Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Multiple Sources of income: What Can You Do to Earn A Few Bucks?

Developments in the Land of Flu: 
No fever yesterday morning, which gave me foolish hope. I staggered around, did some errands...then went right back to the fun stuff, including coughing, aching, nausea, etc. This morning, the fever reappeared, right on schedule. Oh goody. The Brick is not much better -- we spend a lot of time sleeping and trying not to gripe at each other. 
    At least I got the smelly, rumpled bedclothes changed, and a load of wash out on the clothesline. Nothing like fresh air to take those stale odors away.
    Still not eating much; food just doesn't sound good. If I come out of this with weight lost, that would be wonderful!




It's about this time of year when Christmas bills have (somehow) been paid, property tax is due -- and the bank account is looking a little empty. You may not be looking for a full-time, or even part-time job...but it would be nice to add at least a few bucks to the sugarbowl. 

Or -- you're looking for a consistent way to have income come in, even when you're not actively at a job. Although I had practiced this before (my family is famous for picking up 'little jobs here and there'), I didn't even know the technique had a name, until I read about Robert Allen's 'multiple streams of income.'  (He does get a little pushy about promoting his own books, kits and expertise in this...but I still think he has a point. Just don't think you have to buy his stuff in order to do it.) 



PASSIVE INCOME FIRST

How can you make your savings and investments earn even more, without you having to fool with them all the time? Interest rates are supposedly going up soon -- this may be the time to pull that money from the savings account, where it's been gathering dust, and put some of it into a few CDs, instead. 
   
Think about index funds -- something Warren Buffett said he would invest in, if he were to start over. I'd heard plenty of of quiet investors recommend these. (Bigmouths like Jim Cramer are busy trumpeting the latest 'in' stock -- then running for cover when the market falls.) Although I fool around some in the regular market, by far, I depend on my Vanguard index funds. They do well in good times and bad; that's the nice part about them. 

Pay as little interest as possible on what you owe. Paypal Credit is a shining example here. As long as you make the minimum payments on time or early, you won't put out a lick of interest. If your credit card offers a similar program, take advantage of it -- but make sure you've got enough for that big payment at the very end -- before the interest starts accruing. 
      Another surprisingly easy way: make your loan payments in the middle of the month, instead of the end. You can pay exactly the same amounts, but the interest saved will mount. I was amazed at how much.

WHAT'S NEXT?

A mix -- sort of passive/sort of active.  You'll have to do some work at first to set these options up. But once in place, everything should run smoothly.

Loan money to someone (or a website, like crowdfunding) that you trust. Easier said than done...but there are people and places I will always take a chance on. Charge a reasonable rate of interest.

Write an e-book. Promote and sell it, via a simple website. (Lots of ideas here to get you started.)

Bring out a book someone else wrote -- with their permission, of course. Ditto above.

Sell your writing to someone else. The Simple Dollar, for example, is always looking for good stuff.

Yes, you can always start a blog, then solicit advertisers, etc. Obviously, I believe in this -- because I've been writing for mine for more than ten years now! I can tell you, though, that it's mostly been my nickel you've been reading it on -- I do it for love. (and you, Faithful Readers.) I've made a few bucks on the sidebar ads over the years -- but not much. We've done far more business through the Brickworks website. (Which is STILL up for renovation. Discouraging.)



NOW THE BIG ONE:

Active Income. Set aside your 'real' job, for now. (I'm assuming you have one -- but if you've just been laid off, or are still searching, the following ideas gain even more importance.)

*Can you do something else 'on the side?'  The Mama always said you should be able to do at least three things well...then you could get a job anywhere, using one of those skills. 

*Figure out what you're good at -- then get even better at it. Is it typing? Then practice a little every day, until your speed and accuracy have increased even more. Is it construction work? What are you better at, than everyone else? Take all the free or reduced fee classes you can, read books, talk to others in your field. Practice, practice, practice.

*Tidy up. Clean clothes, hair and body always speak well for you. Use a basic haircut that only needs a trim every other month or so. Polish your shoes and boots. (I always do this in situations I need confidence in -- I figure the smell of bootpolish speaks for me.) Classic clothes (get the best quality possible, if needed from the highest-end thrift shop) will do more for you in the long run than trendy ones.
     It's easy to cut back on this, particularly when your funds are short, or you're not feeling well. (Believe me, I know.) But we humans are still terribly dependent on first impressions. This helps.

*Get business cards. These are critical. (Keep them generic enough to cover more than one business.) Then possibly brochures, as well. Vistaprint has incredible sales, and they let you keep your templates on file. 

*Now on to the website. You really do need one, if you want to be perceived as professional. Yes, a blog can do this for you, as well. Start with the freebie versions first, then expand.

