10 Ways to Up Your Side Hustle Game Using SkillsFuture

By Cindy Teh, edited by Jackie Tan

What is SkillsFuture?

By now, I’m sure all of you and your grandmother knows what SkillsFuture is. Basically, the government gives EVERYONE 25 years old and above (yes, everyone, even your great-great-grandfather if he’s still alive and kicking) $500 in SkillsFuture credits to pursue a course or programme for upgrading your skills and gaining superpowers*!

Get superpowers like baking
*Superpowers like superbaking may or may not be included. Just normal baking, maybe.

Here at fundMyLife, we are all about empowering people to make sound financial planning decisions. So we thought, what are some of the ways in which we can use our SkillsFuture credits to earn some cash? This ain’t no quick get rich scheme, I’m afraid. This is about investing in yourself and picking up new lifelong skills that would generate extra bucks for you in the long run (read: side gigs).

Let’s get started! Money isn’t gonna just fall into your lap, you know!

1. Become a Personal Trainer

A man and woman in a gym fraternizing
It’s a noble calling – you get to help others/yourself achieve their goals and look good too.

Are you already into fitness and eating well? Take a course on the human anatomy and nutrition and get certified. Superboost your health knowledge and you can either save some money on hiring your own trainer or earn some money by training people. Personal Trainers get to choose their own schedules and most people are only free on weeknights and weekends anyway, which means you don’t even have to leave your day job! Moreover, you get to yell at random strangers to motivate them – a true win-win.

Personal Trainers charge between $50 – $120 per hour.

2. Become a DJ

DJ looking coolly into the distance because he is cool
You can be the next big DJ at the next big festival!

Envious of awesome DJs like Steve Aoki or Tiesto? Learn to mix tracks and drop the beat, and not only can you earn some income on the side, you’ll also be super popular at house parties!

DJs charge at least $60 per hour.

3. Be a Copywriter

Cat looking at typewriter
Write marvellous pieces that move and motivate!

Can’t write? Don’t worry! For only 8 hours of your life, you’ll develop skills in writing awesome, compelling articles! Businesses (especially online ones) are always looking for copywriters to create copy for their products or services. Learn copywriting, and you can even freelance for us!

Depending on the type of content needed (press releases, blog posts, articles); most Copywriters charge at least $30 per hour!

4. Be a Photographer

Man contorts beautifully while taking a photograph
Do not be fooled – this is a protographer in action.

I’m sure you saw this coming. Everybody needs a photographer be it for weddings, for new babies, for portraits, for a new spouse, etc. Learn how to work with cameras and enhance images digitally, and you’ll never have a bad Facebook profile pic again. Spend your weekends taking photos for other people, and you could get good enough that someone would bring you on an overseas photoshoot!

Photographers charge upwards of $50 per hour depending on the type of assignment.

5. Be a Graphic Designer

Ah, graphic designers. Prepare to be misunderstood about what you do!

This has to make the list. It is probably one of the most common side gigs you’ll hear about. Be trained in Adobe Illustrator, or Photoshop, or InDesign, and design your own brand logo for your side hustle instead of paying others to do it.

Freelance Graphic Designers charge $20-$50 per hour (at the low end), to more than $300 per hour! This also brings us to…

6. Be a Web Designer

Another common side hustle! Web design is a popular side gig among freelancers and digital nomads because all you need is an internet connection and you can work with clients from anywhere in the world. Even if nothing comes out of it, you now know how to create an awesome fan site for your favourite GoT character.

Web Designers charge upwards of $40 per hour, depending on their skills and experience.

7. Be an App Developer

A bunch of guys getting drunk and coding
While drunk coding makes everything infinitely better, alcohol not included in the SkillsFuture course. Source: The Social Network.

Technology moves the world – don’t get left behind! The skill ceiling is high, and you might have to put in a little more time and effort to master this one. However, once you master it, you can charge between $30 – $180 per hour! Scarcity for good technical help also means your skills are always in demand.

Click here to learn how to create Android apps and here for iOS apps.

8. Be a Drone Pilot

Credit: Bill Stafford.

Not kidding, this course promises to teach you how to start your own aerial filming business in 2 weeks! Get in there quick while there’s not too much competition around yet.

Google tells me that drone operators can charge from $200 per hour to $5000 per session!

9. Become a Hairstylist for events

Master stylist or Edward Scissorhands – your choice!

This is perhaps more for the ladies, but we’re all about human rights and equality here! No one should tell you what you can or cannot do – forget about gender norms!

