In addition to ensuring that our basic needs are met, most of us have a desire to spend money on things we want or want to do. Unfortunately, we often need more money to do these things than our current income can support. You can either cut expenses or make more income to fulfill your desires.
Cutting expenses is not fun. And, spending less is also hard to do considering that some expenses, like debt and housing, are hard to change on a dime. And, it’s also hard to get rid of your children, who I’m told can be expensive [I’m expecting a smile from all the parents].
So, our other alternative is to increase income. One might do this by completely changing jobs for a higher salary. And, this is a viable option. Others may opt to obtain a second job for supplemental income to their current income stream. The latter is the basis of my discussion today. My mother and father each worked an additional job to put me through school, and I’m grateful for their hustle and foresight.
When you are exploring additional income opportunities, here are 10 key questions you need to ask yourself.
- How much do you need? This might seem obvious, but many of my clients are unsure of their number. If you’re looking to make an extra $300-$500 per month, then finding a second job might seem reasonable. If you’re looking to make an extra $2,000 per month or ahead of the holidays, for example, your job choices are completely different. Be clear on what your number is because it will steer you in the exploration process.
- What are 3 things that you’re willing to do for the extra income? You have to start with some ideas of what you think you can do for additional money. Whether you want to leverage your current skill set for additional money or simply do brain-less work because that’s what you want to do, develop a few ideas that will get the conversation started. And, there might be hobbies that you have that you can turn into revenue generating machines.
- How long will it take to get the additional income? Sometimes the additional income can take more than 6 months to secure. If you cannot wait that long, there may be options that can get you to more income at a much quicker pace. Consider options like Uber or Lyft that can often get you up and going in a few weeks time if you qualify.
- What is the money going toward? Determining a specific goal for the additional money not only provides motivation, but also allows you to ensure that when the income comes in, it goes toward a vey specific purpose. When the income actually hits your bank account, consider putting it in a separate savings account. Separating the funds might prevent you from spending it on something you didn’t intend to, thereby defeating the original intention of the funds.
- How many hours will you trade for more dollars? The best sources of additional income come with the least amount of hours worked. Many people call this passive income, which accrues to you without you having to put in additional time to get it. Investing in financial products or real estate assets that return money with little work on your part will serve you well. If you do not have the assets yet to invest and reap these benefits, then ask yourself how can I maximize my per hour rate for opportunities that come your way.
- Who will you need to tell for the search? I am certain that someone in your network, or your network’s network knows someone in the area you’re interested in. I am big on building relationships. Send an email/text (or whatever style works for you) to close network of family and friends to let them know you’re looking and be specific about the opportunity you’re looking for. Here’s a great example of a note someone sent to me recently:
I’m reaching out because I’m in the market looking for an opportunity to tutor elementary aged kids in math and science to supplement my current income. I want to work 5-10 hours per week and stay fairly close to home. If you have any ideas or know anyone interested, please let me know. Feel free to pass this along to anyone interested.
- Are you also using the income to gain experience? Of course, we all would love people to pay us to learn a job, but this just isn’t the reality. Typically, if you’re gaining experience, you might have to forgo some of your income requirements because you value the experience more. Keep asking yourself throughout the exploration process if still value gaining experience over having more the money, and see if you need to adjust the values. If you have accomplished finding opportunities that allow for gaining experience and getting money, share your thoughts on how you did it.
- Who is going to hold you accountable? Find a spouse, partner, sibling, parent, or trusted friend to hold you accountable for meeting your income goal. Tell them the specifics of your goal and make them check in on you to see how you’re progressing.
- What are you willing to give up to get the additional income? If you need to work more hours to get your income, something will have to give. You must ask yourself what or who that will be. You will most likely have less personal time, less gym time, less sleep, or less time with family or friends. Be sure that you understand the trade-off to obtaining the additional income. “Less” can be overwhelming and discouraging.
- Have you talked to your loved ones about it? In our minds, we think that if we just get that extra income, all of our problems will be solved. Unfortunately, this is not the case. There are unintended positive and negative effects of using your time to get additional income. Make sure you’re not making assumptions in thinking that you need additional income because someone else in your household might have a completely different view.
So, go out and get that extra income to obtain the things you want and need. Be sure you ask yourself these 10 questions and stay at peace through the search.
Let me know what question(s) speaks to you. What income opportunities are you pursuing and let me know if I can help?