That’s not entirely true. Earning more won’t benefit you if you blow your paycheck as soon as you get it. But you can’t save your way to riches, either.
Wealth comes from a combination of earning more AND saving more, just as losing weight comes from a combination of diet AND exercise.
That said, who wants a second shift from 6 pm to 10 pm every evening, as soon as you’re finished with your day job? Isn’t the point to increase your quality of life?
The best way to earn side income is through No-Obligation Jobs … side projects in which your responsibility (for even the most basic tasks, like showing up) is minimal-to-none.
This allows you to work only when you want to, and relax when you don’t.
Here are three ideas:
Companies are less likely to hire a full-time staff person to fulfill their needs. They’d rather take on a freelancer: someone who can do the work if it’s there, and who disappears when the project pipeline is dry.
The companies benefit because they don’t need to pay health insurance, payroll taxes, and all those other pesky little fees that come with hiring an employee — plus they have no obligation to keep the employee on salary.
You benefit because of the quid-pro-quo: you have no obligation to keep working. If they ask you to fill a freelance assignment next week, but you’ve already booked a trip to Aruba, you just smile and say “no.”
Freelancer jobs include writing, copyediting, web design, programming, data entry, web research, customer service, advertising, sales generating, and foreign-language translating.
Check out Elance for freelance opportunities — or try looking at industry-specific websites within your field, where employers usually advertise if they need freelancers.
Consulting is similar to freelancing in the sense that you drop in (like Mary Poppins) to help a company in need, then leave when you’re done.
Consultants are prized for their specific skills, long-term vision and direction. Freelancers complete specific tasks, while consultants help shape the company’s direction.
Consultants are usually in fields such as accounting, legal, finance and management, and have a solid track record.
Building a consulting business from scratch can be a demanding full-time job, but you can venture into it by:
- Talking to people in your industry about what companies might need your services. Word-of-mouth referrals is the best way to get jobs.
- Scanning industry-specific websites and publications for opportunities.
- Printing business cards that offer your services as a consultant and passing these out at conferences.
- Listing your services on websites like Elance — by using this “middle man,” you may get a larger volume of work without investing the upfront time in finding clients.
The trick to making money is to go to the spots where people who want your skill will congregate.
That’s why I’m such a big fan of Elance. It’s a website where you’ll find clients who are READY to hire and pay. They’ve got a job and they’re looking for someone to fill it. That’s where you come in.
Chances are, someone out there wants to learn what you know — whether it’s a skill within your professional field (like how to file taxes, or how to write a press release) or a hobby you’ve cultivated at home (guitar lessons, cooking, photography, knitting).
If you go this route, decide first whether you want to teach a class or teach one-on-one.
Teaching a class:
The pros to teaching a class: You prepare one lesson plan, deliver one lesson, and reach 5, 10, or even 25 paying students at the same time. This gives you a large “bang” for your hour.
The cons: Teaching an entire class can be a large undertaking. First and foremost, you’ll need to find a space to give the lessons. You could rent a space — but suddenly, your “earn money” plan now includes an element of risk. What if no one comes? What if you don’t earn back the money you shelled out on renting a space?
Think carefully about how you can create a win-win situation that will allow you a teaching space for free. Christine is a yoga instructor who was walking down a busy section of Boulder, Colo., when she noticed a coffeeshop that didn’t have many people inside during the daytime. She walked in, introduced herself to the owner — and scored a free place to give lessons, on the second floor of the coffeeshop. She was happy to have a free teaching space. The owner of the shop was happy to have yoga students who stayed after class to sip chai.
Kim had an unusual talent: hula-hooping. To her, it was a sport, and she could perform tricks and twists with a hula-hoop that few people had ever seen. Shortly after she moved to Olympia, Washington, she realized she needed some extra cash, so she approached a local fitness club and volunteered her services as a hula-hooping instructor. The fitness club was happy to be able to offer the class; Kim was happy to earn extra money on the side without having to rent a space or advertise for students.
Of course, if you’d rather start with one-on-one instruction, or if you have a skill that lends itself better to one-on-one teaching, then you won’t have to worry about organizing a space. Your main tasks are twofold: design a lesson plan and advertise for students.
These days the standard “go-to” advertising area is Craigslist (in England or Australia, use Gumtree), but this is where you’ll encounter all your competition — many of whom are willing to undercut you in price. You could always research companies such as TakeLessons reviews and work for a company that helps you find work.
You’ll tweak your approach as you progress. The most critical piece is to get started. Earning extra money is far more powerful than penny-pinching and saving. So … start earning a side income!