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Bootstrap life: Building multiple income streams 💸

When needs must, we have to adapt. Think; multiple direct sources of income and a more business-like approach to our personal finances & admin. Let’s look at your options for financial independence, with less stress & risk from sudden changes.

Skip to the end if you just want the links for ideas.

Own your optionality

If you rely on just one income, are facing unemployment, or have already lost your main income, that can be quite a stress for many reasons — and have further consequences that others may have not yet considered.

It can be an unexpected problem, should the worst happen, but there are also many more solutions online nowadays.

The world has made all employment less reliable. Life’s just too short and unpredictable to not have a plan for the unexpected. We must remember the only value any organisation has, is from the people who make it possible — and make sure we know where that value is, to retain and rework it for new audiences, and opportunities to share the load. Many of the best employers now encourage this, too.

We can solve these things permanently with a new approach to owning our skill and sharing our experience. This time securing the freedom to do what we love, for work and life — regardless of what just one employer’s circumstances, or significant life-changes, might be — and that can affect anyone, disproportionately, at any time if unprepared.

We can be immune to any disruption or antagonist when we know how to gather and share our unique capabilities.

Like all good Guides and Scouts, we must be prepared.


First, get motivated, be confident, trust in the experience of those already doing, cut your costs, and work with what you do still have; time and abilities.

We need to buy time to adapt, so slow down the things asked of you, to speed up the things you need of yourself, and for your crew.

Next, turn your free time and things back into money through online marketplaces, there’s an audience online that is already looking for what you already do.

Finally, so you never rely on a single source of income again, build a habit of reinvesting in your security whenever you can, by owning and reselling your creations — it’s your intellectual property.

There are many websites now where you can grow a side-income, and it could become your main income too — links and summaries for the main ones I know and use are included below, along with their blogs and Twitter links for inspiration.

Fortune favours the organised and creative, follow the signs!

Plan, take control and get motivated

The first half of this post is a necessary persuasion to help you think clearly and practically, and regain control of your situation. It includes memorable stories and ideas you can recall to keep yourself motivated and confident along the way.

You’re not the first, you won’t be the last, and you can leave a breadcrumb trail for your peers to follow when you document your journey.

Who am I to talk? Why should you spend time reading?

It is a long post, but then it is free, and based on my 20 years experience in business, online marketplaces, and studying the changing trends in economics and valuing skills. I’ve worked with over 100 people doing this online over these years, it’s how we’ve all made our living since the internet began.

You’re the judge though, so it’s only useful if it works for you, and there’s only one way to find that out, research & try…

We’re not super-rich, this is not a look at me flex-pitch, my life is also a work-in-progress — but — with my long-running team and friends, we are the people who create the technology designed for many more people than us, to save time, money and make it easier to do the right thing by all involved.

Strong ethics are always the most profitable strategy in the long-run, so there are no shortcuts or get-rich-quick Ponzi-scheme political bullshitters here — hence it’s a necessarily detailed page, with no glossing over anything you may have taken for granted before.

In its simplest form, it is just creating value for others through efficiency, knowledge and the intrigue of personality — you probably already buy from many others doing the same, so it’s not new, just condensed here as your documentation for some life stuff, and to save me repeating.

This is our DNA as software designers and developers — to make things possible and easier for more than ourselves. We’d do it even if we weren’t paid because we can, and do, with no more than a commitment to making things better.

It’s fun creating something from nothing — and because helping others is our primary goal, it’s our benchmark for valuing our own work too.

My job is helping others to learn and do fast

My work only works if it works for you — the only way I can test that is in sharing and publishing it for your review.

I’m certain anyone can learn something new for how to get paid more for your good work by simply knowing where others already are, and adapting what already works to your uniqueness.

It’s mostly work or things you’ve already done, and is likely worth more than any single employer would pay for it anyway.

Did you know Cristiano Ronaldo earns more from Instagram than his day-job playing for Juventus?



Crazy, huh? All that football money, and still, the club can’t afford to pay him as much as his fans do!

(I’m not a fan or follower by the way, can’t condone diving 🙄)

This is often true of many people who offer their expertise and creations publicly. Yes, an extreme example, but it applies at any scale when you understand both the value of attention, and where people are searching for your unique light in their lives.

Your employer can and should still profit from your good work too for the risks they take in that investment, you have an obligation with any wage to make sure of that.

It doesn’t mean you can’t also do more for other employers, clients, customers and audiences simultaneously, if you learn how to repeat yourself infinitely with digital copies of yourself. 😄😄😄

Your capability is your property

My objective is your greater understanding of how to value your skills — by understanding how much greater your audience can be with the internet, location-agnostic remote-work, and getting paid repeatedly for the same work.

That’s much harder if you only sell your time because even the best paid professionals still need to sleep, eat and enjoy a personal and family life.

Don’t sell time, sell time-saving. Only sell your presence when you enjoy being there too. Entertain when it entertains you.

You can apply these same principles to your experience in any field, as the sole owner of your intellectual property and skills. It’s just translating what businesses already do — but for your personal ambitions as well.

Why do you think mega-tech companies go to such great lengths and expense to gather data and content nowadays? I’ll show you how to get paid more than they do for it too — because, why would they tell you that if you don’t know, and they do?

If you can apply 2 or 3 things from here, I believe you’ll see how you can replace or supplement your wage with a direct income-stream for your experience and skills — that isn’t dependent on any single employer, client or customer.

You’re the boss of you

I ask for nothing in return because it is equally advice to myself published publicly for my own personal accountability.

If you do find it useful, and it helps, feel free to share the link — and @mention me your interesting stories or further article requests. No obligation though, it’s free information and just one viewpoint, which you are rightly and equally free to dismiss.

