As I mentioned just the other day, a while back I stopped depending on only one source of income and started focusing on making money from multiple sources. While I still have a day job that I do for about 25 hours a week, I realized that depending on only my weekly paycheck could be a recipe for disaster, so I started thinking of other ways I could make money, and this is how I do it.
The second biggest source of income after my day job are my two blogs. It took a long time and a lot of work to get to this point, but now they bring in enough income that I could comfortably give up my day job and still be OK. The problem with blog income is that while it does usually stay consistent from month to month, you never know when it might disappear or start dropping. So while the money is good, it’s still not enough at this point for me to focus only on blogging to make money. If you are thinking of or have already started a blog but are looking for good tips on improving it, check out Blogthority, where a few friends and I write articles about, well, blogging :-).
In addition to my day job and running my blogs, I have also now learned enough about blogging to offer my services to other bloggers looking for SEO, content development, and ad sales/placement. I have 2 clients right now that pay me a percentage of their blog income each month in exchange for helping them get their blogs noticed by the search engines and by advertisers. I just started doing this recently, but it is starting to pay off and will be a nice source of long-term income as the blogs I help continue to grow.
While we are on the subject of the internet, I also started building websites for people/small businesses. I always dabbled in HTML and coding, but lately I have been working on my skills by taking a brush-up class on several subjects and have landed 2 website redesigns in the last month. This can be another source of long-term income, as people always need websites created and/ore redesigned, and while I may not have the best skills out there, there are some truly hideous sites out there. When we move to New Mexico, I should be able to find quite a few people looking to have sites built or fixed, as it is a much smaller pond and I will be a much bigger fish there!
Years ago I completed an 8 month training program for film and video editing. At the time, I really thought I wanted to be an editor…but that all changed as I realized I would have to sit in a dark room for 15 hours a day by myself! So while I have the skills, I figure why not market them to people looking for smaller projects to be edited and/or converted to DVD? I have the video equipment and the software on my Mac that enables me to convert any format of videos into digital files, and at that point I can edit them, create highlight reels, make DVD’s with chapters, etc.. You would not believe how many people have their home videos sitting around on VHS, wishing they could have them on DVD before the tape starts to disintegrate! Offering a decent rate for that kind of service can land you a good amount of work. Dub houses here in Los Angles can charge up to $100 for transferring 1 hour of videotape, which means I can charge a lot less and still make good money.
I am also pretty proficient in InDesign and Photoshop, and that has gotten me a few little jobs designing blog headers, web badges, business cards, flyers for events, etc. Again, even if there is only a few of these a month, it is extra income in addition to everything else I do, so it all adds up!
So let’s see – my day job, my blogs, blog optimization for others, video/film editing or DVD creation, website creation, and graphic arts work – add all these up and it makes for a pretty well-rounded “source” of income, wouldn’t you say? That being said, there are also other ways I try to supplement my income…
- I take online surveys. Companies like American Consumer Opinion tend to send me a few each month, and I will take every dollar I can get!
- I signed up for My Points. While it does not directly put money in my bank account, by reading a bunch of emails every month I get points to purchase gift cards to restaurants, retail stores, etc. The last amount of points I turned in was for a $75 gift card to our favorite resort out in Palm Springs, CA – not bad for reading some emails. Now I am saving up all my points for something bigger and I already have 15,000 points sitting in my account. My wife does it as well, so we effectively get double the amount of points, which means double the amount of gift cards! My Dollar Plan is another blogger who loves My Points.
- If you are not using a rewards credit card, you are missing out on free money or airline tickets. We charge everything to our cash back card or our AA mileage card so we can earn free money or miles each month.
Basically, after getting laid off a few years ago, I started realizing that I cannot depend on one company and one paycheck in order to make my life secure. When I left my corporate job, some people in my family could not believe it – “What about job security?”…well, what about it? Who says my corporate job would be there long term? As an extreme example, Enron was probably thought to be indestructible too…and look what happened to them. I want to work on my terms and depend on myself to make my money – I no longer feel comfortable putting all my trust in a single employer. At this point, if my “day job” were to disappear, what would happen? Not too much, really. I would lose a source of income, but I have other sources of income and not having my day job would give me more time to focus on them to make the money back I lost! However, something to keep in mind – A lot of people think that alternative income means passive income, which is not always the case. And calling blogging “passive” income is a misnomer, as you still have to maintain it, comment, write articles, etc.. Just because it makes you money when you are not sitting at the computer does not mean it is passive by any means. Everything I do to make money is “active” – it’s just that at some times money comes in when I am not working directly on the project itself.
So if you are looking for alternative sources of income, take stock of what you are good at and what you could offer other people. Are you good with kids? Try teaching or tutoring after school. Are you a good artist? Build a website selling your services to companies looking for graphic design work. Start taking classes in something you are interested in that could make you money. Your day job might even have a program in place to pay for outside classes that they think would benefit the company…take advantage of them! Really, the opportunities are endless and it is up to you to make it happen. Patrick from Cash Money Life has a great article about how your greatest asset is possibly your ability to create income and I tend to agree. If you are comfortable depending on only your boss to put money in your pocket, then this post probably is not for you. But if you want to create your own income, it’s going to take a lot of work and investigation to see what you can do to make money. In the end, though, it will be worth it to control your own financial life!