I remember vividly how I was feeling this time last year: depressed. I was coming off one of the worst freelance years since I started in 2008, and part of me wondered what the hell I was going to do with my life.
Would I have to try harder at finding a full time job? If so, what exactly would I be looking for anyway? Would I have to move from expensive Los Angeles, get a roommate, find a studio apartment, or ever be able to save ANYTHING for retirement?
Although I had started Budget and the Beach in May 2012, I still felt so behind “where I thought I should be” financially in life.
A lot of it was my fault. I had a very linear mindset as to how my career should look up until that point. If I was a video editor, then surely I just needed to find new clients or new projects to make money, right? Wrong! I mean yes, you should do that, but there were also a lot of other ventures I could be working on in the meantime.
At that point I had already started on side hustles by working for a brief moment at The Container Store (don’t recommend), and working as a personal assistant for my friend, but 2013 needed to be much bigger than that. But even still I was skeptical that one could ever make money from this thing called blogging.
I know some of you made a lot more than 10k in side hustles, and some made less. But never mind that. I’m just going to break down what I did, and if that gives some of you out there inspiration to try some of these, then this post was worth writing.
By far the biggest source of side income was making money from my blog. This includes sponsored posts, ad banners, and links in previously written articles.
What it takes: I basically had nothing happen until that magical day when Google updated its page rank, and I went from zero to four. I still don’t know exactly what I did to get a four, but I do know a few things that will help you get better rankings:
1. Write good content
2. Update your blog with new material on a consistent basis.
3. Build a community around your site, which means interacting with other bloggers in your genre, commenting, guest blogging, promoting other blogs on your site and social media, and responding to comments on your own site.
4. Learn about SEO and optimizing your site. I still have so much to learn about this, but I do know that as soon I started using SEO keywords on my site, traffic increased.
5. Create a media kit so you can easily respond to people emailing you about advertising (you can email me if you want to see mine).
6. Create an “Advertise Here” tab (feel free to copy mine) so people know you accept advertising.
Blogging is a time consuming hobby, but if you really enjoy it, which I do, why not make money from it?
Personal Assistant $1577
One thing that makes my side hustles work is that they easily work around any video freelance projects I might have.
I have the good fortune of having a friend who also works from home that often needs some extra help. This includes cleaning, chopping a lot of vegetables, organizing, and making sure he stays on task with his own work.
What it takes: A willingness to do things you may think are beneath you, like cleaning toilets (probably my least favorite of the cleaning tasks).
You can probably find assignments similar to this one on TaskRabbit and Craigslist. Be sure to negotiate terms like duties, payment, hours, etc. before you start.
Teaching Volleyball $1510
The next biggest source of side income is teaching volleyball. I have to admit I kind of fell into this by accident. One day I was substitute coaching for my friend, when a woman walked by the volleyball court with her daughter and asked if I gave lessons. Before I knew it, the word “yes” was coming out of my mouth, even though I was terrified of taking on such a task. Although I’ve been taking lessons on and off for years and achieved a decent level of success playing in recreational tournaments, teaching a kid was something that intimidated me. But everyone needs to work on the basic skills, and I had enough knowledge to teach that.
What it takes: Figure out what skills you have that you can teach. Piano, a foreign language, knitting, you name it! You need to market your skills via word of mouth, Craigslist, flyers, etc. You can also offer your services through websites like Fiverr, Elance, and TaskRabbit.
This is writing that I did for other websites. While my side income here was decent, this is an area I really want to grow in 2014.
What it takes: While I love to write, grammar is an area I still struggle with. Plus even though I proofread my material a gazillion times (I swear), I still miss typos. My brain just glazes over things. Don’t let this stop you from writing. I know too many talented people who get caught up in that part of things, then never write at all!
perfect better. Start by writing your own blog, then guest post on other blogs. Once you’ve gotten the hang of things, add a “Hire Me” page on your blog, and use social media as a way to announce that you are looking for writing gigs.
Since I still have a long way to go figuring out how to make more income in this area, I’ll leave it to more informed people to give you better advice on how to make money writing:
Selling stuff $580
I don’t think this requires much of an explanation. Everything I sold was via Craigslist. I’ve yet to utilize Ebay.
This includes everything from tax refunds, Gympact rewards, found money, helping host parties, TaskRabbit, etc. It also includes cash back from various credit cards, which I use responsibly. It’s amazing how all of it adds up in a year!
Gifts/Gift Cards $500
Since I usually get money for my birthday and Christmas, I actually count this as part of my “income” each month. The reason I do this is because some months I don’t make my projected income, so everything I make goes towards the goal of making that amount. Another part of this amount is gift cards I won in various giveaways!
So that’s how I made my extra income in 2013! Stay tuned for my action plan for making extra income in 2014.
What are some of the ways you made extra income this year? Any advice I left out of this article?
*I was not paid for any links in this article.