Career Insurance: Don’t Keep Your Eggs in One Basket- Diversify Your Income Streams

Move Your Eggs for Career Insurance

Career InsuranceWhen you rely and depend upon a single employer to provide you with a salary and benefits and everything else you need for a financially and emotionally secure career, you are putting all your eggs in one basket.

This has been the norm for a very long time, however, it is risky.  Especially today and even riskier in the future. Your financial adviser would never recommend you put all your investments in a single fund, yet this is what you are doing when you don’t have other streams of income.  Does this make sense?

In principle, it probably does make sense.  However, I know what you are thinking…

  • I am not hardwired to be an entrepreneur.
  • I don’t know what I would do to generate another income stream.
  • I don’t have enough time for this.
  • I don’t have money to start my own business.

I hear you. There are so many obstacles and unknowns.

Ask around, look around.  People you know may already be doing it. Do know people with rental property?  An Etsy site? (If you don’t know what that is, please click the link!) Refereeing a sport on the weekend? Repairing equipment, cars, or computers on the side?  Developing websites?  Consulting? Speaking? Writing?

Perhaps deep down inside, you’ve always dreamed of starting some business or going out on your own.  Open your mind to the possibilities. The best time to start a business is while you are employed.  You won’t feel the financial pressure to replace your income, but you do have to be showing proof of income.

Who Else Is Saying This?

When Tom Peters wrote The Brand Called You for Fast Company in 1997, he was ahead of his time. Peters belief about managing your personal reputation or personal brand is absolutely a critical part of this.

Then came Jay Block.  In 2010 Block wrote Welcome to the New Realities in the Age of Protean Careers on QuintCareers.  A must read!  In February of this year he wrote The New Era of Protean Careers on Personal Branding Blog.  This post  lays it out pretty clearly and Block has devised 6 actionable steps to start embracing Protean strategies.  Block says:

…let me share with you six initial strategies for thriving in this transformational workplace:

  1. Reduce television time and spend an hour a day contemplating the future and where you fit in.  You can’t change anything tomorrow with the same thoughts you have today.
  2. Don’t put all your financial eggs in one basket; consider multiple sources of income.
  3. Bring more value to the marketplace tomorrow than you did today; invest in lifelong education and increase your worth, so you are compensated accordingly.
  4. Create your own job. You don’t have to invest big bucks to start a business.  Just seek out opportunities and go for it!  Become a painter, a cook, an electrician, a subcontractor, or form a web-based business. Be resourceful and identify ways to self-generate income.
  5. Downsize your life and live within your means. The federal government is broke and most states are as well.  All of society must become fiscally responsible.
  6. Invest in good health. No one can build a thriving future with poor health, no energy, and a negative mindset.  We all must work as hard on ourselves as we do on our careers.

There are other experts, pundits, gurus, thought leaders writing about this too.  Here are just some:

Free Agent Nation, by Daniel Pink came out in 1997 and has never been more true!

CAREEREALISM- Because Every Job Is Temporary  (The tagline says it all!)

Chris Brogan has written about it in his post “Your Job or Your Work”

Gary Vaynerchuck’s book “Crush It” and this inspiring video on passion from Web 2.0 Expo  is about personal branding and doing what you love!

Your Reputation Says It All

As always, it can get extremely difficult to diversify your income streams without having a good reputation.  Make sure that the image you portray online is one that you think that your potential employers will want to hire!  A very powerful, free tool you can use is a personal marketing plan.  And if you are lucky enough get some extra cash from another job, don’t be afraid to become involved in those online communities as well.  Do you get a few dollars from doing freelance web-design on the weekend?  Why not join Quora and talk about your new side job; you could go to a MeetUp event near you regarding your new hobby; it might be fun to write about your excursions with your new skill on your blog!

For more information on how to boost your reputation check out a few of our other articles:

Take Action

I want you to read these links. I want you to seriously consider what the future looks like, not just your future, but the future of our globally connected world.

The key to making all this happen is having a strong, unique and clear personal brand.

Career Sherpa, aka Hannah Morgan, can be found on Twitter @careersherpa, feel free to follow if you like what you see here.  You can also find me on Facebook, LinkedInGogole +.   I share lessons I’ve learned as I grow my own business, Career which provides advice and information related to reputation management, social media strategies and job search/career mapping.