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A Job Is Simply a Revenue Stream

July 8th, 2019

jibberjobber-revenue-streams-plant-treeOne of the greatest epiphanies I have had over the last few years is that a job is simply a revenue stream.

If it is your only revenue stream, you should start to worry.

Those are the two most important sentences of this entire post. Memorize them. Write them on your bathroom mirror. Look at them every day.

I have multiple revenue streams. I’ve been working on them for at least 13.5 years. I could argue I’ve been working on them since I was a little kid.

They have never mattered more to me than in October when I had what was my dream job and my boss (who has since left that company) laid me off. I loved that job (most aspects of it). I didn’t want to lose it. I was excited about building the awesome program I was hired to build. And then she took it all away from me.

Like in 2006, when a committee of people, persuaded by one (wrong) person, took it all away from me. Thank goodness, because that started me on my JibberJobber journey.

But, there is one HUGE difference.

In 2006 I had one revenue stream: my job. That committee took away 100% of my income.

In 2018 I had at least four significant revenue streams. And while I made very good money at that job, she didn’t even take away 50% of my income.

I say that not to brag. I say that because getting laid off from a job where you walk away and can still pay your bills, where they weren’t able to destroy your income, where you could refocus on other streams, and you even have some breathing room, is FREAKING AWESOME.

I want YOU to experience that.

But you won’t, if your job is 100% of your income.

Something important to note is that I got laid off at the beginning of 2006, and then the end of 2018. That gave me 13 years to build up multiple revenue streams. This idea of building other revenue streams can take time.

Best time to plant a tree? 20 years ago. Second best time to plant a tree? RIGHT NOW.

Best time to work on multiple revenue streams? 20 years ago. Second best time to work on multiple revenue streams? RIGHT NOW.

The JibberJobber theme for 2019 is financial freedom through multiple income streams.

I have empowered you with a networking and follow-up tool. I have empowered you with motivation, tips, stories, and ideas on my blog. I have empowered you with my book 51 Alternatives to a Real Job. If we ever talk, this will be my message to you.

Please, get on the path to multiple revenue streams. It is WORTH IT. You may fail sometimes. But as you learn, and some of them work out, and they grow, and you experience the sweet freedom that multiple income streams provide, you’ll never look back.

When I started JibberJobber my goal was this: to create $100 a month in income. Why? So that when I got laid off the next time, the person who did it would not be able to take away 100% of my income. And 13 years later, sitting in that room, I couldn’t help but think that I was losing less than half of my income, and it didn’t financially hurt.

That is freedom and independence. And I want that for you.

Join me?

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JibberJobber Is Relationships: Job Search, Gig Economy CRM, Just Networking

June 28th, 2019

jibberjobber-networking-professionalsLiz sent an email this morning to JibberJobber users quoting my blog post from 2016. This was from an email that Steve Krum wrote with feedback about JibberJobber. You can read it here.

The point of Liz’s email was this part of that post:

“JibberJobber is a versatile tool that helps you with career and relationship management where you are. Right now it might be in job search, tomorrow it might be in contact management.”

Here’s what I see:

College students use JibberJobber to keep track of important people they come across in their school career. Professors who have industry contacts (believe it or not, some professors have very healthy consulting side hustles), students who are “going somewhere” and have parents who are hiring managers or business owners, and guest speakers who come and share their time with the school. Students might not necessarily be in a heavy job search, but they should certainly be serious about real and long-term networking.

Job seekers, of course. Job seekers should be collecting too much data… and feel confused and overwhelmed. There’s no way around that. But JibberJobber, the job search CRM, helps alleviate a lot of the confusion and feelings of overwhelmed.

Gig economy and side hustle people use JibberJobber for the three main components: Networking, because you get your next customer through people. Target Companies, because consultants need to network with multiple people in their target companies, and Jobs because they might come and go, but tracking the actual jobs and contracts you get in JibberJobber is as key as tracking contacts.

Let me propose a bit of a stretch here… this might show you how crazy I am: I think JibberJobber is great for a grandma or grandpa who wants to track kids, grand kids, grand-nieces and nephews, cousins, etc. with important information like birthdays and when you communicated with them last, and when you should reach out to them again. A stretch, I know :)

My point is, JibberJobber is about relationships and networking and opportunities.

