My Five Streams of Income

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According to this, “65% of self-made millionaires had three streams of income” and “29% of self-made millionaires had five or more”. Meanwhile, this article starts breaking down “7 different income streams”, but some of their recommendations are things most of us should be doing anyway, like investing. Other ones are downright odd. Do you consider your spouse’s salary as a stream of your income? I don’t. I don’t think you should either.

For this article, I’m laying out the five streams of income I actually count. If you count my index funds or the fact I’m technically a SOCAN-recognized composer who’s only earned pennies in royalties, I have more. I’m mainly counting my side hustles that actually put money in the bank though. This is how I make my money.

My main gig is I’m a wedding photographer. My smallest package is $990 (two hours) and my largest package is $4,995 (twelve hours). My secondary gig is as a liquor store clerk, making a paltry $13.50/hour. I could choose a more lucrative job, but this is pure fun for me. I could spend all day talking about wine, and I’d actually be less happy making $20/hour doing something I didn’t care about. My third gig is as a landlord. In March, I’ll be looking after two renters/roommates, and you should know this is actually more work than I thought. For now, any rent money I make is going back into renovating the property. Both bathrooms need to be redone, but this is an investment for the future. A beautiful bathroom will enable me to charge more for rent once my friends move on. My fourth gig is I write for pay now, and make $0.15/word on assignments. This is currently super fun for me! I can do this anywhere I want, and if I had an idle gig where I’m just needed as a warm body — think security guard or exam invigilator — I could be earning twice the pay for the same hours! In just one week of November, I was able to bill a startup $225 for three short blog posts. I’m looking at developing this as one of my main sources of income in the next few months. My last gig is a questionable one, but it technically counts as investing. This one deserves its own paragraph.

Early in November, I started dabbling with cryptocurrency. I now own small slices of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and IOTA. In just six weeks of casual trading, I’ve put in $800 and I’m somehow $500 ahead. Before you drop everything and throw your life savings into Bitcoin though, you need to understand the technology and the risks. This is why I consider my cryptocurrency investing a “gig”. I read this and this in the past month, and I stay up-to-date on trends. It’s a job. I don’t advise you getting into cryptocurrency blindly. Everyone thinks they can time the market, and people have lost their life savings believing that. I’m fully aware I could lose my entire investment at any time. If you try this, proceed with extreme caution. I know friends of friends who have lost $10,000. Know the risks. This, as a hobby, is my fifth and final gig.

You’ve heard of “fuck you money” (FU$), but I love the idea of my multiple “fuck you jobs”. Liquor store lays me off? That’s fine. I can replace a whole month of clerk income with a single wedding shoot. Roommates moving out? A little extra writing, and I’ll still make my strata payments on time. When new roommates move in, rent will actually go up because of the shiny bathrooms! If I lose my entire crypto investment? My index funds are still making profit, and I’m sure I can come up with something to make up the loss, like renting out my camera gear. I truly believe YOU CAN ALWAYS MAKE A BUCK. With full-time employment becoming less and less stable, diversifying your streams of income is just as important as diversifying your investments. It’s just the smart thing to do!

Remember: “65% of self-made millionaires had three streams of income”.

How’d you like to be part of that statistic?

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Space Is Your Greatest Asset

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Everywhere you look now, space is at a premium. Parking a car in Vancouver for three hours can set you back $21. Fifty square feet of storage in Toronto can cost you $193/month. According to Rentseeker, my 3-bedroom in Richmond would rent for $1,644! Somehow, we’ve all just accepted that space is expensive, even though the price for renting that space is often flat-out stupid! What if we decided to end the madness? What if, instead of being gouged for square footage, we found a way to make our existing space work for us instead of the other way around? Well, listed below are a few ways you can cash in. You don’t need to live in a mansion either. I’m just a regular guy who recognized an opportunity. You might realize there’s been a cash cow in your backyard all along.

First, the obvious: Get roommates. You don’t have to live alone. I’ve done the math, and by March 2018, I’ll be back to “no rent and no bills” because of what I make from them. I’m sacrificing my home office to make it work, but not really. I’m just moving my office to my currently underutilized living room. To get even more advanced, consider getting into Airbnb if you have a spare room! Here’s an article about it. For the nitty-gritty, here’s another! If that all sounds too stressful, rent to friends because you can still make extra cash in unique circumstances. We still “put people up in our storage closet for about $300/month”, and my friends all know they can come to me if things ever get weird, like if they suddenly get evicted or a relationship splits up. This was my first step. If you’re willing to bring other people into your space, you can profit immensely.

