Whether you’re looking for extra cash outside of your full-time job, or perhaps you want to sharpen your skills by taking on other smaller roles, you may or may not have considered taking on board a side-gig.
Side-gigs are a valuable way to earn extra money or improve on existing skills and abilities outside your full-time job.
We reached out to a number of IT and creative professionals who currently, or previously have taken on side-gigs to get a better understanding of their motivations, skill level, and how they find side-gigs.
In this post, we’re going to look at some worthwhile side gigs for IT pros, where to ﬁnd them and the best approach to smash your side gig hustle in a way that's beneficial to your career development.
Let’s dive in!
Choosing a Side-gig
When it comes to choosing what sort of side-gig you want to do, first think about whether you want to stick within your skillset or work outside of it.
What this means is, suppose you’re a web developer who also enjoys writing. You might decide to opt for a side-gig outside of your normal realm of work and write blog posts for companies.
However, if you’re more comfortable sticking with what you know, then it can be useful to pick a side-gig that most aligns with the work you’re currently doing.
However, take note if you’re currently full-time employed, you should check with your employer regarding whether or not you’re allowed to take on a side-gig. Most employers will agree so long as it doesn’t interfere with work and so long as there is no conﬂict of interest.
Great Side-Gigs for IT Pros
1. Write & Self Publish an e-Book - this is a great side-gig because it enables you to assert authority within your industry as well as make a bit of money at the same time. In the same way, if all you do is tech work, it gives you an opportunity to learn more about product launches and marketing (for your book).
2. Build a Course - Putting together a course is another way to build authority in your industry as well as strengthen your own learning through teaching.
3. Work on Open-source Software Projects - although this may not pay, you’ll be pleased that you’re adding value to a whole community of users and can be proud when you see the code you added beneﬁting the software.
4. Take on a Consulting Role - You might ﬁnd that there are a number of companies needing support with their development. Perhaps they don’t have an in-house CTO or need some extra support for their developers on a part-time basis.
5. Build Something in an Unfamiliar Language - The added beneﬁt of working within tech is people are always trying to build something. Many of these are non-tech founders who need support on the technical side of their project. If you’re currently learning a new programming language, putting it to real use through a side-gig can be a really lucrative way to not only make money but reﬁne your skills too. However, be sure to only take on a task when you feel conﬁdent completing it to a high-level.
Where to Find Side-gigs
There are a number of ways you can ﬁnd side-gigs:
• Job boards and freelance marketplaces
• Using your own network or communities
• Subcontracting through other companies
Online marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork are also great places to score small side gigs that can help improve your skills in various industries.
The brilliant thing about these marketplaces is there is already enough traffic running through the sites to provide you with as much work as you can handle.
For example, a simple search of “install SSL” will show a wide range of people offering the same service:
However, it’s important to note that with many of these sites there is a race-to-the-bottom approach and so you should (especially on Fiverr) limit it to tasks that won’t take up much of your time.
Why jump in the fray when so many other people are offering the same service? The added beneﬁt comes with the up-sells you can offer. Although the initial service you offer might be $5, you have the opportunity to charge more for additional services. Having a professional looking side-gig site and portfolio helps, as well as good customer reviews.
One of the best ways to get side-gigs is to simply reach out in the communities and networks you’re already a part of. If you’re not in any community, try looking online to ﬁnd slack groups with people who not only share your interests, but may be in need of your services.
Slofile is a great tool that allows you to search for new slack groups to join.
Subcontracting through other companies.
Many companies will have work overﬂow and not enough staff to manage the demand. Therefore, having a list of key people they can reach out to help with the surplus will always be an added beneﬁt.
You can either reach out to these people yourself or approach them when you know they’re in need of support.
If you want to reach out to them yourself, send an email like the following:
My name is [NAME], and I’m a [job role]. I'm a big fan of your company's work and wanted to let you know that if you ever need any help with [task] or [task] feel free to reach out.
Here’s a link to my portfolio/website/LinkedIn.
Finding suitable side-gigs should not be difficult at all.
A quick search on Twitter for "recommend + your skill” will show you a number of different people looking for skills just like yours.
Side-Gig Case Studies
We spoke to Sandhya from Re.Now, who alongside her full-time job, enjoys helping with video scripts, brand playbooks, and brand communications. Typically, as a non-tech person working in the tech space, she struggles to ﬁnd side-gigs easily. However, with that said, her most lucrative avenue has been through her existing network.
When it comes to remuneration for her side-gigs, she believes money isn’t as important as enjoying the work she’s doing and often takes on gigs that act more as passion projects, focusing on issues and topics she believes in.
Before focusing full-time on his own project, Hashtag Basketball, Joseph used to freelance underPixelHeads. He said the type of work he enjoyed the most were projects that involved custom web applications, and problem solving. Having started out on the job board freelancer.com, he made sure he was picky with whom he worked with. This meant after successful completion of a number of projects, he no longer needed to rely on job boards and instead gained work through word of mouth. In terms of remuneration, Joseph was strict that his time was of value and if the client didn’t share that value they would be unable to work together.
Finally, Jason from Growth Ramp spends his time on side-gigs that are low cost to start, proﬁtable from the beginning, helpful for his friends and network and easy to scale. He ﬁnds that the best way to ﬁnd tech side gigs is to ask his friends and network what problems they need solving.
We also spoke to the founder of Deft Services, a startup that helps SaaS companies build and ship products better. They said the best kind of side-gigs are those that hedge against your current gig. In an ideal world, a successful side-gig should optimize for new interests or further autonomy. Payment is also not necessary, but recommended. When it comes to ﬁnding side-gigs they suggested their best efforts came from subcontracting with local marketing agencies who sell technology solutions but lack full-time employees to deliver them.
What Did We Learn?
As you will have read, there are a number of different approaches you can take to side-gigs depending on why you want to do a side-gig and what you hope to get out of it.
Take some time to think about whether you could beneﬁt (professionally or ﬁnancially) from doing side-gigs, or if the challenge of extending your skillset is reward enough.