Keep it Fresh with Multiple Income Streams

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.


By Carrie Martin
Published January 22, 2013
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