My husband and I have received several thousand dollars in windfalls during the last few months and expect a few more in the coming months. While it may seem like we’re extraordinarily lucky, the truth is we created situations that made them possible, and then did our best to ensure we received them. Here’s what you can do to attract a windfall your way.
Research Possible Sources of Windfalls
I don’t mean that you should prey on elderly relatives hoping to be added to their wills. Instead, look to potential windfall sources in your career and hobbies. Your employer might offer bonuses for overtime, attracting new clients, or referring new employees. If you have a hobby, see if there are lucrative contests or a potential to turn your hobby into a small business.
Network to Develop Your Windfall Potential
Whether you want your windfall to come from your job or a small business, you then need to put yourself in a position to receive it. Start by expanding your social and business network:
- Join LinkedIn to expand business contacts
- Join Yahoogroups associated with your field or hobby
- Participate in industry forums, networking meetings, and MeetUps
- Join online hobby groups
- Join local hobby groups
- Join church groups and other local social networks
- Attend local hobby fairs and meetings
- Develop a hobby website
- Start a hobby blog
- Start an industry blog
Be Aware of Opportunities
Ask co-workers to let you know if they hear of hiring opportunities you can refer someone for. If a friend, relative, or co-worker mentions an interest in your business or a potential referral opportunity, offer yourself as a business resource. If you receive an email from someone about a potential opportunity, reply promptly.
Demonstrate Your Value
I’ve received two windfalls in the $8-10,000 range through a website I own and a Yahoogroup I belong to. I responded to both opportunities promptly, provided the required proposals quickly, and developed a good reputation for meeting deadlines early or on-time and being easy to work with.
Once your known as someone with a reliable product, service, or network, people will come to you for additional products, services, or referrals. That makes it possible to receive “regular windfalls” throughout the year, or build your hobby into a small business that provides a steady stream of additional income.
Be Prepared to Work Hard
If you do invite windfalls into your life, be prepared to work for them. If your company offers overtime bonuses, you have to be willing to work overtime. Networking and hobby meetings usually take place outside of work hours, so you have to make room for them in your life. If you offer a service, you have to be willing to give up free time to provide it.
Be Prepared for Additional Taxes
If you receive a large windfall, you may need to report that as income, so plan early for the extra tax hit. It’s worth it. Even if you have to give away 25% to Uncle Sam, you still have 75% of it that you didn’t have before.
Be Grateful and Return the Favor
Be grateful for every windfall you receive. Thank the person who requested your service, bought your product, or hired your referral. If possible, return the favor by referring business to him or her at some other time.
Don’t Blow It
Finally, don’t blow your windfall when you receive it. Rather than taking yourself on a shopping spree, know what you want to spend it on beforehand. For us, that was debt payoff, then taxes, and then our emergency fund. Sure, you can enjoy a small sum of it by going out to a nice dinner, treating yourself to a massage, or buying an affordable item of clothing, but don’t spend it all. Let the universe know you value the windfall, and it will continue to offer them to you. Show the universe that all you’ll do is waste it, and your opportunities may dry up.
So far this year, my husband and I have received over $20,000 in windfalls. Although our debt has paid off, we have new goals and are still actively making room for new windfalls to come into our lives. We’re also doing the work necessary to produce them. Best of all, no one we love has to suffer for our financial benefit. We’re not counting on inheritances or generous relatives to rescue us. Instead we rescued ourselves with a little elbow grease.