Being frugal is the best way to save money. Yet you can only save so much. Your living expenses can’t go below a certain basic level. While, the Internet is filled with fantastic ideas on how to save money, the subject of how to earn extra money remains largely neglected. Earning more income is just as, if not more, beneficial as cutting back on your expenses.
Don’t Cut Your Budget, Grow It
Here are some techniques that will allow you to maximize your savings once you have cut everything that you can.
Inventory Your Skills
Everyone has a unique set of skills, even if they do not realize it. Having grown up with an early home computer, I never actually knew that repairing and administering computers was a valuable skill until I was offered a job. The fact that you are reading this sentence indicates that you can read and understand English at a relatively advanced level. At a minimum, you also have the means and ability access to the Internet as well. It might not sound like much, but 90% of the world lacks those two highly valuable skills. Other valuable skills you have may relate to your day job or goods that you can produce from your hobbies. Either way, take nothing for granted; there is always something that you can do better than others.
Monetize Your Skills
Once you have identified what you have to offer, the next step is to market your services to those who require them. The Internet is an obvious place to start. For example, Craigslist is a great place to market all manner of services ranging from dog walking to computer consulting. In addition to responding to ads for your goods or services, be sure to post ads for yourself as well. If what you do can be supplied online, you can search for additional work nationally or even globally. Conversely, many skills are best marketed locally. For example, word of mouth and flyers on bulletin boards are probably better tools for marketing child care services than an Internet ad.
No one likes the idea of taking on a second job out of necessity. Furthermore, you are much more likely to succeed in a field that you enjoy. By focusing on your hobbies or other skills that you take pleasure in, earning a second income can be something that you enjoy. If you select a task merely because you think it will generate the highest dollar value, you probably won’t be successful in the long run.
I started writing my own personal blog for fun three years ago. I don’t think I earned a dime for months, but I enjoyed what I was doing. Today, I earn money writing for many different web sites. The key was my ability to develop my skills on my own time while continuing to pursue work for compensation. You can’t become the industry guru in a few weeks time. Start small and build slowly.
Focus On Continuous Improvement
In an interview, talk show host Conan O’Brien was asked why his show became a success when so many other similar programs created at the same time failed. His reply was informative. He admitted his program was not very good at first, but his goal was to make it a little better each day. In the same way, you can continue to improve the quality of your second job over time while exploring new ways to optimize your business to earn more money.
Because you already support yourself with your day job, you are free to take a little more risk with your second income stream. I am not talking about risking your money, I am referring to taking on jobs with less chance of success. You can view your second job as a great opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone and explore new challenges. Should you fail to succeed, you have lost little and are free try to earn money in a different way the next time. Turning a skill or hobby into a second income can come naturally to you or it may take some time to develop. Either way, they extra income you earn will allow your to build up your savings and forgo some of your most frugal sacrifices.
Jason D. Steele is personal finance writer and a consumer advocate. He specializes in helping people eliminate credit card debt and maximize rewards.
Photo by Steven Depolo via Flickr