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How To Turn Your Side Hustle Into A Real Business


side hustleThe following is a contribution from my friend Nate at InvestmentZen – on one of my favorite topics, starting and growing your own business!

A couple months ago, Chonce wrote a fantastic article showing you how you could turn your hobby into a profitable side hustle. If you followed the steps there, congrats! You now have a thriving side hustle that’s bringing in extra income, helping you pay bills, pay down debt or invest for retirement.

But what if you want to take the next step and turn your budding side hustle into a full-fledged business?

Having a successful side hustle lets you dip your toes into the waters of entrepreneurship without forcing you to take a risky plunge. Still, there are fundamental differences between running a real business and having a side hustle. It’s important to understand the distinctions so you can smoothly transition from scrappy side hustler to successful business owner.

The Benefits of Having a Business

When you have a side hustle, you’re providing a service (or selling a hand-crafted product) in exchange for money. Side hustles are all about trading your time for dollars. But building a business is a different game altogether – it’s about creating a real asset that can systematically earn money on its own without having to always invest your time.

With a business:

  • You’re not limited to trading hours for dollars. Instead, you’re building an asset that will one day let you make money while you’re on vacation, or even in your sleep.
  • You can take a profitable business model and combine it with systems and employees to help you scale. Your earnings are no longer capped by the hours you have in a day.
  • You’re building a long-term asset that can be sold for life-changing wealth.

Sounds simple enough in theory, but what steps do we have to take to go from side hustler to business owner?

Understand That You’re In The Business Of Business

The classic business book The E-Myth Revisited tells the story of a lady named Sarah, a small business owner who accidentally traps herself in a never-ending hustle. Here’s her story in a nutshell:

Sarah learned at a young age how to bake delicious pies from her dear Aunt. She dreamed of opening up her own pie shop, but when she finally did, she found that it wasn’t quite the fantasy she had envisioned:

“I get to the bakery at 3 in the morning and bake the pies, open the shop for business, take care of my customers, clean up, close up, take the money to the bank, have dinner and get the pies ready to bake for the next morning so I can start another long day. And this goes on 6 days a week, year-round.”

This story is all too common among small business owners. The E-Myth warns us that this happens when the business owner thinks that their job is to be a technician, when their actual job as a business owner is to run the business. Running a business means there are entrepreneurial and managerial responsibilities to take care of as well.

Being great at your side hustle is about being a technician who can bake great pies. But being great at running a business isn’t about baking great pies – it’s about building a system that makes great pies. That’s an often overlooked but incredibly important distinction. It’s about hiring great people to make that system run smoothly. It’s about knowing how to lead employees. It’s about understanding your business model, understanding your balance sheet, running marketing campaigns to bring in new customers, managing logistics and so much more.

The key to turning a side hustle into a business is to understand that it’s not just about being great at baking pies – it’s about business. Let’s take a look at some of the business concepts you’ll have to master as you transition from side hustler to business owner.

Do You Have Enough Margin?
Not every side hustle has the economics needed to sustain a business.

If you’re already charging a premium price in your side hustle, that’s a great starting point! You likely have the profit margin to hire young, hungry, talented workers who can do the work and help you grow.

But if you’ve been charging low prices and barely making standard wages for your industry, you’ll need to find a way to raise your value. You can’t hire someone else to do the work if what you charge can barely cover their labor.

If you’re not seeing enough margin in your side hustle to turn it into a sustainable business, you need to figure out how to increase prices. Sometimes, that’s as easy as just having the confidence to ask for more money!

There’s no one-size fits all answer here. But if you’re stuck, one super important tip is to look at successful businesses in your industry and figure out what makes their pricing model work. If you’re slinging Fiverr logos for $5, figure out how the top sellers on Fiverr are using upsells to increase their rate by 10X or even 20X.

If you want to think even bigger, ask yourself how the top design are agencies charging tens of thousands of dollars for the same level of work. Ask yourself how they got there and work your way back.

You’ll often find that the people charging 10X higher prices aren’t necessarily 10X better. However, they’ve found a market that is happy to pay 10X more for their services because they’ve found a market where they can add more value.

If you don’t have enough margin at the moment to turn your side hustle into a business, your job right now is find a way to charge more for your services.

Create Systems & Processes

How is it that a McDonald’s Big Mac tastes the same whether you’re in the middle of Times Square or in Fairbanks, Alaska? The answer is systems.

Let’s go back to the example of Sarah and her pie shop. How will the business operate when she’s not there? How will the business grow to 2, 4, 8, 16 pie shops? After all, Sarah can’t be at all 16 pie shops at once.

The answer is that she will build systems to guide the business.

A system is nothing more than a series of processes that can run without you. Systems and processes are what will allow you – the side hustler – to automate tasks you’ve been doing yourself. It’s what allows the entry-level burger flipper in Fairbanks, Alaska to cook the exact same burger as her counterpart in Times Square.

As a successful side hustler, your business is nothing more than what you do/build personally. To become a successful business owner, you need to build systems so that the smart people you hire will know how to run your business when you’re not there.

To create processes, start by writing down every step of the main tasks you do. You’ll find that some tasks are easier to define than others. For more complex tasks where independent judgement may come into play, start putting together training materials – film yourself performing the tasks while you explain what you’re doing and the thinking behind your decisions.

For an in-depth look at the power of systems and how they can be used to grow a business and give business owners freedom, check out the book Work The System by Sam Carpenter. You can get a free copy of it here. It’ll open your eyes to the power of systems and how you can start applying them to your business.

Hiring your first employee

Going from a solo hustler to employer is a scary step, but the sooner you can hire someone, the faster you can start growing.

If your income isn’t stable enough to hire a full-time employee yet, you can dip your toes in the water by hiring freelancers. Use sites like Upwork, Freelancer, Guru or Fiverr to take advantage of the gig economy.

