Paying for a wedding is never easy. Paying for a destination wedding can be stressful. But paying for a dream wedding in Paris? It sounds downright brutal!
And that’s what we thought, too, when we first decided that we had to be wed in the city of lights. Even though we live in a very nice area of Southern California, we figured a Parisian wedding would be even more astronomical than what the costs here were turning out to be.
But that was where we were wrong – sure, it’s still more expensive than your average Mormon wedding (my people) but it’s considerably cheaper than a wedding at a venue like Vibiana or Terranea. And since we got engaged in Paris, the allure to go back for another important date in our lives was simply too great.
But cheaper still doesn’t mean free, and weddings are an added cost no matter where you’re getting married. Jake and I decided to pay for the event on our own and, in February 2016, we began our respective tasks of wedding planning (Jake) and wedding funding (Heather). I will admit it was hard at first to get started…
…but we eventually got on track.
After eight months, I’ve gotten finding extra money down to a science. I am at the point where I make more money on the side than I do at my full-time job (and I spend less than 8 hours a day doing this). I’m outlining a few opportunities I think are important and how you can seize them.
- Look Professional
I know that this action doesn’t directly lead to cash, but one thing that has really helped me is having a professionally made resume. I’m fortunate to be marrying a graphic designer because he took my sad-looking resume and made it gorgeous. Because my capabilities in earning extra income are all related to marketing, editing, writing, web content/design, etc., having a professionally made resume proved to employers that I was detail-oriented and cared about how things looked. Getting a professionally done resume isn’t expensive (Jake does this for a nominal fee) and it’s worth it in the long run.
But it doesn’t end there – make sure you have anything else additional to your line of work set up and ready to go. If you’re a graphic designer, make sure your portfolio is up-to-date so that you have everything ready when opportunity presents itself. I have a website and a portfolio for my articles that I’ve written so in the event that a writing gig comes up everything I have to prove my abilities to those looking to hire is in one convenient place. Having all your ducks in a row ensures that you’re not scrambling to submit a proposal or an email to someone last minute and losing the ideal timing when, instead, you could have been prepared and more likely to get the job.
2. Comb Craigslist (Obsessively)
After your resume and peripheral job-acquiring necessities are squared away, it’s time to start looking for money. The place I usually start looking is in Craigslist, but as I progressed in my writing career I started branching out to sites specifically targeting writers. If Craigslist makes you nervous, it’s understandable – after all, a lot of scams and gross things happen there. But if you stay on your toes and you keep a skeptical mind, everything will be okay (and I’ll discuss in another post how to avoid those scams).
The key to finding a good job/gig on Craigslist is to go through each page and apply to anything that looks interesting. Make a template email with your resume and any other pertinent information attached to expedite the process. However many in a day you apply to is up to you – I personally didn’t feel productive until I had applied to at least 10 – 20 gigs or jobs in a day (I did say to check it obsessively). Like fishing, you will reel in your biggest catches when your nets are held the widest; apply to absolutely anything that sounds remotely possible for you to do and worry about the specifics when you receive an email back.
3. Be Aggressively Persistent (But Politely Professional)
Speaking of email back – if you don’t hear from them within two days, email them again and ask if they’re still looking to fill that position. No answer? Wait two days and do it again. Lather, rinse, repeat. Keep doing this until you basically get hired or told that the position has been filled. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, right? So make sure you’re the squeakiest freakin’ wheel out there and keep trying until you get an answer.
While being squeaky, just remember that you must be politely so. People looking to hire a contractor or employee love someone that is willing to take action and initiative without needing to be prompted, but they also want to work with someone who is courteous and pleasant. The line between polite and persistent is much bigger than you may realize – the potential client isn’t going to be offended if you email them to let them know you’re interested in the position, but they could be turned off if you point out rudely that they haven’t emailed you back. Polite persistence is key!
4. Be Open and Adaptable
I do marketing/writing/you-name-it-I-do-it for video game startups. I’ve written articles for toy companies. I’ve written press releases/managed social media for a skin care line. I edit college papers. I am a marketing consultant for medical offices. I collect data and analyze it depending on the clients’ needs. I’ve designed websites and logos. I’ve pitched articles to an LDS church website. I write quizzes for a women’s lifestyle blog and I ghost-write for more websites than I can count (including a dating coach company). I’ve tutored English, Math, Psychology, Computer Literacy, ESL, and Biology. I do focus groups, mystery shopping, and even TV appearances.
The point I’m trying to make here is that if you’re adaptable and open to anything, your chances of getting extra cash increase. If you don’t apply to something because you’re worried that others will tell you you’re not qualified, you’re limiting yourself. Instead, apply and let them determine whether or not you’re up to the job. Chances are they’ll give you more of a fair shake than you think.
5. Follow Through (And Ask For Reviews/Referrals)
I’m a big fan of working smart in addition to working hard (because you should do both, not one or the other). The first thing you should do seems like a no-brainer, but I can’t believe how many people forget the most important part of getting extra freelance cash. I’m going to make this as clear as humanly possible, so never forget this:
DO THE WORK YOU SAY YOU’LL DO (AND DO IT WELL)
Taking on extra jobs is addicting at first, but if you don’t follow through with what you say you’ll do, you’re damaging your relationship with not only your client but any potential clients that they can refer to you. On top of that, you don’t get the money and any future money they’re willing to pay you. Be on top of what you take on – if that means putting things on a planner or your google calendar, so be it. Don’t miss deadlines, don’t go MIA, and don’t present half-assed work to your clients. Be on time, communicative, and thorough with your work. I’ve had many clients that have suggested me to their friends for more work simply because of these basic principles of an honest work ethic.
After a job well done, ask for a kind review or referral from your client. Let them know it’s completely optional, but that any little bit helps. I’ve found many clients this way, and it’s much easier than getting out there and hustling every single day – let them come to you? Now that’s working smart 😉
What I’ve written here doesn’t seem revolutionary. The truth is, it’s not. All I’ve outlined are the basics of acquiring extra work and it’s nothing that isn’t logical. But the key difference between what sounds logical and getting that money is applying it – day in, day out – without respite. I won’t lie, it’s not easy work, but it’s perhaps the most rewarding work I’ve ever done and 100% worth it. And because of this initiative, Jake and I will be able to afford the wedding and honeymoon of our dreams and even stash away enough to get started on a nice down payment savings fund (the South Bay housing market isn’t cheap!).
In sum – there’s no real “big secret”; rather, it’s more of a “rolling up your sleeves and working smart and hard” type of deal.
Do you need that extra cash for the wedding of your dreams? Or another kind of savings fund of some kind? I can guarantee you that if you apply these tactics and get to work, you’ll be sure to make the money you need. Challenge yourself to work harder than ever before – it’ll be worth it, 100% 🙂