Sunday, November 21, 2010

Don't Get All Of Your Eggs From One Chicken

Tip #278 - Don't Get All Of Your Eggs From One Chicken. We all know the saying, "Don't put your eggs in one basket." Well, I believe we can apply that wisdom to how we earn money. Suppose we have one very good egg-producing chicken. We rely on getting our eggs from her day after day after day. But then one day a fox raids the hen house and there goes our source of eggs. Or our hen gets an illness and passes away suddenly. Or the egg gets too old to lay eggs. Now from where do we get our eggs?

As I am sure many unemployed people today can attest, earning all of your money from one source can be pretty scary if that one source dries up. No matter how great that source was at one time, many events can happen to effect it: The economy goes sour, and the business you work for is no longer produces as much. A small company's business owner passes away, and the company closes up shop. You are fired. You become incapable of doing physical labor that your job demands. That's why it is important to find more than one chicken from which to get your eggs.

Whether you are the main breadwinner or just earning some side money, it is important to have various sources of income. Or at least various ideas of where you can earn income if your main job goes south. Sometimes it is best if your alternate sources of income are in a different area than your main source. So an English teacher who can also fix cars may be more valuable than a teacher who can also tutor. Because if teachers are no longer in demand, tutors may not be either or there may be lots of other teacher who can tutor. But regardless of what you do to earn money, it is a good idea to at least think of other ways in which you can earn money even if you do not currently do them.

In Real Life (IRL) - In real life right now, I consider myself unemployed. I stepped away from my job over three years ago when my son was born. So while it is somewhat tight, we are living primarily on my husband's income. Because of the high-cost of the DC area and because we have three children who like to do activities and two parents who like to take vacations, I try to earn some money on the side while I stay home with our 3-year old. My main source of income is selling on eBay. I have built up a small business and a routine for making money on the world's largest auction site. In the past year or so, eBay commission or fees have gone up dramatically, leaving me with less take-home pay than before. While I still find eBay to be my greatest source of income, I have tried branching out to other venues to sell my wares. I've been trying to sell some things on Craigslist before listing them on eBay sometimes. Without any fees whatsoever, it allows me to sell things more cheaply, and is a good alternative for me.

This past year, I sold clothes at a consignment sale (and made about $40)! I also sold clothes at a consignment store for the first time. I have been completing surveys online in my spare time. I've been bringing books over to my local used book store for cash or credit. And I've been selling books on Amazon.

Now all of this is chump change, of course. We're talking about additional money that we use to pay for my kids' activities or to put toward a weekend away. But the point is, several years ago, eBay was pretty much my only source of income. Then I discovered Craigslist and realized I could make money selling all of the big items that I couldn't sell on eBay. Then I learned about selling on Amazon, and single books that weren't worth listing on eBay were getting sold. Then I added the used bookstore to my list for books that weren't worth listing on Amazon. And this year, adding consignment stores and sales to my income-producing endeavors for items that are not worth selling pretty much anywhere else. Taking surveys are a nice steady source of spending money that doesn't rely on the demand or lack thereof from the buying public.

It never really occurred to me that I seek income from so many different sources until I got a few checks in the mail and some online deposits last week from many different sources - an Amazon deposit, a check from completing surveys, and a check from the consignment sale. And that's when I realized the wisdom of making money from different getting income from a variety of sources. And in this precarious economy, it is a smart thing to do.

1 comment:

Jerry said...

We've had several streams of income for years. We've been selling items on e-bay that we've found second-hand and worked several freelancing jobs. It's our insurance for keeping things going just in case one thing or another is dropped.