More Americans have side gigs to supplement full-time jobs

Millions are now earning these so-called hybrid incomes. Is this a good idea? Experts say it can be, if you balance it right
March 19, 2014 8:28:58 PM PDT
Chances are you might know someone working a full-time job and another on the side. Millions of Americans are now earning these so-called hybrid incomes. Is this the new normal? Here's what you need to know to make sure your side gig doesn't put you in a precarious position at work.

Emily Beach knows a thing or two about rotating. She shifts roles throughout her day: from a coach to entrepreneur, working on multiple projects.

"I think I have some form of obsession with just coming up with ideas and, and trying to make them come to fruition," Beach said.

Beach coaches field hockey full-time and she's also an inventor. She created a training tool to help her players, and now sells it online.

Author Kimberly Palmer says Beach is far from alone in earning what she calls a hybrid income.

"There's basically no such thing as job security anymore, so we all have to build our own job security by having multiple streams of income. It's all about leveraging the experience, the skills, the resources that you have," Palmer said.

Labor statistics show nearly 7 million U.S. adults have more than one job, with about half holding a full-time and a part-time position.

Career consultant John O'Connor believes having multiple incomes is becoming the norm.

"It's almost surprising when people tell me that they don't," he said.

O'Connor says it's about more than an extra paycheck.

"The No. 1 benefit is peace of mind. You can sort of breathe easier at night. If worst came to worse, I have a backup," he said.

Others, like Beach, also work extra because they need a creative outlet.

"I just love coming up with different things," she said.

But before you start juggling jobs, O'Connor Stresses you need to prioritize the position that's paying the bills.

"So you have to really plan how to do this without alerting or offending or creating a concern with your main gig that you're doing this on the side," he said.

Beach isn't worried. She believes her side businesses make her better at her full-time job. But she does have this advice.

"Make sure you're doing what you need to in your full-time job and then go for it. It's really rewarding to see something come to terms," she said.

Palmer says often it's a life-changing event like a layoff or becoming a parent that drives people to their side jobs. She urges people to be proactive, and pursue their passion before they need the extra cash or stability.

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