Money-Makers: Three Sources of Income


We live in a world of opportunity, though it doesn’t always feel that way. Despite a burgeoning online market, the national unemployment rate still hovers at 5.7 percent. If you’re stuck between both worlds, you probably feel frustrated by the lack of local opportunities and the uncertainty of virtual payoffs. Well, I have good news: It is possible to earn a significant side income. I’m not talking about an extra $100 per month. No, I’m talking about real, life-changing profits. 

Before venturing into new territory, let’s start with the basics:

  • Decide how much you can invest. When time and money are scarce, investing in a new career venture can be risky. Protect yourself by analyzing your schedule and setting firm limits. How many hours can you contribute each week? If the opportunity requires an up-front investment, how much can you afford to spend? Write these numbers down and stick to them.

  • Consider your strengths and interests. You won’t succeed in a side venture without motivation. What excites you? Do you have an existing passion or are you interested in learning more about a specific field? Rank your goals and narrow them to a few professions. If you need help, search the Internet for entrepreneurs with similar skills to learn more about their career paths.

  • Consider your financial goals. How much is working a side job worth to you? $500 a month? $1,500? $5,000? When money is a key motivator, it’s important to determine your bottom line. Establish monthly financial goals to help you stay on track.

Ready to go? Below you’ll find a few lucrative career choices that span multiple interests. Consider:

  1. Becoming a home inspector. If you crave structure and on-site work, home inspection is the perfect choice. The average inspector earns $300-$500 per home visit. While licensing requirements vary by state, students generally need minimal hours of on-site training and less than $1,000 to take the exam. As a bonus, work hours are flexible, allowing you to jumpstart your own business and see customers in your spare time.
  2. Sharing (and selling) your expertise. If you possess valuable skills, why not sell them? Consider the following paths:
    • We’ve all seen the online writing content mills and bidding sites. These jobs, primarily aimed at stay-at-home moms, often pay a measly $1 or $5 per article. Don’t waste your time with small payouts. Invest in a Writer’s Market subscription and learn how to pitch ideas to legitimate employers. Depending on your topic, it’s possible to earn hundreds of dollars per piece.
    • You don’t need a Ph.D. to share your wisdom with others. For example, Steve Carrolla is a licensed contractor with 25 years of experience. In addition to running a full-time construction company, he teaches a weekly business course at the local college. Take a lesson from Steve and consider the opportunities in your community. If you spot a need, present yourself as the person to fill it.

    • You may think Etsy is another dead-end road, but it’s not true for everyone. For example, Birdesign owner Roselyn Carr sells downloadable Photoshop templates for photographers. Her monthly revenue? $10,900 in primarily passive income. She’s not alone in her potential. Click here to read about Etsy’s success stories and find your own motivation.
  3. Investing in real estate. We’ve talked about when to sell your home, but when should you invest? Buying income property can yield significant and long-term income. For example:

Mark and Krista Conner recently inherited $30,000. They live in a college town and think an income property could help them secure an early retirement. They find a three-bedroom house listed for $125,000. The math breaks down as follows:

  • Home price: $125,000
  • Down-payment: $25,000 (20 percent)
  • Mortgage: $100,000
  • Interest rate: 5.5 percent
  • Property taxes: $3,300 per year
  • Homeowner’s insurance: $800
  • Monthly cost: $833
  • Rental price: $1,475
  • Annual income: $7,740

As Mark and Krista learned, an initial investment could pay off big in the future. Talk to your financial planner about whether income property is right for your budget.


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