Different streams of income – pros and cons

The pros and cons of different streams of income

There are multiple ways you can earn extra money. Not all of them are created equal.

If you’re looking to get ahead financially and diversify your income there are a lot of options out there. It can be daunting trying to decide which direction to take. Do you invest heavily in a franchising opportunity? Do you try and turn a creative hobby into a business? Do you launch a You Tube channel and hope it gains traction? Or do you start freelancing on the side? Some options include more capital outlay and a much higher level of risk. While others are simpler, less stressful and potentially more lucrative. It’s important to think of the support you will have access to and how many hours you will need to invest to reach your goals.

When it comes to different streams of income, you need to keep an open mind because there are a lot of misconceptions about earning potential. One of my mentors, Tim Sales, recently shared an eye-opening statistic – for every five You Tubers that earn $50,000 annually, there are 350 real estate agents and 750 network marketers who earn the same. As a network marketer, that definitely drives home that I made the right choice. After trying many things in my lifetime, the rewards I have experienced and seen many others experience is the reason I am a huge advocate and ambassador for network marketing.  

The global pandemic has shown us just how important it is to have more than one stream of income with people all over Australia, and the world losing their jobs and being forced into looking for new opportunities to survive.

There is a lot of noise out there and often people are overwhelmed with where to start and how to do it. Let’s look at the pros and cons of eight different streams of income to help you make a more informed choice.


You can start earning another stream of income by freelancing ‘on the side’. Once you develop a solid client base, it may develop into a fully-fledged business. I know a lot of writers, photographers, graphic designers, nannies and coaches who love the freedom of freelancing. Many of them started freelancing after the birth of their kids because it allows them to have more flexible working hours and more control over their workload.


  • Flexibility – you choose when, where and how long you work.
  • Set your own hourly rate based on your expertise and experience.
  • Satisfaction of working in a field you enjoy.
  • Ability to work from home with low overheads.


  • Limited to earning an hourly wage unless you diversify.
  • Lots of unbillable hours (e.g. marketing, quoting, invoicing, BAS).
  • It can be isolating and overwhelming if you don’t have access to a network.
  • Lack of delineation between work and home.


If you have a decent amount of capital, buying into a franchise opportunity might seem very appealing. A lot of the heavy lifting is done for you in terms of brand recognition, marketing, products/services, systems and processes. When you launch your own brand, there is no guarantee that you’ll get traction in the market. But if you buy into an already well-loved brand, you’re getting a head start…at a cost. Keep in mind that franchises come with a lot of limitations which may inhibit your ability to grow your business. Read the fine print so you don’t get burned.


  • Established business model including products/services, structure, processes, pricing and umbrella marketing.
  • Existing brand recognition and loyal customer base.
  • Access to franchisor support and network.  


  • Large capital outlay.
  • Often takes a long time to turn a profit.
  • Lack of freedom and creativity – strict rules about how you operate.
  • Limited scalability (e.g. unable to sell outside your allocated post code).

Upcycling or Refurbishing

Upcycling involves using the materials from old or disposable products to make a different and new product (e.g. using plastic bottles to make art). Refurbishing involves taking an old or broken product and fixing it up for resale (e.g. furniture flipping). If you’re handy and creative, it’s an opportunity to make a modest side income that could develop into a profitable business IF you have the time, patience and ability. You also need to stick to the mantra of ‘buy low, sell high’ to avoid working for $10 an hour.


  • Great for the environment.
  • Gratifying, rewarding and therapeutic.
  • Ability to carve out a niche with a solid following.
  • Low start up and overhead costs if working from home.


  • Time consuming.
  • Often requires a lot of space like a garage or warehouse.
  • Lack of personal privacy if you sell from your home.
  • Lots of unbillable hours (e.g. marketing, processing orders, managing tax and BAS).

Property investment

It’s the great Australian dream to own property and it remains a popular choice for investors. If you choose the right growth area and play the long game, it can certainly pay off. And we all love a tax benefit. On the less positive side, it involves a lot of money and a fair bit of risk. Just ask someone who’s dealt with a dodgy, tenant or a market crash.


  • Ongoing rental income which can create positive cash flow.
  • Increase in value if market heads in the right direction.
  • Tax benefits (e.g. claiming depreciation or negative gearing).


  • Large capital outlay.
  • Stress associated with a large(r) mortgage.
  • Takes a long time for property to increase in value.
  • Risk of a market crash or dodgy tenants.  
  • Cost of insurance, property maintenance and management.

Sharing economy

Sharing economy or gig economy is about sharing your assets or time with others. You might consider becoming an Uber driver, listing a space on Airbnb, offering to help with odd-jobs on Airtasker or selling unwanted stuff on eBay. There are a lot of sharing economy options out there but for the purpose of this blog let’s focus on Ubering or Airbnbing (if those aren’t words, they are now). Both are fairly easy to get started on but come with a few headaches too.


  • Easy to get started.
  • Technology, billing, promotion and sales funnel are all done for you.
  • Flexibility – you can choose your hours or rental periods.
  • Instead of your empty home or spare room lying idle, it can earn you cash.
  • You’ll meet lots of new people (this could be a con too).


