Most personal finance advice will tell you about saving your money or managing it better. I too subscribe to the idea that how you manage it matters a whole lot more than how much it is but increasing your income is also a sure-fire way of improving your financial position now and into the future. So the question is how does one go about increasing their income?
The Zimbabwean landscape when it comes to formal employment for the most part looks dire. You have people who are more often than not underpaid and overworked. If your current role isn’t bringing in the money that you require your options are to get promoted or find an employer that is willing to increase your wages. Whichever is possible.
The Side Hustle
The side hustle has become the biggest hobby of Zimbabweans in my estimation. Most side hustles involve selling something. However, you will also find many side hustles that are based on services and activities. There’s quite a lot of potential in this if you have access to the right thing. This arrangement is flexible and doesn’t really enjoy fixed hours or effort, it’s just something you do here and there. That is of course up to you as many side hustles are simply the beginnings of small businesses. Depending on the side hustle you can get away with investing a few hours a week. With the right product, this can boost your finances pretty well.
Freelancing is what you do when you have a skill and somebody out there is willing to pay for it on an on-demand basis. Digital skills are kind of hot in this realm right now but practices as old as bookkeeping also enjoy a slice of this pie. If you’re fortunate you can find continuous work for a few hours a week that could add up to a lot over time. The difference between freelancing and a side hustle is the responsibility for the work and the investment. Generally, freelancers are people with skills in an area that come in on a part-time or flexible basis to help out businesses or organisations.
Now we are entering the big leagues. A business is a system of processes that provides a product to customers for profit. While we often confuse side hustles with businesses the difference is in the system of processes versus the ad hoc style of side hustles and their dependency on you. Businesses are systems that are designed to be autonomous. Have a look through our business ideas, you might find the one that works perfectly for you. Where a business differs from a side hustle or freelancing is the investment in the system. That is all on you and while it is not always expensive to set up, the responsibility to set it up and execute it well rests with you. You can of course appoint employees and even managers but ultimately they all fall under your responsibility.
Consulting and Advisory
Got skills? Got experience? Well then maybe you can become a consultant or advisor. Consultants use their experience to guide and assist others in making the right decisions and avoiding pitfalls. Advisors perform much the same function but advisory tends to happen in regulated spaces where some sort of authority governs who can give such assistance. This works very well if you have experience in a complicated or heavily regulated discipline such as tax.
And the Holy grail of increasing income, investing. Investing implies putting your money to work for you, so it is light on time and heavy on reward. The are many short term and long term investment alternatives available to Zimbabweans including shares, unit trusts, property, businesses and a whole lot more. You need to make sure you know which investment is right for you. In almost all cases patient capital does better in investing.
The upside of increasing money is potentially unlimited. If you are desperately seeking ways to increase your income understand that things like a side hustle and freelancing are easy to set up but businesses and investments may take so much longer and much more effort.