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Side Hustle

shellarchitect

Thinking about ways to make some extra money on the side....

I'd like to avoid moonlighting, primarily because i'm looking for something to even out the ups and downs of the architectural profession.  Anyone have some great ideas or success stories?

I'm not looking to leave the profession, just want to make a couple bucks outside of regular hours.  

Once I have some $$$ saved up I plan to get into RE development, but need to "fun money" for that endeavor.

 
Jan 30, 18 12:22 pm

1 Featured Comment

All 21 Comments

randomised

Mine some bitcoins on your render farm.

Jan 30, 18 12:55 pm
JonathanLivingston

Doesn't work. Unless you live close to a cheap power source you won't make more then a few dollars a day once you offset the costs.

shellarchitect

I don't know, I don't pay anything for electricity at the office here...

JonathanLivingston

^ Brilliant

archinine
Politician? They seem to make a killing and not spend much time doing it.
Jan 30, 18 1:11 pm
wurdan freo

Some local board positions are paid and could help you learn the ins and outs of getting projects "shovel ready"

randomised

Making a killing ordering the killing of millions...

proto

starchitect fluffer?

Jan 30, 18 1:21 pm
JonathanLivingston

That side gig blows!

citizen

^ And that joke sucks!

Election judges get paid in most states, it is not glamorous but it is important.

Graphic design, but you have to hustle up clients.

Photographing and creating marketing materials for real-estate agencies. Requires drawing up basic floor plans sometimes of existing homes.

Hope this helps

Over and OUT

Peter N

Jan 30, 18 1:44 pm
jamesaleisterbarcelona

Teach English (online)! I have a former classmate in architecture school who did it on the side (on weekends, and some weekdays) at first while working for a firm on regular days. Just a year ago or two, she dropped the latter and is now teaching English full time in Vietnam due to the high demand there (and in some Asian and South American countries). Online she could go from $5 to $20+ per hour depending on the student. In Japan, English teachers are considered top tier professions (one of the highest paid---at like $2000 to $4000+ a month). 

Jan 30, 18 2:46 pm
LITS4FormZ

I'm getting into home inspections once I move to the Bay Area in a couple months. $200-300 for a couple hours of work. And not a bad way to sell your services on renovations, offer to create record drawings, etc etc...

Jan 30, 18 2:50 pm
JonathanLivingston

Careful there, You are required to carry a license and I believe there are specific ethical clauses there that prevent contractors from selling services this way. But I have heard of architects doing home inspections on the side. I just figure it would work best as just a side hustle and in a clear lane that differs from your practice.

shellarchitect

how does one get into home inspectioning? (I don't feel like googling today)

JonathanLivingston

Depends i believe licenses are state by state, Similar to architecture, when i looked into it there was a test and apprenticeship required. compared to arch license they were laughable, something like two weeks of school, 40 hrs apprenticeship and a single test to be part of their gang.

JLC-1
tintt

What JL says sounds right. I like to watch NACHI TV... https://www.youtube.com/user/InterNACHI

LITS4FormZ

Appreciate the concern but I'm aware of the potential conflicts to avoid. It's true that there are no certification requirements in California however I'll be joining CREIA which has a fairly involved process for certification. It won't interfere with anything I'm doing in my firm as I'll look to offer after-hours and weekend services to existing inspection agencies or Realtors to start.

Wood Guy

Do you like to grow things? With some basic knowledge and equipment you can grow gourmet mushrooms indoors. If you enjoy it, fairly easy to scale up. Pretty much unlimited demand if you're anywhere near civilization. Same for psychedelic mushrooms but there is the legal aspect. And for weed, but at least that's legal to varying degrees in different states. I grow a lot of garlic; if I were to sell it I would make the equivalent of $20-25/hr. Not enough to pay any bills, but not bad for a hobby, and the upper end of the scale for small-time farming. Growing fruit trees can be somewhat lucrative; you just have to learn how to graft onto rootstock.

More related to architecture, I get a lot of requests for building science consulting, I write about building science, design and construction related topics for trade journals, and I've been asked to teach classes and give presentations on these topics. All within reach of any designer or architect who wants to put some time into studying the subject; there is a huge demand for spreading the information, plus it makes you a better designer. It doesn't pay as well as designing, but I get a decent rate to essentially do my own marketing.   

