I’ve been writing a lot about side income this year. It has been much of the theme of Personal Profitability in 2015. While looking over my financial results in QuickBooks today, I noticed I had hit a major milestone for both the year and my all time earnings. The milestone opened up a Pandora’s Box of reflection on the eight years since I started writing online, and the ways online side hustle income has changed my life.
Over $60,000 in Side Income
Last week, I noticed that I had officially surpassed $30,000 in online income in 2015. If I were a young, single whippersnapper, I am making enough online that I could live on this level of income full-time. However, I am not a single guy anymore. I have a wife and baby.
I don’t look at this as a failure. I certainly do not see my family as holding me back. It is quite the contrary. My side income has allowed amazing opportunities for my family that I may not have had otherwise.
For starters, last year my wife and I bought a new house that cost more than we may have spent otherwise. We could easily make the monthly payments on my full-time job income alone, but online income had allowed us to save a bigger down payment. We put down 40% when we bought our home.
Just as valuable to us, my wife is able to stay at home with our now two-week-old daughter as a full-time stay-at-home mom for the foreseeable future. We do not have any money stress, and my combined income from my day job and online work easily provides for all of our needs.
There are other fun perks too, like our ability to afford my expensive private pilot lessons. A fun, but very expensive hobby. That and other expensive pursuits like world travel work much better with more money coming in each month.
As of this month, I have passed $60,000 in total online income, of which half came this year. That is a great growth trend to be on!
Lower Stress Job Loss
One fateful Friday afternoon last year, my boss called me into the conference room and told me some blunt and unwelcome news. “There’s no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to lay it out there,” he started. “Today is your last day here.”
Most people leave that kind of meeting with a big pit in their stomach. The nervous feeling of wondering how you are going to pay the bills when your income suddenly stops is enough to push many people into depression, if not worse.
I didn’t have that terrible feeling, however. I got home wondering if I even wanted to find another job at all. Maybe if I put in 2-3 times more effort into the online business, which I could not do with a day job, I would make a full-time income online?
It turns out I didn’t have to wait very long or ponder that question too much, as my next job came calling literally a few hours after I got home from my last day at my old job. But during the several week interview process, I did significantly increase my online income, and it never dropped back down to where it was before.
I’m not expecting to lose my job again, but you never are. I do know, no matter what happens, that I have a solid emergency fund and over $30,000 per year in online income, so I don’t have to worry about feeding and providing for my family.
Thanks to what started as a hobby blogging about personal finance, I have developed a huge network of friends around the world with similar interests. From mastermind pals like Jeff, Martin, Jeffrey, Shane, and PT to FinCon friends (a list too long to mention everyone here), I have a wonderful network of friends that I would never have met without my online business.
In September in Charlotte, North Carolina, I gave a five minute Ignite talk at FinCon where I discuss my online friendships quite a bit. Rather than re-hash it, check out the presentation below.
Unique Life Experiences
Every business gives you unique opportunities and experiences you would never have achieved elsewhere. Here are a few of my favorites that would not have happened the same way, if at all, without my side hustle income.
Wrote a book – A few years ago, I released The Personal Finance Arsenal. I always wanted to write a book. Now I have. (Did I mention it is only $2.99 online?)
Traveled to Conferences – For each of the last five years, I went to FinCon in great cities like Chicago (2011), Denver (2012), Saint Louis (2013), New Orleans (2014) and most recently Charlotte (2015). I have never been to another conference outside of FinCon (unless you include World Domination Summit), but I’ve been eyeing Podcast Movement, TBEX, and New Media Expo as a possible 2016 addition.
Learned to Travel Hack – I have traveled all over the United States (38 states at last count) and to 22 countries. While some of this was family travel sponsored by generous parents, almost all of my travel in the last ten years was self-sponsored. Thanks to travel hacking, it was much more affordable. Learn about travel hacking in my mega post here.
Learned to Better Manage My Money – Admittedly a guy with two finance degrees who used to work in a bank does not need much more financial education. However, reader questions and the pursuit of new ideas has led me down many a rabbit hole searching for new financial knowledge. This has led me to practice what I preach and build a stable and growing portfolio of investments while best managing my income, expenses, budget, emergency fund, insurance, and everything else that has a dollar sign attached.
A Step Closer to Financial Freedom
So back to that $60,000 number. $60,356.62 to be exact. That is a huge amount of money to have brought in on the side. My current run rate will put my final 2015 income around $35,000. That is short of my $40,000 goal, but not too far away.
While I still have no plans to leave my full-time career in the near future, every time I hit a new milestone it does make me wonder what could be possible. I may be able to leave my job and continue on self-employed, or I can keep doing what I’m doing and bring in a much higher income.
A growing side business can give you extra spending money. I do spend some, but most of my side income goes into savings and investments. Each year we get a little closer to being fully financially independent. Financial freedom is a huge milestone. While I’m a ways away, each year that I can bring in over $30,000 in additional savings and investments is a step closer.
$35,000 per year is not enough to make me rich, but it is enough to help me live a richer life. What more could a guy ask for?
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