When people think about earning an income, typically they think about having a job. And why not? That’s what you’re trained for throughout your educational years and onward into adulthood, and it’s a system that has worked (for better or for worse) since the Industrial Revolution. A job seemed to offer security – a paycheck, a pension, reliable work – by tapping in to the business owner’s resources and networks in exchange for providing one’s own labour and effort on the owner’s behalf.
I won’t belabour a point we’ve all had to learn the hard way the past few years, but there is no doubt the traditional job system has suffered some serious setbacks over the past few years. Unemployment, even after several years of “recovery” remains near historical highs, pensions have disappeared and with wages stagnant, nobody has enough income to set aside any savings. It’s a risky place for anyone to be.
The difficulties facing people are in many ways systemic, and it would be hard – likely impossible -for any one person to change the entire system. And with ever fewer cushions built in to the system, it is up to each of us to build our own safety net.
At a young age you no doubt learned the adage “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Yet that is exactly what you’re instructed to do through your life, cultivating just one set of earnings from one source at any one time. It should be evident to everybody by now that that’s absurd; one system-wide shock, completely outside your control, can derail your earnings and leave you destitute, even if you’ve done everything right. Instead of, or in addition to, a traditional job, you should be looking for opportunities to monetize your skills and networks in a way that puts you in control of your own personal, independent earnings. I have found great success with web-based businesses – the internet remains a burgeoning market with a lot of room to run – but there is essentially no limit to what you could pursue. You could sell a product online or door to door, manage an affiliate chain like Amazon or Avon, work part time at a diner on weekends, sell old toys on Ebay – whatever it is that suits your interests and needs. It’s not so much what you’re doing to diversify your income and take control of your own personal earnings.
Get yourself a couple of extra baskets, and diversify your eggs!