The Side Hustle | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

The Side Hustle

Thomas Davis is passionate about beef jerky. An aficionado of jerky himself, he invested in his own business. But this isn't your average filling station dried meat. "It is great beef jerky. It's tender, tasty, and it's good for you," said Davis, who pays about $12 a week for his own online portal through which he can sell jerky and about seven ounces of the product. He wishes he could invest more in the company, but the jerky business is just the latest in a series of jobs he's had to string together to get by. And even if the business venture doesn't work, he says, "At least I got some jerky to eat."

As industrious as Davis is, he isn't alone. Some 7.3 million Americans, about 5.2 percent of all workers, engage in what the U.S. Labor Department calls multiple job-holding. Others simply call it moonlighting or running a side hustle. To people who hold second and third jobs to supplement their incomes, it's called basic survival.

In the middle of the most challenging economic climate since Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration, you'd think moonlighting would be on the rise. That isn't the case.

In fact, the rate of multiple jobholders in the U.S. has remained steady over the past two decades. It peaked, ironically, in the more economically robust mid-1990s at just above 6 percent. Still, unemployment remains palpable. Some employers complain of difficulty finding enough workers to fill vacancies, making now an ideal time to launch a second—or third, or fourth—career.

+ Pluses
Extra Cash
Make ends meet
Pay down debt
Be your own boss
Learn a new skill

- Minuses
Stretch yourself thin
Stress/Fatigue/Effect on health
Lose quality time for things/people you care about
Affect performance at your day job

Know where to look

Top 10 Industries for making money on the side
Food Service $7.75-$8.50/hour
Health Care $9.21-$30.71
Retail $8.34-$9.04
Grocery Stores $8-$9.97
Childcare $17,000-$19,000
Insurance $12.10-$15.55
Publishing $14.27-$17.75
Computer Services $16.18-$33.79
Film $7.76-$9.39
Advertising/PR $9.69-$20.93

Source: AOL Money and Finance

Pros Who Moonlight Most

Firefighters 29 percent
K-12 teachers 25.5 percent
Paramedics/EMTs 20 percent
Social workers 13.5 percent

Dental hygienists 13 percent
Psychologists 12.5 percent
Post-secondary teachers 12 percent
Physical therapists 12 percent
Therapists, all other 11.5 percent

A Jackson Craigslist Sampling
Registered Nurse
Part-Time Tutor
Front Desk Clerk
Admissions Coordinator

Barber/Hair Stylist
Veterinary Receptionist
Inventory Auditor
Ghost Writer
Jerky Distributor


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