Or there is always the "house plans for sale" gig. There is plenty of competition, but with good designs and decent marketing, they can sell for $2500-$5K or more for a plan set. Yeah, it's a lot less than custom design, but you can take a design you did for someone else and modify it to suit yourself and offer it for sale, with the associated disclaimers. It's on my to-do list; I could have sold two or three sets last year based on a modest home I designed that was published. 

Make cabinetry and furniture. You probably have some of the skills and tools already. Small jobs can be lucrative. I made a decent living doing this as my day job for several years, and I had no idea how to price or sell. If I knew then what I know now, I might have never switched over to design. People will pay for high quality, unique work. There is a whole industry of new tools available for the small producer to do precise, dust-free work. 

But really, if you want to get into real estate investing, which is also my current plan, you don't need money, you just need to find the right deal and the right investors. If you haven't already, check out the biggerpockets.com forums and podcast. We may have discussed this before. My brother and I have looked at seven multi-family projects in the last week, and at least a couple of them are close to making sense, even using other peoples' money. 

Jan 30, 18 4:35 pm
shellarchitect

Great ideas. My neighbor, also an architect, is actually starting a furniture business in his garage, has spent a fortune in equipment, and is making gorgeous stuff.

shellarchitect

I guess I should get back on bigger pockets. I had told myself that I wouldn't invest in RE until my 6.5% students loans were paid off (20k left)and I had a small pool of $$$ to lose w/o my wife getting too mad at me.

shellarchitect

I've got a bunch of walnut trees, apparently there's a market for the nuts, easy way to make some cash

shellarchitect

just looked at walnut prices per pound, I need a lot more trees! still should harvest them for myself if nothing else tho

Wood Guy

Expensive tools are fun and make the job easier, but you can do it with less than $5K in tools. Here are a couple of articles I wrote, about building cabinets in a driveway and in my living room. I can send you PDFs if you don't have a membership.

http://www.finehomebuilding.co...

http://www.finehomebuilding.co...

At least two former employees of mine used my techniques to become successful full-time woodworkers. Another, the head editor of Fine Homebuilding, now writes articles about how easy it is to build cabinets using my "hack" techniques. Not to brag, just to say that it can be easy and affordable, and valued by customers. 

Wood Guy

My wife is an herbalist and soaks walnuts in vodka or brandy--makes an interesting liqueur.

JLC-1

frangelico, nocino, nocello

Wood Guy

Frangelico is with hazelnuts, also very tasty (and on my list of things to plant). My wife is Italian and her walnut liqueur is supposed to taste like Nocino.

JLC-1

oh yeah, have you tasted the sardinian mirto?

Wood Guy

Not that I recall, but it sounds tasty. Actually I have no idea what myrtle berries taste like but I bet it's good.

JLC-1

it's amazing. even the brand ones.

Wood Guy

This brings to mind another excellent side gig--brewing alcoholic beverages! I used to be into brewing beer and considered going pro but thought there was too much competition. That was 10 years ago and the market has exploded since then. Hard cider (good, traditional, not overly sweet) is growing and has huge potential. As does any other alcoholic beverage. There are laws to work around but it's how most craft beverage companies start.

I have a book on how to make craft sodas, if you're not into alcohol. There is potential beyond the hyper-sugar products.

shellarchitect

Cool idea, I've been home brewing
for quite awhile, should have a bumper crop of hops this fall, planted 3 years ago

shellarchitect

Oddly the Homebrew shop near me is 80% distilling stuff

Wood Guy

Awesome, what variety of hops? I grew a few types at my old place in the city and plan to eventually on the farm where I am now. Regarding brewing, I had plans to set up a beer of the month club, sent in growlers (I've bottle conditioned in growlers and it's worked fine for me). I've only brewed 5-gal batches but have equipment to do 15-gal batches. I figured that somewhere around 60-gal a month it could start to make some money, and one 15-gal batch each week seemed doable. Marginally legal, but my state (Maine) is pretty friendly toward small scale food businesses. Have you brewed cider? I did one batch with a friend--much simpler process than beer, though the existing market is more limited. Poised for growth though.

shellarchitect

I have 3 cascade plants the frame the front entry way of our house. Provides a nice sense of enclosure and some shade in an area that can get really hot. Plan is to plant a long row in the back yard to replace a row of scrub trees that the power company recently chopped down.

shellarchitect

I've love to see the pdf's if your willing to share!

