"I'm desperate. I need to earn at least £660 a month just to pay the essential bills!"
OK, break it down. Assuming you work 7 days a week, you'd need to earn £660x12/365 = just £21.70 per day.
It's a really positive step, breaking down the debt or earnings into bite size chunks, however no one can keep up a 7 days a week 365 days a year regime. Especially for only £21.70 a day. Why not go and work part time at MacDonald's for £4.80 an hour? An 8 hour day will net you £38.40 with a free meal once a day! So you could work 4 days a week and earn £665.60 a month (virtually the same) and spend the other 3 days growing your online income stream by selling stuff on eBay or via your own web site? Plus get a free meal once a day thus cutting down on some of your living expenses. OK it's not an ideal job but its better than having to work 7 days a week for the same money. At least you have the option of taking some time to re-group research and look for opportunities.
In the short term, here's a few money generating schemes I have used over the years when I have been in a spot. OK not all of these may be of use to you but try to think outside of the (computer) box. Online business is excellent when the money is coming in but do not expect the money in the short term. Think of your income as a portfolio. You should be aiming for some short term, what I call "walking around money", for your day to day living expenses. Medium term money, which you can grow by investing in high/medium/low risk ventures (spreading your exposure to risk) and Long term money which comes to you from the sale of a business, sale of property, investment in stocks etc. (Remember the values of stocks can go down as well as up!)
Here is what I have done in the past for my Walking around money:
Window Cleaning and Car Cleaning
Yes I am serious. I find that, with a smart pair of overalls and a nice friendly smile, it's amazing what you can make happen. How many cars and windows are there in your street? I know someone who earns in excess of £60K a year from his cleaning round because, when he's cleaning windows he also looks for leaking gutters, re-pointing, aerials that need replacing etc. In the summer he also cuts grass, weeds, jet-washes drives and patios; his only outlay is a few tools, most bought secondhand or given to him by householders who say "I bought it and never use it so you might as well have it!"
Again easy to do: go and speak to your local Pizza/Tandoori/Chinese restaurant. All of them will regularly make leaflet drops in the area and may need you to help them. Also try directory delivering - both Thomson and Yellow pages pay people every year to deliver their directories; good money too! Try them or others like them - maybe even approach a local shop (try travel agents) and say to them that you'll deliver their brochures if they pay you - it could be cheaper than other distribution methods. Unless you ask you never know.
Not for all, I appreciate, but any port in a storm. I once got so hacked off with a customer I told them to F**K Off and stormed off! The Manager came after me and I thought that was it, but he told me to calm down and take a break, and, when I got back I was christened "Surly" and the customers loved it! But I digress. I appreciate you may not feel very outward going but a job is a job and I would rather do one I hated than live on the streets.
Yes, any age, any weather, any ability. The only skill required is the ability to push and collect trolleys. I assume you have pushed a trolley before? OK, go to your local supermarket and ask them for a job!
I used to get paid £6.00 an hour as a cleaner, going round offices after hours hoovering, dusting, emptying bins. I used to put my Walkman on and sing away at the top of my voice, all on my lonesome, hehehe. As long as no one complained about my choice of music I was in the clear! Seriously, the hours are outside normal working time, usually, so you can hold down a cleaning job and another job too! My record is three jobs at once.
As an aside I used to work with a guy called Alan (at a company which made Street Sweepers, yet another job) who was a stores man. All the engineers talked down to him and laughed at him behind his back, I got on really well with him as we both smoked roll ups (not any more!) and used to bum papers and tobacco off each other. One day we were out collecting a chassis when he said that he had to collect something from his house and, as we went right past the door, would I mind? So we drove out of town and through a maze of small lanes and ended up at the gates of this huge house, and I mean HUGE! He got out and tapped in a code and the gates swung open. This was his house! He lived next door to Cliff Richard!!!
Basically he started working for this local cleaning company as a cleaner. After about 6 months he was still working there and due to a high staff turnover (who wants to be a cleaner forever?) he was the longest standing employee so they put him in charge of a cleaning round with about 6 cleaners, who he dropped off, went to the wholesaler (who he started talking to), replenished chemicals etc. He then started talking to some of the company owners/managers whom the cleaners serviced and tried to sell them some of the household cleaning stuff the wholesalers supplied - but had very little success.
He then realised the "added value" that he could offer, selling the cleaners into the homes of these business owner/managers. He increased the company business single handedly by 50%, so much so that they gave him equity (it was a small family business). The company then were bought out by a local franchised cleaning co. and it made him a Millionaire "overnight". This took him about 7 years to achieve and I know it was "right time, right place" but it was because he saw an opportunity rather than just a cleaning job. Why was he working as a store man? He wanted to buy into the sweeping co. as he knew they were trying to get a listing on the stock exchange, and he knew that he would find out more by working for them for a month or two than any financial report would tell him! Now that was one smart man (no he didn't buy into the co. in the end).
Stacking shelves at Sainsbury's/Morrisons/Asda or ripping tickets at the cinema etc. Not glamorous, or sexy but will bring home the bacon! Seriously, a menial job it may be but it might pay you more per hour than your online ventures, for the time being.
Like Car Clamper (yes I have!) Toilet Attendant (Yes I have) Bin Man (very nearly but got an acting job the day before!). These jobs don't attract people as they have an anti social element but that is compensated by better money. OK you may not want to face these but, again, life on the streets is pretty grim.
This require special knowledge and up-front money but the profits can be quite good. You need to be shrewd, of course, and know your market but I have done it. You'd be surprised at how bad some people are at selling their possessions (see eBay!)
