why I hate multiple income streams

A few days ago, I wrote a post about why I love multiple income streams. Today, I’m going to go to the dark side and tell you why they suck. I can’t help it, I’d like to think of myself as a realist! To clarify: I’m defining “part-time” as something that takes 15-20 hours a week and “freelance” as a project, which can have variable hours.

1.)    They are a huge time constraint. If you have two jobs, one full-time and one part-time, you will quickly learn that the remaining time you have left is precious and likely, you are not going to feel like doing anything besides having some chill time in your remaining hours. You will simply not have as much time as you did before to accomplish other things. Freelancing projects are very similar, and they can become even more of a time constraint because a good freelancer wants his or her work to go out perfect so that it reflects well on them. Perfect takes time, people.

2.)    You will have a less flexible schedule. If you’re a freelancer, your schedule will likely still be pretty flexible, because you can choose to some degree when you want to have meetings/work on projects. However, if you have a part-time job in addition to a full-time job, your schedule will probably be much more rigid (example: You work 8-4:30 at your regular job, and then work 5:30-10:15 at your second job). This means that you will not be able to be as spontaneous with your plans – you won’t be able to have a last-minute dinner with a close friend or decide on a whim to take a class at your gym. With proper scheduling, you can still get in your gym time or make  your social commitments. If you are someone that likes to fly by the seat of their pants, however, this could get really tricky really fast.

3.)    Your secondary income streams are likely going to pay less. If you take a second job, chances are that you are going to be paid less than at your main job. Traditional second job choices are in low-paying fields,  such as food service/preparation or retail. There are some second jobs that pay better than your main gig, but finding those are few and far between (example: my dance teaching job pays me almost double what my main job pays me per hour. The catch is that I only teach a few hours a week, so in the end it isn’t very much money at all). Freelancers typically look at things differently: they usually get paid per job instead of per hour. The downside to this is that often, freelancers spend a lot of time on a project which equals out to a lower hourly wage.

4.)    Fatigue. Fatigue can strike any worker, but it is especially rampant for workers with multiple sources of income.  If you are working long hours at multiple jobs, or work all day at your main job and then come home and spend 5-6 more on a project, fatigue can strike quickly. Oftentimes, there is no getting around it – it is just a bad side effect of working a lot.  Trying to get a good nights’ sleep can help, but many multi-jobbers sacrifice sleep in order to accomplish things in their personal life. There were many occasions where I got off work at 10:30 after working for 14+ hours at two different jobs where I went home, showered, and went right back out until the wee hours  just so that I could spend a little time with my friends.

5.)    Burnout. I have worked multiple jobs since I graduated high school. I can’t really remember the last time where I only had one job. It doesn’t bother me anymore, because I am at a point where I can manage my time between the jobs well, and I have the ability to cut my hours back if I am feeling particularly overwhelmed. That being said, I have felt burn-out many times. The most burned-out I have ever felt was after the restaurant that I had been managing decided to shut down and only give a weeks’ notice. I scrambled to find work to fill in the unexpected unemployment. I picked up every shift I could from my coffee shop gig, and started working for a local restaurant here in town. I would leave right from working at the coffee shop from 7:30-4, and work at the restaurant from 4:30 until 10 or so, and then leave and do the whole thing over again the next day. Both jobs required you to be on your feet, active, and creating orders in a quick time period. It was exhausting. I did it for awhile, to get my financial feet underneath me, but I finally had to move on from the restaurant. In my downtime, I literally wanted to do as little as possible. I was becoming depressed. I felt like a failure. It was time to move on. Burn-out can happen when a person works only one job, but the effect is amplified when you are working multiple jobs. Your candle can only burn at both ends for so long.

I try to stay positive on this blog, but sometimes a reality check-in is order. Unfortunately, reality means that there are unsavory aspects to having multiple income streams. I am still a big fan of multiple incomes, and I still recommend it to anyone looking to boost their income or try out a different field – but I also feel like they should know the downsides, too!

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how did I do in June?

How did I do in June? Let’s revisit my June goals and talk about my successes and fails.

1.)    Pay off my refrigerator. SUCCESS!  I paid this bad boy off in a HURRY. It did mean that I had to pick up more hours at work, which led to me being exhausted for a good chunk of the month. However, now I can say that I OWN my refrigerator outright 😉 I’m pretty excited about that!

