I am working in the public sector and we have not been given any pay rise for years. I need to earn extra money, but I currently work full time. I am looking into taking on a flexible job on the side of my current job, but am not sure where to begin looking. It would need to be in the evenings or weekends. My background is in teaching. I’ve looked at tutoring jobs which would give me extra cash, but I am also keen to do something different and develop my interest in craftwork, which might be a bit less secure in terms of income given the cost of living crisis. How should I go about finding out more about what I might be able to earn and how much time I might need to input to get a decent additional income?
Your question makes me wonder what you would really like to change. If your day job is fulfilling and rewarding in every way (except financially), it’s understandable that you might want some extra income. If not, this might be time to think about a career change.
Starting a side hustle is demanding, both in terms of exploration time and the commitment itself, so it’s good to look thoroughly before you leap.
First, begin with your own context. Make sure you don’t have a work contract which prohibits external work, or only allows it with express permission. Assuming there’s no problem here, talk to trusted friends and colleagues who have done something similar while holding down a public sector job, learn from their mistakes and short cuts.
Research things as if you were finding stuff out for someone else. Look at the barriers to entry, likely earnings, and how long it takes to get established.
How do you look at these things? You’ll find that desk research is of very limited value, and you get the best results from conversations with people who are already working this way. With something like craft you might want to talk to people outside your local area, but with teaching you may find that tapping into a local network is all you need to start to attract work.
Research big, and start small. That means talking to a wide number of people about how they work, how they got started and the ups and downs of what they do. This also gives you an insight into prices to charge. Starting small means sampling, taking on some projects in 1:1 teaching, craftwork (even if this is unpaid) and trying something completely different as well.
*John Lees is one of the UK’s best-known career strategists and author of 15 books on work and careers. How to Get a Job You Love (now in its eleventh edition) regularly tops the list of best-selling careers books by a British author and was twice selected as the WH Smith Business Book of the Month. More information: www.johnleescareers.com