According to a report from the U.S. Dept. of Labor, about eight million Americans currently moonlight. In this context, moonlighting refers to working a second job.
There are many reasons why people moonlight. Some do it because they need the extra income just to make ends meet. Some are trying to pay down high-interest debt. Some are trying to recoup savings spent during the recession the past several years. Others are trying to save more money for retirement, in light of the 401k losses suffered the past few years. Yet others work a second job for personal fulfillment.
Some jobs are more conducive to moonlighters than others. For those who are considering such an endeavor, here are a few jobs that are considered to be the best moonlighting gigs. Some of these suggestions can be doable without any additional training or cost. Some, such as child care, may need licensing and/or training.
· Bartender. Hours are variable, not just late night. It is also a great way to network and meet potential business professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, bartenders average $10.25 per hour.
· Freelance writer. There are many freelance writing opportunities. Companies need technical writers, travel writers, and blogs. Those with strong communication skills can frequently find work in this field. Hours can vary to fit in with a regular day job. Income varies depending on the number of assignments.
· Child-care provider. Many parents who were used to working look at being a child-care provider while they are at home. Hours are not as flexible, because most people looking for child-care help need it during the day. Also, licensing is needed in most communities. Income depends on the number of children and the number of hours spent in care.
· At-home sales consultant. For outgoing people who like organization, consider being a sales consultant. In this role, moonlighters help plan or host fun at-home parties where guests have the opportunity to try out and buy products. Some companies now offer e-commerce options too. Income is based on commission.
· Mystery shopper. Mystery shopping has become a popular way to earn extra cash. To be a successful mystery shopper, a person usually needs to be reliable, have basic Internet and writing skills, and good observation qualities. Hours and work are both flexible. Income depends on the amount of work.
· Security personnel. Retail is always in need of security personnel to help minimize the cost of loss from theft. Most people who work in security hire in with a security firm and get assignments as a contractor. The ability to spot suspicious activity, live or on video, is critical. Most security firms offer in-house training. Wages average $10.50 per hour, according to BLS.
· Grocery personnel. Most grocery stores hire part-time personnel for cashiers and carry-out. Since most stores are open 16-24 hours daily, hours can be flexible. Wages average $8.50 per hour, according to BLS.
Moonlighters need to pay attention to the personal cost of working a second job. While the extra income and personal enrichment are both beneficial, it is important to make sure the cost being paid does not outweigh the benefits.
Here are a few things to keep an eye on:
· Do something different. If you’re at a desk all day, find something more active at night. Mix it up.
· Watch for stress. Most jobs carry some degree of stress, but a moonlighter needs to make sure the stress is manageable.
· Don’t mix the jobs. Do not do work on the evening job during the day. And vice versa.
· Be up front with the moonlight job boss. Make sure they understand that the day job rules in priority.
· Set goals for the moonlight job. When starting a moonlight job, know how much extra income per week or month is the goal. Then stay at that goal.
· Keep down time. Nobody should work 24/7. Make sure there is at least one full day off each week.
· Don’t neglect relationships. Moonlighting will put stress on everyone in the family. Schedule time to spend with family and friends.