Tag: Entrepreneurship

 

Five New Side Hustles for 2019

Raise your hand if you could use an extra $100-$1,000 per month!

If you’re like most of us, you’d love to make more money. And, about 50 percent of millennials are already taking advantage of extra income opportunities, according to a study by Experian.

Earning more money can help you reach your financial goals, including achieving freedom from debt, saving up for a dream vacation or even coming up with a downpayment for your first home.

By now you may be wondering how you can jump on the side hustle bandwagon. To help you get going and choose the right side gig, we spoke to five savvy women, ages 25-35, who are crushing their side hustles and changing their financial futures. Based on our discussions, here are five new side hustles to consider this year.

1. Delivering Groceries

Constance Tuner, a young mother living in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, was frustrated with “being in the red each month” because her expenses exceeded her take-home pay. Apart from finding ways to reduce her spending, she realized that it was also necessary to supplement her income if she wanted to stop living paycheck to paycheck.

Delivering groceries with Instacart has been one of Turner’s most successful side hustles. She says Instacart makes it easy to start earning more money as quickly as possible.

“You can sign up through the website or use a referral code from someone (who’s already registered with Instacart),” says Turner.

Once you pass a background check, the company will send you a card to use for purchases.

“Then, you’ll take a few tutorials, select your hours and get started the following week. Hours are selected a week in advance,” Turner says.

With a better handle on her finances now, Turner says she’s very close to using her income from Instacart to begin tackling debt.

Turner’s average earnings: In January, Turner made $976.25 based on 57 hours of shopping. She does this side hustle for two hours after work during the week and about eight hours over the weekend.

2. Field Agent 

Laura Smith, a barista in Minneapolis, Minnesota, uses side hustles to accelerate her debt freedom goals.

“It’s easy to lose perspective and get discouraged when you’re trying to pay off thousands, but every single dime adds up and goes towards changing our family’s legacy,” says Smith.

She recently got started with Field Agent, a free app which pays you for completing “missions” such as checking to see if a store has a particular product in stock. According to Smith, “it’s great because I can (earn extra cash) when I’m out running errands or during my spare time.”

Smith’s average earnings: Smith made about $45 during her first month using the app. She says that the payout amount varies depending on how in-depth each mission is. In her experience, the majority of missions pay between three and six dollars, but she’s seen some that offer up to $22.

3. Exam Proctor

Alli Rosenblum, a recent MBA graduate and founder of financiALLIfocused.com is on a mission to pay off six figures of debt (primarily student loans) in a few years. She’s explored a number of side hustles, including tutoring through Care.com.

Recently, the exam proctor company UExamS reached out to Rosenblum through Care.com.  She was asked to proctor exams for a student who needs extra time.

After researching the company and reading online reviews, she accepted the offer. Yet, while it was very easy to get started as an exam proctor, Rosenblum says this is a need-based side hustle and therefore the income is “pretty inconsistent.”

“Side hustles are more important than ever (for my fiancé and myself) so that we can pay off $140,000 of debt faster. We also use side hustle earnings to fund date nights and other treats here and there to keep us motivated on our long debt-freedom journey,” says Rosenblum.

Rosenblum’s average earnings: Her first stint earned her $63 for less than an hour. Better yet,  the exam administrator never showed up but she still got paid for her time!

4. Easy Shift

Tancy Shanelle, a stay-at-home mom with a young family, says that side hustles “make all the difference when you’re trying to set yourself up to be financially stable.”

She is $7,500 away from paying off $100,000 in debt and says that “every amount counts.”

Shanelle earns cash side hustling with Easy Shift, which is similar to Field Agent. The types of gigs include taking pictures of displays or specific products, as well as filling out surveys.

Shanelle’s average earnings: Anywhere from four dollars to $25 per shift, with most gigs paying about six dollars. The shifts are anywhere from eight to 30 minutes. How much you earn depends on what’s available in your area and whether you get selected to pick up shifts. “Depending on where you live, securing a shift can be competitive,” says Shanelle. However, in her experience, if you are dedicated, you can make upwards of $200 per month.

5. Focus Groups

Chonce Maddox, a freelance writer and founder of MyDebtEphiphany.com, uses side hustles as a way to supplement her income and fund “extras” – those bigger ticket items that fall outside of her regular monthly budget.

Using earnings from participating in focus groups, Maddox and her husband, “were able to pay a neighbor to take down some trees in our yard in the fall.” They also both did focus groups – which she found via the site Respondent – in December and January to help pay for their son’s birthday party.

