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Motivation for Multiple Streams of Income

This article was written by in Personal Development. 45 comments.


This is a guest article by Evan, creator of My Journey to Millions. In the article, Evan discusses what motivated him to move forward with earning multiple streams of income along this journey, and takes a motivational approach to inspire readers to improve their personal finances.

Take a moment and just think about what you did last night — that time after the kids are sleeping and you are “relaxing.” Were you watching television? According to one recent government study the average American watches 2.7 hours of television per day. Assuming that counts weekdays, that is more than 10 hours per week doing nothing productive! Don’t get me wrong. I love Teen Mom just as much as the next person, but I almost never watch it without multitasking. People often ask me how I have time to blog and attempt to build multiple streams of income, and my answer is always the same, “How do you nothave time?”

Television remote controlSometimes people have legitimate reasons for not finding time in the day, but when I look closely at someone’s schedule, it’s not that they don’t have time; often they don’t share my irrational motivation.

To put it bluntly, it confuses the hell out of me. (Side note: I have also found that when you actually create a budget with someone, most people have no idea what they are spending).

What motivates me

Some people are naturally competitive or envious of others’ success, but that is not what drives me. Blogging about personal finance for the past three years has given me a chance to look at 28 year-old Evan with 30 year-old Evan’s eyes. Blogging is a very valuable tool that most people don’t use.

When it comes to finances, I am almost entirely motivated by fear.

  • I am afraid I will not be able to provide for my family.
  • I am afraid I will live an average life.
  • I am afraid I can get fired one day.
  • I am afraid my lifestyle can be taken away at any time.
  • I am afraid I will be forced to work until I am 65.

It can probably be argued that for the most part my fears are irrational and exaggerated in my mind, but with employers having less and less loyalty to their employees, I’ll stick with being overcautious.

Harnessing what motivates you

I truly believe that the first step in bettering one’s financial situation is understanding what motivates you. From my limited experience, it is easier to change the systems around you than actually changing yourself. Knowing what motivates you is the first step in harnessing that power.

For example, if you are are a competitive person, instead of toning down your natural tendencies, try creating a game out of your situation. Find a person you can compete with. Share your balance sheets with each other and bet dinner on who can increase their net worth in a certain amount of time, or try to see who can save more money on fixed costs like cable or cell phones.

If you are a person motivated by material goods then set a goal for yourself like save a certain amount of money, perhaps the cost of that new television before you buy. If you are homebody family guy, put pictures of your kids everywhere. That could be enough motivation to work to a better financial position.

For me, my motivation — my fear — has inspired me to try and build multiple streams of income, which I think is more valuable and effective than trying to change my motivation.

Stop making excuses

Regardless of what is motivating you, it is time to stop making excuses. If you are that average American and watch 10 hours of television a week, you can never claim to have no time. So I ask once again:

What did you do last night? Are you proud of it?

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Published or updated February 10, 2012. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Evan is the founder and owner of the personal finance blog My Journey to Millions. Evan has a BS in economics and a JD, and he is admitted to practice in the State of New York. View all articles by .

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Tim @ Faith and Finance

Encouraging article Evan. Last night I took a much needed break from extra projects and spent some time with my wife and some friends playing games. I think the biggest issue is to be deliberate with the free time we have. If we casually work and casually take breaks, time will slip away faster than you can imagine. In budgeting we hear, “give your dollar a job” – and the same applies with productivity: “give your time a job.”

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avatar Evan ♦193 (Cent)

Spending time with family and friends is obviously very important – what games did you play?

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,550 (Platinum)

Thanks for the article, Evan!

Last night, I spent some time working, mainly answering emails. Prior to that, I attended my weekly photography class. I am a sucker for television, and multitasked a bit while watching some, and I was probably less productive than I should have been. I’ve been trying to get more sleep lately, as it’s helping me deal with some extra stress in my life these days.

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avatar Evan ♦193 (Cent)

Thanks for giving me the opportunity! I hear you on that sleep thing. I am lucky if I get 5 to 6 hours…perpetually tired.

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avatar Investor Junkie ♦199 (Cent)

Have 3 children who are awful sleepers like we have and I’ll show you tired ;-)

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avatar Investor Junkie

I’m proud I actually watched the “boob tube”. I rarely watch TV but it’s also great to relax.

Most of focus is about generating income. So there should be some balance too and it’s possible to go too much the other way.

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avatar Evan ♦193 (Cent)

Balance is important but I think it is much much easier to sway to towards doing nothing to better you financial situation night after night.

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avatar Big Joe ♦106 (Cent)

I attempted to earn a second income as a direct sales rep for a home party company. I ended up spending more money (and worse, more time) than it was worth. I am content to spend my few evening hours talking and playing with the kids, spending time with my wife, and reading or watching television.

