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30 April, 2014
How to Avoid the Job-Search Black Hole
3 May, 2014

Redd Horrocks had a five-figure problem. “I had credit card debt from a plethora of bad choices,” she says. While her job with an event production company was paying the bills, it wasn’t doing much to put a dent in her debt. Then, she happened onto the website Fiverr and discovered she was able to market her British and American accents to buyers from across the globe.

Horrocks had previously done some voiceover work as a favor for friends and had considered signing with an agency to earn extra cash. However, doing so meant paying subscription fees and attending dozens of auditions before landing a job. On the other hand, “Fiverr was easy and didn’t have any fees associated with it,” she says. The Minnesota resident found so much success on the site, she not only paid off her debt, but also switched careers to become a full-time professional voiceover artist.


Not everyone has a British accent to sell, but here are seven other ways people can dig out of their debt.

Serving at a restaurant. While it’s not everyone’s first choice, working at a restaurant is a tried and true way to pick up some extra money. It’s how Lamar Dawson, a public relations executive in New York City, was able to knock out his student loan debt in no time. “This was a well-established restaurant, so the pay was pretty high,” he says of his job as a host. “I was making $15 an hour plus tips, so averaging around $21 an hour.” Dawson only worked weekends and immediately deposited his pay and put it toward debt to avoid spending the money on something else.

Tutoring students. Tutoring services, such as Wyzant and Tutor.com, make it easy for people to connect with students who need extra help. “Tutoring is convenient and flexible,” says Mike Moradian, executive director of HonorSociety.org, “Tutors can choose to work online or in-person, and many colleges even hire peer tutors to work on campus.” PayScale reports tutors earn an average of $17 an hour. However, those with strong credentials may charge $35 to $50 or more per hour depending on their expertise and where they are located.

Manning the cash register. It’s not a glamorous job, but working as a cashier or clerk can be a relatively easy way to bring in the money needed to wipe out debt. Job opportunities may be especially plentiful during the holiday season. “You see a ton of retail jobs open, and many of these can pay $10 an hour or more,” says Joanne Munekawa, a career services manager with Employment Boost. “The great part is, if your day job experience is something you can leverage, you can likely pull off a supervisor role, which is going to get you a higher hourly pay.”

Driving and delivering. There’s an opportunity to make extra money by driving for companies such as Uber and Lyft. These jobs are flexible, but pay can vary depending on where you’re located. A 2014 study from Uber found drivers grossed an average of $17 an hour, but a more recent analysis by BuzzFeed News found net pay was much lower in some cities – bottoming out at $8.77 an hour for drivers in Detroit.

If driving people isn’t your thing, eDEMAND lets workers make deliveries instead. “There’s a consistent stream of work available 24/7, allowing drivers to accept as many or as few jobs as they’d like,” says Joel Ritch, CEO of Progistics Distribution, who adds pay can vary but may be as much as $50 an hour. “The transparent pricing structure allows drivers to know how much they will make before accepting a job.”


Working as a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants may answer emails, make appointments or manage social media campaigns among many other things. “[They] are hired by busy startup founders, entrepreneurs and overworked executives who need part-time help to complete the little tasks they don’t have time for,” Moradian says. They may work on their own schedule or be required by clients to be available online at certain times. Companies such as eaHELP and Fancy Hands connect virtual assistants to clients. Other workers in the field may branch out and market their own services. Virtual assistants earn an average of $16 an hour, according to PayScale.

Being a fitness coach. Those with a passion for fitness may find it provides an avenue toearn extra money. “Personal training has to be one of the best part-time jobs you can get to help pay off debt,” says Mel Jones, CEO of Grip Work Gear. “I was a personal trainer for almost three years, getting paid $30 an hour on my own schedule.” Jones liked the work so much that he eventually transitioned into the field full time and now employs college students who put in anywhere from 10 to 20 hours a week. “It really makes a difference in paying off their student loans,” he says.

Offering services online. If none of the above options sound like a good fit, don’t despair. Thanks to the emerging gig economy, sites like Fiverr allow people to create their own part-time job using whatever skills or talents they might have. “We help you set up your service page. We help you price it, and then your listing is up,” says David Manela, chief revenue officer for Fiverr. Other sites that make it easy for people to market their goods and services include Etsy, Upwork, Freelancer and Guru. Pay varies significantly based on skill and experience.


One common thread among all the above options is they may not be something you’ll want to do forever. “When coaching people on how to find part-time jobs, especially when paying off debt is the goal, we have to paint the picture of doing something that you may not love,” Munekawa says. “But if you keep reminding yourself it will bring peace of mind [from being debt-free], it’s worth it in the end.”


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