We’ve all had the income streams that ebb and flow much like the ocean. Sometimes the tide is high and you’re just rolling in dollar bills, much like the couple in Neighbors 2 (seriously, one of my favorite movies, feel free to judge). Instead of one consistent revenue stream, the new normal is to have multiple revenue streams to keep yourself balanced during the slow seasons.
Read more about multiple streams of income.
When I first started freelancing in February of 2013, I was in high demand. Finding entrepreneurs to work with and making a steady income that year was not an issue. February of 2014 was a different story. Even though it was the same season when I had been busy, work slowed down, projects weren’t coming in, and I had nothing to do. Thankfully, I had an alternative source of income that kept me balanced while I searched for new projects to work on.
Read more about creating income streams.
Sometimes, when revenue isn’t flowing the way you’d like, or if the holiday season is creeping around the corner and you need extra funds for gifts, or events like birthdays, weddings, and trips, you’ll want to make some fast cash! Here are the resources I recommend when you need money, like, yesterday!
Do you shop online frequently? If so, make it habit to get cash back. While there are many credit cards that offer cash back, I personally like to stay out of the habit of using credit. Enter the app, Ebates. It’s a Chrome extension which detects you are on a website and tells you how much cash back you could get. Plus it has several other special offers. To date, I’ve already received $20 in cash back on purchases that I’ve made online. Although it feels like you’re getting a paycheck when you get your cash back bonus, it’s actually paying yourself to shop.
Sign up for Ebates here plus you’ll get $10 when you make your first purchase. That’s easy money.
Now, most times you won’t actually want to spend money to make money, and you don’t have to! Sign up to be an affiliate for an entrepreneur your respect, possibility even one you’ve taken a course from.
Affiliate marketing works well if you already have an online tribe or community and can make recommendations to them because they trust you.
Personally, I’m an affiliate for Alex Tooby. I’m in her tribe, interact with her on Instagram, and am a huge fan of her courses. When you use my affiliate like to enroll in one of her two Instagram Marketing Courses: Hashtag Hero or Infamous to Influential, I make money!
It’s nice to see those commission checks roll in each month, but to make it worth your while, you’ll need to be an affiliate for people that have payouts that will be beneficial to you. Personally, if a payout is $50 or more, I’m more likely to be an affiliate.
Interested in being one of my affiliates? Sign up here.
This one is for you if you enjoy driving, have a fantastic driving record and have a newer vehicle. Ridesharing apps such as Uber and Lyft are seriously competing with taxis and other ride-sharing services.
Immediate out of pocket expenses are as simple as washing and vacuuming out your car. Once you apply, you can be approved in as little as 48 hours and then you’re good to go.
I’m actually an approved driver for Lyft which I use when I’d like to make some extra money and I want that money today. The best part is, you can set your own hours and easily make $100 or more a day. Once you make $50 you can deposit it directly into your bank account.
Personally, I recommend Lyft over Uber any day. With Lyft you have a mentor who will go over the ropes with you, however, neither Lyft, nor Uber are available in every city.
Learn about driving for Lyft here.
Is caring for others a skill you have? Providing care is also something that earns you quick money when you need it. Whether you’re interested in babysitting, housesitting, or petsitting, there are many people who need someone for one-time services and some who need short-term or long-term care.
Here’s the deal, since I don’t have any kids, I get my parental needs out by nannying for a family each week. They are low key, flexible, and completely get it when I’m out of town every month. While I’m only there a minimum of 4 hours a week, at the end of the month, it adds up. If you’re not particularly fond of kids, look for housesitting or petsitting gigs near you.
Resources for caregivers:
Have you noticed that all of these alternatives include working for other people? You can always say yes or no to any of these, or if you prefer to rent out a room, you can do so. Couchsurfing allows you to network with people who are new to your city and in town for a day or even a couple of days.
Airbnb allows you to become a host and rent out a room, or your entire place if you prefer. Honestly, I haven’t done either of those but I am a member of the Couchsurfing community and I use Airbnb for traveling.
Learn how Airbnb can help you save when you travel.
Have an Event
One of my favorite ways to make extra cash is by having a book signing event. If you sell products, having an event is a fun way to do what you’re passionate about and turn it into funds.
For the most part, whenever I have a book signing or go to a book festival or event, I make at least $100, most times, much more. The audience size doesn’t tend to matter at all, I had an even recently where about 13 people attended, and it still resulted in book sales.
