Category Archives: Income

10 Tips to Keep Income Flowing!

Watching every penny we spend it one way to approach personal finance.  Frugality does have its place, and I’ve been known to devote some attention to smart purchasing decisions.  Of course, that can only take us so far.

We have to make sure we make money as well.   Money has to be made before it can be saved!

It’s like a bucket full of water sitting outside, for example.  You can spend all your time trying to plug the holes in the bucket, but eventually the water will slowly evaporate.  Januarybe you can keep the bucket in the shade, but that will only slow the inevitable.  That’s how our money eventually drains after normal expenses are incurred.

Why not try to focus on income?  In the water analogy, this would mean less time trying to stop leaks, and more time refilling the bucket.  However, if we get more water than needed for the present day, we can fill up more buckets.  That’s the thing about money, we always want a flow of cash (yes, cash flow!) that will be there for us.  Keep it flowing!

Here are 10 ways we can orient ourselves to making sure that we can maintain or increase our income:

  1. Hustle.  Get up, and get moving!  We probably already are, but this really means taking it to the next level and spending a little less time hoping and more time taking action.  Action beats inaction.
  2. Be persistent.  This is related to hustling, but it refers to being determined and not giving up.  I’m convinced that in many cases, if one person is only slightly smarter than another, he or she might easily get outperformed by the other person who is more persistent.  Many people are smart enough that they meet that entry-level requirement, but from there it often comes down to who wants it more.
  3. Get a good education.  Now, this doesn’t mean racking up unnecessary student loan debt just to get the highest ranked degree available.  Rather, it means taking your formal education seriously at every level and making sure that you get a good quality degree, be it undergraduate or graduate.  Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that education is unimportant, or the amateur notion that you can just Google anything to gain all the knowledge you need any just about any practical subject.  Not true.
  4. Keep on learning.  Yes, a formal education is your foundation.  However, with the rate of change of information, technology, tools, etc – it’s vital to practice life-long learning.  Keeping our minds open and brains engaged, we need to embrace change and seek ways to thrive in changing conditions.  All the while, we accumulate wisdom that we can take with us and apply in different situations.
  5. Over-deliver.  When you have work to do at your job, don’t just do what is asked of you.  Do it to the best of your ability, and then deliver more.  In this day and age, that’s not only important for having a chance to advance, but in many cases it’s vital to keeping a job as well.
  6. Be healthy.  Easier said than done sometimes, I know.  But we need to have the energy and strength to work and move forward.  It’s hard to do that to our fullest ability when our time and energy is diverted to managing health issues.  The healthier we are, the better chance we have to keep that income coming in – especially as we get older.
  7. Network.  Its often said that it’s who you know that can matter as much or more than what you know.  While I think that’s truly situational in its application, there is something to be said about the value of having a network.  Learn tips on how to use LinkedIn for your career.  Make sure to give to your network regularly, not just when you need it.  Then, it will be there when actually needed.
  8. Think like an entrepreneur.  We are all entrepreneurs in a way.  If you’re working for someone else, you are selling the product that is you.  Additionally, by thinking with an entrepreneurial mindset, we can not only help our employer but also ourselves.  Then we can have the nice decision to make of what to do with side income.
  9. Follow the money.  In business – and many organizations really are businesses at the end of the day – profit is the bottom line.  What is often valued disproportionately are efforts to either bring in more money or save money.  Since we know that you can only save so much, keep in mind that generating revenue is where its at.  Employers often especially like people that can directly help to increase revenue, instead of simply working as necessary overhead.
  10. Don’t take your success for granted.  Often times, some people don’t appreciate what they have until its gone.  Don’t take things for granted, and always remember how hard you worked for what you have.  Also, remember how easily much of it can be lost be a variety of situations.  Keeping our head in the game this way can help keep the income coming in!

Readers, do you follow any of these tips when it comes to making money? Do you have any other tips to suggest on how to keep and increase inflow of money?

What to Do With Side Income

It seems like side income is all the rage.  All over the world of personal finance blogs, there are people that are really getting into the idea of making side income.  Some are succeeding wildly, others are able to make a few bucks here and there, and yet others are reading everything and salivating at the possibilities of bringing in more money!

That bring up the question, to me at least, of how people plan to handle the extra money.  What can someone do with the side income, in terms of his or her own budget or finances?

