[Please welcome Tonya from BudgetandTheBeach.com today while J$ enjoys the rest of his paternity leave... You didn't know this, but all finance bloggers are granted leave each time they have a baby. Only they don't get paid for it, and all their work backs up while they're off snuggling;) Happy Friday!]
All week long I tossed and turned while I slept… I was having crazy weird dreams, and all of them involved feeling a bit out of control.
In one very strange dream, I was sentenced (by whom I have no idea) to sleep in a car. But the car was evil, and spun around in the garage and went totally crazy, while I screamed and tried to grab a hold of the wheel and drive. I woke up from that dream in a pool of sweat.
I’m a Libra in the truest sense. I weigh decisions heavily. Maybe not ones like choosing what to eat for dinner, but bigger ones like saying yes to a job. I think that was the root of my nightmares this week.
Joining the Side Hustlers of America (S.H.O.A.)
In case you don’t know me from my blog, I’m a freelance video editor. I started freelancing in 2008, after I was laid off from my full time job of eight years. I didn’t plan on becoming a freelancer, so I was thrown into the deep end of the water at the height of the recession, and because no one was hiring full time at the time, I started working on my own.
To say it’s been a roller coaster ride is an understatement. I was not evenly remotely prepared emotionally and financially to become a freelancer, so I learned everything by
trial and error.
As most freelancers can attest to, work has a tendency to ebb and flow, so in 2013 I joined the ranks of Side Hustlers of America (S.H.O.A). :)
I did everything from earning income from my blog, to coaching beach volleyball, to being an extra on game shows, to personal assistant work for my good friend, i.e., cleaning his disgusting toilet. Hey whatever man, it helped pay the bills. No job was “beneath me,” but what made them ideal is that they were flexible. Whenever I got totally slammed with freelance work, I could easily not clean my friend’s apartment, or move my volleyball lessons around.
A couple of months ago I decided I would start looking for full time work again. At the same time I decided to expand my search for new freelance clients and projects as well. I’ve just been relying on one client for 90% of my work, so if anything were to go south, I’d be screwed.
In the midst of my search, a contact for a job I applied for last summer appeared in my inbox, asking me to send an updated resume, because they were looking to hire someone. I excitedly emailed him back right away, and within five minutes he called me and asked if I would like to come in for an interview.
Weighing the Pros and Cons…
The position is for a part time job at a local programming type place, and one immediate pro was that it was located about three blocks from my house at the high school.
I met the team and they were all really cool and nice, and we chatted for a long time. I felt really good about how the interview went, and felt strongly they would hire me.
The other pros are that it is “somewhat” flexible, meaning I could work around my other work, and that in this position I could wear many hats. So if I wanted to get more experience in other areas of production, I could.
The major con, however, is that it pays $16/hour, and what is that after taxes? $11ish? I don’t want to give away my hourly or day rate as a video editor…but it’s much, much more. I’ve been doing this for over 20 years. It’s not their fault, it’s just a very local, lower budget production type place.
Also, I don’t always know my freelance video schedule ahead of time (as much as I wish that were different, that’s never going to change), so if I’m scheduled at the part time place and something comes up for my main gig, and I say “no” one too many times, then my main client will eventually go elsewhere.
As predicted, I was offered the job, but needed time to think about it to weigh the pros and cons.
I even asked for opinions from those both inside and outside my industry. Interestingly enough, those outside said, “hell yeah, take it,” and those inside said, “no way!” But deep down, I already knew what my heart and gut were telling me.
Don’t undervalue yourself
In late 2012, I wrote a post on my blog, which was almost like a mission statement for myself, that I would focus on “big rock” projects (based on this story). I wanted to fill the majority of my time with as many bigger, interesting, and better paying jobs as humanly possible, and when and if I had a little down time, I could do some “small rock” projects (like coaching volleyball).
It’s a disservice to undervalue yourself. Now, if I was struggling to make ends meet, was in boat-loads of debt, or living paycheck to paycheck, then damn straight I would be taking whatever “rocks” I could get, big or small. But I’ve put myself in a decent place where I can be a little pickier about which jobs to take.
“What about the experience you would gain?” Well, that can really be achieved on my own if I really want it bad enough. I can borrow cameras from friends, produce my own material and put it on Youtube, write scripts and make them into movies, and I can certainly learn new technical skills on my own.
The point of this is that sometimes just because you are offered ANY money, you don’t always have to take it. There are many factors at stake: time, work/life balance, putting your skills to better use elsewhere, etc.
It’s not always about the Benjamins.
Have you ever regretted taking a part time job or side hustle just because you wanted to earn a little extra money?
Tonya is a video editor and writer living in Los Angeles. She chronicles her journey of becoming financially independent, and navigating the rocky waters of freelancing in her personal finance blog Budget & the Beach. You can follow her on twitter at @beachbudget.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This reminded me of two things: 1) My crazy dream about money I had myself the other week ;) And 2) that having a good head on your shoulders, and even better – a solid financial foundation – gives you mad options throughout life. As Tonya mentioned she’d of course take the money if she was on the brink of starvation and penniless, but since she’s set herself up to have some padding (even if it’s not her dream amount of padding), she’s able to make decisions on merit vs. money alone. And that’s some powerful $hit!
[Photo cred: StockMonkeys.com]