What A Growing Child And The Unemployment Rate Have In Common

You know how when you don’t see a particular friend or family member for a while, and you run into them again you can’t believe how different they look or how things about them changed?

This happened to me on Saturday. I ran into my friend Eva at our mutual friend Randi’s house. I hadn’t seen Eva or her son Jude for a few months. After exchanging air kisses and hugs Jude interrupted and made sure no one forgot about him. He is almost two. The last time I saw him he could say simple, single words like “Mama” and “milk”, but now he has blossomed into a tiny toddler shouting out short sentences like “What’s this?” and “I want milk.” The uptick in his vocabulary and ability to string together simple sentences astounded me. I couldn’t stop talking about it. Eva probably thought I was going a little overboard in my compliments and praises as I held Jude while he and I conversed.

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She couldn’t remember how long ago Jude’s speech has gone from garbled words to real back and forth conversation. That’s what happens when you see someone or something every day. You become immune to the small changes that are occurring. The day to day changes are subtle enough that most go unnoticed. It’s not until you take a step back and some time away that you notice any kind of change or evolution has happened at all.

Changes. They are easy to see in a growing child or at the end of a project. You never seem to notice them until you take a step back and look at the entire evolution though. That’s what astonished me so much when I watched this video. I knew unemployment had risen over the last couple of years but not like this. This web video that’s currently sweeping the nation illustrates the subtle changes we heard about weekly on our news. Watch and be amazed at the unemployment epidemic that hit our nation.

http://www.latoyaegwuekwe.com/geographyofarecession.html

Shocking isn’t it? It looks like a video showing the spread of the Bubonic plague or some terrible disease. Creator Latoya Egwuekwe took unemployment rates from every county in the nation for each month starting in January of 2007 and added in color coding to show the changes from month to month. We went from a low of 4.5% unemployment in September of 2007 to a high of 9.7% that’s stayed steady throughout most of 2010. The rise in unemployment rates looks like fingers marching across the Nation. They begin their journey as closed fists on both the East and West coasts and then begin to walk one finger at a time across the Mid-Atlantic and Pacific states until ultimately they have crossed the entire country and end up meeting in the middle.

Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket

Who’s to say that unemployment is done rising. Remember all that talk of a double-dip? If that swift kick to the nation’s nuts happens our slow climb out of the bottom of the barrel will be over. We’ll be sprawled across the floor looking up longingly at our memories of what it was like at the top.  I don’t want to see that happen but I believe in preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.

How do you do that? How do you prepare for a future you’re not sure will happen? If you are afraid of unemployment or your hours being cut and affecting your income you need to diversify. You diversify so you’re not dependent upon any one thing.  That way if it’s taken away you won’t lose everything.

I myself am in this boat. The very real possibility of job loss, losing clients, pay cuts, and uncertain markets fed my desire to build up my sources of income. In 2008 my husband and I had two sources of income, today we have five and we’re constantly working on building more. We’ve learned through unexpected job losses and occasional dips in our monthly income that we need to diversify. Do not misinterpret my overall message of income diversification as a call to quit your day job. The idea is to diversify income sources, not eliminate them! Therefore, all of the ideas below are ways you can keep your day job and pad your income from alternative sources.

Blogging. If you can string together a couple of sentences like Jude does, you can write a blog. The most popular blogging providers are also the free ones. Blog providers like Blogger, WordPress, and LiveJournal will allow you to post your entries free of charge and are easy to set up. They provide ready-made templates and simple publishing that require virtually no technical know-how.  In the blogging community there is some debate over whether free providers are the best providers. Free blog providers tend to lend very little support to their clients and can be unreliable. But even paid blog providers are extremely cheap. You can expect to pay somewhere around $7 a month to host your blog with a reliable provider.

Most blog entries are 500 words or less (about 1 page in length) and can be written about a variety of topics. Find a niche or field you are passionate about. You will find it hard to write regularly and authoritatively about topics you don’t know a lot about or don’t really care about. The idea behind all your entries is to be seen as the go-to industry expert in your niche.

Once you begin producing entries on interesting topics and get some visitors to read those entries the money will start rolling in! Between Google Adsense, affiliate marketing, selling ad space, and the dozens of other monetization options you can make a steady, passive income with a blog.

E-books. This is one of the dozens of other monetization options I just spoke about. An e-book is typically 20-50 pages worth of information on a topic. It is an in-depth report that should teach its reader how to do something. E-books are free to put together providing you write it yourself. Write the book in Microsoft Word and slap a cover on it to create an e-book. Most e-books are sold for either $19.95 or $29.95. If you get 10 people to buy your e-book that adds up to nearly $200, with no investment costs to recoup. Pure profit! You can sell these through your blog or website. If you don’t have either of those though don’t worry.  Find someone that does and offer to split the profits with them. Which could turn into more opportunities to work together and make money!

Tutoring. You don’t need to have a teaching certificate to sell tutoring services. What you do need to have is the ability to teach others using creativity and enthusiasm. Charge by the hour or a fee based on a predetermined number of sessions. You can either work alone or join a company that matches students with tutors. Advertise your business by word of mouth or set up a website to promote your tutoring services. You can also join a local tutoring center like Sylvan Learning Center or a website like tutor.com to get clients.

Don’t think you can teach a kid fractions or the proper placement of a semi-colon? Do not fear! There are more things kids and adults need tutoring for. Do you know how to play an instrument? Sell music lessons! These work the same as educational tutoring in that you charge by the hour for the lesson or a group of lessons for one price.