It’s up to you to find the time if you want to know why such a long article exists… 😅

OK, enough teasing, let’s get practical

There’s an actionable list below, of things that you, and almost anyone, can do. How you do them may differ, but they are all things you can do now, will help, and are focused on the realistic, respecting your need for time more than anything.

All these things also apply to businesses and organisations — but, for the sake of focus, I’m writing this one for individuals — please do share if it can help anyone you know as well.

Yes, smartening up your CV and introduction text for your experience and availability is one of them, although there is a lot more you can also do, now and in between waiting on replies or offers — if you even still want a job after you’ve seen all the other options you’ll now have.

Having recruited over 100 people over my years in business, I’ll tell you exactly what myself and colleagues look for.

Your introduction letters, emails and messages are only to get you a reply, call, meeting or interview — save the details for that.

Then you should be asking more questions than talking about yourself. Ask what you can do to help, and explain how you can solve an employer or client’s needs. Ideally, you can show them too.

If an opportunity is for you, your balance of power in negotiation is higher when you are a creator and enabler more than a cost. Establish the need and satisfy the demand.

Better to have more offers than you can handle than none — although, none shouldn’t ever stop you, you’ve just not found your right audience yet.

When your CV & introductions are done, find some time for gathering your work in a way you can share as your portfolio, demo or supplementary presentation. This should be an ongoing work-in-progress, just as you are.

After that, re-use and evolve your various profiles for online gigs and other creative or knowledge digital-asset marketplaces. You may have underestimated your value, or the audience for your skills before — now’s a good time to reassess that with a bit of browsing. I’m certain you’ll find new opportunities online with the global audience available to us now.

All those emails you’ve sent, notes, documents, files and templates you created, links you learned from and links you sent in chats, they all had value at the time — and gathering and packaging them for-sale as digital assets has a higher value to many more than your original audience.

That’s your work — own it, share it, get paid for it again — it’s value you can offer to many more now. The longer it took you to do, the more valuable it is to package and share for others that would like to know or enjoy what you do for a small payment and download or link.

Intrigued? Good! The motivation part is my job as your good author — don’t do anything other than read this unless you’re convinced. If I’m wrong, we’ll have eliminated many options and save you time from wondering how others do these things.

The first part is making yourself time to do, this is done by cutting all unnecessary costs in time, money and distraction.

Then you have room to think, re-present yourself, gather all the things you’ve already got, and package it in a way that; saves others time and money, or otherwise rewards their investment and attention, for your work to improve their lives.

Win-win! Here we go…


Change your plans

Clear your schedule if it isn’t already, and focus on the fastest sources of honest-money within your reach.

Social life can wait, but social circles are there for you, call-in some of your good karma, friends help friends, and at least you should find encouragement with an ally or two sharing your new challenges and research.

We need to work on a strategy that will rebuild your income fast — this time in a stronger way with; multiple sources of income, lower living costs, and a new outlook for financial security through prudence and diversity — for you and your loved ones.

I had many other draft posts in progress, but seeing and hearing about the challenges that good and talented people are having now, and the economic news through this latest (2020) and sudden recession — this is more important.

Many industries have just been closed overnight, some for the foreseeable future, and most are affected in some way — it is obvious to me that changing plans and priorities is urgent to avoid further unforeseen side effects.

Government advice is designed to protect government. Your advice to yourself needs to be more specific and get you tangible results.

Fear will stop you doing things — but confidence comes from making plans and knowing your subject.

So, we focus on what we can change, and can do now!

Bootstrapping your life

I’ve bootstrapped my businesses, and life, since my first paper-round 30 years ago, and now; with experience for managing money in a medium-sized business, through large and fast cashflow fluctuations, changes in circumstances, markets, loyalties, and overall doing everything possible to ensure income exceeds expenses — the problems and solutions are the same at any scale; income must be greater-than expenses over every period of time.

There’s nothing like a £100k wage-bill that feeds and homes families every month to sharpen your attention for how-fast change can affect many people.

The bills and wages must be paid for us to create anything sustainable, including our career and lifestyle. The bigger the team, the bigger the challenges, and the more important all this is.

If you only have you and your family to look after, you’re already in a better position that bigger companies that take much longer to adapt when they need to change things for their many people and conflicting interests, all with their own supplier & customer commitments pressures.

There’s nothing like threats to your shelter, food, connectivity or ability to travel to sharpen your attention. The numbers are irrelevant, but the percentages are, being business-like for your company of one will be more profitable than relying on any one company — where you can be a cost to cut without their earning more from your employment than you ask or need from them.

You should know your living-costs as a percentage of your secure income, your target is now to have income being more than 100% of expenses, ideally much more, and both sides of the equation can be improved to do this.

Timing now needs to be flexible, with a priority for basic needs, and all income-generating or cost-minimising movements within our control.

This is just life, we live in a civilised society with many safety nets and technology resources, and we must use what we do have and can do, until we can do as we please again.

Personal accounts

Oh, and if you don’t at least have a spreadsheet, and ideally a personal accounting app for your money movements — start now!

Easier to work out where you need to go, if you know where you’re coming from — and have a map.


This issue is affecting a lot of brilliant and successful people by pure chance, including many friends, across so many industries right now. It’s not personal, it is your problem to solve, though.

But — it is also a modern problem, caused by sophisticated marketing to you for maximising expenditure on style, travel, brands, reassurances and experiences — before maximising a healthy priority for personal and family financial security.

You will find all this easier with an open mind for adjusting your belief systems; on how much you really need to do, to protect yourself, your resources, and rebuilding from what is frankly a complete shit-show that you didn’t ask for and none of us thought would happen so suddenly.

The unexpected happened, now we know to expect it can happen again. The world has changed a lot, and quickly, we must too.

It’s just a test. You might not have revised for this one before — but the test has been passed by many, they all want you to pass it too, and many will help. You’re already helping yourself by reading all this — reading and researching is an investment, and my job to help you make a return on that now.

