Realizing the Importance of Side Income

Jeremy BiberdorfBy: Jeremy Biberdorf

April 16, 2014April 16, 2014

Realizing the Importance of Side Income

Recently my friend Shannon from The Heavy Purse e-mailed about a special she was hosting for financial literacy month. Normally I wouldn’t think much of these initiatives and would politely decline. I’m a big believer of the need for increased financial literacy though. So I was happy to take part.

The theme that Shannon requested was “your biggest money a-ha”. I considered writing about how I got serious about finances a couple years ago during a major life transition, but really I started getting more serious about my finances long before that. I simply got more disciplined with them a couple years ago. Instead I’ll be writing about how I learned just how important side income is.

A Former Employer’s Wise Words

It was my first boss after college that really got me thinking about a side hustle. Thinking back it might have actually been a way to keep me around longer at a low wage. After all, if my overall income was high enough, maybe I’d stay at an easy going job.

I forget her exact wording but the gist of it was that to get ahead in this world, you need to find a secondary source of income. If not, the government just takes too big a chunk of your income and you’ll manage to spend the rest. That was how she and her husband built up their business anyway.

The other reason she may have been pushing that was because she could see I was developing skills that would be perfect for entrepreneurship. She probably saw that between my programming and marketing experience I could easily be developing some kind of online business. It was just a matter of getting the kick in the ass to start the ball rolling.

Seeing Side Hustle Benefits

Once I actually began pursuing a second source of income, I was hooked. The time I was spending watching tv was suddenly going to trying to increase my income. It became a challenge to try to boost those profits, thinking that it could turn into a full time gig. Eventually it did just that very thing and became my full time income.

In the end, the gravy train dried up forcing me to get another daytime job. Still, that side income was able to more than hold me over between those jobs. That wouldn’t be the last time either. On another occasion history repeated itself as I found myself without a job, but with a backup income stream picking up again.

Not only has my side business brought in money while unemployed, but it’s also brought in a nice chunk of change on top of my daytime job salary. This has allowed me to work where I choose rather than being forced to chase the high-pressure corporate jobs. It’s not that I’d pass up those corporate jobs. Actually being able to land those limited positions is another story.

Besides financial short term financial benefits, there is also the emotional gratification of finding ways to support myself without a boss. While I do have a daytime job, it gives me a sense of security knowing that I’m not tied to my job. If necessary I could always try to revive my side business. Perhaps when we have kids it would be the ideal time to make the transition and be a stay at home dad. Who knows.

If all goes as planned, there might be some real long term potential in my side business. Other similar ventures have developed into very significant payoffs when a bigger company buys them out. Time will tell if that is in the cards for me, but that possibility is encouraging. It’s like having a lottery ticket that I can keep increasing the odds of by putting in more work.

Creating Your Own Side Income

Building up a full side business might not be for everyone, but it’s worth considering if you’re struggling to get ahead. If you can fit in the time, pretty much everybody has the ability to bring in extra income one way or another. The best route may not be obvious though. Get researching online and try to figure out what might work best for your situation. Then simply dive in to test the waters. You might be surprised with what you can achieve.

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Jeremy Biberdorf
Jeremy Biberdorf

About the Author:

Jeremy Biberdorf is the founder of Modest Money. He's a father of 2 beautiful girls, a dog owner, a long-time online entrepreneur and an investing enthusiast.

17 thoughts on “Realizing the Importance of Side Income”

  1. Having a side income is great and you are right many people sit around watching tv all day when they could be making more money instead of sitting in debt. It’s not easy by any stretch but we all have to start somewhere. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way

    It’s been a week since I started my side income of business online clothing. I contacted some suppliers of different type of clothes and accessories. But honestly, I’m really having a hard time about dealing my time, maybe because I just started it and hopefully I can adjust my time.

    1. Clarisse, don’t give up. The time involved initially and in the first year or two in setting up a new business, promoting it, networking to grow it and running it is immense. However, when it works, the rewards are amazing. Stick to a plan. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the business can be whatever you wish it to look like, because it is yours. There are no preconceived requirements, it is an extension of you. Continued success.

