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7 Activities To Add To Your Day To Earn Extra Cash In 2021

Earning some extra money is easier than you think.

Finance

Everyone seems to be talking about side hustles and making more money in the new year. You can't scroll on Instagram or scan Facebook without somebody talking about the next big money-making product, trend, or brand to invest in. Even if you're not a hustler, aren't into entrepreneurship, nor looking to start a new brand, you can find ways to at least bring in a little extra income to reach your personal and professional goals by incorporating income-producing activities (IPAs). It's basic, deliberate actions you can take each day, week, or month to either make extra cash or further expose you to the potential of doing so.

We could all use a good check-in with ourselves on whether the things we're doing throughout our day are actually leading to tangible results and well, getting to the money. Are we really getting a return on our time investment? Below are 7 IPA tasks to look into adding to your to-do lists in the new year:

1. Etch out at least an hour a week to reconnect with your network and make new contacts.

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We can all take a nod for the sales buffs with this one.The age-old cliche, "Your network is your net worth," rings especially true in pandemic times because many of us can't really meet up and network in the traditional way we're used to. It's important to continue to connect with people and cultivate new relationships while nurturing the old ones. A good way to do this is to check in with your current network, keep up with what they're doing via LinkedIn, Twitter, or local news, share information, congratulate them on professional wins, and offer ways to support. Go for the easy icebreaker and send a holiday card—via snail mail or online—or offer ways to partner up or help with a cause they're passionate about. You can also still join professional groups, participate in virtual events or meetups, or offer your knowledge for podcasts and blog posts.

And don't forget the art of the follow-up. Don't just let contacts sit on an email list or in your phone. Keep the conversation going about opportunities, events, and conversations in ways that are authentic, well-timed and relevant. If you find yourself at a loss for words or simply feeling awkward try using templates for writing emails to introduce yourself or thanking your network.

2. Commit to acts of service that go beyond seasonal one-offs.

Volunteering is yet another way to network, and when you give, you get. It's just a simple rule of reciprocity and karma. So many professionals can attest to the power of service and how working with others to help communities has led to paid opportunities or at least a link to a money-making resource. Be sure your act of service aligns with your values and is something you actually enjoy doing, and be strategic about the organizations and professionals you align yourself with. Also, this is a good way to get your foot in the door or try a different career if you're looking to pivot into a new industry due to pandemic-related layoffs.

3. Persistently and strategically invest in professional development to improve your skills.

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Some experts would disagree on this being an IPA, but research has shown that upping your skill set can open you up to pay raises and income increases. This doesn't just apply to higher education. Getting certifications and special qualifications in your field can open you up to more opportunities to earn extra cash. Look into the needs of your industry, especially those that complement the main business operations (i.e. cybersecurity, first aid, search engine optimization, project management, human resources, or organizational leadership.) Some specialized courses will cost but there are plenty of free courses online and certifications classes as well. Also, participating in courses or master classes can expose you to your industry peers who are doing great things and are forward-thinkers—yet another opportunity to network.

4. Host a weekly or monthly webinar, online class, YouTube video or podcast.

Since Covid-19 hit, Web consumption has gone through the roof, increasing by more than 200% from March 2019 to March 2020. That means even with borders reopen and restrictions lifted, people are still online now more than ever. Take advantage of this by offering your expertise on a subject or teaching something you're passionate about. You can charge per class or partner up with brands or rganizations to collectively broach a subject, raise awareness, or present a how-to. From fitness and cooking to accounting and parenting, there's a webinar or online course topic out there that needs your special take or approach. (A few good tips on how to launch a webinar, YouTube video, or course can be found here.)

5. Think of a residual problem in your industry and present a solution for it.

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Oftentimes we get caught up in one major aspect of what we offer professionally, and we don't think of related skills or problems we can solve within our industries. A good way to surpass these limits is to write down needs you see within your company and the soft or related skills you possess to help fill the gaps. For example, if you're in the healthcare field but have a love for innovation or creativity, you can offer products or processes that would make the jobs of your peers easier such as selling glow-in-the-dark face masks for essential workers on the night shift. In the beauty or wellness industry? Offer tailored a-la-cart services for busy CEOs who neglect self-care. Love travel and keeping up with the latest updates on Covid-19 restrictions? Offer services or products to overwhelmed travelers or airline professionals to help them organize information, testing appointments, travel kits, and itineraries.

6. Incorporate technology to automate smaller tasks to make room for larger income-generating tasks.

If you're not automating activities, especially as a high-achieving professional or business owner, you're losing valuable time that you could be using to do more IPAs. Also, some activities are best done either by a third party or via the use of technology because they may not be what you're that great at in the first place. Accounting, cleaning, schedule management—these are all tasks that can be automated or delegated so that you can free up energy and time to do what you do best. Automation can also help you reach more people at once in terms of email correspondences, social media interactions and pitching for your brand or business. Those who use technology to give them a leg up often open themselves up to more opportunities to put money in their pockets and beating out the competition—whether that competition is a coworker or a brand. (Find a few tools and resources for automation here and here.

7. Complete a project that can earn passive income.

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Investing in stocks, real estate, or an AirBnB space are all great ways to build avenues of passive income. Also, offering popular products such as T-shirts, mugs, apps, downloadable art, or e-books is a good way to generate, as experts say, "income while you sleep." It will take time and planning, but you can start by listing what you'd be most interested in offering, find out how to offer it, and learn the best way to sell it. Then make it a habit to etch out time each day to specifically focus on execution. (Tips on how to create streams of passive income can be found here and here.)

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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