Re-investing into your business

Unlike your side hustle where your revenue is basically money in your pocket, building a business means dipping into that cash flow to grow your business. As a business owner, you get paid last while you reinvest into your business.

One of the benefits of turning a side hustle into a business is that you already have a proven revenue stream to fund your business. This means you don’t necessarily have to take on debt if you don’t want to. While I advocate bootstrapping whenever possible and avoiding debt or giving up equity, some business models simply require investing more capital up front.

If you’re confident in your business plan but it requires some funding, you may want to look into a small business loan, taking out a personal loan or finding investors. In many cases though, you can keep your scrappy side-hustling mentality to build a business based solely on your existing cash-flow.

Still, even if you manage to avoid debt, spending half your revenue (or more) on your growing business isn’t exactly a fun feeling when you’re used to putting that money into your pocket. Just remember that it’s a short-term sacrifice you’re making to build a long-term asset.

Hustle Your Way To Business Success

As your business moves away from its side hustling origins, you’ll find yourself spending less time “baking pies” and more time “running a business.” Now that you have a scalable business model, systems and processes and staff to put them into action, what’s next?

You’re still going to have to hustle, but you’re no longer hustling to create “pies” by yourself. Focus your limited energy on the high impact decisions that can help you hit your business goals. Whether that’s hiring smart people or figuring out new avenues for growth, you’re well on your way to building an asset that can change your life!


Photo courtesy of: ©Depositphotos.com/AndreyPopov

How to Make Money Online with Fiverr


office-583841_1920Want to make money online with your skills but don’t know where to start? Starting an online freelancing business and securing clients can seem intimidating but when you use Fiverr, it simplifies this process.

Fiverr is a website that allows people to advertise their services and obtain $5 gigs. There is a wide variety of services you can offer on Fiverr including editing and proofreading, article writing, graphic design and logo creation, advertising, video and podcast editing, animation, image editing, voice overs, sound effects and more.

Some tasks require less skills than others and I’ve seen simple gigs such as holding a company sign, singing a song, posting product listings on Amazon, or drawing a picture so there is literally something for everyone regardless of what your skill level is.

Now you may be thinking: How can I earn a profitable income by trading my time and services for only $5?

How to Earn More Money with Fiverr

While customers flock to the popular website in search of budget services, as a Fiverr seller, there are also opportunities for you to raise your rates and use the platform to your financial benefit as well. Many Fiverr sellers start advertising their basic service for a low rate of $5. That $5 service is often delivered in the most basic quality without many extras.

If you want extra services or accommodations, sellers list those add-ons by increasing their prices to $20-40+. That’s when you start making the real money. As you can see in this screenshot below, a seller who’s advertising Amazon product description listing services offers tiered pricing based on the customer’s needs.

If they want a basic listing with standard features, they will only be expected to pay $5 for the service. But if they prefer better sales copy, industry research, and an SEO keyword strategy they will have to pay more.

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 8.33.08 AM

By offering additional features to your range of services you can upsell your customers and earn more.

Best-Selling Gigs on Fiverr

If you want to attract new customers by getting more gigs on Fiverr, you need to offer a service that is in demand. While it’s possible to earn money doing a wide variety of things on Fiverr, here are the top five services offered:

Graphic Design – If you are creative and know how to use Photoshop or Adobe Indesign to create custom graphics, you’ll always be in luck on Fiverr. Graphic design is in high demand these days as many companies and individuals are in need of a new website, a new logo or other graphics and branding materials. Plus, custom graphics can be quite expensive which is why this genre of work is among one of the top services on Fiverr.

Freelance Writing – If you are trying to jumpstart a freelance writing side hustle, consider starting on Fiverr. Press releases, copywriting and articles and blog posts are most sought after from Fiverr customers. Consider offering a rush fee to increase your rates for customers who need the work completed quickly.

Video Creation – Fiverr can be a goldmine for those offering video creation services. Customers are looking for video editing, funny videos, custom intros and more so you can really have fun with these gigs.

Voice Over Acting – Has anyone ever told you that you have the perfect radio or announcer voice? It’s time to cash those characteristics in. Companies and entrepreneurs who want to advertise a product or service but don’t want to use their own voice will look to a professional voice over actor to deliver the best results. Voice over acting is easy, fun and quite profitable. You can upsell customers by offering more lengthy advertisements for an additional charge.

Proofreading and Editing – Everyone doesn’t have a knack for writing and grammar which is why proofreaders and editors are so valued. No one wants to release copy and newsletters with typos and other errors, so if you are good at editing, you can market your services on Fiverr to help customers release more professional content.

Bonus Idea: Social Media Shares – Remember, Fiverr is not all about having tons of impressive skills. There’s a more laid back side to the platform that allows just about anyone to earn money. Another service that is in popular demand is social media sharing and marketing. If you have a ton of social media followers, you can offer to advertise on your platforms for others on Fiverr. This won’t take much time or effort on your end, and you can earn some extra money in the process.

How to Be Successful on Fiverr

Once thing I should mention about Fiverr is that it is very competitive, meaning there are probably hundreds of other sellers offering the same services as you. Therefore, you need to set yourself apart so you can rise to the top of the search results and gain some new customers. You can achieve this by doing a few things.

Produce High Quality Work – This is no secret, but if you want more customers to come to you and view you as a professional, you need to deliver flawless work. Even if you have to start off earning just $5 per gig, achieving customer satisfaction is key.

Get Lots of Reviews – When you search for a service on Fiverr, the first few people who pop up in the search results are the ones with the most reviews. Having lots of positive reviews on Fiverr is the key to success because it helps you gain other’s trust. Ask each of your customers to give you a review after you’ve delivered the work to them and let them start piling up.

