How many times have you sighed while looking through the check book, wondering how all your money disappeared so quickly. I know I have this feeling about once a week. When the budget is tight, you have 2 options: Spend less, or make more. Now obviously making more money would be nice, but is easier said than done. Or is it? Maybe it isn’t as hard to make some extra money as we think it is, and we are just approaching it from the wrong angle.
Everyone has a talent, something that they are good at or enjoy. Take a few minutes to think about what you enjoy doing, and come back when you have something in mind.
Got it? Good. Write it down and save it for the end of this article.
SIZING UP THE COMPETITION
The shape of the market is changing. More and more corporations are merging, fusing, growing bigger and bigger. Many people feel like it is impossible to start something small, because you can’t compete with the bigger established businesses. They have websites, advertisements, name brand, celebrities, the list goes on and on. How is a single person supposed to compete?
You may say to yourself, I don’t have the money to buy all those things! The reason I am here is because I want more money, not more debt! And I say to you, the BEST businesses are the ones that don’t cost ANYTHING. Too many people get caught up in comparing themselves to the giants of the industry. I couldn’t possibly make any money unless I have a website, an office, and spend a ton of money building a business. You should be taking the exact opposite approach. Build yourself up with as little as possible.
If you strip away all the flash and glamor from the big companies, you realize that they are people just like you and me. The big companies are offering a product or a service, just like every other company on the planet. They dress it up, add slogans, jingles, and special effects, but when you break it down, they are offering a product or service. Ever. Single. Time.
Instead of trying to “compete” with the bigger companies, you should take advantage of your size. You are a small fighting force! You don’t charge into the bad guys head on. Instead, you play it smart, and use the secret weapon that they don’t have: Those little unique things that make you, you! This is your opportunity to exercise your creativity and make something exactly how you want it. There is no limit to what a person can do when they love something and are good at it!
STEP ONE: PICK SOMETHING YOU LIKE
The first step is to find a product or (easier) a service that you can provide. The nice thing about services, is that if you play your cards right, there is no cost to you other than your time. The list of services you could provide goes on and on, but to name a few:
Photography, music, cooking, art, writing, teaching, singing, playing an instrument, editing, exercising, coaching, tutoring, reading, photoshop, dancing, sewing, listening. All of these things come to mind because I can think of individuals I know who have a talent in these areas. And I would love to see these individuals develop these talents and find ways to get paid for doing what they love.
STEP TWO: KEEP YOUR PERSONAL COSTS CHEAP (PREFERABLY FREE)
The next step, is to find ways to keep your costs as close to zero as possible. That means use what you already have, not justify buying new things so you can theoretically make more. Keep it simple with no extra costs; then everything you make is profit, and yours to use as you see fit!
Make sure to keep your personal effort/stress low, since this is also a form of cost! I am not saying to do a poor job, but instead make it as easy as possible for yourself. If it is causing you additional stress and frustration, then the money isn’t worth it! You only come out ahead if your start up costs are as close to zero as possible and you are putting in a small amount of effort for a small amount of profit.
HAPPINESS IS WORTH IT’S WEIGHT IN GOLD
Before I get into examples of these types of income, I wanted to conclude by noting an added bonus you get from this kind of work. If you have a hobby that you enjoy, find a way to make some cash with it while still HAVING FUN, and it will both increase your happiness index and your wallet. And that is the true beauty of this kind of work. It may be small, but the joy you get from doing what you love and the added financial security make it a goal everyone should be striving for.
Alright, now it is time for some real life examples and applications: This is where you should reference what talent you wrote down at the beginning of the article, and try to find a way to turn it into a service.
- If you are one of those artistic people who loves taking photos and already owns a decent camera, then you have everything you need! Start offering up your services to friends, family, local events, anything you can think up. The holidays are coming up, and it is that time of year when people want to do family photos for christmas cards. Why not reach out to those around you and offer photographs at a much cheaper rate. Charge $20 to take a bunch of photos of a family. Probably will take 30 minutes of your day, and you can put it on a flash drive for them to keep. You just saved them the expense of going to the mall for a photo, and you made a little extra money, and a rate of $40 an hour. Easy right? Want a fancy title? Freelance photographer.
- Say you love playing instruments and already have one. Ever offered your services up to local bars or community centers? It could be something simple, like a sing-along night. For those of you who don’t know, sing-along bar nights tend to have one person playing on the piano. The audience requests various songs to sing along to (popular stuff like journey, disney movies, classic rock, ect). The piano player doesn’t even have to sing! Their job is just to provide the music so the bar can sing the night away. Maybe you don’t know all the classics? As long as you are good and willing to play, you can always find a bar to match the style of music you want to play. But first you need to show up at the bars in the middle of the day and introduce yourself, and let them know you want to work for them, and cheap.
- On the technical side, we live in a digital age, and everyone wishes they lived inside a music video. I have a friend who loves doing video recording and editing. I contacted this friend to ask her if she would be willing to record just the ceremony of my wedding. Afterwards, she compiled and edited it using her tech magic to make a beautiful highlight video with our wedding song for background music. I was absolutely blown away by what she had done, and it touched me in a personal way. Not only did I pay her extra, but I tell EVERYONE I meet what an amazing job she did and that they should go to her if they ever need video work. Other people are now contacting her, and she is on her way to more money without any start up costs.
- What about those of you who love to write? Ask local newspapers how much they would pay you to write a small weekly article. In one of my favorite business books, the author mentions that writers should always be writing small books. How do you get paid? If I were to write a book, I would publish to Amazon Kindle. It’s FREE to publish digitally, and they give you up to 70% of the royalties (notice though that it says UP TO and not a flat 70%). Even if you only get 20%, that is still money coming in with no startup costs. Pretty great right?
EASY AS ONE, TWO, THREE!
No matter what you are doing, your approach should be provide a service, charge a small fee for it, get paid. Some people may even pay for it without you asking for it. If your service is good, people will naturally spread the word, and clients will come to you. This is how you outcompete the bigger companies in the market. You provide a personal touch, and keep your costs at zero. It wont make you millions but you have to start somewhere. Starting at the bottom is one of the BEST place to start, because if you invest zero dollars and it doesn’t work out, you lose nothing!
Readers: what talents did you write down earlier? And can you think of fun way to make some money from those talents?