When push comes to solve, get creative with the ways you make money. Remember, money is not a 4 letter word and you have nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to making that extra cash, and making it now.
What creative ways are you making extra money?
Podcasts seem like they have become the new blog. Starting one has crossed my mind from time to time because of how easy it is talk versus write. While I may be a writer, I’ve found that I’m also a speaker. As an extrovert, creating an intuitive conversation and making others feel at ease is one of my strengths.
When you’re starting a new conversation keep in mind two key things, remember that people enjoy talking about themselves, so ask lots of questions. Find a common interest and use it to your advantage, whether it’s being informative, instructive, or entertaining. Since podcasts have been influential in my entrepreneurship lifestyle, here’s the round up of what I’ve been listening to and episodes I’ve been featured on.
Natalie Sisson is a Kiwi from New Zealand who inspired me years ago because she lives the life I’ve always imagined. The ability to pick up and travel whenever you’d like and work and live from anywhere in the world sounds magical and enticing. It also sounds like it would take quite a bit of funds, however, as a digital nomad, Natalie Sisson has been able to provide products and services that allow entrepreneurs around the world to follow in her steps.
Since she’s someone I look up to in the entrepreneurial world, I sent her an email asking if I could be a guest on her podcast. A podcast which has had the likes of Seth Godin, Jill Stanton from Screw the 9-5, Nathan Chan of Foundr Magazine, and many more. It just so happened she was doing a month-long focus on book publishing when I reached out to her.
Listen to episode 269: How to Write, Publish and Sell your Fiction Book from Scratch
The Robert Plank Show
Robert reached out to me via email to see if I’d be interested in coming on his show and chatting about self-publishing and book marketing. His show is focused on helping online entrepreneurs make money from their websites. If that’s an area where you need expertise I recommend checking out his show.
Listen to episode 129: Book Launch Strategies and Self-Publishing with Angela Ford
Meg of That Hummingbird Life is golden, she is such a lifesaver with this amazing podcast. Just the word Couragemakers is unconventional, making me think of people who have come from behind and have the courage to move ahead. Much like the pioneers, sometimes you don’t know what lies ahead but you keep going anyways. I am such a huge fan of her mission and the way it inspires me and I hope you’ll feel the same.
Listen to episode 23: Living Without Regrets with Angela J. Ford
I met Rachel Ritlop in a Facebook Group and she’s not just simply brilliant, she’s also supportive and takes the “collaboration over competition” phrase to a new level. Conversations with her make my day which is why I was excited to be a guest on her vlog. I’m also a speaker at the Master Your Career Virtual Summit (if you read this before November 7th you can grab your free ticket here).
Rachel gets that millennials are multi-passionate which is why we discussed how to handle the question: “What do you do?” When the answer is: “A little bit of everything.”
Listen to episode 3: Inspiring Millennials with Angela Ford.
Twelve Minute Convos
Recently I had the opportunity to have a twelve minute conversation with Engel Jones. He’s on a mission to have 1,509 twelve minute conversations over the course of 3 months. Can you imagine? Although the conversation I had which Engel won’t be released until December, you can listen in to some of the others here.
Have you ever noticed how negative you can be towards yourself? Since I’ve been an entrepreneur I’ve realized how down on myself I can get and how a negative outlook affects my mindset. Kim Sutton comebacks this in her podcast, Positive Productivity. Plus, listening to her voice is calming and encouraging.
Subscribe to Positive Productivity here.
What are some of your favorite podcasts and why?
When I first started creating WordPress websites, I found myself overwhelmed with plugins. Can you relate? There are thousands in the library and it seems like you need them all! So many options, it’s easy to download and activate them all! Until your website screams at you there’s a conflict with a plugin, and your pages start loading all funky, in short, it’s a hot mess.
Creating your first WordPress Website? Get the step-by-step guide!
It’s time for some real talk, if you don’t have a criteria for selecting plugins for your website, you need one. Here’s the deal, in my opinion I believe the fewer plugins, the better, although I’ve heard some web developers claim it doesn’t matter. Here are the questions I ask before adding a plugin?
- Does it have a majority of 4-5 star ratings?
- Has it been updated in the last 6 months?
- How will this plugin help me meet my business goals?
- Is there a more efficient way to do this other than adding another plugin?
Over the years, I’ve found these six plugins have staying power, are frequently updated, and help make my business life easier and better.
Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
Google Analytics is a free tool you can use to track your website traffic. It helps you determine what’s working, what’s not working, and what you need to do to improve your traffic.
You can use Google Analytics to discover what pages are performing the best, what your most popular blog posts are this week, the past 30 days or even the past 6 months.
You can also see where your web traffic is coming from, whether it’s social media or that guest blog you did on an uber popular site.
Google Analytics is a requirement for any website, however, it can be a hassle to keep logging in to track your analytics.
Thankfully, there’s a plugin for that. I have Google Analytics Dashboard on my WordPress Dashboard so I can easily login and get a snapshot of how traffic is today.
Click here to learn more about Google Analytics Dashboard for WP (free).
Jetpack by WordPress
Jetpack also tracks your analytics, and I prefer Jetpack statistics when I’m viewing from my iPhone. Jetpack also does a host of other things, like automatic plugin updates, security protection and more. While I don’t take advantage of all the features, the options are quite nice especially for beginner bloggers.
Learn more about Jetpack by WordPress by clicking here (free).
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a must have for every website. So what can you do to effortless improve your ranking on search engines? Use Yoast SEO.
I love this plugin because it analyzes every page and blog post on my website and makes recommendations for improvement. Each page starts out with a red light rating, as I improve my page the red light changes to green. How cool is that?
Additionally, Yoast SEO workes with Onpage.org which is a free step by step tuturial you can use to improve your site’s indexibility and page ranking.
Wow, there were a lot of big techie words right there! Here’s the short version. Yoast SEO helps you get seen on search engines and increases the traffic going to your website.
Check out Yoast SEO here (free).
Monarch by Elegant Themes
Social media sharing buttons are imperative if you want to get your blog posts seen by multiple people. The #1 mistake I see with most blogs is making social media sharing buttons are hard to find. Honestly, if I read your blog post but sharing it isn’t obvious, you’re missing out on free traffic!
I started using the Monarch social media plugin by Elegant Themes. It allows me to customize sharing buttons for each post and page. I can choose whether to have the buttons before each blog post, at the end of each blog post, floating on the left-hand side or even in the sidebar. My social shares skyrocketed after installing it, simply because my social media buttons are dead easy to click on.
Learn more about Monarch by clicking here (paid).
Bloom by Elegant Themes
Ever get jealous of those site with pretty email box opt ins? Well, you can have them too. I use the plugin Bloom on my fantasy book series website. It allows for pop up boxes (if that’s your thing), pretty email opt in boxes you can add to your website sidebar, footer and anywhere on the page that you desire.
Here’s the downside. It’s doesn’t integrate with ConvertKit which is the email marketing tool I use for my business blog and website. But if you’re using Mailchimp or one of the many other email marketing software it integrates with, you’re in luck.
Full details here (paid).
They market themselves as the only content calendar you’ll ever need, and I have to agree. CoSchedule is an editorial calendar you can use solo, as a team or as a business. I definitely recommend it for entrepreneurs who are starting online magazines, because it certainly helps keep your organized and on top of things. I use Coschedule to plan my weekly blog posts 1-2 months in advance.
CoSchedule is also a fantastic tool to draw more traffic to your website, they have social sharing recommendations and show you which blog posts are most popular and get the most traction. While CoSchedule is a paid subscription, I highly recommend, especially if you’re just starting out and need some tactics to make your blog grow.
Click here to start a free trial with CoSchedule (paid).
Want the full list of tools I use to make my entrepreneurial lifestyle easier and better? Here are my Top 6 Tools!
What plugins do you use on your WordPress website? What are some you can’t live without?
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Raise your hand if you’ve found it difficult to do everything as a solopreneur. I have!
When you’re the only one on the team, you have to do everything, but it’s impossible! That’s why I’m such a huge fan of tools and resources that effortlessly do the work for me and make my life easier.
While I do have a full list of tools under Resources, today, I wanted to call out one of the newer ones I’ve started using. Freshbooks.
Invoicing is an important part of any entrepreneurial lifestyle, after all, I love getting paid. But, I realized building invoices, putting together estimates and sending them out to clients was turning into a time waster. Especially those recurring invoices, because I didn’t have a process I trusted.
Even requesting a deposit was difficult and I often ended up sending out two different invoices, one for the beginning of the project, and one for project completion. The whole system was bad for me, terrible for accounting and, I was certainly racking up the fees.
Just as an aside, fees are a normal process of doing business – sorry! Although most business owners realize, by now, sometimes you just have to pay to play.
