How I Made $2,228.55 Side Income This Quarter

Side hustling can be tricky.

It's a constant struggle to find (and hold onto) the elusive side income sweet spot—when you're caught up enough to maintain some semblance of work/life balance, without turning down too many exciting opportunities. Lately, I've been more focused on the latter, at the expense of some potentially cool side gigs.

After burning out in my previous career and from too much side hustling, I've grown fiercely protective of my time. And even with this new mindset, I still have days and weeks that lack adequate amounts of self-care. When it goes on for too long, I wind up splurging on acupuncture or a massage for stress relief.

It takes time to discover the right balance between your full-time job, side hustles, and all the other non-work activities. That means listening to your body, sleeping enough, exercising, eating more nutritious foods, and finding healthier (hint: non-alcoholic) ways to manage stress.

It's easy to read other bloggers' income reports and succumb to the pressure of stepping up your side gigs. I've fallen into that comparison trap on multiple occasions. But now I try to focus on doing what's best for me. Even if that means less.

At the same time, it's important to recognize working multiple jobs to earn and save more may not be available as I get older. I've noticed a massive difference in my energy level from my 20s to my 30s. It's a big reason why I'm hustling toward financial freedom while I can.

Ready for a breakdown of how I earned an extra $2,228.55 this past quarter?

Freelance Writing – $1,550.00

Freelance writing is the most stressful, and the most rewarding, of my side hustles. I love the feeling of accomplishing a project I'm proud of and seeing how other people respond to my ideas.

Freelance writing requires the bulk of my side hustle time. I've narrowed my clients to the personal finance and financial planning niche. And all of my relationships have been built through the FinCon community. I've attended the conference twice and it's worth every penny.

Social Media Consulting – $320.00

Because of my limited time, I've mostly focused on one-on-one social media training sessions for financial advisors. However, I have occasionally taken on projects that involve include limited management of specific channels.

My experience is strongest on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube. However, I've spent the past few months gaining more experience on Pinterest and Instagram.

Because I manage social media for a software company full-time, I've felt comfortable asking for a higher than average rate for my services. But I have noticed pushback from some prospective clients.

Although software like Edgar has cheapened what we do, I'm still a huge advocate for original, high-quality social media management because I've seen what it can do for a company or brand.

Blog Advertising & Affiliates – $229.59

From the beginning, I've been extremely hesitant to clutter my blog with too many ads and affiliate links. I've ignored a lot of emails for sponsored posts and new partnerships to emphasize a better reader experience.

On the other hand, blogging is a ton of work. And there's nothing wrong with being compensated for your endless hours of writing, editing, and promotion. I know many bloggers who do an amazing job seamlessly weaving tasteful affiliate links and advertisements into their high-quality content.

My main problem is a lack of time. Until that improves, I probably won't be adding too much more into the blog monetization mix.

Dividends – $128.96

Receiving dividends through my taxable investments is my favorite form of side income. Why? It's my only source of income that's 100% passive.

Passive income means I'm not trading time for money. And because I've invested in quality stocks, index funds, and ETFs in my brokerage account, I receive small dividend payouts throughout the year.

It's amazing how motivating it can be to receive payouts as small as $10. After all, that's $10 I didn't have to stress out about or hustle for. That $10 gets automatically reinvested, helping me slowly earn more with each passing year.

Once I've maxed out my Roth IRA for 2016, I'm planning to bulk up my emergency fund a bit more. Then I can focus on adding to my streams of passive investment income.

Important note: These are my gross earnings for the quarter. These numbers don't include my expenses like taxes, editing, PayPal fees, website maintenance, and the other costs of running an online business.

Readers: What are your current side hustles? How do you manage to strike the right balance?

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Discussions — 17 Responses

  • Brian @DebtDiscipline April 11, 2016 on 5:35 am

    Nicely done Kate! So true to balance your time, something you can never get back. I’m working on speaking engagements as my many side hustle. Trying to spread the financial education message. I have presented once and have my second booked,

    Reply
  • Income Surfer April 11, 2016 on 8:12 am

    Nice work Kate. Balancing my time has been a struggle at times. I tend to run hot and cold, but things are getting better. My side hustles are freelance writing, real estate development consulting and of course the blog. Here’s to a great 2016!

