How to Make Extra Money on the Side Without Running Yourself Ragged

Guest post by Cherie Mclaughlin of Couch Based Biz

If you’re wishing you had a little extra cash these days, you’re not alone. More and more workers are taking on extra jobs or getting creative with income sources — on the side. The trick is in figuring out how to make extra money without burning yourself out. It helps if you can find some way to capitalize on skills you already have or turn what you love into a money-making venture. Whether you’re out of work, having difficulty making ends meet, or just want a little money to have fun with, here are some suggestions for filling the financial gap.

Set up a passive income stream.

Establishing a passive income source is ideal, especially if you are already working and don’t have a lot of time. What is passive income? It just means that once you’ve done the initial work of setting it up, it keeps the money coming in. Some examples of passive income include rents and investments, but if you don’t have a lot of capital, there are plenty of options with far lower overheads. Selling a digital product or service is probably the easiest and least costly option. E-Books, design themes, and audio content are just a few types of digital content that you might be able to create. Just keep in mind: Not all passive income efforts pay off quickly, so be cautious and do your research before you start.

Offer your services as a freelancer.

If you have marketable skills and experience but no one seems to be hiring in your field, don’t despair: You may just be able to create a job niche for yourself. For instance, many academics with higher degrees are opting to offer their services as consultants and teachers outside the university setting. Or, if you can’t find work as a copyeditor (for instance), hire yourself out independently. Here are some other ideas for potential freelancers, as well:

  • Accounting
  • Web design
  • Graphic design
  • Social media management
  • Video editing
  • Content writing
  • Software development.

As you can see, much of the work you might do as a salaried hire you could also do as a freelancer, so you can make extra money while setting your own terms and conditions and enjoying the freedom to determine your own schedule.

Start a home business.

Isn’t starting a business a lot of work? Doesn’t it take tons of capital? Not necessarily! You don’t have to start a large home business, or even worry about a lot of overhead. Some home entrepreneurs have found great ways to up their earning potential without having to do much more than set up an office, register their company, and open a bank account. You could take your passive income ideas or your freelance services and turn them into a business. But there are plenty of other home business ideas, depending on your interests and skills. From baking to dog-walking, landscaping to personal wellness and fitness training — nearly any talent or hobby could potentially morph into a business.

A few other things to keep in mind

When you create an additional income source, make sure you keep detailed records for your taxes, since you won’t be getting tax statements from an employer. If you go ahead with a freelance or home business idea, you may even want to start working with an accountant to help you avoid making errors and make sure you get all the deductions due to you. If you’re thinking of hiring employees or other freelancers and are worried about how to stay on top of finances, consider using a payroll platform that will help you manage tax filing, accurately calculate benefits and deductions, and automatically make deposits on schedule. This way, you keep your staff happy and avoid costly penalties.

If you can figure out how to take what you already do and make it into an income source, this makes for a less strenuous planning process. It can even keep your extra work feeling a little more like play. If you’re uncertain about what kind of side hustle will work with you, go ahead and start small, try it out, and see what you like. Who knows? A small side project may even become the basis for a whole new business venture. When you’re reading to make the move to entrepreneurship, Steady Radiance Design can assist you with your branding, graphics, and more. Get in touch today.

Image via Pixabay

How to Have a Stress-Free Business Launch

Let’s face it, the last thing you want to do now that you’ve decided to finally leave the 9-to-5 job is to add more stress to your life. Isn’t that why you decided to build your own business in the first place? You’re looking for freedom from your awful boss, nasty coworkers, and the limitations of a fixed salary.
But if you’re trading all that in for a different kind of stress that’s disguised as a business launch, what have you really gained? Before you kiss your cubicle goodbye, be sure you first build a solid foundation—and we don’t just mean business-wise.

