The unexpected way 2 part-time jobs make me a better entrepreneur

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Here at Millo we’re always promoting creating a business (and career) you love. This typically involves building a business from the ground up and being your own boss.

And without a doubt, being an entrepreneur is a fantastic job. I cringe at the thought of being tied down from 9-5 everyday.

(I mean, it’d have to be a REALLY amazing job – or even better paycheck – for me to even consider it.)

So it surprises you as much as it surprises me that I have not one but two remote part-time jobs…in addition to my personal design business called Greer Genius and officiating youth sports.

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And you know what?

They totally ROCK.

Really, I’m not just saying that because all of my “bosses” will be reading (that’s Preston – founder here at Millo, and Lou & David – cofounders of Reliable PSD).

These jobs have helped me grow and learn in ways I’d never expected.

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But before you dismiss me for taking a step away from freelancing, check out these 8 coolest aspects I’ve found about having a remote part-time job.*

*Not just any job, one that you actually want to have.

Technically, I’m an independent contractor in both positions. And I stress remote part-time job because I think that whole ‘commute and be there at certain times of day’ bit would really be a drag.

(Do you have a part-time job you totally love in addition to running your own business? Share it in the comments.)

1) Work with people worldwide

I interact daily with peers and clients around the globe. I’m talking Prague, Utah, Oregon, Ukraine, New Jersey, London, the Netherlands, Germany, Mexico, etc.

And even Canada, eh. 😀

In Finnish, “thank you” is “kiitos.” In Ukrainian, it’s “dyakui.” In Russian, “spasiba.”

How cool is that?

And it’s a true eye opener when your coworker tells you he grew up watching Rambo and loves it, and when you ask if that’s child appropriate, he tells you it was nothing compared to the real life war he grew up surrounded by.

2) Use new software and apps

In the past 6 months, I’ve used more new software than I have in the previous 3 years.

I feel more “in the know” and less of an old fuddy-duddy.

(This is a big deal as I transition from being one of the younger team members to one of the older ones.)

Seriously, as your business hums along and you don’t need to worry about team communication or project flow, it’s easy to get stagnant and let the flood of apps rush by you.

You get used to how you do things or don’t often justify productivity software as you’ve already got a system that works for you. And no one else is there to say, “really? Check out this new app…it automatically does everything you’re manually doing now.”

Read more about must-have software:

3) Get exposed to new ideas

One of the perks of that global peer/client network is learning from them. Not only do you get to see how other businesses do business – through both what works and what doesn’t, but you also can learn from them on an individual basis.

My freelance business has benefitted immensely in the following ways from my colleagues:

On a personal level, I’ve been introduced to culture, religion, values, food, interests, languages, relationships, and life from the far (and not so far) reaches of the globe.

And I have a tour guide and room to stay in a growing list of countries!

4) Find out what others think you’re really good at

I never would’ve told you that I’m good with client interactions.

Sure, I’m cheerful and friendly and optimistic, but when Lou & David approached me because of my communication skills, I was kind of surprised at how good they believed I was.

And then they kept reaffirming it, and my confidence in my “people” skills has kind of shot through the roof since.

The point is, when you’re with yourself and no one else all day every day, what you’re really fantastic at might not seem like such an amazing feat. But to others, you may be a rockstar, and you’d never know unless you put those skills on display.

Bonus! You’ll also figure out where your weaknesses are compared to other freelancers/entrepreneurs/businesses.

5) Be a part of something bigger than yourself

When you work by yourself, it’s easy to feel the world shrink.

Your excellent ideas (and they are excellent, by the way) only influence a tiny portion of the people who need to hear them.

It can be difficult to break onto the regional, national, or international level. Why would someone hire little ol’ you halfway around the county/state/world?

When you work with a team, often you’re working on a grander scale than your own. That means you as an individual – even as a part of a larger whole – have direct influence on a greater number of people.

Example: Roughly speaking, right now Millo reaches over 55,000 readers each month. That may not sound like a lot, but considering that a nobody like me directly influences what a small stadium of people (what I’d like to think eagerly await to) read each month is a bit mind-blowing…and confidence-boosting!

6) Make steady income (and maintain flexibility)

On a financial level, taking a part-time job means stabilizing your income somewhat.

Am I making less than if I were working for my own company? Yes.

But this is (nearly) guaranteed work, so I know when I wake up that there will be work in my inbox, and I didn’t have to do anything to make it appear there.

So I can count on a set amount of income each month before I lift a finger for any Greer Genius work. This kind of financial stability allows me to tackle only the freelance work I’m really excited about as well as helps me save for retirement and afford health insurance.

And with both of my part-time jobs, my hours are fairly flexible. So while Reliable prefers me to work a morning shift, if I have an appointment or my dogs need a 20-minute potty break, it’s no big deal. They know I’ll make sure the important stuff gets handled quickly.

Also, with proper advance notice, I’m free to take vacation as I’d like (within reason).

BIG PERK.

7) Open up new opportunities

Expanding your network almost always brings with it new possibilities. A friend of a friend needs services you provide, and now you’ve got someone to vouch for you.