    Have a good week
    -Bryan

    Reply
  • Katasha @ broke girl rehab. April 11, 2016 on 8:46 am

    Awesome!! $2230 is fricken IMPRESSIVE – that’s almost what I take home from my 9-5 job in one month!

    So far, I haven’t started freelancing yet (I don’t know what’s holding me back – I guess I’m a bit scared?) but I can’t wait to get to your level.

    Nice work 🙂

    Reply
  • Shannon @ Financially Blonde April 11, 2016 on 9:40 am

    Congrats Kate!!! You are totally going to reach your goal of $10,000 in side hustle income before the next FinCon. Freelance writing was my best side hustle biz and I loved doing it but as my business has grown, I have less time for it and quite frankly miss the extra money but it’s just not at option at this time.

    Reply
  • Michelle April 11, 2016 on 1:11 pm

    Great job! Dividend income is an area that I am looking to improve. I love passive income!

    Reply
  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach April 11, 2016 on 2:06 pm

    I totally hear what you’re saying about balancing side hustles with full time work. It was MUCH harder than I expected IF I wanted to have some semblance of a social life, get rest, and take care of myself and my body. Nice job on the income!

    Reply
  • Chad April 12, 2016 on 7:29 am

    Good work Kate. I just started my blog earlier this year but I haven’t pulled the trigger on introducing affiliates or ads yet. I have some ready to go, but just haven’t activated them yet. I do love my dividend income though!!!
    Good luck with balancing it all.

    Reply
  • Catherine Alford April 13, 2016 on 3:15 pm

    Awesome job Kate! Finding that balance is definitely difficult and it can be hard to not compare yourself to others.

    Reply
  • James Pollard April 21, 2016 on 6:48 pm

    Great job! I’m all about that side hustle life. People say they want to make extra money, but when you tell them to get to work, they want to be back on the couch with their Cheetos! Keep up the amazing work.

    Reply
  • Holly Johnson April 25, 2016 on 7:44 am

    Great job on your side income! I have always had several jobs, and that is just amplified now that I’m self-employed. I love getting ahead with my own extra efforts. Then again, I am a workaholic!

    Reply
  • Tammy April 25, 2016 on 3:15 pm

    Good job! My side hustle is providing virtual assistant services to solopreneurs. It’s definitely a hustle in the truest sense of the word but it is immensely rewarding.

    Reply
  • Harmony@CreatingMyKaleidoscope April 26, 2016 on 10:33 am

    My best advice on balance is to realize that every day isn’t going to be balanced perfectly. There are some days when certain demands seem to monopolize everything you do, and other “lazy” days when you feel like you’re getting nothing done. It’s best to aim for a general type of balance, over weeks and months.

    The side-hustling is going ok right now, work and family has been demanding a lot of my time.

    Congrats on your success though 🙂

    Reply
  • Abigail @ipickuppennies April 28, 2016 on 1:03 pm

    My hustle is the blog (and now the book) and that’s all I can handle. And sometimes I can’t even handle that! It’s not like my job is all that taxing. In fact, I have plenty of down time during it. Which is how I manage to read all the PF blogs that I do.

    Way to go on all that work. Hopefully, you’re taking a day off once in a while too!

    Reply
  • Valerie Rind April 29, 2016 on 9:03 am

    Impressive, Kate!

    Reply
  • Ramona @ Personal Finance Today April 30, 2016 on 3:37 pm

    I work for 2 hours/day and am still able to run a small business (web design and a freelancing course). I was able to do this by being hugely productive and just giving up all bad projects/clients. Anything that wastes my time and is not a huge earner, got tossed. It allowed me to really get back on track and do great job.

    Reply
  • My Ninth Net Worth Overshare - Cashville Skyline May 2, 2016 on 5:03 am

    […] Have you checked out my latest side income report? […]

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  • Santanu May 26, 2016 on 1:08 pm

    Congrats on your success and also say thanks that you have shared your income sources as well honestly. Frankly speaking I found this kind of articles where true experiences and action points can be discovered. I am learning more & more about affiliate marketing these days and as I can see many bloggers making good steady income from affiliate marketing.

    Reply