What's a good day job while I work on building my Etsy shop on the side?
April 2, 2014 4:11 AM   Subscribe

My current day job as an assistant property manager/leasing consultant isn't a good fit for me or for my situation. I'm looking for something with more flexible hours and the opportunity to work from home, as well as something that is less customer service oriented. The hours are inflexible and I have to work Saturdays. Constantly being "on" with people is draining since I am naturally an introvert.

I'm working on building an Etsy shop selling vintage clothing and would like to branch out to selling new (vintage inspired) designs. I have gotten work designing bridesmaid dresses and would like to do more of that, but it was tricky to balance that with the responsibilities of my day job. Ideally I'd like to build up my side business to the point where I don't need a day job, but I don't see that as a realistic option at the moment so I'm looking for a better set up than my current situation.

So, if you have experience with building up a side business, how did you pay your bills while you did it? I'm looking for something that offers some degree of freedom and energy leftover at the end of the day to work on my side projects, but finding it difficult to approach a job search with that mentality and looking for advice to focus my search.

About my experience/situation briefly: degree in Fashion Merchandising & Design, a few years experience in property management (go figure), previously worked as an Executive Assistant (don't want to do that again) and some temp jobs doing data entry. Live in CT with SO and have some savings, but also loans to pay off. Could probably only float for 2-3 mos. without a steadily paying gig.
posted by Shadow Boxer to Work & Money (6 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you have some background in design, would you work as a contract designer for web sites and mobile apps? There are a lot of freelancing job boards like elance that frequently have posts looking for a designer to put together a PSD for a new app.
posted by deathpanels at 4:40 AM on April 2, 2014

Best answer: My sister works for 30 hours a week as a media buyer and spends the rest of her time on her interior design business.

I'm an analyst and an extrovert and I'm STARVED for human interaction! If you learn EXCEL really well, in conjunction with a system, SAP, Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics, etc, then you just sit in a cube and fiddle with spreadsheets.

You can start by looking at You Tube tutorials and doing the Microsoft tutorials on line.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:16 AM on April 2, 2014 [4 favorites]

This strongly depends on how much money you need to earn every year. How much are your monthly expenses?
posted by girlmightlive at 7:53 AM on April 2, 2014

Best answer: Over 3-4 years, I built my Etsy business into a full-time gig while working various other day jobs:

- counselor at an after-school program (~25 hrs/wk)

- freelance magazine writer working from home

- part-time baker at a local restaurant

Some weeks at some of those jobs were more crushing than others, but in general I always had at least a little time every day to work on the stuff I cared about.

There are more and more nontraditional, flexible jobs out there. As mentioned above, your choices will be governed by how much money you need to earn (and how much your Etsy business is already bringing in).

Also, you might think about opening another Etsy shop to sell supplies. There will always be a bigger built-in market there for supplies than finished goods. If you can buy, say, thread (or anything else you already use) in massive bulk and resell 95% of it, the 5% you keep for your own use would be free, and/or you'd make a profit. I have friends who do this and are able to make jewelry with much more expensive components than they could otherwise afford.
posted by jessicapierce at 8:15 AM on April 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: @girlmightlive: I would need around $1500/mo to pay for bills, gas & food. I live with my SO who is very supportive and could help me out for a bit so I wouldn't starve, but I just want to make sure that I am financially independent in the long run. I'm also trying to figure out what will be best - a part time job or a full time day job, and I'm working on saving a few months' worth of expenses to float me.

Great suggestions so far - Excel, Elance, starting an Etsy supply shop to increase profit, counseling, (I recently started a volunteer counselor training program, maybe that could transition into a part time paid gig with more experience) etc. I think these are all feasible for me to explore....just the kind of thing I'm looking for -- and would happy to hear any other suggestions if anyone has them!
posted by Shadow Boxer at 12:34 PM on April 2, 2014

Best answer: You could try freelance writing. Textbroker and Constant Content are pretty easy to get started with as they insulate you from the hassle of writing queries and invoicing clients. A lot of their gigs are writing product descriptions, which would be good practice for your Etsy business.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:13 PM on April 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

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