That’s exactly how one part-time job snowballed into two for me. The Reliable folks approached me about working with them because they knew me (and my skillset) from Millo.

Now that they’ve seen my expanded skill set, I’ve been connected with overflow design work from their creative agency.

And I’ve found a part-time job for my boyfriend to boot.

Who knows what’s next?

8) Work on other passive forms of income

Since I’m covering my monthly expenses pre-Greer Genius work, I’m free to take my foot off the gas pedal and work on other opportunities.

I don’t have to be caught up in the “hustle” of needing to find another paying gig this month.

So I’m freer to pursue passive forms of income that will help sustain my lifestyle in the long run. Things like:

  • Creating a Skillshare class
  • Writing another ebook
  • Translating my existing ebook into Kindle/Nook/Apple-compatible formats
  • Collaborating on a new piece of software in another industry

Is a part-time job right for you?

It’s true, I’ve taken on less freelance work since working for Millo and Reliable PSD. But the work I have accepted has been more lucrative and more satisfying.

I’m happy. I enjoy my life and my work. I enjoy my career.

I’m being exposed to new ideas and opportunities.

And I love it.

Maybe the right remote part-time job(s) can do the same for you.

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About April Greer

April is the Director of Projects at Reliable PSD, a design-to-code company for designers, by designers. She’s the glue keeping everything together, organized, and right on time, and giving everyone a fantastic experience while she does it.

 

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Comments

  1. Sharon Pettis McElwee says:

    I work every Saturday as a rural mail carrier. Working one day a week may not seem to be a big deal, but it covers my rent. I did it several days a week for a few years, but decided the hours and income were too unstable. So now I get to drive around the beautiful countryside every Saturday, sling mail and sing in my car, for money 🙂

    • Sharon,

      Too cool! I used to deliver pizza as a high schooler, and I’ve always said what a great job it was — drive around and listen to music all night, and get paid for it!

      I hope the post office pays better, and what a way to get out of the house and reconnect with the beauty of nature!

      Thanks for sharing!

  2. Monica Rose Kelly says:

    I just opened up a new art markeet in collaboration with a local restaurant. We have 15-20 outdoor art vendors every Friday and Saturday who rent table space to sell their wares. As the Director, I’ve taken on a very strong marketing/ artist advocate role, which allows me to flex different muscles. I love being surrounded by fellow artists and strategizing to connect our local community with the tourist industry here in New Orleans! Check us out – @magazineartmarket and I am @monicakellystudio

    • Monica,

      That sounds like a really awesome job! I bet you get a lot of warm fuzzies when you see the fruits of your labor.

      Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. jameset1024 says:

    I started my own design company Bright Thought Design basically a one man show. As I have been growing my business I took the same route as you and have two remote part-time jobs as well. I do some development work for a design company in another state and I work doing development work for a Canadian based company with employees from all over the world. Everything you said about learning new ways of doing things and new apps, plugins, and software is definitely the experience that I am having working with so many different people.

    • Hey Erik,

      Sounds cool! Sometimes it’s a “I should totally do that!” learning experience and sometimes it’s a “I don’t think that’d work for me.” experience, but both are highly worth it!

      Thanks for sharing!

  4. I have a question about how you adjusted your expected income/pay rate. I have been approached for part-time jobs before but I don’t know how much of a discount from my normal goal hourly rate as a freelancer there should be vs. what is a proper rate for part-time work so that both my employer and I are satisfied. For example, if I make $50/hr freelance, should I shoot for $25/hr part-time or $30? $40? (doing the same type of work)

    • Hey Lauren,

      Actually, it wasn’t me who set the pay rate for either of my jobs, but I did have to determine if the rate they wanted to pay me at was worth it to me.

      I don’t know that there’s a formula per-se, but you do have to factor in that they’re doing all the work finding clients, handling project management, communicating, etc. and you’re doing the actual design work only, so more people want a bite of the pie.

      As a subcontractor, though, I charge my full rate.

      Neither of my part-time jobs could afford to pay me that, though, and both of my jobs are less “technical” if you will than graphic and web design/development. Plus they’re both start-ups, so there’s potential for growth, and I try to stay abreast of how they think I’m doing + how well the companies are doing so I know when to feel comfortable asking for a raise. 🙂

      I know that’s not a direct answer, but I hope it helps! Maybe someone else has a more logical, formulaic response (that I’d love to hear, too)!

  5. Lou Levit says:

    Firstly, you’re definitely not a nobody!! 🙂

    Secondly, this article brought a tear to my eye, as you know by now I’m a pretty emotional person lol.

    We are so happy and blessed to have you as part of our team! All the tips and lessons in this article are really awesome and enlightening. Thanks so much for sharing your experience!

    • Awwww, thanks, Lou! 🙂 I’m really thrilled to have teamed up with you guys. I never expected it to enhance my work and my life like it has.

  6. This was a great read!
    I started my own graphic design company almost a year ago. I also moonlight 3 nights a week as a chef at a local cafe.

    Graphic design was not my first passion, culinary arts was. But since I have been a graphic designer, I have had many clients express how the culinary arts and graphic design work hand in hand. Attention to detail and having to be creative in both, the last 10 months have been quite an adventure.

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