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 towards 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 $1,500 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
A few years ago I was discussing with a friend the income I earn online. At the time I was earning about $1,500 per month. He asked why I get so excited about this income given that it is a lot less than what I made from my job. So here are a couple of different ways to look at an extra $1,500 per month:
1. Savings account: To earn $1,500 a month ($18,000 per year) in a savings account at 1% (the current rate for top paying savings accounts), you would need to save $1,800,000!
Best Savings Account Deals
- American Express® High Yield Savings Account-Member FDIC: Earn high Annual Percentage Yield with no minimum balance required and no minimum deposit required to open.
- Chase Savings℠ currently offers one of the best savings account bonuses you’ll find online, a $150 cash bonus
- CIT Bank: Just a $100 deposit required to open an account. (Savings Builder)
Best Online Discount Brokers
- Ally Invest: Best for new investors and those looking for a very easy website to navigate.
- TD Ameritrade: Ideal for more experienced traders looking for a rich set of tools and resources.
- E*TRADE: Offers trading platforms and tools for any investment style.
3. Employment: For many, to get $18,000 in raises could take several years of dedicated service to your employer.
4. 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 a big financial investment
11 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, or education that will dictate what's best for you. Or you may want to learn a new skill, so you can do that while earning extra income.
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. Two of the most popular and legitimate survey sites are Swagbucks and MyPoints. Not only can you make money taking surveys, but you can also make money by watching videos and even surfing the net. They also offer significant cash back for online shopping. Learn more about MyPoints in our review here.
Related: Best Game Apps That Pay Real Money
- 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. Recently I interviewed a family friend who started her own eBay store and now makes five figures from home. Check out the interview here.
- Start an Online Business: Making money online requires very little cash investment and can be done on your schedule from home. You can build a blog, much 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.
- Realtor: This may seem like a crazy time to start selling real estate. As prices go up, more would-be realtors enter the market. But you have to start sometime. You'll need an initial investment to obtain your real estate license, but over the long term have the potential to make a 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 assistants 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 UpWork.
- 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.
- 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 of 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 are 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.
- Bonus Idea: Fiverr. Perform micro-outsourcing jobs for people looking for your expertise. From graphic design, voiceover to writing greeting cards. Anything you like is possible on Fiverr’s digital platform. Read our full Fiverr Review
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 in 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
- 20+ Free Passive Income Resources at Life Optimizer
- Best Investments for Passive Income