Last night, DJH had this great question in the comments of one my older posts:
I just wanted to say, THANK YOU! for showing me all sides of making this decision, I have been in several MLMs [Multi-level Marketing] and never found one that worked for me, I was considering MonaVie but now have decided against, but I do ask, is there anything that I can do to make more money aside from getting another job?
As I was typing out a response, I realized that this is exactly the question that made me start Lazy Man and Money more than 3 years ago. It would be silly for me to address it hidden away in a comment of an older post where few people would see it.
In general, people spend money for things that they find provide them value. So I’d turn the question around on DJH and ask, “What can you do to provide value for people?”
This may sound like a cop out, but as DJH said, he never found a MLM that worked for him. Maybe it’s because providing value in the MLM world is hard work. People can go to stores and get similar products themselves – often at cheaper prices. Most people don’t need Tupperware, Mary Kay, and Pampered Chef, when there’s Rubbermaid, Maybelline, and Williams-Sonoma around. If people want food containers, makeup, and high-end kitchenware, they simply buy it at their convenience. They don’t need to spend a night at a “party” to accomplish this. In fact, much of the time people are only going to those parties because they want to help out the person throwing it. Almost everyone I’ve ever talked to said it’s tantamount to giving them a hand-out.
However, getting back to the original question, I asked myself the same thing, how to make money without another job, when I was creating this website. It’s why Lazy Man and Money exists.
I looked at all sorts of investing. Should I buy condohotels in Vegas? (Glad I didn’t.) Should I actively trade tech stocks – something that I know about? (Ditto – glad I didn’t.) I even invested a lot of money in peer-to-peer lending like Prosper thinking I’d get a 13% return, which compounds really fast. (That idea fizzled as defaults started to pile with my sub-prime lending practices.) I think investing is one way to make more money, but almost all investments have risks. If you are looking to rich that way, you either have to start out rich, take significant risks, or wait a really long time – and nothing is guaranteed.
While different people look for different things, I was looking for alternative income. It’s a little like passive income, but true passive income is really difficult – some would say even impossible. I defined my idea of alternative income and still hold to that standard today. I even approached it from the other side and realized that there are many ways to define retirement. In one of my definitions of retirement, I can almost retire whenever I want. (In fact, I did that for 18 months, before choosing to contract because the money was just too good to say no to. I’ll begin another round of retirement on the 14th of September though.)
Oddly my quest for the solution became the solution. The website you are reading makes me good deal of supplemental income. Yes, getting it to that point was not what many would call “easy.” It took a lot of time and work. However, it is something that I enjoy doing. So I learned the lesson that getting paid for doing something I love is a very much like making more money without getting a another “job.”
I think you are right about providing value. You have to be able to be useful to others. And there are many different things you can do without going out and finding a “real job”. But it takes some creativity and effort. Sometimes I think that questions like these are really: “What can I get for doing practically nothing?” In the end, even setting up an income investing portfolio takes work and effort.
[email protected] Finance says
Yes, starting a blog/website is a great way to make extra income, but there HAS to be more ways.
A friend and myself are going to start this challenge in the fall. It should teach us thousands of ways to make extra income from investing/alernatives to a job – we are going to each take $500 and try to turn it into $1 million. Many might laugh and say we are delusional, but if I set the bar at $1,000 would you not think it is possible? So why not $1 million?
My goal is to find ways to make money “on the side.” Blogging is great, but it doesn’t really help your readers. What can I do besides starting a blog to make extra cash? If I have $100 to use any way I please with the goal of doubling it, what would you reccomend?
Kosmo @ The Casual Observer says
I’ve been making a lot of money acting as a conduit for a Nigerian prince who doesn’t have access to US banks.
I know, it sounds too good to be true.
Lazy Man says
I never meant to say that a blog/website is the only way. I just wanted to imply that it’s what worked for me. Pat at Smart Passive Income writes about a few ideas (like paying to have an iPhone application built and then marketing it).
As for your $500 challenge, I wish you luck. Not to be negative, but there’s a big difference in the odds of success turning $500 into $1000 vs. $1,000,000.
