My second life

24 Jan 2011

Think part-time work doesn’t exist in the UAE? Think again. As these savvy ladies show, there’s plenty of dosh to be made after hours...

Kim Jory, 27, from South Africa

My part-time job keeps me fit

Full-time: Sales manager.

Part-time: Yoga instructor.

Prep work: A six-week training course qualifies you to teach.

Average earning potential: Dhs5,000 per month.

“I took my first yoga class 10 years ago and I’ve never looked back. To begin with, my main incentive for practising yoga was for relaxation purposes, but over the years it’s become the answer to everything, from helping me keep fit to supplementing my income.

Last year, I spent three months in Bali. While I was there, I decided to take the RYT 200 teacher’s course, which is an international yoga teaching qualification. The programme, which was spread over six weeks, was very intensive and it covered a variety of topics including Ayurveda, anatomy and breathing techniques. I’d never really considered yoga as a moneymaker, but after completing the course, I decided to put it to good use.

After leaving Bali, I started doing a bit of teaching part-time. Getting work was relatively easy as I applied for a part-time job at a yoga studio here in Dubai. I now teach regularly from the premises. Mainly through word of mouth, I’ve built up a client list and now I have about 34 students a week. My classes last an hour and a half and are priced at Dhs70 a session. On top of my group classes, I also do one-on-one sessions for clients who want a bit of extra attention. Those are slightly more expensive and are priced at Dhs200 a session.

Since starting up, business has really come on. Yoga is a passion of mine and I love to see the change in people, from the moment they walk into the class, wound up and stressed, to the time they leave, feeling peaceful and content. It’s also great to see the long-term change in regular clients.

As I have a 9-5 job, my evenings and weekends are very busy with clients, and often I’ll find that I arrive late to social events, because I’ve been up to my neck in classes.

Ultimately, though, I love what I do, so I’ll always find a way to fit yoga into my life.”

If you’d like to book a class with Kim, then email

Hayley Cutler, 30, from the UK

Attending parties pays my pocket money

Full-time: Personal trainer.

Part-time: Promoter.

Prep work: No formal training required.

Average earning potential: Dhs4,000 per month.

“As a full-time personal trainer, my work can sometimes be irregular. So two years ago, when I moved to the UAE, I decided to take on a part-time job to make ends meet. Initially, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but the word on the grapevine was that promotional work was well paid and easy to get into, so I decided to give it a go.

Getting started was easy. I sent some pictures of myself to a booking agency and within a few days, I was registered and ready to go. My first job was at Dubai Mall where I was hired to promote a new shop. The work was quite straightforward. All I had to do was give out free samples and encourage people to check out the store. I’m a sociable person, so I didn’t have any problems chatting to customers and educating them about the brand.

Since then, I’ve had a variety of different gigs. One of the things I love most about promotional work is the diversity. I could be doing anything from promoting a new nightclub, to creating brand awareness for beauty products. Not knowing what’s coming next is what keeps it fun. I’ve also had the opportunity to learn some fun new skills as my agency recently arranged for me to learn stilt walking. It’s a great party trick and I was lucky enough to be booked by Atlantis The Palm, to stilt walk at their New Year’s Eve bash last year. It was a really exciting way to see in 2010.

On average, I work about two days a week, though this can vary depending on the time of year. Of course, there are downsides to any job. For example, there is quite a bit of pressure to look glamorous. Regular blow-dries and mani/pedis are a must, and I have to work out regularly and keep fit. That said, the work isn’t as competitive as you might imagine as each client has a different brief of what they want. In the end, there’s always enough work to go round and everyone seems to be busy.

The best thing about doing promotion work is being paid to attend parties. I recently worked at the Laureus World Sports Awards, which lots of sports personalities attended. I think most people would agree that mingling with the crème de la crème of the sports world is quite a cool way to earn some extra cash. I’m not complaining.”

For more information about how to get into promotional work, visit

Renata Giovannoni, 29, from South Africa

I turned my hobby into a money spinner

Full-time: Graphic designer.

Part-time: Fire dancer.

Prep work: It takes around three months to master the art.

Average earning potential: Dhs10,000 per month.

“I started fire dancing about three years ago when a friend, who’s a professional fire performer, recommended I give it a try. Her previous fire partner had left Dubai, so she suggested training me up so that we could do shows together. After that, we formed a group called Wild Fire Dancers (, and we’re still going strong today.

It took me a few weeks to master the basic moves. The tricky part came when I had to combine those moves together in fluid motion. Admittedly, I was slightly daunted in the beginning. After all, spinning fireballs around your body is a little scary.

I got some war wounds, and even set my hair alight couple of times, but with a bit of time and practice, I really started to get the hang of it. After about three months, I was ready for my first show.

I’ll never forget the first time I performed professionally. We were hired to do a show at the Park Hyatt Dubai for a company’s end of year party. Waiting backstage, I was so petrified I could barely breathe. However, once I got out in front of the audience, all my nerves disappeared. The adrenaline kicked in and I felt as though this was what I was born to do. Seeing the utter awe in people’s eyes as we twirled the flames around us was a real buzz.

Our shows last between 15 to 20 minutes and, on average, we have between four and eight gigs in a month. During a busy period I can earn up to Dhs15,000 a month, which is great going for a part-time job. People often ask me if I’d like to do fire dancing full-time and the answer is, I’d love to. Unfortunately, the workflow tends to be a bit sporadic, because it’s seasonal work. In the winter, when the weather is cooler, it’s usually pretty busy. Then, during summertime, things tend to slow down, as it’s a bit hot to perform outside.

Still, I can’t complain. Since I started fire dancing, I’ve had the opportunity to do some amazing things. On top of performing at high-profile shows, I recently travelled to Indonesia where I undertook an advanced fire-spinning course. It was amazing to learn some new tricks, which I can now incorporate into our routine. As well as being my part-time job, fire dancing has become my passion. Once you’ve experienced the adrenalin of spinning fire, whether it’s a hobby or a profession, you’re hooked.” 

For more information about Wild Fire Dancers visit

You might also like…