Steady Stories

With 50 Gigs, Liz Regularly Switches Gears

Berry Cart, DO$H, Focus Pointe, Honey, Coinout, Bizrate, Dabbl, InboxDollars…Liz juggles literally dozens of side hustles on top of her job at Technicolor, the French provider of technical services to the movie industry.

Living in expensive Los Angeles, the 34-year-old has an 11-year-old son, who lives with her part-time, as does her boyfriend’s son. “Lots of people floating around,” she says. “Lots of reasons to make that extra cash.”

She is a classic multi-tasker, doing transcription while commuting by bus to work and then, after-hours, taking surveys, hunting up rebates and doing other web-based jobs. “Anything I can do to help save up to cover all the bills and expenses and then fun stuff on top of it helps.”

She describes herself as a bit obsessive/compulsive, well-suited to the non-traditional work life: she sets herself income goals and uses a spreadsheet to track about 50 online gigs. Being able to sort the list by payout, by points accumulated and by her current tallies helps her prioritize. “It shows me where I’m close to getting a reward so I can concentrate on knocking those out.”

Liz says the flexibility of being able to switch gears is a big plus. This way, “(I)really make sure I keep that stream of supplemental income coming in and I don’t end up in a position where I’m short.”

It’s a key to the success she is enjoying. “I would say that the best thing related to having multiple streams of income is probably that if I have a slow week with one thing, such as my transcription, I can usually concentrate on my survey/rebate-type websites and make up the difference.”

And, because transcription takes a toll on her wrists, she can take a rest from pounding the keyboard by earning money for taking surveys or hunting rebates.

Sore wrists aren’t the only downside to be managed.

With so many opportunities, she finds it hard to slow down. “Even though I’ve done, say, three hours of transcription, I feel like if I don’t keep up on my survey and rebate options, then I’m leaving money on the table. Because of the fact that I tend to be a bit of a workaholic and I’m a little OCD as far as keeping track of my daily goals…I do tend to sort of fall down a black hole of all work and no play, so I do need to keep an eye on that and just sort of make sure I that I’m maintaining a work/life balance.”

For example, Liz says, one recent day she found herself frustrated by sunshine. Because rain was forecast, she had driven to work instead of taking the bus. “I didn’t do transcription for like an hour and a half this morning, which is money that I gave up. Fortunately, I can go home and jump on some transcription jobs then, so hopefully I can make it up.”