Build a Financial Safety Net

Nothing stresses us out quite like worrying about money. Whether you’re concerned about those college tuition bills you’ll be facing in a few years, or worse, not sure how you’re going to make the rent, it’s easy to lose your business mojo. As a new business owner, you certainly don’t want money trouble casting a shadow over your entrepreneurial dream.
Before you turn in your resignation, set aside some cash in case of a rainy day. Aim for at least three months of living expenses but more is definitely better. Hopefully, you won’t need it but having some cash on hand will definitely relieve the pressure of having a new business that’s not earning its keep…yet.

Make Sure Your Family is on Board

Money troubles are bad, but there may be one thing that’s worse: an unsupportive (or downright hostile) spouse. And as any entrepreneur will tell you, not everyone understands the drive to be a business owner. In fact, most people find it pretty scary to step away from that regular paycheck to chase after a dream.
If that sounds like your special someone, don’t take it personally. They’re not making a statement about your ability. More than likely, they’re just worried about what the future holds, after all, the business launch is just the first step toward a (hopefully) long road. Do your best to understand where they’re coming from, and be sure to clearly explain your ideas, why you are confident it will work, and how you plan to cover the start-up expenses and manage the risk.
If they still aren’t on board, consider starting slow, with a part-time business while still working your day job. That will give you the opportunity to prove your idea is workable, and might just help your spouse get as excited about a business launch as you are.

Take Time for YOU

No matter what’s going on with your money, your spouse, or your business, you need to be sure to schedule some “you” time. No one can work all the time, regardless of how driven you are. And no one can stay healthy while maintaining a nonstop schedule. Go for a walk, hit the gym, get a pedicure or just binge on your favorite brainless television show. The point is simply to take time away from your desk to rest and rejuvenate. Without it, you’ll soon find yourself overwhelmed and stressed, even if you truly love your new business.

Now that you’ve launched, check out these 3 proven ways to market your new business and make it a success!

More Important Than Money: Understanding Your Real “WHY” to Achieve Real Success

What do super-successful coaches and small business owners all have in common?
It’s not experience.
It’s not extraordinary skills.
It’s not even a powerful drive.
Although all of these things can definitely help your business grow, they’re not a prerequisite for success. After all, no one is born with experience or skills, and plenty of successful people lack drive.
The one thing that does make a difference, though, is your “why.”
Why did you decide to start your own business?
Why do you spend too many hours in front of your computer every week?
Why do you stay up too late and get up too early, just so you can work on growing your business?
The “why” is what ultimately drives us to success, but here’s the thing: it’s different for everyone. Your why is not my why, and my why is not someone else’s why. It’s a deeply personal choice that can have great meaning…or not.

What is a Why?

Let’s look at some examples. A survivor of domestic abuse might happily spend 60 or 70 hours each and every week mentoring other victims of abuse, or counseling couples on how to break the cycle. Her big why is a strong desire to prevent other women from suffering in the same way she did.
A mother of small children may be saddened at the thought of sending her kids to daycare just so she can go to work to (barely) pay for it. Her big why is a drive to spend as much time with her kids as she can, while still supporting her family.
A young, fresh out of school entrepreneur might resist taking the same path her parents took, working for a corporation for 40 years, only to retire and find themselves with barely enough to live on. Instead, she dreams of having the income (and the time) to see the world while she’s still young enough to enjoy it.

How to Find Your Why

So what’s your big “why”? It might be the freedom to travel, the option to spend time with your family, the ability to take weeks off at a time to care for a sick family member, or even to earn enough money to support a charity that’s close to your heart.
Whatever it is, your “why” is the driving force behind every action you take. When you’re deciding whether or not to take on a new client, ask yourself if it’s aligned with your “why.” When you’re setting goals for the year, ask yourself if those goals are moving you closer or further from your big why. Thinking of branching out into a new business venture? Make sure it’s in alignment with your big why, and success is suddenly much more attainable.

6 Easy Ways to Energize Your Workday

While you’re at work, it’s common to feel overwhelmed with all the projects you’re juggling. Concentrating for a long period of time can be taxing both emotionally and physically. This often results in a tired mind, aching muscles, and a complete lack of energy. What can you do to revive and energize yourself during your workday while still being productive?

