What to look for in a second job

How To

When you’re aiming pay down debt, build savings, or just have a little more “fun money,” a supplemental job can be the most immediate means to more cash flow. While the BNA WageTrend Indicator predicts that private sector workers will get a raise this year, it’s expected to be just two percent–hardly enough to impact your long-term financial goals.

Maximize Your Passions

Tiffani Murray is a career consultant and the author of the “Stuck on Stupid” book series. This human resources professional has been generating additional income as a consultant, career coach, and freelance writer for a decade. Earlier this year, she decided to transition those “side gigs” into full-time employment. She advises second job seekers to think beyond the obvious when exploring second job opportunities.

While a supplemental project that utilizes your existing professional skill set can build your resume and make for an easier “sell” to potential clients, a second job that falls outside the realm of your existing career can be a great way to turn hobbies into income.  After all, second jobs require your time and attention, and working two jobs can be very stressful.  The less like “work” that second job feels like, the more you’ll enjoy and want to pursue it for the long-term.

Take an accountant that loves to bake, for example. The obvious solution is to secure a secondary gig during the busy tax season. But if that accountant were to think creatively and spread the word that he or she is taking orders to bake for friend’s and co-workers events for a price, that passion becomes a completely painless way to make a small profit and get a break from the regular 9-5 duties.

Exploring second job opportunities that are much different than your profession are also a great way to conduct a risk-free “dry run” if you have given thought to a career transition or entrepreneurship.  Murray also recommends these types of second income because they are far less likely to create a stir with your employer, in terms of conflict of interest.  (“Moonlighting policies” vary by employer, so make certain to research the policies at your company so that you do not jeopardize your full-time job).

Minimize Your Time Investment

Time is money, as they say, particularly when you are committed to a full-time job. A second job must provide a maximum return on your life investment, which includes factors like your time, mental well being, and monetary investment in the form of administrative tasks, gas, and mileage. Manage controllable variables when considering second sources of income for the least amount of personal headache.  A job that pays well becomes far less profitable if it requires an hour of your time to get there. Likewise, a demanding consulting client that requires several revisions or conversations may quickly prove unprofitable when you factor in the time and energy required.

Particularly for those already commuting daily to a full-time job, Sara Sutton Fell, founder and CEO of FlexJobs, says that “telecommuting is definitely a growing job trend that can empower professionals to live the lives they envision for themselves.” According to Fell, the most frequently offered telecommuting jobs at FlexJobs are in accounting and finance, healthcare and science, web development and design, nonprofit and philanthropy, writing, account management, and education. Remote jobs will give you more control over your own schedule, and sanity. Murray also recommends a site like SoloGig to find consulting-style, flexible work that can be done on the weekend or evenings.


That old acronym “keep it simple, stupid” rings loud and true when it comes to second sources of income. While job seeker sites offering freelance and consulting gigs may sound more glamorous than babysitting, the reality is that you may be working two jobs for one simple reason: you need more money.

There are plenty of dogs to be walked, babies to cared for, and busy families that just don’t have time to run errands. Start a mini dog-walking service and take a few pooches out for a stroll on your lunch hour if you work close to home. If you can be home on the weekends, pet or house sitting in your community can be a lucrative way to rack up some dough, especially during summer months and holidays. If you have skills in home repair, lawn maintenance, or even a few free hours to run errands for others, post flyers in local coffee shops and advertise your services.  The key to maximizing the return on your time investment is to take on only those jobs that are close to home (preferably walking distance).

The other benefit of these services is that they are easy to enter into, and out of, offering you the freedom to work when you need cash and take a hiatus when you don’t. Better still, you’ll be paid immediately, and likely, in cash. (However, you do need to claim the income when filing your taxes.) On the contrary, many freelance or consulting-style gigs involve tedious invoicing and accounting responsibilities, and long lead times to receive payment.

Perhaps the best part of all is that simple neighborhood gigs are relatively stress-free. And ultimately, isn’t easing stress in your financial life what second jobs are all about?

Photo credit: jackiembarr

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