Are you crazy? Why would you want to do THAT? Don’t you have enough going on?
These are all things that people have said to me after adding a few additional roles to my life since 2020. I like to think I’ve never really been “normal” in my thought processes. While many may question my choices, I’m hopeful this blog post may help the doubters think outside the box a little regarding multiple streams of income.
A little backstory … in December of 2011, I gave birth to my middle daughter, Avery. While her delivery was the easiest (I was doing laundry the day I came home from the hospital), that maternity leave was the first time I felt like I looked OLD. Dark circles, pale, I felt like I’d aged 10 years in a month. My childhood friend, Emily, had started selling Rodan + Fields (R+F), a line of skincare founded by two Stanford-trained female dermatologists. I reached out to her, asking if she had ANYTHING she could recommend. She did; the products had a 60-day money back guarantee, so I felt they were worth trying. While not an overnight fix, over time I felt better about my appearance. The problem was the products were pricy and we were now paying for two kids in daycare. Emily suggested I consider being a consultant, which would reduce my product cost and help me earn some extra income. I discussed it with my husband, Joe, and he supported me giving it a shot. Worst case scenario? I determined it’s not for me and maybe I can’t afford the products anymore.
Fast forward to 2020. I’d continued to sell R+F for the past nine years alongside my full-time job, loved the products, helped people with skincare concerns, and paid for birthdays and Christmases for our kids along the way. We entered a shutdown of many things due to the pandemic. While I still retained my full-time job, I watched my husband take a 25% pay cut for the year by having his bonus eliminated. Much like Clark in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” when families count on that as part of their salary, it’s a punch to the gut when it’s gone (but don’t worry, SWAT never came to our house).
At the same time, I’d been using Color Street (dry nail polish) at home, courtesy of my friend, Andrea. No one was going to nail salons due to COVID concerns, so the product was in high demand. She had mentioned to me adding the business to what I was already doing, and the investment to start was so low that Joe’s response was “that’s two family dinners out at El Maguey. If you want to do it, go for it.”
Since then, I’ve continued my full-time job outside the home, as well as being a mom of three VERY active girls. I’ve also continued with R+F, Color Street, added Savvi (a three-years young brand of women’s clothing in sizes XS-3X), and a return to my roots and love of travel as a travel advisor (I worked at a travel agency during the summers of my college years).
Many ask if I’m doing these “extra” things with a goal of replacing my full-time income, and that’s not the case. I like my job and the work that I do. The reality is I’m 15 years from 62, and my hope is that when I hit that age, I can retire and continue these other roles on my terms, including not having to request vacation time. Yes, I have a 401K … but you get my drift.
There are hectic weeks when I don’t accomplish all that I want to, and you know what? That’s OK, because even if I had just one role, the same thing would happen. It’s all in how you juggle it. Forty-five minutes in the dance studio parking lot? I’m listening to a call, crafting graphics, or touching base with clients. My morning commute is now filled with personal/professional development audio books or team trainings on replay. It’s progress, not perfection. And a significant mindset shift. Amidst all of this, I still make the dance competitions, the basketball tournaments, and the softball games of my girls’ top priority.
If you’re considering adding another revenue stream to your life, here are some tips I can share to help you get started:
If you have a significant other, make sure they’re on your team. I’m incredibly fortunate to have a supportive husband in Joe. When I tell him I need to be on a call, we figure out if he can drive the girls or we need to recruit help from friends. When I explain to my girls how this helps our family, they hear me (most of the time). But time and time again, unfortunately, others share that their spouse/partner does not want them doing the “extra.” I can’t imagine that uphill battle when you feel moved to try to improve your life or financial situation.
Figure out what calendar system works best for you because you won’t be able to function without it. I LOVE the pretty planners with tabs and using multi-colored pens to write it all out … but the functionality of a digital calendar shared with family (husband + two kids with phones) is the reality I live in. I used to have both paper and digital, then I went to a time-blocking seminar that shifted my perspective…and I needed to choose. So color-coded digital is what it became for me. I miss less and can still view who is where and when at a glance. If I did not have that, I would fail miserably at all the things. No one way is right for everyone, so determine what works for you and stick with it.
Do your research. Talk to others in your industry. Pick their brains. Find out if there are minimums you have to meet … in sales, personal purchases, etc. Every new business is going to have costs, so be prepared for that, too. There will always be things you DON’T expect, so do your best to prepare yourself for the things you SHOULD expect.
Ask yourself if you’re passionate about it. And ask yourself that question again every year. Everything we do has peaks and valleys. Jobs and careers are no different. If you’re choosing to add an extra role to your life and you find you’re not having fun doing it, ask yourself why. If there are shifts you can make, make them, and re-evaluate. Sometimes life presents itself in different opportunities, and a change is the right thing to do. Just like choosing the opportunity in the first place, sometimes you need to make the choice to move on or to do things differently.
Investing in yourself doesn’t have to be expensive … but it’s costly if you don’t. The biggest thing I do differently now is that I prioritize personal and professional development. When the pandemic hit, all of our professional development dollars were cut from our budget at my office. It was the right thing to do to save people’s jobs. What that did, however, was push me to seek out my own personal and professional development. Podcasts, books, webinars, team trainings ... there are plenty of options and many are free! All of them have helped me to be a better parent, wife, co-worker, and human being. Focus on your pinch points and how to work through them. It may not always be comfortable, but it will always be worth it.
Many incredibly wealthy people have multiple streams of income. This does not equal fast or easy. Wealth is not always determined in finances. Sometimes it’s time, freedom, or the opportunity to learn things you couldn’t otherwise. But no matter how you define it, wealth rarely comes in fast and furious. It requires consistency, dedication, and motivation … day in and day out. Be wary of anyone who tells you otherwise.
Social media is a blessing and a curse. Companies like mine show this dichotomy all too well. One blessing is the ability to share my businesses with people all over the country (and sometimes world) from my phone. The curse is that people will share their opinions, no matter how derogatory, and can hide behind that same screen.
All I can do is share and continue conversations with those who would like to learn more about what I do. Maybe they see “if SHE can do it with all she has going on, I can, too!” Or people can continue to think I’m crazy. One of the best things I’m learning along the way is to be 100% OK with either scenario. Again ... it’s not always easy, but it’s definitely worth it.
Editor’s Postscript: Have you ever been interested in adding a revenue stream? What are you interested in? Let us know in the comments what you’ve tried, and which ones have been worth it to you and your family.
Kelley Pfeiffer is a native of Ann Arbor, MI, and a graduate of Central Michigan University. She currently lives outside of St. Louis, MO, with her husband, three daughters, and their golden retriever. Spare time is rare, but when she can find it, she loves attending sporting events, concerts, traveling, and attempting the occasional craft project.