The title of this article isn’t a random selection — it’s actually a question from one of our readers. And through our own experiences, here are our best ideas for generating more income, without running yourself into the ground.
For the sake of maintaining sanity, which is a reasonable part of the reader’s request, we’re going to keep the suggestions close to home.
That is, avoiding anything exotic, that requires a huge investment of cash, or requires any highly technical equipment.
But even when you take each of those obstacles out of the equation, there are still plenty of ways to generate additional income.
Our best advice is to keep it simple.
Make More Money at Your Day Job
This is probably the easiest, most hassle-free way to generate additional income, even if most people never give it a thought. You can earn additional income while at your regular job by simply thinking outside-the-box.
Many large employers offer bonus payments for certain activities. These can include employee suggestions (the “suggestion box”), employee referrals and customer referrals. Participating in these programs can be a way of making extra money easily. Best of all, you can do them on a regular basis.
Customer referral bonuses present the richest opportunity of all. Even small employers are likely to provide some sort of financial incentive to employees who bring in new customers. Find out what the compensation and terms are, and start participating in the program.
Every business today needs more customers, and you can improve both your job security and your future marketability by making yourself an extension of the sales department. Who better to sell a company than someone who works there?
If you get even halfway decent at it, you could provide yourself with a steady stream of bonus income for the rest of your career.
Start a Side Business
Many, many people have a deep desire to start a business of their own, but avoid doing so out of fear of the unknown. In today’s economy, that’s a reasonable concern. But you can get around this by starting a side business you can do in conjunction with your full-time job.
Think long and hard about the product or services you would really like to do as a business, and get started on a part-time basis. It will be difficult to juggle this along with a full-time job, but it will also be a lot less risky than taking the plunge into a full-time operation.
It’s impossible to give specific advice as to what type of side business you should go into, since it is really a subjective issue.
You have to find the business that will work for you based on your skills, experience, personal preferences, and ability to blend it with your full-time occupation.
Increase Your Skills With Freelance Work
If you don’t feel particularly motivated to start your own side business, there is a growing demand for freelance work. Employers have been cutting back staff, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t work to be done. Increasingly, they’re getting it done by independent freelancers.
Take inventory of your work and skills experience, so you can come up with a list of potential freelance services to provide to the market. This doesn’t have to be directly related to your primary occupation -– in fact, if you have skills completely unrelated to your current full-time job, that could be an even better course.
Computers and the Internet are opening up opportunities for freelance work. Small businesses need people who can write web content, maintain websites, manage Internet and social media marketing, create product and marketing videos, and perform various SEO functions.
If you can handle any of these tasks, you can market yourself to small businesses and build your own freelance niche.
Beyond computers and the Internet, you can also look into tutoring in specific subjects, or even in music or musical instruments.
Teaching English as a second language is also becoming a popular form of tutoring. In fact, tutoring is more than anything else a matter of taking what you’re good at and teaching it to others.
Pick Up Extra Work, Here and There
This is more about personal preference than anything else. How you approach will depend on your need for extra income, as well as the type of work you enjoy doing. Keeping that in mind, the possibilities are endless.
You can pick up work as it becomes available, doing such tasks as painting part or all of someone’s house, picking up a couple of customers to do lawn and yard work, fixing computers, house sitting, taking care of someone who is elderly or incapacitated, or even helping someone move.
Look around and see what people are doing –- and what tasks they need done. When you identify how you can help, put an ad in your neighborhood newspaper, check on Craigslist, on bulletin boards at work, at church, or at laundromats and grocery stores.
Buy Low and Sell High
This is one of the oldest ways to make money, and is essentially what people do by making money on eBay. But you can make money doing this without going the eBay route.
If you have an eye for a bargain, and like to shop on a casual basis, you can buy merchandise cheap at thrift stores, garage sales and estate sales, and then sell them for a profit. You can sell them on Craigslist, eBay or at your own garage sale.
Though it’s not likely you’ll get rich using this approach, it will provide an opportunity to make some extra money without necessarily doing a lot of hard work.
If nothing else you can use the extra money to save up for that big vacation you want to take or put a dent in your credit card debt.
Don’t Drive Yourself Insane to Make Money
Most of us mistakenly believe generating more income requires some sort of formal plan or the purchase of a business.
In truth, it’s usually just a matter of looking around to see what needs to be done. If you can find a niche and fill it, you’ll generate the extra income you need.