“There is one drawback,” says Maddox. “This side hustle is really sporadic, so I treat it as extra (bonus) income.”

Maddox’ average earnings
: Maddox earns anywhere from $100 to $250 per focus group, yet bigger opportunities will pop up from time to time. For example, “I was really lucky to be selected for the first focus group that I applied to, which paid $500 for four and a half hours.”

Next Steps: Find a Purpose for Your Side Hustle Money

From personal experience, it can be really easy to blow through extra income coming in from side hustle opportunities. That’s why you need a plan for where that money goes. My favorite tip is to keep my extra income in a separate bank account so that it isn’t commingled with my regular earnings from my day job. This makes it less tempting to spend!

Another tip is to automate your savings. Every time you use your Chime Chime Visa® Debit Card, for example, Chime will automatically round up each transaction and transfer the money from your Spending Account into your Savings Account. It’s as easy as that!

With these extra earning tips in mind, what’s holding you back from creating a more abundant lifestyle?

 

How This Millennial Side Hustled to Millionaire Status

You can call him king of the side hustle, but he will answer to Grant.

Grant Sabatier, 34 and a self-made millionaire, attributes his five-year rise to success to side hustling. Yes, he really side-hustled his way out of $30,000 debt and racked up one million plus in savings while working a 9-to-5 job.

But Sabatier, who runs Millennial Money, wasn’t always so money savvy. Not too long ago, his life looked like that of many millennials. In 2010, he lost his office job and moved back in with his parents with only $2.26 in his bank account. During this time, he applied to more than 200 jobs with no bites – not that he wanted to return to cubicle life.

The Google Searches That Changed Everything

Sabatier turned to Google for answers. And, his search for the best money books led him to Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez.

“I read the book and it completely changed my life,” he says.

“One of the co-authors, Joe Dominguez, actually retired at the age of 30, and it was so mind-blowing. I’d never heard of anything like that.”

Google also led him to the discovery of Google ads. He discovered that running Google campaigns for others was profitable. With the power of YouTube, he learned everything he could.

“The fastest path, I think, to six figures is just to get Google AdWord certified. Google offers a free certification exam, and it’s amazing. I mean, that’s how basically I made all of my money,” says Sabatier.

Not only did his new skillset earn him a digital marketing job in Chicago, but it was the foundation of his side hustle success.

The Many Side Hustles of Sabatier

Running one side hustle is a huge time commitment. Balancing 11 to 14 of them might be downright crazy, but that was Sabatier’s life at one point.

“I was working literally all the time,” he says.

He basically worked late at his digital marketing job to learn more from co-workers. He would then start his side business work after that and work as late as he could. He committed his weekends to the hustle, too.

“About three months in, I got my first side hustle gig, which was building a $500 website for a lawyer,” Sabatier says.

During this time, he started his own digital marketing agency. He also launched a second agency with two others. His businesses grew fast. Three months after his first $500 website, he sold his first $50,000 website.

“By the end of that first year, even though my full-time salary was $50,000, I’d made over $300,000.”

A Closer Look at Successful Side Hustles

You don’t need a dozen side hustles to see financial results. The majority of Sabatier’s side business income came from one area – SEO and digital marketing consulting. Here is a deeper look at his most successful gigs.

SEO and Digital Marketing

Since the beginning, Sabatier booked jobs in this niche. Yet, while his early start in the field proved lucrative, there are now scores of SEO experts for hire and competition is stiff. Does Sabatier still think this is a side hustle to pursue?

 

“Oh absolutely, I mean the Internet’s not slowing down. Certainly, areas are more

competitive than they were before, but demand just continues to grow for these skillsets.”

 

“That’s an important thing to note. Because just working to get a job is different than building a skillset that’s going to help you for the rest of your life. Having a diversity of skillsets in the digital space is setting you up for jobs that don’t even exist yet,” he says.

Domain Reselling

One of Sabatier’s favorite side hustles is buying and flipping domain names. He purchases domains from GoDaddy’s website and through auctions, and then sells them for a higher price. No website building required here.

“The simple rule of thumb is buying the highest value keyword domains,” he says.

“It’s very hard to buy a one-word domain now, but you can still buy two-word domains.”

He suggests combining two popular words and to stick with dot com names. How does he know which domains to buy? “It helps to really specialize in a niche that you know,” he says.

While Sabatier specializes in money and higher-ed domains, he is savvy when it comes domains in any industry. While watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians with his wife, for example, he noticed the way Kanye West was looking at Kim in her Miami store.

