Not so long ago, you might have expected to get a job for life complete with benefits, retirement plans, and good job security. But the tide has turned thanks to a growing preference for variety at work and economic conditions driving businesses to replace those benefiting full-time workers with part-time workers instead.
Today's hustlers are learning to be more proactive and creative than ever when it comes to filling their timetables with interesting ways to make money. This is one of the great gains of the new economy, says monster.com's career expert Vivki Salemi: by working side jobs, we "develop the muscle to hustle."
Hustling to make extra money makes it possible to bridge the gap those cushy benefits used to cover. Savvy savers use their extra cash to build emergency funds, save for vacations, and put money away for their retirements. Learning to multitask and organize our time transfers positively to so many areas of our lives.
So, how can you take advantage of the new economy and get started with your very own gig? First, to decide what side job would work best for you, CNBC's Landon Dowdy suggests finding the best fit for your personal skills, interests, and talents, and ensuring that your new job has a purpose. This means that when you choose your gig, you should make it clear to yourself whether it will work towards beefing up your resume, providing a little extra cash to pay the bills or for savings, giving you a creative outlet, or even supporting a self-funding hobby.
Unsure where to start? Let us guide the way! Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
- Shoveling snow
- Playing piano for wedding ceremonies, corporate events, cocktail hours, Christmas parties, etc.
- Reselling estate sale finds on eBay or Craigslist
- Cleaning evicted homes
- Doing private housekeeping for wealthy families
- Doing contract work inspecting welds on construction sites
- Fxing broken mobile phone screens
- Fixing fences
- Delivering and removing hot tubs for a pool company
- Soap making
- Teaching the quinceañera waltz and other dance routines to teens
- Renting an apartment or house that's bigger than needed, using one of the smaller rooms, and renting the rest out to others
- Freelance programming
- Transcribing audio to text
- Making films for children's parties (direct the kids in a short film, which makes for a nice memento)
- Dressing up as a Disney princess for children's parties
- Designing posters and album covers for local bands and festivals
- Working as an elected government official in a small town
- Writing erotica ("My side job turned into my main job" –abigaila)
- Building custom computers and purging computer viruses
- Taking and editing photos for Tinder profiles
- Making mobile apps and selling them on Google Play
- Making and selling jewlery online
- Growing salt water coral and anemones
- Running a YouTube gaming channel
- Writing and selling short stories for the Kindle
- Making and selling "Keep Calm and...on" posters
- Buying vintage clothing at garage and estate sales and selling it on eBay
- Printing and selling t-shirts online
- Buying and reselling toy soldiers for miniature war gaming
- Selling fresh eggs (from a flock of backyard chickens)
- Starting and selling young plants in the spring/summer
- Using AutoCAD, a CNC machine and 3D printers to make custom replicas (using equipment available at libraries and community workshops)
- Working in bail enforcement
- Mystery shopping
- Creating instrumental tracks for YouTube videos
- Finding broken appliances for free on Craigslist; repairing and selling them
- Cooking and selling food for people with specific dietary restrictions
- Running a clinic for beginner joggers who want to improve their cardio
- Doing voiceovers for videos
- Teaching music lessons
How's that for a list?!
Here are the major takeaways at the heart of the successful side gig: (1) you can buy/fix/resell just about anything that interests you; (2) if you have an academic, trained, or professional skill, then you can freelance or teach in your off-time; (3) if you like to work outside or don't mind a bit of lifting, people will pay you to do it; and (4) if you can draw/use a camera/paint/act/play an instrument, then you can perform or teach others to do it.
But if there's an even deeper truth, it's that you're only limited by your imagination and your ability to find work and market yourself through word of mouth or online. Take advantage of the web and open your eyes to a world of possibilities! Whether you want to supplement your income for survival or extra funny money, there's a gig for that.