4 Ways To Beef Up Your Income, And How I've Used All 4 - Smart Money Seed

5/1/17

4 Ways To Beef Up Your Income, And How I've Used All 4

What opportunities might be opened up to you if you could just scrape together a little extra cash? Would you finally get to take that dream vacation? Put it towards a down payment on a car or house? Bump up that retirement savings? Whatever it is you'd use that money for, I think we can all agree we wouldn't mind having some extra cash.

Most of our posts to this point have focused around the notion of saving money. While changing behaviors to save money is the most powerful way to beef up your cash, there's another side of the equation here we haven't talked about much: Make a little more money!

Obviously making more money is much easier said than done. If making more money wasn't incredibly hard work, wouldn't we all be doing it? Luckily you have a multitude of options to increase your income IF you're willing to put in the time and effort to do so. If you're looking for some type of life hack or get rich quick scheme, you might as well stop reading now.

I have worked weekends, holidays, and after my regular workday in order to bring in some side hustle income. I can't say I've always completely enjoyed the work, but I found that I really enjoyed the extra income it brought in and the opportunities that opened up for me. Mowing and Home City Ice have provided me the opportunity to have experiences in my life ranging from travel to being able to afford the extra couple bucks to buy craft beer rather than settling for a boring standard domestic!

1. Work a Part-Time Job

The morning after I got back to Bucyrus after my 1.5 day
journey from Texas after my internship with Marathon,
I spent the day out on the Home City truck with Max.
By the way, yes, we know we're really cool.
Shortly after I started working full-time, my boss from Home City Ice, where I worked during college summers, called me. He was about to lose a couple of delivery drivers as school was starting up, and he wondered if I could help out on the weekends. Although this meant much less time to sit around all weekend and watch football, I decided the extra income was worth giving up a Saturday or holiday here and there.

Part-time jobs are a great option for increasing your income, but you have to set very clear expectations from the start. Home City knew that I wasn't going to work weeknights, Sundays were pretty much off limits, and I wouldn't be available every single Saturday. If the Buckeyes had a home game, I was more than likely a no-go. I did, however, work from about 6-1 on a Saturday and showered at my brother's place on campus to make a 3:30 game with a little time to spare to smash a few beers before kickoff.

As long as your part-time employer knows what to expect, your full-time employer is cool with you picking up a part-time job, and your part-time work isn't affecting you in your full-time job, this can be a powerful tool for you to stack up cash quickly. Even if your part-time job is only a minimum wage job, you could make about an extra $200 per month working on Saturdays when, let's be honest, you would've spent that Saturday watching sports or cartoons or day drinking anyway. Think about the difference an extra $200 per month could make in your life!

Plenty of part-time jobs are available which would pay more than minimum wage. Waiting tables and bartending can be great ways to make some serious cash if you're working during the restaurant or bar's busy hours. You can also usually make more than minimum wage working any job that requires hard physical labor such as construction or working for a local farmer.

2. Work a Gig-Type Job

Mya was a valuable asset to my mowing. She was always
eager to help but never demanded a single dime!
I started mowing for one of my neighbors in 5th grade and another in 7th grade. My brother, Max, took over for the most part while I was away at college, and my dad would step in to help from time to time when Max and I were busy. All in all, we kept those lawns in the family through 2016-- 13 and 11 years total! I averaged about $1,500-$2,000 per year from  mowing which totals to well over $15,000 in all the years I mowed those 2 lawns. I hope Darla and Ms. Carver don't pass out if they read this!

Probably the most popular gig-type job in our society today is driving for Uber. Driving for Uber certainly comes with its risks, but for most people the benefits of the extra cash in their pockets far outweigh those risks. Unfortunately, Uber is only an option for people in larger cities. If Uber were available in Findlay, I would certainly consider driving on a weekend where I don't have much going on. Freelance writing, freelance photography, and tutoring are also great options for gig-type jobs.

The benefits of a gig-type job are that while you have a reasonable expectation of output and performance, you get to decide how you are going to achieve that output. You can also turn something you enjoy doing, such as writing or photography, into a gig-type job if you don't want to go full-blown entrepreneur. You generally don't have to put as much effort into starting a gig-type job, but the downside is that you only get paid for the effort you directly put in, and you can't really turn this into a predictable, dependable income stream. I had to decline plenty of opportunities to go out to eat or catch a movie in high school because of a long August drought.

3. Invest in Yourself

Yes, investing in yourself normally requires money, but it also requires a good amount of time. If you have the resources available and you work hard, you can absolutely increase your income by furthering your education or learning a skill. Let's dig into the numbers on the impact investing in yourself might have.

Income & Unemployment chart courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As you can tell my the graph above, the further you are able to invest time and resources into your own education, the higher your income and job security will be. Although Christian and I both fall into the Bachelor's degree category, we absolutely understand that college isn't the right answer for everyone. College is very expensive, and despite the pressure our society places on students to get a degree, not everybody is cut out for college. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

The key to investing in yourself is to figure out something that you enjoy doing that is valuable to somebody else and to get really good at that thing. Again according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of someone working in construction is $47,580, and the average annual salary of a production worker is $36,220. Any of us would take either of those salaries over an $8/hr minimum wage job bringing in $16,640 in annual salary. But in order to get to those higher numbers, you have to be willing and able to commit the time, effort, and resources necessary to get there.

4. Start a Business

What skills do you have that other people value? Like we mentioned before, are you passionate about and skilled in photography or writing? Do you enjoy working with your hands and creating tangible outputs like a contractor would? Our society is moving toward becoming a skill-based society where people are valued and rewarded based on a particular skill they have not just necessarily the job they hold. The technology and data available to us today has opened a world of opportunities for entrepreneurs.

This is something that Christian and I are striving for and working towards, and it certainly sits at the top of the high risk/high reward matrix. Starting and managing a business is really hard work. But if you can put in the work and you're working towards something people will value, being an entrepreneur can pay huge dividends down the line. If you're interested in becoming an entrepreneur, you have an abundance of resources to help you get started. Don't let the thought that you need to be rich in order to start a business deter you from moving forward because that is certainly not the case.

My personal favorite entrepreneurship teacher is Pat Flynn who is best known for his blog and podcast, Smart Passive Income. He recently launched a book I am in the process of working through called Will It Fly? which walks you through the step by step process of starting a business. Another person I follow in this space is Tim Ferriss, best known for his book The 4-Hour Workweek. I obviously don't get any kickbacks from advocating for Pat and Tim (although I wish I did), but I have learned a lot from them over the past couple of years. Their path to success and commitment to teaching others how to follow that process and tailor it in their own lives is incredibly inspiring.

Choose Your Path

If you're content with your current level of income, that's totally fine with us. But if you're like most of us and wouldn't mind making a little extra cash on the side, start working towards one of those 4 options today!

No matter what you do, believe in yourself! We believe in you. Every single one of us has the ability to achieve our dreams, and every single one of us can excel as long as we completely buy in to the specific decision we make to increase our income. It's not easy. But it's completely achievable by every single one of us. Choose something you enjoy, work relentlessly toward success in that space, and reap the benefits of that extra income.

Most importantly, don't forget to have fun along the way!


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