Kimberly Palmer is the author of Generation Earn: The Young Professional’s Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back, which was published by Ten Speed Press this week. The following post has been adapted from the book.
Since job security is almost as hard to find as well-rested new parents, we have to create our own financial stability by building multiple sources of incomes. That can mean taking on freelance work, starting up our own businesses, or pursuing a potentially lucrative hobby. With the average worker now holding 10 different jobs before age 36, the only way to guarantee a little bit of continuity is to take matters into our own hands. Here are some ways to get started:
Brainstorm. Ask a friend or family member to engage in some quick back-and-forth to gin up some ideas. What are your talents? Do you daydream about any potential money-making schemes? Have you stopped pursuing a hobby that you used to love? What did you enjoy making or doing as a kid? Write down all the ideas, even the crazy ones, and review the list for any potential pursuits.
Take small steps. Maybe you first need to purchase a domain name before launching your small business. Or perhaps you need to have coffee with an editor before pitching a few magazine ideas his way. The first step might also be as small as buying a how-to book on your chosen field. Whatever it is, take it – it will be easier to take the next ones.
Check out Craigslist.org. Craigslist isn’t just a great way to find secondhand furniture; the postings can also be a source of entrepreneurial inspiration. People offer all kinds of services, from woodworking lessons to French tutorials. The postings might give you some ideas for what kind of services you could offer yourself. You can always test the market by posting an ad and seeing who responds.
Start a small business. If you’re serious about launching a gardening service, or a dogwalking business, get the word out with a website and begin offering key clients free coupons for the work. Then, post their endorsements on your site. Consider advertising in web forums, including Craigslist.org. In Generation Earn, I profile Anne and Tim Bradley, a married couple in their twenties who launched an online pet store after noticing an unfilled niche in the market. During the first month of operation, they made $1,000.
Market your mind. If you prefer to work from the comfort of your home, then consider opening up an account at Cafepress.com, where you can create T-shirts with art or witty expressions and then sell them through the site. You keep 10 percent of all sales. Follow pop culture and politics closely, and you could have a winner: After health care reform passed, Vice President Biden’s quote about the reform being “a big #@%*! deal” took off.
Get paid to talk. If you have expertise in something – anything – then organizations are probably willing to pay you to talk to them. You might have to offer a few freebies at first, but soon, you can start lining up the paying gigs. A local or national speakers association (check out the National Speakers Association at nsaspeaker.org) can help.
Teach your passion. Maybe it’s yoga, or perhaps art: Whatever it is, find out where you can teach it. Local community centers, gyms, and colleges are often looking for new teachers.
Get crafty. Websites such as etsy.com make it easy to sell your handmade jewelry, soap, or other items directly to new customers.
Blog. Bloggers don’t usually get rich through their writing, but they can often promote their other businesses or services effectively through their blogs. So once you set up shop, don’t forget to write about it.
To learn more about Generation Earn, visit generationearn.com.