Diversifying Income to keep stability in the time of COVID
One thing I’ve always been a big believer in is being well-rounded. For a long time, while I was in school, this made it hard to figure out what I wanted to do in my life. I liked many different subjects and was fairly good at a wide variety of things. That made it hard to determine what I wanted to do for a job or a university major. But with the perspective of time, I came to realize that this well-roundedness wasn’t an impediment to finding my passion, but actually allowed me crucial skills that have made my life happier, more stable, and richer. And yes, I’m talking about money.
If you were going to sit on a stool, and it only had one leg, you would have to balance very carefully, or you would fall over, and perhaps hurt yourself. Even with two legs, it’s a precarious perch. A stool, like a life, only starts getting stable once it has multiple legs. And the more legs, the more stability. If you have a five legged stool, and one leg breaks, your stool still stays upright. This is especially true in an earthquake, when things are unstable.
This is why you can’t just rely on one source of income. Or one source of life satisfaction. If you only have one source of income, and it ends, you are in a very dangerous position. According to the American Tax Service, the IRS, millionaires have an average of 7 sources of income. They didn’t just have a job and save the money from that, they build multiple revenue streams.
Imagine you have a job you love, your co-workers are fantastic, your boss loves you and gives you freedom to pursue your dreams and passions, you make great money. You focus on this to the exclusion of all else. Then, COVID strikes. You job evaporates through no fault of your own. Millions of people around the world are in this situation, and are facing a tough time of it.
But imagine instead that you had 3 sources of income. You had your main job, and two side hustles. If your main job ended, you would still have two other sources of money. Now, there’s no guarantee that your side hustles wouldn’t be wiped out as well, but you would have better odds that the more sources of income, the more likely that some would remain.
The key to building a more diverse set of income streams is learning difficult skills that are valuable. If you can learn something that not a lot of people know how to do, you will be in higher demand. When I lived in Bahrain, I was one of a handful of photographers who knew how to use studio lights, and because of that, I was always in demand. Here in Dubai, I got obsessed with personal finance and spent hundreds of hours learning about how to save, earn more, and invest wisely. This has led to great opportunities as well. I’ll bet if you looked at the things you love, there are areas for you to learn even more so that you can start new side hustles. Beyond side hustles, learning new things in your field makes you more in demand and makes it less likely that you will be fired in the first place. Don’t be afraid to take on difficult challenges, because that is where you can really grow and gain valuable skills that set you apart from others who don’t take such an initiative.
In this time of social isolation, that could give you a great amount of time to build just such a skill set. You can even do it for free with sites like YouTube and professional blogs. If you want to pay a little money but not a lot, there are great sites like Skillshare and Coursera as well. Now would be a great time to learn how to code, as our lives are forced to be more and more digital. Make sure that you don’t violate your Work Visa whenever you start side hustles, though.
Other potential sources of income don’t even require building new skill sets. You can simply sell your stuff! Dubizzle is still working. Now could be a great time to downsize your house or apartment, as rents fall, and moving into a smaller place is a great motivator to sell things you’re not wedded to any more.
Making it through recessions, depressions, and pandemics requires adaptability, hard work, and determination. You can do this. Diversification can help.
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