A few days ago I wrote about my career journey, and I shared that I’ve had 16 different jobs in the past 14 years. A good number of them have been held concurrently because having multiple streams of income has been an important financial and professional value and mindset in my life ever since I was young. I was always trying to figure out how to make extra money. In college, I worked as a babysitter, a research assistant, and a dorm-room hairstylist. In graduate school, I worked as a research assistant then had a part-time job at a non-profit. Now, I run a digital media company that has both a blog and travel retreat component, while also running an education non-profit.
I credit my strong belief in multiple streams of income to my parents, who even when working full-time as real estate appraisers, always made sure to diversify their clientele and the kind of jobs they would take. If one mortgage lender was a bit slow in terms of the number of jobs they sent through to my parents, they’d have money coming in from a different bank. Or if it was snowing and they weren’t able to do in-home appraisals, they were also certified in review appraisals so they could pick up some of those jobs without having to leave the house.
Due to the state of the global economy, there’s never been a more important time to have multiple income streams. In our team meeting this morning, someone brought up that all four of us on the call had more than one hustle — some people work full time and then side hustle, some freelance for multiple clients, and others have multiple business ventures they pursue. No matter how we approach it, we’re securing the bag from all angles! Here are a few common ways to have multiple streams of income.
Have a 9-5 and a 5-9
If you’re already employed full time, you can start a side hustle that you work on outside of work hours. Make sure that you confirm with your employee handbook or contract that you’re allowed to perform work outside of your role, especially if you’re performing a similar role. Two of the Safe Journey Media team members both have full-time jobs in the advertising and communications space, but they create time to do both with excellence.
Serve a Variety of Clientele
If you’re already freelancing, think about how you can slightly refine your skillset to reach a different kind of clientele. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, then you can also learn the skills to become a newborn photographer or a product photographer, and vice versa. That way, when the world shuts down and everyone cancels their weddings, you’ll still have a way to earn income because you’re not reliant on just one kind of client. If you’re a web designer, you can become a UX designer with some additional learning. When thinking about how to make extra money, think outside of what you’re used to and brainstorm how you can use your existing skills to service a new industry or clientele.
Take Your Services Online
There are a million and 1 ways to make money in today’s digital economy. If you’re thinking about how to make extra money, the internet is your friend! Although there are plenty of articles that will tell you how to make money online from dropshipping or multi-level marketing schemes, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. You have a skillset — the thing you’ve either learned how to do in school, been hired to do for an employer, or taught yourself how to do over the years. Leverage that skill online! If you’ve always been the cook in your family and are known to whip up creative dishes, create a cooking class on Skillshare. If you’re a grantwriter, or have written successful grants for your own research projects, offer your grantwriting services on Upwork (slash hit me up because I need grantwriting help!). If you did a bunch of data entry in college for a research project but now work in retail, you can do online freelance work in data entry on your off days.
Now there’s a misconception that having multiple streams of income or side hustles has to be about pursuing your passions or earning enough money to leave your job. Contrary to a lot of the entrepreneurship advice out there, it’s TOTALLY FINE to have a full-time, salaried job and not “be your own boss.” Being your own boss also means paying for your own healthcare and employment taxes, and those things add up. And while pursuing your passions is cute, being able to afford the lifestyle you want is cuter. Sometimes our passions won’t earn us money — and don’t always need to earn us money. I was listening to an episode of The Love Hour Podcast recently, and Kevin talked about how he had to reframe his mindset to know that it was ok to have a hobby that’s just for yourself and not for financial gain (his passion was playing the guitar). So as you work on securing the bag and getting multiple streams of income this year, make sure you’re retaining at least one of your passions just for your own enjoyment and not for monetization.