On the Side: 3 Careers You Can Work Toward in Your Free Time

Whether you just want to bring in a little extra money or you’re looking for a full-on career change, the challenge is always finding the time. You already have one job. Add in a family and time comes at a premium. Fortunately, there are careers you work toward in your free time and even make a little money in the process

Freelance Graphic Design

With tens of thousands of new websites launching every day and brands duking it out for SEO supremacy, this is a great time to move into freelance graphic design. Every website needs graphics content. A few examples include:

  • Logos
  • Header images
  • Cleaned up product photos

In addition to those common needs, you can also help with more specialized needs like book/album covers or real estate signs. The upside is that you can pre-make many of these graphics or design templates that speed up the process. All of which reduces your per-project time investment.

Freelance Writer

Remember all those websites we just mentioned, they don’t just need artwork. They also need text. If you can string together a punchy, readable blog post or a knock together a compelling white paper, you can be a freelance writer. A few other possible types of writing you can offer include:

  • Short reports
  • Marketing copy
  • Ebooks
  • Press releases

As a general rule, it’s best to focus in on an industry or topic you know well. This reduces the learning curve and lets you set premium rates from the outset.

Web Programmer

While many websites opt for content management systems, many others choose a custom web site solution. Enter the freelance web programmer. While web programming does take a more extensive technical skill set, it’s a skill set you can acquire in your free time. You can take advantage of numerous free online training options, such as:

  • FreeCodeCamp
  • Khan Academy
  • Codecademy
  • Coursera
  • Udemy

If you’re just starting out, focus on core web programming languages like HTML5, JavaScript, CSS3. Once you’re comfortable with them, you’ll want a working knowledge of Git, responsive design, and jQuery. Understanding PHP and SQL databases will help you, but it’s not an absolute requirement.
Programming evolves, so there’s always more to learn, but understanding these essentials will let you break into web programming.
While it’s easy to assume you must go back to school for a new degree or an MBA, there are careers you can work on in your free time. Freelance graphic design, freelance writing, and web programming all fall into that category. Most require very little upfront investment and you can devote as little or as much time as you have to them.