Career Development: The Pros and Cons of Having a Side Gig

For those still feeling the after effects of the economic recession, having one job may not be enough to support your lifestyle or excite you about a career. Some may feel they are stuck in a job out of dependency. To them, their nine-to-five gig is just an hourly job and not so much a career they see themselves being in twenty years down the road. A side gig may be the perfect solution to your money troubles and lack of enthusiasm in your day job. What exactly is a side gig, you ask? Simply put, it is a job outside of your primary job—however, there are different types of side gigs based on how much effort you put in.

The Hobby

Side Gig Type 1: The HobbyThe first type of a side gig is the one that starts out as a hobby before you realize you can make a little cash from it. The hobby could be selling collectibles on eBay or turning some of your sketches into graphic logos. Regardless of what you do, it’s something that you enjoy and feel you’re good at.  With the hobby you are able to generate some extra income on the side doing something you really enjoy.


The Part-time Job

Side Gig Type 2: The Part-time JobPicking up extra hours from an hourly position, or moonlighting, has been a common practice for many years. Working a second or third shift can add on to your weekly income even if it’s only five to fifteen hours a week. Offering your services as a tutor can be a great part-time gig that requires minimal time commiment and can earn you some big bucks under the table; seasonal jobs are another way to supplement your normal income. Freelancing gigs that you can work on outside of your day job are also easy to find on freelance-specific job search sites.

I would suggest finding a job that continues to build on skills you want to improve on. For instance, if you’re in marketing, a blogging side gig related to social media or whatever industry you’re pursuing would help your copy writing skills in that area.

The Entrepreneur

Side Gig Type 3: The EntrepreneurMany recent grads are going into entrepreneurship, a combination of both the part-time job and the hobby. We’ve all thought about how we would like to own our own company, be our own boss, and run things the way we want. The company could stem from a hobby that has been bringing in extra cash for the past few months. You realize that if you created a bit more business structure and committed regular hours you could make even more money from your hobby and turn it into a company. Starting your own company doesn’t have to be a huge thing but can start out very small and build over time or as you feel necessary.

Some grads have a natural entrepreneurial drive and start a side business to complement their full-time job. Being an entrepreneur allows you to be creative and feel involved in your company, something you may not feel at your current position. It will also help you network with like-minded people and create new opportunities for yourself. Owning your own small business might just be what you need to lift your spirits and account balance. (Check out our entrepreneurial advice series for some great start-up success secrets.)

The Pros and The Cons

As with anything, there are pros and cons to having a second gig…


  • Technology: In today’s digital era, technology makes having a side gig in the comfort of your own home possible and affordable. Selling things through eBay and via other ecommerce channels are great ways to work from home.
  • Increased satisfaction with work: Having a side gig doing something you enjoy will take away some of the restlessness that can set in after graduation. A side gig can make you feel needed if it’s something you helped start.
  • Rewards: A side gig means extra work, but it also means extra payouts and benefits. Even breaking into new groups of people will create more networking opportunities. Who knows—your side gig might become your main gig one day.


  • Employers feel neglected: Employers have been apprehensive about their employees picking up a second gig. They feel this would detract from the time and creative energy you would have otherwise given to them but instead directed towards an outside project.
  • Only 168 hours in a work week: A side gig will always require more of your time. Prepare yourself for long weeks. 40 hours from your full time job plus 20 hours from your side gig will take away from your free time and napping schedule.

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