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Fool-Proof Ways to Make Money Independently
What is Job Independence?
Financial independence comes in many definitions. It generally implies a state of financial wealth in which a person no longer needs to work to cover their expenses.
While "early retirement" is a dream for many, opting for fulfilling hobbies, life experiences, or a work-when-you-want lifestyle, for most of us that dream is still too far away, and we must actively seek work.
Can we find balance with our work and freedom while waiting for true financial independence though?
I think so, and in fact, many are already doing it. In the mid to late 2000's, the concept of self employment really took off, especially in any field that could be easily done online -- design, programming, writing, and online retail to name a few.
For most, this self-employment took on in the form of freelancing. The dream seems simple: quit your job and work for yourself. Work when you want to. Be the owner of your own rates, promotions, and income limit.
All sounds fine until you realize that you hardly became self-employed. Rather, you instead became employed by your newfound clients.
Job Independence Is Really Work-When-You-Want
The blogger who is a regular paid contributor to several blogs but doesn't have deadlines, just a client who pays when they turn something in.
A photographer that sells stock photography when they feel like it, and is also an Uber driver when they need some extra cash.
The savvy investor who has earned enough passive income through investing to only partially cover their expenses, lives frugally, and comes up with the rest of their living expenses through an assortment of monetized hobbies.
The business owner who has crafted a business that allows them to stop in and actively work if they wish, or upgrade their business whenever they please, but is otherwise perfectly profitable without too much interference.
Job independence can take on many forms, and depending on how much you need to cover living expenses, it can be a mix of partial job independence and a job or client-based freelancing.
Either way, earning some level of job independence at any stage can mean more financial independence and financial security.
Man vs. Debt TEDx Talk: Sell Your Crap, Pay Off Your Debt, Do What You Love…
Have a High Savings Rate & Invest It
A high savings rate and investing is the easiest and most fool-proof way to begin making some passive income.
For anyone who is afraid to invest, spending some time learning the basics can be helpful. The investing game isn't about day trading or quick gains. Instead, it's knowing where to invest savings to get passive growth with inflation.
In fact, if you're not investing, you're only losing money -- literally. For each year inflation is higher than the interest rate on your savings account (which is likely most of the time), your money is worth that much less. Instead, with investing, you can at least keep up with the value of the dollar, and likely make a profit as well.
On the lower end of the economic cycle, you can earn an average of ~2%, and on the higher end, a ~10% average. This cycle is fairly consistent. Don't worry about recessions and downturns -- long-term investors who ride out such economic lulls always earn back the value of their portfolio and continue making profits.
Write for Established Websites
Writing for well-established blogs in my career's niche was actually how I made a living in college, even through The Great Recession. I wrote for a variety of different blogs, anywhere from $75 - $250 per post.
The best part was, if I had a heavy school workload for a few weeks, I could take a break from working. When I ran low on cash, I could start it up again. I was in full control of how much money I made per month. During the summer I wrote much more often and had a greater income.
If you are good at writing, learn to write for the web. Then, go out and find a few blogging gigs, focusing on forming quality relationships for recurring work. For a more complete guide, check out my post on How I Made $1,000/mo Blogging Part-Time.
Even websites like Hubpages give writers paid incentives. While some gigs may be more apt to pay up front, creating a strong portfolio on large content sites, like Hubpages, can give some quality recurring income.
Create Stock Photography, Designs, Themes, Etc.
If you have a camera, sell quality stock photography on a number of paid photography sites. Or, if a designer or programmer, sell designs, themes, and plugins on the Envato Marketplace. Create lucrative websites or flip a website and sell it on Flippa.
There is a marketplace for just about any type of web work available where it makes sense. If you have any of these skills sets, you can craft when you're feeling creative, and sell the product online.
Homemade crafts could be anything from furniture, to décor or baked goods. Whatever your craft is, do it in your spare time and sell what you create online, at craft fairs, farmer's markets, or in consignment shops.
This client-less work may have some time commitments if opting in to sell at farmer's markets or craft fairs, but all options are essentially a work-when-you-want affair.
For selling online, Etsy is a great place to get recognized online as well as locally.
Earn Money When You Want With Uber or Lyft
While after taxes and gas, the pay if more like a part-time job, the gig still allows you to work when you want. Just sign up as a driver, and turn on the app, placing yourself in driver mode. You'll get calls for rides, earning cash per ride plus any tips.
Diversify Sources of Income
To truly work when you want, you need to diversify the sources. Otherwise, you may be stuck scrambling for work when times are slow.
For example, a blogger could write when they want a few times a month, but also do photography when they are out hiking. While blogging may be more active, the photography could earn some residual income filling in the gaps.
Or, a woodworker could help pay the bills by having a portion of their investments earning, renting out a downstairs apartment, all while crafting furniture and waiting for sales.
Making money independently does still take work, but it can be a much more stress-free option for those who wish to not have a job, trading time for money directly. Diversifying sources of income can also help prevent burnout from hobbies and work, allowing for more diversified interests as well.