If you hear “get rich quick,” you probably think scam. While it’s true that many get-rich-quick offers are too good to be true, it doesn’t mean you aren’t in charge of your financial future. Regardless of your education, skills or current job, you can put your time to better use and build up wealth in just a few years.

Finding Lost Time

The biggest barrier people face when trying to get rich is thinking they don’t have time to take on anything new. Lost time almost always falls into one of three black holes:

  • Completely unproductive time: This includes things such as going home and watching TV, playing phone games, sleeping in on weekends and surfing the Internet. You do need to recharge, but do you know how many hours of your week go to these types of activities?
  • Time you think is productive when it really isn’t: Things such as answering emails may start as a vital task but quickly eat several hours of your day, leave you feeling like you accomplished something, and prevent you from actually getting anything done. Do you schedule your tasks to avoid this type of time loss?
  • Productive time that isn’t as productive as it could be: Maybe you grew up with a frugal mindset and try to avoid spending money. This might make you hesitant to outsource tasks such as bookkeeping. How many hours do you spend learning these types of tasks and trying to do them right?
Getting rich takes a lot of planning…
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Putting Your Lost Time to Work

Once you’ve found out where you’re losing time, it’s time to put that time to work by taking three steps:

  • Work longer: If you feel that some of your time is being wasted, you can start by working longer if you have the ability to do so. Taking on a few extra projects to boost your hours from 40 to 44 hours might provide an immediate 10 percent boost in income that you can add to your savings or investments.
  • Work more efficiently: If you feel that you’ve reached the limit on the number of hours you can work, look for ways to work more efficiently. Find ways to automate or outsource repetitive tasks so you can focus on sales or higher-level tasks that generate more income.
  • Work differently: If you’re at the limits of what you can do without burning out, you don’t need to turn into a vegetable to recharge. Taking on a side job that’s completely unrelated to your day job can be just as refreshing as not doing anything at all, and the bonus income can quickly build up your savings.

Income Streams You Can Start Now

If you’ve decided to work differently, don’t waste any more time. There are many ways you can start building a second income stream right now. Here are some of the most popular:

1. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing earns you a commission on purchases made by consumers who use a link on your website or social media page to get to the retailer. Amazon offers up to 8.5 percent of sales that you generate, and many other major retailers also have affiliate programs.

The catch is that you need to know your market. People who already want to buy a product will go directly to the retailer. The old affiliate marketing method of making a blog with product reviews has been overdone. To generate real income, you’ll need to find an under-served niche, such as a hobby that has few how-to articles already on the Web.

2. Freelancing

As of 2015, 54 million Americans are already doing some type of freelance work either as a full-time job or for additional income, and that number is continually growing. If you have a skill you enjoy using that’s remotely relevant to a business, someone will probably pay you to do it. There are freelance opportunities in writing, graphic design, programming, customer service, Internet marketing, translating and countless other fields. Often, you can find an agency to work through to avoid having to hunt down clients on your own.

3. Renting Your Home

Do you live near a popular tourist destination or a university? If you’re feeling adventurous, you can sign up for a site such as Airbnb and earn extra money by letting vacationers stay in your spare room. If you want more stability and less worrying about strangers, rent to a student for a semester.

If you own a home in a high-rent area and your job is flexible, consider leasing out your entire home and renting in a lower-cost area. Use your salary to pay your own rent, and invest the rent you charge for your home into buying another rental property.

Growing Your Wealth

Once you’ve freed up your time and built up your income, wealth will follow faster than you think. The first step is to stay disciplined to avoid spending the additional income. Then, simply follow traditional strategies for investing in bonds, stocks and real estate. Depending on how successful you are at putting your time to better use, you may not even have to wait five years to become rich.

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Isabelle Daigle
Isabelle Daigle

Isabelle Daigle runs all content marketing for Hello Focus. She's an avid writer and loves long Netflix binge sessions!