On Multiple Sources of Income and Working Smarter Not Just Harder

Posted by Fitz Villafuerte under Mindsetting, Productivity on June 18, 2009

How many sources of income do you have?

A friend of mine has about six. He works as a part-time bookkeeper, sells vitamins for a direct-selling company, owns an eLoad business, buys and sells computer parts online, works as a Math tutor and occasionally gets an allowance for running important errands for his father’s company.

I know what you’re thinking, my friend is really hard working and with all those income sources, then he must be earning a lot!

Well yes, he is hard working, but despite all those freelance work, I would say he’s actually “not earning much”. Or to put it in another way, he could be earning more if he only knows how.

And by that I mean, working smarter not just harder.

Having multiple sources of income is not bad, I actually encourage it. But this does not mean that one should grab every income opportunity that comes along without doing a proper evaluation of how it will affect you.

work-smarter-1

You see, with all the things that my friend does, he rarely gets the time out to have some fun. Worse, he’s always feeling tired and stressed. So even if he is actually earning a lot, that’s not exactly a good way to live your life.

That’s why the last time I sat down with my friend for coffee, we did a short study of what he could do differently to improve his finances, and more importantly, get rid of some of his stress.

First, we listed down all his income sources and how much time he usually spends a week doing those.

Second, I had him compute how much net income he earns with each; and divided that with the number of hours he puts on that job in a month.

Then, I helped him tabulate the date, as shown below:

Income Analysis

work-smarter

The first thing he realized is that he always thought that his bookkeeping work was his highest income earner. It actually is in terms of amount, but when time is put into the equation, it seems that doing special tasks for his father’s company is the winner.

So I asked him, “Why not work for your father full time? I’m sure he’ll give you a good salary.”

He answered that he used to work for their family business and was earning enough, but he decided to leave because he wanted to make it on his own – to make his own career path. “Fair enough,” I said.

Then we talked about his tutoring, to which he answered, “My tutees are just kids from the neighborhood, maybe I could try to advertise my service to other areas in the village to get more students.”

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“That’s right. Get students from middle to upper class schools so you can charge higher,” I suggested.

“What about my bookkeeping?” he asked.

“Well, ask yourself first if the work you do is really worth P100 per hour. If not, then increase your rates or at least, try to find a way to be more efficient at it so you’ll spend less time doing that,” I answered. “Either way, you’ll be increasing your hourly income.”

“Also, I suggest you spend less time buying and selling online or stop doing that if you want,” I said.

“Why?” he asks.

“Although it nets you P4,000 a month, it’s an active income that’s only slightly better than your eLoad business, which is semi-passive,” I noted. “Why not spend more time marketing and developing your business, maybe you could add more products or expand it. Ask your staff and customers for suggestions on how to improve your store.”

“The same goes for your direct selling,” I continued. “It’s not earning much right now but from what I know, direct selling can be a good source of passive income once you are able to realize its full potential.”

work-smarter-2

Working Smarter, Not Just Harder

We continued our discussion and for the rest of the night, we were able to come up with a better plan for his finances and work out the details on how he can improve his income without necessarily putting in more hours. It was really rewarding for me to see him all excited with accomplishing his new goals.

In my opinion, there are three things you need to consider if you want to work smarter:

  • Take care and give more importance to your high income earners.
  • Study and develop income sources that can potentially become passive over time.
  • Increase productivity and efficiency by leveraging on technology, processes and manpower.

So how about you? Are you working smarter or just working harder?

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Photos credits: eef-ink and blakespot




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17 Responses to “On Multiple Sources of Income and Working Smarter Not Just Harder”


  1. Roy says:

    very helpful info.

    I agree, grabbing every opportunity that comes along will only cause you undo stress because you’ll only be spreading yourself thinly

    you should develop one enterprise until it can stand on its own before you jump on another one….

    that’s what happened to me… i was a jack of all trade, yet a master of none 🙂

  2. jireh says:

    naku sir fitz… ito talaga ang hinihintay ko na topic.. thanks thanks 🙂 wish nandito ka sa davao para maka coffee rin tayu hehehe

  3. James says:

    Opportunities in life are not like the trains that if we miss one we can always say, “I’ll catch the next one!”. But what is critical is how you choose these opportunities – will this opportunity lead me in achieving my goal?

    However, there are also ways to create multiple streams of income effective – work hard on yourself to be better and learn to learn to leverage! 🙂

  4. Markus says:

    I’ve never looked at it that way before. This entry is really an eye-opener. Thanks for sharing this to us. Its really helpful.

  5. Great insights Fitz! I have been out in blogging for quite some time now because of the workload of my new job. Nevertheless, I’ll try my best to still update my blog.

  6. arbee says:

    When I was younger, a lot of opportunities to earn more had come my way, but up to now I do the things that I like doing. Kung minsan, nanghihinayang din ako sa mga pinalagpas kong pagkakataon. Maybe I can consider some of your insights and infos.

  7. Today, in this world of Most people have one simple faucet or main source of income…Their job.

  8. This post made me think to calculate .. my earning vs time alloted to those task

  9. ph_investor says:

    Nice post Fitz, thanks for sharing! Kinda like the difference between relative and absolute income as discussed by Timothy Ferris in his book “The 4-Hour Work Week”. Timothy also mentioned that “Life doesn’t have to be so damn hard…” and I totally agree.

    Multiple Streams of Income is good but Multiple Streams of PASSIVE or RESIDUAL Income is way better. What comes to mind are real estate investing, internet marketing, passively owning a business that earns(as opposed to owning and running it), passive investments, etc.

  10. Rhon @ PMAM says:

    Nice Post! Tinamaan ako. Having multiple stream of income is good coz it earns you a lot. But it is better if you earn that income in a smart way, not in hard work (although harwork is good). Working hard will pay you a lot of time, most likely, your time will be consumed in exchaged of that income. You will end up no time for yourself, family, friends, et cetera, that suppossed to be you have to enjoy it.

  11. Jonna says:

    I could say that Fitz is my financial mentor/advisor. I just did what he told me, proper time management and take care the one that generates more income. Since I am still a student, I considered selling prepaid loads as my part time biz aside from my direct selling. And I am earning from it! Since I was just a plain retailer, I then decided to become a dealer thinking that my income will increase and boy I was right. I then launched

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ultimate-Load-Technology-Associate-Dealer/463360893705462.

    I am just new here but I can say that I am earning fair enough. In a span of 2 weeks I have now 4 dealers and 10 retailers. Thanks to Mr. Fritz for all his suggestions!

  12. […] was a really devastating experience for him, and another proof that having a job as your only source of income can be […]

  13. David A. says:

    Same. I used to work a full-time job with the evening catering to service line and on the weekends teach swimming and tuition. While occasionally work at a factory from 11am to 6pm. I only earn $2k. After that I dump everything, increase my service fee and work only in the weekends. My income rises until I decide to work even less by committing to trading Forex once a week.

    I lost and won and lose again until 7 years later. I’m making more than the interest in my savings account.

    Thank pareto’s law.

  14. Ice says:

    I have four. I sell my old stuffs at ebay. I own an apartment. I have an investment at Philplans and I have a time deposit.

  15. Edvil Pinto Ramos says:

    network marketing is good and great if you look a better and big income,,

  16. […] expert Fitz Villafuerte cautions people against having two or more income streams. According to him, it is perfectly fine […]

  17. […] people have multiple sources of income. They earn money not just from the work that they do, but also from their self-running businesses […]

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