“You could just tell how smitten he was with her,” he says. “I was like, oh they’re totally going to date. So, I got on my phone and bought kimandkanye.com and kanyeandkim.com.”

While he can’t disclose how much he made on those sales, you can bet there were a few zeros attached to the price.

Other Side Hustles

You would need a book to detail all of Sabatier’s side hustle adventures. Speaking of books, Sabatier’s book Financial Freedom has a step-by-step framework to pitch, launch and grow a profitable side hustle.

 

For brevity’s sake, here is a list of some of his other hustles, besides Google campaigns, domain buying and selling, and building websites:

  • Concert and event ticket flipping
  • Dog walking
  • Launching a blog
  • Campers and moped flipping
  • Freelance white paper writing
  • Selling prospect leads to law firms

Words of Wisdom

“A side hustle’s a great thing to do if you have debt. People focus way too much on the debt that they have, and it stops them from going out and making more money,” says Sabatier.

“There’s a limit of how much you can cut back, but there’s not a limit to how much

money you can make. And so, you should spend your time trying to make more money.

The net ROI of that is going to be significantly higher than just cutting back over the long

term.”

 

On that note, go forth and side hustle.

 

How to Use the Holiday Lull to Shine at Work

It’s easy to have a love/hate relationship with the holidays, especially on the job.

According to a 2017 Accountemps survey, 32% of workers said balancing holiday events and work obligations was a major source of stress.

And, due to this often anxiety-ridden time of year, you may put your work and career aspirations on hold until January. If you do this, however, you may be missing out on an opportunity to get ahead when everyone else is slowing down and mired in holiday to-do lists.

If advancing your career is one of your goals for the New Year, check out these tips to up your game during the holiday season.

Be the Go-To Person

Chances are, at least some of your co-workers are taking time off during the holidays. In fact, in a 2017 Robert Half survey, one-third of employees planned to be away from work the entire week of December 25th.

If your holiday plans don’t include an extended break, you can instead use that time to fill in the gaps at work.

“Volunteer to head a deadline-driven project around the holidays if you know you can be available,” advises Robin Schwartz, PHR and HR director at career resource site Career Igniter. “That will get you noticed and show how dedicated you are.”

Just don’t overdo it, says Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert at personal care brand Maple Holistics. While working overtime can be great for your bank account, it might not be realistic once the holidays end.

“You don’t want to go overboard and set the bar too high for your future self,” Backe cautions. “Do that little bit extra, but know where to draw the line.”

Network, Network, Network

If you normally skip the holiday office party, plan to attend this year.

“Holiday parties are often a chance for you to rub elbows with higher-level executives you rarely get to see,” Schwartz says, adding that this isn’t the time to be a wallflower.

She recommends politely introducing yourself to higher-ups and other key players in your company that you might not have a chance to talk to ordinarily.

Another pro tip: Unplug from your phone for the night so you can give people your full attention, and don’t let an open bar steer you off-course from your networking mission.

“Save your party animal self for your party with your friends, not your colleagues,” says Backe.

Prioritize and Establish Clear Goals

You might be used to working as a team but over the holidays, you could end up a team of one if everyone else has flown the coop. Planning ahead can help you be productive instead of getting bogged down.

Schwartz says it’s smart to connect with co-workers ahead of time and before they go away away for the holidays. This way you won’t run into any communication snafus when you’re working on joint or group projects.

“This will allow you to determine what your priorities are and allow you to continue handling your workload (mostly) uninterrupted,” she says.

Planning out a daily list of to-dos and goals can help you stay focused on your most important tasks. Ultimately, you don’t want to “allow the chaos of the holiday season to distract you from your workload,” Schwartz says.

Show Your Appreciation

Unless everyone you work with is a total Scrooge, they probably like getting gifts over the holidays. If you don’t have extra cash in your savings account to cover gifts for everyone, or your office has a no-gift policy, send thoughtful cards. This is a simple, low-cost alternative.

That’s what Matt Dodgson, director of U.K.-based recruiting company Market Recruitment, does each year.

“We are a small office and very busy, so a personal touch such as a handwritten card relays how important our relationship is to me,” he says.

Schwartz says there’s one time you may want to make an exception to the no-gift rule. “If you have a direct administrative assistant who helps you throughout the year, I don’t recommend skipping their gift,” she says. “Oftentimes, these positions are overworked and underappreciated.”

Whatever you decide to do, staying on good footing with your coworkers and supervisors matters, not only at the holidays but all-year round. And, being likable at work can help position you for a promotion down the line.

