Multiple Streams of Income & Happiness

ID-10056242This post was inspired by DC at Young Adult Money, who wrote an article called I’m sure Money Can Buy You Happiness.

When you first read that title, you might scoff at the idea that money can buy you happiness. I mean, doesn’t that kind of go against most personal finance blogger’s values? Money=happiness?

But when you read the article, you will see that it’s about DC’s journey of overcoming some financial challenges, to being where he is today, which is in a state of happiness because he has a lot more control over his finances.

I could absolutely relate 100%.

Last year I was probably what you’d call a financial hot mess (FHM-ha ha!). Although I’d begun my road to recovery months earlier after I hit my financial rock bottom, I was still deep in the tunnel of despair without even a glimmer of light up ahead (yes, I’m the dramatic type).

And this time last year, even though I was now saving a lot more money and had control over my spending, the problem was it was one of the worst summers for my video editing freelance work. I mean I barely heard a peep from producers needing me to edit projects.

Towards the end of the summer I knew I had to do something quickly, or else I would literally run out of money and have to go into credit card debt, or dip into my retirement savings.

So that’s when I started using Taskrabbit to pick up some extra quick cash. Although some tasks paid low and were kind of a pain, most were OK. Then I got even more desperate and applied for a job at The Container Store. I got hired and although the training was extensive (like almost too extensive), I quickly found I absolutely hated working there. What’s worse was the very early morning hours I worked depleted me of all energy to get anything else done during the day. I hated having to be there and actually punching in a time card (amongst many other things).

But with both those jobs I was onto something…multiple streams of income to supplement my video income.

By winter I had quit TCS and pretty much gave up on Taskrabbit because the market was so saturated that you were either outbid, or the job paid so little it wasn’t even worth it.

At the time my friend Dave offered me a generous proposition to help him out at home so he could get some work done. I did some cleaning, organizing, more cleaning…but the best part was that if I got busy with video work I could just let him know I wouldn’t be coming over.

In January 2013 I decided that this is the year I’d really focus on making some multiple streams of income work. I monetized my website (kicking myself I didn’t do it earlier), started writing for other websites, started selling more things on Craigslist, and just recently started coaching beach volleyball on the side.

Last month I made $1448 in all my side hustles, and have made almost $6,000 this entire year so far.

I’m not saying that to sound “showy,” I say that because making that kind of side income really gave me a huge amount of confidence that it’s possible to branch out in other areas outside of your main skill/job to make money. It also helps me feel less tethered to my freelance editing jobs because instead of that horrible feeling of just waiting around for projects coming to me, I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone and creating my own opportunities.

Not only do I feel more confident, but I also feel mush less stress that if one job falls through, I’m not entirely dependent on that for my income. Being diversified means you have fall back options. And hey, the best thing of all is just having extra money in the bank, and that, like for DC, means a lot more happiness in my life.

Of course, you do not need to search for multiple income streams if you can improve your overall situation and land yourself a high paying job. Going back to school at an online university is one way to find a better job that I highly recommend, since you can take courses at night or in your free time and end up with something prestigious like a Master degree in Social Work. A degree like this will increase your earning power immediately, while giving you the ability to help people in need within your community.

How have multiple streams of income improved your life? What’s holding you back if you haven’t tried it? 

Image courtesy of arztsamui at


Tonya is a video editor/producer and writer living in Los Angeles who enjoys beach volleyball, playing ukulele, and running. To get the latest updates, be sure to subscribe. To support her fundraising efforts to produce more video for this site, please visit her crowdfunding page!

Latest posts by Tonya (see all)

  • Dear Debt

    Having multiple streams of income absolutely saved me last year when I was absolutely freelance for 3 months. It was fun and challenging and you really feel the rewards. Now that I work full time, side-hustling is so great, because it’s all going towards debt! It does make me less stressed about something happening and also gives me the confidence that I’m a good enough hustler to get by, regardless of $hitty circumstances.

