You can never have enough money in Singapore, and besides, there's no telling when you'll get retrenched or get so fed up end up firing your own boss. Having another stream of income is a great idea for those who have the time devote to some sort of side gig.
There are many ways to earn a side income-give tuition to other people's kids in the evenings, moonlight in the insurance or real estate industry, do freelance work, sell stuff on Carousell or do temp gigs on the weekends at roadshows.
Whatever you do, avoid these four types of side jobs that make many Singaporeans shake their heads sadly and say, "kena con".
The absolute worst way to spend a Friday night is to make plans to have drinks with a friend you haven't seen in years, spend a few minutes updating each other on your respective lives, only to have the friend slip in, "Would you be interested in a business opportunity?"
The next thing you know, you're attending some MLM event where the speakers try to convince you how joining their programme will turn you into an "entrepreneur.
Many Singaporeans love the idea of being able to "be their own boss", yet want everything served to them on a silver platter. Which is probably why in this day and age so many people are still getting suckered into joining MLM programmes.
At the recruitment talk, speakers dazzle them with stories about the five figure sums they earn from MLM, and how they've bought landed property and a Porsche with their earnings. If there's anything that can make Singaporeans throw all common sense out the window, it's the promise of easy money.
Before they know it, they're shelling out thousands of bucks to buy their first supply of uselessproducts, which leads to their desperately trying to recruit their friends in hopes of recouping their losses (they're promised a cut of a commission based on how much people they recruit sell).
Some people do manage to make money from MLM and it's not technically illegal in Singapore. If you're seriously thinking of going the MLM route, try to evaluate the product objectively and do research on the internet. Even if the company claims that they're selling a special face serum that can make you immortal or something as ridiculous as that, you can bet they'll still be promising that you'll become a multi-millionaire by the end of the year. Tread with caution and don't believe everything you hear.
Work from home scams
Sure, everybody likes the idea of working from home. No need to squeeze with people on the MRT, no need to install a mirror on your desktop screen so you can see when the boss is creeping up behind you.
But don't be too quick to respond to ads, whether online or in the local papers, that claim to offer a fantastic work-from-home job opportunity that will have you earning a good income while still being able to jaga your kids or watch Korean dramas at the same time. All for doing something ridiculously simple, like data entry. Too good to be true, right?
But of course, once you respond to the job ad, you'll be asked to pay a sum of money of, say, $35, in order to receive further instructions or order training materials.
You then realise that the "jobs" involves recruiting other people, which is why every so often you sometimes see people trying to advertise these "jobs" in online forums. The scammers will tell you to place ads on the internet and so on in order to earn money. And the sad thing is that many people have no qualms about doing so in order to recoup the money they lost when they themselves got scammed.
Dodgy or illegal jobs
When I was at school, I used to look through the classified ads in the Straits Times for part-time or temp jobs I could do to earn a bit of spare cash during the holidays. Amongst many of the jobs that I did, quite a few involved me doing stuff that was prohibited or illegal.
One of these jobs involved all the hires, aged between 14 and 18, running around town trying to peddle toys on the streets. Most of the people who were hired were completely clueless, and just did as they were told. Well guess what, selling stuff on the streets without a licence is actually illegal.
It's also not uncommon to spot job ads that are quite obviously placed by criminals trying to recruit helpers. More Singaporean youths are getting hired via ads on social media to become loanshark runners. Often, these kids are too young to realise they're doing something illegal until it's too late. And you can't really blame them, considering debt collection agencies often engage in similar harassment tactics, which is considered legal.
Just because your "boss" at your new side job tells you to do something doesn't mean you should just obediently follow his orders without evaluating whether what you're doing is legal or right.
The article first appeared on MoneySmart.
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