Today, we don't live on the wild frontier ... most of us, so we can't take advantage of wide open career paths to power needing to be filled. However, we can pick up on the strategy of multiple income streams, even if some of them are paltry. It will require creativity and extra work, but you can manage that! In fact, once you begin, you'll find you have more time than you think as you start pursuing ideas you love and dropping hours of TV or computer play time.
In the modern era, we have access to tools our man of the Colonial past couldn't even dream of using. We have computer connections in so many forms that give us access to platforms operating 24/7/365. Ponder for yourself how you can make use of that. From my second career as a writer and editor of antiques and collectibles books, I watched several antiques dealers do their business all day every day straight out of their homes with no shops involved. All their advertizing and sales came through their home computer. The most efficient had their own postal equipment and boxes at home as well. Material came and went via various postal services daily. Their digital shop was open always.
I know crafty people who add income by creating small and popular objects they produce quickly and at low cost. Lots of these items are sold via word of mouth and form one modest stream. Others find ways to use entertaining skills. Many jobs we have will provide spin off opportunities that do not interfere with the job at hand. Perhaps you can write for journals and newsletters or blogs about how to succeed in whatever it is you do ... without giving away trade secrets that will get you fired. I wrote many articles based on my book research in that previous career and those always proved useful revenue streams for my family.
Like our Colonial era entrepreneur, you'll need to be working seveal different areas at once as we too live in a challenging world, full of financial uncertainties and setbacks. It will require extra time management and lots of attention to keeping yourself from exhaustion. It will require some experimentation to find which of your passions actually pay off and are worthy of your time and energy.
Best of luck to you applying modern techniques to a centuries old strategy. Keep it safe and legal and see how far you can go.
*With this sad figure being the case, why is it that realators keep showing families purchasing quarter million dollar houses (roughly) in their TV commercials?