During my career in marketing and startups, I have been in-between steady income many times. Sometimes it is was because I was laid off or quit and other times it was because I simply couldn’t turn revenue from my startup. Nevertheless, being able to front money for rent in my in-between’s proved to be a challenge.
Whether you’re an professional between gigs or a new startup founder, it’s crucial to have a steady stream of income to fund your life while you focus on the job hunt or on launching your world-changing idea. Luckily, I have some tried and true tactics that have worked for me that you can try out to help keep you afloat in your in-between.
1. Contract with your most recent employer
Thankfully, when I left my last two full-time jobs, I was asked to stay on as a part-time contractor working on many of the same projects as while I was fully employed. This is an ideal transition that allowed me to have enough income to pay my bills while giving me the flexibility I needed to work on my own time and search for more steady income.
This may not be an option for everyone on their way out, but if the relationship is relatively positive and cordial, the option worth the proposition. It can also be great for the company as they will continue to get support on the projects that you were working on until the fully transition, and its great for you in that you can continue to work on projects that you are already acclimated to while continuing your search. Heck, they may even allow you to tell prospective employers that you still work there full-time which is valuable in your search.
In my most recent contracting stint with a past employer, I got all of that plus I still kept my work email address, laptop and access to all the necessary files to make the contract work as easy as if I still worked in the office. Getting the ability to contract is even more of a reason not to burn bridges with your employer when you’re on your way out.
2. Find temp gigs in your field
Another great strategy is to find temporary work by using a placement agency like Creative Circle. The second you are no longer full-time employed, you should register with once of these agencies in your field and begin to get their job alerts. Once you find something that strikes your fancy, apply and they will go to bat for you and get you placed.
Sure, a lot of the time the positions are full-time and often pay less than what you made at you previous full-time job, but you can negotiate flexibility and have the freedom to be completely honest that you are looking for full-time roles elsewhere. These gigs also help you to plan as they usually have a contract end date, most of which are anywhere from two to six months and sometimes a year. Some even have the ability to turn into a full-time role if you so chose.
3. Try the gig economy, carefully
With the influx of work in the gig economy, there is really no reason at all that a halfway intelligent, able-bodied American cannot have some sort of income nowadays. Whether that’s picking up odd jobs with TaskRabbit, renting a room on Airbnb, or delivering for DoorDash, there are a multitude of options out there to work on your time. I have accounts with many of these services and switch them on when I need an extra buck.
One that I have tried, and no longer touch however, is ride-sharing. Lyft and Uber sell you big promises of $1000 or more a week, but the times you need to work, wear & tear on your vehicle and downtime hardly make these services worth it. Driving can be a big commitment and less flexible than one might think, so I would strongly urge in-betweeners to look at other gig economy services first before they get behind the wheel.
4. Share your wealth of knowledge & experience
Recently I have noticed an uptick in requests to share my insight on industry topics that fall in my areas of expertise. Most of these requests come from consulting networks or research services on behalf of clients looking to make better business decisions. I got my first request in summer 2017 from a representative at Guidepoint with a question about my experience in the event ticketing industry from when I worked at Vendini.
When all was said and done, my hour-long conversation with the client paid $100. Easy money! These services will build a profile for you and when they have a client that has a question, reach out to you to get your take. Search for and register at as many of these as you can find to have the opportunity to weigh-in with your expertise.
5. Participate in focus groups & surveys
I have been participating in focus groups for years now and they are always a nice little kicker to your weekly income. You can register with services like Focus Pointe Global and when your profile matches one of there groups, they will send you a screener survey to your email. If you answer the questions the way they would like, they will schedule you participate in the focus group.
I have participated in groups that lasted an hour and paid $100 to ones where I reviewed a product over the course of a week and was paid $500. Most of the time when you leave the group they hand you cash or a check, but sometimes you’ll get a pre-paid card that can be used to offset your expenses for the week.
Whether you apply all of these or just a few in your in-between, it never hurts to get them loaded into your arsenal of income hacks. The key is to balance being humble with what channel is worth your time. These are just a few of the many ways that you can work smarter to pay the bills while you work hard to land that dream job or build a startup. Go in-betweener go!