After spending a lot of time watching YouTube videos, I tend to come across advertisements that try to sell us on methods to make money for less work. Considering the financial instability brought about by the pandemic, people are undoubtedly seeking new ways to attain better standards of living. This got me thinking: how can I start planning for my financial future? I have minimal qualifications, even when compared to my peers. Are the methods to jump-start my moneymaking while I am still young?
The reality is that no get rich quick scheme exists. Most of the time, people who make money at an astonishing pace tend to get lucky in one way or another. Even the newspaper columns featuring prominent young investors brush over the fact that they borrowed money from their parents to take risks on the stock market. Even these people needed time to grow their fortune. With a more realistic approach in mind, let us explore the numerous options to improve our finances.
How my peers make money
I know a lot of friends who are providing tuition services to younger students. Most of them start small: they teach at the primary school level for subjects that they are most comfortable with. Chinese language tuition is in high demand; given the rigorous syllabus, coupled with what Singaporean students would call a collective apathy toward the language, parents are eager to secure whatever help they can find for their children. As such, the friends who came from Chinese-focused secondary schools capitalize on their unique niche to generate income.
One friend of mine is exceedingly competent at mathematics; I used to seek out his help when we were both in junior college, as he consistently scored A-grades for all his math exams. He initially started tutoring as part of a community service project, helping his tutee overcome mental blocks, a toxic environment, and a lack of proper school notes. Since then, my friend has continued to tutor other less-privileged students at a reduced fee, turning his talent for the subject into a means of making money while also helping those in need. Clearly, securing financial stability does not need to come at the expense of making a positive impact.
How I made money in the past
In my case, I joined Transcultural Group, an online Singapore-based consultancy firm focusing on cultural intelligence. My goal was to develop my skills in writing and communication, with a particular focus on connecting various groups of people regardless of their differences. While the initial goal of this endeavour was not to earn money at first, I quickly learned the importance of starting my financial journey early, especially given the shifting conditions. My lifespan has spanned the dot-com bubble, the 2008 Financial Collapse, and now the unstable situation brought about by COVID-19. While I was lucky enough to keep my job due to the remote nature of my work, others did not have the same benefit. The presence of three financial crises in my life has encouraged me to start thinking about the future.
Before this, I had worked part-time at an F&B outlet in the central business district. The work was tiring but enjoyable; the people I worked with were kind, funny, and willing to help each other out despite an exhausting shift. The regulars were incredibly kind to me despite how new I was. Despite this, from a financial standpoint, the amount of pay I drew was very low relative to the effort I put into the job. I could see myself burning out very quickly, a sentiment that was echoed by the regulars who had worked there for a few years. This helped me frame my mindset and goals for the future; I need to either make money comfortably in a job I enjoy or find other ways to supplement my income.
How other teenagers make money
You can also consider setting up your own business to make money. I know a few acquaintances who established a small enterprise selling pastries or cakes and utilizing social media to market their operations to willing customers, even spreading their products through word of mouth or asking friends to help promote them. A viable method might be to set up your own Etsy shop or Instagram page to establish a point of contact for potential customers.
In addition, here are some other methods you can explore:
- Find a part-time job.
- Sell retail goods online through dropshipping.
- Do freelance work (designer, writer, etc.).
How I hope to make money moving forward
In the future, I am hoping to make money through investment. My current plan is twofold; to acquire the relevant knowledge to learn market trends and shifts while simultaneously building starting income to kickstart my investment journey. With luck, upon graduation, I can use part of my salary to start buying shares while also possessing a wealth of knowledge in how to manage it. For now, the best way to make money, at least in the long term, is to keep studying hard and improving my skills. If I can secure an enjoyable job while receiving a decent salary, I will utilize both knowledge and capital to invest, making money from my job and portfolio.
I seek self-improvement not just in financial aspects but holistically as well. If you too would like to embark on a journey of discovery and growth, head over TransCultural Group’s youth programmes.