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3 Steps to Making Easy Money on the Side

3 Steps to Making Easy Money on the Side

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.

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    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.

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    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!

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    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?

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    Published on September 17, 2018

    How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

    How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

    Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

    With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

    So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

    1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

    It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

    You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

    So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

    2. When you want something big, wait

    Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

    It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

    We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

    A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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    So, you get the itch.

    You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

    Here’s where you have to take a step back.

    Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

    Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

    It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

    The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

    3. Live smaller than you can afford

    You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

    You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

    That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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    Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

    Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

    The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

    But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

    4. Practice smart grocery shopping

    Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

    But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

    Create a grocery budget

    Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

    Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

    I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

    Make a list… and never deviate

    Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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    You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

    These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

    Eat before going grocery shopping

    It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

    If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

    After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

    Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

    However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

    This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

    5. Cancel your gym membership

    Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

    The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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    Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

    I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

    Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

    Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

    For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

    Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

    There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

    It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

    I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

    Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

    The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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