I am a proponent of alternative income streams. Baby boomers are confronting a multitude of financial risks that may delay or ruin a planned retirement. These include job loss and simply not having enough money to retire. Developing a secondary income source can help.
One of the advantages of being a baby boomer is that we have years of knowledge and experience to draw upon in finding sources of alternative income. I have written in the past about some of those supplemental income options, including selling your expertise online and teaching online. But we shouldn’t overlook the creative side of alternative income.
Many of us know how to create “things” that others might like. What we lack is the ability to convert that creative talent into actual products that people can buy. This post is for those of you in that category. I want to call your attention to a few online resources where you can use your creativity to develop an alternative income stream.
Selling Products with Your Custom Designs for Alternative Income
If we are artistic or clever with words and images, maybe folks would like to buy stuff that display our work. There are easy ways to find out. The most well-known is Cafe Press.
Using Cafe Press online tools and your own words/designs, you can create a variety of customizable clothing and gift products. The best part is that you can begin selling them immediately. You don’t have to actually manufacture or make anything. Cafe Press does that for you and your customers, on demand. The revenue is shared between you and Cafe Press. Of course, you can’t just do the “design it and they will buy” thing. You will have to find ways to let folks know what you are selling. But if you have the time to do a little marketing, you can have a complete product line for sale at your own online store, with no capital investment.
Self-Publishing Books and Music for Alternative Income
You can be a published author, songwriter, or musician. There are online resources that make it easy (assuming that you have the creative energy and talent). One of those resources is Zulu, which says this about itself:
Go ahead, unleash your inner creator.
Just upload your manuscript, photos or digital files, use our formatting tools to get everything set up just the way you want, from size to binding to cover art, and… well, that’s it. You’re the proud parent of a brand new digital creation, ready to publish and cherish. The publishing process couldn’t be easier.
Create a keepsake just for yourself, full of favorite photos or your own stories. You’ll end up with a professional-looking finished product that’s a match for anything you’ll find on the shelf at your local bookstore.
Lulu offers free book publishing services. No set-up fees. Ever. We make the book publishing process simple.
You can publish all kinds of books, calendars, DVDs and CDs through Zulu and sell them right there on its site. Instant online income source.
If you are one of those folks who like board games and card games, there’s a brand-new place for you to make and sell your own: Game Crafter.
Selling Artwork and Designs for Alternative Income
Maybe you are more of a true artist who can create attractive two and three-dimensional designs. (That’s not me for sure!) There are places for you as well. Imagekind is an online community where you can create, display and sell all kinds of creative imagery, including photography and framed and poster art.
Imagekind is owned by the Cafe Press folks so the user interface is somewhat familiar. Other sites for selling your own artistic creations for secondary income include Spoonflower (for fabric designs), Shapeways (for three-dimensional designs), Ponoko (for turning designs into usable products), and deviantArt.
Final Thoughts on Using Creativity for Alternative Income
All of the resources I have listed require little or no investment except your time and talent. That’s the best way to develop a source of secondary income because you are not risking other assets that you will need for retirement. So what’s the worst that can happen? Perhaps no one buys your creativity. So who cares? No one but you has to know!
Give those creative juices a try!