Aug. 11, 2008 -- To make ends meet in a challenging economy, more and more Americans are working two jobs or taking on part-time work as full-time positions are harder to land.
Focus on time. When you take on a second job, you have to maximize every minute, which means making as much money as possible in the limited time available. Figure out how much time you can realistically devote to a side job.
For example, if you have an hour a night, you can't do retail because stores don't hire for such a limited commitment. But if you're available all weekend, you might be perfect for a busy shop that needs extra help.
Beyond that, an hour a day as a part-time sales associate might pay $10 an hour. Or you could spend that same hour per day as a dog walker. A dog walker making $15 an hour per pet, with three simultaneous clients, is now making $45 an hour. In five days, one hour in retail might bring in $50, but the same hour during the same five day period for the dog walker brings in $225.
As you pursue ideas, consider the various ways people are maximizing their time and take-home pay.
Fill an existing need. Click here for a list of Web sites that can connect you to part-time or hourly jobs. There are also sites that allow you to make money from home performing a variety of tasks. Last week, during a "GMA" segment on my new book, "Will Work From Home: Earn the Cash Without the Commute," I revealed some of my favorite Web sites. Several of those sites, which you can find by clicking here, saw record traffic from people eager to make money from home. I've also heard from many viewers who were able to get started within 24 hours and are now on their path to making money on their on terms -- for both full-time and supplemental incomes -- from home.
Extend your day job skills. Take your day job and apply it to private clients on your off time: A teacher can tutor, an accountant can do taxes, and so on. Just recently, the cable tech came to fix my service, and let it drop that he helps people set up their computer systems on the side. Get in the habit of talking up your side gig. The teacher probably can't tutor her own students, but she and her peers can refer families to one another.
Turn a hobby into cash. A photographer who doesn't make enough money shooting full-time can moonlight for parties and portraits on the weekend to bring in extra cash. Someone who makes beaded jewelry for fun can sell online. If you're active and athletic, give tennis or yoga lessons to private clients. Baby-sit if you enjoy spending time with kids. (For resources to get started in these areas, click here.)
Learn a new business. You can also use a second job, not only to earn the money you need, but to dip your toe in a new career. For example, an administrative assistant came to me with a two-fold challenge: a desire to boost her income, and a frustration with the process of switching fields. Her goal is to move into event planning, but without experience in that new line of work, her resume is usually dismissed. My suggestion: Take a temp job on weekends at a popular catering hall, assisting with large private and corporate functions to build experience in that field.
Enjoy a change of scenery. Another option is to do something totally different as a second job. One woman who spends her weekdays working in a hospital has opted to moonlight on weekends at a theme park. A teacher told us by day she adores her young students, but appreciates the conversation with adults as she waits tables in the evenings.
Tory Johnson is the workplace contributor on "Good Morning America" and the CEO of Women For Hire. Her new book is "Will Work From Home: Earn the Cash Without the Commute." Visit her Web site at www.womenforhire.com.