Written at 169 West cafe, Zurich.
If you’re going to live the lifestyle you want, you’re gonna need cash.
In the first month after I quit my job, I worked with 5 clients and brought in more money than I’d made the whole of the previous quarter.
I realised something I hadn’t properly thought of before: when you work for yourself, you have less security, but you also have far more earning potential. There is no longer a ceiling above you.
I’d just read You are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero (yep, that’s actually the title) and it had changed my belief in my ability to earn.
I charged more than I thought I could and I got it. I opened up the space for new money-making opportunities and they flowed into my life.
Since then, it hasn’t always been easy, and I’ve had a few quiet months. But on average I’m still earning more while working far less. Read on to see how I’ve got things to work so far.
Side note: being self-employed definitely isn’t for everyone. It’s right for me at the moment, but it might not be next year. And I know many people who would run screaming at the idea. If you’re happy with a secure 9-5, I get that. You can still find some tips below for building a side hustle that complements your main work.
1. Fix your money mindset
It’s not about being the starving artist (or starving digital nomad). Don’t be that gal who claims they don’t need money while talking all the time about how little they have.
You can be a good person and make good money. You can have freedom and money. You can look after the planet while growing your bank account. Dollar dollar bills y’all.
I’m still a newbie at the freelance game, and I sometimes find myself freaking out that I’ll have no work in a few months. While simultaneously worrying about taking on too much work.
But on the whole, I try to keep the faith that everything is going to be fine. Because based on everything so far, it really will be.
2. Choose your revenue streams
One of the most exciting parts of designing your life is choosing the work you’ll do to bring in money. I make money through business consulting for great teams with cool missions. I also get paid for some of my writing.
I love my paid work, and it also leaves me space to work on my side projects, like this website. My side projects aren’t all going to make me money right now, nor will I be able to invoice anyone for my time, but I work on them nonetheless. My paid and unpaid work all blend together, and I wake up feeling excited to grab a coffee and get started.
3. Diversify your income
One of the best books I’ve read on building up sustainable income is Entrepreneurial You: Monetize Your Expertise, Create Multiple Revenue Streams, and Thrive by Dorie Clark. Dorie is the queen of diverse income for entrepreneurs.
If you follow her advice and make money through several sources, you’ll have no real reason to worry if any of these take a hit. Your eggs will be safely distributed between several baskets.
To start building up extra revenue, you could follow one of these ideas:
- Start a blog with non-intrusive affiliate advertising (like Amazon Affiliates) that gives your readers value instead of annoying them. This will probably be pocket change though, especially to begin with. Affiliate partners, sponsors etc would get you more.
- Self-publish an ebook on a topic you’re an authority on.
- Start a podcast.
- Coach others on your areas of expertise, such as web design, leadership, public speaking, or content marketing.
- Be a business consultant for a niche area.
- Create a membership site, delivering paid members with a tonne of valuable content.
None of them are quick fixes though, so you’d need to either have experience and contacts behind you or keep your main job for security. Do something because you love it, anyway. People can tell immediately if you don’t.
You might also want to invest in property someday as an extra source of regular cash to fund whatever you want to be doing.
4. Reverse engineer your success
Where do you eventually want to be?
How do you want to be making your money?
Perhaps you’d love to be a published author who gets passive income every month from their series of books on mindful living.
Maybe you dream of being a podcast host who shares the wisdom of minimalist living pros.
Think of the endpoint and map out your next steps.
5. Know where you’re spending
Make more than you spend, live as simply as you can. That’s it.
Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez
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