Sell Your Differentiating Assets in the Description – First impressions are everything, and on Fiverr, you only have a few seconds to make a lasting impact on a potential customer. In your profile description, sell yourself and your services by telling others what makes working with you unique and anything you can offer that your competitors can’t. (See example below of a unique description that will reel in customers) Proofread all your writing to make sure there are no errors.

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 8.33.32 AM

Don’t forget about advertising extra services with your gig description and using high quality visuals to attract new customers. Fiverr is worth a shot for anyone looking to earn extra money with a limited client base.

Have you ever used Fiverr as a seller or customer?

How to Pay for Your Wedding in Cash


bride-458119_1920A wedding may be one of the happiest but most expensive days of your life. Since the average American spends anywhere from $19,883 to $33,055 on their wedding day, it’s no wonder why couples are eager to utilize any and every strategy in order to keep costs low and avoid getting into debt.

Your dream wedding shouldn’t put you in debt and ideally, you should be able to pay for the special event in cash so you don’t have to go into your marriage with new or additional debt.

Having recently gotten married myself, I can hardly explain the amazing feeling of relief that comes with being able to pay for everything in cash. Since we already have student loan debt of our own among other things, we really didn’t want to add to that by taking out loans and owing wedding vendors. If you have that same mindset, here are a few ways to help ensure you pay for your wedding in cash.

Match the Features of Your Wedding with Your Budget

First, you’ll probably want to develop a specific wedding budget and outline your ideas and preferences. Determine how much you and your partner are earning each month and what seems like a reasonable price for your wedding. If it seems logical that you can only afford a $10,000 wedding, you’ll need to adjust your wedding budget accordingly.

There are numerous ways to cut the cost of your wedding including:

  • Having a smaller wedding
  • Getting married during the off season or on an unpopular day
  • Skipping the venue option
  • Having a smaller bridal party
  • DIYing your centerpieces and flowers
  • Making a playlist for the reception to avoid hiring a DJ
  • Hiring a student photographer who can provide professional photos for a more affordable rate

The list goes on and on. To make sure that you can afford to pay for your wedding with the cash, you have to prioritize what you want and make sure you’re okay with getting rid of the things you don’t want.

Open a Designated Savings Account

You’re free to start saving for your wedding before you even get engaged. The early you start setting money aside, the better. Even if you and your fiance decide to open a savings account right after getting engaged, make sure it’s a high-yield savings account so you can earn a little money in interest simply for keeping the account funded.

Some of the best banks that offer the highest rates for savings accounts are online banks like Capital One 360, Ally and Discover Bank- as they all offer decent rates.

It’s not a lot, but it’s better than anything else at the moment. Invite your friends and family to contribute to the account if they can and set up automatic withdrawals so you can consistently grow your wedding savings.

Set the Date Far in the Future

Having a long engagement might help you avoid getting into debt for your wedding. If you are in no rush to get married, set your actual wedding date more than a year ahead so you can have enough time to save for everything. For example, if you and your fiance can only afford to set aside $300 per month for your wedding and get married after only having a six month engagement, you’ll only save $1,800 which may barely be enough to cover what both of you will wear.

But if you save $1,800 during the first six months, then bump your savings up to $500 per month for the next year once you get some momentum going, you’ll have saved up $7,800 over the course of 18 months.

Establish a Side Hustle for You and Your Partner

When it comes to side hustling, two is always better than one. It’s a challenge to manage one side hustle, but if you and your future spouse both start side hustling, you’ll bring in twice the extra income.

You may need to work around each other’s schedule, but your best best is to choose a side hustle that’s flexible and allows you to work from home or in your spare time. Getting a second job can be demanding, especially when planning your own wedding.

But if you decide to freelance your skills by becoming a content writer, virtual assistant or secret shopper, you can set your own schedule and work as little or as much as you want.

Put all the extra money you earn from your side hustle toward your wedding. Then, once you get married, you can either slow down or take a complete break from hustling. You can also monetize your free time by taking short surveys to earn extra cash. Many will help you earn several hundred per month, at least, which can be put towards your wedding budget.

Sell Some of Your Belongings

If you have items around your home that could be worth a decent amount of money, try selling the things you no longer want or need for extra cash. You don’t have to get rid of everything at once, but you can start little by little each month.

You can also host a huge garage sale for a couple of weekends throughout the summer to the amount of sales you get.

Start Living on One Person’s Income

As you prepare for marriage, managing your finances should be a huge topic of discussion. It’s important to determine who will pay certain bills and be responsible for specific expenses you both have in order to keep your household running smoothly.

Among deciding who will pay for groceries, consider cutting your expenses as much as you can while planning your wedding. The first expense to cut should be cutting the cord. You’re likely going to be busy planning the wedding and not able to watch as much as normal. It also instantly frees up $100 per month, if you’re paying the average.

The Amazon Fire TV Stick is one option to cut the cord and still get the content you want. The Fire Stick is a one-time cost, often below $50. It lets you access streaming providers, plus watch the content available from the dongle. Check out the Amazon Fire TV Stick channels to see what content you can get from the device.

If you both have jobs, try living on one person’s income for a few months and put a majority of the second income toward wedding expenses.

Even now with saving for big goals, my husband and I have found that we can make way more financial progress by living on one person’s income instead of each saving a small portion of our own income. Sure we spend less and have less disposable cash, but this strategy will help you reach your financial goal quicker and provide you with more motivation to get there.

While loans and credit cards can be tempting, try your best to pay for your wedding in cash so you’ll have one less financial burden to deal with in the future. If you do use credit cards, use them wisely and pay off the bill in full. Remember that’s it’s possible to have the wedding of your dreams on a budget.

Did you pay for your wedding in cash or would you? Why or why not?

Summer Side Business Ideas for College Students

lawnmower-384589_1920School is out for most students and for college students who don’t have extensive travel plans for the summer, it may be beneficial to start up a summer side business. Earning extra money this summer can help pay for books and tuition in the fall, summer outings and events with friends, and just help ends meet if hours are slow at your regular job.

