Building Active Income: The First Step toward Financial Freedom

Building more active income is a vital step towards the all-important goal of growing our passive income.  Without these two all-important faucets functioning at optimum levels, our progress towards living off of our passive income will be delayed, if not impossible to achieve.

Therefore, it should be the goal of every Financial Freedom seeker to seek ways to grow their active income as a means to continue building more and more passive income.

After all, as Buffett famously said:


My Goal: $10,000/Mo. in Active Income

To build up my passive income portfolio, I must build up my active income.  I build up active income by developing a hustle mindset and creating as many sources of active cash flow as I can possibly handle.

What is my definition of Active Income?

Any type of income source that I trade my hours for building and maintaining.  Some examples of active income might be:

  • Driving for a rideshare company
  • Actively writing for money
  • Consulting work around an area of expertise
  • Website design

If I have to do some type of work for direct pay, then I consider this active income.

The goal in building my active income is to create higher and higher income sources.

The best way I know how to create more active income is through entrepreneurial ventures. This means taking a skill set that I have and turning into a service that I offer the world.  By doing this, I am building up my income and leaving a legacy at the same time.

Let's Work Hard for Active Income

Contrary to some other Financial Freedom advocates, I am not against working a corporate job.  In fact, I do think it is a good and admirable thing, especially when it has an end goal in mind.  I believe that we can find a purpose in our work and that if one doesn't actively work, then one's true potential cannot be realized.

Does this mean that we should all be happy where we are at and not seek any form of improvement?  Heavens no!

If you're in job or a career path that makes you unhappy or if you know in your heart that you can better yourself through branching out, then, by all means, do so.  But a vital step that everyone could do is to begin by taking their current position, whatever that might be, and working it to the absolute best of their abilities.

Once this mindset is achieved, then this individual sets themselves up by laying the groundwork for future success.  Good things come to those who work hard and believe.

How Does One Create Active Income?

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I have found that the primary condition to creating active income is to develop a ‘hustle’ mindset.  In the hustle mindset, you are out to make money in whatever way possible (so long as it remains legal in nature).

I have found that there are certain steps one can take to help in developing and building their active income sources.

Four Simple Steps to Creating Active Income

  • Brainstorm a list your skill set
  • Brainstorm a list of active income ideas ideally based on your skill set
  • Order that list from easiest to hardest implementation level
  • Begin to implement one idea at a time, starting with the easiest idea and going from there.

By completing these steps, we begin to get a better picture of things we can begin doing to help earn more income.  Where possible, the goal is to organize side hustles around our skill sets and passion points.

Example of My Active Income List

1. Brainstorming my skill set

  • Teaching (passion)
  • Writing (passion)
  • Basketball (passion)
  • Finance
  • Technology
  • Website Design

2. Brainstorm a list of active income ideas ideally based on your skill set

  • Basketball Coaching
  • Website Design
  • Financial Consulting
  • Financial Modeling
  • Financial Advising
  • IT Troubleshooting
  • Writing Copy
  • Writing Articles
  • Bookkeeping Services
  • Drive for Lyft/Uber

3. Order that list from easiest to hardest implementation level (top 5)

  1. Drive for Lyft/Uber
  2. Writing Articles
  3. Basketball Coaching
  4. Website Design
  5. Financial Modeling

4. Begin to Implement One Idea at a Time

  • Goal: Get set up to drive for Lyft/Uber on Friday/Saturday nights for extra income.

It can be as easy as this when  you begin to see what skills you have and choose to capitalize on those skills.  Start small and build your way up from there!

My Current Active Income Sources

I am always on the lookout for ways to improve and grow the ways that I make money.  As I find new ways to capitalize on the skills and abilities that I have, I will be sure to document them here.

Financial/Excel Modeling

This is by far the most lucrative way that I make active income.  I find that many companies are looking for individuals that can automate their business processes and procedures to streamline the ways that they do business.

When I look to build a model, I look to incorporate three elements: 1) Simplicity 2) Ease of Use 3) Automation.

By following these three rules, I am able to find core data and turn those into actionable insights for the companies that utilize the models.  It's not always easy and requires a desire and understanding of large data sets, but if it is something you can master, the market demand is definitely there.

Website Design

Another area where I am growing my skill set is in website design.  I realized early on that I enjoyed certain aspects of designing a website and could spend hours inside working on my craft.  It amazes me that this didn't naturally lead to an early foray into coding.

No matter, as I now find that I will build out websites and automated processes through my sister company, Ramey Consulting, LLC.  While I do not actively market this service at the moment, I am average a client or two per month, which is usually a lucrative proposition.

Since I know WordPress - a program that many individuals and companies do not wish to understand - I am well suited to helping companies in this particular area.

Basketball Coaching/Training

I grew up living in a basketball gym.  When I wasn't in school or with friends, I could be found on the courts.  I still remember those days fondly, playing hoops for hours on end. Nothing brings me more joy than honing my craft.

As I am getting older, I no longer have the same athleticism as I used to and playing more than two days in a row can leave me hobbling for a week or longer.  This leaves me seeking more ways to stay in shape and connected to the game I love.

One of the best ways I have found to stay connected to the game I love is to coach and train younger players.  This helps me give back to others while enjoying the benefit of working out a player. I have done many years of coaching - which I typically get paid little for - but have recently delved into 1-on-1 training, which can be quite lucrative.


While I do not write for profit as much as I used to, this is definitely an area where I have a skillset to use and can if needed.

I have found that writing for investing outlets such as SeekingAlpha has been an enjoyable experience.  I have also written books - Simple Budgeting and Simple Investing - that I sell on  Though these are more passive income in nature now, I do want to count them as active income as well as writing these definitely took a lot of dedication and effort.

One thing I've noticed with writing is that it can be something that isn't valued very well by the market.  Since it is an oversaturated market, it is a challenge to make a living doing so. It's not impossible though, just challenging.


Last but not least (for the moment at least), I make active income through investing in stocks and other mediums of exchange.  While this can be more passive in nature as well, I mention it here as it is definitely a source of income and some of it can be active.

As I get more active income sources, I'll be sure to list them here.  I do so to ensure that you can see how many different ways there are to #sidehustle your way to Financial Freedom!

Blocks to Creating Active Income

I have found that for me personally, I have blocks towards making more money, especially in an entrepreneurial way.

This is mainly because of my belief systems around money, earning potential, and social status.  Unless I challenge those beliefs, I risk being stuck at a certain level for the remainder of my life.

An Interesting Question

A friend once took me through an interesting example.  He said to me, “Imagine that you are sitting on a bench.  Next to you is a bag of money. How much money is in the bag?”

I took a second to think about it.  I had many thoughts rolling through my mind:

  • Maybe he wants to give me money so I should answer something realistic?
  • It would be ludicrous to answer $1 Billion dollars and believe it.
  • What is he expecting me to say?

Finally, I answered: $100,000.

“Interesting."  He paused for effect.  Then he continued with a great piece of wisdom,  "Matt, that is how much money you can envision in your life.”

I took a second to think about that. Could I really only imagine $100,000 in my life?

After all, it’s a good amount of cash but in the grand scheme of things, that isn’t much money.  Was my mindset geared in such a way that $100,000 was my income ceiling?

Since that time period, I have discovered that I do have money blocks. My goal now is to work on overcoming those blocks in order that I can reach higher plains of financial existence.

What are your money blocks?

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