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We’re living at this strange time when $130,000 a year is considered ‘middle class’, and it’s not enough to just have a full-time job, or several part-time jobs anymore. I’ve always been a fan of having several sources of income, so here are the basics on how to do that.

Don’t gamble it all away.

The biggest mistake people make when they start thinking about adding another stream of income is to start buying stocks. That’s not a strategy. That’s called gambling.

If you’re trying to make a few quick bucks, you’re better off cutting people’s lawns than trying to make money on the stock market. Even with all of the Gamestop trading in early 2021, most people who invested in GME lost money.

If you want to start trading stocks, and you have no debt, and money to spare, then great. Gamble for fun, if you can afford it. But the point of this article is to help out people who can’t afford to lose a dime to speculation, and if that’s you, please resist the urge to play the stock market.

    Try out cheap streams of income.

    If you want to make some additional money every month, I highly recommend starting with an idea that doesn’t cost you much to implement. 

    You might be thinking that anything digital is cheap, whether that’s a blog, or a youtube channel. And that might be true, but there’s a flip side. Blogs and youtube channels take a LOT of time to produce. Plus, you might need to pay to play (ie, advertising) to be really successful. 

    Instead, let’s look at other options.

    • Gary Vee talks a lot about garage sale flipping. That’s a pretty cheap way to make some extra money.
    • You could start a dog walking business, or a cat sitting service.
    • If you already have lawn mowing equipment, you could offer a lawn mowing service in your neighbourhood.
    • If you’re handy, and you’ve got your own tools, consider being a handy person for hire in your spare time.
    • If you’re a great writer, consider reviewing resumes, editing papers, tutoring students.
    • Do you know a lot about plants? Consider helping people with their house plants!
    • Are you a voice actor? Consider doing side gigs in voice acting.

    Sometimes, all it takes is a bit of ingenuity to create a new stream of income, so keep giving it some thought! The best way to figure out if a business idea is cheap is to consider the following:

    1. What’s the cost of materials or services that you’ll need?
    2. What’s the cost of shipping? (For example, shipping domestically is REALLY expensive in Canada!)
    3. What’s the cost of marketing? (How will you get the word out?)
    4. What’s the cost of travel, even locally?
    5. Will you need to pay someone to help you?
    6. Are there any other fees to consider? (Membership fees, commission rates, replacement for tools, etc)

    Making money online.

    The Internet has made it possible for us to make money through blogs, Twitch streams, online product sales, and more. But, it’s not as easy as it sounds.

    The web is saturated, as discussed in this article. So, it’s a lot harder to stand out online these days. Also, unless what you’re doing is extremely unique, it might take years for you to finally get some traction, or you might never get any traction at all.

    That’s the sad reality that nobody wants to talk about because we all dream about making it big. The truth is, unless you really know what you’re doing, or unless you can hire someone who’s good at marketing, the chances of you making an income online are pretty slim.

    That being said, here are some legit ways of making money sooner than later, online:

    • Start a unique Twitch channel. I know this one from experience as I started a microscopic stream in 2020 and it went viral.
    • If you operate a brick and mortar store, consider adding an online shop. If you already have customers, they’ll appreciate the convenience of shopping online!
    • If you have a unique niche idea, starting a blog in that niche might work out well for you, especially if you publish often, and can target your audience properly.

    Here are some online ideas that take much longer to monetize:

    • Blogging. If you blog about a topic that millions of other people are blogging about, it’s gonna take you a much longer time to stand out, especially if you’re building an audience from scratch.
    • Youtube: If you don’t already have an audience, building any youtube channel from scratch is gonna take a while. Youtube has a pretty decent discovery system though so it’s always my first recommendation for creators (TikTok being a close second).
    • Online courses: “I’ll just create a course!”, says you, and millions of other people. Online courses and workshops are saturated right now, and many of them are free, so competition can be fierce.
    • Apps: another market that’s saturated is the app market. Talented coders are always thinking of new app ideas, but it takes a real marketing strategy to make that app successful.

    Do you already have an audience?

    This is what usually makes the difference: an established audience is easier to monetize than starting a new project from scratch, without the numbers to support it right away.

    So, if you’re thinking of creating a new stream of income online, unless you’ve already got a bunch of people willing to jump in, it might not be a realistic choice for you if you’re looking for extra money, sooner than later.

    Online ideas are great for long-term income.

     

    Don’t get discouraged just yet! Starting a blog is a great idea to improve your SEO. It’s great for long-term audience-building. And it’s a great way to make some extra cash, over time.

    When you plan out different streams of income, it’s really not a bad idea to consider short-term ideas (garage sale flipping, tutoring, lawn care) and long-term ideas (blogs, youtube). The two can, and maybe should, go hand-in-hand.

     

    Realize that passive income isn’t passive from the start.

     

    Many of you might have heard of the concept of “passive income”. That’s kind of a nice goal to have isn’t it? To make money while you sleep! But, unless you already have assets (for example, you’ve written a book, you’ve created a music album), you won’t be able to generate passive income until you’ve created something that you can monetize.

    Creating a stream of passive income takes time, but if you want to really deep dive into the topic, check out this article.

    Realistically, for many people, creating a new stream of income is going to mean setting aside some time to do some extra work, getting a second job, or freelancing on the side. Especially if you’re in debt, and especially if you need money sooner than later.

     

    You actually have to work for it.

     

    This is just the truth of the matter. Either you get yourself a full-time job that pays more, you concentrate all of your efforts on one business idea, OR you diversify your time and spread it across a few different projects. Either way, you’re working for your money.

    Sure, you could monetize your blog with ads, but first, you have to work on getting the kind of traffic that will make the effort worthwhile.

    And most people have no idea how much time it takes to create content, share it, do the marketing for it. If you frequent blogging forums, you’ll learn that a lot of people hire writers (especially overseas) to write for them. If you don’t want to work for it, you’ll end up paying for the work. It’s always a trade-off.

    Consider what your free time is worth.

    I’m always in favour of people finding ways to make money on the side, especially for their financial security. But, what’s your free time worth? Are you making time for yourself, for your partner, for your kids? 

    For a lot of people, the solution to making more money every month might actually be to reduce their debt by cutting down on expenses. It might mean living without Netflix and Uber Eats for a little while. It might mean moving to a cheaper apartment. 

    We can’t have the conversation about income without looking at one’s expenses. So, keep that in mind. You can always make time to make more money, but at what expense? Is it worth it to be richer if it means sacrificing time with family? Can you be satisfied with less? Think about these things too before going all in – a good life is a life that’s well balanced.