ELIZABETH, NJ — Owning a machine that prints money is the stuff of dreams for many people.
Owning an ATM might just be the next best thing, according to Sonel Soulouque.
In his new book, “My Side Income: 7 Ways to Put More Money in Your Pocket,” the Elizabeth author details ways to earn supplemental income that have worked for him.
Owning an ATM is one of the easiest and least-known ways to generate extra cash.
“I thought every ATM machine belonged to a bank or a financial institution,” Soulouque said. “And then, when I did my research I found out that you can individually own your own machine. This attracted me and then I called an ATM company and they said, ‘Yes, you can own your own machine.’”
Finding ways to supplement his paycheck as French teacher at Elizabeth High School and sharing them is important to Soulouque, who self-published the book this year. In “My Side Income,” he lists the ways in categories, including: offline, online, micro-entrepreneurship and passive income. He said he was prompted to write the book after seeing people around him working harder and harder just to make ends meet. Others have lost their jobs and don’t know how they will survive. His message is this: Rest assured, there are ways to deal with financial difficulties.
“The book is very helpful,” said Yvan Maxie, a longtime friend of Soulouque who owns Optimum Financial & Tax Services in Elizabeth. “Even myself, I have been in business for over 20 years and I get some good ideas from this book. It’s a very good resource, especially for small businesses. I did not know how to get started. For me, it is like a map.”
“There are ways to adapt and thrive even if you are out of work,” Soulouque said. “I wanted my book to show people there are always ways they can earn extra money. There are opportunities if you work hard.”
One of the easiest opportunities is buying and installing an ATM. And, considering that half of the estimated 3 million ATMs in the United States are privately owned, it is becoming more popular.
In “My Side Income,” Soulouque demonstrates that an ATM’s ability to generate income is a simple matter of math, especially if it’s installed in a place that generates a lot of foot traffic.
According to the book, about 3 to 5 percent of people who pass an ATM will stop and withdraw money. The average machine does about 80 transactions a day; at $2 per transaction, that’s $1,600.
There are a few things to keep in mind. For instance, the ATM should be installed in a place that has security cameras and must be restocked with cash. Some ATM owners pay a company to do this, but the author suggests, “If you don’t want to pay a company to do it for you, you can do it yourself and you can save that money. “
Saving money, working hard and getting ahead were lessons Soulouque learned while growing up in Haiti.
“Growing up, I saw my dad,” he said. “Even though he had a full-time job, he was always working on the side to make money to buy things we needed and I saw it when I came here, too.”
Soulouque’s father was a machinist, but often would buy clothes at flea markets and resell them to his friends at church to earn a little extra money. Soulouque may have inherited that strong work ethic, but he also knows how to reward himself. He likes to travel. Sometimes, as he is lying on a tropical beach, he reflects on all his hard work. He wants others to know that his book can help them get ahead, too.
“The answer is out there for you, but only if you have the will to do it,” he said. “If you have the will and the passion, you will succeed.”