Back when I was in college, I tried to pick up hours at work during the summer so I could save up for expenses that I knew would be popping up in the fall, but my employer hardly ever scheduled me for enough hours each week which was frustrating.

I wish I would have thought to start a summer side business back then, but if you find yourself in this position currently, here are a few things you can do over the next few months to earn good money quickly this season.

Start a Date Night Babysitting Service

Take a profitable twist for this common side hustle by offering to babysit in the evenings so couples can have a much needed date night. A lot of parents put their kids in summer camps during the day or daycare if they work, so they may or may not need a babysitter during this time. But for the evening, childcare options run low since everything is closed so your clients will be much more willing to seek out your services. Plus, a lot of couples would probably love to have a date night away from the kids.

If you have experience babysitting, negotiate a reasonable rate and provide the kids you watch after with a fun activity or craft to do as apart of your service, you should have no problem bringing in clients even if you have to start with your family or friends. You should eventually set up a profile on Care.com or SitterCity.com to bring in more clients so you stay busy most evenings.

With this side business, you can still enjoy summer in the daytime as you please and set your own schedule with a few off nights each week.

Yardwork and Landscaping

Get to your neighbors before those pricey landscaping companies do. You may want to purchase a few yard supplies first in order to be prepared. Then, start going door-to-door to see if anyone needs help mowing their lawn, planting or watering flowers and keeping up with their landscape this summer.

You can print business cards for cheap via VistaPrint and offer summer referral specials and discounts to bring in more clients.

Carpet Cleaning

My husband used to work for a carpet cleaning company last summer and the owners made a killing since most people want to get their carpets cleaned during this time of year. I couldn’t shake the thought of how much one person could make cleaning carpets on their own in the summer as long as they had the proper equipment.

Since some customers can’t afford services like Stanley Steemer, you can offer a discount carpet cleaning service on your own. You’ll need to rent a carpet cleaning machine at a store like Menards or Home Depot and purchase trusted stain removers, shampoo, etc.

Rug Doctor is a popular carpet cleaning machine brand to purchase or rent and they even provide their own easy-to-use cleaning products to go with the machine. It would be best to offer a basic service and stay away from powerful chemicals that professional companies use if you lack experience. You can market your service as a discount solution and set realistic expectations for any clients you serve.

Snack Shop

There will be tons of sporting events, festivals and outdoor gatherings this summer. A profitable business idea would be to see how you can sign up to be a vendor and run a snack shop to bring in money at various different events.

You will need to talk to your city officials and local groups and organizations to see what you need to be able to sell snacks at events. You may need a permit to start, but if you stick to simply reselling already prepared concessions and not cooking anything on your own, the process will probably be easier for you.

Sam’s Club and Costco sell a wide variety of snack foods that people can resell in bulk for cheap so you can make a profit. You may also want to look into investing in a snow cone or popcorn machine that you can use to enhance your menu if allowed.

Make your Business a Success

Starting a summer business can be pretty fun and memorable if you stay true to your vision and don’t over think it. Once you come up with an idea that you want to commit to and start setting everything up, start promoting yourself early.

You can post updates on social media, put up flyers in your area, attend local networking events, start building connections with potential clients, and advertise on free websites online.

Aim to keep your start-up costs low if you can and try to set up your business to earn back the initial investment you put in as soon as possible.

Also, don’t forget about sales and offers. Reward your clients and customers with discounts and freebies for spreading the word about your services and bringing in referrals. And most important, have fun with it and manage the extra money you bring in wisely.


Are you planning to earn any extra income this summer? If so, how?

3 Ways to Earn $100 per Hour


6355814243_315b0621ce_bWhen I created my vision board for my financial and personal goals over a year ago, one of my goals was to earn at least $100 per hour. At first, it sounded like a very far-fetched goal. I was only earning $15 per hour at my entry-level full-time job when I wrote that down, and realize that sometimes it takes people years of experience to earn $20-$30 per hour depending on the field.

However, I saw and heard of other people earning $100 per hour or more regularly by doing legitimate work. I knew it was possible, and I didn’t sabotage my own progress by casting those people as ‘out of my league’ or believing that I didn’t have skills and talents that were similar to theirs.

If you don’t have a degree or years of experience under your belt, there are still quite a few legitimate ways to earn $100 per hour.

Become a Freelance Writer

Freelance writing is one of my personal favorite ways to earn extra money. If you want to earn good money fast from writing, you will probably want to write for a blog with a client who can afford to pay higher rates for posts.

Writing marketing material, courses, books, etc. is also a great way to diversify your freelance writing tasks, but the quickest assignments in my opinion are blog posts that are 1,000 words or less. If you are a disciplined writer and choose a niche that you are very familiar with, you may be able to draft a quality blog post in an hour or less easily.

Then all you’ll need to do is find a client who can afford to pay you at least $100 per post or $150 per post to account for extra time you may need to spend proofreading and editing.

The great thing about freelance writing is that you can earn that type of money without having a special degree. All you need to do is improve your writing skills so you can meet your client’s needs and build up your experience over the course of just a few months. If you start out with a lower rate, you can always increase it over time and pitch blogs that are for medium to large-sized businesses or that seem to hire a significant amount of staff writers.

You can also take advantage of your network and see if your friends or colleagues know anyone who may be hiring quality writers for their business’ website or blog. I found my first client that paid $100 per 600-word post last year after connecting with a fellow blogger online who happened to be an editor for a large financial website. If you’re interested in becoming a freelance writer, check out Cat’s course to help get you started making money writing online.

Personal Development Coach

Personal development coaches like life coaches generally make a minimum of $100 per hour. If you are interested in serving others and helping them meet their goals, you could become a certified coach. Even if you don’t want to obtain a certification, you can try your hand at being a self-taught coach and help people overcome an obstacle you were once faced with and overcame.

