How I Traded My Day Job For A Flexible Work Schedule

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2011-07-197

I was one of those people who transitioned from being a full time employee and having a day job to being an entrepreneur. I still recall the thoughts that would go through my head while commuting to my old job: imagine all that free time I’d have if I didn’t have to travel to and from work, and if I had all that time to myself. I can’t wait to have a flexible schedule and get to spend my day as I wish!

Now I’m sure you’ve heard of the saying “be careful what you wish for….”. I was one of those bloggers who DID end up taking the leap into the unknown as an online entrepreneur. But things never turn out exactly as you expect. While I am enjoying the life of an entrepreneur quite a bit, it appears that free time is something that remains elusive. While I’ve basically changed my work environment, my daily schedule remains as packed as ever.

My new life hasn’t changed much from the old one I had, in terms of time still being the scarcest resource for me. Who said quitting one’s job to “retire” from the workforce was going to be easy? No, I haven’t slowed down much since cleaning out my office desk. I did manage to retire from my corporate career, but since then replaced it with a life that I hope to have more control over. So far, as expected, I’ve got more balance in my life and am happier about it; but well… I still got to worry a bit more about our finances as I try to build my venture and live as a self-employed individual.

Overall, this is definitely a positive change for me, resulting in less stress and increased satisfaction over the work I do. Hopefully, the money angle can eventually improve as well!

Build A Flexible Work Schedule With A Part Time Job

If you’re thinking about leaving your day job, one way of making it work is to cobble together many income sources. In my case, I took a part time editor’s position at for several months to get the hang of freelancing. I’ve found it fairly easy to find work opportunities that were in line with my skills, through online searches, networking and by keeping active in my main areas of interest. The question here was whether I had enough time to do them all!

We all want our dream projects to sustain us, but if it’s not possible to do 100%, then try to supplement your cash flow by pursuing freelancing opportunities or by taking a part time job to tide you over as you get your projects off the ground. In my opinion, there is dignity in all jobs — remember that finding a job you enjoy may keep you at that job longer (and you’ll be more effective and productive too).

With that in mind, here are some options you could try out on a part time or temporary basis. Be aware that the pay may not be spectacular, but it may help bridge some gaps for you while you are focusing on your long term work. Ideally, you’ll want to leverage the time spent in and the experience you gain from your temp job as a way to further support your main project or venture. Hence, you should find a job that is related to your business or that can help you boost the skills that matter to you.

1. Food service worker or barista.
Suppose you’re thinking of starting a food franchise — then gaining some experience in this sector is a must. Also, this is a popular option for people who like a social setting to work in. It may not be the easiest job around especially during busy days, but I know a few people who’ve tried this route and actually enjoyed it (they worked at Starbucks). The advantage is that tips can help to build up your overall income.

2. Retail store manager.
This could mean anything from working a few hours part time in the run up to Christmas, to working part time all year round. There are lots of different shifts available too, so you should be able to find something that fits in around your regular working hours. Plus there’s the extra benefit that you can also enjoy a discount at most of the stores you can get jobs at.

3. Data entry clerk.
Data entry work can be dull and repetitive but if you want something you can just get your head into for a few extra working hours each day, this could be ideal for you. Watch out for online scams that ask you to pay for a position though; there are plenty of data entry possibilities that are genuine so don’t fall for the wrong opportunity.

4. Call center representative.
If you don’t like face to face contact with people but you enjoy a good chat anyway 😉 , you might enjoy working a few hours each day as a call center representative. Most big companies have call centers, so you might benefit from looking around for a suitable position like this. If you can believe it, I have a relative who signed up for a call center position, but the jaw dropper was that she took the graveyard shift. No, she actually did NOT need the money; it was for no other reason but to have something interesting to do!

5. Online service provider.
Jobs in this category are perfect for online entrepreneurs. This is usually done on a per project basis and is a great fit for freelancers. You can decide to get work in the marketing, administration (as a virtual assistant), design, technical or other creative arenas. You’ve got a little bit more control here about how much you want to earn. It can end up earning you a lot of money if you decide to do this full time or it can also be a nice part time activity.

