The Balancing Act of Working Two Jobs: Case Study

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According to an article in the Indianapolis Star, nearly 5% of the workforce in the U.S. held multiple jobs in November, up slightly from the same time last year.

For some, working two jobs has become the only practical way to get by. Some who take on extra work do it to pay off debt, cushion their savings or provide a fallback in case they lose their primary job. Others take part-time work hoping it turns into a full-time position, despite typically low wages and few, if any, benefits —Indianapolis Star

Holding two jobs for many freelancers is a way of life. Let’s take a look at a few case examples of how this can work well, and a few pitfalls to consider!

Nicole Ouellette

While Nicole Ouellette, owner of Breaking Even Communications, was starting the social media marketing company she founded, she worked full time at a local newspaper. When she finally quit her full time job to focus on her business, she took on a part time seasonal job at a local inn to cover the bills.

Katie Baker

Katie Baker and her husband, Jason, have been running Kate Baker Photography for five years while keeping full-time jobs. “When we first moved to Maine I got a job as an educator in the staff development department at a local hospital,” Katie says.

“About a year later my husband pushed me to pursue my photography dreams. I took his advice and decided that in three to five years, if my photography business wasn’t making enough money to support us I was going to walk away from it all. I have been fortunate to be able to slowly cut out on my day job instead of all or nothing.”

Katie and Jason sat down and crunched the numbers before she took the big leap to full-time photography. They set goals and used the transition period to pay off all of their credit card debt and their car as well as putting some money aside.

Working two jobs made Katie learn not only how to balance her money, but her free time, too. “I had to learn to set boundaries when I worked. During the week I quit working on editing images at 9 pm so Jason and I could spend an hour or two together before bed. We also set aside Sundays and Thursdays as family days. Trying to keep your sanity in check is vital while pursuing a dream.”

Today, Kate works 20 hours a week at the hospital. “I decided on 20 hours because it still qualifies me for benefits,” Katie says. Starting April 1, 2012, Katie will be a full-time wedding photographer. “One of the reasons I haven’t left my day job sooner is that I also really love it.”

Consider the Transition Carefully

Having set goals and a plan on how you can reach them is important when juggling two jobs to support your freelancing dreams. And, as Nicole and Katie show, it doesn’t happen overnight. Making sure you have enough money to cover things such as insurance, your mortgage, and still having money left over to buy groceries is crucial.

If you don’t already have a budget to work from, now is the time to create one. It will be a handy tool to really see where all of your earnings go. Setting time aside to also enjoy your life outside of work is important, too, especially if you have a husband and kids. All work and no play makes for a very unhappy home.

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by xilius.

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