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How to Find a Second Source of Income

Learn 6 ways to pick up multiple paychecks.

By
Laura Adams, MBA,
May 2, 2011
Episode #218

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Almost everyone wants to make more money, but when you feel like you can barely keep up with your full-time job, the idea of taking on a second or even third one can sound a little ridiculous. After all, if you’re already squeezed for time, then how can you possibly pick up even more responsibilities?

How To Find a Second Source of Income

As daunting as it sounds, finding multiple sources of income doesn’t have to be difficult, and it can be the solution to achieving more financial stability. In this article I’ll give you solid tips for how to create extra sources of income that can pick up slack in your budget, make it easier to save money, and give you an automatic safety net in case you unexpectedly lose your job.

Why You Need Multiple Sources of Income

I like to think about having an additional source of income as being sort of like an insurance policy. I interviewed one young woman who taught aerobics classes in the evenings after spending her days working as a videographer for news organizations. When she was unexpectedly laid off from her day job, she quickly doubled her aerobics teaching load and was able to keep herself afloat until she found a new full-time job. Some more examples of income multi-streaming are a teacher I know who sells used baby clothes out of her home and a young couple who run a small Internet business on the weekends. Just like these people, you can also pick a profitable project or create a business that matches your lifestyle. 

How to Start Making More Money

Making more money, or multi-streaming your income doesn’t have to be quite as overwhelming as it first sounds. If you’re ready to get started, here are six ways to begin picking up an extra paycheck: 

Extra Income Tip #1: Share Your Skills

The first step is to think about what you can do that’s unusual or valuable to other people. Do you know a second language well enough to teach it to others, or have a skill like woodworking, crochet, or playing a musical instrument? People pay for all kinds of lessons. Just log onto the “services” section at Craigslist.org to start brainstorming what you could offer. If you’re not sure whether there’s a market for your skill, post an ad on Craigslist or on a local message board and see whether anyone contacts you about it.

Extra Income Tip #2: Start a Service Business

The first step is to think about what you can do that’s unusual or valuable to other people.

People are willing to pay for all kinds of things, like house-sitting, dog-walking, cooking, yard work, cleaning, exterior pressure washing, computer work, tutoring, and even organization. If you’re interested in launching a business, come up with a business plan and start spreading the word.

Extra Income Tip #3: Sell Your Creativity

There are websites like Cafepress.com that let users design their own T-shirts and products with witty words or fun graphics and then sell them for a profit. Though you won’t get rich if just friends and family members bite, you could turn into a success story if you create a design at just the right time. 

For example, if a big news event or viral video inspires you, then quickly make a related T-shirt and get the word out. After President Obama signed the health care bill into law last year, Vice President Biden uttered a memorable expletive, and almost immediately T-shirts emblazoned with “Health insurance reform is a big #@%*! deal” became hot sellers!

Extra Income Tip #4: Get Crafty

Websites like Etsy.com make it easy to start selling your own jewelry, artwork, and other handiwork. But don’t get stuck making 100 beaded necklaces for $2 each. For the biggest payoff, stick with projects that have a relatively low time-to-profit ratio.

Extra Income Tip #5: Market Your Knowledge

The creator of MochaManual.com, The Black Mom’s Guide to Life, became a consultant to companies that wanted to better understand the concerns and preferences of African American mothers. You can also become a paid consultant or speaker once you’ve developed your reputation as an expert. A local speaker’s association can help you find gigs and negotiate a rate for making presentations. You might even consider checking to see whether the local community college is interested in having you teach a course in your subject area. 

Extra Income Tip #6: Sell an Unusual Service

The website Fiverr.com lets people sell (and buy) all kinds of wacky services for just $5 a pop. Current services for sale include designing a visually-appealing signature, creating a customized sound effect, making a tough decision, and writing a personalized rap song. Just as with crafty projects, you don’t want to over commit to something that won’t earn you a big return, but if you have a skill that easily translates into a quick service, then this could be a good strategy for you.
 
These are just a few ideas to get you thinking about what you can do to create a multi-streamed income. Your project might turn into a full-time job in itself or it could just be a back-up plan that gives you peace of mind while you continue to work a day job. Finding extra work that you really enjoy can be a great way to share your skills, meet new people, and take your personal finances to the next level. 
 
This article was written by Kimberly Palmer, the author of Generation Earn: The Young Professional's Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back, who writes the Alpha Consumer blog at usnews.com/alpha. It was edited and read in the podcast by Laura Adams.

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