Putting Your Side Hustle Income to Work

8 Effective Tips for Growing Your Business Fast

The following article is a guest post.

Over the last five years, the gig economy has taken hold of the U.S. workforce.

Freelancers – individuals who work either part- or full-time on their own schedule doing projects and tasks for others outside the traditional employer-employee relationship – are reported to make up nearly 35% of workers, bringing in a collective $1 trillion in 2016 alone.

For part-time freelancers, their work is often in addition to a full-time employed position, creating a side hustle that brings in a notable second income stream. Working a freelance gig to earn extra money is helpful in reaching one’s financial goals. But it can be challenging to know exactly where that additional income should go.

Those with additional income from freelancing on the side should consider the following to make the most of their earnings.

Start with a Plan.

Whether you’re working your side hustle each and every day or simply picking up gigs every once in a while, it is imperative to have a plan for that income from the start.

Develop a simple financial plan on your own or with the help of a professional advisor. This allows you to gain a clear picture of what you want to accomplish in your financial life.

Is that an early retirement, being a homeowner, or speeding up the payoff of consumer debts? No matter how big or small the financial objectives, freelancers are far more likely to hit these goals when a sound, realistic plan is in place.

Focus on Debt Reduction.

If your freelancing income is in addition to traditional employment earnings and you have outstanding consumer debt, focus your energy there first.

Whether it is shorter-term debt that was used to cover a financial emergency, or credit card balances that keep accruing interest, developing a plan to reduce what you owe is a smart way to set yourself up for long-term financial success.

Most financial experts suggest starting with either the smallest debt balance or the one with the highest interest rate to kick start a debt repayment plan. Either way, paying off what’s owed to creditors ultimately frees up your extra income for other financial goals.

Don’t Forget Taxes.

Working a nine to five does not usually create complex tax headaches for employees; having a side hustle that generates additional income might.

Freelancers can do themselves a favor by planning ahead for taxes that may be owed on side hustle income. This process involves setting money aside in an account each time earnings come in. Specifically for the purpose of paying taxes at the end of the year. The general rule of thumb is that between 20 and 30% should be siphoned off to prepare for a tax bill when additional income is earned throughout the year.

Build Your Wealth

A second income stream from freelancing can make all the difference in achieving your financial goals for both the short- and long-term. Using your financial plan, determine which “bucket” you want or need to fill in order to reach specific money milestones. And then break down how much of your extra income you have available to put into each category.

Some may focus on establishing an emergency fund. While others may be in a place to save toward a down payment for a home or retirement. No matter the goal, be sure to set aside some of your side hustle income for these specific buckets to begin or continue building wealth for the future.

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How This Family Guy Makes $10,000/Month Online Teaching Others How to Make, Save and Invest Money

How This Family Guy Makes $10,000/Month Online Teaching Others How to Make, Save and Invest Money - Interview with R.J. Weiss from TheWaystoWealth.com

This is an interview-style post with R.J. Weiss from The Ways to Wealth.

Hey R.J. What’s your background and what do you do?

I blog about all things personal finance at The Ways to Wealth.

Before I went full-time into blogging, I spent ten years in the financial services industry. Specifically, helping families buy the right type of life insurance.

During my time with a full-time job, I’ve always had different side hustles going on. From freelance writing, Amazon FBA, conversion rate optimization, to website design — there were many projects I pursued outside of work.

How did you start your career in finance?

I got started in finance straight out of college working for my the family insurance business. As I love the financial planning side of things, I choose to specialize in life insurance planning. This led me down the path to obtaining the CFP® Certification.

What made you start blogging?

The Ways to Wealth, which I started in 2016, has been my 5th blog.

The others mostly fizzled out most due to a lack of interest. But, in 2009 I started a personal finance blog called GenYWealth.com (no longer around) that had some success.

The idea GenYwealth.com was to write about what I was learning about studying to take the CFP®. The blog was, by all means, a success. I was able to gain valuable knowledge, pass the CFP® exam, earn some extra money and build up a good community.

I then took this knowledge and started a business blog, which allowed the insurance agency I was working for to generate leads.

I started The Ways to Wealth because my passion is personal finance–from investing to travel hacking, I love the challenge of optimizing my finances.

