The rapidly rising costs of living is surely one of the hottest conversational topics among Malaysians, after food, of course. We would imagine a typical greeting to go like this:
Uncle A: Have you eaten already?
Uncle B. Yes, I had chicken rice at our favourite stall. But aiyo, they’ve increased the price by RM0.50 and the portion has shrunk!
Uncle A: Haiya, that is why I don’t eat out these days. Cooking at home is cheaper. But it’s not as cheap as before. The grocery bills have gone up, too.
Uncle B: Everything is getting more expensive now but our salaries have not gone up at all. How to survive lah?
One of the main factors causing the price hikes is the increased oil prices for RON95 and RON97 at RM0.20 per litre and diesel at RM0.10 per litre – the highest ever since the removal of fuel subsidies on December 2014. The price of sugar also rose to RM2.95 (an 11 sen increase) since 1 March 2017. The weakening Ringgit did not help matters either, leading to higher costs for imported goods and overseas travel.
Like Uncle B, we could bemoan the fact that we are helpless against the price hikes. Or we can take charge of the situation by finding ways to increase our disposable income so that we can continue with our comfortable lifestyle. Here are five effective ways to generate a side income.
1. Become a freelance writer or designer
If you have a knack for stringing great sentences together or creating impactful designs, you can consider offering your services on a freelance basis. Having a good portfolio of work will help you greatly in getting freelance jobs, so existing writers and designers definitely have the advantage here. But if you are not in the industry, you can start writing on your own blog and for non-paying publications to start with, to build your body of work. Jon Nathanson started freelancing and building his portfolio in 2013 and within a year, he earned enough to quit his day job. You can search for jobs on Upwork, HotCopy and local freelance writing groups on Facebook. We highly recommend that you join the latter if you are new to the freelancing world as the helpful members will share job openings, market rates, and tips to navigate your way to be a successful freelancer. Depending on the type of projects that you take on, freelance writing/designing can supplement your day job’s income reasonably well. In time, it may even surpass your main income so much so that you can become a full-time freelancer. The life of a freelancer is not for everyone, though. You have to be disciplined working alone from home in order to meet deadlines – but the flexibility it gives you is utterly rewarding.
2. Start a Simple Business
To start a simple side business, all you need to do is find an evergreen industry which everyone needs. For example, in our busy society, cleaning services are always in demand. If you have the energy, time and a penchant of cleaning houses, this could be your cup of tea. Newlyweds Mr & Mrs Nick Khoo invested in a high-end vacuum cleaner which effectively cleans loose dirt, dust, dust mites, dead skin cells even on mattresses and sofas. They started offering cleaning services in their neighbourhood with this nifty gadget by promoting it on social media groups. Within a few months of cleaning clients’ houses in the evenings and weekends, they broke even. They are now generating a decent recurring income and are thinking of expanding. Not bad indeed!
3. Become an MLM-preneur
Multi-level marketing (MLM) has gotten a bad rep mainly because of desperate people trying to make a quick buck out of us. No one likes to be coerced to buy something they don’t think they need, after all. And let’s face it, not everyone is a good (and honest) sales person. The path to success in MLM requires having serious sales person skills and a very likeable personality. Two years ago when Michelle Goh was on the verge of leaving her sales and marketing job, she was at a loss of what to do next. It was also around the time she started getting interested in essential oils as she found them helpful in her family’s ailments. The essential oils were offered by a reputable MLM company, which she researched thoroughly. She found their compensation scheme to be fair and discovered that her sales skills could be put to good use in building her own network. As the usage of essential oils is still relatively new in the country at that time, Michelle still had ample room to grow, compared to other MLM businesses that are serving a more saturated market. So she ventured into MLM as a side business just to see how it would take off. Within a year, she could confidently quit the job she disliked and fully concentrate on her essential oils MLM business and grooming her growing downlines. From someone who started off doubting MLMs, Michelle is now making the highest income she has ever made in any of her corporate jobs.
4. Offer Ride-sharing Services
Owning a car is a ‘necessary evil’ to most people. They need it to commute to work and get around but they have to pay a substantial amount to service their car loans and maintain it. So when Farouk Amirullah, a part-time insurance agent, received an Uber newsletter declaring that one can earn a minimum of RM600 per week, he decided to become a part-time Uber driver (partner) and make at least one trip a day. He found those payment claims to be true although competition is getting tougher each day. All you need to be an Uber/Grabcar driver is a valid driving license, MyKad, car insurance and a car. Uber will take a percentage of the fare for each trip and payment is made promptly on a weekly basis. As a part-timer, he used his earnings primarily to maintain his car. Farouk, who has since quit Uber to go full-time corporate work, says it is a great way to earn money for those who have a lot of free time or having a hard time finding a job.
5. Rent Out that Spare Room
With the oversupply of apartments and it being a renter’s market, it is getting harder to find long-term tenants these days. But thanks to Airbnb, thousands of homeowners globally and locally now have an alternative source of income. The US31 billion company has over 300 listings in Malaysia. Vincent Kok, an Airbnb host, listed his own apartments as well as his friends’ on the thriving platform. When he listed his first apartment, bookings were low. It was seven months before he hit a monthly breakeven point (breakeven point is the cost of loan and cleaning fees) for the first apartment. As a host, Vincent makes sure that the places are clean, and offers outstanding service to his clients – sometimes even fetching them from the train stations to the apartments and bringing them to the hospital when there are medical emergencies. Great service will result in good reviews, which is crucial to the success of any Airbnb host. To date, Vincent has 103 positive reviews from happy customers and he gets at least a booking a day, even when he is sleeping.
So there you have it, five effective ways to earn a side income. All it takes is some creativity and elbow grease to build a business you can call your own.
However, the amount of money you earn from these businesses is still dependent on the number of hours you put in. Having worked so hard to earn that income, how do you protect it? What happens when an unfortunate event occurs forcing you to stop producing that income, even temporarily? Here’s where EZCergas comes in. Find out how you can get daily cash pay outs which not only helps to supplement those unexpected medical bills but to also provide a safety income net when you are unable to work.