  3. Most people diversify their investments, but fail to diversify our income. It is paramount to diversify your income as well – whether with a side hustle or passive income.

    Always good to see posts like these to remind people the importance of side hustles.


  4. Shannon @ Financially Blonde

    Side hustles are a great way to improve your finances in a positive way. It is always a painful process of cutting back expenses and “fun,” but when you make more money, you definitely give yourself some leeway to make more choices.

  5. I try to hustle some side income work as well doing freelance writing work. It’s nice to bring in a little extra income because these days my family can always use it. With three kids and a home in So. Cal, I feel like we can never get ahead. The side work gives us some breathing room – plus I enjoy it since writing has always been a passion.

  6. Maggie@SquarePennies

    I love all the ways a side hustle can help! It’s so great as income to smooth out the bumps between jobs and allowing you to be more picky about a new job. And it could be perfect for a stay-at-home dad! Great ideas! I know someone who had income from rental properties that saved his butt when they got laid off at 57. He was able to take early retirement in a situation where it’s difficult to get another job because of his age. It was a little tight for them until he was old enough for social security and a small pension, but they made it thanks to that side income!

  7. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life

    The side hustle is definitely addicting. Once I saw the income I could create for myself I just kept thinking, “how can I earn more?” I’m still thinking it!

  8. I’m honored that you agreed to participate, Jeremy! 🙂 I don’t think people realize the potential side hustles offer. And honestly, I probably didn’t before I started blogging either. There are so many opportunities to earn extra money that can go towards debt repayment or to fund your goals or carry you through a rough patch. These days I love seeing others talk about their side hustles and what is has afforded them. It’s a missed opportunity for so many, so thank you for highlighting it in the carnival. Entrepreneurship is a skill set we need to do a better job of nurturing. Thanks again for your participation and support, Jeremy. It means a lot to me!

    1. Excellent advice Shannon. And if the side hustle grows to become your main hustle, how satisfying is that? It is on so many levels, money being just one of them.

  9. Love this, Jeremy. Our goal is to get out of debt, and then to have enough side hustle income that Rick can leave his job if and when he chooses to. It’s so nice to know that, as you mentioned, we’ve got extra income coming in so that a sudden job loss wouldn’t totally take us down. Side hustle income rocks! 🙂

    1. Great goals Laurie. You and Rick should be commended. Not only is it important for Rick that he can leave his job at the point in time of his choosing, he is building an insurance policy against layoffs. When you have choices, you have no fear of what may happen, because your worst outcome now looks like a great alternative!

  10. Anthony @ Thrifty Dad

    Side hustles can be great, but they can be challenging. With two kids now, the day job, the blog, courses and the amount of freelance work I’ve taken on, it’s become overwhelming. So I’m headed back to a better paying day job and letting go of the side gigs. Will be happy to see my nights back!

  11. I know what you are saying. My first income online sort of fueled up the urge to find more side hustles. I am always happy and contented with the thought that I earn money just by doing simple things which I truly truly loveee — writing and blogging. I feel you. Always seek side hustles.

  12. Great article. THX for sharing. Anyone just starting out to consider starting a second income stream and looking for the right motivation should read “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”. That is what gave me the push I needed. Not only was I able to create a few different income streams, one of them ultimately became my main income stream.

    Thank you for sharing such an important message. Continued success.

  13. Jacque @ dollars and sense

    I love side hustles/incomes. My financial life wouldn’t be complete without them. Solely depending on a day for your only income is very dangerous because you are at the whim of a company. If you are fired or laid off, your income and livelihood stop. I cannot live like that so that is my motivation for always having a side income.

    Eventually I want my side hustles to bring me into full-time entrepreneurship.

    Great post!

    1. You are so right Jacque. Anyone who doesn’t realize what you already have, and doesn’t take action, like you have, is doing themselves and their family a disservice.

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