Many people struggle with the duality of enjoying their current work while yearning for an increased income.
Our Freelance Switch survey showed that many freelancers are working part-time to supplement their core source of income (salaried work).
What do you do if you love being in your profession but know it’s unlikely to ever allow you to earn six figures a year?
What should you do if you know freelancing is not the right choice for you?
You’ll need to supplement (or eventually replace) your income through strategies that are high-yield, low time, and enjoyable in their own right.
If you’re already working 40 hours a week, the time you spend trying to set up supplemental income streams should not feel like work. Ultimately, I would suggest taking up an income-producing hobby.
A friend of mine delivers newspapers from his car during the day and spends between 5 – 10 hours a week buying and selling stocks.
The latter produces most of his income, but he’s unwilling to leave the first job because of the friends he’s made at the newspaper warehouse. He’s mathematically minded, so investing suits him well.
Income earned is also not tied to time, and stocks can earn him money while he’s not attending to them. If you’re worried about the financial risk, consider bootstrapping after one initial investment.
Whether you make money directly (through advertising on one or multiple blogs), or indirectly (through offering services on a blog), blogging is a hobby with the potential to earn a supplementary income.
If you’re a freelancer, focus on getting blog readers to your services page. If you create great content but you can’t be prolific, focus on building one very popular blog.
If you’re able to produce lots of content but you’re unsure how to create a super-popular blog, focus on creating a small network of two or three blogs. A few moderately popular blogs can earn just as much as a one highly popular blog.
With some pundits valuing subscribers at $35 each, NorthxEast is apparently worth $105,000 (yeah right!).
I think $10,000 to $15,000 would be a much more realistic figure, but the example does show that blogs and websites can accrue a lot of value.
If you’re quite good at monetizing blogs/websites and drawing traffic to them, growing and then ‘flipping’ your properties could be quite lucrative.
As you build a larger network of web properties, you can channel your existing traffic into new projects to give them a very useful head-start.
Create an online product (web app, paid membership website, etc).
Blogs are certainly not the only way to ‘make money online’. Web apps are being built and becoming successful at a rapid rate, as are premium content websites, membership-only websites, and so on.
However, the start-up costs for these can be quite high if your idea requires that you work with a web developer to make it happen.
Simply the act of imparting your skills and expertise to others, or making recommendations based on your knowledge, consulting carries a high per-hour rate and is highly customizable.
Aside from traditional types of consulting (SEO consulting, branding consultations, etc.), there’s nothing to stop a talented World of Warcraft player offering consulting to players who want to increase their skills, a high-achieving student offering consultations on how to achieve similar results, a freelancer offering consultations on how to start freelancing, and so on.
If you have skills or knowledge that other people want to learn, you may be able to turn this into a source of supplementary income, even if not in ‘traditional’ fields.
I encourage you to break down the above options (or the many others that are available to you) into stepping stone goals, just as we’re doing with the task of earning six figures. It’s an incredibly useful approach for achieving any goal that you have.
Final notes on this method
Keep in mind, however, that if you earn $50,000 a year in your regular job, you will need to double that income in the ten extra hours you work, equivalent to more than $100 an hour (as you will surely need at least one hour a week to do non-billable tasks).
In other words, the decision to stay with your existing core income will add another level of difficulty to the task of increasing it (but where there’s a will, there’s a way).
Instead, you might eventually choose to reduce the amount of time you work in your day job and increase the amount of time you spend tapping into extra sources of income.
You might decide to work 25 hours a week instead of 40, with another 25 hours devoted to an income producing hobby.
One last tool
One of my favorite ideas from the 4HWW is designed to help you change the way you think about things that seem impossible or very difficult.
You’re asked to imagine a scenario where you had no choice but to achieve one of your most ambitious goals.
Once you start making plans instead of excuses, you’ll be surprised to find that anything someone else has done before can be repeated.
This method won’t help you walk on water, but it could help you earn six figures, learn seven languages, or travel eight times around the world.
I’ll leave you with these three questions and answers:
- How many people have audacious goals? Many.
- How many people define what exactly would be required to reach them? Fewer.
- How many people define what’s needed, then undertake all of those steps? Few.
Few succeed, but it’s those few that do.