Ijeoma Kola kicking leg up while posing in the streets of Nairobi wearing cream mid-sleeve dress, white shoulder sling bag and snake skin thigh high boots

How to Secure the Bag by Having Multiple Income Streams

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.

Have you been trying to figure out how to make extra money to hit your financial goals? Or are you working any any passion projects that simply bring you joy? Let me know!

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  1. This message was for me. Thank you for the very last paragraph. I enjoy helping people with resumes/cover letters. I don’t really charge anything for it, unless they want to donate. I just love the need to have a passion and enjoy my current, 9-5!

  2. OMG this blog post came in just the right time because today I was thinking about business ideas that I can use for a side hustle. It is really important to have multiple streams of income. This was such a good read and shoutout to The Love Hour because I resonated with what Kevin said too.

  3. This blog was needed. I’ve been trying to get my creative juices flowing to help myself obtain a second or multiple stream of income. I have a degree in Social Work and I want to capitalize on that. I recently signed myself up for coaching – Empowerment Coaching. I really believe that since I engage with students a lot and even friends/colleagues, that is my niche. I’m still trying to figure out how to get it started; reading this blog has been very helpful. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Oh this read was well needed. I’ve had a side hustle selling Thrifted items but it does take work and alot of time to get through the process. However I’m currently working on using the skills I have to build my 5-9. I mean . If I’m not studying that 5-9 I had better be making my life more comfortable.

  5. This was very informative. My biggest take out from this is I don’t have to monetize every one of my passions. It’s okay to reserve some hobbies to myself.

    Thankyou Ijeoma!

  6. Honestly, I haven’t but this posting is given me motivation and interest into pursuing multiple income and financial gains.

  7. Yea,true,This read just came in handy. I’m currently doing 9-4 then 4-9 and I’m thinking of more ways because, you cannot earn it enough. Everybody needs more than one source of income especially in an economy like ours. Thank you so much for spitting nothing but facts,it really hit home.
    I just got off a meeting with my boss and he was saying he wants me to handle the business social media because he noticed I’m social media savvy and since I run a business online already,I’m better suited for the role.
    I sat there thinking about few unnoticeable seconds before the thought hit me,”never say no to an opportunity”,grab it and learn while at it. So I said yes, we will discuss more about the role and of course the pay that comes with it.

    So yes!! Another job about to be added soon🤗

  8. Hey , I already have 9-5 and I would really love to make extra money but the problem is getting to decide what it is I should do I’m really struggling I really want to secure the bag in 2021.

  9. The thing about having multiple streams of income is the brain work “at least for me”. I am a full time student and I manage two social media accounts and one requires me to come up with ideas and create content from scratch. Damn most times I feel like I’m losing my mind because I’m always thinking what next for both brands and when I’m not thinking that, I’m all up in school work. It feels like I’m always working. But hey, we move. I’d definitely love to have a digital product or something that doesn’t always require my attention.

  10. Hi Ijeoma! Thank you for this blog post. I’m a medical student and a content creator. I’m planning to start an online thrift store where I’d be selling fashion items. I hope to save money that I’d use to purchase the necessary tools & equipments for my content creation. Also, I’m starting a blog finally, by March 2021. Cheers to this new week🥂

  11. I’m a Mum and recently a full time Nursing student. I’m looking for something that can bring us money coz mouths have to be fed and bills paid. It’s tricky balancing these, please help.

  12. I’ve just had a baby and the kind of work I used to do took me out in the field but thats not an option at the moment so I’ve been looking to get myself onto online platforms and work remotely although if I’m totally honest I just don’t have the drive yet, I stare at my screen and fall asleep, how does one find the energy to go back to work? How and where do you even start😭.
    I really do want to work, just so that I fill my days with anything other than diapers and Instagram and also to feel a little more sane not so isolated from myself or my life as I knew it…

    1. Don’t force it if you don’t have the energy! Esp after a baby, you need time to rest and recover. But in the meantime you can try and learn a new skill by taking a free or affordable course online.

  13. Having a graduate degree has afforded me opportunities to work as an adjunct instructor in addition to maintaining my 8-5 job. If one has a passion for teaching, I recommend looking into adjunct opportunities (especially online) as a means to diversifying income streams. Right now, I’m looking into doing some consulting work too. I’m just not sure where and when to start.