How to Make Money on the Side (or Full Time): A Quick Guide

How to Make Money on the Side (or Full Time): A Quick Guide


Financial success can be attributed to two major, fundamental practices:

1. Live within (or, ideally, below) your means and spend less than you earn

2.Save and invest strategically to achieve what’s important to you.

Simple enough, right?

That doesn’t mean it’s easy, though. In order to save or invest, you need money available to put away in the first place, and many families feel they just don’t have enough left over each month.

You can cut corners and pinch pennies to make room in your budget for savings. And you should: eliminating expenses and avoiding lifestyle inflation are good places to start if you want to save more to reach your goals.

Eventually, however, there won’t be any more costs to cut. Focusing too much on savings can also lead you to deprive yourself of experiences you value, too.

That’s no way to live on a long-term basis. At some point, you may need to switch your mindset from, “how much more can I cut out of my expenses?” to “how can I earn more money to increase my available resources?”

You Have Some Say in How You Make Money

The first step is to acknowledge that you do have some control over how much money you make. You can easily get stuck believing that your income is limited to the paycheck you receive. But by changing your mindset, you make room for other possibilities.

If this sounds fluffy or a little too New Age-y, don’t worry. We’re talking practical, real-world stuff here. (There’s even science behind why negative thinking keeps us closed off to potential opportunities.)

You can make money on your own, without relying on the hope that you’ll magically get a raise sometime soon. And this makes a bigger impact on your ability to reach your goals than cutting back on your living expenses to the point where you and your family feel deprived of the things that make you happy.

But again, you must start by understanding you can make more money — even if you don’t know how just yet.

Tips on How to Generate More Money 

For that, let’s look at some basic ways you can earn more money — all of which are in your power to control:

  • Negotiate a raise or bonus at your current job. (You may need to ask to take on new tasks and more responsibility first. Don’t simply ask for a raise because you want it — be able to prove why you earned it.)
  • Consider looking for a new job with better pay.
  • Switch up your career — or consider launching a small business.
  • Stay at your current job, but do some freelancing or consulting work on the side.
  • Monetize an existing hobby, skill, or passion.
  • Look for gig work (or “side hustle” as it’s often called) via platforms like Uber, Taskrabbit, or Upwork

Did you spot the common theme here? All of these ways of making money depend on your willingness to take action.

Not all of these options will appeal to you, and that’s okay. You can focus on the one that makes the most sense for your situation and most closely aligns with your values.

The most important thing to know if you want to make money? Just get started. Find a simple idea that appeals to you and takes a baby step toward implementing it.

Themes to Keep in Mind as You Brainstorm 

The best way to make money on the side — or to increase your full-time income — is to focus on three main things:

  • What you’re already good at
  • What people have a need for
  • What you enjoy doing

It’s obvious why those first two are important. Choosing what you’re good at or utilizing an existing skill means you don’t need to spend time (or money!) on building up knowledge or expertise.

If you can pair that skill with something that people already have a need for, it will be easier to find paying work.

Focusing on something you enjoy doing is important to help you avoid burnout or frustration. If you want to make money on the side, that means choosing to work over spending time with hobbies or just relaxing. That’s tough to do if you hate what you’re doing to try to earn more.

You also need to consider why you want to earn more money. Do you just need a little extra cash? Picking up a couple more hours at work or finding a part-time gig (like driving for Uber) might make the most sense and won’t require much commitment to see results.

But if you want to make a more permanent, long-term switch, you may need to invest more time and energy. Changing your careers can be a big (and scary) move that may not be worth the risk if you want to earn a little extra money to fund a short-term goal.

Again, the most important thing you can do is simply start. Identify one action you can take right now that could help you earn a little extra money. Start small and gradually increase the intensity of your efforts, actions, and goals.

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