I have five jobs at the moment. Five. Cinco. An Abe Lincoln.
I’ve been partially or underemployed since I graduated college in 2011. Last fall, life converged to hand me a few really cool opportunities and once in a lifetime chances when it came to my professional life. Unfortunately for me, none of them were full time or paid like it. Since I didn’t want to give anything up, and since I am working to pay down my student loan debt this year, I said yes to everything. It’s been amazing and eye opening as well as stressful and challenging.
If you’re thinking about getting a second or even third job, welcome to my little corner of the world. I know many people, especially in their twenties, who work multiple jobs. People with full time jobs start side hustles to pay for a certain luxury or to get out of debt. People in part time jobs may need another part time job simply to make ends meet. Whatever your reason for starting to hustle harder, I’ve got a few tips for you.
Figure Out What Job You’re Looking For
The place to start is to decide what kind of second job or additional work you can fit into your life.
If you work a traditional 9-5 in an office, you may want to find something you can do remotely. If you work on your feet all day, you might be looking for something behind a desk. Ask yourself what you have the time for, the desire to do, and what you’re good at.
If you’re a construction worker with a huge Twitter following, you could look into freelance social media work for construction companies in your evenings. If you’re a teacher in a classroom all day, maybe you want a second gig as a product saleswoman that you can do on the weekend.
Acquire Time Management Skills
By far the biggest stressor in my life is keeping my responsibilities straight and my time organized. I have to know what I’m going to do throughout the day, every day, or my work load can slip beyond my control. I hate to miss a deadline or do shoddy work simply because I didn’t allocate my time right.
So the first thing you need is a schedule. I keep my appointments on my calendar in my phone, as well as on a giant calendar on my home desk. I always have my phone on me so it’s easy to for me to have my appointments there if I need to make an adjustment.
I always set a twenty minute alert for everything that requires me to be a certain place. That way if I forget it entirely, I have at least 15 minutes to try and get there (I live in a small city), or at least have a twenty minute warning window to let someone know I’ll be late.
The second thing is not so much a thing as a habit. One you need to form like, yesterday. Confirm everything. If someone asks you to write an extra freelance article, confirm the due date. If someone asks you to pick up an extra shift, confirm the time. Confirmation keeps everything straight and lets your employer or fellow employees know two things: that you care about being there, and that you will be there. Confirming everything from meetings to doctor’s appointments to article prices has saved me more time than any other habit I have.
Know Your Schedule and Availability
Let me use my schedule as an example. I mainly work for a nonprofit. The work is remote and I meet once a week in person with my boss. So, my starting schedule was pretty flexible. Any additional side work I picked up could be remote, could be in a specific place – I wasn’t too limited. I coach seasonally and that requires about three hours of my time, Monday – Friday, at the fields. So my afternoons were now accounted for.
I’ve been catering for the last year and it’s mostly weekend work. Friday – Sunday are our biggest and busiest nights, as most people get married or host extravagant, catered parties on days when they can nurse their hangovers the following morning. This works perfectly with my two other jobs (coaching and nonprofit) because I cater solely on the weekends.
I have a deep and abiding passion for personal finance. I love it. I love talking about it, living it, and sharing the good news with other people. I’m basically an evangelical personal finance writer.
Since I spent all four years of college with my head in books and dreaming of being a writer, I figured I would put that dream into action and see if anyone wanted to pay me to write about my passion. Enter job number four: freelance writing. Again, it’s remote and the time commitment isn’t too big – however long it takes me to find a topic and write about it. (Generally it’s a few hours a week.) Not a bad deal, and it affords me both pleasure and money!
Finally, my fifth job is social media management for a local company in my city. I work for a woman who sends me clients and their needs. I schedule their social media content on their chosen sites, using their chosen topics. It’s remote and is usually about twenty hours a month. I don’t have to be anywhere at any time, so it doesn’t conflict with practice times or catering, and I just have to get my work done sometime throughout the week. As long as Friday comes and everything’s been posted, it doesn’t matter if I schedule all the posts Monday morning, or if I schedule daily.
The key thing to my side hustles working together is that they are flexible and require a smaller time commitment. Together they equal enough money for me to live on and take action on my debt. I also get to increase my skill set. Your multiple jobs should do the same!
Have you ever considered having multiple streams of income? If you have more than one job, how do you manage your time?