Your streams of income

I found unemployment to be a great time to reflect on where I was at and where I was headed. I wrote about a story I heard from a mentor right after I got laid off (see the Potted Plant article in the library – you must be logged in to see it). A few months before I was laid off I got the “Multiple Streams of Income” book from the library and read through it (not very good reading but I scanned through to pick up on the principles, ideas and examples).

The concept is simple – don’t rely on just one “stream” of income – have many. This idea had always been appealing to me but I had 2 problems:

1. I never had time, as work consumed about 10 hours a day and I wasn’t interested in starting something else.

2. I didn’t have any great ideas 🙂 I would love to have had the next best mousetrap but I didn’t allow myself to be creative enough to figure anything out – or at least I didn’t think I could come up with anything.

Well, unemployment took care of the first issue – I had time coming out my ears. I didn’t really think about the second issue because I was so focused on getting my primary stream back. As time went on I began to think of self-employment ideas and over time realized that I wasn’t sure what my primary income would ever be.

I didn’t ever, ever want to be in a situation where 90% or more of my income would be in control of a boss or owner. Sure I do a great job, give it my all and am a great employee. I add value to the company. I’m sure you do also. But every employee is at risk of losing their job. Your primary stream is ALWAYS at risk! Isn’t that scary?

So I thought about a few businesses that I could start. I still have a few on the back burner. I only had one criteria – I didn’t want something that would consume me – especially once it got up and running. One of the ideas in the book is to get something in motion and then hand it off – and you take a portion of the revenue/profit perpetually.

Sounds easy. Too easy. But here is what I’ve learned. In the last month or two of interviews I’ve asked if there is a conflict of interest if I run a business on the side. Every time I asked the response was “no, actually Larry (down the hall) runs a business, and I have a few things on the side, and so and so …”

What I learned was that many working folks have their own thing on the side! I’m a latecomer to this party!

Think about what you could do on the side. Perhaps you can get a spouse or brother involved. Maybe a non-relative partner. I’ll never be in a situation where my entire income can be wiped away by a strategic decision, whim of an owner, or politicking by someone else.

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