Plan to Take a Time Out

In your quest to prove yourself at work, don’t let the holidays pass you by altogether.

“While it might seem counterintuitive to take time off as a means of staying productive over the holidays, scheduling time off may be exactly what you need,” Schwartz says.

Schedule a day to get caught up on personal errands or chores that might have gotten pushed to the backburner. Get together with family and friends to indulge in old holiday traditions or create some new ones. Spend a few hours thinking about your personal, professional and financial goals for the coming year. For example, you might want to take up slacklining, learn to code or finally get around to switching banks.

“It’s crucial that you take time off during the holiday season to indulge in a little self-care,” Backe says. “Know when to take a break, and when it’s okay to reply to a work email or make that phone call.”

It’s all about practicing work/life balance, Backe says. Giving yourself a breather in the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle can help you recharge for maximum productivity once you’re ready to get back to work.

Look at the Holiday Season as a Gift

Getting ahead at work won’t necessarily happen overnight, but putting these tips to work can help you set the tone for your professional success in the new year and beyond.  In the end, it’s up to you to take full advantage of this time and use it wisely. Happy holidays!

 

Oprah: From Broke to Billionaire

She’s rich, she’s famous and she’s one of the most successful women in America. She’s Oprah Winfrey, and as of March 2018, her net worth is estimated to be about $2.7 billion dollars, according to Forbes.

Her empire is comprised of The Oprah Winfrey Show (the final episode aired in 2011), as well as a magazine, a cable network, and a hefty investment in Weight Watchers. However, Winfrey wasn’t always the rich and powerful woman that she is today. In fact, she had a humble upbringing and her life wasn’t always smooth sailing.

So what’s her secret to success? Read on to learn more.

Humble Beginnings

Winfrey was born on a farm in Kosciusko, Mississippi, on January 29, 1954. She was initially raised by her grandmother, who taught her how to read at the age of two. A bright and gifted child, Winfrey loved to talk, and started public speaking a young age. She would give speeches at school and even her local church.

When Winfrey moved in with her mother in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, her life took a difficult turn, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Despite her circumstances, which included sexual abuse, she made the best of things and continued to excel in school. Eventually, she went to live with her father in Nashville, Tennessee. Her father was strict, but his discipline paid off. When Winfrey graduated high school, she received a full scholarship to attend Tennessee State University.

Getting Her Start

Winfrey was popular during college, and this helped her win Miss Black Tennessee during her freshman year. At 19 years old, Winfrey accepted a position as co-anchor of the WTVF-TV evening news. She was the first African American female to achieve this.

After graduation, Winfrey moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where she spent seven years reporting the local news. From there, she went to work for A.M. Chicago, where she took the initiative to focus on controversial topics like politics, racism, and even child molestation. When Winfrey joined the news show, A.M. Chicago was last in the ratings, but within a few months, ratings soared and the program was renamed The Oprah Winfrey show. It went on to become the highest rated talk show in history.

Winfrey soon added acting to her resume when she debuted in The Color Purple in 1985. The movie was a huge hit and Winfrey was in high demand as both a television host and actress.

Making Strides

In 1986, Winfrey founded Harpo Productions, a production company that has produced television shows like the Dr. Phil Show and The Dr. Oz Show, as well as many movies, including the 2014 critically-acclaimed Selma. Starting with just five employees, Harpo now has more than 12,000 employees. Most importantly, at only 32 years old, Winfrey was the first black women to control a major entertainment studio.

During that same year, Winfrey became the first African American television host to be nationally syndicated. Her income jumped exponentially. Between 1987 and 1988, Winfrey earned $30 million. By 1995, her net worth was estimated to be about $340 million.

Winfrey continued to host her talk show until 2011. At the same time, she began investing in other companies as well. She also formed a charity, Oprah’s Angel Network, and became the CEO of the Oprah Winfrey Network (or OWN).

Learn Key Money Moves From Oprah

Winfrey has proven time and time again that you don’t have to be born into money to make money. Not only is she a billionaire, but her money continues to grow. So how does Winfrey achieve financial success? Here are our thoughts on this:

1. She has multiple streams of income

Winfrey not only has her own TV network, but she has multiple other income streams as highlighted above. This allows her to make money in different ways – without putting all her eggs into one basket. And, regardless of how hectic things get, Winfrey doesn’t let being busy run her life. She also seems to have an excellent grasp at time management, which helps her earn more money.

2. She works hard

Winfrey has worked hard ever since she was a young child. She has faced hurdles along the way, including being fired from her first “real” job. But, she handles it all with grace and often creates a business opportunity from a disappointment.

3. She gives freely

Winfrey has often expressed that she likes to show gratitude by giving back, and giving back she does! In fact, her non-profit Oprah’s Angel Network is now worth over $200 million dollars. But that’s not all. Oprah also works with many other charities, including Free The Children, Peace Over Violence, and Women For Women International.

4.She doesn’t let anything hold her back

Winfrey’s first job was working at the grocery store next to her father’s barber shop, a far cry from the work she does now. However, this did not hold her back from pushing forward with her dreams.

She has dabbled in multiple areas of business and entrepreneurship, and this has helped her earn millions during her 30+ year career. She has also made wise investments to grow her money beyond what most people will make in a lifetime.

We can all learn a thing or two from Winfrey. At the very least, her financial prowess can help you realize that with hard work, determination and smart money moves, you too can achieve success.

 

5 Key Benefits of Incorporating Your Business

Becoming an entrepreneur is no easy feat. Deciding on the right legal structure for your business is a common challenge you might face.

So if you’re going to legitimize your business, which option should you choose? Sole proprietor, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), or corporation? Here are 5 key benefits of incorporating your business and using it to boost your bottom line.

1. Personal Asset Protection

Unlike a sole proprietorship or partnership, a corporation is completely separate from its owners from a legal standpoint. This means that your personal liabilities and debts are separate from that of your business. This separation is key when protecting your own personal assets like your home, car, retirement account etc.

If in an extreme case, you’re unable to pay a business debt or someone sues your business, they won’t be able to seize your personal assets.

2. Tax Benefits

Certain tax benefits make corporations very appealing to entrepreneurs because self-employment taxes can be pretty brutal if you are operating as a sole proprietorship or even an LLC.

Generally, a corporation pays the standard corporate tax rate on its taxable income and the owners pay income tax on their personal earnings from the business. Yes, this is double taxation but it can be beneficial given the fact that only the owner(s)’ salary is subject to self-employment taxes instead of all your earnings.

If you can run a successful business and legally save on taxes, why wouldn’t you want to keep more of your hard earned money in your pocket?

3. Automatic Protection For Your Business Name

When you incorporate your business, the business name automatically becomes protected in the state you registered the company in. This means that no other company or LLC in the state that sells similar products or services can use the same name as your business.

If you want to protect your business name throughout the U.S. you must file a trademark, but incorporating your business is a good first start especially if you do a lot of local, in-state work.

4. Opportunity to Get Shareholders

One of the cool perks of having a corporation is that you can sell stock ownership of your company to raise money. This could be a nice alternative to taking out a loan to grow your business. With a C-corporation, you can have an unlimited number of shareholders

5. Instant Credibility

Finally, I’m going to be blunt and say that incorporating your business will most likely provide instant credibility which is what you want as you expand your operation.

When you take the time out to formally register your business, it can make finding prospective clients, customers, and vendors easier. Even if you’re great at what you do, it’s difficult to trust people these days and there are tons of scams out there that others want to avoid (rightfully so). You want to give the best first impression when you meet people and network.

Having a formal and organized business tells people that you care about your company and are serious about working with them in some capacity.

Summary

Incorporating your business is a big decision so it will require some thought, planning, and a discussion with your attorney and accountant if you think it’s necessary. If you do choose to move forward, you’ll need to make sure your business meets all the legal and financial requirements. Then, you can start filling out the registration paperwork.

 

How to Keep a Side Hustle and a Day Job Simultaneously

While it seems as if everyone is turning a side hustle into a full-time gig, the reality is not everyone wants to do that. Heck, not everyone even should do that!

Contrary to how you may be feeling, it doesn’t make you any less of a business owner to keep your day job. That being said, you do need to find ways to stay sane during all of this. After all, you’ll be working quite a bit.

Tip #1: Prioritize self-care.

If you want to keep a side hustle and a day job, you will need to prioritize self-care. If you don’t, you will likely lose your mind with all the work you have to do.

Back in the day, I had a regular job, a side hustle and I was taking classes for a certification simultaneously. I had almost zero time for anything outside of that and the time that I did have was spent exercising.

Whether it was yoga or kickboxing, I was at the gym twice a week no matter what. This gave me the energy I needed to keep hustling and helped me deal with the stress related to the pressure I was under.

Tip #2: Know how much money you want to make on the side (and why)

I recently interviewed someone who has three businesses on the side of his day job. His success has a lot to do with the fact that he knew exactly what he wanted – to be financially independent by the age of 35.

Because he was so clear on what he wanted, he knew how much he wanted to earn and how. This allowed him to maximize the time he had outside of his job so that he could create three profitable businesses.

Tip #3: Take your side hustle seriously anyway.

Just because your side hustle isn’t your full-time gig doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it seriously. In fact, you should see it as a business like any other.

The problem many people run into is they don’t see their side hustles seriously. They just think it’s a hobby or a way of making some extra money – not necessarily a business.

This leads to problems in a few ways. First, you lose motivation to work on it. Second, because you don’t take it seriously then you allow other things to easily get in the way of growing your business.

Before you know it, you no longer have a side hustle that is providing you with extra income and you’ve reverted back to just having a day job.

Tip #4: Build a team.

While all business owners need to think about building a team, I would argue that it’s especially important with a side hustle. The reason is that you have limited time to create an extra source of income.

While I was recently interviewing people who successfully kept a side hustle on the side of their day jobs, I noticed they all focused on having team members. They wanted to remove themselves from certain tasks so they could focus their limited time on making more money.

Final Thoughts

It’s more than acceptable to choose to keep your side hustle as a side hustle. After all, not everyone needs to be self-employed full-time. Just make sure that you still take it seriously so you can create another source of income.

 

5 Ways to Make Money Online in 2018

It’s a new year which means it’s time to set new goals for ourselves. If you’re like most people your new year’s goals are either to get healthy or make more money. If you said make more money, then you’ve come to the right article. Want somewhere to start? I suggest trying to make money online. If you can run a business from your couch what’s the excuse right?

Here are five ways to make money online in 2018.

Launch an Online Store

If you’re willing to really put in the time and effort launching an online store can be immensely profitable. Now before you say no because you don’t know how to code listen to this. Thanks to e-commerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce you can easily build beautiful online stores with little to no technical experience.

You can create and run an entire online business using one of these platforms. They offer plenty of integrations like marketing, payment processing, search engine optimization, and more!

Ghostwriting or Guest Posting

Every single blog on the internet could use more content. If you’re a good writer you can make serious money ghostwriting or guest posting for various companies. If you’re an expert in a specific field like FinTech or cryptocurrencies you can make well over six figures a year writing full-time.

You can research companies in your field and try to find the person in charge of content. Reach out to them either with a finished post or a few sample titles. Once you get approved by a few companies start typing away and watch the cash roll in!

Start Your Own Blog

If you want to take your writing to the next level you may want to consider starting your own blog. Again this works best if you’re an expert in a specific area or industry. For example, if you’re a fitness expert you can start a health and fitness blog. Make sure your content is creative and try to offer as much guidance as possible.

Health and fitness blogs work best if your readers use your advice to achieve their fitness goals. If you get big enough you can turn your reader’s success stories into case studies and attract an even larger audience. Once your blog is popular enough you can offer sponsored postings or product placement by health and fitness related products. This example for health and fitness can be used for virtually any industry.

Trade Cryptocurrencies

This is a controversial yet highly lucrative one. Cryptocurrencies seem to be hot right now and it’s for a good reason. So-called “unsophisticated” investors are making millions trading digital currencies. The most popular coins now are Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin, however, there are new coins coming out every day.

If you want to make money trading cryptocurrency you need to get educated and use the proper tools. I suggest starting off with a Coinbase account and do your best to understand cryptocurrency and blockchain technology as a whole.

Offer Services on Fiverr or Upwork

If you consider yourself a professional you can offer your services on Fiverr or Upwork. These platforms connect freelancers with contractors for virtually any type of job. Services range from software development all the way to accounting.

The only issue with these platforms is that contractors typically only work with freelancers who have a developed work history. That said, it can be difficult to get your first few jobs. However, if you’re good at what you do then you’ll be a 5-star freelancer in no time.

Final Thoughts

If you want to make money online there are plenty of options for you to choose from. For starters, I suggest considering the five above as they can all become highly lucrative side (or full) time gigs.

 

5 Holiday Gift Ideas for Business Owners

The holidays are just a few weeks away again. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait. Not because I have something extravagant on my wish-list. I just have a bunch of business-related nick-necks I’m hoping a few people will buy for me. If you have a special business owner loved one in your life, here are a few gifts that they will appreciate from you.

