It’s not the money you make. It’s the money you keep.
That is Warwick Brown’s financial wisdom. An account management activist and consultant, he channels three income streams: day job, side hustle, and investments.
“They’re not all bringing in the big bucks yet,” he said, but he makes a point to do a good job keeping what money he can.
Reynolds is a senior career specialist and coach at FlexJobs. The company hand-screens thousands of remote jobs to bring clients the largest, current listing of legitimate and professional, scam-free work-at-home opportunities.
“I’ve had all sorts of income arrangements over the years, usually a mix of full-time or part-time employee work and freelance side projects related to career coaching and writing,” Reynolds said. “At FlexJobs, we see so many folks with multiple income streams. It’s inspiring.
“Our members are often people seeking flexible income: side hustles, freelance work, part-time hours, or remote work,” she said. “Parents, students, people with disabilities, digital nomads, military spouses — so many situations require multiple, flexible income streams.”
Likewise, many of Sun’s clients have several streams of income: day job and side hustles such as consulting work, life passion, nonprofit work, brand, influencer or other media work.
Each of the entrepreneurs found different inspiration for creating new streams of income.
“Often times, your interests and sometimes existing work inspire new ventures,” Sun said. “That’s really what spurred our other projects.
“It may start as a drip, before slowly turning into a stream,” she said. “Rise, grind and hustle. You’ll be flooding your income streams before you know it.”
Brown has pursued his passions.
“I’ve always followed my hobbies,” he said. “I used to build websites and sell photography. My current business was born from a passion for creating value led win-win business-to-business relationships.
“Start with what you love,” Brown said. “It may not be lucrative at first, but it will sure be fulfilling.”
Reynolds’ other income is closely related to her daily chores.
“I love my day job — career coaching,” she said. “I gravitate toward related projects or side work. FlexJobs members are a mix of folks looking for additional work in their current field, and people who want to try something new or different to bring in more income.”
Reynolds said these are good questions for income ideas:
- What skills do you wish you could use more often?
- What products, services and so on have improved your life?
- If you weren’t doing your current job, what would you want to do?
- What skills or tasks come easily to you?
- What’s your dream job?
“If your service or business idea is viable, it will not be difficult to find your first customers or clients,” Sun said.
“Once you have them, dedicate your efforts to giving them your best, learning from the questions they ask, their needs of your service and beyond,” she said. “To multiply your clients and build your audience, have a clear understanding of who you serve.”
Brown recommends starting a Facebook page.
“Install the pixel on your website,” he said. “Upload your email list or LinkedIn contacts and teach yourself Facebook ads. It’s stunning how targeted it is. When it’s your traffic, it’s cheap.
“Start a blog,” Brown said. “Learn search engine optimization. Learn content marketing.”
“The freelancers and side hustlers we see find their clients through several different methods,” Reynolds said. “These include online listings and job ads; referrals from previous clients; referrals from friends, family and acquaintances; and pitching new clients from research.”
Balancing several jobs requires prioritizing.
“When you balance multiple gigs, you need to be extremely organized,” Sun said. “Make sure important tasks and appointments aren’t missed. You also need to quickly learn how to prioritize your top tasks to better use your time.
“Use a calendar and task system proven to work specifically for you,” she said.
Reynolds advised not to take on too much.
“How many gigs you can handle?” she said. “If you’re just starting out — or have a lot of other priorities going on — it might be OK. Research shows that most freelancers have one to three gigs at a time. Fifty-one percent have two to three gigs at a time; 38 percent have one; 8 percent four to five; and 3 percent more than six.
“Be realistic about your time and efforts,” Reynolds said. “Don’t over-promise clients. Learn outstanding organizational and time-management skills. Being a freelance or gig worker means you’re running a business — you. Lots of freedom, but also lots of responsibility.”
Brown’s approach is one piece at a time.
“Map out your ideal day,” he said. “Break it into chunks. Then decide how you’ll spend your time so you stay focused. I use a Trello Board to keep me on target with everything I need to do.
“Sometimes you have to say ‘No’ to things you’d dearly love to do,” Brown said. “That applies to friends and to your hustle. Sometimes the hustle wins, other times it doesn’t. Make sure there’s balance. Don’t neglect relationships so much that when you need them they’re not there.”