One could easily pose the question of winning money at a casino. One may only be mildly surprised if I said that I turned $100 into $200 there. I might have just bet on black on a roulette wheel. On the other had if I said that I turned $100 into $20,000, I’m sure they’d be quite amazed and expect some kind of story like how I went the roulette table and hit the exact number twice in row (though pocketing some money in between to be safe).
I realize you are not going to be gambling with your challenge, but you will have to take some risks – otherwise it will take you lots of manual labor – at which point you’ll have to calculate the value for the hours you spend.
What’s your time frame for this contest? What are the rules for the $100 question you have at the end. I’d probably say that working at a job is the best chance you had of making another $100 :-). You could probably do it in a couple of days or less with the right skills.
Amber Weinberg says
I am too guilty of paying high money for Mary Kay bc it just works really well…that aside:
I too have been looking for ways to make extra money on the side. I was thinking of making some stuff to sell on etsy but I can never decide on a craft I think will sell well and allow me to make cheaply. Other than that, I’ve been looking into my other hobbies to try and turn them into a fun business, so one day I don’t have to work a 8-5 ;)
There’s a very similar thread going on current on Bogleheads asking about alternatives to earning money. A few people posted about bringing in cans for recycling. Well my wife has a friend in NYC who’s doing this but at a much larger scale. Instead of bringing in individual items, he goes to the recyling centers and buys trash to send them to China for processing. He’s up to 3 or 4 container ship loads every month now. We just met him tonight in China as he is now researching the possibility of opening up a small recycling plant to keep more of the profits. (This is just a side job for him as his primary job is running a sewing factory.) He hasn’t discussed how much he makes but from talking about the startup costs, my guess is he makes low 5-figures profit now and would be low 6-figures with his own plant.
Obviously, not everybody has the capital to go this big. Nor would people have the contacts in China to make it happen. However, this is a good example of thinking out of the box — one man’s garbage could be another man’s treasure (and often is so now with recycling a huge industry).
i think of a financial blog is hard work.
im trying to make one (hopefully it will be up in a few months) all the research you have to do its just like working. maybe even more so then my real job.
Kosmo @ The Casual Observer says
I think it’s going to be difficult to find something that doesn’t take a substantial amount of work, resources, and/or risk. After all, if you could just turn a key and have money roll in, everyone would do this.
I agree that blogging is hard work. After 250+ articles, I eagerly await the day when I earn more than $1/hr for my work :)
Lazy Man says
Ken, the point is do something profitable that you find fun. Then it isn’t work at all.
it’s still its just work you like to do…
but I understand what you are saying.
It doesn’t feel like work becuase you like what you do and you look forward to doing it most of the time.
Lazy Man says
And that’s why I put “job” in quotes in the title.
[email protected] Finance says
“I realize you are not going to be gambling with your challenge, but you will have to take some risks ““ otherwise it will take you lots of manual labor ““ at which point you’ll have to calculate the value for the hours you spend.
What’s your time frame for this contest? What are the rules for the $100 question you have at the end. I’d probably say that working at a job is the best chance you had of making another $100 :-). You could probably do it in a couple of days or less with the right skills.”
Time frame is indefinite – could be a lifelong challenge. We are thinking of making some moves in the stock market. We both saw opportunities the past six months to quadruple our money through certain trades and we are really regretting it so we decided to do this challenge as motivation.
You misunderstand me about my casino example. I don’t play blackjack, roulette, slots, etc. except for fun knowing I will lose it over time. I’m talking about poker. I play it specifically as an investment. I’ve put in many hours at the casino (I’m up a few thousand over time) and I’ve played over 2,000 single table tournaments online (with ROI of about 5-10% which is pretty high).
I’m not going ot get into a debate about how poker is an investment just like a stock, but…it is!
Secondly, sure working a job counts I work all the time but that cash doesn’t go towards the challenge. It’s supposed to be more of an investing thing. A low-stakes example would be buying a lawn mower and working to pay it off. But what would be more what we are trying to do is buy a lawn mower, work it for a few weeks, then hire someone to do the jobs we land and spend our time getting sales (making $5 on each sale probably after paying our laborer). It’s an investing challenge.
Lazy Man says
I thought I was the one who brought up the casino example. I figured it was easy because my examples would be clear cut. I know some people who make money playing poker. Good for them. In terms of wages, how much can you make an hour using your $500? What happens if you lose all $500 due to bad luck?
