Confession: It’s really… weird… that personal finance, as a topic, is getting more attention than ever. I mean, it’s good and all, it’s just strange to be right smack of it all, as a personal finance blogger.
And shit REALLY got real ever since the Malaysian government launched the National Strategy for Financial Literacy (2019-2023) on July 2019. I’ve personally gotten more outreach requests for interviews, speaking engagements and collaborations since then.
So, there’s no questioning that personal finance is a HOT topic. For today’s article, I’ve decided to brainstorm and compile how YOU – a personal finance enthusiast – can take advantage of this situation. Here are some ways to make money from this hot trend.
When I was in college – and by college I mean the combined time I spent studying for diploma, degree and masters – I supplemented my parental and PTPTN allowance with a bunch of part time jobs.
Had to lah. For one, I felt guilty for using FAMA scholarship when getting my diploma and degree, especially after I found out my parents were actually facing financial difficulties during the time. Parents, I tell you, they never tell you anything :'(
For another, looking and finding part time jobs for college students turned out to be a productive way to waste time. It’s procrastination but in a good way. Don’t lie to me – some of you college students reading this, you’re looking for part-time jobs despite haven’t finished your assignments yet correct not?
Recently, I had the opportunity to facilitate a financial management workshop for WOMEN:Girls NGO. One of the questions I asked the group who said they’d prefer to be employed (rather than be self-employed) is what they think they can do to earn a high salary in Malaysia.
And I don’t know if it’s just that particular group, or if this is the common view among the overall population, but they seemed to think that the way to earn a high salary is to basically:
Be good at the job
Be loyal to the company
Get rewarded with promotions in due time
At this point I was like, hmm how do I tell them nicely. Even the sponsors who were sitting at the back of the room (folks employed at a big cosmetics company) were laughing good-naturedly, mouthing ‘no’.
Making money is a type of high that is hard to describe. Seeing the numbers in your bank account grow is extremely, extremely satisfying.
As someone who is obsessed with personal finance, I read a lot of articles and books that give various money making tips. Here are some that weren’t immediately obvious, things that I wish I knew earlier.
#1 – You have to have (some) money first before you can invest it
I know. I didn’t believe it at first. Just stared at that text for a long time, digesting what just happened. And that’s not the only donation I received too. Including this amount, I can safely say that I’ve recovered all upfront costs, and then some.
To show you my gratitude, I would like to break down the details and behind-the-scenes of selling online in Malaysia in this article. My product is a book but you can apply the knowledge to anything else. Hope it’ll be useful for you, for your own ecommerce shop (now or future).
#1 – Calculating cost price – Beyond the printing cost
When I typed in ‘make money in Malaysia’, Google presented me with 570 million results.
570 million! In contrast, ‘invest money in Malaysia’ showed ‘only’ 37 million results!
So it’s obvious that many of you are interested in this topic. Many articles will give you good suggestions on how to make money – some gave part-time ideas, some gave side income ideas (what you can try), some gave ways to make money online, etcetera.
But none of them tells you what one person has tried in their personal capacity.
Here’s my attempt to do just that. Here’s everything I’ve ever done to make money in Malaysia (and beyond), from my childhood to now adulthood.
To keep our expectations clear, I’ll start off the article with this statement: most people don’t earn that much money from publishing books.
In fact, if your sole aim to write one is to make money from it, and you’re in a fairly tight financial situation, I’d recommend you to try other ways to make money from freelance writing. If you’re adamant, then your best bet is to pick and write about topics that tend to sell well in Malaysia, like religion, finance and self-help.
That being said, if you have always wanted to know how to publish a book in Malaysia, for personal or professional reasons – self-satisfaction, to establish yourself as a subject matter expert, to leave behind a legacy, to call yourself an author, etc – then it’s a worthwhile endeavour to take.
In this article, I will cover the processes involved in publishing a book in Malaysia (but not HOW to write a book – that one different story).
Step 0: Write the manuscript
For new, never-before-published writers, you will probably need to write that book first, or at least finish a few chapters. You probably won’t get anyone to agree to publish your book without something to show for it. ‘Hi I have a book idea in my head’ won’t work.
One of the questions I regularly get from friends and readers who do freelance work is, “Suraya, a client is interested in my services. How much should I charge them?”
I’m still learning myself, but let me share what I know. Here are five methods you can use to figure out how to charge your clients. This guide is suitable for freelancers who sell services like writing, designing, consulting, etc, not products.
Please comment if you have additional info to add!
Method #1 – Get the client to make an offer
This is a favourite method of mine – I use it whenever I can, especially if the request is slightly different from usual and I have no idea what’s considered a ‘fair’ compensation for it. Your conversation might go something like this:
While I have never been truly broke, I’ve had moments when money was tight. It became necessary to save money. It became necessary to allocate where each ringgit should go.
Therefore this guide. Here I’ve compiled all the strategies you can use to get through moments when you’re tight with money. To make things clear and actionable, I have divided the strategies into categories.
Cut down expenses = Awesome (this post focuses on this)
Earn money = Awesome
Investing money = Awesome
Cut down expenses + Earn money + Investing at the same time = HOLY GRAIL TO FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE YEAH