Are you living on credit?

Are you making MUCH less than you deserve?

Do you wonder what you’re going to do about retirement? About your health if you get sick?

What if in this downturn, your nonprofit decides they can’t afford you anymore?

What’s your plan B or plan C?

You don’t HAVE ONE? Why not?

Now might be a good time to leverage your knowledge into profit.

Here’s how you start to get money on the side.

Figure out what you do best.

Do you love people? Hate them? Somewhere in between? What keeps you up at night about nonprofits? How does your personality mesh with your job? What do you see could be improved about the nonprofit world?

For example, since I like to write and meet people, I started a development consulting business in 2004, and ran it for several years. Then I went to work full time for nonprofits, but I also found some consulting clients to supplement my income. Now I’m back to consulting full time.

Read “Now, Discover Your Strengths” by Buckingham and Clifton. This book will help you build on your strengths, instead of focusing on and trying to “fix” your weaknesses. This can be frustrating, and you don’t have to do it all. Focus on what you do best.

How do you start consulting?

Look at this video by Yaro Starak, who is a pro blogger. He writes a lot about how to become a successful blogger and consultant.

Research and get to know your customers.

Don’t ask anyone’s permission. If you want to be a consultant, then you are one.

Make yourself a website, showcasing your skills. Here is a person who can help you do that.

How to find customers?

Ask people questions in person. Start to go to networking meetings, consultant meetups, chamber of commerce meetings, religious/spiritual meetings, and get out there and meet people in person. This is the best way to drum up new business. Ask for referrals.

The next best way would be to get on idealist.org and look at some small to mid-size nonprofits on there who don’t have fundraising staff, but who, you are sure, could use the help. Then call their executive director and ask them out to coffee to talk about what their biggest vision for their organization is. This is where you get a sense of if they recognize that they need fundraising help, and if they are willing to pay for it.

If they try to get you to work for free, thank them politely and tell them you have another engagement.

If they want to know how much you charge, figure out in advance how much you charge. Is it $18/hr? $25/hr? $100/hr? What do they get for that? And when do you expect payment?

If you try to work full time and then also 20 hours a week at another job, this is going to be difficult, so if there is a cyclical nature to when people need you, then figure this out in advance.

For instance, if you’re a fundraising/development consultant, and a client has an event, you know that if you’re organizing it/publicizing it, you need to allot more time for it, and take a vacation afterwards.

If you’re doing grant research and writing for them, this is easier to do in your spare time, at home.

Stay tuned for the next installment of how to make money on the side!