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July 28, 2009

Moonlighting Makes a Comeback

Nearly 2 million American women hold down two jobs, a figure experts say will rise if the economy doesn't rebound soon. While most of these industrious gals do it to make ends meet, some juggle that second gig to indulge a secret love. Here, five moonlighters who made their passions pay off:

woman looking at a clock

Photo Credit: Pixland/Jupiter Images

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Day job: Yoga instructor
Moonlighting gig: Horse caretaker
Extra cash per month: $500 to $600
Why I love it: "I exercise my body in totally different ways than I do with yoga. I put in a really physical 12-hour day feeding the horses, taking them for a ride, and cleaning out their stalls—it's a great full-body workout."

Day job: Administrator for a state agency
Moonlighting gig: Event planner
Extra cash per month: $1600
Why I love it: "I don't have much creative control at my day job, which involves a lot of paperwork. So I started my own side business a few years ago organizing fundraisers. I control everything from planning to staffing—all on my own terms. I've since expanded to all kinds of events. I've even thrown parties for Diddy!"

28, NY, NY
Day job: Book editor
Moonlighting gig: Sells goat cheese at farmers' markets
Extra cash per month: $600 to $800
Why I love it: "All week long, I'm cooped up in an office--it's very solitary. On weekends at the farmers' market, I get to be outside all day, meeting tons of new people. And I always have the best stuff to bring to friends' dinner parties."

Day job: Actress
Moonlighting gig: Restaurant reviewer
Extra cash per month: Approximately $500, plus $800 in free meals
Why I love it: "Part of my work involves testing how much the waiter knows about the menu—I can't be obvious or I'd blow my cover. I pretend I have an allergy to see if he knows what ingredients are used in the dishes. And while I'm improving my acting skills, I get to eat amazing gourmet food with my girlfriends."

Day job: Personal trainer
Moonlighting gig: Stand-up comic
Extra cash per month: $1100
Why I love it: "There's no bigger rush than getting on stage, talking about my experiences, and hearing people laugh. Sometimes after a set, a woman will come up to me and say, 'I just got divorced, my girlfriends made me come out, and I really needed that laugh. Thank you.' Those are the best compliments—they make my hair stand up."

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