Keep it Fresh with Multiple Income Streams

Written by
Carrie Martin
January 22, 2013

Growing up with a father who owned an adver­tis­ing agency meant that life lessons and agency lessons had a ten­dency to melt together as he explained life to me. When I was eight years old, for instance, he would use BBDO’s loss of the Nissan account to explain the con­cept of “don’t put all your eggs in one bas­ket.” Since then, I’ve often won­dered how other fathers explained that con­cept to their kids. Bet it didn’t involve BBDO or Nissan.

However it was explained to you, whether it involved eggs or cars, the con­cept is sound. It’s really hard to argue with the logic of not putting all your eggs in one bas­ket, espe­cially when it comes to gen­er­at­ing income. This is why I have mul­ti­ple streams of income. Besides just the money, I’ve found some other pos­i­tive things about them.

Multiple income streams keep it fresh for me. Currently, the income streams I’m putting my energy to include:

Teaching: I really enjoy teach­ing, but I know I would not enjoy it nearly as much, nor would I be as effec­tive if it were the only thing I did. The stu­dents would suf­fer as well because the feed­back I con­sis­tently get from stu­dents is how much they appre­ci­ate that I’m not only a teacher but also a work­ing pro­fes­sional. That allows me to bring real life pro­fes­sional sit­u­a­tions to the class­room for dis­cus­sion. That’s a tan­gi­ble, valu­able asset for students.

Illustration: I am cur­rently work­ing with a client that requires A LOT of tech­ni­cal draw­ings for patent designs. It is very pre­cise work that is not cre­ative in the least, but I thrive on it! However, if that is all I did, I’m sure I would just become an illus­trat­ing human robot, void of all per­son­al­ity and per­sonal hygiene.

Edging: When I worked at Foils and Dies, I per­fected the art of edg­ing for the shop. I’m no longer at Foils and Dies. However, I really enjoy the hands-on nature of mix­ing the paint to the per­fect con­sis­tency as well as the mechan­ics of the air­brush and the amaz­ing results that are pro­duced. I devel­oped a flyer and began call­ing on all my print­ing com­pany con­tacts, which are many. I’ve cre­ated a boom­ing side busi­ness; I love step­ping away from the vir­tual design on the com­puter to the very phys­i­cal art of edging.

Creating Recycled Furniture: A few years ago, I found an old cof­fee table that some­one had left by the side­walk to be dis­carded with the trash being picked up that day. I res­cued it and by using the pat­tern from my favorite rug, I trans­formed it into cus­tom cool. A few weeks ago, I con­nected with like-minded inte­rior design­ers and they are also mak­ing and mar­ket­ing fur­ni­ture like mine. I’ve thrown my skill set into the mix; now I have another busi­ness inter­est. As with edg­ing, I get to break away from the vir­tual design I do on the com­puter and mix paint and re-create a new life for old, dis­carded fur­ni­ture. It keeps good, usable fur­ni­ture from clog­ging up the land­fill and feeds my soul as well as my pocketbook.


People who know my sched­ule often ask me, “How do you keep all those balls in the air? Aren’t you just exhausted by man­ag­ing it all?” Oddly enough, being engaged in mul­ti­ple and var­ied ongo­ing projects actu­ally keeps me ener­gized, engaged and minty fresh.


Design Diary no. 79

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