*ahem* Erm yeah, so learn how to do hair for weddings, events, photoshoots, etc, and rub shoulders with models/taitais/socialites while you’re at it.

Bridal Hairstylists can charge $100 per updo!

10. Be a Career Coach or Life Coach

Are you the enthusiastic grab-life-by-the-balls type? Are you your loved ones personal cheerleader? Do you love helping people? Do your friends always tell you that you have an inspiring life story? Consider coaching as a side hustle.

You get to choose your own working hours, and nowadays you can even coach people over Skype so you are no longer restricted by geography!

Career coaches typically charge upwards of $70 per hour.

That’s all, folks!

Here are 10 ways to convert your SkillsFuture credits into cash, through a little bit of investment of your time and effort. We never did say it’s easy after all, but it’s important that you take charge of your life!

…or you could just put your feet up and watch the next episode of GoT. We won’t judge.

fundMyLife is a platform that aims to empower the average Singaporean to make financial decisions confidently. We also connect consumers to the right financial planners in a private and anonymous manner, based on their financial planning questions. Follow us on our Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Let us know what you want to know about finances or something that you wish your friends knew! 

Scientists Moonlight as Financial Planning Entrepreneurs

SINGAPORE — If you are busy pursuing a doctorate, would you still work as a street promoter on the weekends? This guy will.

Every weekend, Mr Jackie Tan, 28, a PhD candidate in biology at Nanyang Technological University, heads out to Orchard Road and neighbourhood estates to meet people on the streets to spread awareness about his financial planning website www.fundMyLife.co.

“There is nothing to be ‘paiseh’ (Hokkien term for embarrassed) about, even if I am a PhD candidate and I promote my product on the streets. Having a PhD just means you slog in school for four to five years more than other people,” he said.

Indeed, Mr Tan sees many similarities between being a scientist and an entrepreneur.

“The failure in the tests made during our research helps me build myself as a person. This to me is similar to the tenacity needed in an entrepreneur who often gets doors shut in his face.”

On weekdays, after lab or classwork, the student scientist spends his evenings working on the website or meeting the stakeholders in the start-up, sacrificing leisure time and even sleep.

“Having no time as an excuse is a weak reason,” he said. “Nothing good in life comes without a certain amount of sacrifice.”

As the co-founder of a financial planning portal, Mr Tan certainly walks the talk. A regimental money-saving machine, he hardly takes taxis, often cooks his own meals and goes for vegetarian food when he eats out because it is cheaper. He does not hold any credit cards, has no debts and has enough savings for a “rainy day”.

This dogged determination — juggling a career as a scientist and a separate business — followed a family tragedy when Mr Tan was just 17. His father died of lung cancer after his family was unable to afford the treatment because the insurance bought was unsuitable. The harsh reality drove Mr Tan to work hard in school. He gained entrance into the Faculty of Science at the National University of Singapore, but had to work his way through university by taking on part-time jobs in labs and giving tuition.

The importance of good financial planning became a key principle that drove Mr Tan to go beyond his academic focus to help others in this area. Mr Tan and his co-founders — Mr Wesley Goi, 30, a PhD candidate in bacterial metagenomics at the National University of Singapore and Mr Matthew Lim, 33, a digital marketer and financial consultant — started developing the fundMyLife website last year and launched it in January this year.

The trio had pooled their own savings and tech expertise to create the portal. Mr Goi, who taught himself coding, created the artificial intelligence platform that processes questions from customers and connects them to financial advisers.

Besides directing customers to financial advisers best suited to their needs, fundMyLife also builds awareness of financial planning through conducting workshops. Although it has been operating for only six months, it has already turned profitable, with its user base growing 10 to 30 per cent month-on-month and revenue rising 30 to 50 per cent. fundMyLife declined to give absolute numbers.

The business is getting more traction. Last week, fundMyLife held a financial literacy workshop for about 100 union members from the National Trades Union Congress. It is also looking to expand into Malaysia by the end of the year.

Mr Tan also wants to help individuals and groups in society who are under-served, including single parents.

For now, Mr Tan has no intention of quitting his day job, saying it helps support the business as a “buffer”. He added that there is no conflict of interest between his research studies and his business as work on the latter is done during his spare time.

“Call it a cop-out, but I would like to think of it as keeping my options open. Furthermore, if doing a PhD gives me the attitude and mental resilience, doing a start-up provides me with soft skills. These are complementary in developing myself as an all-rounded individual in either career,” he said

“People are usually afraid to try because they are afraid of failure and hence are usually less exposed to failing. When I fail, I let go and move on,” he added.


This article first appeared on Today Online