Budgets and penny-pinching are all well and good, but if you’re looking to give your income a serious lift, there is no substitute for entrepreneurial grit.

Many turn talent and expertise into a second source of income, providing consulting services on the side, for example, while maintaining their full-time jobs. Others put more skin in the game, making major investments to start local franchise operations or purchase rental property in pursuit of passive income.

But all who call themselves successful share similar character traits: a rock-solid work ethic and a willingness to roll up their sleeves. If you count yourself among them, the following money-making opportunities might help give you the raise you deserve.

Share knowledge for profits

The obvious first step is to use what you know to create part-time gigs you can do on nights and weekends. Speak a second language? Offer classes at your local library or community center.

Are you good at math? Start tutoring, which can command up to N2000 per hour for specific aptitude tests. Start a home decorating service, become a fly-fishing guide, offer workshops on creative writing, cake decorating, wedding photography — the opportunities are limitless and those who differentiate themselves can generate an extra N100,000 per month.

You can double that figure if you’re handy with computers. IT consultants charge a lot per hour or more, while Web designers charge anywhere from N50,000 to several thousand naira to create company Web sites.

Franchise to freedom

You could also make a bundle by buying a franchise, in which you pay for the right to use a company’s trademark and name. That includes food chains, health clubs, hair care studios, cleaning services and financial support service firms.

Typically, the franchisor provides startup expertise, marketing strategies, management guidance, financial assistance and training — making it easy to hit the ground running. But most also require minimum cash on hand to even start the discussion — which can come from savings, home equity, or stock portfolios.

Investment to establish a restaurant ranges from N5million to N15million depending on the size and location. This can come from cash and business loans. Some franchises, including Fast food chains, even cater to the home-based crowd.

Just be sure to do your homework before signing on and find a product you can sell. It’s hardly a sure thing, but successful franchisees can easily clear six figures a year.

Drive for money

A less conventional, but potentially lucrative way to generate extra cash is to drive recreational and specialty vehicles to the dealerships where they’re sold — including school buses, RVs, Buses, armored vehicles and ambulances, which don’t fit on the back of car carriers.

Most manufacturers that hire drivers require a commercial driver’s license, which requires a small investment of time and money on your part. Full-time drivers can earn upward of N50,000.. The job is particularly well-suited to students and teachers during holidays, as well as retirees.

Find a roomate

If you live alone, you might consider renting out your spare bedroom or basement. Depending on where you live and the amenities in your home, you could bring in extra cash monthly without lifting a finger.

Just be sure to screen your candidates carefully. Do a criminal-background check. Get referrals from prior landlords, and independently confirm their employment.

Create passive income

To truly attain financial freedom, you’ll have to pursue passive sources of income, meaning investments that generate wealth with little ongoing involvement from you. Examples include publishing royalties, profit from business partnerships, dividends from equities and rental income.

Purchasing a rental property requires a significant upfront investment, but the potential payoff is huge. Focus on buying several multifamily units rather than one single-family home. And don’t forget, you have someone else helping you pay off an appreciating asset.

Public Speaking

Afraid of public speaking? You’d better get over it, and fast. Those able to draw a crowd, like best-selling authors, politicians and celebrities, can command N500,000, N2,000,000 — even more per engagement.

Without the benefit of notoriety, however, the rest of us are more likely to fetch from N50,0 00 to N200,000 per gig — but only if you bring something fresh to the table. (You may also have to start off speaking for free.) Troll your areas of expertise for subject matter and start organizing your message. And don’t limit yourself to financial workshops or motivation lectures.

In today’s economy where job security is uncertain, the importance of diversifying your income cannot be overstated. Some business ventures, however, have a bigger potential payoff than others. Your available assets and appetite for risk will determine which course of action is right for you.

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