Financial Health

Don’t Just Augment Your Income, Build It

Life isn’t about getting by, it’s about doing more. But what if you’re living check-to-check?

Maybe It’s Time for a Reality Check

Most of us are years away from having passive income streams, such as owning rental properties and stocks that bring in regular revenue. If that’s you, and you feel like your finances are holding you back, maybe it’s time to decide, here and now, if today’s going to be the day you’re going to hustle, to start chasing after income that’ll get you that much closer to being financially independent.

So what are some of the best ways to increase your income?

The Power of Rebranding Yourself

Do you consider yourself a freelancer? Regrettably, many people underestimate their abilities when it comes to calling themselves a freelancer. That kind of thinking can limit your options. Sometimes, the simple fact of self-identifying as a freelancer can open up career doors for you, including offering your services on freelance websites such as Fiverr, Upwork and Thumbtack.

I spoke with Neal Ungerleider, a personal finance guru at Almost Millions, about this. His advice? “The most important part of freelancing is treating it like a job,” he said, “not a hobby. The only difference is that you’re working for yourself instead of working for a boss. Make sure you’re allocating enough work hours, seeking out new client relationships and building on existing ones, and using software to keep track of income streams are all very important for freelance success.”

Differentiate Yourself By Becoming Specialized

Dustyn Ferguson, who operates the successful personal finance blog, rejects the idea that you need connections or inherited wealth to successfully finance the life you want. “Get a specific set of skills that a lot of others don’t possess,” he said. “Many people can create graphics, but not as many people create graphics for ads on Snapchat. The more specific you get with your skills, the more business you’ll get from people looking for exactly what you offer.”

Don’t Let Fear or Insecurity Stop You From Switching Up Your Career

Sometimes, you’ve simply got to try something new. Have any of the following ever tickled your financial fancy?

  • Participating in market research and filling out paid surveys (Observa, Dscount, etc.)
  • Putting that spare room up for rent (FlipKey, Homeaway, Airbnb, etc.)  
  • Driving a limo or renting out your own car (Groundlink, Getaround, etc.)

Your Business Isn’t Going to Start Itself

Sometimes the best way to invest in yourself is to be your own boss.

Jon Sterling of the Sterling Report believes you should do something related to what you already know, instead of starting something that requires learning a new industry or advanced skill. “Sometimes the best suggestions are right under your nose,” he said, “and you haven’t thought through the best ways to monetize them.”

  • Interested in earning money boarding dogs in the comfort of your own home? — Start your own pet-sitting business (Rover, PetBacker, etc.)
  • Excited about sharing your love of knowledge with students who are eager to learn? — Start your own tutoring business (Udemy, VIPKid, etc.)
  • Keen to help women with your knowledge and skills in makeup and hairstyling? — Start your own beauty business (Priv, GlamSquad, etc.)  

Jon also said that it might be helpful to host a brainstorming session with people who know you to see what they think would be a great opportunity for you. “I encourage people to set big goals,” he added. “If the goals don’t make them feel a little uncomfortable, the goals aren’t big enough.

Think Outside of the Career Box

There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious and thinking about your next big step. But it’s often difficult to inspire yourself to think outside of your current career box. To achieve that, we here at Steady firmly believe that you’ve got to create a plan that prioritizes what you’re going to do. So set your career and financial goals now, and go after them like there’s no tomorrow.