Wood Guy

Nice, I love how vigorous they are but never thought of using them at an entry. I had some Cascades growing up the side of my old house. I brewed with them once, fun stuff. Email me (michael at michaelmaines dot com) and I'll send you those articles.

jla-x

Being in the landscape business, I recently started propagating/cloning trees in containers. I plan to have 400 by next year.  I’m most likely going to sell them wholesale to contractors and nurseries.  I’m looking to lease or buy some land and start a real deal ornamental tree farm on like 2-5 acres within the next 5 years...

Jan 30, 18 4:54 pm
Wood Guy

Nice! What kind of trees? I'm going to graft my first batch of 20 apple trees this spring.

jla-x

Cool! You can find some good tutorials online. So far just Palo Verde, Texas Honey Mesquites, and a few

jla-x

TX ebony.

Wood Guy

Interesting--they look and sound like desert trees. Friends run a nursery (Fedco Trees, they distribute nationally) and are going to show me how to graft. Maybe I can get them to sell some of my trees.

jla-x

Yeah, I’m in AZ, so sticking to common desert trees for now because I can sell them pretty easily to contractors that I work with, but we can actually grow quite a variety out here including many types of fruit trees. It’s a really interesting business, especially when you read about breeding hybrids and all that more advanced stuff. I’m no where near that level yet...lol

shellarchitect

pretty cool, good work

Wood Guy

Let me know if you want any Nodhead apples--I have an ancient tree, which I plan to graft--very hardy and disease-resistant, tastes a lot like a Macintosh. I have the world's most famous Nodhead (it's the only one that's been written about, as far as I can tell, by a local tree expert).

jla-x

That’s awesome! Let us know how the grafting turns out. I just bought a bunch of fig cuttings...looking forward to getting those going...this can be very addictive.

JLC-1

online consulting - pretty much a forum, but yours to decide who/what/when/and most importantly, how much.....

Jan 30, 18 5:16 pm

Many years ago, when I was a sole-practitioner working out of my house, a recession hit and it was hard for me to make a living doing architecture.  With a mortgage and two kids, I had to do something.

So I took a class in real estate appraisal and became a residential appraiser.  It worked out well for me, because it's sort of a consulting business where I could work on my own, and take as much work as I wanted, and had somewhat flexible hours.  

Jan 30, 18 5:51 pm
shellarchitect

seems like a good side-gig to me!

Read this book... it is a list of what you are asking and very similar to Wood Guy's suggestions: 

on amazon:

2: Architect and Entrepreneur: A How-to Guide for Innovating Practice: Tactics, Models, and Case Studies in Passive Income (Volume 2)


Jan 30, 18 5:51 pm
Kidd

I've read that book and Vol 1. Good stuff.

shellarchitect

Will check it out, thanks

shellarchitect

Thanks, I may pick up this one and your architect developer book at the same time

MDH-ARCH

The first book was inspiring.. this one not so much for me. It focused pretty much entirely on "passive income" which sounds great but I really dont see architects selling plan sets as a viable way to make extra cash.

I completely agree with you and felt the same way. The first book was better for most of us. But I thought the second apt for the above poster's question...

shellarchitect

I was just about to buy the book above, is it mostly about selling house plans or does it cover more? Hard to tell much from the amazon listing

shellarchitect

books purchased

Otherwise, I recommend designing buildings on Second Life.


Jan 30, 18 5:53 pm
JLC-1

How do you get paid for that?

JLC-1

do you play? It doesn't explain much other than the economy - are there regulations for buildings? Could I sell houses I already have full 3d models for?

I played a bit in the early days, but took the blue pill and returned to the real world.

No regulations that I know of for buildings. Second Life has its own modelling software, but I think you can model things externally, and then import them. There are architects already there selling their services.

tintt

Texas Hold em. I used to play with friends and at sometimes the casino and made 80-100 a night, not bad. 

Jan 30, 18 6:18 pm

Somehow people actually like my paintings, so I've been selling those here and there. I also have a freelance job as an ARE prep coach.

Jan 30, 18 7:26 pm
LITS4FormZ

How has the ARE prep coach worked out for you? That's a great idea.

I've enjoyed being a coach, and will be coaching my second group soon. It's great because my group is very dedicated to passing the ARE and when they ask me questions it also serves to help reinforce my own knowledge. And I get paid for it. That's a win/win.

Kidd

I'm thinking of selling my furniture plans and models to larger corporations once I get some prototypes out and sold a few myself.


