Don’t have enough money?  Can’t get a raise?  Is the bad economy being a drag on your finances? Look, everyone wants more money, and I’m here to let you in on a little secret—for the vast majority of us, making hundreds—or even thousands—of dollars more, per month, is entirely possible.

I’m not talking about quitting your job or changing your career.  I’m talking about making money on the side: taking skills you already have and padding your wallet with some cool extra cash each month.  How awesome would that be? I’m an entrepreneur, and I’ve seen plenty of people who make money on the side.  There’s no “exclusive formula” for it: it’s really just about consistency, long-term focus (don’t give up in a week), and learning from mistakes (optimization and hacking your way to success).

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98% of people who read this aren’t going to take my advice, and will just keep complaining they don’t have enough money, and do nothing to better their situation.  Whatever.  But, if you’re one of the 2% of people who actually wants to make a difference in their own life, and to make more money using skills you already have, read on, and see what’s worked for lots of people I know:

Step #1: Come up with an idea by asking 10 people what their problems are.

Stop worrying “but R.C., I don’t have any skills I can offer someone!”, and instead, go ask 10 people what their problems are.

Go to a Chamber of Commerce meeting and ask 10 business owners what their problems are. Go to Warrior Forum and start a thread asking people what they need, then ask your contacts the same thing. Point being, leverage your network to figure out what’s bugging people, and how you can help solve their problems. For example, I once got freelancing work helping an accounting by writing their promotional pieces.  Who would have ever guessed that my claim to fame would be doing that?  But persistence paid off, and I found a way to make some cha-ching.

SEE ALSO: 50 Businesses You Can Start In Your Spare Time

Step #2: Set long-term goals, and keep a long-term focus.

Want to hear a secret? Most businesses take a long time to reach profit.  I just had a phone call with the founder of a luxury jean company who told me that after 3 years, their business was still running at the break-even point.  That was okay, though: they were in it for the long run, and frankly, it didn’t really matter what the short-term results were. Instead of just worrying about how you’re going to find clients, come up with goals and a tangible way to do it.  Focus on what you will have in the next year, instead of just being pouty that the world didn’t hand you cash on a silver platter. You’d be amazed how many would-be entrepreneurs fail on this point alone: they’re sad that they’re not making money immediately, get overwhelmed”when things get hard, and quit after 2 months.

Weak, weak.

If you’re serious about making money on the side, then actually stick with it.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed (believe me, I’ve been there), seek out the company of other entrepreneurs (you’re an entrepreneur now, champ), and find solace in hanging out with others who have successfully gone through the same thing.

Step #3: Build in ways to get referral business

We all know that the best kind of marketing is word of mouth, so why not make it easy for others to market for you? Offer your first few clients discounts for referrals to others, and constantly ask your clients for feedback to ensure you’re delivering tip-top, referable service.

You know that expression in business “making your first million is the toughest, and it’s easier after that”?  Same thing with making money on the side—once you build momentum, it’s easier to get started.

I’ve seen tons of people make money on the side and start businesses.  That’s how I know you can—and should.

I’m not just writing platitutdes or rehashed random crap.  I’ve seen lots of people—often my age (23!!!)—do this stuff successfully, and it’s always a shame to hear people talk about their money woes, but see them do nothing to better their situation. I hope this article gets you thinking about making money on the side.  If you decide to go down that route, you still have a lot more research to do.  Contact me or check out my blog if you’d like to know more!

PS- in the comments below, feel free to share: have you made money on the side?  What did you do?  Was it tough before?  How long did it take you to build your business?

SEE ALSO: 10 Best Websites that Help Make You More Money-Savvy

Featured photo credit: A Royal African Chair via Shutterstock

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