Once I started using the Freshbooks system, I started kicking myself because of how easy it is! Here’s why:
- I have one-time projects that require a deposit and a final fee at the end. Now I just create one invoice and send it out.
- Ever have those clients who “forget” to pay? Well, Freshbooks automatically sends out reminders so you don’t have to worry about it!
- Need to track hours for a project? Just turn on time tracking and you can convert your hours into an invoice when you’re done.
- Do you need to send out recurring invoices every month? Freshbooks takes care of that too
- While all those features are nice to have, my favorite is probably the branding. You see, earlier this year I finally coughed up the funds and got a beautiful new brand. I’m pretty proud of it and I LOVE showing it off – and Freshbooks lets me do just that. Check out the cool graphic below for more details.
Ready to give a try? You can get your free trial here!
What tools are you using to make your work-life effortless?
Please note: this post contains affiliate links.
If you’re putting all your eggs in one basket, you are setting yourself up for failure. We hear this all the time, but often our actions take a moment to catch up with our head knowledge.
When I first quit my day job, I had two large clients. The majority of my work came from one client and I used those funds to pay most of my bills. The other was warming up to me and was passing me more responsibility one chunk at a time.
Well, as things go in life, I ended up having to dump my huge client, and guess what happened to my finances? I went into famine mode immediately and wow the struggle was real.
I was too fresh to give up in that moment, but I certainly started looking at other streams of revenue to keep myself afloat during those dark times.
Here’s the reality, the feast to famine cycle doesn’t have to be part of your entrepreneurial lifestyle. You don’t have to go from huge months of fame and success to feeling like a homeless person on the street.
What you do need to do is diversity where your clients are coming from and have multiple streams of revenue to keep you afloat. To guide you I’d love to take you behind the scenes of the different streams of revenue I use to keep cash flow consistent.
Although there are many pros and cons to using a freelance platform to find on demand work, here’s what I do to make sure the projects I work on align with my business goals, values, and pricing.
- Use search filters to display only the most relevant gigs – you can filter by price, project type, and other things. This cuts down on the amount of time I need to spend searching for gigs.
- Have a higher hourly rate – currently my rate is $50/hour. Now, of course not all clients will pay that, but only the serious companies will contact me. This cuts down on the amount of spam and poor gigs.
- Learn from the pros – Danny Margulies has excellent tips on improving your Upwork profile to earn higher paying clients. I’ve used them and they work! You can learn more by reading his article: How to Earn on Elance and downloading his free Upwork hacks.
I’ve heard tons of people complain about how spammy freelance platforms similar to Upwork are, however you truly do get what you attract.
Learn More: Check out Freelance a Key to Freedom
As a millennial, I’m obsessed with social media and have been for a long time. But, I’ve also realized what a waste of time it can turn into if you aren’t intentional about it. Beyond the typical rules of social media, here are some other suggestions:
- Social media makes up 30% of my income with clients coming from Facebook and Twitter. Currently, I have prospects on LinkedIn, but none of them have turned into paying clients yet.
- We all know to post valuable content and post consistently, but also joining Tweet Chats on Twitter, retweeting content from influencers, and using industry specific hashtags helps to spread your message.
- Share tips of what you’ve learned. Often times your work will speak for itself. As a writer, I can’t tell you how many people have reached out to me directly because they’ve been watching the strategies and tactics I use to market my fantasy novel.
- Facebook Tip – During the book launch of “The Five Warriors” I realized the power of online communities. If you take the time to ask questions, comment on other people’s work, and position yourself as someone with valuable thoughts and opinions, people will start looking to you. Notice the key word is “social” media, not “selling” media. For me, Facebook has a much slower sales cycle than Upwork because of the social aspect.
- LinkedIn Tip – LinkedIn actually has something called ProFinder where you can look for professionals in your area. If you’re a company looking to hire freelancers, or if you’re a freelancer looking to work with a larger company, this may be a great alternative. I’ve actually just started using ProFinder but would be curious to hear your thoughts.
Friends, family, and current clients have all been a source of referrals for me. While I don’t advocate using your friends and family as a consistent stream of revenue, it’s important for them to know what you do and who you serve in case they know someone who can benefit from you.
With your current clients, let your work speak for itself. One of the things I have neglected is having a system in place for referrals and feedback. Testimonials are killer for bringing in new clients, especially if you have a big client raving about the quality of your work. Asking for referrals can be a simple process or quick email after a project is complete.
