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Long Island side jobs: Pole dance fitness instructor, baker, comedian, more

Assistant district attorney by day, bread-baker by night. Lots of Long Islanders have turned their passions and hobbies into moneymaking side jobs.

Some earn a little extra spending money, while others can earn enough to pay off their kids' college tuition.

Below are a few Long Islanders who have successfully taken on a side job.

If you would like to be featured in this list, click here.

Cheryl Tarulli, beauty product manufacturing executive / tattoo artist

No matter which of her two jobs she's
Photo Credit: Cheryl Tarulli

No matter which of her two jobs she's working, Cheryl Tarulli has something for people looking to alter their appearance. One just happens to be a bit more permanent than the other.

During the day, Tarulli, 37, of Lindenhurst, is the vice president of Copiague-based Rejuvenol Laboratories, which manufactures beauty products including hair and skin care items. At night, she and a partner run a tattoo studio in Massapequa called Crimson Culture, where she can earn $150 per hour on each tattoo.

"I get to use what I feel is my greatest skill," she said of her tattoo work. "I've always been an artist."

She said she enjoys taking a customer's idea and turning it into something tangible.

"They randomly throw words at me and they hope it means something," Tarulli said.

No tattoo request fazes her, from Jareth, David Bowie's character in the film "Labyrinth," to food.

"Baked potato, banana; to me there's nothing weird anymore," she said of some of the body art customers have asked for.

More often the issue is not the subject of the tattoo but the placement, Tarulli said, recalling a customer who asked for a Crocs symbol on his buttocks.

"I don't know why he wanted it, I think it was a bet," she said.

Tarulli spends her days at Rejuvenol and works at Crimson Culture on nights and weekends. Having a detailed calendar helps keep her on track.

"I live by a schedule. Everything goes in the book. If it's not in the book, it doesn't exist," Tarulli said.

Between the two, Tarulli said she works about 12- to 13-hour days, six days a week.

"I had to make some sacrifices to do both," she said. "But it keeps me out of trouble."

Robert Biancavilla, assistant district attorney / bakery owner

Robert Biancavilla, 62, of Huntington says baking is
Photo Credit: Robert Biancavilla

Robert Biancavilla, 62, of Huntington says baking is his fallback after a long career in law.
"I've been trying murder cases for most of my professional career. This is my Plan B."
Biancavilla began working in a bakery when he was 14 years old and continued through college. He "got distracted" by his career, earning a law degree and eventually becoming an assistant district attorney for Suffolk County.
"It's a tremendous amount of work, but the enjoyment is worth it," says Biancavilla, who five years ago took up baking again and opened Duck Island Bread Co. in Huntington. The shop is open one day per week, which requires three days of preparation and pays $20 per hour.
"Honestly, I get to make people smile, so I enjoy what I'm doing," he said. "When you come in on a Saturday and the line is into the parking lot, you get to see people smile. The enjoyment is worth it."

Doreen Bartholomew, executive assistant / church choir director

Doreen Bartholomew, 60, has held down her second
Photo Credit: Doreen Bartholomew

Doreen Bartholomew, 60, has held down her second job as a church choir director for more than 30 years.
"I always say being a choir director is my second full-time job. I have to be there for whatever happens," said the New Hyde Park resident, who began directing when her husband was ordained. He is now the second priest in their congregation, Church of Our Lady of Kazan in Sea Cliff.
Her hours at her second job can vary week to week. In addition to Saturday nights and Sunday mornings, she often dedicates more time to directing during holidays or events for the congregation.
Few of her skills transfer over to being a choir director from her full-time job as an executive assistant at Deloitte, except perhaps organization.
"I love music, I love making music, and I'm with people who also enjoy doing it," she said.
The biggest challenge, Bartholomew said, is making the time to do what she loves.
"It's the time factor," she said. "You can do something you love, but if it takes up half your life, it can become a burden."
However, Bartholomew said the people of her choir and congregation are what make the extra hours worth the work.
"It takes a lot of commitment to do what these people do," she said. "If it weren't for them, I wouldn't have the job."