The way I have been operating, side income is not a primary source of income.  The efforts to make it are not insignificant, but they aren’t my main focus in terms of my time.  Rather, much more time and energy goes to toward the my actual career and interest in taking care of my family.  I say this based on the reality of the situation, though I am captivated by side income and do strongly believe in the importance of multiple streams of income.

Thus, the priorities are clear in terms of what I count on.

Having said that, there are probably many different ways people could handle side income.  Here are a few examples that came to mind quickly, in terms of what people could do with side income:

  • Pay for regular, daily expenses
  • Use it to buy things above and beyond what you could normally afford
  • Treat oneself
  • Safe for a specific purpose (example: wedding)
  • Use it for investments
  • Set it aside as truly incremental savings

The latter is what I’m using side income for at this point.  Incremental savings, above and beyond anything else put aside.

I look at it this way: If it’s truly side income, and not the main source of income, then I’m not going to count on it.  It’s like a special bonus, that is purely upside.  If it disappears, I could still function as I would otherwise normally do.  Bills would be paid, retirement savings would be set aside.  To the extent that the side income can add to this without time earning it taking away from the day job, then it’s all good!

Of course, we all have different situations and approaches to things, so I’m interested in how you handle side income.

Readers, what do you do with your side income? If you don’t currently have much, what would you do with it if you did have it?

 

 

6 Tips to Increase Your Productivity

Making the most of my time is something that has been on my mind more lately.  It seems like I have a lot on my plate, some of which is required and a regular part of daily life, and some that is aspirational and a matter of me pushing myself.  I’m sure you might be able to relate to the idea of getting more out of your day.

To that end, I’ve got a few thoughts on how to become more productive:

  1. Focus on the 80/20 rule.  This is an area of focus for me.  Recall how I just mentioned that I have a lot on my plate? Well, I’d like to be able to pare down what I have to do to a more manageable list of the most important things.  Really, some things do have more importance than others.  Why not pay the most attention to those with disproportionate impact?
  2. Concentrate on the most important thing first.  This might also be practiced by doing the most difficult thing first.  The idea is to focus on the key task early on, so you’re prioritizing what’s most important.  The rest of the day might feel less burdened.  Again, this is something I’m working on, but days when I actually do this are great!
  3. Say “No” when you need to.  There can often be so many demands for out time, that it can get overwhelming if we try to do everything.  Shying away from conflict or trying to please people can lead to saying “Yes” to too many things.  Instead, we should be strong enough to turn down things that make our own lives more difficult.  This might also mean saying no to ourselves, and controlling our desire to do more.
  4. Avoid excessive multitasking.  This is one where I think a lot of people might disagree, but I think it’s better to concentrate at one thing at a time.  At least, it works better for me.  There’s something to the ability to concentrate one’s focus that can allow something to get done quicker and better.
  5. Stay organized.  This one works for me.  Keeping a clear set of goals, along with a list of tasks that can help accomplish those goals, can go a long way to improving productivity.  This includes a prioritized to-do list, though as I mentioned above, having too many items can be counterproductive.
  6. Get enough sleep.  Speaking from personal experience, I’m MUCH more productive when I get a full night of sleep versus when I get far less.  It’s another area where I’m inconsistent, but I’m working on it.  Working late into the night is like going into debt – you’re getting a lot done in one day, but robbing the next day’s productivity and paying interest too!

Readers, do you practice any of these tips to increase productivity? What other tips do you have for increasing your productivity?

3 Types of Income

I think it’s safe to say that most of us like to make money.  Who wouldn’t?  The more money we make, the closer we are to achieving our financial goals, provided we save it.

So clearly, as we’ve explored here, income is important.  From paying bills, to building an emergency fund, all the way to saving for retirement, we need income.  The thing is, I think many people pay attention to only type of income, while not thinking of the others.  Let’s explore three types of income here:

Income from Work

One can call this job income, salary income, or perhaps more broadly – earned income.   Regardless, this is money that you are actively working for.

This income is easiest to obtain when we’re younger.  Frankly, when I was younger, it was really the only income I thought about.  It was all about finding a job, and making money.  Naturally, this is the path most people end up taking, even though some January have trouble finding work in this economy.

Anyway, this doesn’t have to come from a job.  It can also come from being self-employed or from running a business.  Whatever the case, it’s money that you can earn quite easily, depending on your standards as well as your goals.  If you want to make a minimum or low wage job, you don’t require a whole lot of monetary investment to get these jobs.  If you want a better job – and more importantly, a career – it usually requires an investment of money and time in a college education. In many cases, it might require graduate school as well.

