Do you ever feel like you’re slacking off? That you should be working harder to earn more money? I bet most of you are nodding your heads right now; I know I sure am. Striking that balance between work, hustling, and living your life is a constant struggle. I always have a list running through my brain of things I want to accomplish, and it never seems to get any shorter. What’s up with that? Earning extra money is great . . . super great, but not if it’s coming at the expense of your well being.
The Blog Slog
Ok, that’s a bit dramatic. I really love blogging. It’s taught me a lot, and I’ve been included in an internet community of like-minded people that inspire and motivate me to do better. It’s also a lot of work. The writing itself is almost always the least time-consuming part. If you have a blog, you’ll totally get that. Sure, you might claim you’re only writing for yourself, but there are very few of us out there who aren’t at least somewhat concerned about page views. And getting that is what takes the time! Creating graphics, participating in social media, updating old posts, trying to figure out the ins and outs of SEO. Blech. All that marketing stuff might be where the payoff is, but it’s not the reason most of us hit publish on that very first post, which you maybe shouldn’t go back and read because those early days were rough.
If I were willing to put more time into blogging, I’m sure I would see a better payoff. I could post more often, promote more, take a few courses to improve my knowledge, etc. Do I have time to do these things? Honestly, yes. The problem is that I don’t have the motivation to do it. I like being able to take my dogs for a long stroll, take a bike ride with the bf to grab ice cream after dinner, or just sit back and binge-watch a TV show. Sometimes I feel guilty about not doing more, but I try to remember that my life and my day job are my priorities. Side hustling will always come third, and that’s ok.
Focusing On Your Own Goals
Not everyone is on the same financial path. We all have different goals, different abilities, and different earnings. The plan for someone wanting to retire at 35 is going to look very different from that of someone who wants to keep working until 60. And at the end of the day, it’s achieving your end goal that really counts. If you can comfortably retire at your target age of 60 by only saving 20% of your income then that’s fantastic, you’re right on track. You might feel like you’re falling behind when reading about others who have saved way more, but remember they’re not after what you’re after. When I look at my long-term goals, I have time to make it work. I could get there faster if I bumped up my savings and bumped down my spending, but I don’t need to. I’m inspired by the drive and commitment of people with lofty goals, but it’s not for me. I crave balance. I would rather have a fun-size chocolate bar every day for the rest of my life than a full-size one every day in retirement. I was going to make that example numbers but then figured the more math-minded folks would get too caught up in my non-existent calculations.
What If I Do Want To Side Hustle?
Some of you are going to have more motivation (less laziness) than I currently do, and you probably want less whining and more productive advice. Well, I’m here for that too. I’m by no means a side hustle expert, but there are a few things I’ve done to make extra money here and there.
1. Monetize Your Hobby
The last thing you want to do is waste time trying to earn a few bucks doing something you hate. It’s way better, and you’ll be more productive if you can make money doing something you already enjoy. Maybe you like to knit or crochet while watching TV? You could start selling your creations at a local market or set up an Etsy store. This is the sort of thing you could do consistently or once or twice a year. I know where I live in Canada there are tons of craft fairs and markets that pop up around Christmas. Other crafty options are to buy and flip furniture, like houses, but on a way smaller scale. Seek out some pieces at garage sales or on Kijiji (Craigslist is a great alternative in the US) and DIY them into things of beauty then resell them.
You don’t have to be left out if you’re not crafty either. Always wanted a dog but your spouse has allergies? Start a dog walking side hustle. Have the best lawn on the block? Start a neighborhood landscaping company. Enjoy driving? There are more and more food delivery services popping up (Skip the Dishes, Foodora, etc.), or look into becoming an Uber driver. Everyone has a skill that could translate into extra earnings.
2. Start a Blog
I may not have made blogging out to be all that great earlier in this post, but it’s not all bad. If you enjoy writing and social media then it’s worth looking into. Don’t go in thinking it’s a quick and easy way to make money. It’s not. But there are plenty of successful bloggers out there and who’s saying you can’t be one of them! There are so many “how to start a blog” posts out there on the internet, so I’m not going to write one here. If you are looking for a resource though, I would highly recommend this post from Do You Even Blog. It’s packed with info and honesty.
On any “make extra money” list you’ll likely see surveys as one of the suggestions. I’m not a big fan because they are too often overhyped. You are not going to get rich doing online surveys. You’ll be lucky even to make minimum wage. However, if you want something mindless to do while watching TV or on your lunch break, then surveys aren’t so bad. Earning a few bucks is still better than earning no bucks. They can also be an easy way to make money if you have unexpected bills that come up. I’ve had good luck using Legerweb in the past. They have a reasonably steady stream of surveys and a decent screening process that means you very rarely get disqualified.
The only wrong way to save money is by not doing it all all. You need to decide what you need to do to live your best life and make it happen. Whether that means side hustling your ass off or having a hot date with Netflix and taking surveys every night. It’s entirely up to you.
What’s your take on side hustles? Do you have any sources of extra income or do you focus your attention on your primary job?
Sarah is a Canadian personal finance blogger over at Smile & Conquer. She has been working in the world of finance for almost a decade and uses that experience to help other millennials get smart about their money.
Image via Unsplash