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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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    Last Updated on March 4, 2019

    How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

    How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

    Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

    I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

    Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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    Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

    Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

    Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

    I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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    I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

    If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

    Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

    The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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    Using Credit Cards with Rewards

    Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

    You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

    I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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    So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

    What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

    Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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