Check out these suggestions for incorporating short breaks into your daily work routine:

  1. Close your eyes and listen to three songs. Most people have their favorite music easily accessible on their phone, MP3 player, or other electronic devices. Choose music that relaxes you and if you can, put your head down on your desk and listen to three full songs.
    • Let your stress float away and clear your mind as you let the music flow in.
    • Music soothes the body and soul. After three songs, you’ll be surprised at how relaxed and energized you feel. You’ll regain the strength necessary to make it through the rest of the day.
  1. Shut your office door, prop your feet, and lean back. Close your eyes, take deep breaths, and count backward from 50. You’ll be comforted by the sound and feel of your own ability to inhale and exhale. Then, open your eyes and you’ll feel refreshed.
  2. Take a brisk 10-minute walk. No matter how big or small your office, you can always take a stroll around the hallways or between the cubicles. If you need some fresh air, go outside and walk around the block. Getting your blood pumping at an optimum level will energize you and make you feel revitalized!
  3. Splash cool water on your face. Go to the restroom, splash cool water on your face and wrists, and then dry them off. Sometimes, cool stimulation to those areas is not only refreshing but can also wake you up if you’re feeling sleepy.
    • If you prefer, wet a paper towel with cool water. Then you can continually blot your face, neck, arms, and wrists to stimulate your senses.
    • It’s amazing how much this little break can perk you up, energize your mind, and allow your positive energy to flow again.
  1. Relax and rejuvenate with a power nap. If your employer allows you a 15-minute break in the afternoon, use it to take a nap. Even if you don’t usually take naps, give it a try.
    • Set your cell phone alarm for ten minutes and try to snooze. If you have your own office, close your door, get comfortable in your chair, and grab a few minutes of shut-eye. If you don’t have your own office, go out to your car or use an empty conference room.
    • When the alarm goes off, you still have five minutes left to take a brief walk around your department, grab a refreshing drink of water, or have quick chat in the break room.
  1. Go for a change of scenery. You might break out of your rut when you’re able to change your view.
    • If you work in a large office, try working in the conference room. You can even try sitting in a different chair or on the couch in your office.
    • If you work from home, take your laptop outside and sit on the porch to work. Or try working in the living room today if you’re the only one home.

Although work can be tedious, you have some choices in what you can do to relax, revitalize, and energize yourself throughout the day.

Use music, deep breathing techniques, walking, cool water splashes, power napping, and scenery changes in order to keep yourself alert and focused. These methods will help you embrace that next big project with optimism and renewed energy.

Which of these have you tried? How did they work?

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Eliminate All But The Essential Tasks: A Guide to De-Cluttering Your Life

If you have an endless list of tasks that need to be done, and most of us do, it can be overwhelming. The list just gets longer and longer each day because you can’t get today’s list completed, and more tasks just keep coming at you.

If you can pare your list of to-dos down the most important tasks, you can keep your planning and time management system simple. A simple list of the 3-5 most important things is all that nearly anyone needs to be very effective and successful.

Follow these steps to manage your time and make success your reality:

  1. Get rid of the extra stuff in your life. Unless you live like a monk, you have more stuff than you need or use. If it’s not important to your life, consider getting rid of it. You spend a lot of time and money on those things that provide minimal value. Eliminate the clutter in your life and you eliminate a lot of the clutter in your mind.
  2. Eliminate the trivial. Start by making a list of everything that you feel you need to get done. Cut the list in half, removing the things that aren’t absolutely necessary. Don’t worry; you can come back to those items later. Now go through the same process and cut the list in half again.
  3. Review your goals. What have goals got to do with eliminating all but the essential? Reviewing your goals allows you to see what tasks are most essential. Assuming that your goals are very important to you, they provide an excellent tool to evaluate which tasks are the most important to you.
  4. Be aware of what’s essential. The essential things are those that support your goals. Pay your bills on time, work toward your goals, and take care of yourself and your family. Life is short; spend it on the most important stuff.
  5. Evaluate your other commitments. Is the weekly poker game worth it? Golf every Wednesday? Clubs, charities, committees, and more all take time. Eliminate the extra activities that mean the least to you. This includes all the people in your life, too. Some people you’re stuck with, others are optional.
  6. Minimize your sources of information. We all spend too much time receiving information and too little time doing worthwhile tasks. Cut back on TV, newspapers, browsing the Internet, email, Twitter, and Facebook. It’s largely wasted time that could be better spent.
  7. Review your list regularly. Periodically, take a look at your list of things to do and go back through the elimination process. Don’t worry about the stuff that gets axed. If it’s important, it will come back around after the really important stuff gets done.

