Protect Your Money
With the dramatic drop in the stock market, many people were stunned and alarmed about how their 401k plans and retirement funds could virtually go up in smoke overnight. However, this cruel lesson can serve value to you as you try to find ways to protect what is left of your nest egg. Perhaps the single best piece of advice in this area is to develop additional revenue streams. This is important because multiple streams provide a broader safety net in case one or two streams fall apart or slow to a trickle. As more and more people are being laid off from their job, the importance of this advice is highlighted even more so. With this thought in mind, we will explore several options you can do to help grow and protect your money.
Starting A Side Business
First, we will look at ways you can grow your money. This would include ways that you can help bring in more money. The most direct way would be to start some other type of business on the side. This business can take many forms, but ideally you want one that will allow you flexibility in your schedule and have low start up costs. This is important because you do not want it to overly tax your current savings and not put your current job in more jeopardy.
Potential Business Choices
We suggest your business sell products or services that people who will still be employed will want. These will tend to be services that address a “pain point” for individuals or businesses. These can include credit card help, tax advice, business consulting, selling home or personal protection goods, insurance help, alternative medicine, gardening, home or products repairs, etc. As you can see most of these services or goods address a pain need of needing to save money in one form or another. Another counter-intuitive business is to consider selling services to the ultra wealthy. This section of the market is also very resistant to recessions as yachts, jets, and other high end services and products often continue to perform well. However, for most people, the barriers to entry in these businesses will prevent this from being a realistic option. Therefore, we recommend you key on these areas.
Marketing Business Suggestions
After you have decided what business model to follow, you will need to decide how to market and promote your business. We recommend you focus heavily on the marketing and advertising of your business to help get your business’s name out there. Often times, you can actually get reduced advertising costs because other companies will cut back on their advertising budget during these troubled times. Another suggestion we recommend is to get your business online with a basic webpage and to use advertising services like Google Adwords and Yahoo Search Marketing. These should naturally be tailored to your target audience and region. If you need help creating a webpage or beginning your advertising campaign, you can generally find support services to be very affordable. This should continue to be the case as you can currently get outsourced help very cheaply thru services like Elance.com or Getafreelancer.com.
Ideally, you would like to find ways that you can automate your business or process. This could include for example the selling of ebooks or digital products based on your “information” advice. These can be particularly helpful when successful to individuals because they will keep you from physically going out and giving the same service. This will free up your time and allow you to potentially develop other revenue streams. However, even if you aren’t able to remove the person from the process, you can still find ways to use software or use other people to help reduce the amount of day to day work you must do on the business.
Beyond starting a business, other business opportunities may include freelance work. If you have experience in website design, creating header and banner graphics, or writing articles or even books, you can hire yourself out for these services. These jobs can even turn into full time work so it is worth considering or learning these skills.
Another area to consider is options investing. Although many people may be fearful of the stock market because of recent history, one section of the market thrives even when the market is doing poorly. This section is the buying and selling of stock options. Some companies like Optionetics sell complete courses on this subject and this can provide another revenue stream for those who have an interest in the market. The main advantage of options is that you are able to leverage stock buying at a fraction of the cost allowing you to potentially make (and lose) good sums of money very quickly.
If you are more interested in real estate, the area of foreclosures will be of great interest to you. With more and more layoffs coming, many people will fall behind on payments and fall into foreclosure. This situation creates buying and investing opportunities for those willing to invest in foreclosed or real estate owned properties. In addition, there will also be tax lien investment opportunities for parts of the country that have them. The key here is to recognize these will tend to be more long range investment opportunities and should only be invested in knowing you have plenty of other revenue streams bringing in money or have enough money currently in your savings.
Creative Revenue Streams
Another area that could create another revenue stream is thru either writing a book or inventing something. Ideally, you would again want to choose topics that address one of the pain points of businesses or individuals. These will be the ones most likely to sell well. Although this area can be riskier than some other business opportunities, it can also be one of the most lucrative. In fact, creating a free ebook or tips can be an excellent way for you to drive more business to one of your side businesses.
Keeping Costs Low
Beyond ways to grow money, the other side of the equation is to find ways to keep your costs low or reduce costs. This can take many forms. However, the most popular are to look at your bigger expenses like car insurance, health insurance, car payments, house payments, and others. The goal here is to look over each one with a fine tooth comb and see which ones can be negotiated with to finding better rates. Often times, just changing companies can help drive rates down. Beyond doing a basic wholesale inventory, you should look at ways you can help reduce your discretionary spending. This could be as simple as eating out less and brown bagging lunch or starting to use coupons more or it could be choosing to start doing services you had previously outsourced like mowing the lawn, moving, or home repairs. Also, you could starting using the city bus or train or start carpooling.
The goal is not to radically adjust your lifestyle here just to recognize that making some minor adjustments would free up more money for investment opportunities or at least give you a larger safety net during this recession. In this way, you should be able to discover a few ideas that you can implement and be comfortable doing.