Sometimes, working a full-time day job just isn’t enough to live the lifestyle you envision for yourself or to simply stay afloat and free from debt. When you are considering an alternate source of income, moonlighting is one way to earn what you need, oftentimes even on a whim.
Knowing how to survive, search for, and choose moonlighting opportunities is essential before you begin sharing your resume or answering available listings in your local area. When you have a complete understanding of what moonlighting entails and how to maximize your income potential, choose a position that is truly beneficial and fulfilling for you.
What Does Moonlighting Jobs Entail?
Moonlighting is a term used for individuals who take on a second job or have a secondary source of income from an outside source other than their main employer. While moonlighting can include both independent contractor work as well as part-time gigs, it is typically only considered moonlighting when the work does not demand a standard full-time schedule.
Types of Moonlighting Work
While moonlighting for you may entail working a part-time shift at a local warehouse, diner, or retail store, there are other types of moonlighting gigs to choose from depending on your own skills and areas of expertise. Some types of moonlighting opportunities that are common among those in need of a secondary income include:
- Bartending/Waiter/Waitress: Working in the food industry as a waiter, waitress, or bartender is possible part-time with additional opportunities to take home cash tips.
- Freelance Writer/Blogger: Launching your own blog, working for a third-party platform, or seeking out individual clients is one way to earn a secondary income as a writer or an online blogger. Hone in on a niche or specialty area that is not overly saturated to generate income from ads and by selling your time as a writer.
- Designer: Work as a freelance graphic or web designer or work with brands in need of a UI (User Interface) or UX (User Experience) design if you have the skills and necessary experience.
- Dog Walker/Pet Sitter: Do you love animals? Consider a part-time pet sitting gig to spend time with lovable animals while earning cash on the side in a relaxing environment. Become a dog walker using online ads or apps such as Rover to moonlight after work while spending time with man’s best friend.
- Consulting: Working as a part-time consultant is optimal if you have experience in business, finance, or marketing and if you have a degree. As you continue to build your clientele as a professional independent consultant, you will also have the opportunity to expand your moonlighting position into a full-time career.
- Delivery Driver: Whether you have an array of pizza shops in your neighborhood or if you are interested in using a gig economy app such as Lyft or Uber to become a delivery driver, drivers are always in need. Working as a delivery driver can net you anywhere from $10 to more than $25 an hour depending on the demand for your service and any tips you receive from each of your customers.
Moonlighting Workplace Policies
If you are currently a salaried employee or working full-time, it is imperative to review potential moonlighting workplace policies that are in effect where you are employed. Not all companies operate the same, especially when hiring full-time or salaried employees in tech or another highly competitive industry.
Similar to federal and government jobs, private businesses have the ability to prohibit employees from moonlighting after work hours. Depending on the state in which you live, you may be limited to the type of work you can take on after accepting a full-time position with your employer.
Some employers may require employees to sign a non-compete clause upon being hired into their positions, restricting them from working for companies that offer similar products, services, or information. Other employers, however, may prohibit employees from seeking an outside source of income, whether it is a part-time position or for those working as an independent contractor.
If you are unsure of your workplace’s current policies regarding moonlighting, ask to speak with your company’s HR department or your current manager to determine whether or not there is an issue with pursuing additional jobs outside of work. Some states have the legal right to prohibit employees from moonlighting, allowing them to fire anyone who does not follow their own workplace rules and regulations.
Benefits of Moonlighting Work
Before accepting any part-time job that you discover along the way, it is important to understand the benefits that moonlighting has to offer. Whether you currently work a full-time job that is fulfilling but not satisfying financially, or if you simply want to dabble in different lines of work to find a new career path, moonlighting has many advantages. Some of the most notable benefits of moonlighting even if you already have a full and busy schedule include:
- Explore New Career Options: Moonlighting does not require a full commitment and often provides you with more opportunity to explore various career paths. Use moonlighting as a tool to discover the type of work you find yourself enjoying the most on a daily basis.