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avatar Evan ♦193 (Cent)

Do NOT give up Joe! Just because you had one bad relationships with a direct sales rep doesn’t mean there aren’t other things you can do. Just try to stay away from the MLM companies that force you to put a ton of your cash upfront.

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avatar The Budgeting Babe (Nicole)

Great post! I literally cannot watch TV anymore without also having my laptop open and/or my phone open to social networking. Sometimes it makes my head spin but it feels great to get so much accomplished after work. Let’s see, last night I networked with some friends in hopes of making someone else a job connection after work. Walked the 50 minutes to the restaurant to get in fitness on the way. Updated latest post on The Budgeting Babe. Brainstormed new post ideas during my fitness walk to the networking dinner. Came home exhausted after 10 pm; fell asleep 5 mins into Colbert. Very productive evening. …

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avatar Evan ♦193 (Cent)

That is a FANTASTIC NIGHT! Don’t you feel like so many other people would have made some lame excuse that they didn’t have time to exercise, network and build a website?

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avatar retirebyforty

Last night, I watched Jeopardy, put baby to bed, then worked on a post my blog.
I need more quite time, the little guy is so noisy. :)

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avatar Evan ♦193 (Cent)

It seems to me from reading your blog you absolutely have the balance thing down…you had family time, side work time and got to relax (albeit your relaxing seems to be with Jeopardy but I am not judging lol)

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avatar Rick

Last night I wrote a blog post. As for television, I watch 40 minutes of news 3 times a week. During commercials I change channels to Nightly Business News.

Cut out television, or greatly reduce it, and most folks would have hours of extra time, as you have pointed out.

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avatar Evan ♦193 (Cent)

Do you time yourself 40 mins? or is that basically how it works out?

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avatar Barb Friedberg

Evan, Great article. One caveat I would suggest, is that creating multiple income streams is not a “get rich quick” activity, but like anything else worth having, requires attention, diligence, and patience.

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avatar Evan ♦193 (Cent)

You are 1000% correct I should have mentioned that.

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avatar Squeezer

I am motivated by fear for the same reasons you are. If I was let go from my job, I do not know what I would do other than look for another job. Finding another job can take months.

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avatar Evan ♦193 (Cent)

What do you do? Is it a particularly tough industry to find employment? What have you done to calm that fear?

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avatar Earn Save Live

This post really resonated with me! As the main breadwinner in my family, I often find myself motivated by fear (and conversely, happiness). Life is too short to not live it on your own terms.

I fully agree with having multiple streams of income. Even when my husband was unemployed last year, I had my full-time job and we had our three investment properties. (Granted, those don’t make money each month, but our tenants are paying down our mortgages for us). Just yesterday, I landed my first major consulting gig: $20,000 for 20 days of work. Yay! It’s mostly going to our debt snowball, but we are setting some aside in our house fund.

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avatar Evan ♦193 (Cent)

Woah 20K for 20 days of work!? That is amazing. Between that and the houses I am fully jealous of you. Are you 2 back to being a 5 income family?

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avatar Earn Save Live

I know – I’m incredibly lucky. (Then again, I’m qualified for this work based on my education, for which I have $79,000 in student loans!) Last year, when we moved from the U.S. to Australia, my job was our only income and we had absolutely no breathing room.

Now our income streams include two full-time jobs, my consulting income, his freelance income, and our rental properties. Right now, I earn two-thirds of our household income, so I’m trying to figure out how to balance our financial goals and safeguard our future.

In tomorrow’s blog post, I’m going to talk more about this consulting income and how it came about. Ten years ago, I made $1000 for two weeks’ of work; to think that I can now make it in a day kind of blows my mind! :)

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avatar Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager

Great blog post. I spent last night serving the homeless (which I do every Thursday night). But last night was particularly awesome because I brought my puppy with me. He welcomed every person who came up to him kisses and cuddles. Definitely going to be bringing him with me the rest of the time I serve!

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avatar Evan ♦193 (Cent)

Now that is something you can be proud of!

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avatar PFM

Evan- great post, I too run into people with “no time” on their hands, but they have no trouble telling me about their favorites shows on TV, we literally get 6 channels on our TV.
I don’t miss cable and I think my kids read a lot more than the average because they’re not distracted by some silly program.
ps- I took a quick look at your site, bookmarked it, I know what I’m doing tonight after the kids go to bed ;)

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avatar Evan ♦193 (Cent)

I welcome all visitors even if they completely disagree with me lol

I don’t think The Wife would let me cancel cable completely but that is an amazing step you are making for your family.

