Short-term money making opportunities, either remote or in NYC?
September 23, 2018 1:36 PM   Subscribe

I've been out of work for a few months, and a few promising job leads have fallen through. What are some ways I can make money until I find a full-time job?

Background: Late 30s-ish project/product manager in the IT world. Left a bad job a few months ago, and I've been struggling to find new work after two lengthy interview processes fell through. While I work on my resume and networking, what are some things I could be doing to bring in money in the interim? It's been about 6-7 years since I've been out of the workforce, so I don't know if people are successfully using sites like Upwork, eLance, etc. to find work. I have spoken with some recruitment agencies in the city and the focus seems to be on placing sales people, and although I have some sales experience, I don't seem to be the right fit for the kinds of positions they offer. I have a sinking feeling that my age is starting to become a liability, as I seem to have fallen into an unfortunate position of being an experienced generalist.

What can I do: Copy writing/editing, technical writing, management (naturally), and tasks requiring assorted technical skills, although I am not a professional developer.

I'm contemplating just getting something - anything, really - outside of my career, like a retail job, but I don't know how to best apply my time and efforts and, more importantly, I don't want to do anything that might justly or unjustly impair my future job prospects. I have an acquaintance who seems to have become some kind of unlicensed real estate sales person and enjoys it, but I haven't been able to get time with him to find out if I'm understanding his situation correctly and whether that's a route that might be available to me.

Anyhow - I am happy to clarify aspects of my situation, within limits. I'm discouraged after this last interview fell through, so I'm definitely transitioning into a place of entertaining all income ideas, as long as they are legal and can be picked up relatively quickly and ideally at low cost.
posted by Transmissions From Vrillon to Work & Money (14 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
If I just needed work, any work, to pay some bills while I tried to find a job in my profession, I'd apply to Costco first. There's one in East Harlem. The pay is about what you'd expect for retail, but they are pretty well-known as a humane employer for their retail workers and they actually do give raises. But I don't know if you've reached the level of being willing to accept a slightly-above-minimum-wage job yet.
posted by praemunire at 2:17 PM on September 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

I mean, a temp agency is my first thought? You might end up doing data entry or factory work, but it's money to take home and you don't have to put it on your resume, so I don't see how it'd hurt.

Substitute teaching?
posted by gideonfrog at 2:37 PM on September 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

Tutoring? I hired a tutor off Craigslist some years back - today you’d probably use a local Facebook group - and his per-hour rate was such that if he did it full time, it would have been a decent living.
posted by lakeroon at 2:43 PM on September 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Seconding tutoring, and adding babysitting. If you don't have a current reference, perhaps you have a friend who will let you take care of their kids for an evening and thus become your reference. Tutoring and babysitting kept me afloat in NYC for several years.
posted by 8603 at 2:54 PM on September 23, 2018

you might look more into producer type positions or maybe a developer advocate, seeing that "being able to talk to and understand nerds" is itself a marketable skill. add to that your overall shepherding and writing abilities and you could certainly make a case for reducing the stress of startup founder/managers (to pick one glaring example).
posted by rhizome at 3:25 PM on September 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you, everyone. I hadn’t even considered tutoring - I’ll look into that. Re: substitute teaching - It looks like I need a certificate for that? That’s not insurmountable, however.

I’ll try temp agencies - I had somehow conflated them with recruiting firms, and they are indeed not the same.

All of these suggestions are helpful and actionable - It’s encouraging to have some new options to explore.
posted by Transmissions From Vrillon at 4:18 PM on September 23, 2018

I caption videos for extra cash. I do it for Rev and 3Play. Rev pays a little less, but will get you working faster if you pass all their little tests. I average about $10-$12/hr for Rev and around $15/hour for 3Play. It's not much, but it's a great do at home in your underwear for extra cash job.
posted by astapasta24 at 4:57 PM on September 23, 2018 [22 favorites]

Have you tried looking to contract work as a Business Analyst? The ability to talk to customers and translate requirements into something a dev can understand is valuable, and seems to be quite a few positions like that that are remote or would require very little travel (like once out to a client site). Depending on your background in IT, you might be able to hook up with a firm that specializes in it (Gvmt, ITIL, Infrastructure, etc) and then get a 2 or 3 month gig as a BA .
posted by niteHawk at 5:53 PM on September 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: @astapasta24 - Oh, that sounds very helpful. I rely on closed captioning quite a bit for video, so I'm especially interested in that work. I'll check it out, it seems easy enough as a WFH gig.

@niteHawk - Thank you! Do you have any suggestions on where to find BA gigs? I was actually a salaried Business Analyst for about two years prior to moving to NYC, but had real trouble landing work under that title once I arrived here.

Again, I appreciate all of the ongoing suggestions - this has been a genuinely helpful thread tonight.
posted by Transmissions From Vrillon at 6:03 PM on September 23, 2018 (which I learned about as a an answer to a similar question here on the green) is good for a little extra spending money, but to really make it worth pay-your-bills-time you really have to type very quickly and be able to accurately pick out slurred words, people talking over each other, and, at the lower levels, captioning a lot of loud and confused vlog-type material. Being more of an average-to-somewhat-above-average-speed typist myself, I found the captioning process leads to more like 5 to 7 dollars an hour. They do pay you in real money, though, not gift cards or what have you, and it has helped me out with my bills, so ymmv.
posted by Crystal Fox at 6:15 PM on September 23, 2018 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Whatever software/programs you were using in your product/project manager jobs, go to those meetups. Go to adjacent meetups. So if you were using an Oracle database, go to all the SQL meetups you can, because your experience may translate. Get a nypl card and use the free Lynda access that’s available.

If you have a portfolio of things you worked with or on, be willing to share it. If you don’t have a portfolio, build one. If you’re not blogging, start.

The idea is to get people exposed to your work in as many ways as possible.

Update your linked in and have connections at potential companies look at your resume before submitting. They’ll let you know what specific things your potential employers are keeping an eye out for and which formatting trends really annoy your potential interviewer.

Nearly every night of the week there’s a meetup, and there’s usually pizza. So that’s dinner AND networking. I’ll be at one tomorrow, feel free to memail me for info.

I also really recommend the book The Four Hour Job Search. Seriously do each step one at a time. Do not try to combine steps.
posted by bilabial at 6:45 PM on September 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

I think what bilabial meant to say was Two Hour Job Search. I could be wrong though...
posted by littleredwagon at 7:12 AM on September 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

I was able to get through a financial skinny spot last year by doing freelance copywriting/research writing on UpWork. There's quite a lot of garbage to sift through, and they have a rating system which rewards freelancers who have high client ratings for a certain amount of time with boosted visibility. Decent job search filters, although occasionally they say they "have enough copywriters for now". If you get that message, reapply with a different key role and you may have an easier time.
posted by lizifer at 7:29 AM on September 24, 2018

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. This has been a really useful thread and has keep me busy since I initially posted my question. I'm going to try each of these options and take a look at the Two Hour Job Search today.
posted by Transmissions From Vrillon at 9:43 AM on September 25, 2018

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