The idea is that you are tracking information instead of relying on your memory.

The idea is that you are networking, and don’t want to forget about or miss opportunities to stay in touch.

The idea is that you are on top of what amounts to a full-time job.

That is JibberJobber. That’s what we are all about, and why people, since 2006, have used JibberJobber.

Regardless of whether you are in a job search today or building your side hustle, do networking on purpose! 

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The Nature of Different Income Streams

February 15th, 2019

When I was at Bamboo, I worked on eight to twelve courses that would have become a part of their online academy. I left Bamboo in November… and that was it. I didn’t get anymore salary, nor benefits, nor anything. I was paid while I was there, and then when I wasn’t there anymore I wasn’t paid. That’s how a “job” works.

Contrast that to when I paused my work with Pluralsight about three years ago. Since I stopped doing courses (I have recently finished two more courses, and hope to do more), I still got paid my royalties. Even though I was gone, even though I stopped doing work for them, I still got paid.

Very different income streams, right?

Here are other scenarios:

When I was a kid, I charged $5 to mow lawns. I would mow a lawn, get paid $5, and maybe come back in a week or two. If I was organized and strategic, I could have built up a really good business each summer. I wasn’t that strategic.

I could have worked on getting a clientele, and then paying my friends $3 or $4 to mow the lawns of my clients. I wouldn’t make as much, but I could scale that pretty well. I’d shift my focus from doing the work to (a) managing the workload, and (b) getting more clients.

Both have pros and cons.

I am not anti-job. Definitely not. I think there is a level of fulfillment that you can get from a regular job that is great.

What I want you to think about, for your own income security, is how to create long-term income streams that are not dependent on you being at work, or having a job. Further, how can you create income streams based on providing value instead of just putting in the hours?

I’ve heard from people who have closed million+ dollar deals, and then got laid off. They brought considerable value to a company, but the only thanks they got was written on a pink slip. Yuck.

When I think about creating or finding or investing my time in a new revenue stream, I think about the earning potential. Lots of earning up front? Okay, that sounds good. Not much up front but potentially a lot down the road, or in a “long tail”?  That could work, too.

I’m not going to tell you what kind of income stream to pursue. But I will encourage you to think about the nature of your “investment” (even if it is “only” your time). How will this income stream contribute to your financial independence?

The other side, again, is how you spend your money… that is an important part of this. But first, focus on the nature of your income streams your are thinking of.

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Budgeting Epiphany: Dave Ramsey Says To Budget Monthly

February 8th, 2019

My wife and I have created various budgets over the 20+ years of our marriage… but we haven’t done much more than just create them. Usually they were created in a time of financial frustration.

This last weekend we packed our bags and holed up in a hotel to talk about finances with no distractions. I want to share one epiphany that I had this weekend.  I’ve heard Dave Ramsey say you should create a new budget every single month. We never did. We just created a big annual budget, based on past spending, and then kind of divided each line item by 12.

For example, we have seven people in our immediate family. We spend about $100 on a birthday. With this annual-budget-logic, we’d take that $700 budgeted, divide by 12, and put $58 in each month on the “birthday” line.

The problem with this is that in February we have two birthdays. In March we have none. So the reality of what we should budget in February is $200, not $58. And in March, it should be $0, not $58.

Looking at the year, it kind of makes sense. Looking at the month, it’s all kinds of messed up.

So, we put together a February budget (based on our annual budget, but changing things we knew needed changing for just this month).

Folks, money is a big deal. In a marriage, money is one of the top five issues. Another top five is communication. This year’s JibberJobber theme is income streams… what you spend is a negative income stream. Let’s get serious about it.

I’m reminded of a guy I met who was unemployed… and had been for a while. He had a nice car and a nice house and what looked like a nice life…. and told me that his past financial decisions, and how he spent his money, and how he managed his debt, made his transition much less stressful than the average job seeker. It was a beautiful thing to witness.

