This morning I answered a fun question on Quora regarding ways to boost income. Here was the question:
And here was my response:
When looking at ways to increase income, you can consider many general paths. These might include:
- passive activities
- part time/side “gigs”
- working for yourself after hours in the same field as your day job
- adding income opportunities in work that’s similar but not exactly the same as your current role
In my case, I’m doing #4, but lets look at all of these.
The obvious answer here is real estate which it seems everyone is doing. And because of that, the bar is much higher now than it was 20 years ago. Especially in hot regions like mine (Boston).
If you want to be a real estate investor, just know that depending on the targeted property, there are 3–5 investor/contractors who can buy the property you’re looking at cash. They likley have access to $1–2M in cash and a line of credit from their bank for another $1–2M (that doesn’t include the Chinese buyers).
If you can’t compete with that, then either try some “guerilla” form of real estate investing or skip it altogether.
Another option. You can accumulate dividend stocks, real estate trust shares or other passive investments too. The problem I have with this is that the world is moving much faster now. My grandfather could buy and accumulate Exxon stock from 1950 to 2000 and feel comfortable they’d always be around and be growing. I don’t have confidence in too many companies that I’d feel you could buy and accumulate their stock for 30–50 years.
And it takes a LONG time for the average person to accumulate enough of a stock investment to make the income stream impactful. And that’s probably not what you’re asking. If you’re trying to make more, you may not have a large sum of money to invest now. And if you buy a stock paying a 2% dividend, you’d need $100,000 of it to give you $2,000 a year. Whereas you might be able to make $2k in a 2 week consulting gig on the side!
Part time side gigs
I differentiate between #2 and #4 in that #2 would be work unrelated to your “day” job. When I was in school, I taught tennis to kids. and I continued that for a year or two after graduating. Note that I was not a full time tennis pro:). But teaching tennis in the right place under the right set up can pay $25–40/hour.
Other examples might be landscaping or even HVAC. The guy coming tomorrow to check my central AC does HVAC work as a side specialty (he was a general electrician for many years). He’s charing me $135 to come check on my HVAC for an hour and half. Not bad for your late 50s or early 60 somethings looking for quality PT spending cash.
Working for yourself in the same field as your day job
A good example of this is my friend Endre who is a massage therapist at a sports medicine clinic during the day. And 2 days per week he takes clients personally in his own office.
He may get paid more and have more flexibility with his own practice. he also has some ‘downside” protection in case life changes. he has a growing clientele.
Adding correlated additional income streams opportunities
Sometimes you can unlock income streams in the same general line of your current work which wouldn’t take much of a skill pivot.
For example, in my field of personal financial planning, one could be a planner and earn hourly fees and retainer fees. And then also start an insurance agency for purely insurance work. Or do financial blogging. If I did this, I’d be using the same knowledge and skills but using them in a different way. And in a different channel.
Teaching is a job that can go both ways – an experienced financial professional can teach on the side, or an experienced economics professor could start a consulting business (Ian Bremmer, Laurence Kotlikoff etc).
This is what I am working on actually – having both an insurance agency separate from my planning and developing an online client channel. The key is developing protocols and streamlined operations/checklists so that other ventures do not intrude on my peace of mind!
What’s nice about the online channel is that much of that process is automated and I only need to be active when it comes time for me either to have a direct conversation with someone, or I need to do analysis for a client.
Gaining client interest, explaining what we do, scheduling meetings and providing follow up information can all be automated. the 21st century isn’t so bad!
If you have any further information I can provide let me know: