How to Earn a Second Income

One of the things that I have always tried to drum into my kids is the answer to the question – “how are you going to earn your money?” and it is just as relevant to them at age 16 as it is to me at age 50.

One key skill to have in your financial armory is the ability to earn a second income when you need to.

So when the roof starts leaking and you need to pay for repairs, or you need to find some extra money for Christmas, or you need to pay for that 50th birthday party which will come around this summer (hint, hint) and you need to earn some extra cash to do it, then the ability to earn a second income comes into it’s own

Earning a second income is all about the ability to earn additional income over and above what you regularly earn in your day job, or over and above your day to day responsibilities (such as college or childcare).

More specifically, it is being able to turn on an income stream “when you need it” to pay for life’s little uncertainties or extras.

Now here’s the rub.

In order to earn secondary income effectively, and not to end up in a blind panic when the roof blows off, you need to arm yourself with the skills to earn secondary income when you don’t need it.

In other words, equipping yourself with the relevant skills so you can one day put them into practice.

A Word of Caution ….. Just a couple of “rules” about secondary income before we start with some ideas … Secondary income must not impinge on your primary income in any way, nor should it compromise it or put it in danger

  • It must not be done in the hours you are employed in your regular job – generally speaking it will therefore be evenings and weekends
  • It must not conflict with your day job in any way – for instance if you sell kitchens for a living you shouldn’t be designing kitchens as a secondary income, or even working for a competitor
  • It must not use company knowledge or confidential information acquired during your day job – sometimes a tricky tightrope to walk, but my advice would be to try and keep your second income as far away from your regular work as possible

If you are in any doubt as to whether what you are thinking about doing as secondary income compromises your main income, then it’s probably best to think about something else.  At the very least get someone else’s opinion, or get approval from your boss.

But back to “equipping yourself with the skills”

I will use an example with my daughter We encouraged her to work through her teenage years – she did  babysitting as most teenagers do, and then moved on to waitress work, preparing food in a cafe, and also did some cashier work in the local grocery store.  Along the way she got Health and Safety certificates, food preparation certificates, and a First Aid certificate, as well as being CRB (working with children) checked out.  Her experience a a teenager meant that when she went to University she was fully qualified to work in the Student Union shop and waitress in a cafe on a Saturday (both of which she did when she needed to)

A friend of mine with a financial background went and did a bookkeeping course and gained a bookkeeping qualification so that he could (at some point in the future) earn some extra money from bookkeeping.  Sure enough, when the recession hit and the cost of living went up out of line with wage increases, he was able to do some bookkeeping in the evening to help with the shortfall

The internet has also opened up whole new methods of earning money which can be done outside and on top of a day job so it is well worth brushing up on your design skills and technical skills (more on that later).  If you were to build a second income using the internet it generally does not matter what time you are available to do what you need to do

My next article will furnish you with 20 ideas and ways to earn a second income – but for now, whatever age you are (or whatever age your kids are), think about how you can arm yourself with extra skills or competencies which you can put on your resume, or talk through with a potential client, and which will help you earn a second income.

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Andy is author and webmaster of DadCash.com and maintains this website

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