We have a tendency to do the things that are the easiest; what’s important is to do the critical few items each day. Simply ask yourself what the advantage is to getting an item done and what is the disadvantage to not getting it done. Don’t choose tasks based on what is the quickest or most enjoyable; that’s what average people do. Be exceptional and do the most important items. If you spend all day on important tasks, your life will be remarkable.

Life doesn’t have to be an endless list of obligations. The key is to recognize that only the most important tasks really matter. When you can see that, you feel free to start chopping obligations.

Most of us major in minor things. Focus on the most important stuff and feel comfortable letting the rest slide. You’ll have more free time and your life will change for the better.

Did any of these tips really “speak” to you regarding how to de-clutter your life?

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What is Success?

How do you define success? Would you consider yourself successful to be at a C-level position in a big organization or to be your own boss in a small business? To many, success is obvious. It’s a life that includes a nice car, a fine home, an impressive job, and an attractive spouse. Yet, people with all of these things aren’t any happier than those with less impressive lives. It’s because all of those achievements only serve to impress others. They do little to enhance the quality of your life.

Those with large homes still spend 80% of their time in just a couple of rooms. A $20,000 car provides just as reliable transportation as an $80,000 car. Even the most attractive people can become tiresome after a short period of time.

Success in the western world is too focused on showing off to your friends, family, and neighbors. It doesn’t focus on what will make you happy. You can’t find happiness by trying to impress others. You only show yourself that your own interests aren’t important.

Redefine success with your own definition:

  1. What is your passion? If you can determine the central focus of your life, everything else becomes much easier to determine. Do you want to write a great novel? Focus the next 25 years on creating and raising a family? Explore the world? Explore yourself?
  2. What do you like to do? Most people consider money first, but what would you like to spend eight hours per day doing for 40+ years? Of course, you’ll need to make enough money to pay your bills and pursue your passion.
    • Let’s assume that your passion is writing. Your career choice should support your interest in writing. That means your income is sufficient to be fully engaged in your writing activities. You might even consider a career related to writing, such as an editor.
  3. Your choice of living accommodations can also support your passion or be an obstacle. A home that is too big can require too much of your time to maintain or require too many financial resources relative to your income. You might also have to hire staff or housekeeping service to help. Managing those people is a drain on your time and focus.
    • Do you need to live in the city, country, or suburbs to support what you truly desire? How many bedrooms would be ideal?
  1. How much free time do you want to have? This isn’t just free time to pursue your passion, it’s also free time to enjoy other things in life, such as your family, friends, hobbies, or attending the ballet. A successful life would include enough free time to satisfy all of your interests. Your choice of career is a big part of this.
    • Limiting your non-essential activities is also necessary to create the free time you desire. Avoid joining clubs, committees, and other voluntary activities that don’t add sufficient quality to your life.
  1. Consider the end of your life. Imagine you only have a few months to live. What would you like to look back upon? Think about the kind of life you’d have to live to feel good at the end of it. Your time is limited, so make the most of it.

Truly, a successful life is one that allows you to accomplish or experience those things you consider to be most important. Those accomplishments won’t be the same for everyone. Avoid allowing society to determine the definition of success. Decide what is most important to you and then create a life that supports those things.

Pursuing society’s definition of success will result in confusion, resentment, and disenchantment. Be brave enough to find your own path.

How do you define success? Do you have any tips or ideas for learning how to redefine success in your own life?

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