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avatar lora kathleen

I love this post because I think THE SAME THING. Last night I started building a website for an idea I have and my roommate sat down in front of the TV. She always complains that she never has time for anything and I just laugh. Her multitasking involves reading Perez Hilton on her phone while Kim Kardashian is on tv…. It used to annoy me but now I feel sorry for her. Glad it’s not me!

And PFM – my parents cut cable when we were kids and I have been grateful to them ever since… I didn’t even own a TV for 2 years.

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avatar Evan ♦193 (Cent)

Have you ever tried to explain to her about her time management skills? Isn’t it like talking to a wall?

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avatar Jason

We cancelled cable/satellite about 2 years ago and it was one of the better things we did (after the transition period!). I find both my wife and I are far more productive with our time as a result, which has resulted in multiple income-generating activities.

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avatar Evan ♦193 (Cent)

That is a cool story. I’d love to hear about some of these!

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avatar wylerassociate ♦162 (Cent)

my wife & I spent the day shopping, running errands but also planning what vacation trips we are going to do this year. It was very enjoyable being with each other & just talking.

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avatar Evan ♦193 (Cent)

That is great. Everyone needs some quality time, but the post was really asking is that your night…every night? or are you financially productive some nights?

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avatar DonnaFreedman ♦95 (Newbie)

Don’t have a TV so that’s not a problem. Last night I strained a batch of homemade yogurt (I like it thick so I strain it to separate the whey) and cooked some “manager’s special” apples into applesauce (so good with the yogurt, and super-cheap: 99 cents’ worth of fruit became a quart and a pint of finished product) while I worked on a post for my personal site. Vacuumed, caught up on e-mails, talked on the phone with my daughter and read a few pages of “Mozart in the Jungle” before crashing.
I am in the middle of my first no-deadline vacation in four and a half years, so it was an absolute treat not to be thinking about what was due when. Most of my evenings tend to be at least half and sometimes 75% writing.

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avatar Evan ♦193 (Cent)

ooo I would LOVE to try that yogurt. It is amazing that you were so productive on a no-deadline vacation…a true inspiration.

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avatar Ceecee ♦53 (Newbie)

Okay, so I watched the Grammy Awards. You caught me. Now you’ve got me motivated, though. Just an hour here and there without the TV and there are things I could accomplish. Thanks for the motivation!

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avatar Evan ♦193 (Cent)

Do you normally get stuck? What projects are you working on?

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avatar John Bartal

Thank you for the encouragement, Evan! You’ve caused me to take a look at myself and see how I can improve my own net worth. Especially during a time in my life where I have limited responsibilities, more of my time could be spent making money and saving for the future! Again, great article, and thank you for it!

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avatar Evan ♦193 (Cent)

Any ideas on how you are going to make moves?

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avatar bax

I’m saving for a new motorcycle. The only way I can have it, is to find (develop) the income to buy it.

It’s kind of the opposite of financing something, in order to buy it, you develop an income stream to support it.

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avatar Evan

Very cool way of doing it. Are you trying to build a stream that will pay for the monthly payments or a stream that you can allow you to save for the total purchase price.

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avatar qixx ♦1,895 (Half-Dollar)

This article reminded me of a recent twitter post. It said you are no longer allowed to say “I don’t have the time” but must instead say “It is not a priority”

We do need to increase our alternate income as if i lost my job we would not be able to cover our bills let alone food (and i love to eat).

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avatar Evan

have you done anything since this post went up?

LOVE the twitter quote!

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avatar Mike Collins

You hit the nail squarely on the head Evan. People love to complain about their situation but very few actually take steps to improve it. It is hard to get off the couch and work late nights when all you really want to do is crash.

Like you I’m motivated by fear and by my family. Not being able to provide for my kids and put them on the right road in life is a big motivator to me. Just remember to keep the balance between your income streams and your little guy.

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avatar Evan

That balance is HUGE, and one of the reasons I like the online world so much. It isn’t as lucrative as some of the other things I could be doing but it allows me to be home and work late into the night when he is sleeping.

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avatar Peter

I’m right with you on this one Evan, knowing that I’m the primary breadwinner for my family means I’m motivated to plan for the worst case scenarios in life that you mention – the job losses, not earning enough, etc. Because of that I’ve also developed secondary and tertiary income sources, to make sure that I’m never too dependent on one source. If I were to lose my job today, I’d be ok because I’ve got my blog income and other sources to fall back on.

I also think it’s funny when people say they have no time to develop new sources of income. These are usually the same people who are spending their free time in front of the tube or surfing Facebook all evening. Like mentioned above it’s all about managing your free time wisely, and spending some on productive things, some on family and friends and some on just vegging out. I try not to work on my sites much over the weekend, and devote it solely to family. While it doesn’t always work out that way, i’m usually pretty good about it.

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