I do productivity coaching for money but I only have 1-2 clients at a time, so most of my money comes from elsewhere.

The term "professional" seems to strongly imply full-time work or at least "making a living" from something.

Is there an alternative word?

Sample sentence:

I am a ____________ productivity coach.


9 Answers 9


"I am a part-time productivity coach."


part–time adjective
: involving or working less than customary or standard hours : a part–time job


I "moonlight" as a productivity coach.

  • moonlight - (verb) "to work at a second job in addition to your regular job"

  • Many people begin their work day when the moon rises. In the nineteenth century, the term "moonlighting" related to thieves who stole at night. However, a July 22, 1957, "Time" magazine article gave the term "moonlighting" a new connotation that has stuck: Working multiple jobs. Having a "moonlighter," or second job, has become prevalent today for economical and professional reasons. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in September 2013 more than 7 million workers held more than one job. - from http://work.chron.com/

moonlighter - (noun) "a person who holds a second job (usually after hours) TFD

  • "Are you interested in becoming a moonlighter? Are you looking for another job to supplement your income? If so, U-Haul is the right place for ..."

  • "I'm a dentist by day but I moonlight as a dj."

  • 11
    Is moonlight the sort of word you would put on a job application? Doesn't it have a hint of the disreputable about it?
    – WS2
    Oct 6, 2016 at 19:07
  • 2
    @WS2 "disreputable"? No, not in the US.
    – Centaurus
    Oct 6, 2016 at 21:46
  • 11
    I also wouldn't say disreputable but it does come across to me as something not "professional" or not official or something that doesn't require a college degree. One of the examples illustrates this point: "I'm a dentist by day but I moonlight as a dj." I'm not saying it's not a good answer though. I +1ed it. Oct 6, 2016 at 23:18
  • 7
    I wouldn't use the term "moonlight" on a resume, and I'm in the U.S.
    – Kat
    Oct 7, 2016 at 5:55
  • 5
    In the UK, it's definitely not the word to use. It carries the connotation of surreptitiousness, working under the cover of darkness, and probably not paying tax on earnings. I suppose Time doesn't have the requisite influence over here to undo years of negative connotation.
    – Andrew Leach
    Oct 7, 2016 at 14:30

I like the term "part-time", although some people make a living off of multiple part time jobs. I would use instead:

On the side - in addition to a principal occupation

I am an on-the-side productivity coach. (hyphenated as suggested in the comments)

Or, put the phrase after the noun.

I do productivity coaching on the side, as most of my money comes from elsewhere.

  • 5
    I for one strongly prefer putting prepositional phrases after nouns. Why on earth wouldn't you say "I am a productivity coach on the side"? Oct 7, 2016 at 23:18
  • 1
    If you were to insist on placing the prepositional phrase before the noun, I think it should be hyphenated, to indicate the grammar and thereby to aid the reader in parsing the linguistic puzzle you're giving them. Oct 8, 2016 at 14:50
  • If I asked somebody, "What do you do?" and he answered, "I'm an X [engineer, teacher, painter, singer, or whatever] and I do productivity coaching on the side," I would wonder whether he did productivity coaching as a hobby.  While your suggested sentence removes that ambiguity (by saying "most of my income ..."), I believe that the point of the question is to identify a word (and, BTW, it is a single word request) that denotes a level of proficiency without implying that it is your primary occupation and doesn't require another eight words to describe your situation. Oct 8, 2016 at 20:44

If you are trained in productivity coaching to a level of mastery consistent with that of a professional, then you are a professional productivity coach.

Your client status can make you "underemployed" or perhaps "seeking greener pastures," but it doesn't make you any less a professional.


Another answer that carries the weight of "professional" without implying that it's your main activity would be qualified.

This does of course depend on whether there is a form of accreditation for your discipline (and if so, whether you've completed it!) but I've heard this in use very recently and it conveyed exactly what the speaker intended. We knew that she had the knowledge and professionalism, but didn't assume that it was her full-time occupation.

In a similar vein you could also use accredited.


I would say "semi-professional", which the link below defines as

Receiving payment for an activity but not relying entirely on it for a living.


  • 6
    Sadly, whether or not that is the dictionary definition, I suspect that many (if not most) readers seeing "semi-professional" would think "on the way to being professional" - i.e. not really that good yet!
    – almcnicoll
    Oct 9, 2016 at 1:20
  • @almcnicoll I definitely read semi-professional in this sense, there are plenty of people in many fields who work this way for lots of reasons. There might be insufficient work of that type to keep them going, they might enjoy the mix of different types of work they do, they might not want to commit any more time to the particular job, they might feel that practising different skills provides them with more security and so on.
    – BoldBen
    Oct 16, 2016 at 18:35

Like this answer https://english.stackexchange.com/a/352160/42740, you are still a professional.

A professional is the point that you receive money for your service. There are plenty of professionals who have to supplement their income. For example, in the UK, most professional sports players have to do other things other than the top echelons. Most professional, full time fire fighters have second jobs to be able to afford to live.

The opposite of being professional is amateur.

engaging or engaged in without payment; non-professional.

[Source: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=amateur]

So, yes you are a professional in every respect and there isn't any other way to put it. Or you're an amateur!

  • ᴍᴏᴅᴇʀᴀᴛᴏʀ ɴᴏᴛᴇ: “We require that answers consist primarily of the words of their author, and that all quotes be clearly marked as such and attributed to their respective authors.” Please follow the network-wide requirement to always provide an inline text citation for all material which is not your own. See here, here, here, and here. Posts containing unattributed text may be deleted.
    – tchrist
    Oct 16, 2016 at 16:40

I think what you want to express is simply that you are a professional-level coach. Whether you actually are living off it is irrelevant to your level of expertise and quality of intervention (or at least that is the idea you want to convey ;-) ).

  • I like this actually! Although if I'm using it about myself it could imply that in theory I'm good enough to get paid but I'm not actually getting paid—sort of a bold claim. Oct 10, 2016 at 21:47
  • Thanks. But now you are too shy :-). I thought that "I'm good enough to get paid" is exactly what you want to say, and in fact you do get paid according to your question; it's just that you don't have enough clients to make a full living off your coaching. That can have a variety of reasons: You are just starting, there is not enough demand in your area, you don't want to abandon your well-paying and fun day job for risky self-employment, etc. (And besides, here is a dirty secret from software engineering: We all learn on the job, constantly.) Oct 11, 2016 at 7:17

The proper term is professional; the word does not, in fact, imply being paid. That is only one of its several meanings. It has strong connotations that someone has certain skill, and adheres to certain standards in their work.

The "paid" meaning is not even related to the origin of the word. Originally, a "profession" consisted of the vows taken upon entering a religious order. I.e. the entrant declared those oaths, hence professing them, making a profession.

You can similarly profess that you will do a great job doing work in some field regardless of whether it is paid work.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.