Joseph Bienz, teacher / disc jockey

While Joseph Bienz has been DJ'ing on the
Photo Credit: Joseph Bienz

While Joseph Bienz has been DJ'ing on the side for nearly 20 years, he said it took almost a decade for it to develop into a true second job.
After occasionally filling in for friends in high school, Bienz, 39, of Nesconset, learned about DJ'ing while a student at Dowling College in Oakdale.
"I worked at the radio station where I did my undergrad and master's, and eventually I ran the station," he said. His work at the station and continued time as a DJ helped him learn the behind-the-scenes skills he needed to become a fully fledged DJ.
"At first, our only advertising was by word-of-mouth at friends' parties," he said. "It takes a long time to build up because there's a lot of competition out there."
Today, Bienz works several events per week for up to $700 per gig, on top of his full-time job as a public school teacher in Suffolk County.
"It definitely keeps me busy," he said, adding that business can depend upon the time of year. "During the school year, our events are usually on the weekends, so it doesn't collide with work."
He admitted, "It does seem like I have two full-time jobs," which makes it important to "do something you like."

Heather Schmalz, interior designer / pole dance and belly dance fitness instructor

Heather Schmalz, an interior designer from Medford, began
Photo Credit: Heather Schmalz

Heather Schmalz, an interior designer from Medford, began belly dancing and pole dancing for fitness as a hobby.
"Pole dancing is very physical," said Schmalz, 30. "You have to work on a series of moves, and it takes a long time to get those moves. I became really obsessed."
Schmalz shed 30 pounds in three months thanks to the activity and soon went from student to teacher, giving lessons from her home.
"It started getting a little cramped" at home, which led her to open Shimmy Shimmy Dance Studio in Medford, where she can earn $80 or more per hour teaching.
While her affinity for fitness grew, her love of interior design never faded. Her interest in bright colors and style developed into a talent for design in high school. After studying it in college, she entered the interior design field.
"You work all day, and then you work all night, so it can be a lot sometimes," she admitted. "But even if it takes up all your time, it's worth it if you have a passion for it and enjoy it."

Jeffrey Lisabeth, trial lawyer / comedian

Jeffrey Lisabeth's side career began at college frat
Photo Credit: Jeffrey Lisabeth

Jeffrey Lisabeth's side career began at college frat parties.
"I started quite innocently, performing as an emcee for various fraternity functions," said Lisabeth, 60, of Northport. "Then I wanted a bigger audience."
Lisabeth entered the Manhattan comedy scene in 1977, performing alongside the likes of Al Franken and Tom Davis. He continued performing while in law school in Philadelphia, but put his craft on hold for 22 years. After years of raising a family and forming a law practice, a visit to a comedy club in 2006 reignited his craving for the microphone.
"Like any other desire, it reared its ugly head," he said. "It's irresistible."
Today, Lisabeth can earn between $75 and $500 per comedy gig, in addition to his job as a trial lawyer.
"The skills are quite similar, but the vocabulary and language are vastly different," he said.
"Comics who do it right make it look easy," he said. "It's the same with lawyers. I tell law students that every hour of courtroom presentation requires 10 hours of preparation. A 10 minute set for a comedian has been distilled for months or even years until they get it right."
"If you're willing to devote the time to it, and both those jobs require a tremendous commitment of time," Lisabeth says the challenges of his two jobs are worth the rewards.
"I won't sacrifice my work during the day, and I don't want to perform poorly at night," he said. "Whether it's acting as a representative seeking justice during the day or trying to elicit a release of laughter at night. . . . You want to provide a quality product."

