Author Topic: Off season income ideas  (Read 2542 times)

Cranberries

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 126
Off season income ideas
« on: May 22, 2015, 11:17:24 AM »
Long time lurker here:

In the last ten years I have consistently chosen work that I love that paid poorly over pursuing higher paid opportunities.  This year I thought I was ready to make the switch to higher paid work, but life has a way of changing these things. I accepted what I thought would be my last seasonal job and planned to enjoy it thoroughly and move on at the end. Now I am not so sure that is what I want to do, and am considering options that would allow me to stay in this position long term while still making a higher annual wage.

My question:  What careers/jobs are out there that I could fit into a regular October-March season?  I would like to get my income up closer to ~40,000 in the immediate future. My current job provides 21,000 a year not including unemployment. If it were year round I would meet this goal easily but that is not an option in this position at this time. I am open to most fields but my B.S. and my primary work is in Botany. I do not have a Masters.

My expenses are around $15,000 and my savings and debt are both zero. I live in a high cost of living area with many opportunities.I am 30, and I'm fine with a slightly longer road to FIRE (FI, most likely). I may have children in the next 5 years, and would like to be able to support my (future) husband in working part time or being a SAHD.

PJ

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1381
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Toronto, Canada
Re: Off season income ideas
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2015, 02:43:43 PM »
I don't know why your question intrigues me so much ... maybe it's the mystique because you didn't say exactly what you do!  I'm assuming landscaping (design or maintenance), or tree planting, or working in a garden centre, or ...

Anyway, your question wasn't about what you do in the summer months, but about what you could do over the winter.  So, a few thoughts off the top of my head:

1.  I know someone who is a zookeeper, but not enough seniority to work full years yet.  She works retail for the rest of the year, at the same place for the last few years so they are happy to hire on summer staff when lots of young people are available, and take her back on when they go back to school.

2.  Landscapers often spend the off-season doing snow removal - depending on climate in their area, of course.  If you're up for self-employment, and in a cold place, this could work for you.  Could require investment in truck/plow, or you could do it on a smaller scale (i.e. residential) with a snow blower and a little trailer to move it from one street to the next.  I used to pay a reliable neighbour kid $20, more or less depending on level of snowfall, and he had more clients than he could manage on heavy snow days, when his parents would have to help him out.

3.  Some areas have flexible standards for supply teachers - if science background is in demand in your area this could work for you.

4.  Again, in terms of self-employment, office cleaning and office plant care for large corporations could be a possibility - this would be year round, of course, but you could then turn around and contract it out to a student for the summer months.

5.  Put together a variety of jobs at different times of the year.  My sister-in-law spends a couple of months before Christmas working at a place that makes up gift baskets.  She hates it, but she makes enough during that time to fund her art supplies and spending money for the rest of the year.  There is also seasonal work in retail, working for elections or the census periodically.  You could take a tax preparation course and spend the last few months before the tax deadline working for H&R Block or hanging out your own shingle.  Or find a financial planner (many, even if working through a big institution are self-employed) and get them to take you on for their busy season to help with setting up appointments and processing paperwork - here in Canada Jan/Feb is known as RRSP season, because contributions made during those months can be claimed on the previous year's taxes.

6.  School bus driver or crossing guard - this is Sept to June, obviously, so might not work, but it's also not full days so don't know if it might fit in with your other work.

7.  Finally, what are your hobbies and interests?  Are you a photographer?  A cake baker?  Do you sew or write?  Many different hobbies can be turned into small scale employment from home.  Could your primary field be blogged about, and monetized in some way? 

Do let us know what you end up exploring, and welcome to the forums, officially!

okits

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8722
  • Location: Canada
Re: Off season income ideas
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2015, 10:46:39 PM »
WOW on PJ's amazing list!  PJ, how did your sister find the gift basket gig?  Why doesn't she like it?

OP, do people in your area go on holiday more in the Oct-Mar months (to escape cold weather)?  You could try to get some work as a house sitter. Floods/burst pipes, weather damage, and even burglary are seriously expensive problems. A house sitter can be a small price to pay (look into home insurance policies, for example - I think mine has a clause where my insurance company won't cover damage from a frozen pipe that bursts if the house has been unoccupied for X days.  An excellent selling point for house sitting.)

Christmas is a big opportunity in the winter, of course, as are the other holidays (where restaurants/entertainment places may want more staff, even as their staff want the day off to be with family.)

Winter can be a hard time for people in frail health to get around. You could see if there's call for some help with errands, transportation, help around the house, or even just some companionship.

I know you are asking for Oct-Mar gigs, but if your specialty is strictly seasonal do/can you work your brains out Apr-Sep, then take it easier the other six months?  I bring it up only because if your field-related work pays about $20/hour and non-field-related work pays less, it could be worth it to do more field-related work, even if it makes your workload lumpy over the course of the year (use the off-months to slow travel!)

PJ

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1381
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Toronto, Canada
Re: Off season income ideas
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2015, 11:20:06 PM »
WOW on PJ's amazing list!  PJ, how did your sister find the gift basket gig?  Why doesn't she like it?

Aw, thanks!  I spent the whole time I was making myself dinner last night thinking about it! 

I don't know how my sister-in-law found the gift basket gig - she's been doing it for years.  Maybe a family friend?  As to why she doesn't like it, well, she is a bit of an odd duck.  I'm suspicious that she may have Asperger's Syndrome or something like that.  Artsy and creative, so she'd never buy a boring gift basket, and it can't be too exciting to put them together.  And not very social at all, at least not with people she doesn't know well.  She stays at home the rest of the year, so it's probably just too much people time for her.

Anyway, I like your additions to the list!  House sitting (and pet sitting!) and seniors help are both great ideas.

Cranberries

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 126
Re: Off season income ideas
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2015, 01:03:47 PM »
Thank you for your replies!

I do botanical surveys and monitoring. This usually consists of documenting what all the plant species are in a given area. There are definitely year round and/or higher paying jobs doing this in the private sector, but I really, really like the one that i have.

Many people who do this work spend their off season doing either ski patrol or a similar job to their summer gig but in the desert. I am hoping to find some option that allows me to stay in one home base.

My climate has mild winters, so the snow removal and pipe freezing options are out.  This means I get a longer season in my primary job though, so no complaining there!

PJ, I really like the Financial Planning office suggestion. I had considered tax prep, but had not thought of this twist on it. Tax preparation may not line up perfectly with my season, but is definitely on my list of options.

Multiple small jobs are also definitely an option. I have considered trying my hand at Christmas gift wrapping for the extremely wealthy community that surrounds me. Care taking / companionship do not suit my temperament, but I would be fine with house-sitting.

I know you are asking for Oct-Mar gigs, but if your specialty is strictly seasonal do/can you work your brains out Apr-Sep, then take it easier the other six months?  I bring it up only because if your field-related work pays about $20/hour and non-field-related work pays less, it could be worth it to do more field-related work, even if it makes your workload lumpy over the course of the year (use the off-months to slow travel!)

Unfortunately this is probably not an option. A second job during my season would most likely need to be in a completely separate field, and my job has no room for additional earnings. in It is possible I could pick up some off season consulting, but I am by no means the only one trying to do this sort of thing so the competition would be fierce.



PJ

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1381
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Toronto, Canada
Re: Off season income ideas
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2015, 04:38:39 PM »
Glad we could give you some ideas to explore ... check back in and let us know what happens, ok?  You don't have to go back to lurking now that we've just started to get to know you :-)