I think that this is the foundation of our finances for most our life, and it’s also the source of other types of income.

Investment Income

This type of income comes from assets that own.  Generally, we have purchased these, or invested in them.  This can include stocks, and capital gains from them.  It can also include money such as interest income on checking accounts – no matter how minuscule!  It could also include real estate income, and other alternative sources.

The thing is, in order to get investment income, we have to make money first, right?  How do you invest in stocks unless you have money to invest?  So we must make money, and then save it.  Once we have saved enough, we can get decent cash flow from investment income.

Passive Income

I think passive income is not as clear cut as many people think.  Just to pick out one example, some folks might call blogging income passive income.  Well, you still have to keep on producing content as well as engage your readers.  If you stop writing, and stop interacting, any income won’t last long.  Bottom line is you have to work for it.

The thing is, I think that income which is passive, or near-passive, really entails very little work.  Januarybe this is royalty income, or rent money you earn as a landlord after paying someone else to manage a property.  What it comes down to is this involves making money with little current effort on your part.

The line between passive and investment income might be gray in some cases.  I like the concept of passive income, because who wouldn’t like incoming cash flow with very little effort!  But either way, both investment income and passive income can be really great to have later in life.  If it could help reach the goal of financial freedom, all the better!

Thoughts on all 3 income types

Realistically, we can’t work forever, regardless of the overly optimistic thoughts of too many people.   So we need to first work to earn money, and then make sure we save it.  Then, we can invest this money, earn good rates of return, and grow our nest egg.  Ultimately, such income can provide us with cash flow later in life when working is more difficult or less of an option.  To the extent that we can have passive income, all the better!

I’m still in the working and saving phase :)

Readers, do you ever think about income types, and how it might require earned income to get other income sources?  What income sources do you count on now, and what do you hope to have in the future?

Thinking Like an Entrepreneur While Being An Employee

EntrepreneurWhen we’re at work, we are employees paid to take care of certain responsibilities.  Your salary, or your wage, is what you get to fulfill your role for your employer.  In this sense, we are employees – and not entrepreneurs.

Nevertheless, I’ve been thinking that we are all entrepreneurs in one sense or another.  Regardless of what we do, or even to some degree what we do for our employers, we’re entrepreneurs cloaked as employees.  Or Januarybe we should simply try to recognize the value of entrepreneurial thinking in our jobs and lives.

Employees are Entrepreneurs

Here’s what it comes down to.  If we start our own business, we fit the category automatically.  If we’re working for someone else, we still are responsible for marketing a product, and making business deals outside the context of job responsibilities.  I say that because the product we are selling is ourselves.  There is a free market at play for services, and we strike a deal with a customer – our “employer”.

Once we’re at work, we aren’t anchored to the job.  Now, sometimes life circumstances can paint people into a corner where they need a job.  That’s probably most people, and it’s something that I aspire to break free from at some point eventually (not anytime soon, unfortunately!).  But my point is that we are free to look for another job if we don’t like the one we have.  We are free to get rid of the customer (just as they can fire us), and strike a better deal with someone else.

So really, we’re independent business people, even if working as employees.

Entrepreneurs on the Job

I think that while at work, within the confines of our job, we should also think like entrepreneurs.  My reasoning is that in any business, the idea is that the entity needs to make money.  If it’s not making money, it’s not going to be around for long.  So even if you have a job function not directly related to revenue generation – perhaps administration, operations, back office work, etc – it still helps to think like a businessperson.

My reasoning? The more you can demonstrate that you generate revenue for a business, the more likely you are to be deemed hard to dispose of.  Even better, a key player.  That’s because work that’s simply overhead is a necessary evil, functional but not really diving the business.  If we think of ways to help the company have an advantage in the market, handle customers better, etc – it can only help us.

Entrepreneurs with Side Hustles

Okay, so we are independent businesspeople even as employees.  And then, in our actual jobs, thinking like business people can be to our benefit.  The next step is to actually do something outside of your career and be an entrepreneur.

This could mean starting your own side business, related to your direct field.  Or, it could be a smaller hobby business.  Or, it could be having an online business.  This could even include blogging, as many of us know :)

A real benefit here is that we can channel our creative energies into something we truly enjoy, outside of our day jobs.   Something all ours.  This can even lead to some level of risk management, as we can diversify our income.  Having multiple income streams is a good thing!

Readers – What about You?