- Flexibility: Moonlighting provides immense freedom and flexibility as it is not a full-time position and often does not require experience to get started. When moonlighting, enjoy the luxury of setting a limit to the number of hours you can work each day and week.
- Work Remotely: Do you enjoy working from the comfort of your own home in your pajamas? Do you want to get some work in while you are traveling with the use of your computer? Moonlighting provides plenty of opportunities to work from any location with a working wireless internet connection.
- Branch Out: If you are moonlighting as a freelance or independent contractor, build your clientele and branch out as you complete projects and receive positive testimonials from happy customers. Create a digital portfolio to showcase your work and to generate leads and referrals as you continue moonlighting.
- Quit Any Time: If you find yourself extremely dissatisfied with your current moonlighting gig, simply put in your two-week notice and begin searching for another part-time position.
- Be Your Own Boss: When you choose to work as a freelancer or an independent contractor, free yourself from micromanagement and work as your own boss. While working as your own boss requires additional responsibilities, it also provides you with more freedom, flexibility, and potential opportunities while you are moonlighting.
Moonlighting Positions From Home in High-Demand
While there are often many part-time jobs for those who are interested in working at a local fast food joint or retail shop, knowing which moonlighting positions currently have the most demand is necessary to maximize opportunities to generate income. Because some moonlighting gigs pay based on knowledge, experience, and skills, it is important to keep in mind that not all in-demand jobs pay the same when you are first starting out. Some of the most in-demand moonlighting gigs that are available for individuals who have experience freelancing an working as independent contractors include:
- Programmer: Moonlighting as a programmer is not only a way to do so while earning money remotely, but it is possible to earn a full-time living even with a part-time schedule in place.
- Social Media Marketer: Work for both local businesses as well as mega-corporations moonlighting as a social media marketer. Now than ever, businesses and brand marketers are searching for individuals who are well-versed in social etiquette and have a hankering for working in customer service. In some cases, social media marketers have the opportunity to earn upwards of $25 to $100 an hour.
- Designer: Work as a freelance graphic or web designer or join a third-party service to find clients in need. Create website layouts, banners, printed materials, brochures, and even billboards while moonlighting as an illustrator or a graphic and web designer.
- Writer/Editor: Writers and editors are always in-demand, and provide skilled creatives the opportunity to moonlight for a secondary or full-time income with a part-time job. Find work using a third-party service or by branching out and seeking individual clients to take on.
- Bartender: Bartenders are frequently in-demand and provide one of the most lucrative moonlighting opportunities for those without higher education or experience in the field. As a bartender, it is possible to earn well over $100 in tips daily depending on the location of your bar and its popularity.
- Medical moonlighting positions are also in high-demand for specialists, general practitioners, and emergency room doctors. If you have a medical degree and you want to put it to additional use, consider picking up another moonlighting gig in your preferred associated field.
- Mystery Shopper: Work as a mystery shopper and explore various retailers and shopping outlets in your city or town. Mystery shopping companies require individuals to shop at local retailers while also reviewing the current state of a designated storefront. Earn a stipend for each retailer you visit and provide a review for as an independent mystery shopper.
Put Your Design Skills to Work
Do you love illustrating books or comic strips? Do you have a passion for graphic and UX (User Experience) design? Are you experienced with animation? Consider moonlighting as a designer to do so with your own client base or by working with an agency or third-party digital platform. Follow guides to better understand the marketing aspect of working as a designer while building your portfolio and online following.
Spend Time in Your Local Community
Giving back in your local community while also earning additional money is possible by moonlighting in your city or town. Some of the ways you can give back to those in your community while moonlighting include:
- Giving Local Tours: Working as a tour guide is a great way to interact with locals and tourists in your area on a daily basis. As a tour guide, maintain the freedom of working on your own while spending time seeing the sights in your area. Moonlighting positions for tour guides may pay upwards of $50 an hour depending on your location and its current demand.
- Become a Caregiver or a Companion: If you have an affinity for helping the elderly and love lending a hand to those in need, consider becoming a companion or a caregiver for the elderly near you. Working as a caregiver or a companion is a great way to give back while also making friends and spending time with someone who truly appreciates your presence. Depending on qualifications, certifications, and experience, caregivers and companions may earn anywhere from $20 an hour to upwards of $50 an hour.
