Could your garage, basement, or spare room be your second source of income?

If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that most people could use a second source of income that is social distance acceptable. Last year the big way to generate a second income was though renting out a vacant room or house to strangers. The only real labor in this venture was ensuring the house was cleaned and stocked for their guests.  This concept afforded many families a second income, but the drawback this year is that many people aren’t traveling and are leery of being in someone’s home that they don’t know.

Since renting out these spaces is slow, there are other ways to utilize them to make money. Plenty of people have turned hobbies into cash as of late doing, things that people want or don’t want to; building/craftwork, assembling furniture, fixing electronics, or digital online work. Some of these allow you to work part-time for someone else, however, there are ways to work for yourself and set your hours.

I will take the example of printing shirts in your garage. Silk screening shirts is a business that is scalable to the amount of time that you want to invest. Some people have online t-shirt printing businesses that are running out of their garage and make shirts in the evenings and weekends while working a regular job. I know the first thing you are thinking; I don’t know the first thing about how to silkscreen. That is probably the easiest part to sort out, just watch videos online and read the manuals. The second thing you will think; I can’t afford the equipment to try something like that. Which turns out isn’t that hard either.

When trying to gather money together to turn a hobby/interest into a business, an easy way to get customers, as well as your start-up money, is two simple words Crowd Funding. Every day while scrolling through any social media, you will see advertisements or crowd sourcing style campaigns of people or businesses that are trying to get people to help launch a concept. If you have clicked on one of these links, you will have seen the business offering to give the person donating some reward for different donation amounts.

Let’s go back and look at the example of t-shirts. A person wanting to crowd fund a silk-screening start-up can use a reward system that not only gets donations but gets future customers while getting your name out there. By offering several donations tiers, you allow for different people to be involved. Some examples are as follows:

$1-5 show your support

$15 a limited first run shirt

$20 a customized first run shirt

$100 family bundle

$200 business pack

(These numbers and prices are just ideas. Before offering these rewards, research how much the cost per shirt and ink will cost to know that you will be able to fulfill your promise.)

After you have your idea for the business and the rewards, the next thing you will need is an amount that you need to raise. At this point, you will need to add up all the costs of equipment and resources to not only launch the idea but fund your obligations to your donors. Using our t-shirt example, find a t-shirt printing machine to meet your needs, the cost of the shirts to fulfill the orders from the donors, and then the raw materials of ink and such. Once you have a total for your campaign goal, set a number slightly above your goal.

Before you launch your campaign, you need to sell your idea to friends and family. You will need the maximum amount of people to know about your idea and be willing to share with their connections in real life and via social media. Another route is something that will cost in the beginning but can pay off, in the long run, is to buy advertisements on social media.

The final step is to launch the campaign. If the campaign goal is met, you collect from the website and then you can launch the business from your home with your first customers. If the campaign fails, you can go back to the drawing board, but you haven’t invested a lot of money on a project that people were not interested in.

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