How I Earned an Extra $10,681.71 This Year

Side hustles have been a part of my life since college.

Working as an unpaid music publishing intern, I easily could have gone into debt my first summer in Nashville.

But I immediately started waiting tables and selling beer at Titans Stadium.

Yup, I was one of those people with a bucket of cold drinks strapped to my back. Yelling in between plays from the aisles. Hawking peanuts and beer to moderately drunk football fans.

And I held onto that gig during my first couple of years in the music business. Because I was earning less than $30,000 and the side income helped cover my bills.

Once I started producing concerts around the country, I had to part with my side jobs. I was working 60-80 hours some weeks. And there was no time or energy for anything else.

But now that I've switched careers, I'm back in the saddle! And it's been fun to dive in. Here's how I earned an extra $10,681.71 this year:

Tech Support

Last year, after I quit my career as a concert promoter, some friends recruited me to work part-time with the coolest ticketing company ever.

And it was truly the world's easiest sell:

– Work from home.
– Make my own schedule.
– Company pays for my gym membership.
– Company covers my Internet bill.
– Plus, a weekly Doorstep Delivery stipend!

That's right — the company covered the cost of weekly sag paneer fix.

Sounds like a no-brainer, right?

I liked the gig so much I stayed for five months into my new job! And I only stopped once I realized working 20 hours a week on top of a full-time job was just too much side hustle.

Plus, I wanted to focus on Cashville Skyline and my own side business.

Freelance Writing

Shortly after I gave up my tech support gig, I started adding more freelance writing to my workload. And I've loved the flexibility!

Where have the jobs come from? Relationships I've built through this blog, FinCon, and social media.

There's a ton of writing work out there. Especially in personal finance! But I've definitely turned down some opportunities that don't pay enough.

Social Media Consulting

This summer, I added social media consulting into my mix of services. It's been really rewarding to share my expertise. And I've especially enjoyed working with financial advisors in the Generation X & Y space. Looking for some help? Drop me a line.

Google AdSense

My blog is far from optimized for advertising. But I made a decision to focus on user experience and writing from the beginning. However, this income trickles in slowly and covers some of my business expenses.

Affiliate Links

I've just started adding select affiliates to the blog a few months ago. And I've stuck with quality products I really love. It's not a huge income generator, but definitely a worthwhile piece of my business.

Dividends

Dividends from my taxable brokerage account are my favorite source of side income. Why? Because they are the only truly passive income I earn.

Every time a stock, index fund, or ETF pays me a dividend — even if it's only a few dollars — I get super excited. Because, someday, I'll be too tired for side hustles. But my money will still be working for me.

Why Side Income is Important

Between stagnant wages, inflated costs of living, and lack of job security, earning side income may help you achieve a financial piece of mind.

Is your emergency fund sufficient? Are you saving enough for retirement? Side income can help you reach your financial goals more quickly.

Readers: What are your favorite ways to earn side income?

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Discussions — 39 Responses

  • Income Surfer December 15, 2015 on 6:39 am

    Nice summary Kate. I’ve enjoyed following your journey for the past couple years. You’re an industrious and hard working woman……and you’ve made great strides toward the life you want. Like me, I think it probably took you a little while to figure out what that “life” is…..but isn’t it great now that you have that clarity?! Keep up the good work and have a great week
    -Bryan

    Reply
  • Stefanie OConnell December 15, 2015 on 9:14 am

    Awesome job Kate! I think you’re right about there being “too much side hustle”. 20 hours/week on top of a full time job is a LOT

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Stefanie OConnell December 21, 2015 on 1:09 pm

      Thanks, Stefanie! I’ve definitely focused on working smarter during the second half of 2015 — prioritizing higher paying projects so I can work fewer hours with my side gigs.

      Reply
  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach December 15, 2015 on 9:45 am

    Nice job Kate! I have to see what side hustles I can now fit in with my full time job. I don’t want to give then up entirely because they can be a huge added benefit! My favorite: hmmm oddly enough sponsored posts because it feels more passive and I don’t have to do much work.