An assortment of technology will make audiences and customers aware of new offers and services.
Sun uses email distribution lists and social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to update her corporate happenings.
“We see freelancers and side hustlers getting very creative with client and audience outreach,” Reynolds said. “Newsletters, shared Google docs and spreadsheets, videos, social media chats — there are so many inexpensive ways to stay connected and meet your clients where they are.”
Brown has dabbled with artificial intelligence such as chatbots.
“I’m really enjoying ManyChat and Facebook messenger as a way to send offers to my list,” he said. “It’s free and very easy to set up your bots and growth tools on your site. You just need a Facebook page to start.
“Webinars also are fun to do,” Brown said. “They’re great engagement and wonderful practice for live events. I use GetResponse, which not only is fantastic for email marketing but includes a brilliant webinar solution. The bundle is amazing value.”
“I’m super impressed,” Brown said.
Social media also is good to generate business opportunities or income.
“It’s really just a modern universal language,” Sun said. “The connections you make are so valuable. As you share and listen, opportunities will naturally come to you.”
Brown favors LinkedIn for added cash flow.
“This is a brilliant platform for business to business,” he said. “It’s easy to find people to connect with by job title. I love how it sends leads to a funnel – such as from LinkedIn to a webinar. Spend time there, and you’ll be rewarded. A year has made a huge difference to me.”
Engagement is still the currency of social media.
“Use it to introduce yourself to new clients,” Reynolds said. “Build your professional brand and presence. Find other freelancers in your field or clients to pitch. Grow your thought leadership with insightful posts.”
In many cases, taking simple certification classes can result in extra income.
“There are so many free tutorials on YouTube to learn new skills,” Reynolds said. “LinkedIn Learning offers a huge selection of high-quality training videos. Think about which skills you’re really interested in and start there.
“No certification can truly guarantee extra income, but learning new skills gives you more to offer,” she said. “We’d hope that translates to higher earning potential.”
Brown also recommends Google Digital Garage certification.
“That’s is a great place to start,” he said. “It’s free and helps you start and grow a business — and your career. The certification looks great on paper. You could easily turn this into a side hustle to help small businesses.”
Don’t overlook something you already do that can create an opportunity to make extra income.
“If someone is interested in paying you for something, you’ve got a business opportunity,” Sun said. “The key is to really know your audience and the appetite that exists for your business goods or service. Is there repeatable income to be made?
“Most industries have an equal playing field,” she said. “Just look for an opportunity to monetize making another person’s life better.”
For Reynolds, that means asking, “What can you teach others? What problems can you solve for people? Teaching, writing, editing, administrative and so on are all great skills to use.”
Brown favors ecommerce for income.
“You seriously can’t go past eBay,” he said. “I used to make a few hundred a month just selling photography and things I didn’t need anymore.”
Part-time or spare-time jobs might eventually be financially beneficial but not immediately profitable.
“We looked at 10 high-paying side jobs for spare-time work,” Reynolds said. “These all pay $25 per hour or higher. The jobs include writer, training specialist, executive assistant, online instructor, social media coordinator and voice tester.
“This is where part-time remote jobs come in handy,” she said. “There’s no additional commuting costs or stressful scheduling.”
Sometimes rewards come surprisingly fast.
“I love online learning and was stunned at how quickly it generated income — like two weeks quick,” Brown said. “I wrote the course outline and landing pages on Thinkific, ran a webinar and sold the pilot course like that.
“It’s a lot of work, but it was fast money,” he said.
Sun, Reynolds, and Brown had tips for those interested in diversifying their income streams but don’t know where to start.
“Start listening very intently,” Sun said. “See what your unique talents are and if there is financial value to them. If you can’t figure this out just yet, don’t worry. Focus on your day job. There is always time to pursue an entrepreneurial journey when you are ready.
“Starting a business is easy, sustaining a business is hard,” she said. “Making money is even more difficult. Don’t wing it until you’re ready — mentally and financially.”
Reynolds recommended going directly to companies that tend to hire freelancers, starting with the top 30 companies hiring for freelance jobs.
“Dabble, tinker and keep dreaming,” Brown said. “I’ve tried perhaps a thousand different things. Just keep chipping away until you land on what it is you were meant to do.”