5 ways to diversify your income this year
We all know that it’s important to diversify your investments, but diversification isn’t just for your retirement portfolio – I’ve always been a fan of diversifying your income as well. And I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, since a friend of mine is desperately trying to figure out a way she can bring in extra income each month.
April will mark 10 years since I graduated from college, and I can’t believe I’ve been in the work force for a decade already. In that time, I’ve held 8 full-time jobs over a variety of different industries. EIGHT JOBS. Some of those jobs only lasted a few months, while others I was at for a couple of years. None of them really relate to each other, but what remained constant over those eight full-time jobs was the fact that I always had multiple ways I was making money on the side.
Related: Are you a job hopper?
Benefits of diversifying your income
Not only do you increase your disposable income, but it can make you feel more secure against a job loss or emergency situation. Working above and beyond the 9-to-5 has always part of my routine because it provides me with additional cash to throw at my financial goals (whether it was getting out of debt, saving for a down payment, funding my future retirement, or going on an awesome vacation).
Related: How I saved for my down payment
Here are 5 ways I’ve been able to diversify my income over the years:
1. Offer a service
Think about what kind of service you can provide to people. This can be anything from walking dogs, tutoring, babysitting, painting, consulting, mowing lawns, or maybe shoveling snow. :)
Love to cook? Did you know people will pay you to make them a home cooked meal? Try Mealsharing.com or EatWith.com to earn extra money doing what you love – and share your love of food with interesting guests.
When I first started getting serious about my debt, I started to do a bit of freelance graphic and web design. I didn’t make a lot of money in the beginning, but within a couple of years I was able to charge between $40-60/hour.
This may seem like a weird service to offer, but I’m going to throw it out there because it’s unique: an ex-boyfriend would carry the backpacks of people who wanted to camp overnight in the wilderness, but didn’t have the capacity to carry their own gear. He loved this because he basically got paid to go hiking, and he was able to share remote areas of BC with people who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to experience it on their own.
2. Sell a product
Now I’ve never actually sold a product before, but I’ve often thought about putting my graphic design skills to work and selling cards or prints on websites like Etsy. I’ve also had co-workers who sell their knitting, cross-stitching, and other crafts online. It doesn’t make them a lot of money, but it’s a way for them to turn their hobby into a little bit of cash.
3. Get a part-time job
I’ve had part-time jobs for years. None of them paid particularly well, but they offered me a steady income when I desperately needed as much money coming in as possible. The great thing about part-time jobs is they’re often flexible and can work around your current schedule. While in college, I worked two part-time jobs, and while I was getting out of debt, I worked two part-time jobs and a full-time job. It’s not often glamorous work, but it could help you get out of a tough financial situation.
4. Rent out your property
If you’re a homeowner, consider renting out your spare bedroom or your basement suite to bring in extra income. I’m also a fan of AirBnB as an option as long as you’re careful about who you rent to. An ex-boyfriend used to rent out his downtown Vancouver apartment every time we left town on vacation. It brought in over $100 per day and he was very happy for the extra income.
There are also people who rent out space in their vegetable garden, an area in their garage, and even their parking spaces. When I was a homeowner, I had an extra parking stall that I wasn’t using, and would rent it out for $50/month. It wasn’t a lot, but $50 extra each month is better than nothing – especially for a space I never used.
This might be the hardest way to make money for someone who isn’t already a blogger – because you actually have to start a website from scratch. :) Having a website can be quite lucrative – I know some bloggers who make over $10,000/month just through advertisements. That’s quit-your-day-job type of money, but for the rest of us, you can make anywhere from a couple hundred to a few thousand dollars a month once you figure out what your niche is, and once you get the right connections.
Related: How I became a freelancer
Diversifying your income stream can be hard work at first. But it’s my experience that the benefits outweigh the extra hours you have to put in each week. And now? It is completely worth it and just seems normal to work an extra 8-10 hours a week above and beyond my normal full-time job.
What are some ways you’ve diversified your income?
Author: Krystal Yee
I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.