Ray Peres, insurance adjuster / charter boat captain

Ray Peres, 65, of Northport, had always wanted
Photo Credit: Ray Peres

Ray Peres, 65, of Northport, had always wanted to be a charter captain. An insurance adjuster by day, he earned a captain's license in 1986 and, after deciding he wanted to make his own schedule, bought his own boat.
Today, Peres said he earns $600 per charter on his 70-foot vessel, and books up to four charters per month during the busy season.
"If it's busy, I don't have a lot of personal time, so it can be tough," Peres admitted, adding that sailing a boat around Long Island isn't exactly stress-free.
"Nobody on the boat wants to catch fish more than the captain does," he said, but sometimes they don't want to bite. Temperamental fish coupled with unreliable weather, late nights and a business that isn't always booming can make the job stressful.
Captaining his charterboat can also cut his downtime if other projects come up, he said. On one occasion, Peres helped the U.S. Coast Guard test new LED flares across the Long Island Sound. He had to sail to Connecticut to help test how well certain colors and light intensities could be seen and was out until 11 p.m., only to return to his day job the next morning.
However, his longtime love of boating makes it worth the pressure, he said.
"I can work a full eight-hour day in the office, and then when I go out on the boat, it's like I never went to work," he said. "You can leave your stress on the shore."
For those considering committing to their own business, Peres advised, "Don't rely on word-of-mouth. Do plenty of advertising and make sure you can get enough business to show a profit in it."

James Governali, Spanish teacher / real estate and hotel photographer

Real estate photography was a third job for
Photo Credit: James Governali

Real estate photography was a third job for James Governali, 38, of East Yaphank.
His actual side job was selling real estate, but he wasn't happy with the marketing available for the listings. So, Governali began to take photos himself, which caught the attention of other real estate agents.
"One day, another agent called me and asked who did my photos," he said. "I told them I took them myself, and they offered to hire me as a photographer."
While real estate photography doesn't quite relate to his full-time job, Governali has found ways to bring what he learns into his Smithtown High School Spanish class.
"I'm always keeping up to date on technology and learning new things, and I can bring that to my classroom," he said, adding that his side job offers a lesson to his students.
"I always tell my students: Get a degree, learn a skill, and if you can combine what you love with that skill, it won't feel like work. For me, photography doesn't feel like a second job."

Joe Vella, IT / guitar pedal builder

Joe Vella, 44, works full-time in internet technology,
Photo Credit: Joe Vella

Joe Vella, 44, works full-time in internet technology, but developed a love of the technological aspect of music after his time in a band as a teenager.
"I've always been tinkering with stuff and building things, but it was always just a hobby," said Vella, of Patchogue.
"I always stayed in the background, and finally a friend talked me into being more serious about it," he said.
The pair started a business building and designing guitar pedals, a craft that blended his love of music and his prowess at technology.
While he enjoys his work in IT, Vella said the artistic and creative aspects of building guitar pedals make his side hustle a "labor of love."
"It's kind of like another full-time job," said Vella, who can spend up to 30 hours per week building pedals, answering emails from across the globe, taking requests, and making sales. He said he earns about $50,000 per year with his guitar pedal business.
While Vella's is a success story, he said his side job required both passion and patience.
"Don't be afraid to start small," he advised. "If you start big, you can end up doing too much and can be disappointed. Be willing to see where it takes you."

Joe Titone, airline pilot / welder-fabricator

Joe Titone's second job was actually one of
Photo Credit: Joe Titone

Joe Titone's second job was actually one of his first.
While he works full-time as an airline pilot, Titone, 42, of Ronkonkoma, works in his father's welding business as a welder-fabricator. While he has been working in the business in some capacity for about 20 years, Titone said it became a side job about 12 years ago.
"My father lets me work my schedule around my full-time job and my family," said Titone, who said he works up to seven days per week at the business.
"Making time for a personal life, for a family life, and getting in as much time as I can to help my father" can be a challenge, he said. Therefore, he advised anyone embarking on a side job to "make sure you can balance them both."


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