“Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. A river flowed from the land of Eden, watering the garden and then dividing into four branches.” – Genesis 2: 8, 10 NLT
When it comes to their finances, many people are currently experiencing severe drought conditions. The reservoirs of their bank accounts are running dangerously low, as the constant outflows of money are not being replenished by new inflows of savings. The Jamaican proverb, “Rain a fall, but de dutty tough,” aptly describes the inability of their scattered income showers to nourish their parched budgets.
Some persons whose steady earnings have regularly flowed from their work pipelines, now find their taps painfully dry. Everywhere you look, people are engaged in a desperate search for fresh income sources to meet basic requirements and to store up for the future.
While the drought analogy might be appropriate for the financial challenges that many of us are facing today, remember that money is still in abundant supply even though it might not be obvious in our pockets. Just like water, money can turn up in our lives if we know where to look for it and how to harvest it.
Over the years, we have been socialised to depend on a single source of income to satisfy our needs. We expect that in return for giving everything to our nine-to-five jobs, we will be rewarded with all the necessary perks and receive comfortable retirement plans. While this may have been the reality 30 years ago, times have changed.
We can no longer look to our employers as benevolent cash cows who can provide for our every desire. Modern-day methods of production and service delivery require that companies become more cost-conscious to remain competitive in a global marketplace. Employees must now learn how to fend for themselves to ensure that their financial goals are met.
Expand your earning sources
It is absolutely essential in this economic age for you to become focused about earning extra money. It is your responsibility to use your time efficiently and productively in order to create the necessary income to pay your bills, get out of debt, save for emergencies, and put something aside to meet your goals.
I always encourage persons to create more than one source of income. When there is only one major supply of money, then you are at risk if it dries up. In the same way that a river has small tributaries that can transport water to nourish various areas of the land, so should you have multiple outlets that will sustain your different needs.
While you may recognise that earning more is the only answer, it can be challenging to identify practical options to expand your income sources. With limitations of time, money and ability, how can you get extra money rolling in?
The first step is to calculate exactly how much more you need to earn each month. Preparing a detailed budget can help you to identify income shortfalls and thereby set a targeted amount to work towards. When you are clear about how much extra money you need to improve your finances, then you will be more motivated to succeed.
How to find earning opportunities
When looking for income-earning possibilities, consider your personal situation carefully. If you already have a job, be careful not to get involved in projects that are too time-consuming. Your part-time option must be generated without threatening your regular pay cheque, so it shouldn’t leave you too tired to carry out your normal job, or be in conflict with your terms of employment.
It’s also important to look for activities that you really like to do, as you don’t want to feel burdened with another demanding chore. Consider a hobby that you could already be doing for free, but which has value to others. You could easily convert your pastime into an income source that is financially and personally fulfilling.
You need to identify where you have access to large groups of people such as a school, church, community or even your own workplace. The idea is to be able to supply a lot of persons with the least amount of effort on your part. Look keenly for their unmet needs or glaring problems and think of how you can solve these for profit.
In our fast-paced society, people desire immediate gratification. If you can figure out how to supply existing products or services more conveniently and at cheaper prices, then you can create willing customers. Use innovation to design something unique, or be creative in the use of your existing assets. Make sure that you consider any legal restrictions or the tax implications of the income-generating options you choose.
Over the coming weeks, I will explore several methods of earning extra income to help you to find the right opportunity for you.
About the Author
Cherryl Hanson Simpson is a financial consultant and money coach, and founder of Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services. She is currently writing her first book, “The 3 Ms of Money: How to Manage, Multiply and Maintain Your Money.” Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services is Jamaica’s number one source for practical, down-to-earth and independent answers for all questions relating to personal finance. Get more smart money advice at www.financiallysmartonline.com and and www.financiallysmartadvice.com .
Copyright © 2010 Cherryl Hanson Simpson.