Getting on the Road to Financial Freedom

There are several basic steps that anyone can take to reach economic empowerment. Here are three of them.

toward reducing your debt–especially if you’d like to wipe out your bills fast. One option is to get a second job, even if only temporarily.

IS A SECOND JOB, OR PART-TIME WORK IN YOUR FUTURE?
I realize that most people already work really hard, and often put in more than 40 hours a week on the job. But if you can even fathom the idea, consider getting a second job or part-time work–just for a set period of time, perhaps three months. This may seem like a big sacrifice and a burden. But trust me: it’s nothing compared to the burden of carrying around debt year after year. Take every dollar earned from your second job and use it to reduce debt or build an emergency savings fund.

Your emergency fund, or emergency cash cushion, should be at least three times your monthly expenses. In other words, if your bills are $3,000 a month, you should have a $9,000 emergency fund. I know this is hard to amass, but you can build it over time. Having a cash cushion is crucial in case one of the five dreaded Ds (downsizing, death, divorce, disability, or disease) ever happens to you.

TURN A HOBBY INTO CASH
Maybe right now you’re saying: “Lynnette, you have absolutely lost your mind if you think I’m going to go slaving away on a job for even more hours than I do now!”

Well, if the idea of more work is so unbearable, how about playing for money? And I don’t mean hitting the slots or the crap tables in Vegas or Atlantic City. I mean do you have any hobbies–or things you do for fun or entertainment–that you can actually turn into cold, hard dollars?

Like to knit or sew things? There’s a market for that–just go after people who might want handmade (read: customized or tailored) clothing. Charge your customers enough to cover all your expenses for fabric, supplies, etc. Then add a hefty labor charge to make it worth your while.

Perhaps you’re good at styling or cutting people’s hair and you actually like to be creative in that way as well. OK, so put the word out in your neighborhood, or among your family and friends, that you’ll do hair–for a fee–from the comfort of your home.

Whatever [pastime] you take pleasure in, chances are there’s someone out there willing to pay you for it–regardless of whether or not you’re providing goods or service.

THE IDEAL PART-TIMEENTERPRISE
A word to you dreamers out there: Don’t look at this advice and go off half-cocked talking to your spouse about how you’re going to start raising ostriches and make $100,000 a year at it–and I don’t care if you happen to live on a farm! In all cases, you want to hone in on no-cost or low-cost ventures; businesses that you can do by yourself, and if possible, startups that can be operated exclusively or mainly from the privacy of your o
wn home.

Why these characteristics? For starters, you don’t have the money to buy tons

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