Sunday, February 20, 2011

Working multiple side jobs for extra income

It's been a long time now since I worked two jobs simultaneously, or three jobs if I count assisting my parents with their work.

I never had a problem with working two or three jobs, working six or seven days a week. If it had to be done, it had to be done. Afterall, my parents had worked seven days a week for over two decades with their business and never once complained about it. BUT... unlike a lot of personal finance bloggers, I never had any sort of crippling consumer debt to pay off. The extra income allowed me to buy stocks, go on extravagant holidays, buy investment assets and indulge in my various hobbies and interests.

Why are some people working multiple side jobs?

So do you think your life is tough?

On the weekend, while busy shopping, I chatted with a friend's hubby who updated me with the news that he's been working three jobs. A full time Monday to Friday office accounting role, Tuesday and Wednesday night doing restaurant and grocery store work and Sunday doing grocery store work. He's been trying to erode the mortgage and save some extra money for travelling. He's not the only one at that store doing three jobs. There was another guy that told me that he was a banker Monday to Friday, grocery night filler for 5 nights a week and during weekend daylight hours, worked in Dick Smith Electronics retails section.

If I thought they both worked hard, but then there was another guy that told me that he worked 7am to 4pm at a science lab and worked 5pm-10pm at the delicatessen every Monday to Friday and a full 8 hour shift on Sundays.

All three are working on average 70-90 hours a week holding down two or three jobs each. All driven by different factors - trying to pay the mortgage off early, trying to support parents who live overseas or trying to support the wife and two kids. Some people choose to whinge about not having enough income to buy the things they want and do the things they want, while some choose to work hard to earn that little bit extra so that they have the freedom and choice for their future.

A few years ago, when I raised the issue of multiple jobs and working 70-90 hour weeks, a friend of mine replied, "Why work harder? They should all be working smarter." True true, however, working multiple jobs can allow you to build your wealth or erode your debts much faster. If the idea of cutting back on current expenditure or luxuries in life is painful to you, then you could experiment with the option of working a second or third job while maintaining your current lifestyle. As long as you divert that extra income into saving/investing or paying off debt, then you shouldn't have to live so frugally nor feel guilty about it.

Ideas on how you can supplement your income with side jobs:

  • Do contracting work on the side within your area of specialty, knowledge, experience or strengths. Examples: a programmer can write websites on the side, I.T consultants can do I.T contracting work on the side, web designers can do design work for weddings, parties, events on the side.
  • Have a 'side hustle'. Examples: teaching music/guitar/piano/dancing, dog walking, baby sitting, gardening, mowing lawns, cleaning, blogging, selling items on Ebay/Etsy/Artfire, catering for birthdays, functions and parties if you have culinary skills, house sitting, coaching a sport team, tutoring a variety of subjects. There are plenty of pf blogs out there exploring the many ways in which you can create income on the side.
  • Invest in assets to build passive income streams to replace your multiple jobs. This is my favourite option. If you're lazy then this should be your preferred option too. I label this as a side job because it's just as time consuming as a job. It requires a lot of hard work, effort and number crunching to find assets such as positive cash flow properties and good dividend paying stocks. Also to be diligent in ensuring that your funds are earning the highest market interest rates.
  • Working in a part time side job. Examples: Retailing with clothes or food, waitressing, at stadiums or sport events. This one doesn't take advantage of your existing skills, knowledge or experience so will probably pay a lot less than contracting in a side job that uses your existing skills. Although it can add variety and allow you to meet other people from different walks of life.

LA Times and their money makeover disaster stories

You can read about the money makeovers at,0,849848,full.story

A lot of the money makeover people featured could really do with second or third jobs to catch up and solve their financial problems. Although anyone with a lots of debts need good defense (cut spending) and good offense (increase income). Ever since Boston Gal started featuring these money makeover couples, I've been reading the makeovers.

Money makeovers involves cutting back on lavish expenditure, looking for how to increase income, how to budget, facing up to reality and how the disaster started to gain momentum and how to reverse that disastrous financial slide.

Would I ever consider working multiple jobs again?

Having time off to spend on personal interests and hobbies is a great way to balance life but if reality required me to hold down several jobs simultaneously, I wouldn't complain. The good thing about saving and investing to create passive income is to actually create choices and flexibility in life. At this point in time, if I lost my job, I could survive indefinitely without working.

It may not be surviving in luxury, but the basics would be covered by the passive income stream. That's what my ultimate goal is. To create choices for my future self and create options for pursuing further dreams, whether that be doing my own thing, or going down the philanthropic, volunteering route.

If you're stuck in this apex of life, holding down multiple jobs and wondering if it will ever end, you need to set some time aside to actually analyse your situation, form a budget and start finding out how you can force yourself to save. With those savings, you can learn to invest and build your investment portfolio whether that be from stocks, properties, bonds, CDs, deposits, interest or whatever. Your future self will thank your current self.

As a side note, thanks to those who have subscribed to my blog and those who have returned to read my new posts :) It's always nice to know that there are readers out there who return to read my new posts and that I'm not just writing for myself and for the sake of writing.


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