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Tonya@Budget and the Beach December 21, 2015 on 1:08 pm

      I’m looking forward to reading about how you learn to balance the two gigs, Shannon! I know hard you work, so I have no doubt you’ll find a way.

      Reply
  • Michelle December 15, 2015 on 12:29 pm

    That’s a nice amount of side income. Great job!

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Michelle December 21, 2015 on 1:06 pm

      Thanks so much for the encouragement, Michelle!

      Reply
  • Tawcan December 15, 2015 on 12:43 pm

    Nicely done Kate. Side hustles are so important as they diversify your income streams.

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Tawcan December 21, 2015 on 1:06 pm

      Thanks, Tawcan! I’m always looking for ways to further diversify my income.

      Reply
  • Shannon @ Financially Blonde December 15, 2015 on 1:22 pm

    Awesome job Kate!! I was recently at an event and heard one of the co-founders of the ticketing company speak and it just sounded like they created a really cool environment to work. As for me, my favorite side income source is freelance writing, especially when I can write about non-finance related topics. Sometimes I get burnt out from finance and it’s nice to write about something else like careers.

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Shannon @ Financially Blonde December 21, 2015 on 1:05 pm

      Awesome, Shannon! I’d love to read more from you about career development and your experience as a successful entrepreneur!

      Reply
  • Cat@BudgetBlonde December 15, 2015 on 6:23 pm

    I always loved side hustles before I took my business full-time. Now I don’t really side hustle, but I can take on more work whenever I need to make some extra money.

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Cat@BudgetBlonde December 21, 2015 on 1:03 pm

      It must feel great to have that option, Cat. It’s nice to know so much freelance work is out there!

      Reply
  • Steve Miller December 16, 2015 on 7:27 am

    Great job on the side hustle, Kate!

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Steve Miller December 21, 2015 on 1:02 pm

      Thanks so much for the encouragement, Steve!

      Reply
  • Jim Wang December 16, 2015 on 8:03 am

    Great recap of all the things you’ve done, the Eventbrite side hustle sounded like fun!

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Jim Wang December 21, 2015 on 1:01 pm

      Eventbrite rocks! I’m a lifelong superfan! 🙂

      Reply
  • Karen December 16, 2015 on 8:58 am

    Based on the reasons you mentioned above, I am really surprised that more people don’t have side hustles. Out of my friends and family, there are only a few people I know that have a side hustle or work more than one job. I think a lot of them are too dependent on the one job they have or think their pension will be enough to support them in retirement, which could be the case, but I still think it’s necessary to have a back up plan in place.

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Karen December 21, 2015 on 1:01 pm

      Totally agree, Karen! Barely anyone I know will have access to a pension. And social security is looking bleak, too. I love the financial flexibility a side hustle provides me with.

      Reply
  • Jenn December 16, 2015 on 5:42 pm

    Tech support is a great industry to go into. My coworker and I both left our old job for work in IT. We have both been really pleased with this career path. He’s now doing IT consulting and support and makes double what we used to make at our old job.

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Jenn December 21, 2015 on 12:55 pm

      Nice, Jenn! I’ve really enjoyed working for tech companies. And I’ve been lucky with the culture and emphasis on work-life balance at both places.

      Reply
  • Nathan T. Baker December 17, 2015 on 9:32 am

    I need a pie chart! 😉

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Nathan T. Baker December 21, 2015 on 12:50 pm

      It’s always about pie with you, Nate! 😉 I’ll send you a breakdown.

      Reply
  • Abigail @ipickuppennies December 22, 2015 on 11:32 am

    Nice! I don’t have the wherewithal to do much side hustling beyond the blog. So my efforts in 2016 are going to be to grow that income.

    But freelance writing is a way that a lot of bloggers pad their income. I just have no idea how so many of them do it around a full-time job and family.

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Abigail @ipickuppennies January 10, 2016 on 10:44 am

      Growing your blog’s income is an awesome goal, Abigail. And it’s definitely not easy to maintain a blog or any kind of side hustle with a full-time job and/or family. And let’s face it, working a full-time job with life’s other challenges can be tough!

