Top 11 Practical Second Skills To Make A Living In Singapore

We know that the fear of recession and unemployment looms behind 43% of Singaporeans from a 2013 GFK Survey. I fear the lost of job and income too. That fear has propelled me to develop and hone my second skill as a blogger. The second-skilling concept is something that I hold really close to my heart. It basically means developing an additional skill that in time can double up as a source of income to cope with unforeseen circumstances such as retrenchment and unemployment. Many of my friends who are PMEs understand the important of a second skill but close to 95% of them choose not to think about now. To help nudge Singaporeans in the direction of second skilling, here’s a list of the Most Practical Second Skills to develop so as to make a decent living in Singapore.

1. Barista —-> Cafe Owner

If you love coffee and all the aspects of its preparation from bean to cup, you have the calling to be a barista! Soon enough you’ll want to know everything, from where it’s sourced to how it’s roasted to how it tastes made in a french press versus pour over. You’ll spend all your time sniffing, sipping and slurping away.

The best baristas have refined their skills over a number of years. It takes time to learn how to be a professional barista and how to make exotic flavored espressos that customers want, to work the machines and be able to deliver consistent flavored coffees. All these training and skill refinement takes time and the best time to do it is over the weekends after your full time job!

Treat it as a hobby first and see where it leads you. Who knows, you and a few like minded friends may one day decide to start your own cafe! Courses such as Papa Palheta C-Platform allows coffee enthusiasts & professionals can hone their coffee making skills.

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Papa Palheta Latte Art - AspirantSG

2. Baker —-> Online Cake Shop Owner / Cafe Owner

Love working with flour, kneading dough and waiting by the oven to see your final finished product? You are destined to be a baker!

After your baking course and a few dozens ‘almost there’ works of art, you will be ready to peddle your wares and start growing your customer base. Set up a website or a Facebook Fan page and start taking orders from friends and relatives for the weekends delivery! If you are good, positive word of mouth will spin off and you will soon have sizeable following! You can also think about supplying cakes to cafes or eventually setting one up yourself!

Be prepared to start baking from Thursday evenings and the possibility of activating your family members from Fridays to pull off last minute orders.

Yes, you can have your cake and eat it.

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Baker In Action - AspirantSG

3. Chef —-> Restaurant / Cafe / Hawker Stall Owner

Becoming a chef isn’t for everyone. You have to deal with long hours, bad pay, burning, cutting, yelling and an absurd amounts of stress. But if you love to put on great dinners, learn to taste flavours you never noticed before and feel fulfilled when you see folks enjoy your cooking then all that shit is worth it!

Shatec offers WSQ courses in Culinary Arts that provide you with the critical knowledge and skills needed to work and manage a restaurant kitchen. Other than advanced culinary skills, you will also learn how to plan menus, budgets and plan marketing and business strategies.

Just a few more months of perfecting your cooking and you will be all ready to set up your own restaurant, cafe or hawker stall!

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Chef At Work - AspirantSG

4. Hairstylist —-> Salon Owner

Hairstyling is not a skill to be sniff at. Just take a look at Addy Lee & David Gan who are earning big bucks just running their salons.

When asked about their secrets, some hairstylists shared the importance of focusing on the client. No matter whether you are starting out small from home or taking weekend apprenticeship with a salon, look for every opportunity to exceed their expectations. A good service can lead to retail and referral opportunities.

Take the initiative to help out at photoshoots, fashion shows and take classes to advance your skills. On the softer touch, go on inspiring or educational holidays instead of relaxing ones, especially at first. You new clients would love to hear your stories and talk about you to their friends.

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Hairstylist At Work - AspirantSG

5. Massage Therapist —-> Spa Owner

More and more Singaporeans and the local expat community realise the significant health benefits of regular massage therapy. In fact, even through the recession the massage industry has continued to grow considerably.

The fun part of being a massage therapist is that you will not be confined to a desk from 9am – 5pm Monday – Friday. With flexible hours on top of that, you can better juggle work and a personal life like raising a family. Plus, there is also the amazing job satisfaction from helping people improve their health everyday.

Learn the skills as a massage therapist from SingTrain WSQ Massage Courses and start slow by getting friends and relative to try out your service. With great service, your pool of regulars will grow and you may soon be on your way to become a spa owner.

