Krystal Covington, 31, is like many people who have side jobs these days. While she enjoys having multiple income streams, she didn’t start her side hustles just to make money. Instead, Covington, a public relations director in the grocery industry, is truly passionate about the women’s networking group that she runs and the consulting work she does helping women with personal branding.
“I started my small business as a passion project,” she says. “It gives me the opportunity to express myself in ways my corporate job can’t offer, and it also gives me the chance to work on new skills and advance my leadership capabilities.”
Covington is part of a growing group of people who have side jobs to make extra money or pursue a passion. A recent survey by CareerBuilder found that 29 percent of people and up to 44 percent of millennials have a side job.
Twenty percent of people who make more than $75,000 and 12 percent of those making more than $100,000 have second jobs.
For people like Covington, a side job adds meaning to their lives. “There’s a strong sense of fulfillment that comes with supporting other women who are working hard to build their careers and reach personal goals,” she says.
But the money is also important. “I graduated from college at the beginning of the financial crisis, when jobs were scarce and low paying,” Covington says. “I have had side jobs for as long as I remember as a form of survival to make sure I always have enough money to live a comfortable life.”
Now, she saves that extra money for her future and uses it to pay for vacations.
Holly Reid, 42, a finance manager, works on the side as a financial literacy educator, speaker and author. In that role, she meets many people who are working multiple jobs. “Some people have side jobs simply to feed their families and to make ends meet,” says Reid. “Others have side jobs to feed their souls.”
Reid was drawn to her side career because she was passionate about helping others learn about financial literacy. “Having a side job in an area of interest,” she says, “can quickly give you the experience, knowledge and confidence needed to reinvent yourself and actually begin working in an area you love.”
While the extra income and fulfillment are nice, side jobs require sacrifice. “The most common drawback of a side job is fatigue,” says Reid, who sometimes feels frustrated that she doesn’t have more time to devote to her second career.
29 percent of people and up to 44 percent of millennials have a side job.
But both Covington and Reid believe the hard work helps them be successful in their primary jobs. “Having a side job offers an opportunity to continue evolving and trying new things,” Covington says. “When I went for interviews last April, many of the things employers were most impressed with were accomplishments that I earned through my side gig.” Covington gained valuable skills in event planning and marketing by launching a women’s networking group.
Options include making extra money by driving for Uber or Lyft, working part-time at a retail store, freelancing or consulting or becoming a speaker.
Covington, who had no plans to quit her day job, adds one caution: “When employers see that you have a side gig, they can sometimes fear that you won’t be fully committed or present in your job,” Covington says. She suggests you spend time allaying their fears by affirming that you are committed to your main job and making it your priority.