When most people think about their bank accounts, their most common thoughts revolve around saving more money, cutting down on costs and seeing if there is anything left over to invest. Even in the personal finance space, there is so much focus on trimming down what you are already spending. Hence we have the infamous advice of not ordering lattes.
What about the other side of the equation? What if everyone directed that attention towards how to earn more income for themselves?
Generational and cultural norms have taught us that income comes from jobs. That is no longer the only option now. Do you want to splurge on food, order that ridiculously customized latte and not feel guilty spending money on what you really love?
The answer is simple then: find ways to supplement your income.
While the real returns come from quite a bit of hard work and patience, today we are focusing on what you can do right now to boost your income to another tax bracket. What we are NOT focusing on are one-off tasks you do that do not synergize with any additional potential income. Yes, I’m looking at you, surveys.
Sell and Resell
If you ever searched around for ways to make money fast, at least one search result has told you to gather up all the unnecessary junk you have around your place and sell them, whether in a garage sale or online.
Do not underestimate this. You may be surprised how some of your junk can be quite valuable. For example, this guy is selling his original Yu-Gi-Oh cards to fund his daughter’s education. And while you don’t need this kind of product, the point is to sell what you no longer need. Have you used this in the last year or two? Do you plan on using it in the next year? If the answer to both questions is no, then this may be worth clearing up some space for.
Here is where things get interesting. If you have hoarded similar products, perhaps from a hobby, then there is likely to be a market around this. What if you became an expert in this particular junk, got a feel for the market prices and arbitrage your way to more income? You may even find more interesting products and meet people with similar interests as you.
Don’t get tempted by any rare items you find though; unless you think you can flip them for much more.
Yes, if you have nothing laying around that has ever sparked any interest or hobby, then this may only be a one-time strategy for you. However, there are plenty of people who go straight into arbitrage from the start. So start small, buy a few things that you know you can flip for more and see where that takes you. You can easily check the prices online.
What starts out as you selling your junk can turn any hobbies of yours into a side business that may have bigger implications than you realized. Some people realized their passions were actually niches and created whole businesses upon these hidden markets. Look at this article: if someone’s love for horses can make them money, so can whatever weird fetish you have hidden away.
Leveraging Your Car
Uber, Lyft and the myriad other ridesharing apps that have defined the past decade are no doubt old news to you by now. When you apply these apps towards making money though, they fit perfectly.
Cars (unless you buy a Tesla) depreciate rapidly. This has long been touted as why you are losing money the moment you drive your car off the lot so most people don’t save up to buy a car for this reason. But this is only assuming you are driving without making income off the car.
The flexibility of these ridesharing apps is that you can set your schedule whenever you want. While some jurisdictions have stricter requirements to meet before becoming a driver (e.g. NYC), you can easily mix this in with freelancing, full-time work or part-time work.
This can earn you anywhere from $8/hour to $50/hour (including expenses such as insurance, maintenance, platform fees), depending on the time of day, weather and location.
When you do this, your car becomes a business asset, so you can write off mileage on your tax return. At 54.5 cents per mile (as of 2018), this can add up to create a sizable tax deduction at year end.
Or if you would rather not drive but you just have your car sitting around during the week, you can rent out your car. Turo is a great platform for this (aside from New Yorkers, sorry!).
People who book your car will have to verify their age, driver’s license and auto insurance score, which is basically their credit score for whether or not they will file a claim. As the owner, you have access to several insurance plans where you can either choose to pay a deductible or give up about 10% more of the booking fees to Turo.
We also have one other way for your car to make you money. Ever seen a car like this? This is a car that has been wrapped for commercial reasons. This can earn you on average an extra $200 a month. And while Uber has stated you cannot do this anymore, Lyft has issued no such guidance. Of course this may change but why not use all of these strategies together?
Interesting Tidbit: If you want to master the art of customer service, you may want to take a page of out of this guy’s book.
House and Pet Sitting
Why pay for a meager desk at a WeWork or some other expensive co-working space when you can get paid for a whole apartment’s or house’s worth of space?
House sitters are still a thing in today’s day and age. And aside from a few errands here and there, you do not have to do much aside from watching the space.
Granted, you are not going to make millions from this. You can get paid anywhere from $25/day to $100/day, depending on location. However, what is great about this is your ability to combine this time with other money making activities. Regardless of whether you are a freelancer or have a full-time job that allows remote work, you can spend the day at your customer’s place and make additional income just by being there and keeping the place clean.
You can do pet sitting instead. Some people even want a combined house and pet sitting whenever they are out of town. However, taking care of a pet can sometimes be more difficult than just house sitting and may take up more time. If you think you can make more doing other work, then your time may be better spent on those tasks.
But if you also just enjoy taking care of pets, who are we to stop you?
Protip: This is also a great way to travel if you want to make money instead of paying for an AirBnb. Granted, you can’t be out all the time but in case you are between travel plans, think about this strategy.
Teaching English or Translating
Have you been reading this article up to this point? Great, so you know English. This means at the very least, you can teach English to others.
And before you say you don’t know any foreign languages, this is absolutely not necessary. There are many people who paid their bills while abroad by teaching English without knowing the native language. You may not be able to teach English to absolute beginners but if your students have some basic understanding, you can build on that.
While this strategy was taken from those who travel abroad, this article is all about maximizing efficiency. So let’s look at the online platforms where you can build a profile as an English tutor. You create your own material, showcase your speaking skills and go after students. You can get certifications, which can boost what you can charge, but these are not necessary.
If you are multilingual, then you can also put your talents to use by translating. There is so much material and content in today’s world and some of that can be extremely technical. Ever think about translating business or medical content? That can go for quite a bit. And some projects can prove to be very interesting. A close friend of mine freelances as a translator and she translated an app game.
Tutors charge anywhere from $10/hour to $50/hour. Translators can make $20/hour to $100/hour depending on language and context.
Real Estate Wholesaling
We have saved the best for last. That is because the most common excuse I hear from people when I suggest real estate investing is that they do not have any money. Neither did I but I have several cash flow producing properties that I paid with none of my own money.
We are not going through that today though. Right now we are focusing on one of the most common and easiest ways to get involved in the fascinating world of real estate investing: wholesaling.
In case you have never heard of this concept, this is where you would find a good deal, get the property under contract from the seller and then flip that contract over to a buyer at a higher price. If you got a property under contract for $100K and have a buyer willing to pay $120K for that property, then you just made yourself $20K.
What do you need to make wholesaling work? The most important ingredient is hustle.
You will have to build up a network of buyers and agents/brokers/investors. Reputation is everything in real estate and as a newcomer, you will have to work hard to source deals and present them. While this may not translate into a direct return right away, wholesaling can become a very profitable side business depending on how much effort you put in.
This will require quite a bit of networking so be prepared for that. You will also have to understand the math behind what makes one property profitable versus another. I recommend diving into this website and learning as much as you can.
There you go, five strategies to leverage what you already have and maximize your time to make some great side income. Anyone and I repeat, ANYONE can use these strategies.
This is such an extremely important point that I will say this again: you should spend more time executing on income generating activities instead of constantly worrying about every little cent you spent. This is the first step towards truly transforming your personal finances.
Good luck and let us know what you think. If you have questions or comments, fire away.