What is your opinion about the concept of thinking like an entrepreneur?

Are there instances where you think like an entrepreneur with your career?

Do you have any side hustles? Perhaps blogging? :)

12 Tips on Using Linkedin to Help You Grow Your Career

Building a Career!Most people want to make more money.  A big part of that is successfully managing one’s career.  It could mean getting started with your first job, switching industries or fields, or advancing to better job somewhere else.  Or, it could simply mean building a network for the future.

One strategy, as I posted about before, is to directly search for a job online.  In that prior post, one commenter asked for some tips regarding Linkedin - and I mentioned that it might be a topic for a future post.  So here it is!

Here are tips on using Linkedin to help your career grow:

1) Realize that this has become a big way job recruiters find people

When people are looking for somebody for a certain type of job, what’s a quick way to find candidates? You guessed it, Linkedin.  You can search across metropolitan areas, companies, titles….you name it.  I’ve been contacted by a number of recruiters over the years by having a profile on Linkedin, so I can attest to this being an important thing to keep in mind.

2) Think of your profile as your resume for the world to see

We all realize that it’s important to put together an excellent resume, right?  This has historically been really important when applying for jobs and interviewing.  In the case of Linkedin, I think that this opens the door for companies to use this as a way to screen people without ever having gotten any formal applications or resumes emailed to them.

3) Make your profile more concise than a traditional resume

Your profile doesn’t need to be as in-depth as a traditional resume, in my opinion.  Sticking to a an accurate job title, along concise description of what you did at each position, should be what you’re aiming for.

4) Speak in terms of accomplishments

When discussing what you did at each role should be oriented toward accomplishments.  Saying “responsible for sales team” isn’t as impressive as “Led sales team to (fill in the blank)”.  Keep in this in mind for your writing of the “Summary” section.

5) Use searchable keywords

If people tend to use search engines by finding by keyword, it might be a good idea to keep this mind when constructing your profile.  After all, if someone is looking for a specific type of experience, having the right keywords strategically included in your profile just might help.  You never know.

6) Connect with People You Know

So, you have a profile.  If you’re not reaching out and connecting with people, you’re missing out on a number of things:

  • Keeping in touch.  This is good personally and professionally, but for the latter, it can help with mutually helping one another.
  • Obtaining access to your contacts’ contacts.  That might sound a bit convoluted, but the idea is that once you connect with someone, you’re one step closer to their contacts.
  • Having a robust number of connections.  Personally, I find this to be ridiculous in reality, but perceptions matter.  If one person has 300 connections, but the other has 35, who could be more likely to be viewed as more of the “connected” go-getter?

7) Network Beyond Your 1st Degree Connections

Admittedly, I have had some mixed success this way.  But I’ve heard of people getting their own contacts to introduce them to others, in order to network.  I mentioned this above, but the key is taking action judiciously with genuinely good intentions.

8) View Profiles of People You’re Interviewing With

If you’re intereviewing with someone, it might be a good to get an idea of who you’ll be talking to.  It’s kind of like having some background, including an online resume, of that person.  Wouldn’t there be a potential benefit to knowing that person’s work experience and education, before you talk to them.  If nothing else, it can help you be a bit more prepared.

9) See Who is Viewing Your Profile

You can actually see who is viewing your profile, which can be interesting to check out.  Just remember that they too might be able to see your profile! Check out your setting to make sure you’re comfortable with how this works.

10) Join Groups

There are plenty of groups in Linkedin that can be good ways to network with people who have a specific interest of yours.  This can even extend to blogging! It just might be a way that you can connect with people, but also stay up to date on different issues, advances, and developments in your areas of interest.  There are even blogging-related groups!

11) Start a Group

This is something I haven’t actually done.  However, I’ve noticed one group started by someone I once knew, and can find it plausible how he could be seen as a thought leader based on this role.  This is one opportunity to take a shot at being seen as a leader in an area of interest, which might eventually raise your visibility.

12) Search for Jobs Directly

I’ve done this as well, and have scored intereviews in the process.  Sure, it’s one of a number of sources, but I tend to think it has value.  As you apply to a job, you can quickly search on the company’s employees.  By this, I mean get a sense of who works there, what the qualifications of people are who hold the type of job you’re applying for, and so on.

Bottom Line: I hope this helps with getting some insight into how some people use Linkedin to help with their career.  It sure January not be the only thing we do, obviously. But as a component of today’s career management, I think it has it’s place, and has value.

