Finance-Side hustle number 4: The “dream” gig

Despite working multiple roles at two gyms I still felt like I wasn’t doing enough to pay off my loans. I was really discouraged at my engineering job, with no professional growth or promotions in sight meaning no more money. I was tired of engineering in general, and no other job descriptions really caught my fancy. Thinking out of the box I applied at the non-profit organization TED, you know, TED talks? For a customer service support role. Something I new I’d be a shoo-in for because of my customer service experience at the YMCA. It was a remote position. I have always dreamed-and still do-that I’ll give a TED talk someday.

I was hired and away I went. They trained me for all things TED related and now I know way more about that organization than I ever thought possible. Same thing happened with the YMCA. It turns out things aren’t as straight forward as they appear.

It’s really flexible. I work from home and essentially my role is to manage the customer service email queue. I answer questions like “I am this really awesome person, how do I speak at TED?” or “I saw this really great talk this one time and all I remember was it was about a train”. In those cases Google search is your best friend, but they’re convinced I have some categorized stock of TED talks in my head. I use Salesforce Desk platform (I don’t recommend it).

I also get to do their customer support at conferences (still remotely). I can’t go into much detail, but there’s opportunity to talk to people like Elon Musk and Tim Ferriss.

I’d like to get invited to a conference one day, and I keep holding out hope it happens. This gig pays me $14 an hour and I generally work 4-6 hours a weekend. It’s really low-key, they are all really fun, and I’ve learned even more than I already knew about customer service. I learned my lesson from my first side gig and started funneling this pay check into my student loan debt pay off account which has become my downpayment account. I re-directed this money without fail to my student loans, no matter how badly I wanted to use it for some other financial thing going on in my life. It meant being really proactive about transferring the money. This brings me to a related topic-the student loan giants will make you work hard to pay off extra for your student loan. You can’t auto-increase your student loan payments and if you want to pay extra you have to manually do it. (If someone knows otherwise, please inform me so I can inform others!). Honestly if I could’ve I would’ve had TED send my pay checks straight to Navient. I was so on it though anyway because I was so tired of my debt that it didn’t really matter.

Anyway, TED has been a great side gig. I don’t know how long I’ll do it for, but because it’s super flexible I don’t really mind it for now. And it pays above minimum wage. It’s an extra $200 a month.

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