Whether you’re saving for something big or trying to figure out how to stay in real estate until the market turns, Erin McCormick Torres offers tips to help you develop new streams of income.

It’s no secret that it’s a challenging real estate market. Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in 20+ years. Home sales are down, as is per-agent productivity.

Many agents have thrown in the towel and left the industry. Before you decide to make the jump back into a W2, full-time, more stable position, however, should you consider a side hustle to supplement your commission income?

I bought my first house at 23 in Middlebury, Vermont, in 2010. Being new to the workforce, my real estate agent at the time told me, “You can’t make a good living in Vermont having only one source of income.” That apparently stuck with me, since I’ve always had at least three or more side hustles.

One year, I had 12 different sources of income on my tax return. With this said, I’m a bonafide side hustle expert when it comes to setting up new income sources.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding if now is the right time to pursue a side hustle:

Why aren’t you finding success in real estate right now? 

First, you need to be honest with yourself about your performance in today’s market.

  • Are you not realizing the level of success you want because you aren’t managing your time properly? A side hustle isn’t going to solve that. 
  • Are you not investing in the right tools, resources or leverage?
  • Are you not focused on growing your database every single day and actually nurturing it?

If you are working 8+ hours a day in and on your real estate business and simply can’t get enough deals going or keep deals together due to market conditions, then perhaps a side hustle is worth a look.

A diluted focus will create diluted results, though. You need to be sure you have given your all to real estate sales for at least 90 days before looking to diversify. 

How much time do you have to devote to something new?

Standing up any side business requires more time and more effective use of your time. Are you willing to wake up early, stay up late, say no to things that don’t serve you, and maximize every 30-minute burst of your day to be successful?

We all have 24 hours in a day. If you work on setting up your calendar to be purposeful in every time block, you can accomplish much more in less time. First, determine how much time you could reasonably allot to a side hustle. Start small. Remember to budget in recovery and fun time, too, for optimal work-life harmony and to mitigate future burnout.

How much money do I really need?

In making a big decision about how you spend your time, you need to understand your finances. Roll up your sleeves and dive in.

  • Do you have a monthly budget? Do you stick to it?
  • What can you trim from your budget? Make a game of it. Every $5-10 savings adds up.
  • What do you need in new income to pay your bills monthly without dipping into savings?
  • How many more months can you pay your bills without needing to find a W2 position?

Determine how much side-hustle income would pad your bank account enough to alleviate financial stress but, at the same time, leave you with enough hours in the day to also find more success in your primary role. Then back into what different opportunities could pay you the hourly rate needed to make it worth your time.

If you’re feeling an immediate financial pinch, there are so many opportunities for side income online, from review and survey sites, to things like Uber, DoorDash or Instacart to bring you immediate income. 

How could this side hustle complement my real estate business?

One of my side hustles is managing a wedding band. What’s the next step after a happy couple gets married? They buy a house! This has been a natural lead generation avenue for me to bring in side hustle income, while also growing my database and pipeline.

I also have a local travel blog that I started over nine years ago as a hobby. The blog morphed into a robust Instagram following. Now, the blog and content creator work affords me some side income and allows me to grow my database.

In fact, the majority of my buyers and sellers come from Instagram (or agent referrals from agents who find me on IG). Try to find a side hustle that could be an avenue for lead generation. 

Side hustles have the ability to turn into strong income sources in addition to your full-time focus but do necessitate structured time to work on them. Ensure you are doing work you enjoy and aim to find something that complements your database-building and sales.

Erin McCormick Torres is a consultant, coach, and industry thought leader, who ran the operations for a national mega-expansion team for eight years. Prior to that, she led digital marketing teams in the food, health, and edtech spaces. Erin is a published author, a top-performing Vermont Realtor, and runs the popular blog Travel Like a Local: Vermont.

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