My Questions for You

Do you use Linkedin? Why or why not?

If yes, what has been the main value that you have obtained from it? This could be information that can help other readers!

What would you want to get out of Linkedin?

Searching for a Job Online

job searching onlineWhen it comes to job searching, many people often say it’s who you know that matters.  Quite often, I would agree with that.  Networking is really a fantastic use of time, sometimes a more direct path to a credible introduction to someone who is in a position to hire.

Having said that, it’s not the only avenue to finding the right job.  We can also peruse job boards and apply online to positions that interest us.  Frankly, I know a number of people who have landed jobs this very way.  While the competition January be high in terms of applicants for desirable jobs, searching online can often be an expedient way to sift through opportunities.  After all, income is important, and we need to do what we can to secure it.

Here are 2 of the sites that are my favorites:

1) Linkedin. 

Literally, I have used this to find two jobs.  Actually, two.  One was through applying to a job that was listed on this site.  The second was by being found on the site, with a recruiter calling me after seeing my profile.

The advantage of Linkedin, many people believe, is to keep in touch with people and network.  That is true, I believe – in terms of being one of the real benefits.  However, it’s not all.  I think that Linkedin is a good way to be found by those looking for someone for a position, depending on what you do for a living.  Your skills and experience are there to be found, and people searching by keyword or through other avenues can stumble upon the right candidates for positions with some searching.

Also, Linkedin allows you to search people who work at a company, and figure out the backgrounds of the people working in different roles there.  It can give a sense as to what kind of fit you might be there, as well as good information that can help position you to get noticed and even prepare for an interview if you get one.

2) Indeed

This search portal seems to have a broad reach in terms of the volume of positions that it shows.  Simply search by keywords (or title, company name) and location (city name, zip, or state) and you can quickly get a large set of positions that in some way match your criteria.

This is a great way to get targeted lists of positions that meet your stated search interests.  You can scan through lists of 10 at a time, which almost reminds me of searching the web.  Get the search results that are most relevant early on, then go to page 2, page 3, etc.  Or, you can sort by date instead of relevance.  This provides flexibility in terms of what you see in your search.

Bottom Line: In the past, I would have looked much more closely at Career Builder or Monster.  Now, if I were to look at a job board site, it would be these two.  Time is precious, why not spend it efficiently.

Readers – have you ever searched for a job online? If so, how did it go? What do you think the best ways to find work are?

 

Income is Important!

Do you like pinching pennies, cutting corners, and saving money in general? If yes, I’m not surprised. After all, many of us who read personal finance blogs (and own them!) like to save money.  It’s a big part in helping us build up savings and ultimately our net worth.

However, how can we save money if we aren’t making money? I know that we can and should live within our means, and that should probably apply to people at most income levels. But again, if we aren’t making money, we aren’t saving money!  Clearly, having an income is important.

What happens if we don’t have income? Here’s a sequence of events that can happen:

  1. Bills don’t get paid.
  2. Our basic needs don’t get addressed.
  3. Our wants…well, forget about those!
  4. We are raiding our emergency fund
  5. If the emergency fund is depleted, we are raiding our savings or retirement
  6. If savings or retirement funds are depleted, we are borrowing money
  7. If we borrow money, we are digging ourselves in debt that will require income and even more savings to help out from under the debt.
  8. If we can’t borrow money, we’re begging for money
  9. If we can’t get money by begging, we’re out of luck
  10. If we’re out of luck, we’re…..well, I guess we can’t go further than this!

I think you see where I’m going with this!

Certainly, most of us won’t face a continuous straight line down this path if we lost income for a very short period of time.  But it can be painful to do so.  Losing income wreak havoc with our plans to increase our net worth, and to reach the financial freedom goal that many of us are aiming for.

You can’t save, or build net worth, if you don’t have income.

This is why I think it’s important to:

  1. Get a good education (that is a good value, not one that’s overpriced).
  2. Find marketable skills
  3. Build a career

This means acquiring income, growing income, and even protecting it.  I know, it’s easier said than done in these economic times.  But if we don’t pay attention to our income generation efforts, the rest won’t fall into place.

The exception to this could be later in life when we have accumulated enough savings to survive losing income, and might even not worry about it. At that point, our income might even come from our savings.  Hopefully it will! But to get to that point, we need to save money – and to do that, we need to make it!

Readers, what is your first priority in terms of your finances? Is it making money, or is it saving money?