By Jasmine Dyoco
SpouseLink Guest Blogger
When your Military Spouse is away on deployment, it can often feel like you are doing the work of a single parent in addition to your regular job. For many military families, this is combined with financial stress. Taking on a “side gig” (a.k.a. part-time work) rather than making a full, formal career move can offer a great solution for these problems, allowing you to make some money on the side while remaining flexible enough that you don’t miss out on valuable family time.
Whether you’re skilled at administrative tasks, have talents in the arts, or are a Jack or Jill of all trades, here are the 4 elements you should be considering when deciding on your side gig.
1. Working from Home
Perhaps the most significant advantage of side gigs for a busy single parent is the ability to work from home. With a computer and an Internet connection, you can start a successful business right from your living room. However, make sure that you set up an effective and pleasant home office — you’ll get tired of sitting at the kitchen table real fast.
If working at a desk isn’t for you, there are plenty of side gigs you can do from home that don’t involve staring at a screen all day. You could set up a catering business making treats, set up your own online crafts shop, or even become a dog sitter.
Being able to work from home is important, but it’s not everything. Many at-home jobs involve rigid work hours, such as remote telemarketing and customer service positions. As a busy parent, you should look for something that offers you the flexibility to work whenever you want.
A great example is the gig economy, which offers work that is based on individual tasks (or “gigs”). Websites like TaskRabbit are great for this, allowing you to do small jobs for people who need them — it may not seem like a lot of money, but it adds up quickly.
3. Low Start-Up Costs
One of the main benefits of a side gig as opposed to a full-fledged business is that the former doesn’t have to involve a huge investment. This article by USA Today highlights 27 businesses you can set up with less than $1,000 — some of them are even free!
After setting yourself up, you will need to learn to spend money wisely in order to build your business effectively. Fundera has some great advice on small business financing, including how to choose the best business credit card for your needs.
4. Passion & Skill
Make sure your side gig is something you are both passionate about and good at. Working on the side is difficult, but doing something you love makes it easier to find the time and motivation for it. However, no one is going to hire you if you’re not good at what you do, so passion is not enough.
If you’re not sure whether you have a skill that fits this description, think again. Most hobbies and passions can be monetized in some way, whether it is becoming an illustrator, selling cupcakes, or walking a few happy dogs. Don’t worry if it seems “unrealistic.” The point of a side gig is to give you the scope to work on things you love; the money will come if you’re good at what you do.
Of course, it is important to consider all the implications of taking on a side gig before starting. You will be working long hours and it may take a while before things really start hitting off, so take your time to evaluate whether this is the way for you. However, if you feel like you have it in you, it is a wonderful way to support your family by making some money on the side, all while remaining flexible enough to spend time with your family as well.
Jasmine Dyoco loves crossword puzzles and audio books, learning (anything!) and fencing. She works with Educatorlabs.org to curate scholastic information. Educatorlabs is a group that is dedicated to providing a resource bank to educators and students.