Saturday, September 08, 2007

Making Money So You Can Give It Away

For many years, I've had thoughts about the appropriate work-life balance. For example, as an undergraduate I thought investment banking and management consulting sounded like very interesting, highly lucrative careers, but the hours are typically terrible. Case in point: my brother-in-law worked in investment banking for awhile, and when I asked him about the hours, he said it was 7-8 every day. I said, "7 to 8 hours per day, that's not bad at all!" He corrected me by saying, "No, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day." Instead of I-banking or consulting, I therefore chose to work in corporate finance, in which I get paid less but also work fewer hours. I've often been able to keep my hours under 50 per week, though I had a ~6 month stretch in the last 12 months during which 60+ hours per week was the norm. With this recent history nagging at me, work-life balance becomes a topic of increasing contemplation for me.

Today I came across an interesting article that suggests some non-conventional ways to make money, written by Tory Johnson of ABC's Good Morning America. Click here to read the article.

One fun idea mentioned in the article is for me to turn my car into a billboard. The article says I could earn up to $500 a month, and since my car is simply a means of transportation, perhaps I would consider it (though I don't think my wife would approve).

Another option mentioned in the article is freelance writing. Even before reading the article, I was already considering taking a freelance writing course offered through a local college's continuing education department, so that option could be right up my alley. Theoretically, I could get paid $0.50 to $2 per word.

The article also referenced web sites that offer freelance opportunities for finance, IT, graphic design, etc. Such sites include TheLadders.com, Guru.com, Craigslist.org, Backpage.com, Elance.com, Sologig.com, Clicknwork.com, and Ether.com.

How is this topic relevant to my blog? Say, for example, I could earn $6,000 per month simply by driving my car to work. That's a lot more money I could give to charity. Say I were able to get paid to write about things that interest me, rather than publishing to the web for free. Again, more money would go to charity. And on the freelance finance opportunities, in an extreme example, I could live in Africa, or Asia, or anywhere else for that matter, and still make a living. All are intriguing ideas...

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