Many years ago, a friend of mine made a comment I’ve never forgotten.
“Every woman should have at least two different ways she can earn money.”
Now that the economy has tightened up and many families are struggling to make ends meet, I appreciate the wisdom of this statement more than ever. It’s the principle of having a financial back-up plan, a concept foreign to most people.
If you’re into preparedness, you’re putting this principle into action, perhaps without realizing it. Your food storage is a back-up plan in case store-bought groceries ever become too expensive, difficult to access, or depleted. The vegetables in your garden are a back-up plan if your food storage supplies run low. (Back-up plans to your back-up plans are always a good idea.)
If you’re saving money, you’re already in the back-up-plan mode. Suze Orman, like all financial advisers, has long stressed the importance of being debt free. However, with the changes in our economy, she now says, “Save, save, save!” Your savings are a back-up plan to a possible job loss. If you’ve been buying gold and other precious metals, that’s a back-up plan to your cash savings!
There’s a vital need now more than ever to have a back-up plan to your source of income. The past few years have taught me that no job, no career field is truly safe anymore. I’ve seen teachers and attorneys lose their jobs overnight. The construction industry in our city is at an all-time low with its’ workers seeking jobs anywhere they can find them. A seemingly stable career can end in a flash with a pink slip. If that happened to you or your spouse, what would you do? Do you have more than one way of (legally!) earning money?
Alternative ways to earn money is one of the best back-up plans you could have. My friend Pat, who passed along the advice, is not only a 4th grade teacher but also a licensed masseuse. Another friend runs a produce co-op and has learned how to design websites. Women are amazingly creative, and SurvivalMoms will always figure out a way to provide whatever their families need. SurvivalDads too, by the way!
Now is the perfect time to take stock of the interests, skills and knowledge you have.
- What talents do you have that, perhaps, have been neglected due to the busy-ness of your life?
- Is there a direct sales company you have long admired that offers quality products with a low start-up cost?
- Did you once, long ago, prepare for a career that was sidelined for one reason or another?
- Can one of your hobbies become a source of income?
- Have any of your closest friends said, “You should do that for a living!” or “You’d be so good as a _____!”? Maybe it’s time to take their advice!
- Does your family participate in an activity or hobby that could be turned into a family business?
- Is there a partially-finished college degree in your background? Could you dig up your transcripts, take a few classes, and complete it?
- What need do you see in your community that you have the ability or desire to fulfill?
Be creative and think way, way outside the box. One of my friends decided to start a pizza delivery business to people living in the far outlying areas of her city. Sure enough, she began collecting orders and spent her evenings driving long distances to the homes of hungry, pizza-craving customers!
The internet opened an ever-expanding door for income opportunities, and most have the advantages of having minimal or no start-up costs and being home-based.
It’s not boom time in America anymore. No one knows when, or if, our economy will truly recover. A second or third source of income, however small, may be a financial back-up plan now, but could someday become your primary career.
Originally published March 17, 2011.