There are many different kinds of coaches including business coaches, fitness coaches, communication coaches, leadership development coaches and so on. As long as you are motivating your clients, offering unprecedented value and pushing them to succeed and reach their goals, a starting rate of $100 per hour is suitable to charge and people will be willing to pay that amount of money for your services too in order to experience positive results.

Start a Blog to Earn $100 Per Hour

Starting a blog requires lots of passion and hard work upfront. You won’t be able to start monetizing your blog well to earn at least $100 per hour until you increase the amount visitors you have coming in each day. Once you have a lot of traffic, you can convert that to income by promoting helpful products and services as an affiliate to gain commissions, posting ads on your site in a non-spammy way, and partnering with other brands to market their business and message on your platform as long as you stand firmly behind it.

Earning money from blogging is not so cut and dry and the amount of work you put in may not always be reflected by what you earn.

The best way to track your blog income and determine how much you are earning per hour is track your time when completing blogging tasks each day or week, then calculate how much you earned at the end of the month.

If you spend 2 hours working on an affiliate post to promote a product or service you like and earn $350 in affiliate sales after your audience reads your post, you’ve earned about $175 in two hours.

If you earn $200 in passive income from clicks on ads you placed on your site months ago, you literally earned $200 in less than an hour and put forth very little effort to earn that money.

And if you accept a sponsored guest post written by a brand you’ve admired and partnered with for $150 and it took you only 30 minutes to proofread the post and put it up on your blog, you’ve earned more than $100 in less than an hour.

As you can see, with blogging the income you earn may vary, but once you build a strong and dedicated following and have lots of traffic coming in through your site, earning $100 per hour is just the beginning. It can be very simple to start a blog it’s the building it that takes time. If the technical aspect scares you, Bluehost offers one-click WordPress installation to get you started. If you sign up through my Bluehost link, you get hosting for $3.95 per month and a free domain name.

Scale Up and Find People who Can Afford your Services

Now that I’ve debunked the myth that earning $100 per hour is hard or impossible, it’s important to realize that once you find a way to earn this rate of pay that interests you, you’ll need to scale up and expand your work if you want to see the true benefits. For example, if you earn $100 per post freelance writing but only write five posts per month, you won’t be earning that much to cover your expenses even though you’ll be spending less time.

On the other hand, if you choose to coach others and expand your client list, charge a fixed rate of $100 per hour and work 20 hours per week with six clients, that’s $2,000 per week. Or, if you create a new resource or market your blog to attract more readers so you can charge advertisers more, you’ll earn even more from your blog than just a few hundred dollars each month.

The key is to scale up. Find people who can afford your services and see the value in it. Trust me, there are many people who pay more than $100 for products and services that are pretty silly or meaningless. You just need to find the people who need what you have to offer and have a stable income allowing them to be able to afford it.


What ways could you earn $100 per hour? How would you go about finding your target audience?

4 Ways to Earn Extra Money From Your Smartphone

iphone-410311_1280Don’t have much time to earn extra money? You can make money at home, on your lunch break at work, or on the go with your smartphone. Not everyone wants to launch a successful side business if they’re comfortable with their day job. However, given the fact that side hustles are so versatile, you can also do something quick and low-effort to earn extra money in your spare time that can cover an expense or bill each month.

If you spend lots of time on your phone using apps anyway, try some of these options out to make extra money.


Viggle is a loyalty program that pretty much pays you to watch television at home. You can download the app on your Android or I-phone and ‘check-in’ with Viggle whenever you are watching a T.V. show. You will earn points when Viggle listens to your T.V. and recognizes the song you are listening to or the program you are watching.

Points can be redeemed for over 800 different gift card purchases, electronics and other rewards overtime. To maximize your earnings with Viggle, check out recommended shows that offer 2x or 3x bonus points. You can also answer questions and participate in trivia to earn even more points.

If you normally watch television some nights and don’t mind checking out new shows, this might be a good way to earn extra money to go towards purchases you’d make anyway. Viggle isn’t the only way to make extra money watching TV. You can also sign up for Reward TV – which does the same thing – allow you to make cash watching TV.


Swagbucks is one of my favorite loyalty reward programs and I try to use it every day. Swagbucks allows you to earn points for trying out different offers, shopping online, watching videos, playing games, using their search function and taking surveys.

Members receive Swagbucks after completely different tasks that can be cashed in for gift cards at major online retailers and restaurants. The minimum gift card amount is $5-10, but I recommend waiting until you have at least $2,500 Swagbucks which is enough for a $25 gift card.

To earn points quickly on Swagbucks, use it whenever you are shopping online with popular retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Target etc., spend a few minutes taking surveys or watching videos each day, and install the search function as your default browser so whenever you conduct a search online, you’ll earn more Swagbucks.

You can also refer friends to join so you can share a portion of their earnings and take advantage of some of the trial offers that are advertised each day. However, if you don’t think you will use or enjoy a service or product that Swagbucks offers, don’t pay for it just to earn points and wait around for the next opportunity that appeals to you.


Ibotta is an app that helps you save money on items and earn extra money when you go shopping. When you go shopping, you can take photos of your receipts to verify your transactions so your account can be credited with cash back.

First you’ll need to unlock the savings/rebate. To do this, you’ll usually need to watch a quick video, fill out a three question survey, or read some brief information about the item. Then you can make you purchase and verify if with your receipt. It’s pretty easy after that.

The app is broken up into categories like: What’s Hot, Holiday, Apparel, Restaurant, Grocery etc. If you’re in the store and want to find a rebate on certain products, open the app and tap the white search bar to conduct a manual search or scan cash back offers. Most users of the app also make lists of items they need so they can have an organized shopping trip and optimize the cash back they earn.


