Do you know how to generate more income with side gigs? No, we’re not talking about getting a job as a server, a bartender, or working in a coffee shop. For our purposes here, the term “side gig” refers to something you could conceivably turn into an important stream of income or even a “side career”.
Side gigs are not always easy to land. It helps to know someone in the industry you want to break into, because the first thing you will want to learn is how to correctly approach a job opportunity in a career field you have little or no experience in.
What you find here is not a tell-all for each type of side gig. There is a good reason for that; the hiring practices in your community may be vastly different than elsewhere. See our first example to learn what this means.
Get A Side Hustle On The Air
Radio jobs are not easy to come by; there is a lot of competition for them and the gig requires some specialized learning. Fortunately, you can do a lot of that learning online. Just research “How To Break Into Radio” and you can learn a LOT about the industry from a long-running site operated by radio professional Dan O’Day.
Not all these side gigs are on-the-air, in fact there are many people who work in radio who never go in front of a microphone. You can work behind the scenes as a production assistant, board operator, commercial scheduling (also known simply as “traffic” and not to be confused with the on-air traffic reports you hear during rush hour), and many other positions.
Small town radio stations are the easier gigs to land, but big city stations often need lots of part-time help, too. It pays to brush up on things like digital audio editing (see YouTube for tutorial videos and more), and be sure to go into the interview being very familiar with the radio station’s schedule and programming.
Some of these gigs are open because of high turnover, others are open because of promotions, family leave, or other concerns. Big city hiring practices for these media jobs are not the same as small-town practices. Look at the company’s job board first, it’s the most reliable source of active hiring. For side gigs like these, relying on Indeed.com or other resume sites won’t help you as much–depending on the station, much of the hiring is done in other ways.
Gallery Assistant Jobs
The art world is full of interesting side jobs; one of these is known as the Gallery Assistant. This kind of work is diverse, and may require you to learn new skills as a social media manager, tour guide, art handler, and even as an artist yourself depending on circumstances.
Gallery assistant jobs are sometimes found online in the usual places, but it’s best to inquire at galleries on an individual level as they may not be active advertising a position they really need filled. Be prepared to answer questions about your interest in the arts, your favorite visual artists, and how familiar you are with the gallery you are interviewing with. It pays to know them well.
This side gig isn’t for everyone, but some people find it quite rewarding to work in show business. This isn’t glamor, though–the kind of jobs we are talking about here are setup and are sometimes technically related.
You do NOT have to be a sound engineer to work a concert venue. There are lots of hands needed to erect stages, place microphones, position lighting, crowd control, and much more.
Concert venue staff who work behind the scenes are often union and you may have to sign up at a local Union shop to be asked to work in a concert hall. If you are an active person and have a fitness-based lifestyle, this is a side gig you may enjoy.
Be sure to mention that you enjoy physical work and live events in the interview and be ready to answer a question along the lines of “what was the last show you saw here at our venue?”
One quick mention of an issue some people ask about in gigs like these; aren’t these jobs skewed toward male applicants? The quick answer is no–there are just as many opportunities across the board no matter who is applying for the job and that includes venue security. Work like this is often unionized, and that is something to remember if you have concerns about equal treatment in the workplace–the representation is an important protection for all workers.
Local Record Stores
Entry-level record store jobs are definitely the kinds of retail jobs we otherwise avoid in this list, but record store jobs can be very upwardly mobile from a certain perspective.
You might be working the cash register on Day One, but you could easily move into an online marketing position added to your other duties, or you may end up being trained as a buyer for the shop (when used records come in or when you must order new stock from the distributor).
Learning new skills at the record shop is practically guaranteed based on the indie nature of such retail operations. During the interview, be prepared–you will be asked what music you are passionate about, what music you don’t necessarily like but are familiar with, etc. Do some research on the kinds of music that store specializes in and come to the interview ready to talk shop.
Joe Wallace specializes in personal finance, military affairs, and consumer protection topics. Since 1995, his work has appeared on Air Force Television News, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year Air Force veteran and collects unusual vinyl records, which gives him an excuse to write the vinyl blog Turntabling.net.