As much as we talk about being frugal, the undeniable truth is that one of the very best ways to gain control over your finances is to make more money. The best way to do that, hands down, is to create an extra revenue stream outside of your 9 to 5 grind. The trick is making it all work together, so that your day job doesn’t interfere with your side gig and vice versa.
Create an Inventory of Interests, Hobbies, Etc.
Whatever you choose to pursue on the side should, first and foremost, be something you enjoy. A potential freelance job should incorporate the skills and talents you have that you may not necessarily be utilizing at your primary job. Make a list:
• What languages do you speak?
• What are your hobbies?
• What subjects do you know well?
• What sports do you play?
• What are your strengths?
From here, make a second list that includes part-time jobs that cater to your interests. For example:
• Teach basic Spanish to kids after school.
• Start a cupcake delivery service from home.
• Tutor algebra privately.
• Teach creative writing at the local community college.
• Coach youth soccer.
• Build websites.
• Help professors build cooler PowerPoint presentations for lectures.
• Babysit or pet sit in your neighborhood.
Maximize the Web
To find the right part-time gig for you, take advantage of all the resources the internet offers. Here’s a list of top sites that give side-giggers an opportunity to explore their interests (and get paid for doing so):
•Etsy.com: A “handmade marketplace” that provides an affordable outlet for the crafty to cash in.
•Elance.com: Great at software development, writing, translating, marketing and researching? This site outsources these types of jobs for small, medium and large companies.
•FreelanceSwitch.com: For the tech savvy and creative, this site offers a directory of freelance openings in the fields of graphic design, writing, development illustration, programming.
•Sitters.com: Sign up to become part of a community of babysitters, nannies, pet sitters, tutors, and senior care providers.
Avoid discussing your side gig at your real job in the presence of managers, or get clearance before starting a particular side job, if you need to make sure there are no conflicts of interest. Once you’re up and running at this side job, don’t blab about it at your 9 to 5, since you don’t want your boss to worry that it’s taking away from your focus at work. Bottom line: Do your best to keep the two worlds separate.
Track Your Earnings
The IRS requires that we claim our earnings from freelance work, so keep any checks or cash that you receive in a separate folder to refer to during tax season. Additionally, save all receipts for purchases made to support your side gig (a computer, a camera, stationary, baking utensils, or even gas to put in your car for side-gig related travel), because they may help reduce your total taxable income when it comes time to pay Uncle Sam.
Tell us in the comments: Have you ever held a side job? What did you do? How did it work out?