2.)    Finish saving for a new laptop. SUCCESS! At first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it – I was still working hard to catch up on the havoc that May brought.  However,  I did it! I will be able to purchase that gleaming new piece of technology with cold, hard cash when I decide to make my decision. I would like to note that this time last year, that account sat at a mere $368.21. In a years’ time, I’ve been able to bump that number up to $1,694.10! I didn’t start really contributing to this account until May of 2012, and I have somewhat passively saved for it (except for the last few months). It’s amazing what you can do when you put your mind toward it!

3.)    Contribute to my Roth IRA. SUCCESS! Although it is just a small amount, I’m determined to make it a habit. Downside: when I first set this up in 2008, I set it up as a CD which doesn’t mature until September of this year. I’m really unhappy with who it is currently through, because they have changed their processes and made it an act of Congress to make a deposit. Therefore, when this term is up, I am switching banks! Positive note: When I set this up, CD’s still had a fairly good rate of return. Therefore, I have earned a decent rate of interest on this account, even though it has just sat for a lot of its’ existence.

4.)    Work on re-establishing meal plans. FAIL. Although I did plan some meals out in June, I didn’t plan out as many as I wanted to, and I ate out waaaaay too much – it is reflected in my Dining Out budget, which was almost $100 over! Most of the overages were from meeting up with long-lost friends for a nice meal out – this happened multiple times over the month, and all but one occasion were last minute. I don’t want to make excuses for my overages – it is ultimately my decision. However, I also value my social relationships and I don’t mind fudging on meals out if I am not strapped for cash and I am seeing a friend I haven’t spent time with in a long time.

5.)    Pay for Iceland in cash. SUCCESS! Unless Iceland slaps me in the face with obnoxiously high prices on EVERY SINGLE THING, I think I have this one taken care of! I still want to contribute $150 to my account before I leave on the 26th, but even if I don’t, I should be fine. The goal is mainly to keep myself in the practice of contributing to my travel account EVERY MONTH.

I think June was a pretty good month for goal keeping! Meal planning looks better so far for July, minus the end where I will be out of the country.

How are you doing with your latest set of goals?

why I love multiple income streams

I frequently hear my friends and family lament, “You have a good job now. Why do you still need to work some much? Relax!” Although I do have a good job now, I still am holding on to my two part-time jobs and am always on the lookout for freelance work. Why? When is it time to call it quits?

I’ve been thinking about that question a lot recently, and considering if I push myself too hard sometimes. After a lot of thought, I decided I wasn’t, and came up with 4 main reasons that I LOVE having multiple income streams!

#1) MORE INCOME! I feel like this is obvious, but more work = more money. The more income streams that I allow to open up, the more income I have at my disposal to use as I wish (typically as savings for travel). Who couldn’t use a little more cash?

#2) I stay busy. When I work multiple jobs and also pick up side jobs, my time is limited. I still try to balance everything in my life, which is easier said than done. However, I like being a busy person. The biggest perk of staying busy is that I don’t have time to shop or lust after things – by the end of the day, I’m ready to take a shower and relax, not shop.

#3) I get to use different skills than I would at my day job. I am fortunate that the jobs that I have are all different – one is in computer software (main job), one is slingin’ coffee for a national chain (side job) and one is teaching dance to children (side job). For each job, I get to hone a set of skills that I wouldn’t normally exercise. For instance, at my main job, I need to focus on accuracy and attention to detail. At my coffee job, I need to exercise my customer service skills. When I teach dance, I have to work on leadership and creativity. All of those unique things make me work differently and sometimes push me to my limits, but I think that it is beneficial because it keeps me on my toes and rounds out my  skill-set.

#4) My network increases substantially. If I worked at just one of those jobs, my professional network would be quite small. However, if I add up all the people I come into contact with on a regular basis due to work,  I have quite a network. My coffee shop job sneakily allows for some awesome networking capabilities – it is really easy to chat up customers in the name of customer service! It can also open doors for you that may have otherwise been closed. Almost all of the jobs I have ever had came from networking – don’t discount it, your personal network is very important!

What are your thoughts on multiple income streams? Is it too hard to manage? Is it easier for you to just focus on one job? Do you have eight jobs and make me look like a multiple job wimp? Share your stories with me!