A few days ago, I wrote a post about why I love multiple income streams. Today, I’m going to go to the dark side and tell you why they suck. I can’t help it, I’d like to think of myself as a realist! To clarify: I’m defining “part-time” as something that takes 15-20 hours a week and “freelance” as a project, which can have variable hours.
1.) They are a huge time constraint. If you have two jobs, one full-time and one part-time, you will quickly learn that the remaining time you have left is precious and likely, you are not going to feel like doing anything besides having some chill time in your remaining hours. You will simply not have as much time as you did before to accomplish other things. Freelancing projects are very similar, and they can become even more of a time constraint because a good freelancer wants his or her work to go out perfect so that it reflects well on them. Perfect takes time, people.
2.) You will have a less flexible schedule. If you’re a freelancer, your schedule will likely still be pretty flexible, because you can choose to some degree when you want to have meetings/work on projects. However, if you have a part-time job in addition to a full-time job, your schedule will probably be much more rigid (example: You work 8-4:30 at your regular job, and then work 5:30-10:15 at your second job). This means that you will not be able to be as spontaneous with your plans – you won’t be able to have a last-minute dinner with a close friend or decide on a whim to take a class at your gym. With proper scheduling, you can still get in your gym time or make your social commitments. If you are someone that likes to fly by the seat of their pants, however, this could get really tricky really fast.
3.) Your secondary income streams are likely going to pay less. If you take a second job, chances are that you are going to be paid less than at your main job. Traditional second job choices are in low-paying fields, such as food service/preparation or retail. There are some second jobs that pay better than your main gig, but finding those are few and far between (example: my dance teaching job pays me almost double what my main job pays me per hour. The catch is that I only teach a few hours a week, so in the end it isn’t very much money at all). Freelancers typically look at things differently: they usually get paid per job instead of per hour. The downside to this is that often, freelancers spend a lot of time on a project which equals out to a lower hourly wage.
4.) Fatigue. Fatigue can strike any worker, but it is especially rampant for workers with multiple sources of income. If you are working long hours at multiple jobs, or work all day at your main job and then come home and spend 5-6 more on a project, fatigue can strike quickly. Oftentimes, there is no getting around it – it is just a bad side effect of working a lot. Trying to get a good nights’ sleep can help, but many multi-jobbers sacrifice sleep in order to accomplish things in their personal life. There were many occasions where I got off work at 10:30 after working for 14+ hours at two different jobs where I went home, showered, and went right back out until the wee hours just so that I could spend a little time with my friends.
5.) Burn–out. I have worked multiple jobs since I graduated high school. I can’t really remember the last time where I only had one job. It doesn’t bother me anymore, because I am at a point where I can manage my time between the jobs well, and I have the ability to cut my hours back if I am feeling particularly overwhelmed. That being said, I have felt burn-out many times. The most burned-out I have ever felt was after the restaurant that I had been managing decided to shut down and only give a weeks’ notice. I scrambled to find work to fill in the unexpected unemployment. I picked up every shift I could from my coffee shop gig, and started working for a local restaurant here in town. I would leave right from working at the coffee shop from 7:30-4, and work at the restaurant from 4:30 until 10 or so, and then leave and do the whole thing over again the next day. Both jobs required you to be on your feet, active, and creating orders in a quick time period. It was exhausting. I did it for awhile, to get my financial feet underneath me, but I finally had to move on from the restaurant. In my downtime, I literally wanted to do as little as possible. I was becoming depressed. I felt like a failure. It was time to move on. Burn-out can happen when a person works only one job, but the effect is amplified when you are working multiple jobs. Your candle can only burn at both ends for so long.
I try to stay positive on this blog, but sometimes a reality check-in is order. Unfortunately, reality means that there are unsavory aspects to having multiple income streams. I am still a big fan of multiple incomes, and I still recommend it to anyone looking to boost their income or try out a different field – but I also feel like they should know the downsides, too!