Swear, shout, rant, shake some trees — and muster all that frustration to find the energy to sort out what no-one else can; your life.

This is not a sympathy or virtue-signalling post — it is a practical resource and link-tree for anyone, at any time for any reason — designed to rebuild and refocus your life, finances and expectations of yourself with safer, stronger habits and attitudes to risk-management. It cost me a little time and priority shuffling — but that’s the point, a little of that should go a long way when repeatable and shareable.

Those selling you stuff, including that single source of income called a job (Just Over Broke), have been doing that for their needs and ambitions, to profit from your primary attention.

You need to now sell what you (ethically and morally) can, to make sure what you have to offer is in exchange for a repeat and reliable income — and with a more diverse audience this time, than you may have just learned isn’t always where you last looked.

Still going? I did say persuasion is necessary. All these words are for you to gather sound-bites, that you can repeat to yourself and others as you go. It’s a reassurance to yourself, to apply effort, and reason the many whys you might ask yourself along the way because frankly, at any time, there will be plenty of procrastination opportunities to do otherwise.


Open your mind to evolving from your previous comfort zone

A short story: Where I live in Jersey, I have good friends working in restaurants that were forced to close with no notice, these businesses had only weeks to make ends meet or declare bankruptcy.

One by one, some restaurants offered takeaway, and then delivery, and as word spread, within weeks I heard stories on how they have been doing more sales now than they ever did for sit-in customers.

The customer circumstances changed, and the suppliers that changed with them found an even broader audience — and customers now have a much wider variety than the traditional takeaway offerings they previously had on offer.

In a recession, the less-affected do want to support the more-affected too, ask and ye shall find. Your audience is your biggest investor, give them a way to invest in you, they want to keep you around and doing more of what they discovered you for.

These small family businesses didn’t sell their souls though, they adapted what they already have, and will stay in business to open the doors to the nights of noisy diners laughing with family and friends together again, all through their passion to create and share.

(I might have had just a few special deliveries of craft-beer along with my new-found options, too. We all still need an occasional reward to work for!)

If a business can’t sell takeaway or delivery right now — perhaps it’s time to have a membership offer, sell online or bring forward training, certifications, applications or refurbishments that might have otherwise been delayed.

Make your first year’s membership 18-months, paid up-front, for members-club discounts when you re-open.

Put your unique merchandise on your social media pages for sale.

Refurbish an outlet, retrain a team, revisit the things you didn’t have time or space for before.

Give your customers a way to keep you there and give them reciprocal loyalty opportunities when you are open for business again, perhaps with even more to offer for the time you now have to reinvent.

Problems are opportunities waiting to be solved. Evolve with your audience. They are equally looking for ways to adapt — and ask them what they want, feedback is the currency of happy results.

Rapid response

This is what we call Agile Project Management in software development, it comes from the just-in-time manufacturing movements that bring us cheaper and better things faster, and is used in many more industries now. We’re going to make you agile!

Prioritising is essential when you have more to do than time or resources to immediately achieve with. It’s an over-used word without meaning if not accompanied by practical rules, though.

Being Agile is simply a rule for accepting that; many things need to be done in a long sortable to-do list, but just working on the biggest wins first — and definitely no more than 3 things at a time, per person sharing in this list. Less is more when it comes to getting something done regularly, choosing what’s most valuable to do next is the agile part.

You need to be strict, say “no” or “not now” to more things, be focused on your sustainability, and tighten your team by communicating succinctly and quickly what everyone’s top-three things are, so you can divide & conquer.

The simplest way to do this is with a manually sortable to-do list. List first, then sort and re-sort as priorities change and initiatives progress. Assign if you have a team, and categorise if you have many roles and areas of interest.

Do it on paper with numbering or with almost any reminders or to-do app. Be flexible, be agile, use your calendar and alerts too if you have deadlines that will cost you more from missing.

Time has now become more important, your recovery from a sudden loss of income is relative to your speed of accepting and reacting, and ability to prioritise the quickest wins to free you up for the next, and so-on.

Lastly, and somewhat of a curiosity that took me a while to accept; don’t waste time on anyone who needs persuading. Show, tell, accept whatever happens and move on.

If your hip-hop ain’t going down in country-town, be agile in your location and who you give time to — better to polish your diamonds to catch the sun than try to make nests for magpies in borrowed nests with other ideas. Metaphoric and experienced. You know the flaky characters I’m referring to, I’m sure. 😉 (And I do like almost all genres, except whiny R&B 😖)

Talk to your family and team

Tell those closest to you what you are facing, what you’re doing about it, and that you will keep them posted on any changes — but otherwise you will be focused on replacing your income asap.

Tell them not to worry about you, ask if they can help of course but don’t rely on it, and tell them to expect to hear more from you if there’s anything new. They might be worried, they will also be happier and help if they know enough too.

They now know the situation at-least, are confident that you’re on it, and you know that you have moral support and a safe haven for counsel if you need.

Don’t feel guilty for being less attentive for a bit, guilt is a selfish and unnecessarily distracting emotion anyway — reasonable regret is more actionable, if only from learning a difficult lesson — but good people will understand!

In our business, our team is our work-family, and our work-team supports and respects each other’s family needs. This makes it much easier for our families to support our work-team’s needs of us, too.

Being agile is being infinitely flexible for what really matters, and accepting it changes frequently and unpredictably.

Use the buddy system; in work and family. We have a principle of making sure we know what 2 others are doing, and 2 others know what we are doing. It saves time, questions and talking more than doing.

People don’t need to know everything you’re doing, just to know someone else does. Then they know how to get you support or give you space to get on, and get back to them when your to-dos are done, and they are up on the list again.

Share what you lean along the way or afterwards too, we learn from each other’s experiences, as much as our own.