Do you have extra clothes that you would like to sell? Poshmark is a great alternative to sites like Amazon and eBay because it is solely focused on clothing making it easier to reach your target customer. Poshmark is a website and app that allows people to sell gently-used women’s clothing, shoes, and handbags directly from their phone. When an item is sold you’ll be responsible for shipping it out.

I tried the app out myself a few months ago and found it very easy to use. If you want to sell something, you simply download the app and sign up, take photos of your clothing and upload a description and set a price to create your listing.

It’s advisable to post several listings and consider the fact that Poshmark will deduct a small percentage of the purchase price (since you’re using their service) when your item is sold so feel free to price things a little higher. You can connect with other buyers and sellers by following their closets and commenting or liking the items they have listed for sale. Overall, it’s a fun and interactive way to shop and earn extra money from your old clothes.

How to Use These Opportunities to your Advantage

While some of these opportunities allow you to earn cash directly, others offer rewards through gift cards and other options. Nevertheless, these are low-effort and income-boosting side hustles to consider and here are some tips to help you use these apps to your benefit to improve your finances.

  • Use Swagbucks to earn points whenever you shop online especially during the holiday season and for birthdays/anniversaries. A productive way to utilize the gift cards is to put them toward dining out expenses at your favorite restaurants so you won’t have to spend your own money.
  • Use the grocery category on Ibotta to save money on your grocery bill and earn cash back.
  • With Poshmark, you can make a steady income out of selling clothes if you are willing to invest in building your inventory and find deals on good brands at thrift store.
  • If you like to take surveys, you can make extra money through that route as well. Some of the best survey sites are: Opinion Outpost, ProOpinionHarris PollPinecone Research, Opinion Outpost CanadaMobile XpressionHarris Poll CanadaPinecone Research Canada and Nielsen Homescan Canada allow you to earn extra money in your spare time.

You won’t get rich quick with many of these options, but it is a nice little way to monetize your free time doing something you might already be doing in the first place.


What are some of your favorite ways to earn extra money in your spare time? Have you used any of these apps, and if so, what has been your experience?

How to Turn your Hobby Into a Side Hustle


working-1219889_1920 How many times have you ever wondered if you could make more money? U.S. News and World Report references an Indeed.com study that indicates one in three people worked a part-time job on the side in an attempt to earn extra money to meet their living expenses according to survey results from over 3,000 participants.

Since employers have been slow to raise salaries to meet increased living expenses, about 4.9 percent of all employed Americans reported working a secondary part-time job according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As someone who worked two part-time jobs during college to meet my living expenses, I know how exhausting it can feel to work multiple low paying jobs. I used to work at a popular grocery store handing out food samples in the day-time. Then, when I’d get off from work at 4:30 pm, I’d change my clothes and drive across the street to work a closing shift at a restaurant from 5 pm – 10 pm.

This schedule only lasted about eight months because I got burnt out quickly and couldn’t even imagine working one of those jobs full-time.

Instead of getting an extra part-time job with a set pay rate and limited hours, it may be more lucrative to turn your hobby into a side hustle to earn more income.

The Benefits of Having a Side Hustle

  • You can earn extra money doing work you enjoy instead of doing work that just brings in a paycheck
  • You can set your own hours and your own rates to determine how much you earn
  • You can work on your own schedule and give yourself a break or work ahead whenever you feel like it

While the benefits of a side hustle sound great, there are a few things you need to do in order to convert your hobby into work that earns you an income.

1. Clearly Define How your Hobby can Benefit Others

First, decide what your hobby is, and how it can help others. You may have several hobbies that you need to analyze in order to determine if there are potential customers that you can serve.

Search for others who may be earning extra income or making a living by monetizing the specific hobby you have and learn about how they got started and the tools they used to establish their side hustle in the beginning stages.

Once you are positive about which hobby you want to monetize you might even want to seek out a mentor or join a support group online or in your area so you can surround yourself with positive people who are eager to succeed and help you succeed as well.

It’s easy to think of other people who have the same goals as you as competition, but when you start to view them as an inspiration and a potential partnership opportunity, you’ll set a much better foundation when it’s time to launch and grow your side business.

2. Start Generating Some Samples of your Work

Before you start marketing your side hustle and establishing paying customers or clients, you may need to do a little work for free to prove yourself first.

For example, aspiring freelance writers may guest post on popular websites and blogs for free in order to get their name out there and establish writing samples, while a new photographer may take portraits of others for free to build their portfolio and generate positive reviews.

If you’re selling a product, you may want to visit a few trade shows or events and hand out free samples or host a giveaway.

If your hobby is truly enjoyable, you might not mind doing work for free at the beginning stages and building connections because it will pay off when you land your first paying customer.

3. Pitch Potential Customers or Clients

Pitching potential clients and customers can be fun and scary at the same time. It can feel awkward to put yourself out there, but this crucial step will help you decide whether your side business will sink or float.

Depending on what your niche is, you may need to send out multiple pitches or invest in advertising and marketing for your online platform in order to gain attention.

However, if you’ve built up value in your product or service and can communicate it clearly, established a strong portfolio and witnessed others in your niche earning money from similar work, you are likely to land some business if you stay persistent.

It’s important to land at least five customers or clients to help support the idea of moving forward with your side hustle. Once you find your first batch of paying customers, you can find more.

4. Scale up and Improve your Business

After you start bringing in an income, you need to use your profits wisely and consider how you can grow your business and improve it. For example, it may be wise to build an email list so you can stay in touch with past customers by providing them with offers and attract new customers as well.

It’s also important to scale up when you think the time is right. When you have enough loyal customers or clients, consider raising your rates a bit to a fair amount that reflects the work you do.

Scaling up and earning more money is the fun part, but you have to invest in your side business and work hard to improve your skills and service before you get to that point.


Have you ever considered turning any of your hobbies into a side hustle? Why or why not?

