Earning extra income, One Cent At A Time

The following is a guest post from SB as part of a Yakezie blog swap. SB blogs at One Cent at a Time. My guest post on the same topic is up at his blog so, please check it out!

I sincerely thank John for allowing me to guest post on his fabulous blog today. I have been blogging only for little over two years now. Nothing as compared to John’s experience in blogging.   (Nah, just stubbornness. 😉 ~MBH)

In my 30 something years of life I have tried various ways at earning extra money on the side. It’s not that I am not a good wage earner at my day job, being a software professional I earn decent money every month.

But, this entrepreneurship instinct of mine forces me to go and try something on my own. And, like most of us, I haven’t yet master a courage to quit the day job to start a business venture. I am keeping myself satisfied with part-time and off-hour gigs.

I can remember my first venture, it was selling Teakequity, teak wood shares, while still in college in India. Every day after the classes were over, I used to go to local people selling teak shares. I was selling to 2-3 people everyday and was going to almost 30 – 40 households.

Back in India, part time jobs for college students is a non-existing thing, because of a large pool of educated and qualified population of unemployed persons. So I had to take in whatever came my way.

Even though the commission was great, I was frustrated with the success rate. Mainly because of my young age and lack of persuasive skills, people didn’t want to invest money based on my words. I soon left it after 6 months selling teak shares.

Lesson: Customer relationships and customer care is key to a business success. If you can’t persuade customers, you’ll fail in your venture.

Then, after joining the workforce (with IBM as programmer), I got interested in day trading. I was a good stock picker since my high school days, it’s a skill I got from my father. Naturally, the colleagues whom I advised on stocks, talked me in to day trading. I found something that I can do online, so even while at work I can earn extra money.

Moreover,I can earn money quickly, with no limit. With margins I was seeing tremendous potential for earning extra!

I was over-confident, and did too many transactions with call and put options both. needless to say, with mostly bad calls, pretty soon I ran out of my initial investment. This forced me to reconsider on my strategy.

Now I am a long-term investor only and I don’t do day trading any more. I buy stocks only as long-term investment

Lesson: There’s no easy way to earn money, there are a few quick ways to earn cash, but not through stock trading. Also, I learned that little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Unless you know what you are doing, you shouldn’t commit much resource (in terms of your time and money) in to it.

Then, after coming to US I tried my third side gig, buying items from garage sells and selling them on Craigslist and eBay. It was a routine for every weekend to go out and visit various garage sells.

With the price arbitrage, within a couple of months I did earn enough to buy a DSLR camera and a HD camcorder. I set up this goal to buy those two items from the side gig and promised my wife to stop doing this as soon as I have enough money earned. It did take almost 3 months to earn that amount of money though.

My wife, first, didn’t like this idea and secondly, was missing me during weekends.

Lesson: Do something that you can be proud of doing and have a support system around you. Once you get constant encouragement, instead of flak, you’ll have better chance of success. Also, business is a game of demand and supply. At garage sells, I didn’t have constant supply of goods to make money. I could sell thing easily at a higher price but getting quality sell-able items was the problem.

And, then in 2011 I started my 4th side gig, that is blogging.

So far, blogging has been a success. I implemented all lessons I learned from earlier ventures. Still, I am learning a new skill every day. Most importantly, I finally found a side gig that I love to continue with.

The lessons I learned from blogging? I will keep it for another day.

Thanks for reading the article! I will appreciate if you share your experience of earning extra income.

John Wedding

Husband. Father. Web publisher. Musician. John has blogged at Mighty Bargain Hunter since 2005, helping people to recognize life's good deals.

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  1. says

    I never tried day trading – I knew I would lose money doing that – but I did think I could time the market and make lots of money trading individual stocks. That worked in the late 90s, but then I got my lesson in 2000. I now invest only in low-cost passive mutual funds. I am much happier getting market returns, minus cost.

  2. says

    Those are some precious lessons, especially nurturing customer relationships, something one can only ignore at their own peril. Now, while I haven’t tried day trading, I do fancy forex trading and its something am willing to give a shot, part of a long line of side hustles I’d give a shot :)
    With stocks however, its for the long haul

    • says

      yes, in deed, customer relationship was one of the main lessons I learned selling teak shares door to door. I started understanding human psychology, putting emphasis to certain words and phrase, that entice people in to buying something.

  3. says

    Can’t agree more about a positive attitude being more effective than nagging! I’m a Science Teacher and can tell you from experience that my students respond when I am positive, even when I am talking with them about a poor choice they have made. The minute they feel I am judging them in a negative light I have lost them!

  4. says

    I’ve tried several side gigs over the years.

    I ran a typing service in college. Learned a lot in a short period by typing papers for different classes on different topics every day.

    I’ve looked into arbitrage of personal goods – e.g. storage locker and lost property auctions – but the margins just weren’t good enough. The volume required to achieve interesting returns would be too much of a time investment.

    Blogging is an interesting side gig. I get to share what I have learned about finance, investing, and wealth building, and if I’m good, make a little money as well. It keeps me focused, and lets me educate myself on writing, marketing, and online business. Fun, and perhaps eventually even lucrative.

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