Gift Cards for Audible Books

Business owners are usually digesting a ton of information from blogs, books, public speakers, and more. Audible books are a nifty way to get inspiration from books while you’re doing other tasks. Trust me, your friend will appreciate being able to buy an audio version of a book that they haven’t had time yet to read.  

Content and Yearly Planners

You can never go wrong with an annual business or productivity planner. If your friend is a heavy writer, blogger, YouTuber, or podcaster, an editorial calendar can help them organize their year. You can find plenty of these types of planners on Amazon. 

A simple yearly business-oriented goal-setting planner can fit the bill as well. Ask your buddy what type of planner they’ve had their eye on for the upcoming year. If they’re a Type A person, I guarantee that they already have one in mind.

Coaching Package or Course Gift Cards

If your business owner friend has been talking about taking a course or working with a coach, some of these service providers offer gift certificates to work with them. Ask your friend to reach out to the coach or course creator to see if this is an option.

Before you get sticker shock, coaching packages and courses can cost $500 on the low end to several thousand dollars on the higher end. The person you’re giving the gift to will understand that you’re not going to pay for the whole thing. However, a gift card for a small bit is a nice gesture that shows you invest in their professional growth.

You don’t want to purchase them a very expensive business related gift anyway because it’s something that the business owner can purchase and write off on their taxes. 

Coffee or Tea Related Products

Writers, bloggers, coaches, and other online business owners usually love a good cup of coffee or tea. One of my very favorite holiday gifts was a coffeemaker a few years back. I use that coffeemaker faithfully every morning. Consider purchasing your business owner loved one a unique type of coffee or tea they’ve never had before. Another idea is a simple mug with a snazzy saying on the front.

Video or Audio Equipment

For business owners who are venturing into video or audio broadcasting, affordable cameras or recording equipment may be the perfect gift. There are many affordable options that newbies in this space can use before investing in higher quality equipment later on. 

Final Word

Every year since I’ve run my business, my holiday wish-list has been filled with a few business-related items. It’s an exciting time for business owners because the end of one year and beginning of another means new opportunities and a fresh start. Whenever I receive business gifts, it’s also nice to know that my friends and family support what I do.

 

How to Rock Your Finances While Self-Employed

Keeping an eagle eye on your business and personal finances while self-employed is highly important. When your business is having a cash flow problem your wallet is also having a cash flow problem.

Here are ways to rock your business and personal finances while running your own show:

Overplan for Emergencies

Your household’s emergency savings account is going to be your savior in situations when checks don’t come in. Clients can pay late or you may lose a client altogether. You need to be prepared for all circumstances.

The typical amount that everyone should have socked away for a rainy day is about three to six months of household bills. Self-employed workers may want to have a few more months of bills in savings. Your income is variable, so an extra bit of cushion can be a lifesaver.

Choose a Savings Vehicle 

Traditional employees can take advantage of company-sponsored 401(k) plans with company matches.  There’s also a 401(k) solo plan for self-employed workers that comes with tax benefits and allows you to make employer contributions from your own business.

For 2018, you’re able to contribute up to $18,000 into the 401(k) solo account as an employee. Your business (employer) can make contributions of up to 25% as well. 

Aside from the 401(k) solo account, Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, or SEP IRA accounts are other options. Social security is not something you can rely on to live comfortably in retirement. Make sure you have your own savings plan in place. 

Keep Your Money Separate

At first I kept my personal finances and business finances combined. It’s a nightmare. It makes record keeping difficult and filing taxes tragic.

Set up a different checking and credit card account for your business. Save for taxes and pay your business expenses before giving yourself a paycheck. Choose an accounting system for business bookkeeping that will make sending invoices and collecting payments a breeze.

Set Up Two Budgets

Don’t feel bad if you’re a little bit disorganized right now with your money as long as you commit to making a change. Create a budget for your business. This will help you monitor how much money you’re spending to operate. It’ll also keep you aware of whether or not your business is profitable.

There may be some months (or even years) when you’re business is not profitable or breaking even because you’re investing in resources, tools, equipment, or coaching. This isn’t a bad thing if you’re aware of it and investing with a purpose.

Final Word

Even the most organized people can find managing business and personal finances difficult when working for themselves. There was definitely a learning curve for me. I kept a meticulous budget that helped me save and pay off debt aggressively when I worked a full-time job with a steady paycheck.

Having a variable income threw me for a loop for a while, but it was something I got better and better at managing over time. Experiment and find a system that works for you.

