The Multiple Income Stream Strategy

I get a lot of emails from people asking for various pieces of advice (which I like to give, so please continue emailing).

Many times people are looking for tips on how to better use social media or asking for some advice on personal branding. But usually, the question is, “how the hell do I find a job?”

The sad truth is, I never have a good answer because the people asking are typically already doing the right things.

They’ve maintained an updated LinkedIn profile, they’re connecting with people outside of their networks, they’re sending thank you notes after job interviews and they’re hitting up multiple networking events every month.

So why can’t they find a reasonable position somewhere?

To be blunt about it; the economy ain’t doing so hot, the competition is extra fierce (people getting double degrees), and many companies are experimenting with new methods of cutting costs (hiring freelancers and contractors to avoid paying benefits, for example).

The Bad News: The good ol’ days, where going to college meant landing your dream gig upon graduation, are over.

The Good News: We’re in the midst of an entrepreneurial revolution.

There are so many people who can’t find jobs, plenty who’ve been “let go” and a handful who’ve decided that “putting in time” isn’t for them, so they just quit their jobs.

What are they doing now?

They’re starting their own businesses.

They’re making their own legacies. And they’re figuring out how to survive without a “real job.”

Recessions have been known to produce some of the greatest innovations and innovators, and this is no exception.

The reason that most of us have jobs is to make money.

When we get layed off because we “aren’t producing enough” or fired because we “aren’t being enthusiastic enough” or can’t find a job because we are “over/under qualified” we stop making money. If we stop making money, we stop paying bills, if we stop paying bills we go into bad debt, and so on and so on.

How come we put all of our eggs into one basket when it comes to work?

I’ve always thought it was so strange that so many of us talk about diversifying investments to reduce risk, yet we all subscribe to the illusion that having one main income stream is the safest route. How can that possibly make sense? When so much of our livelihood relies on external factors and even other people?

Here are a few reasons why I prefer multiple income streams to one.

  • It’s “safer.” If you lose one income stream, you just build or find another to replace it. Once you’ve built a few solid ones, and get to a certain level of comfort, losing a stream will not be as drastic as losing your entire income.
  • Live a more flexible lifestyle. One day you’re a photographer, the next day you’re a designer. When you have multiple income streams you get to focus on what makes you happy, that day. You can also work from 9pm – 5am if you feel like it or turn a park bench into an office.
  • You can quit whenever you feel like it. If you decide that you don’t want to do whatever it is you’re doing anymore, just fire yourself . The false sense of security is gone when you know that you can create more opportunities.
  • You’re responsible for your own success. No one else. You can’t rely on excuses and you can’t get fired for someone else’s mistake.
  • There’s more time to do what you love. If you aren’t at an 8-5 all day, one (or more) of your income streams can be hobbies. Technically, they can all be hobbies (if you really want to go that route). Example: if your hobby is playing guitar, start giving private lessons.
  • Gain new skills/experiences. You’ll be good at plenty of things when you get the time to challenge yourself with new activities. I’ve recently started taking photos. I’m not getting paid for it, but eventually if I get good enough, I’d like to turn photography into a sellable skill, because it’s something that I enjoy doing.

That isn’t to say that there aren’t cons to creating your own work.

I put in more hours than I ever used to before. In fact, right now, its 6:42pm on a Friday evening and I’m still working and it’s my birthday (editor’s note, now it is noon on Saturday and I am making edits to this post). At my old job, we had something called “summer hours” where every friday, we’d be out of the office by noon.

I don’t mind working though.

As my old friend Confucius once said, “”Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

You have the choice.

If you have any questions, praises, or arguments, leave a comment!

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