Have you ever felt like you’re putting in hours of hard work, trying to support your family and plan for the future (ya know, for that beautiful day when you get to be retired and just sit on the beach), without being able to really enjoy it?
Maybe you work so much that you feel like you don’t have time for the people and the things that matter most in your life.
Or maybe you’re trying to save up for something big, like a wedding, buying a house, or having kids.
Diversifying your income streams, or adding passive income, can be a huge benefit for you and your family, and can help you steward your money well.
In fact, the Bible even talks about the importance of diversifying your income (check out Ecclesiastes 11:2).
Creating additional streams of income is a wise way to steward your money, for the benefit of your family, future and community.
Why We Diversified Our Income Streams
When Matt and I first sat down with a financial planner, he asked us a ton of questions about our goals for retirement, having a family, and even our lifestyle.
And he specifically asked me what my goal was with stewarding our money. I said, “I want to make sure we’re living like we’re retired now.”
When he asked me what I meant, I didn’t know how to explain it. So he gave me some homework (yay) and told me to really think about what I meant.
As I thought about it throughout the next week, I realized that I didn’t mean I wanted to live my life without working, sitting around the beach and doing other retiree things.
I wanted to enjoy my work. Sure, there’s always going to be times when work isn’t fun (even if it’s your dream job).
I wanted to contribute to the workforce and help other women through my work while still being able to have time for the important relationships in my life. To be able to have fun and travel, be generous, and ultimately show up for my work and my family, so I could rest and enjoy the fruit of my hard work.
I don’t want to just toil away with my time and work just for a future day that isn’t even guaranteed in the first place.
I don’t want to be so hurried in my life that I don’t have time to rest, enjoy the small things, and go for a long walk with my family.
I don’t want to work and work just to hit certain achievements.
I don’t want to chase feelings of happiness that I think will come when I don’t have to work anymore.
I want my work and how I use my finances to be so full of purpose NOW that happiness and fulfillment are a by-product of that purpose and meaning, not the other way around.
So the following week, as I sat down again with our financial advisor, I explained to him what my goal was, and that I wanted to be strategic about our income streams so we’re not worried about paying bills, or feeling exhausted and burnt out.
Since then, we’ve been working to diversify our income streams and add passive income, so we can make that dream a reality.
So we can be prepared, but also not just work for a future day that might not come.
The Difference Between Passive and Active Income
Before I dig into why you would want passive or diversified income streams, let me explain the difference between passive income and active income.
Active income is the money you earn for working in the traditional sense (ya know, 9-5, or hours for cash). You trade your time and energy or your products and services for money. Either way, you’re actively earning money by spending time. When you stop working, ya stop earning.
Passive income, on the other hand, is money you earn without taking time out of your day (or very little time out of your day). It usually requires an investment up-front, but your income isn’t limited to your time.
For example, books are a way to earn passive income. They require a lot of labor in the beginning to write. But then after that, royalty fees come in the mail and provide you with an income, without too much effort other than highlighting or pushing your book from time to time.
One of the easiest ways to make passive income is through investment, which is great if you have the money to invest. But money isn’t the only way to invest. You can also invest your time, like you would if you write a book.
When a lot of people hear about diversifying their income streams, they think about having 7 different jobs and they say “I don’t have time to do that!” No one has the time for that many jobs, which is why it can be so beneficial to get passive income through something that doesn’t require a ton of time.
Why You Should Diversify Your Income Streams
Okay, so you’re probably already starting to see some of the benefits of diversifying your income, but let me throw some reasons your way:
- It allows you to be prepared. You don’t know if your job’s gonna be replaced by robots one day. Okay, that’s a little crazy (maybe I’ve been watching too many robot movies), but my point is: there’s always uncertainty. So in case one of your income streams goes down, having additional income streams can keep you prepared, without being panicked.
- It can help bring in extra income for the big things. Maybe you’re in the season of life where you’re planning a wedding, working on paying off debt, saving up for a home, or looking to have kids. All of those things cost money and diversifying your income streams can help fund that big dream of yours.