- Lawn Service: Provide a lawn service after your traditional working hours to those in your neighborhood. Invest in the necessary lawn tools and equipment and implement upcharges into the services you provide. With weed whacking, gardening, mowing and tilling all required in the spring and summer months, generate a solid income stream with a reliable and reputable lawn service. Lawn services may earn anywhere from $20 a lawn to more than $100 a lawn depending on the work that is needed.
- Pool Lifeguard: If you enjoy swimming and have experience with helping others learn to swim, consider moonlighting as a lifeguard at your local community center or public pool. Lifeguards are needed part-time and require minimal work while paying upwards of $10, perfect for a summer side gig.
- Child Care Provider: Working as a child care provider in your neighborhood is ideal if you are already a parent to a child or children. If you currently work in the afternoons or evenings at your first full-time job, consider providing child care services in the morning for parents who work early. Child care costs can range anywhere from $10 to more than $50 an hour, depending on your experience, certifications, and the number of children you are willing to watch daily.
- Tutoring: Tutoring part-time is one moonlighting gig that is lucrative and rewarding.
Use Downloadable Smartphone Apps to Drastically Increase Moonlighting Opportunities
If you are interested in unique moonlighting opportunities, download various apps available for both iOS and Android smartphones. Some of the types of moonlighting gigs available on third-party apps include:
- Delivery Driver: Work as a delivery driver for a local pizza shop or for a service such as Uber, UberEats, GrubHub, DoorDash, or Lyft.
- Shopper: Shop for a customer’s grocery and deliver them to their front door as a shopper using services such as Instacart and PostMates.
- Property Host: Host a guest in your home or apartment with services such as Airbnb when traveling out of town or if you have additional space available to share.
- Surveys: There are hundreds of reputable survey apps available that pay survey takers anywhere from $.10 a survey to more than $25.00 each, depending on qualifications and availability.
Always research each individual money-making app you are interested in downloading and using as your moonlighting gig. Not all downloadable apps are trustworthy and verified, which is why it is essential to read reviews and testimonials before choosing an app that is right for you.
Get Creative With Your Moonlighting Ventures
When you want to make the most out of an opportunity to moonlight after your full-time job, getting a bit creative is a way to enjoy the process. If you consider yourself creative when it comes to writing, designing, animating, or even planning events, hold a personal brainstorming session to determine which entrepreneurial path is right for you.
Moonlighting does not have to keep you from pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors, especially if you are highly creative, innovative, and self-motivated. Moonlighting as an independent entrepreneur is possible whether you have experience with online marketing, crafting, or even programming and designing your very own apps for today’s smartphones.
Building a client base of your own is one of the quickest ways to enjoy the luxuries and freedoms that come with moonlighting and showcasing your professional portfolio. With the right creative idea and the skill set to fulfill a demand, turn your entrepreneurial moonlighting endeavor into a full-time career.
Finding the Best Moonlighting Gigs to Improve Your Overall Job Satisfaction
Finding the best moonlighting jobs to increase your overall job satisfaction and everyday happiness is possible by first considering your own wants and needs. Ask yourself the following questions before you begin updating and submitting your resume to prospective employers or clients:
- What line of work is right for me? Am I more suited for working in retail or do I have the discipline necessary to branch out on my own as a freelancer or an independent contractor?
- How many hours am I looking for in my next moonlighting opportunity? Is working on the weekend feasible? Do I need a flexible schedule?
- Is it important that I maintain the opportunity to work from home or remotely with my moonlighting job?
- Is a temporary or a long-term agreement ideal for the type of moonlighting job I am looking to take on?
- Am I willing to go outside of my own comfort zone when searching and applying for moonlighting gigs?
- Do I want to use my moonlighting experiences to help build onto a future career for myself? If so, what is the best route to take and how can I improve my chances of landing the moonlighting gigs I want?
