Getting Ready For a Gig Economy With Passive Income

Lightbulb - Idea Ownership

Long gone are the days when you could walk out of school with a fresh diploma in hand and expect to land your dream job. While such might have been true for your parents or grandparents, that is not the situation today.

Too frequently we tend to think, “I’ll earn my diploma and be able to do exactly what I have always dreamed of doing” or “there are a lot of businesses waiting to pay me top dollar for my skill set.” Sadly, even in an economy with low unemployment, that isn’t the case except for in-demand fields. If you are like the majority, you are going to need to be creative to get started.

The dream of a vast majority of people, young and old alike, is to be your own boss and run your own business. Even if that isn’t your goal, wouldn’t it be nice to have some extra money coming in each month?
I asked that question of my students. Strangely enough, none of them said they would turn down extra money each month.

This week I challenged my students to begin creating a secondary (or primary for some) source of income. Some will be graduating at the end of the semester, others still have several years. The challenge is the same. Do not be dependent on one source of income. Treat any employment that you have as a gig. It might be your primary gig, but you should (NEED) to have other gigs happening as well.

There are many ways you can get started. If you need money quickly, you can check out one of over 150 apps that help you connect with the gig economy. Many of these might be the right solution to help you get started. My daughter has been using gigs to help between bigger projects (i.e. working on TV shows and movies) while living in Los Angeles. This process works but only provides income for the hours you work.

But let’s focus on building a reoccurring, semi-passive income that will help you long term. This is different than a gig. A gig is generally considered making or doing something for someone else at their request. A passive (or semi-passive) income is generated from your efforts over time to create a stream of income, even when you aren’t able to interact with it on a daily basis.

For example, an author of a book (or textbook) only writes a book once (even if they continue to update the textbook). The sales from that book continue after they are finished. While they might go to book signings, make appearances, etc, their primary work is finished and the continuing sales are passive, not requiring their direct day-to-day interaction. The same is true of someone who records a song, writes a play, and acts in a movie or TV series. They continue to receive income (usually in the form of royalties) for the life of that product.

But what about those of us who have not written a book, can’t sing, or haven’t yet become a star? How can we get in on this type of income? There are many ways. Let’s look at two: blogging and vlogging.

The best time to start a project like this is while you are in college and are having your living expenses supplemented by parents, student loans, or scholarships. I say semi-passive because there are very few things that continue to provide income without you continuing to exert some effort on your part. The key is to maximize the Return On the Investment of your time and energy (ROI).

These are not get-rich-quick schemes. Both of these methods take effort over an extended period of time to accomplish your goals. Once you reach your goals, they can supply a steady source of income for a long time.

Making money from blogging and vlogging is about finding a niche or area that people want to learn about or find entertaining. Both take effort and patience.
With blogging, you will be writing, editing, finding the right graphics, monetizing, updating links until you have built an audience that is interested in the topics that you are writing about. It will take time to accomplish this. Most blog articles need to be in excess of 1300 words and take months before they begin to receive traffic. According to my research, generally over six months before they have significant traffic. Most people do not have the patience and perseverance to wait and continue to work on something that takes so long to have a return.

Vlogging is similar to blogging in that it takes time and commitment to build an audience and enough videos to begin to see an income from the effort. Getting started on YouTube is not for the faint of heart. People will troll your efforts. You need to be active in responding to comments and building your community. At this time, YouTube requires 1000 subscribers to your channel and over 4000 hours of videos viewed before you receive any revenue from your efforts. This generally requires regular videos uploaded to your channel with a dedication to creating high-quality entertainment. You will need a camera, microphone, and a little bit of know-how in video editing (PLEASE, edit your video!!) Below is one of my most popular videos that I created for a graduate class that needed a refresher on using Microsoft Access.

That’s right, it isn’t anything special. Just a few minutes long, yet it generates the most hours for my YouTube channel by far.

Challenge: Accepted!
Let’s get started in building that side-gig! For simplicity (and because it has a lower cost of entry), we will start with a blog. You can see how to build a blog here.
In this blog, we will cover some free and inexpensive resources to help you get started.

The best time to start any new endeavor is now! You’ve got this!

© 2019 – Brian Burton, Ed.D.  Dr. Professor-Dad

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