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How I Diversified My Income Streams in 2021

One of my major resolutions this year was diversified income streams. I’m not sure about you, but for the most part I grew up thinking that I had to focus on one main income stream / field. If I work hard and excel, then that would one income would do. Well, hello, enter the pandemic of 2020! One of my takeaways as someone working mainly in the performing arts field was that I need multiple sources of income. Otherwise I would be screwed the next time around. So that’s what I set my mind out to doing this year.

At the end of 2021 I am quite proud to say that I have diversified to 7 different sources of income stream. These range from the most active to passive incomes. I’ll list them out for you and then give you some tips on how you can also diversify your income stream for 2022.

Active Incomes

  1. My main job is CEO of an arts nonprofit that I co-founded – the Bandung Philharmonic. This is still my main source of income at the moment. I did voluntarily slash my salary during the pandemic crisis thus the other sources become necessary.
  2. My other music-related job is with the South East Asia Music Academy Online based in Singapore. I had the pleasure of being invited onboard by Singaporean violinist Gabriel Lee.
  3. An interesting side job opportunity presented itself mid-year via freelance writing for a fantasy blockchain game called Eizper Chain. This came about through some members of Mad Tea Book Club, a completely voluntary book club that I co-host.

Side Business

  1. Since domestic travel reopened, my airBnB listing Villa Gupondoro has been able to start receiving guests again. It was real tough there during lockdown.
  2. Mulberry Jam – there is a patch of land by the Villa on which Oky, my late husband, and I had planted mulberry trees. Though so many things have changed, the trees keep blooming each harvest season! So I still produce and sell fresh mulberry jam twice a year, now with the help of the an awesome assistant Joe Wu.
  3. Online sales of my ebooks and stories from my shop have started to pick up this year – thanks to all the bookstagrammers and book reviewers helping to share the word about my books out there!

Passive Income

  1. I’ve bought / invested in some government bonds – not the highest monthly yield but I’m aiming for security with this investment.

There are other extremely high-risk investments I’m involved in such as robot trading and crypto trading. There are also some initiatives for 2022 building upon what I already have: book launches, Mulberry Tea product, and a small hedge fund opportunity. These are still in the infancy stage (or likely to go bust any minute due to the high level of risk!) so I try not to depend too much on it. I also think risk tolerance is also something very personal for every individual.

Those are pretty good well-rounded diversified income streams, if I may pat myself on the back. So how did this come about?

Tips To Have Diversified Income Streams

  1. First of all, as with everything, start with the why. Do you know why you’re trying to diversify your incomes? Do you really even need to? What is your current position in life and what are your goals? If you don’t have these major answers yet, that’s OKAY. You can always chat with a mentor / advisor and get more in tune with your life and goals. Once you have these, it’s much easier to make an intentional commitment to diversify your income streams.
  2. Throw your intention out there to the world. Get it out there. Tell a friend / family member / work buddy that you want to diversify your income stream somehow (you might not know how yet). You’ll be surprised at what opportunities come your way by just getting your intention out there into the big, big universe.
  3. Understand yourself better – what are your skills? What do you like to do? What are you naturally good at? These will be your assets in finding another source of income. Knowing what you don’t like, what you are not good at, and what will take you longer to learn will also help narrow down choices and opportunities.
  4. Once you’ve chosen something to pursue – it can be as “passive” as buying some government bonds / stocks, or a notch up with starting an online side business, or even applying for side jobs, then don’t give up or change direction too quickly. I would recommend to stay at it for at least a year before deciding it’s not for you and quitting. Some things take time to get used to, and time is also needed for results to really show.
  5. Find good trusted people/partners and find a way to collaborate or work with them on a money making venture that would benefit everyone involved. This is a big point and deserves more elaboration (getting cheated on, etc), but generally I would say it is very difficult to achieve great results if you only work alone.

It’s also really important to keep in mind that nothing is instant (except unhealthy stuff). If you’re impatient like me, find a hobby to distract yourself with. With that, I congratulate you for surviving 2021, and hope the best for the coming 2022.

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Girls – Let’s Start Investing!

“You don’t save your way to wealth, you invest your way to wealth.” Janda Becanda (The Widow Jokes Podcast) episode on cryptocurrency.