How was The Ways to Wealth born?

I didn’t have much of a plan for starting The Ways to Wealth when I purchased the domain name.

I was actually thinking it would be a niche site, which was inspired by Pat Flynn’s niche site duel. Then, I came across the income reports of Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and wisely changed direction to a more traditional blog.

This change came about 6-months after starting to blog.  I did a timeline of the site in one of my income reports.

What worked best when trying to grow the site?

I had a decent knowledge of SEO. So at first, I started growing the site with email outreach. One of the first posts I had about best investing books of all time, had about 15 links to it.

This was nice to start with but was quite slow to build up, as it can take a while to earn Google’s trust.

The big turning point came when I started to understand Pinterest. I spent a few frustrating weeks on the platform, then it finally started paying dividends.

I went from about 100 sessions a day to 1,000, which was huge for me at the time.

How did you get to 3 million monthly viewers on Pinterest?

the ways to wealth pinterest 3 million monthly views

I lay out my Pinterest strategy here. But at the core the idea is to:

1) Write high-quality content that Pinners want to click through, read, and share.

2) Pin to my own and high-quality group boards, with a keyword-rich description.

3) Continue to Pin my best pins across my own boards/group boards, ruthlessly eliminating Pins that don’t perform well.

One thing to keep in mind is impressions don’t mean much on Pinterest. What counts are clicks to your website. So, you want to design not for impressions but clicks.

What aspects of the online business are you outsourcing or automating and how?

The first thing I outsourced was Pinterest design. I’ll design about 30-40 pins a month, so this was big time saver for me.

Of course, it took some work to get going. At first, I hired 5 or so people on Fiverr. I found one decent designer but the work quality deteriorated over time.

I then went to Upwork and posted a job for a  graphic designer. I found a great team down in Argentina, who I’m very happy with.

I’m currently experimenting with working with a ghostwriter. A few of my latest posts have been transcribed from my recording, with the ghostwriter making sense of it all.

I can compile about 3 posts in 90 minutes, then take another 90 or so minutes to prepare them. Saving me around 3-4 hours per post this way.

What’s your main income stream and why do you think it works for you?

My main source of income for the blog is affiliate revenue. It works because the partners I do have are high-quality businesses, who deliver value and solve real problems. This makes it easy to naturally link to such a partner.

When did you start making more than $10K/month and what was the turning point?

My first month over $10K was in January of 2018. In December of 2017, income was around $3,000 and in July of 2017 around $500. So, it was definitely a jump.

What happened then in January?

First, personal finance is at its peak interest in January.

Second, I had multiple Pins go viral.

Third, in November I started driving traffic via Facebook to the site. So, in January I could take campaigns I’d been fine-tuning for a few weeks and scale them.

How do you balance work and family life?

I have a routine I stick to Monday through Friday.

When inside of my designated working hours, I work. When outside of these hours, I’m not.

This is a lot easier said than done. But the thing important for me is not to take work everywhere I go. This means I don’t have any apps on my phone that are work-related (email, analytics, etc..)

What are you 3 best finance tips for newbies?

  • Focus on your savings rate. How much you save is the most important decision you’ll make.
  • Small incremental improvements add up over time. My favorite example is increasing your savings rate 1% every quarter, means you’ll be saving 20% of your income in just 5 years.
  • Study happiness. Become a student on how to increase your level of happiness. The natural result is you’ll want less overtime, making the game of personal finance a lot easier to win.

What books, blogs or podcasts help you stay motivated along the way of growing an online business?

I read a fair amount to keep fresh ideas in my head.

My favorite podcast is The Tim Ferriss Show.

Two blogs I enjoy reading are:

Farnam Street
Barking up the Wrong Tree

And as far as books. I try to read one a week. A few books I would recommend to online entrepreneurs would be:

Deep Work by Cal Newport
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

Pin this post if you enjoyed the interview.

Check out my interview with R.J. from TheWaystoWealth to see how he entered the finance niche, started making money blogging, began bringing traffic from Pinterest and monetizing it with affiliate marketing, and is now making $10,000/month from his online business. #blogger #interview #blogtraffic #incomeideas #income