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Diversifying Your Income: How to Not Rely Solely on a 9 to 5 Job

Posted August 2, 2012 by EasyFinance.com to Finance 4 0

Do you wish you were not totally dependent on one job for all your income? With economic uncertainty seemingly commonplace, many families are scrambling to find creative ways to help make ends meet. Even if you have no intention of quitting your day job, it is still possible to diversify your income and become your own boss -- at least part of the time. Not only can this type of diversification help bring in extra cash each month, it also gives you something to fall back on if you were to somehow lose your main source of income.

There are many genuine opportunities to earn a secondary income available, but it is also easy to find plenty that are merely scams. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and if a "job" wants your credit card information in advance before sending you more details, run away. If you are willing to work hard, however, you can supplement your income in your spare time.

If you own a computer with high speed internet access, quite a few types of part-time self employment are available to you. One such possibility is a call center agent. When a person makes a customer service call, the individual on the other end of the phone may not be working out of a huge office. About a quarter of all call center agents in the United States work from their homes. The work includes order taking, ticket sales, general customer support and even tech support. Besides phone work, some agents also handle email and live chat support. The difficulty lies in landing one of these jobs, since only about 30 percent of applicants are hired. You must have a quiet place to take the calls, as well as a professional phone voice. The position may also require a dedicated phone line.

With more and more schools offering online classes, virtual teaching is another online job possibility. Even many elementary and middle schools now offer online programs. The main requirement for this type of position is a teaching certificate. Most states require online teachers to have the same certification as teachers in a brick and mortar classroom. For college classes, instructors will need a graduate degree and teaching experience. If you do not have a teaching certificate, you could look into the possibility of online tutoring. Online tutoring companies require demonstrable expertise in a subject area, but may not require a teaching certificate.

Freelance writing opportunities can also provide a source of part-time income. For example, you could start your own blog; however, it can be difficult to build a sufficiently large following as a blogger to earn a significant income. Your best bet is to focus on a niche topic about which you are an expert, and to write about it in a clear, helpful and entertaining manner. You can also find online positions for copywriters, product description writers and other types of freelance writers.

If sitting behind a computer for several hours after work does not sound like your cup of tea, you might prefer a more active option. Depending on the flexibility of your schedule, you can sometimes fit a part-time venture around your day job. If you live in a larger city, working as a dog walker is one such a possibility. You can schedule jobs during your lunch break and get some exercise, too. Pet sitting is a similar option. Some people do not like to board their pets, preferring that the pet stays home and a person comes in to care for it. You can often care for these pets can before and after your regular job.

A more traditional part-time career is direct sales. People began earning money this way long before the development of the internet. Cosmetics, cookware, books, baskets, nutritional supplements and pet care products are just a few of the products sold through direct sales. Another benefit of direct sales is that many companies follow a multi-level business model. Your income is not based solely on product sales, but also on the production of other salespeople you recruit. You receive a percentage of the sales your recruits make in addition to the income from your own sales. The key to success in this type of business is to build up a loyal clientele and to sell a product that you use and believe in yourself.

Establishing your part-time career around something you are passionate about makes it much easier to put in the time and effort you need to be successful. Do you love browsing antique stores and flea markets? With a little research, you could begin picking up bargains and reselling them online. If you enjoy face-to-face interaction, rent a table at a weekend antique show. You could spend your weekend talking about the things you love while earning extra cash.

A related sideline is attic and garage cleaning services. Cleaning out these storage spaces and hauling away the junk is hard work, so many people are more than willing to pay someone else to do it for them. Not only will you get paid for the work, you can then sift through the discards for overlooked treasures. You may also be able to recycle the glass, paper, and metal for additional income.

Maybe you have a creative side. Do you make jewelry for yourself or friends? Modern art clays have eliminated the need for expensive kilns and soldering equipment. With only a modest outlay for supplies, you can create items to sell at craft fairs, artists’ cooperatives or online.

Are you passionate about physical fitness? Do you take classes at the gym every night? If you become an instructor or personal trainer, you could get paid to spend time at the gym during evenings and weekends. Certification requirements can vary, but a relatively small investment in your education could pay big dividends for both your wallet and your waistline.

Establishing a part-time business is a good way to make some extra money and protect your family's financial security in an unpredictable job market. Additionally, it can allow you to try out a new career without leaving the security of your ordinary job. You never know -- a small part-time venture could someday allow you to do what you love full-time.

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/photogavin/6390304157/

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