Household expenses tend to increase over time, which means you need to grow your income just to hold steady. And if you want to improve your financial situation, you may need to add some different streams of income.
No Such Thing as Easy Money
Before we dig into the meat of this article, it’s important to set the right expectations. While you’ll find a lot of articles online – including posts from some pretty highly respected and successful individuals – making bold claims about how you can make an extra $500 here or $3,000 there, the reality is there’s no such thing as easy money.
There are very few times in life where you’ll ever find “easy” money. Perhaps if you win the lottery, have a rich uncle pass away, or stumble upon a buried briefcase of money in your backyard, you could classify that as easy. But in most cases, generating income requires significant input, at least on the front end.
The good news is that certain methods of generating cash produce a higher return on your time. In other words, there are some income streams that you can set up with less effort and then maintain with a fraction of the time that it would take to go out and, for example, get a part-time job with a W-2 employer.
That’s the preface that should come with every article on side hustles and passive income, but it’s not something most bloggers and social media “influencers” want to acknowledge.
If you’re still willing to put in the effort to generate sustainable side income streams, then continue reading. The methods highlighted below work – they just require motivation.
Try These 3 Side Hustles
The goal of a side hustle is to find something that’s flexible and lucrative. It must be able to fit in around your primary work/career responsibilities without interfering with your main stream of income. It also needs to be profitable enough to justify adding “another thing” to your plate. (If you’re making $30 per hour in your job, it probably doesn’t make sense to add a side hustle that nets you $5 per hour. Your time is worth more than that. A side hustle that’s flexible and enjoyable that produces $20 per hour may work, however.)
With all of that being said, here are a few side hustles you can use to earn extra cash:
1. Real Estate Investing
Real estate investing is an excellent choice if – and that’s a big “if” – you have the cash to support the investments. (In other words, don’t go pull out a second mortgage on your house or clean out your savings account to buy a rental property. You need to be in a place where you can comfortably put a down payment on a cash-flowing property.)
The thing about real estate investing is that it compounds. Cash flowing $500 on a single property might not sound like much. But if you let that $300 pile up, you can eventually purchase a second property. Then you’re making $800 to $1,000 a month. The money piles up even faster, allowing you to buy your third property in less time. And within a matter of years, you find yourself in a powerful position.
2. Renting Out a Room
Don’t have the cash to invest in real estate quite yet? You can still benefit in other ways.
One option is to rent out a room in your home. Consider renovating your basement and creating a functional, private layout that’s separate from the rest of the house. With a little kitchenette and a side entrance, you could generate enough cash to pay for a sizable portion of your mortgage.
What’s the one thing you know more about than 90 percent of your peers? Is it entrepreneurship, investing, working on cars, collecting baseball cards, cooking? Now consider how you can monetize that knowledge through consulting. This might look like 1-on-1 consulting with clients or teaching an online course and selling it to the masses. Either way, it’s a nice way to add value and generate income.
Focus on the Big Picture
Always keep your larger goals in mind. Where do you see yourself in a year from now? What about three, five, or ten years down the road? For some, a side hustle provides enough cash to shore up finances and pay bills that a primary source of income can’t cover. For others, it’s about storing up cash to pursue a bigger and better dream at some point in the future.
What is it for you? Think about the why and work towards achieving it. This clarity and purpose will help fuel your results.