      Reply
  • Brian Robben December 27, 2015 on 8:14 pm

    I’m pumped for you Kate. Adding an extra $10k is no small feat. I love seeing your site grow and keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Brian Robben January 10, 2016 on 10:40 am

      Thanks so much for the kind words and encouragement, Brian. I’m excited to be hitting it hard again this year! 🙂

      Reply
  • Adam @ AdamChudy.com December 31, 2015 on 11:42 am

    Nicely done! Unless you’re on track to a super high paying day job, that’s the key to winning the financial game.

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Adam @ AdamChudy.com January 10, 2016 on 10:14 am

      Thanks for the encouragement, Adam! I completely agree. I think it’s important to work hard while you’re young and have the energy for it.

      Reply
  • Melanie @ Dear Debt January 3, 2016 on 10:53 pm

    That’s so awesome! I love all your side hustles and glad you realized when it was just too much! Side hustles are great, but only if you are happy 😉

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Melanie @ Dear Debt January 10, 2016 on 10:11 am

      Thanks, Melanie! I’m definitely working on a more balanced approach in 2016. Focusing on higher paying gigs and working fewer hours 🙂

      Reply
  • Geoff February 25, 2016 on 7:32 pm

    Oooooh man, does that side hustle hire part time designers! I’m on my way to leaving the 9-5 in hopes of growing my own design studio full time, but I’m hunting for a part time gig to keep some steady income rolling in while I get it off the ground. Also, do you have more posts about dividends and stocks, I’m completely money-illiterate but would love to learn how to invest my money outside of just 401k/IRA.

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Geoff April 10, 2016 on 9:51 pm

      Hey Geoff! Thanks so much for reading. My side income included a variety of jobs last year. It was a mix of tech support, freelance writing, social media consulting, and dividends. Keep me posted on how the self-employment route goes for you! I’ve written a few posts about dividends, but I’m not qualified to be offering investing advice yet 🙂 I learned a lot about dividends from a guy named Jason Fieber who used to run a blog called Dividend Mantra. He’s starting a new website soon, so I’d definitely recommend checking his stuff out.

      Reply
  • My Eighth Net Worth Overshare - Cashville Skyline June 20, 2016 on 12:02 am

    […] much on frugality. But this year, I channeled that energy into earning more. And that’s how I earned an extra $10,681.71 in […]

    Reply
  • Cejay July 4, 2016 on 10:24 pm

    I loved this post. I lost my job April of 2015 and have yet to find a full time job that is worth the effort. So I got a small part time job and have done a few side hustlers.. I have used my admin and accounting skills and helped a few small business owners with paperwork or bookkeeping, house cleaning, dog sitting and running errands. Along with.that I have just got into mystery shopping, which is not great paying but worth it if I am in the vicinity and focus groups. I have to say that I love the flexibility and freedom I have now.

    Reply
  • Jaymee August 25, 2016 on 4:33 am

    I like this list because it actually seems reasonable to do while working a full-time job. I can see myself taking on similar activities to help supplement my income.

    Many times, I get frustrated at “side hustle” lists because I wonder how anyone ever actually works those gigs without running out of energy and time… and while making enough to justify the time and effort spent.

    Way to hustle Kate!

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Jaymee August 30, 2016 on 12:10 pm

      Thanks, Jaymee! You make a great point. I’ve read about a lot of side hustles that aren’t realistic with a full-time job, too. Time outside of a full-time job is finite and should be valued at a premium.

      Reply
      • Dee @ One Income Kate Dore October 23, 2016 on 1:09 pm

        I totally agree. It’s definitely a juggling act. I think anyone doing a side hustle has to always evaluate what’s worth it and what’s not. There are some types of writing jobs I won’t take just because of the time commitment.

        Reply
  • Dee @ One Income October 23, 2016 on 1:08 pm

    “Because, someday, I’ll be too tired for side hustles. But my money will still be working for me.”

    I love this line!

    My side hustle has always been freelance writing. It’s a great, flexible way to make extra cash. And like you said, there’s so much opportunity out there.

    Reply