6 Ways to Pay the Bills When Pursuing Your Passion
As a child, you usually have big dreams of what you’re going to be when you grow up: a famous actor, a professional athlete, a beloved author. In certain cases, these childhood dreams lead to well-paying, in-demand jobs -- just ask doctors or police officers. But unfortunately, more often than not, you learn that if you want to pursue one of those shoot-for-the-moon dreams, it’ll take years of work before you can make a living off of it. Now, that’s not to say that you should give up on any dream that won’t make you instantly rich -- but it does mean that you should figure out some ways to supplement your income so that you can support yourself.
Thinking about taking the career path less traveled, but still want to bring in some cash? Consider these opportunities.
1. Drive for a ridesharing or delivery app
Ridesharing apps haven’t just changed how we get around -- they’ve changed how we work.
“It used to be that there was a stigma -- a shame, of sorts -- in gigging on the side. However, with the rise of Uber and its countless part-time drivers, having a side hustle is seen as relatively commonplace nowadays,” says Olga Mizrahi, instructor at UC Irvine and author of The Gig Is Up: Thrive in the Gig Economy, Where Old Jobs are Obsolete and Freelancing is the Future.
With a low barrier to entry, the ability to manage your own schedule and potential to earn bonuses, many people looking to supplement their income turn to ridesharing as a flexible, easy way to bring in cash -- often between $14 and $16 an hour.
2. Tutor online
Want to work on your own time from the comfort of your own home? Consider becoming an online tutor! You’ll need to be a master in whatever subject you’re teaching as well as have a lot of patience and excellent communication skills, but it’s easy to set your own schedule as long as you meet the required hours per week. The rest of the time you can spend pursuing your craft, whether that means going to auditions, writing or pitching investors. As a bonus, this is also one of the higher-paying side gigs available -- online tutors report earning $17 to $18 per hour or more.
If you already have some experience under your belt, there is plenty of freelance work available in fields like copywriting, web design, graphic design and more, making it an especially good option for those hoping to become writers or artists. You can work for a company in-house on a part-time or full-time basis, or even start your own business. Take Garrett Calcaterra, an emerging science fiction and fantasy author.
“I make money as a freelance writer, mostly writing and editing marketing material for clients. It can be lucrative, but like any freelance business, you need to build up your portfolio to land good clients,” Calcaterra advises. “Freelance writing can pay in the $20 to $50/hour range, if you’re efficient and you’re only taking on reasonable projects.”
His advice for building your own business? Know your craft, present yourself professionally and build a strong portfolio.
4. Walk dogs and/or pet sit
Want to hang out with animals, get fit and most importantly, get paid? Then look no further. Becoming a dog walker and/or pet sitter has never been easier thanks to on-demand apps like Wag! and Rover. If you pass their screening and interview processes, all it takes is a smartphone to find opportunities to walk dogs on demand for around $16 to $20 per hour. You can also sign up to board animals at your own home or sit for them at somebody else’s. And of course, there are plenty of offline dog walking, grooming and pet sitting companies to choose from as well.
5. Find some odd jobs
If you’re a multitalented individual up for any sort of adventure, try looking for available gigs on platforms like Taskrabbit, Fiverr and Thumbtack where you could be asked to do anything from help somebody move out of their current place to revamp their online dating profile. To get a job like this, “list as many specific skills and abilities as you can… Also, if you have your own tools, supplies, laptop, etc., be sure to say so,” Mizrahi says. “The faster you respond, the better! On some platforms, you’re required to reply within 30 minutes or risk losing the gig. So, keep your phone handy and be ready to reply right away.”
6. Find a job with flexible hours
There’s a reason why roles like barista, sales associate and server are commonly associated with people pursuing their passion -- they offer incredibly flexible schedules, often part-time, freeing up plenty of time to work on your side hustle. Some part-time roles even offer benefits, so you could get perks like health insurance, tuition reimbursement and paid time off without working 40 hours a week. There’s a wide range of jobs out there, so just keep your eyes peeled for roles that look right for you!
(By Emily Moore)