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Massage Therapist At Work - AspirantSG

6. Photographer —-> Studio Owner

Love taking beautiful photos on your smartphone? Perhaps its time to up your game a little and get yourself a proper DSLR to play with. Add in professional photography lessons, a few months of shutter trails and apprenticeship with a respected mentor and the transition from being a “hobbyist” to become a “professional” photographer will start to creep up on you.

The thing to note about going professional is that good photos alone don’t get work, you need to start marketing your work to get noticed. If you’ve currently got a day job, then keep it and spend more time planning what you are going to do in your photography business. Btw, remember to start saving to set up your own studio one day too.

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Photographer At Work - AspirantSG

7. Videographer —-> Production House Owner 

From corporate video production to on-ground event coverage, videography is fast becoming one the most sought after professional service in Singapore.

Aspiring part time or full time videographers can enrolled in Singapore Media Academy WSQ Diploma in Film & Television Production. You get to be trained in the full production aspect from planning the production budget, managing locations to executing post production for your clients.

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Videography As A Career - AspirantSG

8. Writer —-> Blogger / Online Magazine Editor / Freelance Columnist 

This is a second skill that is really close to my heart. I got inspired to start blogging again (my first experience wasn’t that fantastic) after attending a Social Media Course by Belinda Ang at Singapore Media Academy. Hence, a visit was paid to my poor abandoned account and I regained entry to my blog space after a few trial & errors on my username and password.

I was surprised to find a few heart-warming messages from fellow bloggers and readers of my previous Tibet & Seoul travel posts. The satisfaction from sharing and knowing that my post managed to assist others in better trip planning was a further encouragement to give blogging another go and the rest is history.

Go for a writing or social media marketing course and start by setting up your own blogging platform. You can choose to grow into a blogger, online magazine editor or even a freelance columnist!

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Blogger At Work - AspirantSG

9. Fashion Designers —-> Fashion Designers / Boutique Owners / Blog Shop Owners  

Armed with an acute fashion sense, my best friend set up her blog shop EATPRAYSHOP and took a long break from corporate life work and enjoy the absolute freedom of being her own boss.

As the fashion buyer cum editor, she spends her time tracking the fashion trends and scope out street looks for the next big thing to sell on her blogshop. If you are trained in fashion design and tailoring, you can even get down to producing your own line of retail fashion brand. Fun!

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Eat Pray Shop Blog Shop - AspirantSG

10. Graphic Designers —-> Freelance designers / Digital Agency

You have got a good eye for form, colour and you just love fonts a little more than is natural. Something’s led you to consider graphic design as a viable option, and you’re here to find out whether you should take the plunge. You probably should.

The fun part of being a graphic designers is that they can use literally any visual medium to communicate messages. They have shapes, colours, fonts, photos and animation at their disposal for print design, websites and social media.

Once you master the basics through a professional graphics courses, take on small freelance jobs during weekends from home and slowly build up your clientele base. Once you have created your own loyal following, its time to consider going freelance full time or start a digital agency!

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Graphical Designer Singapore - AspirantSG

11. Website & App Developer —-> Boutique Digital Agency Owner

Websites and particularly apps are super hot these days. There’s no denying it. Seems everyone these days has a great idea for a mobile app: apps to find food, apps to find rides, apps to find more apps. The list goes on.

Although a degree in computer science or software engineering makes a very strong foundation, there are specialised courses that you can take to gear toward website and mobile app development specifically. With a well-rounded skillset, including UI design, familiarity with a range of programming languages, backend computing knowledge and some savvy business knowledge, you could soon be earning big bucks creating websites and apps for your corporate clients.

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Mobile App Developers - AspirantSG

NTUC calls for PMEs to invest time to cultivate a second skill which allows them to fulfill their aspirations or ensures lifelong employability. With the Labour Movement focusing its message to companies on increasing productivity to deal with tightened foreign manpower supply, it is crucial that employers see the importance to train and upgrade their skills and abilities.

With the numerous practical choices right before your eyes, do spend time this weekend to consider if any of the above second skill speaks to you. There is no need to worry if non of the above are of interest to you, there are loads of WSQ courses for your considerations. Visit WSQ For Individual to check out the wide variety of Foundational, Industrial and Occupational Courses. There’s bound to be one that catches your eye.

Have fun developing your second skill, it will provide lots of comfort in future once it grows to a provide you with a sizeable income that offers a safety net against retrenchment and job loss in Singapore.

2 Comments on this Post

  1. I love baking but bake to sell is too stressful

  2. Workload so heavy where got time….


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