Rebuild everything stronger this time around

Now you’ve felt the consequences of risk playing-out, from reliance on having one main source of income. We’re going to change that outdated conditioning and habit, to now be for building multiple income streams with a variety of effort and time needs.

We want to mitigate the risk of any one job or income loss undermining your abilities to work for the causes you are experienced in and passionate about.

One of those income-streams is free and easy, too — giving yourself a pay-rise by reducing your costs. It’s better to hold on to any money you do have, and delay spending until later when you have a bigger buffer.

Ask for reduced rent, apply for mortgage and credit interest holidays, spread repayments over a longer period with a lower monthly amount, for now. Lenders almost can’t say no, and are often legally obliged to when you ask. Their licence terms include respecting for your rights in changing circumstances — and a late customer is better than no customer.

Think regular incomes from multiple customers

You may have noticed many of the things you enjoy have now moved to being subscriptions services. For good reasons, too; it’s a stable income stream for companies, and enables innovation through the security of ongoing predictable financial planning.

Start thinking about multiple subscription income streams for your value-offering to the world. It is an inevitable future in efficient markets with the technology to do that, and often almost for free with digital distribution marketplaces. Your only risk is in your choices; for what you do with time, and for whom, including yourself.

Think; subscriptions, memberships, fan-clubs, expert support availability retainers, piece-work retainers, digital assets, knowledge and education publishing, multimedia channels, royalties, reselling local bargains from the sales and promotions at your regular shops, reselling rare-finds from your collection-of-stuff habit, personalising products, coaching on your hobbies for profits, publishing or selling your raw materials, scraps or notes from previous work.

Now’s a good time to make notes of things you can do; add reminders, form a to-do and reading list — all of which you can sort, prioritise and look at one at a time later.

Multiple regular income-streams, for minimal levels of effort and within what you already do, will make your main income become a bonus. If you can get a new-job first, great — but can you really bank on it, knowing what you know now?

Start with the quick wins and pace yourself — pick one, try it, pick another, try it. Spread your bets and give them deadlines to pay for themselves — otherwise, shelve them to come back to another time, and move something else up the list.

Don’t count on anything before it has paid off — and don’t take on everything all at once — done is better than perfect, paid is better than delayed.

Learn fast; and make your first goal timeliness, your second goal a limit to effort (difficulty multiplied-by time) before seeing a return, and only then work on the bigger projects with the times in-between — when you have no choice but to just wait.

Writers have been known to say; they write in the cracks of life. Make your time-gaps places you can chip away at growing your intellectual property assets.

No time to debate

As they say in France; on y va — let’s go!

Respecting your time is precious in these circumstances, let’s get on with it, as a to-do list, in approximate priority order, with minimal explanation of each — so you are building up multiple options and then income streams, day by day.

Take it or leave it, all or some, right now, you need a plan, options and money flowing again, so we can talk about the details after we’ve fixed the immediate concerns…

Your to-do list for bootstrapping life

Quick wins

Doing something that works quickly, is good for your confidence, and buys you time for the deeper challenges.

Number one! Eat healthily

  • You need more energy than before to adapt — make sure you have the fuel and nutrients to do that, especially if you are working later than usual on your new start.
  • You can do this today, and on your next grocery shop, you’ve achieved something immediately with no more than your own commitment, and proven to yourself that you can, in preparation for the next things on your list.

Cancel culture

  • Cancel all non-essential Direct Debits, Standing Orders and other automated payments from your bank and cards.
  • Even if you are keeping the services, these automated payments usually come out 30 days before they need too. You can pay them manually — this buys you another 30 days. If they don’t, they are probably services and providers that you don’t need in your life anyway.
  • Downgrade anything you can’t cancel.
  • Cut the cable or satellite TV. Roku replaces all that nowadays for zero monthly commitment.

Protect your credit rating

  • Prioritise any provider that can leave a late or missed payment mark on your credit file, like; mobile phone contracts, credit cards, mortgages and overdraft limits.
  • Negotiate zero interest and lower or delayed payments, by law all lenders must allow for this, you just have to phone, email or website message to ask.
  • MoneySavingExpert.com and similar is your friend here.
  • If possible, have a line of credit prepared — but do everything you can to avoid using it.
  • Credit is just a future pay-cut for you, for someone else’s pay-rise today, so be fair to your future-self and strict on what constitutes a genuine need.

Sell what you don’t need

Ebay & PayPal!

  • If you don’t have these accounts — get them setup now, if you do, check they are up-to-date, and you have completed all the latest information requests they tend to ask for in approving your account.
  • This gives you a worldwide audience for anything.
  • I knew someone once that sold £1 notes from Jersey to people in other countries for £5 each. It costs nothing more than the time to list, envelopes and stamps, regardless of whether it sells, so load up your account with stuff you can sell for fast cash.
  • Sell anything you don’t need or use right now, and are unlikely to, even when you start work again or times are better.
  • The cash comes in as soon as you make the sale, even before the sold items arrive with the buyer.
  • Be a good eBayer — it’s designed to be easy enough that anyone can.
  • Keep all packaging from purchases, you can use it for shipping your sales.
  • Bought something new recently you’re not going to use? Sell it for a bit less now and buy another one later when you have time again.
  • Old stuff sells well on Ebay, old DVDs, video games, toys, collectables, branded clothes (especially vintage) and all are easy to post. Try it, you might find you have some rare gems worth way more than you paid for them, as they have become rare or hard to find over time.
  • Clean, paint and fix old things, shabby-chic and retro revivals command a premium price.
  • Use plenty of good quality photos and a decent description. If there’s a few hundred, or thousand, pounds in it, this can be the fastest way to turn things you don’t need, back into cash, to eat and make ends meet.
  • Use parcel collection services like Parcel2Go, ParcelMonkey or similar to save yourself time and costs for travel to the post office.

