Do you ever find yourself earning an extra bit on the side and splurging all of it the next day? If yes, you are actually not alone. Keeping track of your money is hard enough as it is, but now imagine trying to save when you have several, irregular streams of income – it gets tough. This week Pod sits down with local influencer, Swarna Naidu, who broke into the media scene through the Miss Universe pageant and has since expanded into television, fitness coaching, emceeing, and is also brewing an F&B business. With many side gigs under her belt on top of being a full-time student, Pod gets her take on how to manage and diversify into different fields.
1. Learn Discipline!
Hard work pays off, but isn’t it a shame if you have no finances to show for it? Moving to KL at the young age of 18, Swarna found her transition into adulthood very abrupt and openly admits not a cent was saved in her first year of working. “It’s not easy to make money, it does require a lot of discipline” she recounts, sharing how she eventually got into the habit of not buying “just because you can,” and accepted that some nights were nights in, even if they weren’t so for her peers. But hey, do what serves you, no regrets!
2. Save for the future
So you may have the habit of checking your bank balance, but how often do you check to see your savings growing? As a rule of thumb, Swarna encourages everyone, especially those who earn from different sources, to transfer 40% of their pay check straight into a savings account that you simply don’t touch. Swarna highlights that most multiple stream income earners don’t have a company to put money aside for their retirement, and thus it’s very important for them to think long-term and protect themselves financially. Also, seeing the balance of your savings account grow gets motivating to save more!
3. Be smart in budgeting
With multiple income streams, it is inevitable that some months you’ll earn more than others. However, some months may not measure up – and Swarna knows this more than anyone. She describes that you may even find instances where one pay check needs to stretch two to three months, and so it really forces you to be smart with your money. To be financially stable, there’s really no way around budgeting, you just have to do it.
4. Make calculated risks
Many of us are enthusiastic to venture into new fields or businesses, but is it really for us? “Being optimistic is good, but don’t do anything blindly,” Swarna reiterates, as she quotes the exceedingly high risk of failure for new businesses. Starting a cafe business herself which is due to launch in October, Swarna explains how she has been dreaming of it for a long time but kept putting it off until she realised, “there isn’t going to be the right time.” Although she admits having a background in hotel management gives her a slight upper-hand, there is always going to be an element of risk involved, and we have to pay attention!
5. Network, and take on a mentor!
Sometimes, all it takes for success is a little humility and proper guidance. Swarna emphasises the importance of networking and meeting pros in the field, “the players in the big leagues want to see you succeed!” she says. With her upcoming cafe, Swarna admits seeking the expert guidance of successful restaurateur, Brian Choo, and expresses how humbling down and learning from those who’ve succeed will most definitely be beneficial. “If you form bonds with these folks who’ve been in the business forever, they’re bound to direct their clients to you.” Words of wisdom have been spoken.