Jan 30, 18 9:55 pm
shellarchitect

Some awesome ideas!

Jan 31, 18 9:02 am
archanonymous

I've always thought it would be awesome to have a plantation tree farm of rare and exotic species. Yeah its a 20-50 year investment somewhere like Florida, Hawaii or PR, but can you imagine how much a mature tree of Bubinga, Brazilian Redwood, Wenge, Cebia, Purple Heart or the like would fetch once they are all well and truly depleted and/or banned from import?

Jan 31, 18 12:23 pm
kjdt

I'm on some public boards in my city.  It pays $20-$30 an hour, but they each only meet once a month for a few hours. It's not as much as I make as an architect but it also gives me resume stuffing and I get to meet a lot of people.

I also sometimes write up the decisions for the cases heard by those boards, which pays $50-$75 per decision.  It usually only takes about an hour to write one up, though occasionally it requires some in-person research at the city during office hours.

I used to sometimes write questions for third-party study guides for the ARE, LEED, and some other exams.  That pays $5-$15 per multiple choice question.  I could just think up questions as they came to me, write them down, and sit down and flesh out a batch when I had time.  That one usually requires some connection to the publisher or a series editor, and some technical writing samples.

Jan 31, 18 1:24 pm
SneakyPete

Am I the only one who reads "Side Hustle" as a newspeak way of legitimizing the shitty reality that many of us live with in which resources trickle in yet somehow flow out in a torrent? 


It's a second job. Why glorify it with a trendy, techish, Web 2.0 moniker?

Jan 31, 18 3:44 pm
MDH-ARCH

IDK I make good money at my 9-5 but I'm a natural hustler.. so I "side hustle" to bring in even more money so I can live the way I want. I have a pool business, do side architecture work ect.. People will often ask, "do you still really need to do pools?' no I dont need to do anything, I like to work and I like making money.. not a second job to make ends meat. Just me

shellarchitect

I don't "need" the money, my main motivation is to have a second stream of income in case the economy collapses again. Secondary motivation is fun money to invest.

SneakyPete

Surviving a recession sounds like it fits the definition of need to me. Besides, my issue is less with folks who have their eyes open and more with the idiots who re- label shit to make it more palatable to the people who still haven't figured out the deck is generally stacked against them.

jla-x

A Side hustle is about stacking the deck in your favor. Society doesn’t owe architects a good wage. Rather, architects and designers should begin branching their practice to gain greater ownership of more dimensions of the overall industry. For example, an interior designer can manufacture their own decor that they can in turn spec in their projects and sell to other designers. An architect may decide that a certain common detail lacks the correct hardware...I say Design and manufacture it! Academia is full of this socialist mentality, mostly rooted in 20th century modernism, that seems to be negatively influencing grads from being entrepreneurial and engaging the realities of the given capitalist society that we all work in.

SneakyPete

Woah, there. That's not at all what I'm saying. I agree with mot of what you suggest. But I also feel that it benefits everyone to ask what we're worth, as Firms, Owners, and Employees. Value-added elements like you suggest are a great way to increase value. I'm not a fan of the whole "I drive Uber on weekends to make ends meet, I'm a cool HUSTLER" Mentality.

jla-x

Once the constraints of economics are partly or fully lifted from the designer, that designer will be able to have more autonomy and command over their design work. The constant compromises we all make, under the duress of financial responsibility, needs to be removed or eased to truly be able to have authority with contractors and clients over fees and design decisions. A side hustle or

jla-x

* or whatever you call it can be liberating.

jla-x

Pete, I was just speaking in general...not directed towards you personally...

Featured Comment
shellarchitect

To me a "second job" is something you do to pay the rent or put food on the table, with no real upside. working the night shift at a gas station is a good example. A "side hustle" is similar but has the potential to become something more if done well.

SneakyPete

That makes sense, Shell, but as usual the gig economy has glommed on to the term and perverted it to a degree where it's basically newspeak for "second job".

shellarchitect

Hopefully the "gig economy" runs out of gas as the "full time" economy strengthens.

SneakyPete

from your mouth to god's ears.

tintt

I shoveled snow at apartment complexes and strip malls. $150 for a few hours of work in the morning. 

Feb 1, 18 10:34 am
arch76

Side hustles are a great way to hone your hustling skills. It also gives you an excuse to buy a nice laptop and software and deduct it as a business expense when tax time comes around.

Feb 2, 18 9:46 pm

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