How to earn extra and enjoy it

01 February 2012

by Glyn Brown for Standard Life

Try working at weekends

During the week Ben Mann runs a London-based personal fitness business, but at weekends he earns a little extra teaching sports skills to toddlers. And the kids are a bit more fun than the bankers.

"On a Saturday, I couldn’t think of a better place to be"

"I started working in the fitness business in 2000. I was with Holmes Place, which later became Virgin Active. They had an in-house academy, educating people to become personal trainers. I later became the first Master Trainer at Holmes Place, Mayfair - training personal trainers myself.

Running my own business is hard work. It wasn’t until 2008 that I decided to broaden out. It’s starting to build up now - I’m self-employed, basically running a business in-house, inside a gym.

I have contracts at some fairly high-end clubs, including Club Twenty Two in Mayfair and the Harbour Club. We get a lot of famous faces but most clients tend to be professionals, bankers, people who run their own businesses. Some are pretty stressed. What I probably enjoy most is helping people make a difference to their lives. So I gently mention what they’re eating, if they’re drinking too much, help them with back pain, which a lot of people develop from the way they sit at their desks.

Rugby’s my passion and I wanted to give something back. I’ve played for more than 25 years and still play for Middlesex and Barnes. And I have a five-year-old son, Matheus. I’d been spending a lot of time with him, doing something I felt was important at an early age - just going to the park, throwing a ball around. His friends would be there too, and I realised I was effectively coaching.

I now coach boys and girls aged 2-7. It’s called Ruggerbeez - rugby-inspired play sessions. I’d wanted to get involved in rugby coaching and they offered subsidies to official coaching courses. And, to be honest, it’s quite good for networking, too. There are lots of dads there who’ve played rugby and want to stay fit.

But it’s about more than just the money. To be honest, I could probably make in half an hour’s personal training what I make in three hours with Ruggerbeez. [Laughs.] There’s more to it than that. This has become more than just a job.

The kids seem to absolutely love being there. We do a coach’s high-five with them if they’ve done something well, and they love that, too. Though I have to squat to the little ones!

Coaching in green spaces is enriching. I coach in Wandsworth Park bordering the Thames in Putney [South London]. On a Saturday morning, you couldn’t think of a better place to be working.

Toddlers are all about fun. Sometimes the difference between training, say, a 60-year-old and a bunch of two and a half-year-olds is amazing. We play ‘Kick the Coach’, where they have to kick a ball at me. So you play the fool, or pretend to be Darth Vader, and occasionally let them catch you. It can be hilarious.

I try to only work with people who are positive. Children are always positive - they can’t help it. And, y’know, I find you carry that with you through the week."

Some other ideas

Sell photos and paintings

Budding David Baileys can upload their photos to websites such as istockphoto and earn royalties for each one sold. If your artistic talent extends to painting, you can sell your canvases (alongside photos) at

Cash for questions

By completing questionnaires and participating in focus groups, you can earn cash. Sites worth considering include researchers GlobalTestMarket and focus group specialist indiefield.

Pass on your wisdom

To tutor up to GCSE level you don’t necessarily need a degree or teaching qualification (although both help). However, undergoing a Criminal Records Bureau check is required if you want to work via agencies.

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