Reader simplesimon left this comment to my post last week Wages During and After Recession:
Regarding how to earn more, check out the I Will Teach You To Be Rich blog by Ramit Sethi. He tries to get people thinking on what their skills are and how to turn that into income. From what I’ve read, many people have taken his advice and created side businesses for themselves.
I went to Ramit’s site and read The 30-day course on hustling your way to success. Although I don’t know how typical the stories are, they are surely motivating. This brings up a question: if you want to raise your income, should you try to advance your career or should you create a side business?
Technically this blog is a side business. I get paid for carrying ads on the blog. My writing and selling a book Explore TIPS is also a side business. However, if they interfere with my career advancement, I’d be willing to put them on a backburner. With the way my wages stalled, I already wonder if I took my eyes off the ball and missed some career opportunities.
I’m not a writer. Not if I try. I’m a fan of Matthew Amster-Burton. I linked to his posts at MintLife blog several times. He used to write about food. Now he writes about money. He does it just as well as he does about food. That’s a professional writer.
If I try to compete in the side business of writing, I’d be competing with professionals like Matthew. Odds are not in my favor. The founder of a venture-backed company recently invited me to be a paid contributor of their blog. I turned it down. Now I see he has no trouble in signing up other bloggers.
I think career advancement is still more effective in raising one’s income than a side business. You are already trained for your career. You have a lot to leverage and build upon. You are not starting from point zero and competing with others who have already been doing it, or with others who have more time than you do.
Of course if you discover special talent or skills in a side business, a side business can become a main business. Some lucky or skilled ones will make it. For the vast majority, learning new skills on the job will be a better use of one’s time.