“I want a job with flexible hours” is often something I hear from my friends and tons of people I meet. “I want to travel.” “I want to spend more time with my kids.” “I want to [fill in the blank].”
When you work a 9–5 it’s hard to maintain the kind of life that allows you to preserve your sanity, stay healthy, and well…enjoy the light of day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against having a stable full-time job – I’m simply an advocate for BALANCE. So recently, I’ve started asking around to uncover solutions.
How do people find jobs with flexible hours that pay the bills AND allow the freedom to go for a good long run in the mornings?
I know I’m lucky. I can’t imagine not being able to start my day with a good workout, or having to drag myself out of bed at 5am to squeeze it in. But most are not so lucky. (I do feel your pain.)
Here are some tips for those of you looking to check out of the “work or else” shackles and start feeling the wind in your hair a bit more throughout your work days. Behold, a few avenues to consider:
Consulting: Believe it or not…you may very well have developed hidden talents that companies will pay you for! I know…sometimes we don’t even realize that what we are doing in school or in our 9-5 can easily be translated into a consulting gig for a small business or company. Think about it. What do you specialize in or really enjoy doing? Graphic design, web development, marketing, sales, blogging, playing on Facebook & Twitter? Yes, you can get paid to tweet for businesses! Use your creativity and come up with a Social Media Campaign that will drive traffic to a business. Then start pitching it to some businesses who need the help getting started.
Provide a service for busy people: Executives and business owners are often strapped for time. They spend the majority of their days working and would far rather enjoy a round of golf or a trip to the theatre than worry about daily chores and errands at the end of their already endless day. Those who value their free time (and have some disposable income) are quite often willing to pay someone to help out with some very basic tasks. Think: personal assistant, dog walking and pet sitting, grocery shopping, or picking up their kids from school and tutoring them. Concierge services are big business, but you can create your own in your very own neighborhood or circle of friends.
Join the Food & Beverage Industry: There are several restaurants and bars that are only open for business in the evenings or on weekends. Securing a position as a host, server, bar back, bartender, bus boy, etc. will ensure that your days are free to work on other projects, start a business of your own, or spend more time with your kids (assuming you have someone to watch them in the evenings, if need be).
Sell stuff online (eBay, Yahoo, Amazon): Okay, unless you’ve discovered the next Tickle Me Elmo…this probably won’t pay all the bills, but you would be surprised at how much extra cash you can earn by selling the stuff that’s been sitting in your closet. Or better yet, raid your friends’ or your parents and grandparents houses! (Sorry mom, but I’ve found some great goodies in your closet that were just sitting there for years!). You know what they say, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!”
Start-Ups: Start up businesses are great places to find part-time or flexible hours. Often they have very small budgets that aren’t large enough for a team of full-time employees. So, if you ask the right questions and talk to the right people, and of course, make a really strong impression – you may be able to come right in to help fill in some gaps. This idea is similar to consulting, but if you can find a niche to squeeze into you could end up landing yourself a spot on the team! Many start-ups will hire people on a “trial” basis with a small salary or project fee for a specific period of time. Some even save money on rent and overhead by working virtually. This translates into the ultimate in flexible hours for you, because essentially, you can do your job however it best suits you — as long as you’re getting everything done that you’re supposed to of course. And beware: working on your own schedule takes real discipline. Often the early stages of a start-up are make or break, so if you are lucky enough to join a team in their early stages, give them your best! Before you treat it like a random gig that pays the bills, remember, this is someone’s whole livelihood, maybe even a lifelong dream of theirs that you’re playing with. Make a real difference and who knows, the company could end up taking off and you’ll get a full-time job out of it (maybe even with flexible hours to boot!!).
Here are just a few of the ideas I uncovered in my research. You’ve probably thought of a few others too. Since a lot of people use this information to make big decisions in their own careers, please help out and share your bright ideas below in the comment section.
P.S. I wrote this article from my laptop at the lake by my house. How else could I maintain mayorship status on foursquare?!?. Hate me if you will. ☺
Monique Peltz is the Editorial Director & Marketing Coordinator for YSN.com – your success network. Twitter: @YSN_CareerSOS (career tips, inspiration & articles) and @MoniquePeltz (randomness & things I like to share)