Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Top 10 Ways I Make Money

Last month I wrote about the top 10 things I do to save money. This month I thought I'd make a different top 10 list and address the flip side of the personal finance coin.

So here are the top 10 things I do to make money:

1. Regular full-time job. This is currently my biggest source of income. I love my job but eventually I would like to make enough money from other sources to make this a much smaller percentage of my income. In the meantime however, I did get a hefty raise in November and I have plans to negotiate another raise soon.

2. Roommates who pay me rent. They get to live in my great little house for a fantastic price, and I get to have most of my mortgage paid by others. Win-win.

3. Second job This hourly job fell into my lap when a friend asked for some help with his business venture. The hourly rate is more than my full-time job but I only work about 30 hours a month. I am going to continue doing this job because I am actually learning some handy new skills and maintaining networking connections with people who I might want to do serious business with in the next few years.

4. Rental property I purchased a small 3br single family investment house a year and a half ago and have been learning how to keep it rented. This has been a tricky source of income because occupancy is never guaranteed. If I were to do this over, I would have negotiated a lower purchase price and better terms... and maybe bought in a neighborhood half a mile north of this one. However, despite the less-than-ideal conditions, my conservative side did insist on buying a house that I could afford even if it stayed vacant indefinitely. So far, I've been putting all the income from this house back into the property (either for maintenance or in a fund for emergencies/ improvements). According to my tax calculations, which take into account depreciation, I've had a loss on this property which has resulted in a nice tax refund. I also live in an area that escaped the housing bubble so property values are continuing to hold steady and even creep up a little. In the long term, if I can keep it rented, this house will be a steady little investment.

5. Business About a year ago I began to explore a side business. Getting this off the ground has been slow going... but fun. I have learned a lot. I am starting to pay more attention to appropriate marketing strategies for this business which provides products I have created for a very small and specific niche. So far I have broken-even on this venture and expect that I will be heading into profit territory soon. Once again, my expenses here helped to boost my tax refund.

6. Consulting Once in a while I do some freelance consulting. I am still of two minds about how much time I want to spend on this kind of activity. I would ultimately like to put less emphasis on sources of income that require a specified amount of time/personal energy to generate revenue.

7. Financial investments This includes any interest earned on my savings accounts and dividends and capital gains on stocks and funds. Last year I spent a few months trying my hand at more active stock trading but decided it wasn't interesting or lucrative enough for me to devote that much time to it. Now I stick to a more easily managed portfolio of funds that I don't have to think about more than a couple of times a year. This portfolio is still pretty small but one of my goals this year is to really pump it up.

8. Online activities My income from the internet is very small but I have decided that as long as the source/activity is interesting enough, then every penny coming in counts! These activities include such things as participating in cash rebate programs such as Inbox Dollars and Mypoints and having some advertisements on my blog. Some of these activities don't require much effort at all (but also don't generate much income).

9. Multi-level marketing This is brand new and still a... twinkle in my eye! In the next couple of months I am going to get involved with a company that two of my friends have had some success with and see how it goes. It doesn't require any money to start up so I figured I've got nothing to lose except for a few hours and I can help my friend out in the process.

10. ..... I tried. I couldn't come up with #10! I don't sell items on eBay or hold yard sales (I don't have enough stuff to get rid of and the stuff I do get rid of I freecycle). I don't babysit or mow lawns or shovel sidewalks. I guess you could read about the money that seems to find its way into my life without my necessarily doing much for it in Found Money.

That's my list. Perhaps a next step would be to make a nifty pie-chart and compare how much of my income comes from the different sources.


Rocko Chen said...

Kudos for the list. Not sure about the pyramid scheme though.

Nevertheless, all the best.

moneychallenge said...

Rocko, I think I may be wrong calling it Multi-level marketing. Network marketing is probably the more accurate term. You know, like one of those parties the ladies like to throw where you can buy stuff like fancy kitchen supplies, or make-up, or jewelry? That thing. Not a pyramid scheme, I'm pretty sure.