One hard thing about being a budding freelancer is that you can never be sure of putting food on the table every damn day of the week. Apart from being a breadwinner you also have other things to attend to, all that requires money. Needless to say, your family and friends also expect you to throw in some cash for fundraisings and such kind of things. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that most freelancers often end up seeking a second job (often the main job) in order to supplement their income.
Even for those who seem to have had a stroke of luck in this industry, Moonlighting has remained a big part of the play. I personally have worked on both sides of the game: both as a full-time freelancer and as a moonlighter. Let’s understand the term “Moonlighting” first before we delve into how to eat from both ends of the cake.
What is Moonlighting as a Freelancer?
The Urban Dictionary defines Moonlighting as simply the act of “holding a second job, often done at night and usually of a sketchy nature”. On the other hand, the Cambridge Dictionary defines Moonlighting as “working at an extra job, specifically without the knowledge of your main employer.” From both explanations, you can tell that moonlighting is not exactly a pleasant thing for your employer to know about. As a matter of fact, some employers would rather fire an employee than house a moonlighter in their staff. On the contrary, in this very competitive and demanding world, almost everybody is moonlighting in order to make ends meet.
Why Moonlight with freelancing as opposed to other jobs?
Freelancing is among the best side hustles on the planet if not the most ideal. Unlike other forms of part-time businesses, with freelancing all you need is a laptop and a reliable internet connection and you are good to go. As a freelancer, you can work from almost anywhere on this planet including under the sea lol! as long as you can breathe and have a computer and good internet connection. This explains why very many modern day internet magnates built their online empires while still working in their 9 to 5 jobs. A good example is my own mentor Aytekin Tank, Founder of Jot Form.
On his Blog, Mr. Aytekin outlines why having a regular job and working part-time on your side hustle (or if you like bootstrapping) is a better option than seeking external financing and VC Funding. From my own experience, Bootstrapping (i.e building your company from scratch without any external input) is not for the faint-hearted. From what I have seen, having a regular job can greatly improve your odds of succeeding as a bootstrapper, not to mention keep you afloat even your business has no revenue.
Of course, for those of you who are wondering whether to quit your jobs and begin freelancing full-time, you might be having a different opinion. However, if you would ask me, before quitting first think twice of what you are about to do. Preferably, ask someone who has ever done it to tell you what their experience was like. Consult before you make the biggest mistake of a lifetime. I am not suggesting that 9 – 5 jobs are appealing, no they aren’t! In fact, at times they suck to an extent that most people would quit if they had another option. However, even with their distasteful nature, formal jobs give us peace of mind. We need this peace as freelancers in order to make the best from our talents.
Why Freelancers should Moonlight and keep their 9-5 Job
Helps you get around Famine weeks
Every Freelancer has those days when there is hardly any work to do and no money to make. This is where moonlighters win the moonlighting vs freelancing battle. With a full-time job, getting through these weeks is much easier unlike in the case of a full-time freelancer. In addition, a full-time job guarantees that none of your daily basic needs go unmet.
Gives you More Freedom from both Jobs
With multiple streams of income comes the comfort of choice. Whenever you are free you can choose to work on what you feel like working on. In addition, you reduce the amount of idle time that you have in your schedule. I personally have come to learn the art of making good use of my free time through freelancing. Whenever my desk job bores me, at least I can take a break doing something productive. Be it designing a logo for a client or proofreading an article.
Let’s you explore other ways of making Money
As a moonlighter, you have the luxury of trying out new stuff. This is because you can always delegate and outsource the excess work to other freelancers using the money you make from freelancing and your 9-5 Job.