Facebook Marketplace

  • If you don’t have time, materials or the items are too large. Sell to those nearer you.
  • Again, it only costs you small amounts of time, and you might be surprised what someone else will enjoy and pay for — that you didn’t think as much of. You might be saving them money in hard-times, too.

Amazon Marketplace

  • Anyone can sell on here, similar to Ebay, it might just widen your audience.
  • Everyone has a load of books, DVDs and maybe CDs you don’t want, but Amazon is often the first search for many people trying to find them or get a bargain and recycle by choosing used.
  • Have a search for “flipping” on Twitter, where there are many guides and Discord groups sharing what sells well on Amazon. Things you might be able to pick up on your supermarket shop or from a local bargain shop or clearance sale.
  • Use an app called RedLaser to compare prices online with shop sales, a general rule-of-thumb is the average online price needs to be double or more the in-store sale price to make a profit.
  • Collectables found at car-boot/garage sales or other used store sell for even more if you know the demand.

Etsy, Folksy & similar craft stores

  • If you’re crafty, or can personalise things, there’s a ready-made audience looking for that here.
  • Refurbish things with a coat of paint, just cleaning up or shabbify with sanding and multi-tone brushstrokes.
  • Buy blank frames and sell them for many times more with a nice photo, graphics, poster or album artwork — and reusing the same packaging you bought the blanks in.
  • Turn old t-shirts into patchwork cushions and blankets.

Your local car-boot sale

  • Why not? Clear your space, recycle, fast cash.

Think creatively for what and how you sell

Another short story: I have a good friend, who is an audiovisual engineer. When fitting equipment, most clients were asking for the existing to be disposed of. Instead of adding to electronics landfill, he decided to sell them on Ebay.

However, he found that where he might sell an old item for £100, if he dismantled it and sold the parts separately for spares & repairs, he could often achieve many times more in value. Sometimes, five-times as much, when the components are worth more to someone that just needs a part, and the shipping is cheaper too.

He has now added office clearances to his business and gets government grants for warehousing his ecycling initiative.

He added repair services to his Ebay listings, where people would send him items, to repair or source new parts and return.

All additional income from stock that costs almost nothing, compared to if he was reselling new items.

The world is your potential customer-base, so if you did something valuable locally, see how you can adapt that to a global marketplace.

Once you’ve learned something new too, document it and sell the how-too guide as a PDF on Gumroad as well.

If you need to write an agreement for your service, sell that as a downloadable template for others to use. You’ve already spent 90% of the time on it — the last 10% is finite, with infinite potential for repeat sales of the same thing.

Stop buying what you don’t need or paying a premium from not shopping around.

If you do have to buy anything:

Claim your tax rebates

I’m going to call all social security support tax rebates because that’s what they are, and there should never be any stigma or pride issues in that.

Get your first date of unemployment or limited income change recorded asap because everything should be backdated to that.

After that, you’ll know whether it’s urgent or not. It is better to have your full entitlements honoured, from the civilised society you have paid into, than miss out, and it later makes the difference between extra days and weeks of time before you have any other problems and stresses.

Avoid later problems with a few forms and answers now, to make your needs known to those employed to help, and work for you — with the trust-fund you pay into as a taxpayer.

Help others in a similar situation

Karma is real and sometimes immediate, your allies will be more or less based on your reaction to their difficulties too.

Offering general help is a platitude, think open-questions to then find the specific tasks they need to get through.

Ask your friends for their problem list, be their sponsor and reminder to check how they are getting on with each. Buddy-up as you might in sport or training. Accountability and reminders will help replace the more deadline-driven work routines we might be missing.

It’s easier to say; “I’m fine” than; “no, I haven’t phoned that company or sold that thing yet”, so knowing your buddy’s to-do’s will help you to help each other.

Your employer may be facing similar or worse than you — help them to help you by seeking an exit that works for both of you.

You never know when you’ll have opportunities to work together again or share referrals. It’s better not to be a Klingon, in trying to delay them, or you, from getting on with the inevitable — you have new horizons waiting for you.

Help your employer get all the grants and government support that is necessary, and you are both entitled to, help them research it and apply, especially if they are busy fire-fighting, and you aren’t. Help them to help you.

When your company is running out of options, help them restructure (reduce staffing, hours, rates or commitments) fast, so they can still be there for you to be proud of your time with them. I do hope you’ll want to keep your former colleagues in good-standing, too.

You’re selling your time, knowledge and creativity — not your morals and soul. Don’t make your problem someone else’s problem, that’s not good karma.

Share problems, yes. Ignore them or inflict on others in a similar situation, no.

Being unhelpful, difficult or pedantic with quoting rights or entitlements will cost you in time and contacts, people talk!

Sharing in solving problems will keep you in good favour when you need allies, ideas and connections from those you once shared a path with.

Ask for referrals and ideas instead, don’t go to a competitor without at least considering a respectful conversation on that with your current employer, your CV might need explaining again one day.

Misery likes company, it’s a quip — but buddy-up with positive and honest people in similar situations.


If you’re and employer or your role enables other roles, then redundancies and reductions should start with the highest paid.

Seek temporary percentage reductions for all remaining, if it helps save more jobs and keep the lights on for better days.

Ask any capable furloughed staff to get on your social media, to keep your online existence and awareness alive, and for the stock and services you can cash-in with any spare time.

Maybe they can write some case-studies and interesting articles too, to keep your business activity alive and resources to promote your unique offers growing. Send them here for ideas. 😊

Summary of quick-wins

  • Outgoings down
  • Commitments lowered and delayed
  • Get back what you’re owed
  • Income from what you already have
  • Generate social currency

Now! Having what used to seem like and nice & easy, reliable single main income didn’t turn out as safe as it might once have been sold to you as — and probably won’t be again.

Organisations and insurances don’t cover the same problems twice without a cost or disclaimer, they are learning from all this too, remember.