    • Budget & the Beach

      It’s really nice when you’re full time because all that extra money is just that…extra money to do whatever you need to do with it. Wow I really state the obvious don’t I? :)

  • The Norwegian Girl

    Congrats on earning over $6000 on side hustles! that´s great!
    Just last week I got a job working with children on an after-school program, it´s about 17 h a week, and it pays ok, so I´m happy that I finally have a more steady income, besides student loans and grants.

    • Budget & the Beach

      Glad to hear that! And welcome back!

  • The Million Dollar Diva

    I have a very active mind, so I actually need to have a few things on the go to keep me happy. As well as working full time, I have an online business and now I’m working on 2 of my own blogs plus freelance writing. My boyfriend thinks I’m crazy, but I’m the happiest I’ve been in ages.

    Now I’ve just to boost my income from all these pursuits to make it really worthwhile :)

    • Budget & the Beach

      That’s great! I’m actually working on two new blogs as well. I’m going to need to clone myself. :)

  • Matt @ momanddadmoney

    Wow, that’s some awesome side income! You might be hearing from me in a bit. I’m still working on developing income other than my day job, but I couldn’t agree more that it’s a worthwhile pursuit. Not only does it leave you less susceptible to failure in any one area, but it’s just such a big confidence boost to know that you can create your own income without having to rely on an employer. Sounds like you’ve done a great job building it up for yourself.

    • Budget & the Beach

      Thanks Matt! Yeah hit me up if you have any questions. I’m no expert and have a lot to learn, but I’m happy to pass on any knowledge I have!

  • DC @ Young Adult Money

    Thanks for all the mentions! I do have to give credit where credit is due: this was a post that Cat wrote. I can totally relate, though, and have also been able to make some money from my side hustles this year! I basically have abandoned Excel/Spreadsheet work and may pick it up at a later date. I’m too busy with my blog in my spare time but will continue to learn more about Spreadsheets/Databases at my full-time job until I feel comfortable or have time to take on bigger side projects. Anyway, multiple streams of income is such a blessing when it comes to personal finances, and I’m glad you are diversifying your income!

    • Budget & the Beach

      Well thank you to Cat then as well! :) I’m glad I’m doing it too!

  • Alexa Mason

    I have been working on multiple income streams and I feel so much safer. I hate my day job and plan to make the switch to self employment in six months. Most of my “extra income” is coming from freelance writing but it is very diversified. I now have several different clients so even if I were to lose one of two I’d be okay. I want to work on more income streams before making the switch though.

    • Budget & the Beach

      I read your blog the other day and sounds like you are on the right track!

  • MakintheBacon

    I’m finally starting to look into monetizing my blog and freelance writing.I have a full-time and part-time job, but I like taking on new challenges. Reading other bloggers’ posts about side incomes/side hustles and their journey to success is quite motivating. It helps give me that extra push I need.

  • Rita P

    Having multiple income stream definitely boosts your confidence. it is always good to have diversified income so that you are steady with your financial status and lead a stress free life

    • Budget & the Beach

      Yes the key there is stress-free life. As much as possible anyway.

  • Holly Johnson

    I think that having multiple streams of income is crucial if you’re a freelancer. Some of my income streams fluctuate but I’m glad to be able to count on the others when one type of income is slim for the month.

    • Budget & the Beach

      Absolutely. When you have no work coming in for your main line of work, there is nothing worse than that feeling of helplessness.

  • Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter

    I absolutely love making side income. I’ve been able to double my income with it. It has helped me pay off a car loan, and enjoy life more. I’ve been able to travel and buy a home and bike a bike (she’s new, haha) and even buy a new laptop (on which I will make even more side income!) all because of side income.

    • Budget & the Beach

      That’s awesome Daisy! Congratulations!

  • http://Www.Plantingourpennies.Com/ Mrs PoP @ PlantingOurPennies

    We have our rental property, but that’s about it. Someday I’d like to have a small side gig, too!

    • Budget & the Beach

      From what I remember that brings you in a pretty nice sized income! Any kind of back up income is better than nothing!

