I’d like to bring up a topic that has been an interest of mine for many years. Early on in my financial journey, I stumbled on an audio book that forever changed my viewpoint on the most effective way to earn money. That book was called Multiple Streams of Income by Robert Allen. In the book, Robert encouraged us to diversify our income sources. I loved the premise of the book and contemplated someday putting his ideas into practice.
As time when on, my career began to take off and I relied solely on a paycheck. But that wasn’t a bad thing because the money came every two weeks. But as I moved up the ladder, I noticed a flaw in this system. One article I read even called a job a risky way to make money. In my mind, I’m like “how can that be?” The money is always there on payday. What could go wrong?
But over the course of my career, I fired a countless number of people. Most of them came to work that day not expecting their income to suddenly stop. Sure, you can get another job, but who knows how long that’ll take or if your earning will be similar to what you had before. Basically, your livelihood is in the hands of strangers. That is completely risky if you ask me. One day, I was at a seminar and the speaker said something I’ll never forget. While speaking on one topic, he suddenly proclaimed to the audience “I don’t work for a paycheck, I live my life and I earn money while doing so.” That’s all I ever wanted. Since then, I’ve wanted to live up to this mantra.
This past week, I spent some time in the wonderful country of Belize. I rented a luxury villa and relaxed as I experienced all the amenities the island has to offer. As I ate fresh seafood at restaurants on the beach, the only thought that constantly went through my mind is “how do I make this last forever?”
I ran through scenarios in my mind and technically, I could pack up, move to Belize and continue to earn a living that could support my new lifestyle. My husband, on the other hand, couldn’t easily transition because he earns money from a traditional 9-5. If we were to move. His income would completely stop. I’m not saying I want to live there permanently, but I do want more of these types experiences without the restriction of having my income tied directly to my time.
The most obvious way to do this is to focus on generating passive income. Passive income is such a sexy term because it implies that we make money without having to do any work. The concept of passive income is real but somewhat misleading. The type of income that’s generated from little to no work will likely be minimal. You might get to a place where you can live off passive income, but that typically happens once you’ve been building up your income streams for years.
The key is to start the journey. Take small steps now and they will eventually grow into larger opportunities later on. For the sake of our conversation today, I’ll refer to passive income as flexible income because there is work involved. But it still entails creating revenue that isn’t directly tied to you being at a certain place during a fixed time window during the day. Flexible income can be scaled where traditional income is more linear. You don’t have to wait a year for a performance review to increase your earnings. And if you wanted to travel or incorporate more adventures into your life, you can.
So how does one begin their journey to flexible income?
The options are endless but for the sake of this article, I’ll try to narrow down the options to keep it simple. Nowadays, people fall into two main categories — consumers and producers. Most of the population are consumers. We get our paycheck then spend it on stuff. Every time we use our money to buy a good or service, we are contributing to the producers. They create the products we use, provide our services and entertainment, they are involved everything we utilize in maintaining our lifestyle. Most people pay for their goods/services and move on. Rarely do we think about the fact that someone else is on the receiving end. Someone’s business & life is thriving because of where we decided to spend our money. It didn’t really connect with me until I started walking/driving through the high-end neighborhoods in our city. In my mind, I knew that these people did not have typical jobs. They were making their money in a completely different way than everyone else.
We’ve been consumers for so long that it’s hard to switch our mindset to become producers. We think it’s too hard and completely out of reach. And maybe it was out of reach years ago. But times have changed. The internet has broken down the barriers that once kept us bound to a restricted way of life.
Now it’s fairly “easy” to make a side income. When I say easy, I really mean it’s accessible. The knowledge of how to do it is at the tip of your fingers. All you have to do is ask Google or Youtube and you’ll find countless resources on how to get started. My message to you is “do what you can to earn your first independent dollar.” Once that happens, anything and everything becomes possible. For a while, your paycheck income will still be a main source of funds but that doesn’t matter. As long as you’re generating some type of income, you’re moving in the right direction. If for some reason, you lose your main source of revenue, you can choose whether to look for another job or grow your business.
Everywhere you look nowadays, producers and consumers are commingling. On social media, you have people who go there purely for entertainment. But there are also people on there who make tens of thousands of dollars on there. When you go to Amazon, you shop. But do you ever think about how many individuals have replaced their work income thanks to opening up a merchant account on Amazon? Those are real people. And they’re not special. You can do what they do. But you probably haven’t thought of yourself as one of them.
I have friends who love to travel. They’re always talking about wanting to quit their jobs to travel full time. I tell them about all of the people who travel the world while making a healthy income. They are aware that this possibility exists, but they remain immobilized and don’t do anything about it. They believe that they have to automatically make six figures while traveling and they don’t know how to do it. My advice to them is to see if they can small goals and ignite the domino effect. If it were me, I’d set a goal to get reposted by a hotel or travel page on Instagram. Once that happened, I’d set another goal to try and obtain a lower price hotel stay by offering to feature them. If that worked, then I’d set a goal for a free stay or free trip. Eventually, I’d move towards getting compensated for the work I did to bring awareness to the hotel or travel destination.
You see, most people think about starting something and focus too much on making millions. It’s intimidating and keeps us stuck. I say start with the smallest goal you can think of and start working from there. Keep moving the needle forward and, before you know it, you will be within reach of making that six figure income we all dream about. A friend of mine called me the other day and was like “guess what Nadege, I made my first $100.00!” I couldn’t contain my excitement. Months ago she talked about starting her online jewelry business and soon it was a reality. She’s been working on it in between the other projects she has going on. She took a while to build her online store but I kept telling her…..keep pushing until you earn your first dollar. Her first sale came in and then she quickly made over $100.00. Now my message to her is to try to get to $1000.00. Once you earn $1k, you can convince yourself to try to earn $5k then $10k. It doesn’t have to happen right away, but it needs to happen.
What I’m saying is that, in this day & age, almost everyone can (and should) have a means to generate additional income. A really good book I highly recommend if you want to transition from receiving only paycheck income to building an income that supports your ideal lifestyle is MJ DeMarco’s Millionaire Fastlane. MJ just came out with a new book called Unscripted: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Entrepreneurship which currently has a 5-star rating. I haven’t read it yet but I trust his philosophy on creating wealth outside the typical earning structure of the corporate world. Even if you adore your job and the people you work with, why not try to make extra money just to elevate your lifestyle or to save for large purchases in the future. Don’t leave your entire financial standings at the hands of others. I urge everyone reading this who wants to improve their lifestyle, to just start! Take the first step. And once you do, keep moving forward ’till you reach your destination.