  • The pay for being an Uber driver is utterly crap.
  • There will be wear and tear on your car/home.
  • Risk of dodgy passengers or renters.
  • Safety and privacy risks.


A lot of people think being a social media influencer is an easy and lucrative way to earn cash but unless you have hundreds of thousands of followers, you’ll probably only earn a modest income which is usually up and down. It also takes a lot of time and effort to do it properly. You need to establish clear influencer agreements that outline your terms and conditions, and provide analytics to companies to prove they’re getting ‘bang for their buck’.


  • Satisfaction of sharing products and services you love with people.
  • Flexibility – you choose who you work with as well as how many hours to dedicate. And you can do it from anywhere.
  • Scalable – the more followers and engagement you have, the more you can charge.
  • Often built around your lifestyle and passion.
  • Ability to impact positively, raise awareness and reach many people with your message and services.


  • There is a bit of a stigma about influencing, just check out the #couscousforcomment thread on Insta.
  • It’s a lot of work to get a large, engaged following on socials because the market is oversaturated and channels prioritise paid posts. It often takes years of consistency and showing up before there is a financial return.
  • Low rates of pay unless you have hundreds of thousands of followers.
  • Time consuming to create content, negotiate agreements and track analytics.
  • A lot of companies will want to pay you in free products and services but you need cash to pay the bills.
  • Your followers might be turned off by too many sponsored posts.

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing or referral marketing is the process of promoting someone’s product or service, usually via an affiliate link, in exchange for commission. When people click on your link and make a purchase, you get paid an agreed percentage. It’s a relatively easy way to start earning passive income online but there are a few drawbacks including the inability to benefit from repeat customers or build ongoing relationships with clients.


  • No start-up costs.
  • Relatively fast and easy way to make extra money.
  • Satisfaction of introducing people to products and services you love.
  • Flexibility – you can choose how much time and effort you put into it.
  • Low risk – no need to create a product or service, you just share an existing one.
  • Minimal admin – you don’t have to manage business logistics, once you’ve referred someone the company handles delivery, returns, etc.
  • Benefit from recommending and promoting things that you love and add value to your life.


  • It can feel daunting if you don’t have a system in place.
  • Limited ability to earn residual income (e.g. some companies only offer commission on one-off sales).
  • Hard to scale – you can’t build teams and earn commission on their sales like in network marketing.
  • If you’re planning to build a following via social media influencing, it takes commitment, growth and a lot of investment of time.

Network marketing

Network marketing is a business model that empowers and engages all the people, like you and I, to sell products they love directly to the community. It provides access to world class mentorship and systems which means, like me,  you can succeed with no prior business experience. As someone who has built a very successful business through network marketing, I know it is the smartest, simplest and most rewarding way for average people to get ahead financially. You just have to have the right mindset and be willing to put in the work and stay the course. It’s not perfect, but the pros far outweigh the cons with low start-up costs, access to a community and the ability to earn ongoing, residual income. The key is finding a reputable company and products you love. Products you would buy regardless if there was a business attached to it.


  • Little to no start-up costs and the ability to decide what you want to earn.
  • Satisfaction of helping people transform their lives by introducing them to products and services that solve a problem (e.g. improve their health).
  • Smart, simple way to start earning extra money as an entrepreneur.
  • Low risk – no need to develop your own product or service.
  • Often access to a thriving community, and all the tools and resources you need to run a successful business.
  • Ability to earn ongoing, residual income with no wage ceiling.
  • Scalable – as you build your team and coach them, you’ll reap the rewards.
  • Ultimate flexibility – you can choose your own hours and work from anywhere.


  • Industry has been stigmatised by people who don’t understand it plus a few dodgy operators and the old school mentality of network marketing. It has evolved a lot thanks to the internet.
  • Delayed gratification – it will take time and effort to build your business.
  • You might feel awkward about selling at first and will need to get over your inhibitions as most of us sell our time for money every single day.
  • Some people do it with zero integrity which reflects poorly on the whole profession.

If the global pandemic has made you realise just how vital it is to have a diverse income stream, I hope this article helps you make an informed decision about which option to pursue. I hope, like me, you find something that enables you to thrive. Something that gives you financial security, maybe even freedom, and brings you massive fulfilment. You deserve it.

If you want a glimpse of the lifestyle we have been able to create by backing ourselves and breaking generational curses, check out Free to Explore on Facebook and Instagram.

Has this article has sparked your interest in network marketing?

Please head to the network marketing page on my website or read my latest blog that debunks networking marketing myths.

And if you’ve got a story to tell about establishing multiple streams of income, please comment below. I’d love to hear about how you’re building your financial future.

About Martene

Martene Wallace is not your average gypsy nomad and entrepreneur.

While her polished looks might lull you into a false sense of security, when she opens her mouth she’ll challenge your every preconception about life, leadership, beliefs and success.

An unshakeable optimist with an infectious zest for life, Martene has no trouble saying what others are too afraid to (even though they are thinking it).

Find Out More

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Based in Australia, I work with clients nationally and internationally.

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