In pursuit of the side hustle

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclaimer here.

Since joining the personal finance community as a blogger last September, I’ve been continually amazed by how some people make an astounding amount of money online. There’s the role model for all bloggers – the girl behind Making Sense of Cents, who made nearly $1M last year from her blog. That’s crazy! Plenty of other bloggers publish their monthly income reports online, and those posts are both motivating and frustrating to read.

You want to know how much money I have made from this blog? A whopping $3.77, from Amazon Affiliates. I’m also on ShareASale, which is a cool affiliate opportunity that I’ve made $0 from, lol. That doesn’t even cover the costs I have running this blog. That said, I’m not looking to make this blog my side hustle (at least, just yet). I started Cash Fasting because I wanted a platform to talk at length on the topics that interest me. This space can feel overcrowded, but that also means there’s a huge online community to engage with, and I’ve had a ton of great support from other bloggers.

I’m not fond of selling. Ian, for example, has successfully sold items on eBay and Amazon, although occasionally at a loss. The most enjoyable side hustle I’ve ever done was in college when I briefly taught private dance lessons to two different graduate students. I wasn’t comfortable charging a lot for my skill level then, and I didn’t want to charge a fellow student a ton of money, either, so I think it ended up being like $10 for 45 minutes. Twice a week for a few months gave me an extra $80 a month! I don’t even think I broke $300 total, but I loved every second of teaching. I’d love to choreograph wedding dances for couples, or generally teach beginners ballroom basics. It’s time-consuming and doesn’t pay a whole lot, so it’s actually one of the major items on my to-do list once I reach financial independence.

In high school, I tried selling crafts. My neighbor and I bought $60 worth of modeling clay, which she formed into amazing little figurines of dragons and fantastical creatures (clearly, she was the talent in the partnership). This was in the years before online marketing was a real thing; we set up a table on the side of the road on crossed our fingers. We never recouped our initial investment. In the years since, Etsy has popped up as a major opportunity for the crafty-inclined, which isn’t me.

Things are a little different now. I have a great job, and I just negotiated a huge raise. As much as I love the idea of having a side income, it doesn’t seem to be in the cards for me right now. There are two ways of building wealth: increasing income and cutting expenses. I’ve done a lot of work to increase my income; whether I can figure out a way to make $100 or $200 a month on the side is really just a drop in the bucket. Instead, I can easily find $200 of extra money a month by reducing my spending on what is essentially junk.

I’ll keep recommending products on this site. Mostly because it doesn’t feel like actual selling. I’m essentially linking to products that I like and use, so they get my seal of approval (which makes me feel less like a salesperson). It’s not about getting the cheapest possible thing (although I really would save more money if I did that), it’s about finding products that are effective, or not getting anything at all.

Curious on what kind of things I like and buy? Here’s a sample:

My favorite tea. My preferred appliance for meal prep. My hipster glasses. My favorite female empowerment book. My skincare essential. My go-to “healthy” snack. My “treat yourself” pick (seriously, these are such a good value if you pay attention to your skin).

Last week, I went to an amazing event in the city called a Jeffersonian Dinner that was exclusively dedicated to a discussion on side hustles. Essentially, it was a bunch of people around a table, talking about their passion projects, side-businesses, and non-work gigs, regardless of how much they earn doing it. Here are some of the people I met at the event, and their amazing side hustles:

I met Katie, the blogger behind 24 Carrot Life, a food and lifestyle blog dedicated to living simply and sustainably. She’s a veteran blogger (compared to me at least; she’s been blogging since 2013), giving me a lot of great tips on how to make my site better.

I also met Alex, the women behind Women of Culture. WOC is a really cool project in that it brings women together in small groups to talk about arts and culture, which I think the world always needs more of. It’s social networking and art appreciation, all in one!

The creator of Earth is an Island Designs makes awesome slogan tshirts that focus on social progressiveness. His shirts are super comfy and make a statement. What more could you want?

My takeaway is that everyone seems to have a side hustle nowadays, and I LOVE IT. We can have our 9-5, but everyone should have a creative outlet for their passions. Plus, it’s possible to make money off of nearly anything, so why not try?


5 thoughts on “In pursuit of the side hustle

  1. I like your thoughts on the side hustle. I used to tutor for $40 / hour and I would get about 10-15 hours a month. It just wasn’t enough, my free time was more valuable.

    I do support the side hustle if you want to build it into a business. My fiancée runs an e-commerce store. It’s been a difficult journey, but she has a few thousand followers now and about 12 products. She just released 5 new ones and she’s on track to make about $3,500 this month. She would love to quit her job and just run her company, but lack of healthcare and a solid “regular” job are too difficult to deal with at this point.

    On a side note, I would definitely pay $10 for a 45 minute wedding dance practice session.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so important to diversify income streams! Good on your fiancée, $3,500 a month is a lot, but when you’re self-employed, that number needs to be so much higher to account for additional taxes & insurance.
      Haha I’ve long since learned to charge much more for a dance lesson.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! I feel like almost anyone has skills they could utilize for a side hustle. For me it would be teaching yoga or blogging. But then the question becomes, do you want to monetize your passion and risk sucking all the life out of it? That dinner you went to sounds awesome btw!


    1. Thanks! The dinner was awesome; it’s so nice to sit down in a room with like-minded people and be able to discuss things we’re passionate about. I think it’s totally valid to worry about monetizing your passion, but I think there’s definitely a right way to approach it. For me right now, monetizing is an afterthought. If I can make money from blogging, great! But if I don’t that’s okay, too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree! I’m taking the same approach with my blog. I blog for fun and as an outlet so I don’t need to make money from it to feel like it’s a worthwhile use of my time. Maybe one day though!

        Liked by 1 person

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