Well a lifelong challenge seems a little interesting. It’s quite some journey, but I don’t know if I want to enter into lifetime commitments. I’ve learned from starting this blog that when you get the ball rolling you can’t always just stop.
It may be wise to realize that the last 6 months is not an indicator of the stock market in general. It’s very rare to see the buying opportunity that we saw. So while you might have been able to quadruple your money in that frame, it would have been hard to make any money in the 9 months preceding that. Chances are you would have lost money like most people did.
Just to put the challenge in some perspective… let’s say that you are 22 now. That’s pretty young, but I’m going to be conservative since I don’t know your age. Let’s say a lifelong challenge is 50 years, since you’ll be 72 then. Sure we all hope to live longer, but for sake of argument it is a challenge and if you and your friend are still friends (and alive) 50 years from now, I would say that’s pretty good. You’d have to earn 16% on your $500 each and every year to turn that into a little more than $835,000. Earning 16% over a 50 year span would make you one of the better money managers in the history of mankind.
I’m not saying you can’t do it, I’m just saying that it’s a gargantuan challenge. To me it seems like challenging your friend to climb Mt. Everest with whatever clothes supplies are in your closet right now.
Then again, I started this website with around $20 for hosting (actually ran it free on Blogspot for awhile) and it’s bringing in thousands a month. I suppose I should just shut up now…
[email protected] Finance says
“In terms of wages, how much can you make an hour using your $500? What happens if you lose all $500 due to bad luck?”
Probably not much – we chose $500 because it’s not “scared” money but eventually if we increase it we should find better investment opportunities
To answer the second question – bankroll management. You don’t put more than 10% of your bankroll on any one game or tournament. More on this here – http://www.thepokerbank.com/strategy/basic/bankroll-management/
“It may be wise to realize that the last 6 months is not an indicator of the stock market in general. It’s very rare to see the buying opportunity that we saw. So while you might have been able to quadruple your money in that frame, it would have been hard to make any money in the 9 months preceding that. Chances are you would have lost money like most people did.”
Yes I know that. In fact if I wasn’t going for quick gains but long-term investing I wouldn’t put any money in domestic stocks – they aren’t going to gain as much as foreign stocks and the dollar is going to crash i.m.h.o.
“You’d have to earn 16% on your $500 each and every year to turn that into a little more than $835,000. Earning 16% over a 50 year span would make you one of the better money managers in the history of mankind.”
Close enough, I’m 21. Let me ask you this – how much did Warren Buffet start with? How much did Donald Trump start with? Trump started with 200g and now is worth over a billion. We don’t just mean investing in stocks but launching small businesses, investing in real estate, the works. Yes 16% year after year is phenomenal, but we aren’t just investing in stocks.
“Then again, I started this website with around $20 for hosting (actually ran it free on Blogspot for awhile) and it’s bringing in thousands a month. I suppose I should just shut up now – ”
I think you just proved the point I was trying to make. What kind of a return is that? Haha :P
Evan Gould says
That’s a pretty good income with Lending Club, have you had any losses?
I think that the question that your reader should be asking is not how to make money without a job, as it should be to how to develop multiple streams of income. With the uncertainty of todays economy any one source of income could disappear without much time to prepare. So consider developing income from:
-multiple businesses (could be MLM, websites or standard brick and mortar business)
Read The 4 Hour Work Week for some ideas on developing alternative businesses
I started a blog geared to motivating people to start their own business, no matter what industry its in. Most of our billionaires are self-made but yes it comes with high risk. I’m writing a business plan for a new social network/dating site but I know I’ll need lots of capital and that will be hard because I have bad credit. I tried doing MonaVie, but just kept drinking it because no one could afford it. I do still get the energy drinks though. I see the only one who makes money in MLM’s are the ones who found the companies (i.e Amway, Monavie, ACN) but maybe thats just me. Honestly maybe the best way to make fast money now is probably to become a rapper, create a silly dance, get a posse, and then your a millionaire.
By the way great blog LM
“If you can dream it, believe it”
Yo this is an awesome website and I’m glad that you’re seeing some income from it. I have my own affiliate marketing blog that I hope one day to make money from, though at the moment I’m just focused on getting good content and traffic.