 

Matching Income to Expenses When You Don’t Have a Steady Paycheck

When you have a regular day job, you get paid on a predictable schedule. Getting paid twice every month means your paychecks are typically around the same amount when they arrive, and they show up magically in your bank account via direct deposit on a regular cadence. This means planning to pay your bills is easy.

When I still had day job income, I paid my credit cards every other week on payday and paid my mortgage on the last payday of the month. This made managing my personal cash flow easy and predictable. Any side hustle income was just gravy on top! But now that my side hustle has become my day job, my cash flow works a little differently. Here is what I’ve learned along the way.

Save and build revenue until you can pay yourself a paycheck

My first step in getting more normalized revenue was to avoid paying myself. I took the minimum cash from the business I could to pay for my family’s basic living expenses in the first few months I had the business until it had grown enough to start paying myself a regular, weekly paycheck.

When I moved from Portland to Southern California last year, I converted the business from an LLC to an S-Corp. There are some big tax benefits of S-Corps for businesses that make over around $40,000 per year, and it was clear from my prior year side hustle income of $40,000 that I would be doing more than that the first year I took the business full-time.

As an LLC, you have to pay self-employment tax on every dollar you earn. As an S-Corp, you only have to pay self-employment tax on your paycheck, which has to be a “reasonable salary” for your position according to IRS rules. I pay myself $35,000 per year, a reasonable salary for someone working as a full-time writer, divided over 52 weekly paychecks.

Knowing that I will get a check for $587 every Friday (after tax, I use Gusto as a payroll service) makes it easier to manage my monthly bills. It is hard to get predictability in self-employment, but this step helps smooth out my personal income.

Give yourself a small paycheck with monthly “dividends”

If you read my blog, you know I make a heck of a lot more than $35,000 per year in online revenue. After taking out my paycheck, taxes, and other business expenses, the business earns a nice profit every month. Even after my paycheck, the business often has at least a few thousand dollars in cash sitting in the bank.

The business pays me this cash in the form of dividends, which are just online banking transfers from my business checking account at Chase to my personal checking account at Charles Schwab.

These dividends are actually worth more than my paychecks! It’s nice being a business owner where the “employee” (that’s me) does the hard work for $35,000 per year while the owner (also me) gets to keep the profits!

Dividend payments are not on the same regular schedule as paychecks, which have to follow certain Federal and state regulations. My dividends are typically more of an “as needed” payment. My paychecks cover my rent but not much more, I live in Southern California after all, so the dividends make up the difference in my monthly living expenses to ensure we have enough cash in the bank to pay off the credit cards and other bills in full every month.

Build up a sizable business and personal savings

I only pay myself what I need to live, which means if the business earns more than my expenses, which it does every month, the business should end the month with more in cash in the bank than the start of the month. If your business doesn’t earn enough each month to cover you necessities, it is probably better as a side hustle than a full-time gig, or you need to do something to fix your business and earn more, or cut your expenses.

Because of the way LLCs and S-Corps are taxed, it doesn’t matter if the income sits in the business bankor the personal account, so last year when taxes were due it was nice to have that extra cushion in my business account. Last month, I took two weeks for work and vacation trips. It was nice knowing that even if I earned zero dollars in May, I have enough cash in the bank to cover my paycheck and other expenses for a month without blinking an eye.

Everyone should have an emergency fund that covers three to six months of expenses if they have a day job and steady income. Self-employed entrepreneurs should double that. Save three to six months of expenses in a personal emergency fund plus another three to six months of expenses in your business account as an absolute minimum. My long-term plan is for the business to have an entire year of expenses saved up plus at least that much in personal savings.

Make an annual plan and review your finances monthly

Solo entrepreneurs, small business owners, and startup founders typically don’t have a team of full-time finance and accounting professionals monitoring their money every day. That falls on your shoulders. So make sure to review your finances annually and monthly.

Every year at the start of the year, create a basic budget that outlines your expected revenue and expenses each month for the year. You know it won’t be exactly right, but it can act as a good guideline to follow. Make small adjustments and check in monthly to ensure you are on track and make changes as necessary if your revenue is too low or expenses too high to meet your business and personal needs.

You’re the boss, enjoy it!

One of the biggest benefits of self-employment is the freedom to adjust your schedule and be flexible as you want, or need. If money isn’t coming in, cut back on expenses and go on a ramen diet for a few weeks. If money is flush, save up during the good times to weather the bad.

Self-employment is an amazing lifestyle. As long as you have the finances and operations under control, you can relax and focus on the parts of your business you enjoy most. You’re the boss, enjoy it!

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