Wouldn’t it be nice to have at least one other stream of income beside your day job? I knew this would be a necessity for me, which is why I have been looking into alternate income streams since middle school.
Okay, let’s take a step back. You must be thinking, “Did he just say middle school!?” Yes, my parents raised me to be extremely frugal, and teaching me the value of money. They would question every single time that I wanted to buy something with their hard-earned money. This taught me a couple things:
- Learn the value of money; what goes into generating every single dollar
- Figure out ways to make money online (since I wasn’t legally allowed to work)
- Become a very good negotiator (I had to negotiate with my parents or else I wouldn’t get what I wanted, this led to a lot of testing different methods)
One of the easiest ways I learned how to make money when I was younger was to take online surveys. There were many sites that would pay you anywhere from $0.25 to a couple dollars to take a quick survey. I know, I know, this doesn’t sound like much at all, but it was a lot of money to me when I was in middle school. I wanted to buy food at school and new gadgets that I could play with!
Once I was ready to cash out, I created a PayPal account and my money was transferred immediately. Yay! I now had $10 to spend on whatever I wanted online. At this time, I really wanted a green laser pointer, don’t ask me why, but it sounded like a good thing to buy. I jumped onto my computer and went to eBay. After finding the perfect laser pointer, I bought it—only $4! Ironically, the first thing ever sold on eBay was a broken laser pointer.
Okay, where am I getting to? Your past experience, even from a young age leads to more and more opportunity. Always start small and move from there. You can always jump two feet in and take a large risk, but for most people that doesn’t really make sense. I started with zero money in middle school and slowly built my way up.
So where did I go after buying my laser pointer on eBay? I next learned how to sell on eBay, selling my old junk and kiddie toys around the house. Beanie babies, old tech my parents upgraded, old cell phones, EVERYTHING! I then sourced items from China & the U.S. to sell in bulk on eBay. Next, I learned how to private label, creating my own brand. I then learned how to sell on Amazon. And now I even design my own items (thank god for my mechanical engineering background) and work with manufacturers to build them for me.
By starting small with online surveys, and consistently making fine adjustments I have been able to build a (relatively) stable side income for myself. I used this money to learn how to invest my freshman year of college and pursue other small ventures. I can tell you that you learn so much from having a simple side gig.
Now, that you heard a little bit about my background from surveys to creating my own products, I would like to give you some side gigs that you can try for yourself. I have tried every single one of them (or at least know someone directly who has) and may elaborate them in the future.
I absolutely love investing, as long as you understand what is going on in the market, you will end up making money. I know a lot of people are turned off of investing because of multiple crashes that we’ve lived through and learned about in history. The thing is, most people don’t even understand the basics about how to invest. Wealth managers make it sound so complicated—it isn’t. Go buy a book, read, get off social media. I promise this will help you for years to come. A good book (or audiobook) is Investing for Dummies. I’ve read it, it covers the basics and I definitely do recommend it.
On my investments, I typically average about a 20-25% annual return each year for the past 4 years now, managed completely by me. This is not typical, and I expect it to lower in the future. But think about it. Let’s say you have $1M in your investment account, you earn 10% annually. That’s $100,000 passively.
Obviously $1M is a lot. 10% is a great return, with the average investor yielding about 7% annually. Trust me, learn to invest without the help of others. You’ll thank me.
CONSULTING / FREELANCING
I can guarantee that you have a lot of skills that anyone would pay for. What are things you are good at? What are things people don’t want to do? What do you teach your friends? What are your passions?
You can turn those skills into a side income. Rather than wasting your time on social media or Netflix, why not add value to somebodies life, make money, and learn new skills? It sounds like a win-win situation to me.
Here are some freelance options
- Software Development
- Business Planning and Development
- Marketing (leads, analytics, etc)
- Graphic Design
- Mechanical Design
Honestly, that is a very basic list, but people will pay for almost anything. Go ahead and try it!
This is obvious. Get a second property and money just rolls in every single month. I heard of a story of one guy who bought a run down apartment in Las Vegas. He spent some time remodeling it himself, and furnished it. Rather than renting it monthly with a lease, he uses AirBnB to rent it out. He’s on track to pay it off in 2.5 years. Sounds good if you ask me.
TEACH A COURSE
Online education is becoming a bigger and bigger deal. We have access to anything on the internet and people are willing to pay for a premium to ensure that the content isn’t a waste of their time. Udemy is one of the biggest platforms where teachers can create an online course, put it online and let it sell itself. Once you create your course, there is no need to teach it. All of your students can access you video directly from the platform.
RENT YOUR ASSETS
You can rent almost anything these days. Some of us have expensive equipment that people would be willing to rent for a premium. I’m thinking of high quality speakers, Canon cameras, exercise equipment, etc. It is definitely a possibility and a decent way to pull in some cash.
BUY AN EXISTING BUSINESS
I love the idea behind this, because for those of you that have tried to build a business, it is extremely hard to get it off the ground. Why not just head over to Flippa.com and check out some of the existing websites. You could easily buy a website that is generating a decent amount of Adsense revenue and then retrofit it and flip it for profit.
This Sounds Good and All, But Those Are Hard. I Don’t Have the Time and Money
I know, I’m sure many people can relate. You don’t have that much time, and these don’t always yield immediate results. Let me give you a list of simpler alternatives.
- Ride Sharing: Uber/Lyft
Do you have a car? Extra time? Need some money? Try ride sharing. You can meet some amazing people and learn a lot.
- Rent your Car: Turo
Is your car just sitting on the curb? I drive once a week, and my car is just continuing to depreciate. Plus I’m paying for insurance too. It is becoming a real money sink for me. The solution is to rent your car. There is an application called Turo which let’s you rent out your car!
- Have an extra room? AirBnB
One of my friends, who was in college at the time decided that he would rent a five bedroom house, by himself. I thought he was insane, but he told me that he was going to AirBnB out the four other beds since the house was in such a desirable location. He made quadruple the rent he paid, and had some pretty sweet parties on the weekends.
- Who doesn’t like dogs? Wag
Only available in select cities, like San Francisco. Wag is a dog walking service. YOU GET PAID TO WALK DOGS! You honestly can’t lose. You get paid. Get to play with dogs. And get exercise. Sounds awesome to me.
- Sell your old iPhone
Every year Apple comes out with a new iPhone, I put up my listing for my current one on eBay. Before all of the U.S. carriers decided there would be no more 2-Year contracts, I actually made money selling my iPhone and upgrading to the new one. I made about $100-$200 each time. In addition, before it became popular, I used to buy a bunch of unlocked iPhones and sell them overseas for double or triple the price. People overseas usually had to wait a couple more weeks than people in the U.S. to get the new phone, so they paid a premium to have it before anybody else.
- Sell Limited Edition Shoes (Or Anything Else)
Men & Woman both love shoes for some odd reason. And when you put limited edition and shoes in one sentence, you get unreal pricing. This means profit.
- Sell your old clothing
This is primarily for woman, but may work for men as well. There are many applications out there that are specifically designed for this, and they have a better user interface than eBay!
A Couple Extras:
- Create music, and sell it online
- Peer-to-Peer lending platforms
- Sell your photography
- Write an ebook
- Create a blog
- Design an app
- Build computers
- Bike repair shop
- Shoe Flipping
- Car Flipping in America to Dubai (this is crazy stuff)
- Open a Food Truck
Any idea, big or small, can be made into something huge. You can scale any idea, it may take some iteration, or some pivoting, but anything is possible.
What are you waiting for? Go and break something!