Recently I switched over to using FreshBooks for invoicing, while I’m still new to the platform I love the fact that it prompts me to ask for reviews.
I am not a huge fan of networking and referral groups. While I like meeting with others, there seems to be a hidden agenda behind the typical networking group. However, I’ve been proven wrong (don’t you just love it when you’re wrong about something!).
Last year I started going to Meetups in the Nashville area to get to know other writers and authors in the community. More recently, I decided to focus on them for growing my business.
The first networking meeting I went to, I got a new client that I didn’t even talk to during the event. She simply heard me talking about my business, we emailed a couple of times, and boom, brand new client.
What helps is being clear on your message, have your elevator speech prepared with who you are, what you do, and why you do it. If you can clearly articulate how passionate and excited you are about what you do, others can get behind it and support you.
Learn More read these articles: Networking Event? Try this Creative Approach to Introducing Yourself and Help! My Elevator Pitch is Falling (Seriously) Flat Chested
This is a new stream of revenue I’m tapping into – becoming a brand influencer. My first gig I was approached via email by a nationally recognized company. It’s ironic because it’s something I’ve been wanting to do but thought I needed to wait until my social media presence was larger, i.e. over 10,000 followers. However, I love this kind of gig because it’s all about being paid to say good things about their business. Which is easy and fun for me.
Try it out: FameBit, Grin, and Izea or simply Google “influencer marketing”
Royalties from book sales make up 1% of my income, if that much. It’s hard to tell since the book was published in September of 2015, but 6 months in it’s tracking at annual sales of $1,000. This accounts for most of the sales taking place the first 3 months and other sales trickling in the remaining 9 months. Of course, I have a book launch schedule annually for the next 10 years, so I certainly expect that number go grow. However, small steps are the way to success.
Download the free guide: How to Plan an Epic Book Launch in 6 Steps or get the full course: How to Plan a Book Launch: A Book Marketing Course for Indie Authors
You never know where your next client or your next lead for a new client will come from. As a fan of Marie Forleo I subscribe to her email list, watch her videos, and sometimes comment on her blog. Well, recently I left a comment, sharing my experience with the topic Marie was speaking about on her video. A few hours later, I had an email in my inbox from someone who had seen the comment, gone to my website, and was interested in a quote for web design. You have an impact, even with the seemingly small steps you’re taking to grow your business.
Are you using different streams of revenue for your business? If so, what’s working well for you?
Is your life turning into a waste of time?
Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week. – Charles Richards
This month on my reading list is The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris (the expanded and updated version of course). Although I don’t think I’ll finish the book by the end of the month, there are several lessons I have learned already. After 7 chapters, my main take away is that it appears I’ve been wasting my time on pointless tasks, spending too much time twiddling my thumbs.
My first time-management wake up call was in February of 2013 when I began my adventures in freelancing.
I was hired as a contract recruiter for a small but strong company in Canada. The President of the company immediately sent me a reading list, starting with the book Getting Things Done by David Allen. The overall message focused on removing barriers and making things happen. A key take away from that book was task management.
- If the task doesn’t take long – do it
- If the task will take a long time – defer it
- If someone else can do the task – delegate it
- If the task has no importance – drop it
As I started applying those principles I discovered it did not take me as long to complete tasks as I’d initially thought. Through tracking my freelance hours I realized I was able to be more productive and accomplish much more than I had previously thought in a limited window of time.
Fast forward to today, I still find myself wasting my personal time.
While there’s nothing wrong with playing a game, reading a good book, or taking a nap at the park, there are bigger goals I seek to accomplish and my wasted time is holding me back.
In The 4 Hour Work Week Tim Ferris focuses on the 9-5 illusion and how we are filling our days with wasted time. He points out that in the face of deadlines we make things happen quickly, so why can’t we put forth that kind of productivity at all times?
Think about it, how much time throughout the day do you spend:
- Checking your phone?
- Browsing social media sites?
- Reading the newspaper?
- Watching television?
- Surfing the web?
- Shopping online?
- Checking email?
All of these can add up to a huge waste of time. Time you could have spent:
- Reading a self-help book
- Writing your next book or blog post
- Listening to a podcast or training
- Completing projects or other work-related tasks
- Taking a course
- Finishing your website
What are your time-wasters?
Challenge yourself: This week I will not spend time _____. Instead I will focus on spending time ____.