I study a lot online; technology, sociology and economic trends — and I am confident that the way the economy will adapt and rebuild will not be like it was before.

New economies will be based on this new awareness and need for risk-aversion, meaning inevitably fewer commitments and job security offers than you may have expected to on offer before.

Your previous job may never exist again with the same benefits, so you need new benefits — reselling what you do as templates & education is one way you can create a pension alongside selling your time.

The most significant change I am seeing is that work, for more and more people, is adapting — to cut out the middle-men and resellers for your services, experience and value. With products, it’s called direct-to-consumer, and benefits both parties through the more direct delivery efficiency through eliminating intermediary costs.

This trend for people’s skills has grown to attract its own term now; the hustle economy.

I could write more on this subject, but by chance found this article yesterday that explains the movement in a way I’m sure you’ll find speaks to you too:


This is different from the gig economy, where companies exploit people with pseudo-freelance arrangements to avoid the costs of typically employee roles, and their respective benefits, security and rights. Although, that’s legally questionable now and being challenged.

The main aspects of hustling, or professional publishing being; selling your creations or experience direct to those seeking it, and multiple things to multiple audiences.

The hustle economy

Sell what you know or create — preferably in a way that has finite costs, and can be sold again and again with minimal additional support-cost expectations for your personal time.

Ebooks, templates, presets, guides, samples, tutorials, audiobook readings — save someone a load of time and research from learning the same, and they’ll happily pay you for a few hours work, there’s no limit to the times you can resell the same.

Under normal circumstances I’d highly recommend building your own blog with Ghost, as I have, and as introduced here.

I still think a personal blog is becoming something of a responsibility to yourself to have, more-so than a CV, especially if you’re in a situation now that you might not have been if you had this portfolio ready to share and prospect with.

However, we need fast-first, so let’s work in order of speed to market. We will come back to the blog — but it is the ideal extension of your profile, for gathering and building your experience to share for years to come.

You can’t do it all today, but maybe you’ll find one or two sites on your travels where the existing content inspires you.

You can start with any platform, or maybe two or three. Chip away at building a profile, content and services that give you regular customers for the work, or your good assistance with someone else’s work.

Rinse & repeat! (Taken from the completely unnecessary shampoo instruction designed to sell you more again and sooner.)

Social Media

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook & LinkedIn

Clean up your profile, and refocus it on your vocational interests to make sure you have a place to promote your credibility for your craft and expertise. Be the role-model and mentor you were looking for when you started.

References and portfolio work is great — but there’s a good chance a recruiter will review your profile and timeline too.

If you have something to sell, you need your profile, pinned and latest posts to say you are the kind of person that is passionate and experienced in that. Your audience should find you to be an ally and virtual friend in your specialist subject and their shared interests.

You don’t need to change or compromise your personality — just make your work and related interests more prominent than your dinner and holidays, which are still fine as seasoning, of course. Avoid political rants and reposting chain-mail crap or un-fact-checked polarising views, they are just idiot-filters for muting you to the rest of us.

As an aside; did you know many of those polarising posts are created by people and machines paid to distract you with them? It’s a disinformation tactic used and funded by the powerful, where they can’t hide reporting on what they do, so they dilute it with larger volumes of distracting information. All designed to keep you busy ranting at or repeating each other, instead of learning and taking more direct action with votes or energy applied to the actual places for calling things to account, like law courts.

Social media distraction has many costs, try and avoid it for all our sakes please, and use that mute feature frequently for a clean, focused and useful feed.

Twitter I find best for the broadest reach of people that are already looking for information, assistance and learning — as opposed to the entertainment and curiosity factors of the others. Instagram can be better for visual and sound-based products to end users, but don’t neglect Twitter for the access and attention it can get you with fellow entrepreneurs.

LinkedIn doesn’t convince me unless you’re selling a service to companies — but please not your soul, one arse-kissing at a time, it’s superficial and gives the wrong signals. If you’re going to support others, personalise it with additional insight in your comment instead of just a lazy-repost.

I feel it’s better to build authority than seek it, through publishing articles, and have people come to you through them. With your CV-format profile as secondary background info.

You should probably have a LinkedIn profile for many employment vocations, but don’t limit your horizons to just that and just another job. Your mileage may vary though, so please do let me know if it works for you, and I can update here accordingly.

LinkedIn is good for finding who works where — then find them on Twitter, likely being more human and open to reply.

You’ll know which suits you best, but I do recommend including Twitter (fourth time I’ve said it) as it can be a good hub and link to all the others. The good people on there can be super helpful, so find your peers and ask them openly, others will appreciate your open learning, support your journey — and an empathetic retweet can go a long way in your search!

Write yourself a template direct message (DM) that you can share privately and personally with trusted friends and contacts.

Everyone will understand your discretion and personal contact, you should get an almost 100% reply rate for tapping into your contacts, as you would want to do for them too.

DMs are personal but somewhat more invited nowadays and generally appreciated as a compliment if respectfully appropriate, and also for asking if it’s OK before say something on the public side.

Don’t ask for a retweet or repost, just ask if they might have any feedback on your post or article — you’ll get the reposting anyway if the feedback is good enough to add value for their audience too.

Post publicly if you’re confident — but it can be a bit discouraging if you either don’t get lucky or start to feel you have to keep doing it for everyone to see. Keep your confidence up with a more personal and private approach first — but I’m sure you’ll quickly have a feel for what works best for your personality.

Journal your journey too, others may find it interesting later or also learn from and follow you as you go. Giving your experience is social currency that you can spend later when you need to ask for something again.

There’s really no barriers to public @mention messaging either, once is probably enough per contact, so don’t be an @mention-pest — but people like helping, and like others knowing they are helpful too, so the social contract on here does go both ways.

There’s a pretty good chance most management follows their brand’s Twitter account too, and often reply as well, so use this super-connection wisely and make yourself known. People like to work with fans of what they do.