*Now advertise yourself -- and you don't have to pay extra to do it, either. 
       *Contact a business, and offer your services for free. 
       *Craigslist lets you post ads for free. So does 'NextDoor,' a social app that lets you talk to neighbors all around your 'hood. This has been far more useful to me than even Craigslist.
       *Start a Facebook page. Daughter #2 also actively uses Instagram and Snapchat to promote her business and show her inventory. 
       *Put out a sign. It must be large and simple enough for someone to read it from a slowly-moving vehicle. Make it crisp and to the point -- or country-cute.


*YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO INTO DEBT TO ACCOMPLISH THIS. If there's any bone I have to pick with all those entrepreneur 'You Can Be Rich' speakers and writers out there, it's this one. If you can afford the book -- or the kit -- or the plan -- and you honestly think it's workable for your situation, then by all means, go ahead. You can usually borrow the book from the library, though...or get enough, by watching an infomercial, to figure out what they're promoting. But you don't need their program in order to do what works best for you and your family.

     You're a smart, resourceful person -- figure something else out.




Finally, we're on to what I'd call The Quirky Stuff: ways to make $$ that surprisingly add up. Many of my ideas here have been pooh-poohed by others...but I know they work. I've tried them, or seen others do so. 

*Housesitting, petsitting, errands and other 'looking after things while the family is gone' jobs. These demand excellent credentials and references -- but once you've got them, word of mouth often gets you more work. I have enjoyed my petsitting jobs quite a bit. 

*Sell flowers, cuttings, baby plants or garden vegetables out of a red wagon out front -- and an honor jar. My grandma used to pick weeds from the ditches, bundle the daylilies, chicory and Queen Anne's Lace attractively -- then market them as 'wildflower bouquets.' She did okay with them, too.

*Teach a skill. Teach piano to kids (which I do), or hold Spanish sessions. Other options: cooking, basic sewing, writing a resume (or a good college essay paper), car repair. 

*Repair something. Youtube is full of instructional videos to fix your coffeemaker or sewing machine -- the Brick just used it to help him replace the shocks on the Outback. (He did a great job, too.)

*Sell your handiwork.  A nicely-made quilt...or a cake. (If you can do cakes for special occasions, even better.) Crocheted scarves. Offer mending and repair work on textiles. Cater a small party...or offer to be the cook/waiter/barperson, using their food and liquor.

*Keep animals or birds that pay for themselves.  For years, our chickens furnished us with eggs and meat -- plus more than enough eggs to sell, to pay for their own feed. My farmer parents always had an extra steer or pig raised, for meat or sales. (And if I could have persuaded the Brick to let us keep a pig here, I would have!)
     Our friends down the street keep bunnies. (They also sell iris -- which the bunns' manure keeps lush and thriving.) We also had rabbits for quite some time. 
     I would like to say that Charley contributes in this way -- but alas. However, he is a great patrol dog at keeping predators away. 

Just a pretty face...and a big bark when needed

*Work when someone else is sick, or on vacation.  If you can fill in for that short time period -- and you pick up skills quickly -- many fastfood and retail establishments would be thrilled to have you. Or pick up a week or two of temp work during the holidays. Doing that for Tuesday Morning earned enough to make this month's property tax payment.

*Be willing to take on something nasty. Scrubbing toilets? Shoveling out stalls or chicken coops? Picking up dog doo-doo? Taking care of sick children? There will always be people desperate for these services -- and they usually pay very well. Put on work clothes and plastic gloves, keep music handy...and go to it. You can always take a shower later.

*Offer something no one else does.  Ironing? (The Mama often did this for other people, while I was growing up.) Complaint letters? (I am thinking of starting up a service doing this -- I'm very good at it.) Rides to the airport -- or the grocery store, for someone's Aunt Tilly? (You could deliver the groceries, too -- or sit with Aunt T. while her family gets the groceries, instead.)  Pay monthly bills? (Only with a sterling reputation.) How about holding someone's place in line? (The Brick saw this happen during his recent $500 escapade.)

And, of course -- 

*Sell things. Either your stuff...or stuff you found at the local thrift shop or garage sales.  Or offer to sell someone else's stuff, in return for a percentage of sales. Or swap what you don't need, for what you do. Like blogging, people fuss a lot about this -- and it does work. But I seem to accomplish more with other tactics. 

Moolanomy's got 462 ideas in multiple income sources that you can benefit from, as well as plenty of links to other people's thoughts on the subject. His post is long -- but well worth reading, especially in chunks.

I hope this has given you some ideas...by all means, mention more in the comments. (The monthly Frugal Hits & Misses reports should also give you an idea of our activities in this area.) 
This is a bright, complicated world we live in -- but the resourceful person will always get by. And thrive.



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