I have a bit of a conundrum here. At the same time, I like to write about ways to increase my alternative income. Although I often think about ways to make an alternative income, I rarely come up with anything that I can implement.
A newer site, Alternative Income Quest, is focusing on alternative income as well. Jon, the author, has come up with a list of alternative income ideas. I’d like to take a couple of the ideas and go into why I do them and why I don’t.While he mentions Adsense specifically, I’d prefer to group that into the bigger bucket of all blogging income. I don’t much like to write about the business of blogging, but I’ll have to in order to explain my alternative income sources. One thing that I like about blogging is that if I miss a day, I can still earn money. While blogging is anything but passive (link?), it can earn money residually. The scale with blogging seems to be (in my limited experience thus far) is that the more you do it, the more profitable it is AND the easier it becomes. In short, it’s what us software engineers call “relatively scalable.” I’ve been doing it a little over a year and while it has become easier, if I look at my last month, per hour spent, I’m way under minimum wage. Others that do it professionally, like ProBlogger, surely make far more than minimum wage per hour spent.
It’s this residual aspect of alternative income that gets my interest. This is why I like stocks (which can earn me dividends), and earnings from Prosper.com. The problem with those two later investments is that they require a fair amount of principle. It takes quite some time to save and build up the kind of principle that can earn you a decent income. It’s something that people save their whole lives for. In case that is taken the wrong way, I’d be one of those people saving and investing and can’t recommend it highly enough.
Another example of this kind of residual income would be to earn royalties from creative works. I’m thinking that I should look into photography, but that would probably be the extent of my creative talents (outside of writing, and I’m stretching the definition of “talent” quite a bit with that). The other thing about photography is that I’m not sure how much it scales. I figure the pictures are always going to be worth a fixed price. However, if I get better and better, I could probably take more quality photos in smaller amounts of time. This would allow me to have more photos out there for purchase. I can imagine having something like 10,000 photos available one day. The commissions from people reusing them could add up to a nice residual income.
Now you know what I’m looking for, let’s go through the rest of Jon’s list:
- Completing online surveys – This may be fun for some could earn some income, but once you stop doing it, it’s over. It’s also not likely that the online surveys will get that much easier to take (maybe a little bit, but they more or less require a fixed amount of time to take), and I’m guessing that payments, per survey, are not going to rise for each survey you do. It’s not scalable at all.
- Finding bargains and selling on Ebay – This is much like completing online surveys – you need to keep on doing it to earn money. It also doesn’t scale.
- Credit Card Arbitrage – I looked into this (link) and was going to use it to earn interest, which I mentioned above, fits the mold. It didn’t work out for me, just more work for my personal situation (having just moved and requiring lots of extra documentation) than it was worth. It doesn’t scale, but for some people this could be an easy to add to alternative income.
- Associated Content – I simple have been too Lazy to look into this thus far. It could be a good source of income.
- Cafe Press – This is one idea that I’d love to implement. I have to ask The Digerati Life, how her Cafe Press sales have been. This requires a little artistic creativity, which as mentioned, I’m a little deficient in.
- Ticket Brokering – Basically the same idea as the above “finding bargains and selling on Ebay.” You could lose money with this. I think the law is tricky here. Lastly, it doesn’t really scale.
- Poker Bonuses – I wouldn’t even begin to imagine how this is done, so I can’t really comment on the opportunity here. About ten years ago I had the plan of betting on both the Pass and Don’t Pass lines in craps. My plan was to break even on every bet and collect Foxwoods’ Wampum points (the casino reward program). Everything was good until I realized that when a 12 is rolled, the Pass line loses, but the Don’t Pass doesn’t win. Thus it’s not the infinite “break even”, collect the rewards, opportunity that I thought it was. Perhaps this is different, but it seems similar.
So let me know what I should try to augment my alternative income.