Following up on my post about financial freedom for women is this post on investing for women. What’s the idea behind investing? The quote above sums it best. Once you have stable finances (paid off your debts, set up an emergency fund, you have an active insurance) then and only then would it be a good time to start considering investing. The philosophy behind it is that the money you save up decreases in value over time due to inflation rates. Thus the best way to grow your money is by spending it on sound investments.

Sadly, most women lack confidence in investing in comparison to men. However, despite less women investing, studies actually show that the women who invest are outperforming the men who are investing.

My Approach As a Newbie

For me, I approached it this way: investing, like everything else in life, is a habit. If it’s a habit, that means everyone can learn it and manage the ropes well to benefit themselves. I started my investing attempts late 2019 and I won’t say I’m an expert – not at all. I’m still a newbie. But what I want to share are some tips on how to start investing. Because, the best time to start investing is as soon as possible – the longer the time you have, the better your chances are.

First, talk to a trusted financial advisor. Find someone who is well along their investing journey and ask them to share their basic philosophies. How do they make their decisions? What books / journals / blogs did they read? Maybe they listen to some great podcasts. Educate yourself on the topic, and make yourself more financially literate.

Educate yourself on the topic, and make yourself more financially literate.

Second, try to understand your appetite for risk. Do you like risks? Or do you prefer something safer? Would you be ready if that bit that you invested suddenly loses value during a market recession?

Third, diversify. Don’t have all your eggs in one basket. Spread out your investments into several different sectors (research beforehand never hurts). That way when one sector sinks, the others can still help balance your portfolio. This happened for me in the pandemic. Most of my stocks were bleeding except an investment I made on forex trading in 2019. Phew.

Fourth, don’t wait to invest. Start with as small as 10 USD, but get yourself into the habit of it and let time work for your favor, instead of for your demise.

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Financial Freedom for Women

Everyone covets this. And if you’re not thinking about it, you should be, starting right now. It’s not about being greedy, it’s not about being ambitious, it’s about being self-sufficient and independent in this century. Interestingly, women think much less about financial freedom than men. Obviously, traditional gender roles in society play into this, but ladies hear me: DON’T FALL INTO THIS TRAP.

Don’t think that you’ll be safe as long as you have a husband that can support you, or as long as you have your parents’ wealth waiting as inheritance, or as long as you have a son that can work hard and will pay for you when you get old. If this is the case for you and your husband, father, son, are kind to you, then you are VERY LUCKY. You are not the norm. Statistically, there are much more women that are being abused by the men in their lives, and this includes financial abuse.

You can only get out of abusive relationships if you have your own money.

It’s a long haul towards financial freedom and independence, but it’s not impossible. There are women all around the world that have achieved financial security and are now supporting their families instead of being supported by them.

So how would you start on your journey of financial freedom?

  1. Make a habit of writing down all your expenses and income. Track everything very clearly, so you know exactly what you spend money on, why you are spending that money, and in turn where your money is coming from.
  2. Once you are in the habit of tracking your money, then see if there is a way for you to spend less and start saving more. Say you get an allowance from your husband every month. Can you open a separate bank account and save 20% of this routinely?
  3. If your expenses are so tight that everything is already essential, then try to look for opportunities to pick up another source of side income. Can you pick up a part-time job somewhere? It can be anything. There are all kinds of opportunities for those willing to learn and work hard. When you have secured a part-time additional income, then save that money away religiously.
  4. After you have to build a sizable enough savings from your side income, then start looking for ways to grow that pot of money. Money sitting in your bank account will only depreciate in value, so this is now the time to spend it! But spend it with the goal of more returns in mind. How? Stocks are a great place to start. Deposits in trusted co-ops are also good options. Or take some courses on entrepreneurship and small business, and start your own small business.

Of course, all of this is easy for me to write. In reality, it needs the discipline to write down all your finances. You need self-management to be able to curb expenditure and save more. You need the courage to look for a side job and to do it and be good at it. After all of that, you need to be able to take risks in spending the money. No, none of this is easy.

But take it from me, someone who started my journey of financial freedom 3 years ago: it’s worth it. Nothing tastes as sweet as independence.

Visit here to see more resources on financial literacy for women!

Women hold more than half of student loan debt. Visit here to see what factors could be causing women to keep more student loan debt than men.