Generating multiple streams of income can have a major impact on your finances. Even an extra income of $500 each month could go a long way to paying down debt or increasing your investments. We often hear about the importance of diversifying our investments, but diversifying our income streams is just as important, particularly in difficult economic times. Let me show you just how valuable even an extra $500 per month can be. Then I’ll list the factors to consider in deciding how to generate extra income, followed by 10 multiple income stream ideas.
The value of a second income
Yesterday I was discussing with a friend the income I earn online, which now is about $1,500 per month. He asked why I get so excited about this income given that it is a lot less than I make from my job. So here are a couple of different ways to look at an extra $1,500 per month:
- Savings account: To earn $1,500 a month ($18,000 per year) in a savings account at 4%, you would need to save $450,000!
- Investment account: To earn $18,000 from investments at 10%, you would need to invest $180,000.
- Employment: For many, to get $18,000 in raises could take several years of dedicated service to your employer.
- Financial Freedom: Extra income of $1,500 per month could cover car payments, help pay down credit card debt, or cover some or even all of a mortgage payment.
The point is that even relatively small amounts of extra income can go a long way.
What makes for a great source of extra income
We could all go out and get a second job at Home Depot or Starbucks to earn some extra income. As you might imagine, however, that’s not what I have in mind. When assessing how you can generate multiple income streams, consider these factors:
Flexible: The ideal source of extra income will allow you to call the shots when it comes to your time. Particularly if you have a full time job, the last thing you want is being tied down to working a set number of hours each week at a second job.
Scalable: Look for income sources that have at least the possibility of generating substantial amounts of income.
Sustainable: The ideal extra income source will continue to generate cash even when you’re not working at it. The idea is to build something that can eventually function without you.
Enjoyable: Generating additional sources of income is a lot of work, so you might as well enjoy what you’re doing.
Inexpensive: I don’t like income generating ideas that require massive investment.
10 Extra Income Ideas
So now we get to some ideas on how to go about generating extra income. You want to choose something that fits your interests and personality. You may have certain skills, training and education that will dictate what’s best for you. So while this is not one size fits all, here are 10 extra income ideas to consider:
- Taking Paid Surveys at Home: I was skeptical, at first, until my 17 year old son starting making money at home taking paid surveys. Companies desperately want your opinion, and they are willing to pay for it. The trick, of course, is knowing where to find the paid surveys that pay the best. One of the most popular and legitimate survey sites is CashCrate. Not only can you make money taking surveys, but you can also make money by referring friends and family to CashCrate.
- Ebay Store: It’s now easier than ever to run an online Ebay store. You can of course acquire products to resell on Ebay. But you can also create an online store to market products that others are selling on Ebay and share in the commissions generated by the sales.
- Start an Online Business: Making money online requires very little cash investment and can be done on your schedule from home. There are two approaches to getting started. First, you can build a blog, muck like I did beginning back in 2007. Setting up a blog takes just minutes and costs very little. You can learn more in my tutorial on how to start a blog. Second, you can set up a website. It’s much easier than you think. If this is the approach you want to take, the starting point is SiteSell (SBI! 3.0). Not only is setting up a website a snap with SiteSell, but they walk you through how to get traffic to your site and how to make money online.
- Realtor: This may seem like a crazy time to start selling real estate, but in a slow market a lot of the competition runs away. You’ll need an initial investment to obtain your real estate license, but over the long term have the potential to make substantial income.
- Website Design: With the continued growth of the Internet, website design has become a growing industry. Unless you already have the know-how, you’ll need to spend some time learning the technology. But there are plenty of online resources available, and the best in the business can earn a great income.
- Graphic Artist: There are a lot of ways to generate money through graphics. Just the logo business alone could keep you busy if you have the artistic skills necessary to develop cool graphics.
- Virtual Assistant: Virtual assistances today can do just about anything for you that doesn’t require their physical presence. Many virtual assistants from places like India are working full time for people in the U.S. The best VAs can earn $30 to $50 per hour. The starting place if you are interested is Elance.
- Freelance writer: If you have a knack for writing, you can earn great money writing for others. Not sure how to start? Contact bloggers who are always looking for great writing. As blogs grow, they can afford to pay freelancers good money for quality articles. Websites looking to build links also hire freelancers to write guest posts to be published on blogs and websites. And if you want help finding writing jobs, click here.
- Home business: The ideas and potential for a home business are limitless. I know folks who run creative memories stores, operate a video business, or sound studio from their home. One of the great benefits about running a home business is that it greatly reduces your initial investment.
- Sell a product: I have good friends who have designed a children’s game and is in the process of producing and marketing it. It’s a lot of work, but they are passionate about the work, and the potential payoff is huge.
Generating income (along with minimizing expenses) is the foundation of smarter money management. While earning extra income does take work, its payoff can be huge. If you are interested to taking the leap, here are some additional resources to consider:
- Easy Money: Good and Not So Great Ways to Get Money Fast at PT Money
- 40+ Alternative Income Ideas and Resources at Moolanomy
- 40 Ways to Make Money on the Internet at Dumb Little Man
- Ten Ways to Translate Your Passion Into Additional Income at The Simple Dollar
- 20+ Free Passive Income Resources at Life Optimizer
Published or updated March 22, 2013.