  • Student Debt Survivor

    $1448 is awesome! I’m nowhere near that, but am trying to bring in a little extra money here and there. Like you said, diversified money streams are key because if you rely too much on one source and that source disappears, you’re in a bad spot (esp. if you’re a freelancer).

    • Budget & the Beach

      yup exactly! BTW that was a particularly good month. Usually it’s not like that but I do hope it continues to improve.

  • alwayshungry4

    Wow, I’m in awe of your side income, congrats Tonya! No doubt that the extra income didn’t come easy, but I can see how it can give you a confidence boost which leads to happiness. It proves hard work pays off, great job, girl!

    • Budget & the Beach

      Thanks Anna! I hope it continues to increase. This month won’t be like last month, but hopefully in the fall other things will pick up.

  • Kim@Eyesonthedollar

    We are slowly working our way toward multiple streams, but for now, my day job still pays the best and it would be a big ouch to lose that income. I do have another idea in the works that would use my training but not be dependent on doing routine eye exams. We’ll see how that pans out in the next couple of years.

    • Budget & the Beach

      I’ll be curious to hear what that is Kim! Yeah, for now I’m not giving up my “day job” even though it’s still freelancing. But I like that fact that I’m slowly edging myself towards doing more work that makes me happier.

  • Debt and the Girl

    Having multiple streams of income is def. nice. Its nice to be paid for something that you love to do for sure.

    • Budget & the Beach

      Getting paid for a passion. What a novel idea! :) I like it!

  • Taynia @ Fiscal Flamingo

    I’ve never been happier since I’ve been able to pay off my debts and save enough to take a year off work. While I will be returning to work at the end of the year, it will be so that I can pay off my mortgage. Once that baby is gone, I’ll be playing the game of multiple streams as well. $1,448! Whoop whoop. Way to go.

    • Budget & the Beach

      How awesome you got to take a year off work! BTW that was my best month. Most months aren’t like that. :)

  • Alexandra @RealSimpleFinances

    Congratulations on the side job income! What’s holding me back is a job I dislike as well. I’m leaving that job next Monday, and I already feel lighter, more focused, and happier. I think that’s definitely the key to making multiple income streams work! As it was, I was working 9-6. By the time I got home, cooked and ate dinner, it was 8 or so. That’s not at all conducive to productivity!

    • Budget & the Beach

      Yeah it can eat up a lot of your time for sure. Good luck with everything when you leave your job!

  • Shannon Ryan

    Congrats on the side income, Tonya! I agree multiple streams of income is nice. Gives you breathing room and I find when I’m stressing about money, it’s harder to make money.

    • Budget & the Beach

      Thanks Shannon!

  • Lisa vs. the Loans

    Whoa, great job on the side income this year! So inspiring!

    • Budget & the Beach

      Thanks Lisa!

  • John S @ Frugal Rules

    Having those multiple streams of income is so vital when freelancing and running your own business. We regularly do it as we do not want to have to depend on one thing or the other. It requires juggling more things, but it’s worth it in the long run.

    • Budget & the Beach

      Yeah it is a bit of a juggling act for sure. But you know this week is super slow with freelancing, and a couple years ago you’d see me just playing volleyball and not being very focused. So I use this “down time” to do everything I can to earn extra money.

  • Girl Meets Debt

    Unfortunately I don’t have “multiple streams of income” at the moment, I just have my job and the blog which already takes up SO much of my free time already. I envy the people who can do it all! Great job on bringing in $6k so far this year! You’re one of my inspirations Tonya :)

    • Budget & the Beach

      Thanks Wendy! I thought you were making money from your blog? I don’t think I can do it all…sometimes I have to lose a side job or two to keep my sanity. Finding that balance can be tricky!

      • Girl Meets Debt

        I do make some money from the blog! But I didn’t think 2 counted as multiple LOL

  • Michelle

    Multiple streams have made me feel more comfortable. Not being overly reliant in one area is a blessing!

    • Budget & the Beach

      Not being overly reliant in one area is a blessing! Exactly!

