Do you find yourself loving your work, but avoiding the prospect of working for someone? Or craving variety in your work life, rather than pounding away at the same project for the same company every day?
All my life friends and family have given me a hard time because I don’t like to be tied down by a traditional “report-to-someone” job. They’ve said I have “career commitment phobia”. Working in television news, I was required to sign contracts that often outline what you can and can’t do, even what you can and can’t wear on camera. Needless to say, I haven’t worked full-time as a journalist, with a contract, since 2001 (even though I’ve been fortunate to work as a reporter and producer for some great stations, consistently, the entire time).
I’ve been really lucky to segue the part of news that I love – the storytelling, the narration, the learning about new people and experiences – into other things. Over the past few decades, I have worked as a news reporter, a news anchor, a morning show host, an entertainment correspondent, a publication editor, a magazine writer, a medical reporter, a communications director for a statewide agency, a cable network show host and contributor, a voice actor, an audiobook narrator, a face for countless products, and a voice for many different events and concepts.
I’ve covered everything from home and garden trends to politics, agriculture, and crime. I’ve reported on an execution at San Quentin, and have played a reporter outside of San Quentin in a Marvel movie. All of these different opportunities have definitely kept me from being bored at work. It may not always come easily, but it does come with some benefits. Aside from a life of variety, it has also helped create multiple revenue streams.
Why Create Multiple Revenue Streams?
When you’re not tied down to the do’s and don’ts of one particular job, you can play many roles, and work to diversify your streams of income. So, what exactly are the benefits of having multiple income streams as an entrepreneur?
1. Financial independence– With multiple streams of income, you’re never putting all of your eggs in one career basket– if one job stalls or revenue falls, you won’t be left empty-handed. During the pandemic, voice actors who relied on in-studio work struggled when studios closed, while those who focused on eLearning and medical projects flourished as consumers turned to online learning, and medical agencies looked to create relevant content in an ever-changing world.
2. Career flexibility– I have an accountability partner who is a trained accountant, but is passionate about voiceover. A few years ago she was able to transition to working primarily in voiceover while keeping her accounting clients on the side. Nowhere else would she find a sole employer who’d allow her to be their accountant and voice talent!
3. Working on your own schedule– The 9-5 is no more when you decide to work for yourself with multiple streams of income. You have the freedom to choose when and where you’re working. While it doesn’t mean less work, it does mean work on your own terms.
4. Financial security– Multiple revenue sources can also protect you from the loss of a sole job. We saw record numbers of jobs eliminated overnight during the pandemic, and it was devastating. Those who had a “side hustle” were able to pivot more quickly. Even today, the U.S. job market is a long way off of where it was pre-pandemic, proving that relying on one source of income is a huge risk.
5. Do what you love– Do you like to travel? I’m addicted to it. It’s my passion! Juggling a few different gigs allows me to combine work with travel. A recent travel voiceover project now has me exploring a trip to Barcelona! Having income from different sources can allow you to do more of the things you love, and discover what you’re truly passionate about.
Where to Go for New Sources of Revenue
There are now a plethora of online options for income. If you create a product, there’s Etsy. If you’re a writer, you may head to Freelancer. Platforms like Upwork, FlexJobs, and Indeed make the search even more simple. Opportunities for teachers, accountants, and even online beauty consultants and personal trainers now exist.
You can choose to earn active income, by having a paying job or your own start-up, or you could rely on passive income, from rental property, royalties, or investments. You could actually be making money while you sleep.
Another popular and relatively low-cost way to earn passive income is by building an online business. Creating your own website can generate passive income from advertising and the sale of products or services. Platforms like Etsy and Shopify make it easy and affordable for anyone to build and manage an online store. It takes time, but the investment can be worth it if you’re passionate and interested in what you’re building.
But, This Kind of Work Isn’t for Everyone…
- Do you thrive on stability? Stability is possible when you’re steering your own ship, but it can take time to build a regular client list. On the other hand, I have a friend who left a great job working in communications for a hospital and convinced them to be her first client in her home-based public relations firm. It’s possible to leave your full-time job and convince your former employer that you’re still valuable to them (sometimes more valuable) in a freelance capacity. If stability is something you can’t work without, freelancing might not be the right fit for you.
- Do you need predictable income from the get-go? You can often create regular, predictable income streams, but it takes time and work to get there. It also requires you to be able to manage additional financial elements of life, like purchasing your own health insurance and creating a retirement account that you contribute to on your own.
- Do you need to be held accountable in order to get things done? Some people work better when they know others are watching. I admit that it’s hard to be motivated at times with distractions all around us. But, if you find yourself relying on those extra eyes to keep you motivated, this type of work may not be for you.
- Do you prefer the corporate office environment? If having daily, in-person contact with your colleagues is important to you, reconsider getting into this kind of work. There are desktop candy jars to pick through, water cooler banter to be had, or delicious treats from a co-worker’s abundant fruit trees when you work remotely. While I still talk to humans every day and sometimes get to work with them in person, I do work independently for the most part.
Finally, giving yourself more options when it comes to income is always positive, but it’s not always easy. There are parts that people don’t see– sometimes you’ve got to sacrifice, work late, and get less sleep, but if you value flexibility and freedom above all else, it’s totally worth it.
If there was ever a time to turn career commitment issues in your favor–it’s now! The more time and effort you put into diversifying your sources of income, the more financial freedom you’ll be able to achieve. My career has proven to me that you don’t need to be tied down to be successful, it’s possible to work outside of the normal nine-to-five and create a fulfilling and financially secure life.