Broadband offers important source of extra income

Monday, October 15, 2018

It was sad to hear the news that former retail giant Sears had filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy over the weekend.

From childhood memories of the Sears Christmas catalog arriving in the mail, to visits to the giant Chicago skyscraper that used to bear its name, the company was an American icon.

Somehow, the pioneer of remote shopping — its catalog — was unable to make the transition to online purchases. Still, the company’s name recognition has value, and we hope it can reinvent itself in a new, stronger way — think Toys ‘R’ Us, which creditors are in the process of reviving.

The advent of the internet made all the difference.

Originally built for academics and military, it didn’t come into its own as a commercial medium until the World Wide Web protocol made the type of websites we know available and the last of the old science networks was decommissioned in 1995.

Few could predict the impact the internet could have over the next couple of decades.

A few years ago, providing products or services out of your home to customers far and wide was so difficult only a few would attempt it.

Today, you probably know someone who is doing just that — selling antiques, creating custom spices, cosmetics or crafts, T-shirts or clothing.

Some buy and sell products without actually touching the products themselves, or deliver plans, books or paid instructions electronically.

The Hustle, a magazine dedicated to people who have set up secondary businesses outside of their day jobs, ran a survey of their readers.

Thirty-five percent of them, naturally, had some sort of side-hustle.

Real estate is the most popular and lucrative, bringing in $90 an hour, compared to farming, the least lucrative, $9 an hour.

The average respondent reported $12,609 annual income on 11 hours a week, and most of them self-funded their side jobs — spending $16,662 to launch their extra career.

A lot of the side-hustles are occupations people enjoy, but which are not necessarily financially rewarding. They included arts and crafts, for an average $10 an hour, music ($11), writing ($11) and photography ($11).

Most of these side jobs were possible before the internet age, but no longer is the base of potential customers limited by those that can see the product or service first hand.

Such additional income makes it possible for people at all stages of their career to think about choosing locations that meet their definition of an ideal place to live, rather than being forced to move where a job with adequate income is available.

For young families looking for a good place to raise their children, mid-career workers or retirees, being able to generate extra income online may make the difference between living in a rural area or fighting a long daily commute through city traffic.

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