Leveraging your skills from your day job. If after all of these suggestions you think none of these are right for me consider turning your day job into a side business. No matter what you do, you can bill yourself as an expert in your particular field. My first job after college was as a marketing assistant. I was in charge of mailing magazine customers renewal notices each month. I thought I didn’t have a sellable skill to make extra money off of like an accountant or nurse did. I was completely wrong and so are you if you feel the same way. I didn’t realize the skills I did have! I could have brokered deals for the printing companies I worked with to earn extra cash or I could have billed myself as a project manager who was able to coordinate many moving pieces. The trick is to identify the skills you’ve learned through your day job and sell them on the side for extra cash. You are an expert in your field and people all over the world are willing to pay for your expertise.

If you talk to any financial planner or money manager they will tell you their number one rule is to diversify. Look at your own financial portfolio. You don’t have all your investments in just stocks do you? No you don’t. You have a mixed bag of ETFs, bonds, gold, mutual funds, cash and other sources of investments. Your portfolio is diversified to reduce risk. So why don’t you diversify your income too? It would certainly reduce your risk against job loss and other employment variables. It’s like insurance against an unpredictable financial future.

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Until Next Week…

Keeping Money In Your Pocket,

Nancy Patterson

12 Responses

  1. Chuck Anthony

    Thanks for this article, Nancy. I liked your analogy and the illustration of the unemployment dilema in this country.

    Regarding ways to develop income independently, trading options serves me well and I subscribe to a number of ‘Contrarian’ style letters including LOP that provide timely guidance. I also use Blogger and WordPress to derive a nice sideline income and have been since 2002– the best part, costs nothin’ except minimal expense for hosting on WP and even that is not required.

    New format rocks by the way :) Take care.

  2. Phil

    Hi my name is Phil from UK and I am 66 years old.
    I have been following your advice for around 50 years.
    Obviously you weren’t around then but what you are saying I have always known. Don’t ask me how, it’s just been a feeling. I was brought up very poor, we didn’t even have electricity in the house. But I’ve been a good sheep, starting as an apprentice engineer and retiring as a college lecturer. I’ve worked all over the world and had some good jobs, but you know what? I started with nothing and I’ve ended up with nothing. Not strictly true. Picking up opportunities I have managed to retire on 3/4 of what I was earning, own my house outright and have no debts. But I still have no capital. I have an opportunity to go and work in the middle east to deliver some learning, this time working for me and although It will take some time to earn I will enjoy it.
    As you will see from the figures I gave you I couldn’t invest anything yet but once I return from Oman, that should change.
    More power to your arm.

  3. Eugene Garner

    Nice article, but there is something missing. A lot of the unemployment is caused by uncertainty of small business with government regulation, taxes, licenses, fees and a host of others.

    Then we have the Federal Reserve eroding our 5 cent dollar towards 0. When (not if) the dollar crashes, what form of barter will replace the dollar? Attempts by central banks to replace the dollar with other bogus monopoly money just ain’t going to fly. So entrepreneurs and small business ventures, the backbone of the economy, are whistling in the dark.

    A lot of people are flocking to the internet to join the home business wave, but when the dollar crashes what then? Without the credit card system that relies on the floundering dollar, which could be the next dot.com crash that will make the last one look tame.

    With the government considering regulating the Internet and allowing the president with emergency powers to control it, who in their right mind can count on that vehicle?

    Your best bet is to become self sufficient from all the necessities you take for granted such as, electricity, food, water, fuel, etc. This may sound unpalatable, especially for city folks, but all your ‘virtual’ and paper assets can disappear by the stroke of some bureaucratic snafu, or government emergency, real or fabricated.

    I pray it doesn’t happen, but hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

  4. Penny

    Sounds like a very lucrative proposition. I am interested.

  5. Charles Okongo

    I was simply stated overwhelmed with the timeliness, depth of understanding, and the tone of concern that the article presented. I will read it again and definitely put it to use beginning with I feel a bit of competency in. Thank you madam for putting this together for us. Live to see who you have impacted today.

  6. Chuck Anthony…You’re right trading can be a very lucrative side income. Obviously there are risks. Though when you sit down and look at the hourly rate a seasoned trader can make with their time it’s quite impressive.

  7. Phil… You’re a star. Owning your own house and carrying no debt is a big accomplishment. You also bring up something I firmly believe, people can get by on a lot less then they’re spending. Good luck with the new job and stay safe.

  8. Eugene Garner… You bring up some valid points. I hope we can maintain at least some semblance of the world we have. Though as an old farm girl I understand the importance of self sufficiency. Hopefully we never need it, but it doesn’t hurt to know how to grow and raise your own food.

  9. Penny… There is nothing on offer here. I’m just encouraging people to become more self sufficient and create multiple streams of income. Though if you are looking for something to help you out, the League of Power has several programs that are worth checking out.

  10. Charles Okongo… Thank you so much for the kind words. Please feel free to share this article and website with others.

  11. Spangs

    Ok, I guess alot of your work is based on USA ‘stuff’.
    What I would like to know, what is going to happen in Australia because our economy is so strong….at the moment.

  12. Gonzalo

    Did you try the financial aid dept. in your shoocl? Also try health and welfare dept. If those two can’t help, they should be able to point you in the right direction. Sometimes, the Elks lodge or some of the other lodges will help, you just have to ask. You are a very brave woman, keep up the good work and let nothing get in the way of your providing for your family and building a life for you all. The best of luck in all that you do!

 
 
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