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Build Multiple Income Streams – 6 Ways to Start

Making money from multiple sources. The idea is simple, but realizing it requires tenacity and focus. Here are six ways for people with a background in liberal arts and social science to start building multiple income streams:

  1. Start tutoring.

    Tutoring is one of the most lucrative jobs on an hourly basis: $50, $100, $200, $300 per hour – all possible if you build a network and hone your craft. Plus, if you prepare creatively and develop a tutoring specialty in an interesting area, it can be intellectually stimulating, as well. I have literally traveled the world for tutoring and made a good deal of money along the way. I really recommend it. So check out this post for more insights.

  2. Become a writer.

    Start writing for anyone about anything. It can be for a blog, local newspaper, magazine, or travel brochure. Once you start to build a writing portfolio, finding your next writing gig will get even easier. Writing is also an amazing way to showcase your knowledge of a new subject area. If you are looking for a job in a new field, one of the best ways to demonstrate passion and industry knowledge is to develop a credible blog on the subject. For example, Kat Boogard is an amazing freelance writer who has written extensively about her experience, so check her out.

  3. Be an artist.

    Many of us have artistic passions, which can be transformed into income streams. Maybe your abstract paintings could find a paying audience in a gallery, or your lovely soprano voice could land you a spot in a paid choir. I adore singing, and I never thought of my stipend from choir as an income stream, but it was my main source of cash throughout college! Through YouTube, Etsy, Amazon, eBay, and others, you can find an eager (and paying) audience for your creative energies.

A friend of mine launched a really successful product line on Etsy – Nukumori Garden. It started as a side project and then grew into a serious income stream. She had been working with infants and families for years as a mental health provider and enjoyed sewing as a kid. Her Etsy shop grew out of a desire to offer care-filled handmade items with more variety and quality than is found in big-box retailers. She’s combining her knowledge of infant and child development with the artistic outlet of designing and creating items for kids and caregivers.

4. Become an assistant.

Assisting an organization or an individual with administrative tasks provides ample opportunity to make money and do fulfilling work. I know an assistant in London who works part-time for two Hollywood actors. She gets behind-the-scenes access, helps make movies, and earns money along the way. Maybe your first assistant job won’t be so glamorous, but if that kind of work interests you, make a five-year plan and build the skills and experience necessary to become a helper to the stars.

5. Invest your money.

Investing is a risky business. Put simply, do not do it without a clear understanding of what you stand to lose. At the same time, investing in projects that you understand, provide a clear value-add, have competent management, and target an exciting industry can generate positive returns. Plus, the process of conducting diligence on an investment is a good chance to learn about a new area. (Obviously none of this is investment advice!). For more on this, check out the blogs of some famous investors, like Fred Wilson or Brad Feld.

6. Build a business.

This is definitely ambitious, but if you have a clear idea and real passion, go for it. Internet or software businesses are a good place to start because they require less money upfront and scale more easily. But it is also possible to set up an editing, consulting, or tutoring business, as well. If you are already building skills in a particular area, think of some potential clients and ask yourself, “how can I serve them better than anyone else?” That is the first question a great entrepreneur will ask. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is a good starting point for budding entrepreneurs.

Rewards in the mind and pocketbook

I have developed all six of these income streams at different points in my life, and any one of them is an amazing place to start. What’s especially nice is that you can do them in addition to full-time work or layered on top of each other.
Once the different streams start to grow, you will benefit enormously from financial diversification, as well. If you were to lose your main job or one of your projects did not pan out, you can rely on the others. Diversification of income contributes to increased economic security, which can greatly reduce stress and contribute to overall well-being (this is a fascinating area of research, so read more: 1, 2, 3) Plus, when you have varied and exciting projects on the go, you will enjoy a serious sense of purpose.

Prepare yourself for the future

Last, but not least: having multiple careers or even simultaneous careers is the way of the future. With the rise in telecommuting, it is easier than ever to offer your talents across the world.
Now you can teach in Africa, Asia, or Europe, even if your day job is in New York, Los Angeles, or Milwaukee. Maybe your artistic talents with watercolors would delight a Japanese audience. Or perhaps your knowledge of American literature is exactly what an ambitious French high-schooler needs before university. Embrace this new flexibility. It is one of the great privileges of living in the twenty-first century. Once you recognize your talents as assets, there is a wide world of fulfilling and lucrative work for you.
Share in the comments your own experiences with multiple income streams.
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art, Careers, entrepreneurship, income streams, investing, remote work, teaching, tutoring, writing

2 thoughts on “Build Multiple Income Streams – 6 Ways to Start

  1. William on Reply

    Great advice! If you’re looking for inspiration, I’ve found that Craigslist can be a great place to browse what services are in demand in a particular area. Some smaller companies recruit tutors there, e.g., and jobs listing categories include writing/editing, education, and art/media/design.

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