How much fun would your job search be right now if you didn’t have the stress that living paycheck to paycheck, and being backwards on your money?

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How much does it cost to buy something for $100?

January 22nd, 2019

Continuing the annual theme of income streams… today let’s talk about spending money.

Let’s say you want to buy something for $100. How much money do you have to earn in order to buy it?

$100?

Assuming you have taxes, you would have to earn more than $100 to be able to buy something for $100. You’d have to earn 100 * 1.(your tax rate)

If your tax rate is 20%, you would have to earn 100 * 1.20, or $120.

Your $100 purchase cost you $120.

This is simplified, of course. You could pay more in taxes, and you could add on variable expenditures based on your income (for example, tithing). You might be contributing a percentage of your income to a 401k (so, you don’t see that money until you are old enough). Perhaps you need to make $130+ in order to buy a $100 thing.

How much would a $50 dinner cost you? Based on these numbers, it would cost you (or, you would have to earn) $60 to $65.

Look, I’m not trying to be a killjoy. But I want us to change our relationship with money. I want it to be a healthy relationship. Earning money, and increasing revenue streams, is great. But we need to understand what we are really spending. We should know, to the penny, what we are spending. Dave Ramsey’s cash flow system is called “every dollar” because he wants you to track every single dollar.

An analogy: my wife and I recently started the keto diet. The way we are doing it requires that we measure what we eat… either weigh food, or use measuring cups. We’ve found that if we just “eyeball” it, and guess how much we are eating, we are wrong… every time. Our eyeballing is inaccurate.

I bet this is what we are doing with our spending. Just a little here, at this restaurant, and just a little there, at that splurge, is okay, right?

Wrong.

We really should track and measure what we are spending, and compare that to what we are earning.

And part of understanding our expenses is to understand how much we have to earn in order to spend that much.

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2019 Theme of the Year: Income Streams

January 1st, 2019

If you’ve followed my blog for the last few weeks you know I recently lost my dream job.

You also know that when I was told “your last day will be November 30th,” I was sad… really sad. But I was also thinking about my other income streams.

13 years ago, when I got laid off and catapulted towards a new career direction, I had no other income streams. A small committee at the company I worked at voted to lay me off. No big deal, just a business decision. But they took away 100% of my income. I vowed to not allow any one person to take away 100% of my income ever again.

My plan became to create JibberJobber, and hope to earn $100 a month. That’s not much money, but at least “they” wouldn’t be able to take away 100%, right?

And so there I was, sitting across the table from my boss, getting laid off. Weeks before Thanksgiving. Shortly before Christmas. Happy holidays to me!  But, I had accomplished what I had set out to do. This person, who left that meeting with her title and salary and benefits and ownership intact, could not, did not, take 100% of my income away. And for that I was deeply grateful that all the work I’d put in these almost-thirteen years paid off.

What I’ve been thinking about all weekend is that I want YOU to be as empowered as I was. I want YOU to be as prepared as I was. I want YOU to have multiple income streams. I don’t know what is right for YOU, and I warn you that it might take thirteen (or more) years for YOU to create even one decent income stream (which might come after a number of failed attempts).

Maybe you’ve heard this one: Q: “When is the best time to plant a tree in my yard?” A: “20 years ago. The second best time is NOW.”

Let’s shift that to income streams: Q:  “When is the best time to create another income stream?” A: “20 years ago. The second best time is NOW.”

How does a job fit into this?

I want you to get to the point where, instead of saying “I got a new job!” you say “I got a new income stream!

Yes, jobs are (can be) great. Yes, most everyone should have a job. But I want you to get to a point in your career where you see your job as an income stream.

Income streams are power. I want you to have that power. And that is why “income streams” is 2019’s theme of the year.

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I got laid off. Again.

December 10th, 2018

In February I got my “dream job” at a “best companies to work for” place here in Utah. It was great… while it lasted.

And then it wasn’t great.

And then it didn’t last.

That’s another story for another day. Instead of going there, I want to share something awesome with you.

Almost 13 years ago I got The Big Layoff. It was… I don’t know, devastating? Life changing?

It was hard. Really hard.