In another example, this book describes how its author uses an MRP (Multi-unit Residential Property) to live rent-free. He even advocates going as extreme as buying a fourplex, renting out three units, and living in only one! In 1999 though, he bought his first duplex and started paying into it. The property was $109,000 in Calexico, CA and his monthly payment was around $900. He lived in one apartment and rented the other for $800/month. That $800 plus his $100 “rent” went straight into home equity! I suspect he’s doing quite well now. This is common and basic optimization of real estate. You probably know a bunch of people doing something similar right now.

I also discovered you don’t need a full room or apartment available to make money. When my dad died, I sold my van, took over his car, and now my parents’ two-car garage in New Westminster has one space open. (I live a few towns over in Richmond.) Remember how expensive storage can be? Well, I know someone desperately in need of storage space. Instead of gouging them though, I’m letting them use that space for $50/month. It’s slightly less convenient for everyone because I’d have to accompany them whenever they need access, but they’d save (and I’d earn) hundreds! It’s win-win because I get to profit, they get to save, and I’ve effectively done a favour for them! It’s great!

Live near an event space? Here in Vancouver, near our local fairgrounds, residents open up their driveways for people to park. Last I checked, the fair itself charges $20 for parking, so let’s say we charge $15/car. Well, if you have a property width of 14.5 metres and a large enough backyard, YOU CAN PARK FIVE VEHICLES LEGALLY. $75/day for a month? That’s over $2,000! Everyone should be doing something like this! You can even monetize a small patch of dirt on the sunny side of your building! I’d gladly pay $50 for a garden space during the summer if I didn’t already have one. We all have access to space that’s “ours”, so let’s use it!

These are just a few examples, but every bit of space in your home should have a job. Let it make money for you. I’m a few thousand richer every year because I abide by that. Can you do the same and live rent-free? Tell us in the comments.

Optimizing Your Lifestyle for Maximum Cash Flow

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You can ALWAYS make an extra buck. Craigslist has no shortage of odd jobs, and I’ve already talked about having a 10-to-2. However, what most people don’t realize is we’re living in a massive pool of abundance and there are more ways to make money than you think. Even now, after weeks of relentless optimizing, I’m still finding ways to cash in.

I make cash on trash all the time. Old iPhones can trade in for $400+ in some stores, and there are always Craigslist postings. I have tons of junk lying around too, and I’m always selling stuff off. For instance, who wants my Rock Band 1, 2 and 3 (PS3), Rock Band 4 (PS4), and all my attachments including guitars, drums and mic? Make me an offer. I want that stuff gone now, and that cash would look damn fine in my mutual funds. This isn’t limited to your obvious stuff either. Are your folks getting rid of unused furniture? Do you have collections of comic books or Magic cards from your childhood? With some light digging, I unearthed my entire “Y: The Last Man” collection signed by Pia Guerra. I wonder how much that’s worth. What used to be important to you probably isn’t that vital now. Get rid of your shit.

My girlfriend and I are also exploring Airbnb. We discovered I have an aunt who’s an absentee homeowner in Surrey. It’s a one-bedroom in a nice neighbourhood. Close to a mall, restaurants nearby, a block from transit. We’re thinking about taking in guests for $60/night. We’ll also have a listing for our place in Richmond. If we get a booking for Richmond, we’ll stay in Surrey. If we get bookings in Surrey AND Richmond, we’ll crash at my mother’s place in New Westminster. Instant hundreds per month. If you can handle living with an extra person as a roommate, it’s even steadier. I live with my girlfriend and a roommate, and they pay rent to me. I literally make money living at home. I have negative rent.

I also hire housecleaners. I know I should just man up and do it myself but every three months, I shell out $120 to get my place hotel-clean. This isn’t a company, but friends of mine who happen to need an extra buck. In a brilliant twist, giving people work means they’re more willing to help you out too! People I’ve hired have given me photography work on multiple occasions. Obviously, you can be the housecleaner too. My friends clean the whole place in three hours. That’s $40/hour. Offer to clean at your friends’ places. Trust me, they’ll always appreciate the help.

Finally, do you have anything you can rent out? I do. I have a strong network of professional photographers who rent equipment from me. Cameras, lights, backdrops, etc. I rent my gear out for less than rental houses do, but still make $100+ for each camera rental. The Canon 1D X I own can go for $275/day at a rental house! I charge $150. It’s a win for everyone.

If I went bonkers and utilized ALL these sources of income, I’d be up $1,000+ every month! Do you have trash you can turn into cash? Do you have an extra room you can turn into a cash cow? Do you like the idea of making $40/hour for something ANYBODY can do? If you’re motivated to make money, you can ALWAYS do it. Stop marathoning “Breaking Bad” for the sixth time, get off your ass, and turn Making Money into a game.

What are YOU missing? Tell us in the comments.