- What is the minimum hourly rate I am willing to accept when searching for a moonlighting opportunity as my secondary source of income? Do I have an earnings goal to reach each month in mind?
- What will I use my moonlighting job income for, and is it necessary to set a strict earnings goal in place, or is this position for additional disposable income?
- Is the moonlighting gig I am interested in exciting or enjoyable? Will I feel burnt out or overwhelmed from taking on a part-time position?
Keep Stress to a Minimum
Although moonlighting is extremely appealing and tempting for those in need of a secondary income, it is essential to keep an eye on your stress levels at all times, especially once you begin adding hours to your workday.
A standard full-time job typically demands anywhere from 40-60 hours of work, depending on your preferred schedule and the requirements of your current employer. Moonlighting in the evenings after work may require an additional two to five hours of work, resulting in anywhere from 10 to 25 additional work hours each week.
Only seek out moonlighting gigs and opportunities if you have the time and if it does not take away from family time or your relationships. When you take on too much stress at once, you run the risk of experiencing burnout, or the inability to work productively or at all. Keeping stress to a minimum is essential to make the most out of any moonlighting opportunity you take on, even if it is in an area or market you are passionate about pursuing.
Stay Healthy to Minimize the Risk of Burnout
When you take on an additional side job or moonlighting position, it is important to remain aware of your personal health and daily diet. If you choose to work two jobs that require you to sit at a desk, ensure you are taking walking and standing breaks regularly. Spend time walking and exercising outside of work or on your way to work to keep your body in prime condition while moonlighting.
Take care of your health by eating a healthy diet, especially while moonlighting and working an additional shift after your full-time job. Avoid sugary drinks, starchy foods, and foods high in sugar and fat combined. Stick to eating nuts, vegetables, lean proteins, and fruits to provide your body with the nutrients necessary to keep you going each day.
Increase your water intake and if possible, replace all of your daily beverages with water to keep your body hydrated at all times. Dehydration is much more likely in individuals who are moonlighting and working additional jobs after a full day in the office or on a job site.
Try New Things to Switch it Up a Bit in Your Everyday Life
When you are already working a full-time job and moonlighting on the side, your life can quickly become monotonous and mundane. One of the perks of moonlighting is the ability to change things up a bit each time you begin to feel stagnate, bored, or despondent while at your second job of the day.
If you want to maintain a secondary source of income but you also want to protect your mental health, consider taking on alternate moonlighting gigs every few months. Alternating your moonlighting jobs is a great way to prevent experiencing burnout or a drop in your workplace productivity.
Seek Out a Relaxed Workplace Environment
Oftentimes, moonlighting gigs are temporary and are not considered as important as traditional full-time jobs or salaried positions. When you begin searching for a new moonlighting opening, seek out a relaxed and welcoming workplace environment, especially if your day job is stressful and hectic. Not all part-time jobs have strict rules, schedules, and regulations. It is possible to find a part-time job for a family owned business or by using a third-party app to assist with individual tasks in your local neighborhood.
Maintain Balance in Your Life Outside of Work
One of the most important elements of remaining successful while moonlighting for a second income includes balance. Without balance, managing two jobs in addition to your household and relationships becomes nearly impossible. If you are unable to maintain balance in your home and family life, it becomes increasingly challenging to remain productive and an effective member of a team at work.
Dedicate time each day just to your family and loved ones, leaving work and moonlighting gigs out of your mind. Schedule outings and gatherings to keep in touch with distant relatives, even if you are working multiple shifts each day. When you want to prevent depression, anxiety, or burnout from a moonlighting job, tending to your personal relationships and life outside of work is paramount.
It is also important to dive into hobbies and activities that are a source of joy to you. Learning a new skill or hobby is a way to shift your focus from work to other tasks that provide you with pleasure. When you are moonlighting throughout each week and even on weekends, it is important to have additional outlets to express yourself creatively and passionately.
While adding a moonlighting job to a full schedule may at first feel overwhelming or nearly impossible, it is extremely rewarding once you have found a position that is right for you. Are you ready to explore new career path options while earning a side income? Choose a moonlighting job that is perfect for your needs and go after it!