Start a Side Gig for Extra Cash and Fulfillment

We used to call it moonlighting—picking up extra work in addition to your day job. Now other terms like consulting or side hustle are more popular. Have you ever thought about getting a second job? Maybe you need some extra cash or you find that your day job lacks fulfillment. Putting in extra time on a second job can solve one or both of those problems.

Sarah Landrum, writing for Forbes, uses a more up-to-date term for a second job. The 6 to 11, as she describes it, “isn’t a replacement for your more traditional 9 to 5 role. Think of it as a side gig or side hustle. It’s a complement to your daily responsibilities, and it might be the conduit you need to connect with your most closely held passions.” Landrum makes the point that a second job can improve your life by providing a release for creative passions and a way to connect with new people.

Whether you do side work in your day career or branch out into a whole new field, a second job can add a lot to your life. So how do you start? (See also, Considering Technical School and Lifetime Earnings.)

Be Creative About What You Can Do

Even if your career is not the type that lends itself to consulting, maybe you could earn some extra money by baby-, dog-, or house-sitting, or by trying food service or lawn work. Having a second job brings in more money each month and reduces what you spend on entertainment because more of your hours are taken up by working.

Get a Seasonal Job

You might have better luck during the Christmas season when stores do a lot of extra hiring. Look into this tactic in September or October so you don't miss out. Summers might lend themselves to child care or to providing camps or other activities for kids. The start of fall and football season could mean new catering opportunities. January is the start of tax season for those with tax or accounting skills. (For related reading, see: Protect Your Kids and Pets With Custom Insurance.)

Volunteer First

Your volunteer job could lead to paid part-time work. Volunteering at the kids’ school could net you an administrative job. Time put in at an association or organization can do the same. Even if your volunteer position doesn’t end up getting you paid work, the connections you make may.

Know You're in Good Company

You’d be surprised to know how many people have a second job. My husband and I are 57 and 54 years old and throughout our careers, we have always had at least two jobs—a main job and one or more on the side. We moonlighted for extra money more than for fulfillment. And we passed that interest on to our two kids who now work second jobs for fulfillment rather than for the money, although they don’t mind having extra cash.

As Landrum writes, growing to adulthood means that the burden of living well lands squarely on your shoulders—not on your parents, your school, or your activities: “It’s both scary and exciting that we’re now in direct control of our destinies and our happiness,” she said. You may find that the hours you spend at your 6 to 11 make your 9 to 5 more rewarding. (For related reading, see: How to Protect Family Finances When a Child Makes a Mistake.)