A few months later I came up with the idea for JibberJobber. I was passionate about the idea of creating “multiple streams of income,” in part because of the book by the same title, by Robert G Allen. I read about half of the book while on vacation, and I really wanted to have more than one way to make money.

When I lost my job in 2006, the people who made the decision to let me go took away 100% of my income.

Does that make any sense? Why do we let others, who have very little (if any) interest in our future have 100% control of our income???

I started JibberJobber thinking “if I can just make $100/month, the next time I get laid off they won’t be able to take away 100% of my income. There will be a little part of my total income that they can’t take away!”

Fast forward almost 13 years. I’m sitting in an office with my new boss (not the boss who hired me), and she’s saying all the words to let me go. “Your final day is November 30th…. ”

As she continued to talk, I kept thinking about the three active revenue streams that I have built over the last 13 years. Of course, I have JibberJobber. I also have Pluralsight royalties. And, not by plan but by happenstance, I have two rentals, both generating income.

Three income streams.

In reality, my job was one of four income streams.

I tell you this story because the contrast between my layoff in 2006 was drastically different than my layoff in 2018. In 2006 they took away 100% of my income. In 2018 they took away less than 50% of my income.

Who was empowered?

Which scenario would you rather experience?

For years my Career Management 2.0 presentations where about two things: networking and personal branding. I’ve struggled, for years, to imagine what else should be included.

And now I can comfortably say it is multiple streams of income AND how we spend our money. If you add the financial part to the networking and branding part, I think you can be in much better control of your career present and future than if you do just one of those three. Or if you don’t do any of them (and let your career just sort of happen).

 

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Career Plan A, Plan B, Plan C… Plan Z

October 24th, 2018

My dad and father-in-law had careers where they had pretty much one job for decades. After they retired they both got another job. They were young, and why not work for another 10 years?

My career has been quite different. I’ve had a host of jobs, and have owned my own business for almost 13 years now. Jobs have come and gone in a way that they couldn’t have imagined back in their day. While many things about my career have been fun and exciting, it’s been frustrating not knowing that I’d continue to have a certain job for the next few weeks, or months, or years… much less until the end of my career.

The stress of not knowing, and worrying about, and spending time actively pursuing career management, is not one of my favorite things about the careers of today.

But I’ve had to have Plan B, and Plan C, and Plan D, and when those don’t work out, Plan E, F, G, H, etc.

I refuse to sit by and think that my Plan A is my employer’s Plan A, because when they pull the plug I’m left with no income but I still have all of my bills. It is on me to make sure that I’m financially ready and able for changes to my income and my main job.

That is why I’m so big on “multiple streams of revenue.” When I got laid off back in January of 2006 my boss and the board of directors effectively took away 100% of my income. When I started JibberJobber I hoped that I could generate maybe $100 a month so that when I had a job again, and got laid off, the person who did it could not take away 100% of my income.

That was almost thirteen years ago. Right now I have multiple streams of income. My job is one of them. I also have JibberJobber, my Pluralsight royalties, and two rental units. It has taken a lot of work to get to this point. It has taken serious investment, strategy, and luck and risk. But here we are… multiple streams of income. This is my Plan B, Plan C, etc.

Life, and careers, is not easy. But we must be strategic about it.

Here’s an idea for those of you who are not ready for, or haven’t figured out, multiple streams of income: consider one of your income streams your career management efforts. That is, if you can’t figure out a side hustle, or a business, or rentals or investments or whatever, then spend time networking. Not once a month, but more often. Network strategically. Network on purpose. Network for real.

Your network should help you get solid in your revenue streams. Maybe that means that for the rest of your career, you’ll have a strong network that will keep your unemployment times down. Maybe “getting solid” means that your network will introduce revenue streams and opportunities. My message is that I want you to not worry about creating a revenue stream if that seems impossible right now… in place of that, ramp up your networking! It might be the most important thing you do for your career management.

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The Negative Income Streams

January 2nd, 2018

Yesterday I announced the 2019 theme to be “income streams.” I’ve talked about your job being one income stream, and I encourage you to create other income streams.

What we haven’t talked about is the important topic negative income streams. This feels harder for me than thinking about creating a new income stream!