6. Tutor.
Instead of baby sitting, you may want to think about being a tutor. There may be demand in the suburbs for this kind of thing, especially in areas with working class families and school aged kids. Almost everyone I know in my neighborhood has an after school tutor (to give your child a competitive edge).

7. Music teacher, art teacher or camp instructor.
If you know how to play an instrument, paint a pretty picture and enjoy playing with kids, then this may be something you’d be interested to try. I know a few folks who teach piano or guitar.

8. Substitute teacher.
This job may not pay too well in areas that are cutting funding to schools, but any school district is probably eager to sign on volunteers. I know of people who’ve gotten jobs by first starting out as volunteers.

Of course, there are a lot of other part time jobs that might suit you better. But these should get you thinking about what it is you can do in order to fill in any income gaps when you decide to eschew the security of a day job.

Created March 23, 2008. Updated July 19, 2011. Copyright © 2011 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Vered March 23, 2008 at 4:20 pm

“I’m also still trying to keep up with my own blog along with trying to keep house, with being the designated driver for my kids, PTA rep, financial manager of the household and all around errand runner.”

Your life sounds a lot like mine. 🙂

The combination of a looming recession and the insane cost of living here in the Silicon Valley is sometimes a bit discouraging. But it sounds like you’ve got a good thing going. Good luck!

Jayson @ March 24, 2008 at 11:32 am

It’s good to hear that you’re keeping busy. Being swamped is not a bad thing, I think. Some of those self-employed lack discipline and get into bad “lazy” habits but it seems like you’ve got what it takes to be very successful outside of the 9-5.

Prosperity Writer March 27, 2008 at 11:27 pm

i quit my job 3 years ago to take up my 2nd degree. i started online marketing along the way. now i don’t know if i will ever look for a job again or just focus on my online business. it’s definitely better to be your own boss!

Michael Copon July 20, 2011 at 11:08 am

As rough as it may seem, it’s always worth it to do something you find more satisfying. Very helpful article!

Mike July 20, 2011 at 8:19 pm

SO glad I found this article. What you’ve done is what I aspire to do. I already have the P/T job lined up. Additional freelance at my current job (which I would quit) is also likely. Now, it’s just a matter of when to make the leap. So far, my blog is too new and not making any money. But who knows? One day maybe I too can work for myself. Kudos to you.

Silicon Valley Blogger July 20, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Hi Mike! That’s great! I used to be pretty nervous about leaving a full time position, but I eventually discovered that freelancing as a way of life is simply awesome. I think that freelancing PLUS building a business is the ideal way to go — this gives you both freedom and flexibility while allowing you to manage the risk of going solo. It affords you flexibility while also addressing the financial issues that may come with being a new entrepreneur. So if you want to be an entrepreneur but you aren’t quite sure how to go about it, here’s my tip list:

1. Start by turning yourself into a consultant. That way, you aren’t tethered to your job. Consultants also charge higher rates than a full time employee because they don’t take on job benefits. You’re paid a premium for taking on the risks of being independent. But you gain a LOT of experience about setting up your own company by creating one for your stint as a consultant.

2. Learn where to get freelancing jobs. Try a few that are in the area of work you are focusing on to help build your skills.

3. If your business is a service business, then you can work on building your clientele. It’s always good to have a web presence through which you can pick up leads and potential clients. A web address is also quite convenient for sending to those who want more information about you.

4. If you want to go beyond freelancing to build or set up a product based business, then by doing points 1 and 2 above, you allow yourself time to focus on your passions. That is why I value the consulting / freelancing lifestyle. It’s a great way to transition into building your own business.

Good luck with your endeavors.

thehouseflipguy July 26, 2011 at 4:09 am

I agree with this. That is why I flip houses on the side. While I am still in corporate America (right now) I would love to flip houses full time. However, that is a big leap and I am not there yet, however, I can still do a house from time to time to stay in practice. Plus, even if I do not make it out of corporate America, I like the idea of having an alternate source of income.

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