- Your job is limiting and there isn’t much growth potential. Maybe you feel like there’s isn’t much opportunity in your field and so your salary is pretty capped. Adding passive income or diversifying your income can help you add cash flow that’s not limited by a specific job title.
- Your time is limited (especially when you want to workout, make food, steward relationships, take care of a family, take care of your home – oh, and then work, too). Look, we can’t make more time, but we can add some passive income. Ask yourself: how do I want to spend my time?
- It allows you to leave the workforce. Whether it’s temporary (like getting sick and needing to take care of yourself or a loved one) or it’s permanent (like wanting to be a stay-at-home mom), diversifying your income streams can help you do what you need, or want, to do. When I had two miscarriages and needed to take time off to heal, I was so grateful that I didn’t have to clock into a job. I was able to heal, stress-free, and still have money coming in to take care of our expenses.
- Diversifying your income is smart and Biblical (check out Ecclesiastes 11:2). We’ve seen what happens when something like 2020 comes along or companies have to let go of numerous employees. Jobs can be affected. Now, I don’t want you to live in panic and start stockpiling for the future by working, working, working. That’s actually a scarcity mindset, which can be pretty unhealthy. Don’t panic. Just have a back-up so if something goes wrong, you’re prepared.
- It lets you save up. Did you know that most everyday millionaires aren’t sailing around on a yacht that’s worth more than your house? Most everyday millionaires are people like you and me who work hard and save hard (and don’t flaunt their moneY). BTW, if you haven’t read it, I HIGHLY recommend you read Chris Hogan’s book, Everyday Millionaires. So good!
If you can create a couple of passive income streams, that don’t require a ton of hours, you can free up time to focus on what’s important now, instead of waiting for a future time. You can focus on spending time with your kids, helping aging parents, setting a great foundation in a new marriage, or travel.
No “wait-until-you’re-80” mentality.
WAYS YOU CAN DIVERSIFY YOUR INCOME STREAMS
So what can you actually DO to diversify your income, or get some passive income coming in? Here’s a few ideas (but remember, there are a lot of options out there!).
- Create digital products. Consider creating templates (i.e. web design, resumes, social media graphics, Lightroom presets, email templates, printables, stock imagery, etc.). Sell these on a site like Etsy or Creative Market. I have bought so many templates for my business by using sites like Creative Market. And with this option, there’s very little work you need to be doing once you’ve created the templates.
- Publish a book or an e-book. I’m not talking about a biography of your life here. Write a useful guide that teaches something – a method, process, etc. Give readers an answer to a problem they have. Now, this may not necessarily be the quickest way, since you often need to spend a good amount of time up-front to write the book, but it can be a great option. When I first started my Etsy business, I created a 30 page e-book with my Bible highlighting and not-taking method, and it sold really well. It also helped open doors for me to publish my book, Own Your Everyday.
- Create an online course. Again, make this a useful guide that will teach something through video or audio training. This may take a little more time to set up. You could start with an e-book and then expand into an online course. Consider starting with Skillshare or Teachable (which are like an Etsy for online courses). By doing that, you’re putting your stuff on a site where people are already going for courses. Since people might not be familiar with your website, it can be helpful to start with a place where people are already looking.
Remember, little bits can add up. Don’t be afraid to try one of these and experiment. Keep looking for different ways you can diversify your income.
And as I always say: it’s about incremental, implementable, imperfect action. Start small. Don’t worry about perfection. And keep taking the next step.
Wanna hear more about how to diversify your income? Tune into this episode of SHE to learn:
- The difference between passive and active income
- What the Bible says about diversifying your income
- How diversifying your income can benefit you
- Ways you can start earning passive income
And if you start diversifying your income, let us know about it and tag us on Instagram @shepodcast. We’d love to hear from you!
P.S. If you’re ready to start a business so you can have the flexibility to focus on the important things, but you have no idea what to do or where to start, I created a program just for you, called The Starter. It’s the roadmap you need to set up your business from start to finish. Learn more here.