Sometimes, it seems like Singaporeans are all doing the same few boring jobs in banking, finance, insurance and the civil service. As for students working part-time everyone's either giving tuition or in F&B.
It's clear we don't have anyone who's secretly a superhero after hours (unless you count VR Man), and we don't really have anyone who's going to be the next Mark Zuckerberg either-the richest people in Singapore are mostly real estate magnates.
If you're looking for a part-time or side job to boost your income but the thought of contributing to the tuition industry makes poverty seem preferable, here are five interesting things you can do to earn more money in your free time.
Dog walker or pet sitter
There are way too many frustrated, yappy dogs stuck in HDB flats that don't get enough exercise because their owners are never around to take them out. Most of the time when you see dogs being walked around their estates, they're accompanied by maids.
Now it's super easy to become a dog walker or a pet sitter with Airbnb-like website and mobile app Pawshake, which links pet owners up with people who can take care of their animals. Just create a profile, wait till someone engages you for a job and then sit back and let the reviews roll in. The more reviews you get, the more likely you'll be engaged for future jobs.
Pet sitters tend to charge $10 to $30 per visit, while pet boarders tend to charge about $12 to $50 a night, although prices can vary significantly. If you have skills like pet grooming you'll be able to charge more. If making sure a dog doesn't misbehave sounds preferable to making sure a kid does his math homework, this is the part-time job for you.
If you live in a condo with pool facilities and want to earn some money from the comfort of your own home, becoming a swimming instructor might be the job for you.
Remember how you were forced to go for those swimming tests as a kid where you had to jump into the pool with your clothes on and then create a float out of your pyjamas? Put those classes to good use now by becoming a swim instructor yourself.
Sport Singapore, Swimming Teacher's Association and AUSTSWIM conduct certification courses for swimming instructors, and you'll have to be proficient in all four strokes as well as lifesaving. It should be noted however that many coaches who teach at private pools so without qualifications.
You can earn a pretty generous side income from teaching kids and adults how to swim. Group classes cost about $15 to $40 per hour per student.
Debt collection runner
You would never do anything illegal (right?), so becoming a loan shark runner is out of the question. But if banging on people's doors and shouting Hokkien vulgarities sounds like your thing, you can do these things legally by becoming a runner for legit debt collection agencies. And hey, if this is your cup of tea, who are we to disagree?
Runners are frequently paid on a commission basis. For instance, you might get paid $100 per case you manage to resolve.
Many debt collection agencies don't really care when you go and hound the debtors so long as they eventually pay up. In addition, many debtors work in the day and are only around in the evening anyway, which makes it possible to collection money from them even if you have a day job. Just make sure you don't go overboard and do something that's illegal.
If you're constantly jetting off on overseas holidays, let strangers subsidise some of your trips by helping them buy stuff-at a cost.
Register as a buyer on mobile app Tompang the World and advertise your trip ahead of time so you can receive requests. If you're going to Paris, you can make attractive commissions by buying expensive designer bags. If you're going to Japan, offer to bring back electronics. If you're in South Korea, offer to bring back beauty products.
There aren't that many people on the app yet so it may take some time to amass a following. The trick is to advertise a trip way in advance and hope people bite.
Most Singaporean families aren't used to engaging babysitters, usually preferring to leave their kids with their grandparents or employing a live-in maid.
Despite that, there is a gap in the market for ad-hoc babysitters, whether amongst locals or expats. In fact, some mothers complain about how hard it is to find a part-time babysitter who's willing to go to their homes. In addition, nanny agencies like A-Team may charge agency fees or high rates that people just aren't willing to pay.
That means there are jobs to be had for those who can keep that smile plastered on their faces when confronted with soiled diapers.
This article first appeared on MoneySmart.
MoneySmart.sg is Singapore’s leading personal finance portal, and aims to help people maximise their money with powerful tools and engaging content.