TradeKing Review – Trade For Only $4.95!


TradekingTradeKing is a good low-cost discount broker that has been in business over a decade. This TradeKing review will help you determine if they’re worth looking at to manage your investments. There are many things to consider when you invest in the stock market – especially when it comes to the fees you pay.

If price is high on your list TradeKing, is worth a serious consideration. This TradeKing review will go below the surface of the low-cost to see what they have to offer you as an investor. I dealt with TradeKing extensively during my days in the online brokerage industry and was always impressed with their service as well as their platform.

If you’ve not heard of TradeKing, they have risen in popularity after their acquisition of Zecco in 2012 that brought on a fuller range of investment offerings. TradeKing is also widely known as having the cheapest commission schedule in the industry at a flat $4.95 per stock trade and $.65 per option contract – both of which are very tough to beat. With that all out of the way let’s get on with the review of TradeKing.

How TradeKing Is Different

TradeKing has been in business for a little over ten years and during that time they’ve managed to make a good name for themselves. Of course, TradeKing has some things you’d find at any other brokerage though following are some of their unique traits:

  • TradeKing has killer pricing. At a flat $4.95 per trade and an additional $.65 per option contract they are the market leader in price. Again, this makes them the cheapest brokerage in the space, along with Motif Investing and Optionshouse.
  • TradeKing offers forex trading. This feature is available as a result of their merger with Zecco. A number of brokerages offer forex, though certainly not all. There is no commission associated with forex trading at TradeKing as they’re compensated on the bid/ask spread. If you want to get your feet wet with forex trading, TradeKing offers a free $50,000 virtual forex trading account to get you started.
  • TradeKing Advisors Program. This is a new feature TradeKing launched in late 2014 as a way to better help individuals manage their investing needs. The program essentially acts as a robo-advisor that uses portfolios modeled by Ibottson (which is a subsidiary of Morningstar) consisting of low-cost index funds. You can open a TradeKing Advisors account for as little as $500, and this service is free of fees in its first year! This makes TradeKing able to offer a wider range of investment options, including those who want a managed account.
  • Like Motif Investing, TradeKing is active on their site with both social media and various forums. I love to see this as it provides a way to get real time support when you need it.
  • TradeKing offers more than 12,000 mutual funds. If you like to invest in mutual funds, you’ll notice that this puts TradeKing in the highest tier of what brokerages offer. As a result, you shouldn’t have much of an issue locating the mutual funds you like at TradeKing.


What’s Needed To Open A TradeKing Account?

This is likely my favorite feature of TradeKing. TradeKing does not have a minimum account opening balance requirement. Few brokerages offer that, which is a shame in my opinion. If you want to start investing with $1,000 or less, this makes TradeKing a brokerage you’d want to look at right away.

Fees I’m no fan of investment fees as they eat away at your portfolio. TradeKing does not have any hidden fees, though they do have an inactivity fee. At first glance, I don’t like it but you need to dig a little deeper to see if it would impact you. If not, you can ignore it as you’ll never be charged the fee. TradeKing’s inactivity fee is $50 per calendar year if your combined account values are under $2,500 and/or you don’t have a commissionable stock trade in the past 12 months. However, if you meet one of those qualifications it’s not something that applies to you and have nothing to worry about.

Investment Options I would rate the investment options available at TradeKing as relatively competitive, especially as you compare them against other lower cost brokerages. TradeKing offers the following investment options beyond the standard stocks, EFTs/mutual funds and options:

  • Forex trading
  • Bonds
  • AutoTrade – which is a feature that allows you to automate trading based on the recommendation of specified investment newsletters


What helps TradeKing stand out from the pack is the introduction of the Advisors program. This allows TradeKing to be more than just a low-cost brokerage but a firm that can manage accounts for you. Add that to an intuitive platform and a healthy self-directed offering, and it  puts TradeKing on the higher end for investment offerings.

TradeKing Review – My Take

I think for many, TradeKing, is a great brokerage to consider. The pricing at TradeKing is difficult to beat and they have a growing offering of investment options. TradeKing is also consistently recognized as having the best customer service available among online brokers which, having worked in the industry myself, is saying a lot. I know the inactivity fee can be hard to swallow.

However, if you wouldn’t be impacted by it then it is of no concern as you would not be charged it. If it were something you’d be hit by then I might look elsewhere, but if not don’t let it hold you back from considering them. If you are considering opening an account with TradeKing, make sure to be on the look out for a promotion.

Their best current promotion allows for $1,000 in free commissions when you deposit $5,000. In order to qualify, make sure to deposit funds within the first 30 days of account opening and use the promo code “FREE1000.”

You can also potentially qualify for up to $150 in transfer fees to be reimbursed in addition to the free commissions. If you’re going to bring them your business, it makes sense to earn a little something back for it. 🙂


Where do you manage your investment accounts? What are you paying for commissions? Do you like to manage investments on your own or pay someone to do it for you?

Setting up your Side Business for Success


handshake-440959_1280So you’ve found something that you’re passionate about and good at. You’ve decided to take a stab at launching your side business and setting it up to operate as a legitimate business.

Whether you are freelancing your skills, selling products online or marketing your services and negotiating contracts, you are running a business in a sense. What’s scary, is that most new businesses and start-ups fail within the first year.

When you are interested in making extra money and building wealth as a result, failure can be a disheartening thought.

However, setting your side hustle up for success and creating the systems and processes needed in order to make it thrive can greatly reduce the risk of failure. Here are four ways to set your side business up for success.

1. Organize your Finances

Managing your personal finances can seem like quite a bit of work so you need to be up for the challenge of managing your business finances as well on the side. It’s important to keep track of all your start-up expenses and store receipts either in a file folder, digitally, or both. Keeping track of your expenses throughout the year can be helpful when you are doing taxes so you’ll know exactly how much to deduct.

