Financial independence is a catch phrase these days among the investor community, but what does it mean to the average joe working a 9 to 5. The prospect of "passive income" or "early retirement" seems like a myth someone is selling. In reality what it looks like is building something on the side while you work your normal job until that side thing, pays better than your main job. If you are working and supporting your family, it can feel impossible to break out of the loop and become financially independent.
HOW TO BREAK THE CYCLE:
First, your main job and salary should enough to suffice for your cost of living, cover your bills and be budgeted to include an emergency fund. We can call this Revenue stream #1; your main job and main income which takes care of you, your family and your household. The strategies we discuss below are not meant to be your back-up or emergency fund. I recommend seeing the income you make from these side gigs or side ventures as untouchable income. To be used solely for future purchasing and inventory of the same type. By reinvesting the profits of this side gig, we can leverage the most valuable resource of all, time.
LEMONADE STAND EXAMPLE:
If you took $20, bought the supplies to sell lemonade and earned $50 at the end of the day, you would have had a net income of $30 after recouping the initial cost. Next time you go to the store for supplies, spend the whole $50 and at the end of that days sales you should have made about $125 if we keep the same profit margins. If you never withdraw the income made this way and simply re-spend it on inventory, then it would continue to grow until you learn the maximum amount of sales that are possible in your area. This part is my favorite. Once you find that ceiling of max sales possible, all profits made after that can be kicked off into another venture or investment. Like buying a funnel cake machine. And so the cycle continues.
5 suggestions for side businesses you can do in your free time to build a second income:
1. Facebook Marketplace reseller
Facebook Marketplace has become the hub for yard sale type buying and selling. This includes the old Craigslist Free-to-pick-up or curb alert type posts. If you browse FB Market place for free or cheap items like this and take them home, you can re-list them for a slight mark-up and keep the profit. FB Marketplace is also a place where you can let go of unwanted items and get a return on some of the money spent. Sometimes a little bit of money made from a yard sale is just the capital needed to start a slightly larger venture like the ones below.
2. Drop-shipping on Shopify or Amazon
A popular re-selling tactic for young people these days is to leverage the internet to sell products in mass volume with small profit margins in a tactic called "drop-shipping." To summarize, you would find a popular product on a selling site like Amazon or Shopify. Then find a manufacturer for a very similar product on websites like Alibaba.com or Aliexpress.com. Then outsource orders you receive for the product to the manufacturer, who produces, packages and ships the item on your behalf (with your company label for an additional cost). The manufacturer bills you for the orders and you keep the difference between cost and the funds received for the order.
Some sellers also go through the step of creating Shopify storefronts for these products in order to create online marketing with Google Ads or Facebooks Ads. The cost of the additional audience would be taken out of your profit margins but for some it is well worth the cost as it generates much more revenue.
3. Youtube tutorials or reviews
Ah, youtube, our old friend and favorite vice. This one is simple yet effective. By creating videos of you reviewing products or giving advice, you can monetize the account and generate passive revenue as those videos gather a following. It's best to make videos on a similar topic as it can lead to multiple views and clicks by the same person going from video to video. These reviews can also be combined with your sales pages as mentioned above in the drop-shipping area.
4. Fiverr media creation
Fiverr is a new and booming platform that allows people to sell services like website creation, custom business logos and many other similar media creation tasks. Graphic designers and authors list the cost of their services and you choose from among them, perhaps paying $20-40 for a custom business logo. If you have a talent for graphic art or writing, you can offer your services and be paid the job to complete these tasks.
5. Collectible Items reseller
The collectibles market is going crazy these days and for good reason. Social media influencers and big name entrepeneurs like Gary Vee (Gary Vaynerchuk) have been explaining the power of these secondary markets for years. Sports cards, Pokemon cards, Magic the Gathering cards have all had record setting growth in the past 3 to 5 years. As a reseller of these niche markets, you should find collections at yard sales or Facebook Marketplace as explained above, research the values of the cards from card catalog websites like TCGPlayer.com and then offer 70% of the total value to purchase. When you resell the items individually at 90% value (giving a 10% gain to the buyer), you walk away with 20% gain in profit.
These markets have stable and profitable yields but a word caution should be mentioned. Counterfeit cards exist and sellers may or may not know they are dealing with fakes. It is important if you want to dabble in this business to do some research on how to detect fakes and protect your investment.
There are countless other creative ways to make money in a side gig including the traditional methods like Uber driver or pizza delivery. But no matter how you earn that income, be sure it is accruing in a safe place so that you can create a stock pile and eventually stop that side gig and move up to the next level, cash-flow income.