  • Done by Forty

    Hi Tonya,

    Fear holds me back from starting side hustles, I think. My current job pays pretty well but, like everything else, it might not be here for as long as I’d like to have it. I’ve never tried writing for money, monetizing my site, or otherwise putting myself out there as a freelancer…so the inertia is hard to break through. Ironically if my job went away, I’m sure I’d find enough motivation in that to get over my fears.

    • Budget & the Beach

      Inertia is a great word. When I was working full time I didn’t do any of this kind of stuff either. But after 4 years of sketchy freelance income I really had no choice. I’d say do what you’re most comfortable with!

  • Eva @ Girl Counting Pennies

    I’ve just started my side hustles like selling unwanted items and mystery shopping (oh yeah, that’s a lot of fun, it helps they pay too ;). I really need to get into teaching English to Russian pupils (I have a university degree for that as well), but I’ve never freelanced before and the whole tax situation just feels too complicated to get into… I must though! Well done on diversifying your income in such a short period of time, this is very inspiring! Keep up the good work!

    • Budget & the Beach

      I can see why you’d think it was scary. I was already a freelancer so to me it’s just natural. A good accountant can help. And I’m sure there are books. Its not as bad as it seems. :)

  • Mackenzie

    Hey, your site finally let me comment!! Woo hoo!! :)
    Congrats on the extra income from your side hustles! You are totally rockin’ it and the only way to go from here is up!

    • Budget & the Beach

      Yay! I wonder what was going on. Thanks Mackenzie. Doing my best!

  • Michelle

    Congrats on the extra income Tonya! I haven’t gotten around to any side hustles yet. Partially due to fear and my day job keeps me busy. My blog takes up any other spare time. I haven`t monetized my blog yet either. Hopefully I`ll get around to starting a side hustle soon.

    • Budget & the Beach

      Thanks! Yeah some things like monetizing actually require less effort that you think.

  • Brian @ Luke1428

    “…gave me a huge amount of confidence that it’s possible to branch out in other areas outside of your main skill/job to make money.” This is a big deal! At some point, we have all lacked the confidence that we could do something new and expand our horizons. The only way to gain it is to really go for it and have success, which it sounds like you are having. Awesome job!

    • Budget & the Beach

      Thanks Brian! I’m really trying to step outside the box this year. I have two new blogs in the works. Yikes!

  • CanadianBudgetBinder

    Good for you Tonya, well done. I don’t really make any side hustle money or money on the blog for that matter. I have started writing for money so I’ll how that goes. I’d like to do what my parents have an buy a few houses, pay them off and end up with a stream of cash every month. Other than that, I”m not sure.

    • Budget & the Beach

      I can’t believe you haven’t monetized yet! You’d do very well!

  • jefferson @seedebtrun

    Nice work, Tonya..
    Money doesn’t buy happiness, it is true.. But being out of a bad financial situation certainly goes a long way to relieve stress. And the lack of stress could be construed by some as happiness :)

    • Budget & the Beach

      I feel so much less stress compared to last year!

  • BrokeMillennial

    I need to consider monetizing…it might be a meager side income, but at least it would be something.

    Really loved this post and going to start calling people FHMs!

  • Steve @ The Silver Maple Leaf

    Thanks for the post, it’s always inspiring reading other regular bloggers making multiple streams of side income!

    It’s definitely something I’ve started to think of (not too seriously). It definietly is a bit harder as some others, like Wendy and Eva mention when having a “regular” full time gig while running a blog as well.

    I’ve been looking into a more “traditional” side hustle in terms of a side position with a union office so I’ll see if that bears fruit; perhaps it could turn into a post about traditional side hustles vs. interwebs side hustles.

    Anyways, great post, really enjoyed it!

  • Erika Newlyweds

    I don’t think money can directly buy you happiness, but it sure does help. A LOT. I am much happier now that we are more financially stable than when we were broke and I was worried about paying bills.

  • Tahnya Kristina

    Hitting rock bottom is such an important part of changing your financial habits. It’s like dieting…we can’t make changes unless we REALLY want to do it. I also have multiple income streams and I am looking to add another one – with my book. Great post and shout out to DC for the inspiration.