Digital assets, personal services & sponsorships

These are in no particular order, since there are some that overlap and some that have unique differences.

There’s no reason why you can’t be on multiple platforms, either. Have a browse as someone who might be interested in what you have to offer to see what others’ are already doing in that category. What’s the popularity of your categories, and where are the gaps?

As a rough guide, depending on the category, about one in 20 people leave feedback. It could be as high as one in 2 or 3 for services, or low as one in maybe 50 or 100 for free things. But multiplying the feedbacks by the price and the lowest and highest multiple you think reasonable will give you an idea of sales potential.

Gather and package your material in a way that you can work with all the platforms that you might have an audience on, or a community of like minds to work with. Take half the time you’d otherwise be on social media and get known in your specialist forums.

Each platform generally has a blog and Twitter feed for a good source of inspiration — although, don’t spend too much time on consuming. Some have forums too, join them.

Make sure you’re gathering whatever creative or knowledge resources you can add value to from curating alongside your research; designing your profile for people to get to know your brilliance, getting you closer to those first sales and clients.

Find the scraps from what you have already done, clean that up and package them into saleable knowledge or shortcuts for others following a similar journey. Do unto others… and all that.

Creator marketplaces


  • gumroad.com
  • gumroad.com/gumroad/posts
  • twitter.com/gumroad
  • You can list free things on here too, where people can optionally donate an amount if they really like something. It’s a good way to gauge interest, build a mailing list of followers, and help the Gumroad community get to know your work.
  • I’ve seen very eye-opening sales figures from Gumroad from relatively obscure or niche products. If you add this as a place for your followers to purchase your deeper work, the combination of free content on social media, with free and paid content on here, is generating much more than a full-time income for many already.
  • It’s pretty-much the Ebay of creator and digital sales, with a significant audience now, and growing fast. Or course, you can list the same things on Ebay as well.
  • Amazon gives creators 30-60% of the revenue with a long delay. Gumroad is over 90% of sales as cash paid into your bank every Friday.


  • fiverr.com
  • blog.fiverr.com
  • twitter.com/fiverr
  • Listing things for £5/$5 on Fiverr is the equivalent of Gumroad’s free or donate price option, it gets attention — but you can price however you like for your more valuable products or services.
  • Don’t let the name deceive you, I’ve found more brilliant collaborators and friends through Fiverr than I ever expected.


  • upwork.com
  • upwork.com/blog
  • twitter.com/upwork
  • Possibly, the biggest network of its kind, so there’s lots of competition and variance in pricing too. Be confident with your pricing, though— it’s a filter for the quality of clients you want to work with.
  • Take on a few quick jobs to build your feedback rating.
  • The platform itself is good for managing and mediating freelance contracting regardless of where you find clients if you want to pay their commission for that while you build your own client agreements and processes.
  • Get paid for milestones or time-intervals — it’s a waste of your valuable time and energy if a difficult client keeps adding to the task before you get paid.


  • patreon.com
  • blog.patreon.com
  • twitter.com/patreon
  • You’d be surprised how many small local service businesses have added Patreon to their offering. Yoga classes, cookery, sound designers, film producers.
  • I bet you’ll want to be a Patreon of a few too, it’s a great way to invest in the creators and educators you admire and want to see more from.


  • udemy.com
  • blog.udemy.com
  • twitter.com/udemy
  • This is the big one that almost everyone will have seen ads for somewhere online.
  • That big marketing budget gives you a larger audience, but also high commission costs and narrow pricing boundaries.
  • The quality-control on Udemy is high, which is a good thing, as your standards should be too.




  • toptal.com
  • toptal.com/blog
  • twitter.com/toptal
  • Experts for experts — there’s a high-bar to entry here with entrance exams — but then less noise from chancers than the more free-for-all sites like Upwork.
  • You can achieve respectable rates and find high-quality clients, where speed and quality is often more important than price — as it should be for any experienced and capable professional.

Sound Better



  • simplybook.me
  • news.simplybook.me
  • twitter.com/simplybookme
  • Dedicated to service bookings, on-site, mobile or remote.
  • Entry costs seem low, but can add up if you want lots of features. Compare what you think you’ll need with Squarespace — either is good, your choice will be relative to how little or much you plan on adding over time.

One Hour Translation

Creator libraries





Awesome Merchandise

If you find success on any of the above, search for “{platform name} alternatives”, to rinse & repeat.


Find your peers on your specialist-subject forums or on Reddit. Answer questions you can help with and add value to threads you know something about.

With a reputation among peers, it’s always easier to open up the subject to asking if anyone knows of work you might be able to help with.

You can repost your profile and articles to Reddit & Medium for a wider audience, and therefore network of people grateful for your shared experience, many are doing well-enough for time or work themselves that they’re happy to give you pointers if you’re currently available to work in your area.

Branding your personal offering to the world


  • ghost.org
  • ghost.org/blog
  • twitter.com/Ghost
  • digitalpress.blog
  • marcusquinn.com/introducing-ghost/
  • This blog is written on Ghost, if you like it, I recommend it.
  • You own the content, data, code — and hosting too if you want.
  • No 3rd-party advertising (unless you go live with the free plan with digitalpress.blog)
  • Build your own link-tree page like this, to cross-pollinate communities through your social media and forums profile links.
  • Add credibility with articles on your specialist subject.
  • Cross-pollinate communities with your personal website link as the path to all your other links via your social media profile.
  • Enable the free Subscribe feature to email your super-fans when you publish new posts.
  • Super-nice people might even repost a link to your post if they think their audience will like it too.

Get paid to blog

You already know how to do something interesting, and you can at-least write, or if you’re a little more creative you might be able to add images, graphics, audio and video to posts.

