Studying and Part-time work/supplementary income

post by Goobahman · 2014-01-22T02:22:00.639Z · score: 1 (8 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 4 comments

Hi Less Wrong,


I'd like to draw on you for some advice.


I'm about to undertake studies, but will need some supplementary income to attain my desired standard of living while doing so.

Part-time work could be attained quite easily, but is likely to take the form of something fairly boring e.g. data entry/bar work.


I was thinking that there might be ways out there for me to learn a particular skill set that would enable me to work from home and at more flexible hours for a source of income, as well as providing me the opportunity to learn something new, given that so many people on here seem to do such things quite successfully. 


Given my circumstances below what would you recommend:


I'm fairly intelligent, enjoying learning, and have strong social skills

I live in Sydney Australia

I have musical talents

I have a car

I lack softward development/programming skills

I have decent office application skills.

I'm willing to put the hours in to level up a new ability.


Any suggestions/Tips/criticisms are welcome.


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by free_rip · 2014-01-22T04:38:49.910Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Throughout college, I've used tutoring (tertiary, not kids) as my supplementary income source. If you know your stuff well enough, there are several key benefits: you can usually tutor on campus if your client goes there too (which is super convenient), you get to brush up on all the basics as you go so it's like extra study while you work, it requires little to no prep if you know your stuff, and I personally find it lots of fun. It also tends to have a high pay-rate, and once you get some experience you can set your own (when I started I charged $15ph an hour, now two years down the track I charge $25ph).

If you're just starting college this year you may have to do a semester of tutoring kids first, seeing as you won't have done any courses you can tutor in at tertiary. I've tutored courses I'm in the middle of taking before, but only when I am very confident in the area already. But see if you can sign up with a department, register on online tutoring directories, and put up flyers around campus.

The other opportunities I see around a lot for students (other than min-wage) are mostly tech-related (web development - usually one-offs, programming). If you're good at music you might get a few one-offs playing at parties, but I wouldn't expect any sort of reliable work. You could advertise as a cheap professional photographer for weddings, parties, kids photos etc. if you invested in a good camera and spent some time learning the basics.

comment by Sherincall · 2014-01-23T21:29:56.760Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If your school hours are flexible, and you can find such a job, you can also consider an inverted approach:

Find a full time job that doesn't require constant action, something where you spend most of the time on stand by - Let's say a not-so-busy call center, or a rarely visited shop. That way, you can spend all of the standby time studying.

The downsides are obvious - The job itself will likely be something you don't enjoy, and the hours you spend doing it won't give you any new skills. The upside is that you pick any skill to improve in the standby hours, and you get a fulltime pay.

Now, it isn't easy to find a job where you have that much downtime, and where they tolerate you doing something unrelated, but if you could meet all the prerequisites, I think it would be worth it.

comment by Lumifer · 2014-01-24T02:18:31.208Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Find a full time job that doesn't require constant action, something where you spend most of the time on stand by

Traditionally, that is the job of the night watchman (security guard night shift, in modern parlance).

comment by Ishaan · 2014-01-26T07:03:47.843Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Edit: Nevermind, I'm not sure if they can take writers outside the US...

work from home and at more flexible hours for a source of income

I used to work freelance for demand studios (ehow,, etc) in high school. I haven't done it for a while and I don't know what changes the system has undergone, but it used to be 15$/article, and everything done from home. It's very formulaic and you don't get much creative licence so it's only marginally more exciting than data entry, but it was very flexible, payments were prompt, and it wasn't not too challenging to churn out articles fast enough to beat minimum wage by a large margin.

All of the above is old information though - a lot has changed. Still might be worth looking into.