It’s readily apparent to just about everyone that the gold watch and retirement days are long gone. What isn’t quite so clear to some folks, and is actively resisted by others, is the fact that for many of us the idea of just having one job provide us with our living is on the way out.
I’ve harped many times before on the necessity of having multiple income streams. This has consistently been from the standpoint of having a primary job with secondary income streams coming in to augment that income and help improve your resiliency.
Nothing new under the sun there.
Intellectually speaking, it’s always been clear to me that you could use the same concept to put together a resilient income that doesn’t even include a ‘normal’ job. If you have enough smaller streams of income they build up into something that covers your living expenses.
I’m not there yet, but that’s one of my goals. That doesn’t mean I’ll quit the day job, but being ABLE to do that is huge.
I’ve met a number of folks here in our new neck of the woods that operate in that fashion. For example, our landlords hired a guy to do some landscape cleanup shortly after we moved. I sat and talked to him for a while, and he makes his living doing all sorts of stuff, from landscaping to labor, from handyman work to painting, and everything in between. He gets by just fine.
That’s just one example of someone that’s living that way today. He seemed to be fine with it.
That’s one way to approach it, but let’s take it to the next level.
Instead of building multiple income streams by leveraging your time and efforts directly for others, what about producing things others need? You’ll make more money, and if you choose what your produce correctly, you’ll have a pretty resilient stream. And since you’re not trading your time directly for dollars, like our landscaper up there, you have huge income potential. The hourly wage equation, $X * Y Hrs is no longer a limiting factor for you.
A great example of this from my personal life is my beekeeping. It’s not going to create a ton of money, but I can sell the honey I get, the wax I get, and the pollen I get at the farmers market for pretty good cash.
Another good example is a local farmer who we know. During the winter time he keeps himself busy by repairing and refinishing antiques he picks up throughout the year. He then sells them in his storefront next to his produce for the rest of the year.
A little slice of pie here, a little there, pretty soon you’ve got a pretty sweet pie.
But to use the words of Emeril, let’s kick it up another notch.
What if we worked together with folks in our family or close friends and neighbors to build a chain of production. It’s a well known tenet of economics that the more you refine something, the more it’s worth and the more people will pay for it.
So let’s say I have my honey, and I’m selling it at the farmers market for $13/qt, which is a very reasonable price around here, if not a tad low. Now instead of selling all of it, I’m going to keep half of it at home and my lovely bride works her cooking magic and turns it into flavored candies and infused honey.
All of a sudden that $13 quart of honey, further refined and farther up the value-add chain, is making several multiples of that. Even if we have to buy some blackberries from the neighbor to infuse into the honey, we still end up way ahead by selling that infused honey for more.
You get the idea…
Bottom line is this.
Be a producer, not a laborer. Produce things that are valuable for others. Don’t trade your time for money unless you have no choice.
Strive to move up the value add chain. You don’t necessarily have to corner the market on staples like in my example of candies, but it helps.
Chain multiple production systems together. My beekeeping production added to my wife’s cooking production means way more income for us, and more value to others.
Look for opportunities to cover your needs by selling to others. For example, if you need three hogs a year to cover your pork needs, raise eight and sell the others. It’s not much more work incrementally, and the income from selling the other five makes the first three that you eat free.
Always try to add more slices. The more slices you add to that income pie, the sweeter it gets, and the harder it is to destroy.
In closing … times are getting wonky. Figure out how you’re going to get by in the new normal, because it won’t be easy for most of us. Sooner rather than later…