I can think of a possible few reasons why you opened this article.
- You are underemployed and underpaid for the level of education you have (According to newyorkfed.org, you’re not alone. Depending upon the field of your degree, 20-63% of college grads are in jobs that do not require their degree.).
- You are adequately employed, but your debt is suffocating.
- You desire a larger lifestyle than what you can currently afford.
- You’re trying to create a large savings for a big future purchase.
- You just like money.
Any of these reasons, among others, are good reasons to do the tough work of identifying additional income.
Identify Your Why
Identifying the powerful reason why you want to earn additional income and writing it down are captivating ways to commit yourself to the pursuit of more money.
I feel inclined to throw in a disclaimer that if you don’t have a powerful why, perhaps you are more content than you think and that’s not necessarily a bad place to be.
In my case, my powerful why arose when I saw how much money I would owe debt collectors every month. My early years instilled a desire in me to always have enough money to provide for my needs. I knew that if I was owing as much money as I did, that a loss of job or other unexpected large surprise could completely ruin me.
Was my desire to earn extra income and pay down debt driven by fear? Absolutely. And that’s okay.
It fueled me better than you could have imagined. What’s your driving emotion that defines your why?
Consider Your Interests and Talents
The first thing I did when I considered earning extra income was to think about what I love to do and am talented at. The whole of my life had been consumed by golf, so I brainstormed ways to earn money on the side in that arena.
What I ended up settling on was driving a beverage cart (hello tips!) at a local golf course on the weekends. Eventually, through that connection, I ended up being asked to coach a local high school girl’s golf team.
The best part about these jobs was that they were seasonal and fun. Between my full-time job and side jobs, I worked 7 days a week all spring, summer, and fall. Winter was my break. Nobody can sprint forever.
When I took each of these jobs, I committed to putting every cent of that income to my debt – no excuses. This is the fastest way to make principal disappear.
Between working at the golf course for three summers part-time and coaching one season of high school golf, I pulled in about an extra $10,000. This doesn’t sound like much, but in light of our $71,000 of debt – this took a huge chunk off, with a minimal amount of time investment.
I’m confident you can generate more income than this on the side.
However, I will caution you to find something you at least somewhat enjoy – otherwise you will not stay the course.
Consider your gifts, talents, and passions.
- Are you a graphic designer with free time to do freelance work (even if you're a college student)?
- Do you have musical talent that you can earn money from working at a church on a weekend, or working with local bands?
- Do you have a gift for writing and have time to pick up freelance writing?
- Are you a nerd? You’d be surprised how much freelancing you can pick up coding, doing development, or QA testing. Further, people will pay you to help them with basic work like setting up wireless networks, printers, cameras, etc. Tap into your network and ask around.
- Would you walk dogs for a living if you could? You must check out pet sitting options like DogVacay or Rover.com. You can make some serious side income through these outlets.
- Do you love spending time with kids? Go old-fashioned and babysit! Better yet, develop a relationship with a couple families that take regular Friday night date nights – guaranteed income every week!
- Is your car new enough to become an Uber or Lyft driver? I’ve heard mixed reviews, but with surge pricing, you can stand to gain quite a bit when large events are happening.
- Become a virtual assistant. It’s not a killing on cash, but many virtual assistant jobs allow you time flexibility – you just have to find the right match.
- If you don't want much commitment, consider donating plasma. It's not a large source of income but anything helps!
This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list. You will need to be creative and evaluate your skills. If you need more help in this area, email me! I would love to help you brainstorm. I mean it!
There’s really no way to make this sound easy. The toughest part is going out and doing the work. It requires energy and time. That's why you identified your powerful why. Keep it in a place that reminds you why the work is worth it.
Sacrifices will need to be made – especially if you’re doing side work on a weekend you’d rather spend relaxing or with family and friends.
It’s tough to make the sacrifices, but one of the benefits of spending more time working is that you are less likely to spend money since you’re so busy! I found myself doing less shopping, eating out, and spontaneously spending because of my full schedule.
The friends and family that are loyal to you will understand your pursuit of additional income or debt freedom. The best ones will encourage you in it and work around your schedule.
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Comment with your current side income or your idea for future side income.
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