Was my last chance saloon. Having lost a business and gained a mountain of debt (£28K and rising). With creditors ringing/knocking/writing every day and no business or chance of business I was stumped as to what to do. It's as if my brain stopped working. I had seen eBay before and knew of it, but was skeptical that anyone would buy anything, let alone anything of value over the net. But with nothing to lose, hey the bailiffs can auction it off eventually, at least I may get more than they would, minus the auction house commission and the bailiffs fees.
So I put up an iBook which had been bought for the business but had never been properly used. Net result on my first go with no idea of what I was doing saw £50 profit. So I looked around the office and sold off pretty much everything that wasn't screwed down. It was tight but I made the mortgage payment that month. So look around and, instead of being emotionally attached to your belongings, categorise them as either assets or liabilities. So:
TV - Liability: Time thief, electric cost, licence cost. Radio is free and you'll have more time for your online business ideas; also, you can get another TV!
Video/DVD - liability: no TV, no need for them.
Games consoles. Again no need for them without a TV.
Car - Asset: transport to/from work; may be a liability if it costs too much to run.
Clothes - Liability: Sort out those not needed/never worn, and sell - if you haven't worn it in a year, sell it.
Kitchen Juicer- Liability: (OK a bad example but you get my point) Buy cheap Orange juice and sell juicer.
Which brings me onto the next subject.
Only two ways to make money.
Most people focus on 1) thinking that is the way to make money, some people focus on 2) as they just want to save money. To be successful do both! We have discussed 1) above. Time to tackle 2).
OK, sit down today, now, with a pen and a piece of paper and it's time for a reality check. You may have already done this but, if not, please do it today:
List everything you owe. Credit cards, store cards, gas bill, milkman etc. Do not flinch from this; it may be horrifying but you are taking the first step to financial nirvana!
Before we know what is needed we need to find out what you owe.
Say about £50K, really? OK, but we need the exact figure EXACT!
Then list all of your creditors, every, single, last, one, of them.
Tell them you cannot afford to pay their latest bill but will call them within seven days to schedule a repayment scheme. Do not be put off by any hardline tactics - they'll try anything (legal) just to get their bill paid. I have even had creditors say that they'll stop the Direct Debit and then took their money out anyway (thanks RBOS!)
Tell your credit card company/companies that you want to suspend all cards and all interest. Tell them you need to work out a repayment plan with them that you can both live with. Be honest, frank and up-front. Any hint that you are trying to con them will bring the shutters down and you'll really be stuffed.
Then call your bank and get all your direct debits and standing orders canceled.
Tell the bank you need to talk to a manager and get them to give you a time to go to the bank and sort stuff out. Go to the bank - do not try and do this over the telephone - it is amazing how humanizing a face to face chat can be as 80% of communication is non-verbal and you'll be much more likely to get them to agree with your strategy.
Write down the major points that you agree on and send this to the person you agreed it with and a copy to their line manager (get their name of course!). This ensures that you have documentation which shows that you do intend to pay back the money.
Essentially you are in a sinking ship: the water is coming in faster than you can bail and you need to go into dry dock to stop the leaks!
OK, now all payments have ceased, make sure that you pay the Mortgage and the Council Tax Bill. Why? Because they have the biggest muscles and can do the most damage. Let your mortgage company know what you are doing.
This will really screw your credit rating. However, I guess that is a moot point if the Bailiffs will be coming in 3 months time.
Now then, what is your income? Write it down, and work out how much per week you have coming in. BE HONEST!
Now make an essentials list.
Work out your weekly budget, and stick to it. You don't need anything that won't keep you alive. Food, Shelter and Taxes!
Now that you know what you need to stay alive you can start to work out what you can afford to pay off per month. Communication is the key, here, as is being true to your word. Within 7 days write (not call) write to all of your creditors to outline your repayment scheme. I told all of the big boys (Gas, Telephone etc.) what I proposed: no payment for 6 months and then repayment of the bill at £XX pounds per month. Be realistic; do not offer more than you can realistically afford. I used to pay the person who shouted the loudest - usually the little guy - but sometimes the big guy can afford better lawyers.
Just be honest with them; if you can afford £XX on the X of the month tell them and keep regular payments going. Failing to make payment once may bring the whole thing down. If you are going to fail payment, tell them immediately, and tell them why and when you will carry on paying them.
Some people will be put off indefinitely. One supplier of mine let me have a £1000 (ish) account outstanding with no guarantee of repayment - just my word - for 2 years. I paid him back (plus a little bit extra as a thank you). I now have stronger links to that supplier than ever before because I am honest and truthful.
Whatever you do, do it today. Failure to act will result in disaster. I am sure the above is not what you want to hear but there is no quick fix. The Internet will not provide you with enough income quickly enough and lack of knowledge will also compound your problems. By all means keep going at it but be realistic about the steps you can initially take (baby steps!!!). Do not invest any (more) money into any net schemes/eBooks etc. You do not have any money to invest; you need it to pay off your creditors or you will be homeless and bankrupt.
For debt help try:
Citizens Advice Bureau - they are really helpful with debt counseling and can mediate with the large companies on your behalf and may even help you with arbitration if the need arises. Your local one can be found in the phone book.
Martin Lewis is the money-saving king and he can be found here:
http://www.moneysavingexpert.com where there is a huge resource of info. and what to do in bad debt cases. Most of it is covered above but there may be more finer detail on his web site.
All of the above worked for me but may not be appropriate for you. Read it through and be honest with yourself as to ability/earnings/debt and start to make the recovery today.
Complete Little Britain Tribute Act for a great evening's entertainment http://www.littlerbritain.com/