You should also track how much income you have coming in and deduct expenses each month to measure your net profit. Don’t forget to open a separate business checking account and review your bank statements each month and invoices.

You can use a spreadsheet to record all this information in one place and update it once a week. You may even want to work with an accountant if you plan on paying quarterly taxes at least for the first year or so since it will help simplify the process for you so you can get used to managing business finances.

2. Organize your Time

When running a business, especially on the side, it’s crucial that you stay productive and manage your time properly. Find out when the best time of the day is to work on your side business and maximize your productivity during that time.

At the end of each week, plan out what your goals are for the following week and which tasks you will tackle each day. I stick with a goal of trying to achieve two to three tasks per day and I’m satisfied if I reach my goal. Anything else I end up achieving is a bonus for the day.

You can schedule out tasks for yourself in task manager tools like Asana which will notify you if the due date for something is overdue or if it is coming up. You can also upload files, brainstorm ideas using Asana and come back to them later. Organizing your time will help you get a lot more done in the time allotted and feel more accomplished at the end of each day as a result.

3. Use Effective Accounting Tools

Sending out invoices will be your bread and butter to help ensure that you receive payment for the work your completed. When running a professional side business, you’ll need to present yourself as a professional. You can use PayPal invoices to request payment from clients or you can take it a step further and use a professional invoice system.

There’s also Freshbooks, which is a paid service with an initial 30-day free trial. Fresh books offers a lot of great tools all geared to help you manage invoicing and cash flow. Freshbooks also cuts any PayPal fees to $.50 per invoice which can save a significant amount of money each year.

4. Hire Help

Hiring help sounds like an expensive part of operating a business, but when you run small business it doesn’t have to be. If you choose to outsource to give yourself more time to handle other areas of the business, you have the right to choose to work with whomever you wish who can meet your budget constraints.

You may need a weekly or monthly writer for your website’s blog or a virtual assistant to help take over administrative tasks each month. You can hire someone on a very part-time basis for a small fee and reap the benefits by growing your business quicker.

Launching a side business can be a huge ordeal. It’s important to set up the right systems and processes to help make it a success and increase your profit right off the bat.


Have you started doing any work on the side? How do you manage it all to ensure success?

5 Ways to Make More Time for your Side Hustle


clock-650753_1920People like to side hustle for various different reasons. For some, it’s a great creative outlet or way to make extra money, while for others, it could be a foundation to a new business venture.

It’s no secret that side hustlers are busy. When you work outside of your main job, it can be stressful and draining at times. I personally work an average of 70-80 hours per month side hustling in addition to my full-time job.

I’ll admit that while the money is great, it can be tiring if you don’t plan out your time wisely. If you are interested in side hustling to earn more money to meet your financial and personal goals, I would definitely encourage it. Here are five ways to stretch your time.

Get Rid of your Distractions

Distractions can waste of a lot of your precious time if you don’t eliminate them when it’s time to work. It’s best to work on your side hustle when you are focused because once you ‘get in the zone’ you can get a lot done in less time.

Some common distractions you might try to avoid include: television, your cell phone, social media, etc. If you need to work on the computer, try to block social media sites for a few hours to help you stay focused and set your phone in another room.

Depending on what type of work you do, you also might want to work somewhere quiet so no one else can distract you by talking, listening to music and watching television.

Wake up an Hour Early or Stay up an Hour Later

Getting the proper amount of sleep is each night is necessary, but if you can spare an hour for your side hustle, this is an option worth considering. First, you’ll need to determine what time of day you are most productive. If you are a night owl, you might want to stay up later to work on your side hustle.

I’m more of a morning person, so I actually wake up at 5 a.m. each weekday morning and 7 a.m. on weekends to get some work done and out of the way. I personally love the feeling of completion and knowing that I finished all my work early and have the rest of the day to look forward to.

Finding your prime time and optimizing it will allow you to get more done without losing too much sleep.

Create a Detailed Schedule and Cut Some Activities Out

One of the best ways to make time for your side hustle is to get organized and schedule your tasks out. Pick up a planner or use a tool on your computer to organize a to-do list for each day. This way, you’ll know exactly what you need to do when you need to do it so you won’t waste time trying to get organized at the last minute.

Another thing you could do is cut a few activities out of your day to free up more time. So I don’t completely deprive myself of having fun and enjoying life, sometimes I cut out a combination of activities I like and some I don’t like so much.

For example, I may skip out of going out to dinner with friends or reschedule for another day so I can have more time to side hustle or I may ask my fiance to cook dinner on a few days out of the week so I can free up more time. I like seeing friends and do try to schedule outings outside of my work schedule, but I don’t like to cook dinner that much especially when I’m short on time.

Find one or two tasks that you can cut out of your schedule or move around to a different day so you can have more extra time to work.

Use your Lunch Break to Squeeze Some Work In

If you bring your lunch to work each day, you can eliminate the extra time it takes to run out and order food and drive back to work. Even if you pack a sandwich or another meal, you can probably eat comfortably and relax in about 10 minutes, then use the rest of your lunch break to catch up on your side hustle.

Whether you choose to check and answer emails, wrap up a project, make calls, or work on any other aspect of your side business, what you take care of during your lunch break will reduce the amount of work you have to do outside of your main job.

Once you Start to Gain Traction, Outsource

Outsourcing is a great option you should at least look into once you start to earn a steady income from your side hustle. If there are certain aspects of your side business that are time consuming or that you just don’t like doing, consider hiring a virtual assistant within your budget so you can spend more of your time focusing on building your income and doing the things you love.

Sometimes it’s hard to give up control, but when you ask for help, it can take a lot of stress and pressure off you and potentially double the amount of extra time you have.


How do you make more time for your side hustle? What’s one thing you’d like to hire out to free up more of your time? What’s a common distraction you struggle with when trying to work on your side hustle?