Spend Less? No, Earn More.

August 11, 2009 at 4:50 pm (Personal Finance) (, , , )

Whenever I’ve been faced with a personal economic crisis, my response has always been the same: cut spending. (Wait, no, that’s not true. When I was young and stupid, my response was, “That’s what credit cards are for, right?”) But after a friend sent me an advance copy of financial guru Loral Langemeier’s soon-to-be-released book, “Put More Cash in Your Pocket,” I realized I had another option: make more money.

I haven’t read a lot of personal finance books, and I’ve never given much thought to a long-term financial plan. But reading Langemeier’s book really inspired me. The premise is that most people have money-making skills and talents that they can tap to bring in an extra $500 to $1,000 a month. She exhorts people to come up with a business idea quickly and start finding customers right away.

Now, I’ve freelanced off and on for 10 years, but I’ve never done much to market my services. Most of my clients have come via referral. And when I have thought about running a marketing campaign to attract more clients, I always get bogged down in the details, or I get distracted by a looming deadline. The point of Langemeier’s book is to just take action. Don’t worry about the details…embrace the vision and make it a reality.

Just about everyone has some skill he or she can sell, according to Langemeier. In her book, she works with a man who has a power washer and loves to power-wash his house a couple of times a year. She encourages him to offer his power-washing services to the neighborhood, and his enterprise grows from there. A schoolteacher starts bringing in extra money by taking on private tutoring clients. And an IT guy starts a mobile “computer doctor” service. Although she doesn’t go into great detail, Langemeier talks about how to make sure there’s a market for your services, how to find clients, and what to charge.

When I’m not seeking out the frugalicious deals that make life a little more fun, I’m actively courting new freelance clients. And I may even branch out into tutoring…I have experience as both a substitute teacher and a test-prep tutor. I’ve even started thinking of ways for my friends and family to start their own “lemonade stands,” as Langemeier calls them. My mother-in-law loves to knit, and she made me an amazing evening bag for my birthday. I told her she should make a bunch and start selling them on Etsy. My husband can offer his design services, obviously, and he’s actually hooked up with someone to start an iconoclastic T-shirt line that could hit stores within just a few weeks. And my youngest brother, who works at Mumm in Napa, could start offering wine appreciation lessons. Creativity and gumption…that’s what we need!

“Put More Cash in Your Pocket” comes out in October, and Langemeier is running a bunch of cool promotions surrounding the launch. Check it out, and leave your comments about the “lemonade stand” you would start. I also want to know about the other personal finance books you’ve read and loved!

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