and pay to post bids for jobs. It can take some time to understand the process and build a portfolio but, with time, these can be lucrative opportunities. Personally, I've had success in securing freelance writing work from sites such as these. You can also do an online search for training resources to help you start a freelance business. For example, WorkingWriterHappyWriter.com is one resource for those looking to secure freelance work. You can also search for jobs on your local newspaper job posting boards, as well as on Craigslist.
Coaching. If you have a knack for business or are the go-to person for advice, then you might consider business or life coaching as a good second job. A quality coach can make upwards of $100 to $300 per hour. You can also make some extra money by holding workshops and webinars to share your expertise with a group.
If you think this might be a good fit for you, there are certifications available to help boost your credibility. When researching coaching and certifications, not all programs are created equal. The International Coach Federation holds a particular set of standards for accrediting organizations that offer coaching certifications. That's not to say that programs without accreditation aren't of value, so do your homework and find a program that's affordable and a good fit for your current circumstances and needs.
If you have a skill in the arts, such as acting or singing, then you might also consider being a voice or acting coach.
Serving and bartending. If you have experience in the service industry or think waiting tables or bartending would be fun, then finding part-time work in the evenings or on weekends at a local restaurant might be a good fit. The great thing about these side jobs is the fact that the schedule is often flexible. Not to mention, at a steady restaurant, servers can easily make at least $15 an hour, and bartenders tend to make even more. I've held this type of job in the past and made good money while having fun doing it.
Direct sales. It's not for everyone, but network marketing and direct sales can be a nice way to make some part-time income. I have several friends who do it, and they love it. They make anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per month. Some even use it as their primary source of income. Another great thing about becoming an independent consultant for a reputable direct sales company is the fact that the company often has reasonably-priced marketing materials, such as websites and business cards, already designed and ready for you to use.
It takes some time and effort, but if you're a good self-starter, direct sales might be the right side gig for you. It can be a fun way to make some extra money while also building your professional network. Plus, there are direct sales companies for a variety of niches, from health and wellness (Isagenix) to cosmetics (Jafra, Mark Kay) to jewelry (Stella & Dot). There are service-based direct sales companies, as well, such as Legal Shield, a company offering pre-paid legal services to individuals and businesses. Do some research to determine what companies have the best reputations and support you need.
Child and senior care. Tutoring, babysitting, and offering senior care services is another way to make some extra cash. Sites such as Care.com can be a helpful place to secure these types of jobs.
Driving and courier services. Uber and Lyft have become popular means of transportation for many people, from the nighttime partygoer to the frugal business traveler. During a recent business trip, I made a habit of asking my Uber drivers how long they'd been driving and if they enjoyed it. With one exception, every one of them seemed to enjoy it. They liked that they could make their own schedules and earn a decent amount of extra money on the side if they are consistent in their pickups. There’s a relatively straightforward process to join a company like Uber, which you can find on their website.
Courier services have also gained popularity in recent months. One example is PostMates, an app that allows its users to order food from local restaurants that will then be delivered to them by someone like you. As a delivery person, you're paid a percentage of the customer's fee and your income is deposited weekly into the account you make when you sign up.
Other options. If none of the options listed above interest you, consider teaching a fitness class, mowing lawns, housecleaning, or becoming a virtual assistant. The opportunities to make some extra cash are endless.
Words of wisdom (or caution).
The good news is that there are numerous ways to make money outside of your full-time job. However, it’s important to consider how much extra work you can handle without stretching yourself thin. It’s challenging enough to keep your stress levels in check while working a full-time job, so the last thing you want to do is to add more stress to the situation. Figure out exactly how many hours you could realistically work outside of your regular job, determine the days per week you're available, stick to a schedule, and cut back if you begin getting sick or feeling overwhelmed. Take it from me, your health needs to be a priority.
You also want to play it safe. Do your due diligence and beware of scams. Proceed with caution before providing your personal information — if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. All the organizations and resources provided here are ones that I or someone I know have used. However, everyone's experience is different, and organizations can change over time. It's important for you to find reputable organizations and opportunities that work for you. Also, check with your current organization's Moonlighting and Conflict of Interest policies to ensure you're keeping in line with those policies when choosing your desired part-time gig(s).
Now that you have some side job ideas and resources to work with, give yourself some time and be patient as you venture into this brave new world.
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