Stop the money worries: lift that weight off your shoulders...
...and breathe freely again! If you are constantly worrying about money, here are six tips to start making money quickly and begin the road to financial recovery.
I'd love to share what I have learned about achieving financial freedom; it wasn't always a smooth journey, but I made the mistakes so you don't have to!
Worrying about money is not your fate
First of all, let's have a quick, honest heart-to-heart: how do you think about money? Do you have a healthy relationship with it where there is always enough, you feel self-sufficient, you always know where to look for more and you can enjoy your money as you have all costs covered?
Alternatively, at the mere mention of money, do you breathe a sigh of despair as you feel that you can never get ahead, it flows out of your pocket and you can't ever see a way that it can get better?
If it's the second case, remember that, from the moment you read this very post, you're starting a whole new phase of your financial life. Perhaps in the past you've been no good with money. Perhaps you spent it as soon as you had it, perhaps it burned a hole in your pocket.
The past is the past - the more that you dwell on it, the more of the present that you're wasting. Let's make a new start right now - let's build new habits, one step at a time, to propel you towards a better financial place. Let's put YOU back in control!
It will get better if you do one little thing today
And no need to berate yourself, either. Perhaps you've started diets in the past, thinking that "from this day onwards" you'd always be good, you'd always stick to your diet and you would be a completely different person! And then when you lapsed you gave yourself a hard time. Does this sound familiar? "What's WRONG with me?! Why can't I stick to a diet? Such a simple diet, and I couldn't resist those biscuits when I went to my friend's house today."
Well, let me tell you: nothing is wrong with you. Nothing at all. But perhaps there is something wrong with the way you set goals and expect immediate change. We'll see to that. You, however, are not the problem. You are the solution.
In my years as a financial trainer and stock market mentor, I've seen budgets in all shapes and sizes. And believe me, no matter how bad it is, no matter how stressed you are, how little time you have, how much you fear looking at the numbers or how you don't feel that you understand financial jargon, it can get better, 100% guaranteed.
Irrespective of the place that you're at right now, it can get better as soon as you're willing to take action. Yes, it's as simple as "just do one little thing today, and another one tomorrow".
Acknowledge your negative money beliefs, and park them away for now
So your finances are not exactly in great shape. You need to recognise what brought you there. Perhaps it was something outside of your control.
You also need to gently recognise if you have any sort of negative feelings about money and personal finances and then park them for a little while. Just for now, forget that "people like me can never be rich" or that "money is there to be spent" or that "money is so hard to come by and so easy to spend".
These thoughts will trip you up; leave them aside for now, and don't worry, they'll still be there if you really want to embrace them again... but I have a feeling you might not!
It takes one little shift, but you have to take action
I was listening to a radio interview this morning and a lady was speaking about how she had to go to St. Vincent de Paul after her husband (previously earning €1000 - €1500 per week) lost his job. She spoke of the incredible weight of guilt that she felt and used the word "failure" a lot in her description. She was completely paralysed by this and it was only when she realised that she could take control of the situation that it started to get better.
If your situation worries you so much that you're like a deer in the headlights, know that one small shift is enough to avert disaster: you need to shift your focus to what you can do, now.
I gave a workshop recently to a group of female entrepreneurs and I must have heard "I'm no good with money" about twenty times as I went around the room.
Well if your child came home every day from school and stubbornly said "I'm no good at English, so I'm not going to do my homework or sit in my teacher's class today", would you allow it? Would you say that your child doesn't have the "English class gene" and leave it at that?
On the contrary, I'm sure you would encourage them, sit down and go through the assignment with them, speak to their teacher about it and even incentivise them with treats to motivate them to make a serious effort at said subject. Why would we, as adults, not take a leaf out of our own book?
Let's start from here and take you towards financial freedom!
Now, let's pull up our sleeves and get immediately practical. So a nasty bill arrived in the mail and you need to bring in money yesterday. Here are six ways to make more money, right now.
Plan your "income-generating time" in your schedule
First of all, how much time can you devote to making money on the side? Set aside a certain number of hours each week. Can you do five? Even three is a good start.
If you spend one hour per day watching TV, would you swap it to be in a better financial place? This will be your income-generating time. You don't need to create a business, just to methodically try the following money-making avenues.
Tip #1: Sell things you don't want or don't need anymore
You know how you have been planning to clean up "that" room and clear out what doesn't fit any more? Now is the time. Room by room, weed out any object that you don't like or don't use but that's still in good shape.
Create several profiles on websites like GumTree, Craigslist, DoneDeal and eBay and look up similar objects to those you want to sell: how much are they selling for? Could your object sell for more, considering it's in better shape or comes in a different colour? Which ads are more successful? Which ads have obvious defects (no pictures, poor spelling, confusing description) that you can improve on?
Next, write a clear, detailed description of each object and upload two or three pictures (or even a very short video, taken with your phone or a borrowed camera, showing that the object is in working order).
Remember to look at your ad in the way a prospective buyer would: what questions are likely to arise for them? Make sure you answer all those potential questions, like "Do I need to pick it up or can the seller send it by post? How old is it? Does it really work? Is it still under guarantee? Does it have an instruction manual? What are the dimensions? Is it my size?"
You can also get inspiration from catalogues to see how they answer customers' questions and objections. As a student, I used to sell my college textbooks through the Students Union web site when I didn't need them anymore and they funded the next round of purchases.
Tip #2: Are you a stay at home parent?
Could you consider minding other people's children along with your own? You will need to research insurance etc., but this may be a way of making money while doing the things that you already do every day.
You might offer child-minding services during the week, butyou might also differentiate your offer: you could mind children for a couple of hours at the week-end or during week nights for people who do shift work.
Tip #3: Rent out unused space in your house, attic, garage or take in lodgers
If you have an empty room, give it a good clean and freshen it up with a new duvet cover, and advertise to find a lodger. You might also register on Airbnb.com, to rent the room for a few nights at a time to tourists and visitors. If you have a parking space you don't use, somebody might be glad to rent it. You could do the same for storage space in your garage or attic.
Tip #4: Give classes and teach your hobby
Can you speak German, play the piano or paint? Can you cook, bake or discuss nutrition? Can you write short stories, manage accounts or set up a blog? There are thousands or people that share your hobby and may be willing to pay to learn more.
Contact your local community centre and ask them about the process of setting up an evening course. Alternatively, you could approach a local provider of evening courses and partner with them as they would have a list of interested people and structure already set up.
In fact, this was how I started off when I had ambitions to start my own company. I approached three different organisations, developed a course outline and each one of them accepted and began marketing my offering to their database.
Tip #5: Answer online market research surveys in exchange for grocery coupons, or become a mystery shopper
Google "money for opinions", "paid online surveys" or go to IrishOpinions.com, register and start earning rewards. This is a super-simple way to make a trickle of income - I used to do this all the time when I was in college and often used to fill a survey out in between lectures. Imagine what you could do within a couple of hours per week.
Tip #6: Earn a commission as a reseller
You could become a reseller for a well-known brand and earn a commission every time somebody buys through you. Make sure that you don't have to buy stock upfront, as this would be an expense and you're not sure how much you can sell.
Look up Jamie at Home, Clickbank.com and others and see which one appeals to you more. Make sure to do your research and read the small print: multi-level marketing, as it's known, is a wide world and has everything from very reputable sellers, to downright scams!
I gained my first full-time job after graduation by approaching a company on this basis and then turning it into a full time, salaried position afterwards.
If you have a serious go at even one of these, I assure you that money is going to start coming in very soon!