Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How to Earn Extra Cash & The Hidden Difficulties

I read with interest a certain article on AsiaOne that gave ten ways on how one could earn extra cash.  The article was well written but I wasn't too sure how helpful it was to people who actually read it.  I mean what was listed down was really ten ways to earn extra cash but I guess the difference really lies in how difficult it is to make extra cash (especially if one holds a full-time job) and also what I would term as the "work-reward" ratio (i.e. how much work you have to put in versus the magnitude of the earnings/reward).

For example, babysitting was listed down as one of the ways to earn extra cash.  Sure, this advice applies well to stay-at-home mums but even if $1000 is paid out for you to babysit a child for all weekdays throughout a month, is it a worthwhile effort?  Likewise, Adsense was listed down as one of the ways but seriously, how long does it take for a newbie to earn $1000 through Adsense?

Why it is probably easier to babysit 

These are difficult questions and will probably require difficult answers.  But looking at it, I can safely tell you that it will be easier for most people to earn $1000/month doing babysitting compared to earning $1000/year from Adsense.  And the context is really important.  And the reason for this apparent difficulty or disparity lies in a really simple answer that probably plagues many of Singapore's local businesses too:  Singapore is too small.

Imagine an American blogger.  With a total resident population in the United States of 300 over million people and a high internet penetration rate, it is fairly easy for this American blogger to reach out to his target group of audience (i.e. customers) in America.  Even if he was only able to capture % of the audience per day, that will amount to 3 million readers per day already.  The same Singaporean blogger has no such luck.  If he managed to reach out to 1% of the residents per day, it only amounts to 50,000 readers.  Of course, the 1% target is really arbitary but it shows that for the same amount of effort, the Singapore blogger (with his/her Singaporean content only interesting to the locals) is placed at a severe disadvantage.

The Solution?

Well, the solution actually seems pretty straightfoward.  Go global!  Blog about things that the global audience can identify with and relate to.  But this is challenging and extremely difficult.  Unless you know what the global audience wants to read, you will probably find it extremely difficult to build up a site that will be visited by visitors.  This is not to mention the language barrier, culture barrier, and other impediments that you face.  And one can safely say that most people who try to eke out a living on the internet will rarely succeed.  But that being said, it is not entirely impossible.  There are good Singaporean bloggers who are making a living through their blogs.

How to Earn Extra Cash Passively

So I will give my own version of what I think is one good way to earn extra cash passively without much effort on your part.  . Well, surprisingly, I have found out that passive income is sometimes much easier to earn than active income (e.g. blogging).  I have earned a lot more from dividends paid out from stocks/shares I own compared to any other area.  Of course, this pre-supposes that one has sufficient capital to invest in stocks that pay out a good yield.  But this method has worked for me and has brought me fairly stable returns without me having to do a single thing.  Talk about earning extra cash without putting in much effort!

Of course, not all is rosy and one must expect that there could be a possibility of the dividends being cut or the share price dropping.  Nonetheless, dividends probably ranks pretty high up in my list of "How to Earn Extra Cash".

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