Pick your favourite brands and check out their blogs. The more successful brands are, the more likely they are to have a quick process and respectable fee offered for paid blogging. Trending brands or those with new investment are often seeking more champions for their rapid growth.

Read their blogs! What have they got already, what could you add to it?

If you are already blogging, great, you have a portfolio. If not, gather a collection of your best social media posts and start with a couple of extended versions as articles on Medium.

Regardless, set yourself the challenge of writing one blog post for any of your favourite brands. I feel a good post should be 1,500 to 5,000 words and spend a good week or so on it, supplemented with images and anything else relevant for a super attractive show-piece. It sounds like a lot — but just try, and my post on Plain-text & Markdown is here to help with my recommendations and toolkit for writing.

Now you have something to approach any website with, to show them, and ask if they would be interested in your writing for their website too. You can often find good contacts for brands through LinkedIn, but it’s equally acceptable, and sometimes easier, to then find them on X.com. Try either a DM or an @mention message. People are likely to respond to that, and thoughtfully too, if the approach is sincere and interesting.

As a general rule for non-academic articles, I think 1,000 to 2,000 words a day is reasonable, varying depending on your knowledge of a subject and multimedia additions. Work on your day-rate being equivalent to about two to three times more than you’d expect from a salaried job to allow for the times in-between to find and plan new work.

Many of creative platforms have companies and collaborators actively listing projects for writing. It doesn’t matter whether you start with; networking, personal prospecting or online work marketplaces, just that you try what you feel you have the best chance at.

Remember, we’re looking for the fastest money, doing things you can already do, on the subjects you already know, repurposing things you already have. You don’t need to travel anywhere, or you can chip away at these things with any down-time on your travels. Networking is all online, so prospecting costs are negligible, and you have more time for doing, when you’re saved from running around at your expense.

Even if you don’t feel you can write anything from scratch yet — there are many companies around the world that need native proofreaders to refine their writing when your first language isn’t theirs. Find products you’ve bought and like that are manufactured elsewhere, and see how their instructions manuals read, there’s usually contact details in them too.

The world economy is vast and much of it is online now, broaden your income horizons with what you have from where you are right now. Where you are, and your cultural understanding is even more valuable to someone that can’t be there or be you.

Come back to the real-world gigs when the economy is better and there’s less competition for finite jobs — and all those that don’t win the application lottery aren’t getting paid for those applications and interviews. Personally, I think that’s effort that can as well be applied to places where your application to the world can be reviewed many more times, by many more people, indefinitely.

Give yourself a higher chance of picking up work or selling things from the entire internet. The world is actively looking, and posting these work needs, or advertising that they could benefit from your addition to their voice — for things you both share a passion for and just need to make that connection happen from making yourself easier to find.

Unless you have huge followings and viewing figures on Instagram and YouTube, you don’t get paid anything.

However, alternatives are changing that, and paying out up to 90% of advertising and subscription revenues directly to content creators for every view.

They don’t have the same vast user base but are growing and I’m sure will continue to when the real value in any platform is in the content and its creators:



Vid App

Get paid for your research & recommendation guidance

Affiliate Marketing

  • marcusquinn.com/affiliates
  • It’s just tips for tips, costs the shopper nothing, and even better when it comes with a friends discount for them too.
  • You can’t make everything, but you can recommend anything if you know your subject and the producer has an ethical affiliate referral program for kick-backs.
  • Weave affiliate links into what you are already writing and linking to online, it’s almost no more effort than adding a plain link.
  • Put (aff.link) after the link to be transparent that there’s money in it for you with a link click & purchase.
  • Remain unbiased in your referrals, promoting only that you would be happy being recommended too.
  • I prefer to only have affiliate links to things I have already purchased, own or use myself. I see it as more of a referral discount than soul-selling to selling stuff for the sake of it.
  • No-one needs another “Top-10 Whatever” list page, top-3 maybe, top-1 and an in-depth review is ideal.
  • If you’re super-good or popular, it might pay for all the things you use and more — either way it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t.
  • You create the accounts and links once, and they are online forever, to give you a tip for that tip every time it helped someone else figure out what you already know.

To contradict myself a little; if you are very successful in other areas, you might not want affiliate links diluting your credibility, or pledge all affiliate income to charity if you do keep them.

It’s a nuanced area in being a brand or personality, only do it if you feel it’s appropriate and doesn’t turn you into a salesperson that some fickle people might callout and try to discredit your authenticity.

At the very least affiliate links are a way to recognise how many people your influence reaches, and the value it has to them. Make sure you explain what affiliate links are and where any income goes to at-least, transparency is good to help demonstrate you’re not compromising your ethics and primary role; in helping and entertaining.

If you know a product or service well from your use in your vocation or notable hobby — there’s a good chance the marketing department of the brand would be happy to pay for you to write or create an in-depth review or case-study for them to share. Ask them.

It’s another link-back opportunity for your blog and portfolio, too.

There’s almost no level of success that prohibits this from being acceptable, if you think of all those super-stars working in adverts. Just make sure the brand’s ethics and offering aligns with your own.

What else?

That’s about all for now, and certainly more than I’d though of when I started this — which should give you an idea of how you can do so much more than you think, once you’ve started.

The hardest part is always the first step but you’ll be surprised how much you know, remember and find once you get going.

Now… Sketch yourself an outline, have a place for everything, put things in their place as you go, and colour-in the story of you!

I’ll add and update if I find anything else, or feedback and suggestions find their way to me to pass on.

A subscribe should get you an email for anything new.

Talk to me

I can’t pretend to have all the answers, or even any that will work for your exact needs and hopes — but please do let me know if any of this does help, or anything you think should be added or improved here to help others.

And perhaps I’ll see you out in the real world sometime, too.

To follow my online adventures — with commentary on; creative technology, building a brand, ethical business, copywriting, ecommerce, blogging, SEO, data protection, privacy, and online security — find me on X.com

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