The more I diversify my income, the more I realize what a huge blessing it is to have the opportunity to do this. It not only allows me to experiment with new ideas, but I also have the comfort of knowing that if one income stream fails, I have several more to back me up.
Remember, if you go back and think about the basic personal finance equation: Income - Expenses = Savings. You can only cut so many expenses, but you can boost your income to limitless potential.
It took me awhile to learn how to effectively diversify my income, but now the possibilities seem truly limitless.
Plus, you've probably heard the saying that the average millionaire has 7 different streams of income? Where do you stand compared to this?
If you’re just getting started, here are six ideas to diversify your income and add more to your bottom line.
Start With Your Day Job
We talk a lot about "side hustling" and multiple income streams, but let's face it, your day job is, most likely, your number one source of income. This is what most likely pays your bills and keeps food on the table.
For me I’d consider my “day job” my freelance income. Even though I’m self-employed, I view certain income streams as the ones that pay my bills and others are goal money or fun money.
But for others, your day job might be a true nine to five. Regardless, there are several ways that you can boost your income stream with your day job. Can you pick up shifts at work? Volunteer for overtime? Or, even asking for a raise can boost your day job income.
Invest In Real Estate
My income is fairly diversified right now. The next thing I would love to add more of is investing in real estate. Of course, it’s going to take me a good amount of time to get the cash saved up for this, but there are options to get started investing in real estate for as little as $500! Yes, serious, $500.
Here are my favorite ideas for investing in real estate:
Crowd Funded Real Estate
One of the newest options for investing in real estate is crowd funded real estate. This is where you join others to invest in a rental property – either commercial or residential. The great thing about this is that there are low minimums to get started, and you don't even have to be an accredited investor.
- Realtyshares – Realtyshares offers investors a variety of properties to choose from, including residential, mixed-use, commercial and retail. They don’t charge their investors fees, instead placing that burden on the property holders. Investors can start seeing a return just a few weeks after the project is funded. We are partners with Realtyshares, and they’re giving College Investor a $100 bonus when you make your first investment using promo code Partner100.
- Fundrise – One of the most popular real estate crowdfunding sites, Fundrise has a minimum investment of $500 and charges between 0-3% in fees. The site is ruthless about which projects it accepts – only about 5% of proposals are chosen. Fundrise is another one of our favorite sites simply because of the range of investment properties they have to choose from, but also because you don’t have to be an accredited investor to invest – they are one of the only platforms that allows this currently.
Flipping a House
I know many people think that flipping is a very risky business and it can be, it just depends on the real estate market in your area. I have successfully flipped a house before (the one and only time that I tried) and I can’t wait to try it again.
Owning Rental Properties
Owning rental properties is not for the faint of heart. You have to be able to plan for vacancies, repairs, and deal with renters. While I haven’t completely ruled out owning rental properties I’m not sure that I’d want to deal with tenants. I’d ideally use a property management service to handle this for me. However, this could still be a great way for you to diversify your income.
Along the same lines as owning rental properties, you can get started investing in real estate via house hacking. This is where you leverage your own property as a rental - maybe by renting out a room or turning it into an Airbnb listing. My best friend did this in college and basically had his roommates pay for his house!
Offer A Service
After your day job, your next step might be offering a service of some sort. This service should be based off of your skill set, your free time, and your hobbies.
A few ideas to get this started are:
- Resume Help
- Social Media Management
There are both pros and cons to offering a service. The big pros are that you get to set the hours, choose the pricing, and pick the service. The cons are that it can take time to build up clients and that you’re still trading time for money.
We have a ton of other ideas for service-based side businesses here.
Sell A Product
This third idea will require initial time upfront, but then can become a passive income source. The royalty trickle of income can take a lot of upfront marketing to make successful, so don’t expect to create some sort of product and start raking in the big bucks. Earning royalties requires hard work!
With that said here are some ideas:
Write an eBook: Anyone can become an author on Amazon. In fact, I tried this a few years ago. All you have to do is write your eBook in a word doc, format for Kindle, and upload to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program. The process is simple, however, making sales and getting your book to rank high is a ton of work.
Sell Stock Photos: There are so many places that you can sell stock photos for royalties. If you’re a photographer this could be an excellent side gig for you. Just a couple places to sell your photos are 123rf.com and freedigitalphotos.net
Create T-Shirts: Do you ever see ads on Facebook for T-Shirts that have your name or occupation on them? Those ads are usually from people who create the T-Shirt and then advertise to you through Facebook. If you end up buying one of those T-Shirts the creator will earn a royalty. If you like this idea here’s an interesting podcast on it from Side Hustle Nation.
Become A Micro-Entrepreneur
I view micro-entrepreneurship a little different than selling a product or service. Yes, it's still side hustling, but it's about being able to do it on your own terms, but not totally having to start your own business.
Check out these ideas below and see if any of them make sense for you.
Become An Uber AND Lyft Driver
I love the idea of ride-sharing as a side hustle because it's one of the few "jobs" on here that you can truly do 100% on your own time. If you want to drive in the middle of the night from 2am to 6am, you can!
All you need is a car and some spare time. Just sign up with Uber and start driving people around. You'll make what you put into it.
To maximize your earning and profit potential, you need to sign up for both Uber and Lyft and use both tools at the same time.
To get started:
Deliver Food For UberEats
If you don't like the idea of having people in your car, then maybe delivering food is the best avenue for you to take advantage of your car and earn extra money to diversify your income.
Or, maybe you don't even have a car? You can make money delivering for UberEats with a bike or scooter as well!
One interesting thing about delivering with UberEats is that you can have other people in the car, since you're only delivering food. This is a great gig for families - you can have the kids in the car while the parents work. The ultimate side hustling multi-tasking gig! Sign up for UberEats here.
Deliver For DoorDash
DoorDash is another delivering service that has been growing nationwide. Again, it's an alternative to not having people in your car but still getting paid to deliver.
More and more restaurants are signing up, so you can likely find gigs in your area. Sign Up For DoorDash.
Invest In The Stock Market
A mostly passive option to diversifying your income is investing in the stock market. Since Robert is the investing expert around here, I’ll leave you some of his posts on creating a monthly income through investing to check out:
- How To Start investing With Just $100
- How To Get Started Investing In Your 30s
- Why Lending Club Is My Favorite CD Alternative
However, just like anything, investing does take a little up front capital to get started. However, you can build a dividend portfolio and start seeing rewards right away (albeit small). But the power of compound interest is a huge force, and you'll soon see your income stream grow!
Check out these great places to start investing (including M1 Finance where you can invest for free):
Open A New Brokerage Account
+ Free Trades
+ Free Trades
Get Good At One Then Work on Another
My motto for building multiple streams of income is to get really good at one thing before moving to something else. Trying to take on too much at once will only set you up for failure.
Pick one thing, master it, and then add another income stream. Over time, the income streams will start to compound and you'll start seeing massive growth.
This is how you build wealth for the long run.
How do you diversify your income?