Let’s face it: freelancing can be a roller coaster. During the busiest seasons, work seems to be falling from the sky with no end in sight, which is great for both the ego and the bank account. During the quiet times, however, the old familiar panic can set in: What if all the work has dried up?
Many freelance writers cushion the blows of these ups and downs with part-time jobs that supplement their main passion: writing. Read on for a sample of side gigs that can help fend off the financial panic.
If you find yourself unconsciously correcting spelling, punctuation, and incorrect syntax while perusing a sign or article, a proofreading job may be the first place to turn. Proofreading is extremely flexible when it comes to how many projects you want to take on and how many hours you want to dedicate. It also allows you to help others become better writers while leaving enough time to work on your own passion projects. No matter what type of proofreading you choose—websites, manuscripts, social media—an eye for grammar and an ability to give constructive feedback are musts.
Food Service Industry
One of the hazards (or perks, depending on how you look at it) of freelancing is the long stretches of time when it’s just you and your thoughts. If you’re itching to rejoin society at least for a few hours a day, you might consider joining the food service industry. Whether you are a hostess at a fancy restaurant or a barista at your local coffee shop, this type of job will keep you active and sociable while also offering flexibility. While the pay is sometimes notoriously low, you are guaranteed to meet interesting people and bond with coworkers who see this world as the wild, wacky, story-inspiring place that it is.
Passing on your own knowledge to others can be extremely rewarding. If you have a deep knowledge of a particular subject, you can tutor kids in person or across the country via online programs. If you want to dedicate daytime hours to writing and make extra money in the evening, teaching English as a second language is a great option since most of those kids will be located in a different time zone.
Another way to write during the day and make money in the evening is to drive for a ride-share company. This option works especially well if you live in or near a big city, where there are sure to be lots of passengers. And who knows? You might just find inspiration for a whole host of characters that you can work into your next book!
Are you a fast typist? Of course you are; you’re a writer! If your ideal background music is the soothing clickety-clack of your keyboard going at rapid speeds, you might consider trying transcription. You would be in charge of turning an audio file—whether that’s a video, webinar, interview, podcast, or meeting—into a written document. The need for transcription covers such a wide field of industries and interests that your choices are virtually limitless.
Another way to get away from your desk and stretch your legs is to act as a caregiver. If you’re good with kids, a part-time nanny job could bring some childlike inspiration to your manuscript. If that seems a little too high energy, there are plenty of assisted living homes that could use caregivers to manage the everyday tasks of its elderly residents. People with disabilities also regularly need people to run errands, make light repairs, help with yard maintenance, or tend to ordinary household tasks. Patience is essential with this type of job, as is a desire to help others.
Sometimes the best thing we can do as freelancers is get out of our own heads for a while. If this idea sounds appealing to you, becoming a virtual assistant might, well, assist with that. Without the need to physically be in the office, virtual assistants are expected to take care of the administrative duties of a business from a remote position. This can be anything from data entry and appointment scheduling to managing customer relations and overseeing calendars. While this job would likely require more (and less flexible) hours than other entries on this list, it would be ideal for those looking for a more stable income.
Sometimes the technical aspects of writing are pushed aside in favor of the creative forms. But for those with an eye for detail, becoming a résumé writer can be extremely satisfying. While many people pursue this as a side gig, you can actually turn it into a full-time position if you so choose. The first step? Look into becoming a certified résumé writer through the National Résumé Writers’ Association (NRWA) or the Professional Association of Résumé Writers (PARW), which opens up even more possibilities for your writing future.