Alex Sanfilippo likes his job as director of commercial operations at the Jacksonville-based aerospace manufacturing company Team JAS. But the 29-year-old is convinced that one job is not enough.
“The 9-to-5 job I have is definitely what I consider my foundation,” Sanfilippo said. “Anything else I do on the side is icing on the cake or something to put away for retirement for the future.”
Sanfilippo is among the legions of millennial workers versed in what has been dubbed the side hustle.
Second jobs are nothing new, but they’re on the rise, especially among young professionals
Besides his main job, Sanfilippo is a digital coach for website development. He also has several investments in real estate and is a rental property owner. He started his own real estate firm in Jacksonville when he was 17, then sold it as the housing market cratered in the Great Recession. That experience taught him how to handle business, and, most importantly, the value of time management and networking.
“Absolutely, if I was to limit everything to aerospace I would be OK; that’s nice and that’s comforting,” Sanfilippo said. “But what really gets exciting for me is the amount of contacts I made in different industries.
“It’s not just the aerospace contacts that I know. Now, I know a bunch of entrepreneurs who are in real estate and then on the digital marketing side of things, I speak all around Florida at different conferences that involve web design … . For me, it’s just the peace of mind knowing there are other people out there where I can go to pursue another career or just freelance,” Sanfilippo said.
The side hustle is a growing trend among millennials, said Kaytie Zimmerman, a millennial herself who has several jobs and is a contributing writer to Forbes magazine on millennial issues.
“The numbers right now are trending — one in four” millennials has at least a second job, Zimmerman said referencing a recent study by Bankrate, a website that analyzes financial and investment trends.
“That’s actually a fairly large number. People have been working second and third jobs for decades,” Zimmerman said. “However, it’s not necessarily the sense of how they [millennials] are working additional jobs. It’s engaging in creative type of work. It’s not your traditional waitressing job on the side.”
The Bankrate study published in July stated that 44 million American adults have a side hustle. It also said that 28 percent of millennials between the ages of 18 and 26 have second jobs and 96 percent of those millennials say they work on a side job at least once a month.
Those jobs are usually not very lucrative. Only 19 percent of millennials are making more than $500 a month from their side hustles, the study showed. And Baby Boomers between the ages of 53 and 62 are the most likely age group to make more than $1,000 per month from a side job, according to the Bankrate analysis.
Zimmerman, who lives in Nocatee, runs the website optimisticmillennial.com and she handles career and money advice on that blog.
She said millennials are more willing to have second and even third jobs because they are so adept at handling new media and its impact on commerce.
“The primary area where it’s different for millennials is the internet and our aptitude to understand that anything is available to us,” Zimmerman said. “We can learn anything on the Internet and we’re able to turn that into a business.”
‘LEARNING A PROFESSION’
Don Capener, dean of the Davis College of Business at Jacksonville University, said more students are entering the business program at the university in an effort to improve their employment. And many of them are non-traditional students who have been holding down second jobs for years.
“What we’re seeing is an increase in folks putting together a combination of different jobs and combining them together to make a living a wage or something that can work for their lifestyle,” Capener said.
“In some cases, they’re underemployed. In other cases, they’re working on their education.”
Ultimately, many JU business students see their second jobs as an entry into a new career.
“We see that a lot. Folks may have graduated in an area that they’re really passive about,” Capener said. “We have a number of people who are interested in being an entrepreneur or wanting to start their own restaurant and they’re working part-time at a restaurant or a business or places they respect to learn a little bit.
“They’re not just earning extra money. They’re learning a profession they want to do in the future.”
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
Candace Moody, vice president of communications at CareerSource of North Florida, said there are obviously many reasons workers take on side hustles and the options appear to be more diverse than in years past.
“They often pick something that’s convenient to home or to work, something that works for them. It’s often based on convenience as much as it is income,” Moody said.
Regardless of the industry or income, Moody advises workers to strongly consider opting for a second job. She said the Great Recession proved many employees who have only one primary job are vulnerable to the whims of the marketplace.
“A lot of people found during the recession, it took just one phone call to put them out of work,” Moody said. “If you have a side hustle, especially if you’re self-employed in your side hustle, it takes a lot of calls to put you out of work completely.”
But she cautioned workers to check with primary employers first because, more likely than not, there are some company restrictions on taking on additional employment.
“Almost every company with a human resources structure will have a policy on it,” Moody said. “Generally, you have to let them know who your second job is with and let them know where it is. There may be a conflict of interest.”
Moody also advises professionals who are interested in a side hustle to have a second job well outside the hours of their primary work.
“[Companies] want to make sure it is not interfering with your regular hours,” Moody said. “It kind of depends on the company; if you’re working a couple hours on the weekend in retail, you may not need to worry much about that. But they want to make sure they know where you are and they want to make sure they won’t run into a conflict of interest that comes up to bite them later.”
Drew Dixon: (904) 359-4098