I’m talking about what you are spending. Where does your money go. How much money goes to fast food. How much money goes to things that are frivolous. How much money goes to things you don’t even know about, like subscriptions that you don’t use. What can you do to decrease your negative streams?

I want to plant this seed in your mind, as you think about income streams, because decreasing negative income streams decreases your need to add more income.

I like Dave Ramsey…. you might like someone else. Think about this topic, though, and plan for it. I want you to become financially independent, and decrease the power that someone who can terminate your job has over you. Understanding how and where you spend money, and taking charge of it, can help.

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Funding Your Business: The Four F’s and A Novel Idea

April 29th, 2015

When I started JibberJobber I learned a little about how venture capitalists and angel investors fund businesses.  It was a fascinating journey into a world that seemed exciting and a little dirty/sleazy.  I learned about the Four F’s… have you heard about these?  These are the four sources of funding that an entrepreneur should look at before they go to a VC or an angel.  They are:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Fools
  • 401k

I used two of these sources to fund the early days of my business.  It was necessary, and I’m forever grateful to have had those sources of funding to help JibberJobber get onto it’s own two feet.

But it bugged me that that is what I needed to do. I had this novel idea that my business should have been funded by… get this… people paying for it!  That’s what you might call “self-funding.”  Many companies are not self-funding… they rely on continual investments to fund their payroll, rent, parties, etc.  Companies like Amazon, who seems to own the retail world, did this for years.

Anything wrong with self-funding?

For most of you, starting your own business, getting funding from VCs or angels isn’t the right route, and you might not be able to tap into the Four F’s.  So how do you fund your venture (aka, pay your rent and buy food) in the early days?

The answer sits in understanding the basic nature of your business, and whether you are offering products (that you are creating) or services.

JibberJobber is a product, which meant that we spent months to develop it before we went live.  A book is a product… you spend months writing and editing and preparing for the publisher, and then you have one, or a thousand, or a million.  Your job is to take this *thing* and market it.

A service might be something where you charge an hourly rate to do something, like an hour of consulting, a day of speaking, doing a haircut, writing a resume, mowing a lawn.  Typically, you can start doing a service, for money, right now, today, without any investment.  I have plenty of ideas of things you can do in exchange for money today.

Is one better than the other?  A product can require a significant investment up-front, with the idea that you could sell it when it’s made, or you could sell the company if you prove it successful.  Expect to continue to invest in R&D.  The payout could be crazy.  The failure could be ruinous.

A service might take no money to start, and you could get gobs of money per hour immediately (for example, consulting for $250/hour, or speaking for $5k an engagement).  But you might not be able to sell your company later, no matter how good it performs, because for a while, YOUR ARE THE PRODUCT.

When I started JibberJobber I had illusions of grandeur about how much money I was going to make.  All the while, I required investment from family and my 401k.  It took a couple of years before my company was in the black.  A COUPLE OF YEARS.  That was not in the business plan!

The same month I started JibberJobber, I had a friend, also laid off, who started a business, but his was a consulting business.  He was billing clients in week 1, and every week since then.  Where I was burning through lots of money, he had very low overhead and was bringing in more per hour than he had ever done.

Who was the fool?  Was it me, for not self-funding, or was it him, for going down a path that would not have a big payday (acquisition) in the end?

I’d say neither were the fool.  But looking back on it now, I wish that I would have figured out how to consult for one to two hours per day back in the early days.  That would have been a way to self-fund.

I know a guy who was starting a business while working at the grocery store at nights stocking shelves.  Glamorous?  Hardly.  But it worked for him and his family.  It was his way of finding funding for his venture.

Let’s wrap this up… funding a business can be hard.  But there are many, many options.  You don’t have to just hope to get on Shark Tank, or get laughed out of one hundred VC offices. Be creative.  Many of the businesses that we enjoy today were started in someone’s basement, garage, or even bathtub (ecolabs).  Without funding. With a dream and hope and elbow-grease.

Just don’t be too proud to consult for a couple of hours a day, or to work at the grocery store at night.  Eventually, your own little business will be self-funding.

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