I wanted to do a different kind of blog post today, and chat about something that’s become really important and meaningful to our little family. I wanted to chat about…side hustles!
Adam and I are both firm believers that everyone should have their own side hustle. No matter how big, or how little, a side hustle can be so good for our mental health (and our wallet!). And, through the years, we’ve both had many, and they’ve all helped us get to where we are today. We’ve had successful side hustles, and not so successful side hustles. Long lived side hustles, and short lived side hustles. Side hustles that were initially born out of skills we’d long mastered, and side hustles that were born out of something new, exciting, and unknown. Our side hustles we’ve been able to fit into the nooks and crannies of our life, and work at them whenever we’re feeling inspired.
Side hustles, we’ve learned, don’t have to be solely financially motivated, but usually they are, and that’s ok. And it should be ok. Without the need or the want to earn additional income, side hustles would just be called hobbies. Right? Side hustles are essentially monetized hobbies. Side hustles can stem from a passion burning inside you, a desire to be creative, a craving to feel productive and successful outside of your 9-5 job, a wanting to hone your entrepreneurial skills, or simply a desire to pursue something that brings you joy, while being able to reap a tangible reward for your hard work. Side hustles to us, are like our babies – near and dear to our hearts. And it takes great vulnerability to put them out into the world to thrive, or not to thrive, in order to move closer towards reaching a dream. Side hustles are more personal, and being dream-driven, once they start producing an income, that income feels different. It’s not just a paycheck anymore. It’s your paycheck. You earned that little extra money, and you should be proud.
I think side hustles allow us to give others a glimpse into our hearts. A look at something that sets our soul on fire, and gets us moving in the morning. A look at something we’re passionate about and believe whole heartedly in, even if that thing is simply providing more for your family. Of course, not all side hustles are glamorous or appealing on social media. Heck, some side hustles are pretty boring, or ugly, even though they may be an easy way to earn a few extra bucks. But you know what? By rocking that side hustle, you’re showing you’ve got grit. You’ve got determination. You’re a goal-digger. You’re willing to put in extra work. The side hustle is the equivalent to the extra-curricular in high school and it should be respected.
In our marriage specifically, here’s how side hustles have played a part. For me, a full time working mom of two young kiddos, having a side hustle translates into play money for me, fun shopping money for the kids, or extra savings money for the family. My side hustle is about my time, my special project. It’s not about the kids for once, it’s just about something I enjoy. And I find that to be really healthy and rewarding. It allows me to disengage from the demands of motherhood for a bit, and get back to focusing on myself and my own goals. It lets me grow myself in ways I couldn’t grow otherwise, so that I can take that growth back to my husband and family and be a better wife and mother because of it.
For Adam, side hustles have been an escape – a way to escape a stressful day of work, or let’s be real, a way to escape the kids for a bit in order to recharge and come back ready to share his best self with us. They’ve been a way to earn a little extra fun money that doesn’t have to be spent on diapers or groceries or something else his wife tells him we need to spend it on. He has expensive tastes, and prides himself on having many hobbies, so his side hustles have been a great way for him to still enjoy those finer things in life, ha, and still pursue his hobbies.
Mom and dad both need to have outlets for joy, and for earning financial rewards without strings attached. I think it is so good for there to be some sort of stream of income that doesn’t come with pressures – think of it like bonus money. Having some form of income, no matter the size, that isn’t already earmarked for a certain use, creates a small sense of financial freedom without feeling guilty of using “family money.”
Even though our side hustles have helped us earn extra ‘fun’ money, they’ve also helped us seriously pay off debt, pay for things we normally wouldn’t have paid for or been able to afford otherwise, and helped us reach financial goals as a family. They’ve helped us both to feel a bit like our old selves, our pre-kid selves, and dedicate time to things we both enjoy individually.
Here are a few of the side hustles we’ve had through the years –
- Photography – I started my photography business in 2011 right after college, and before we were married it was basically a part-time job. Most of those earnings helped make our downpayment on our first home! Since having kids though, I’ve slowed my business way down, but any income I’ve earned through photos has mostly gone towards something fun for me or the kids, and even Christmas gifts! It’s ebbed and flowed based on how much free time I’ve had, but it’s been a great second source of income to fall back on for several years now.
- Blogging – It’s no secret there are ads on my site. And those ads do produce a small income every month. There are also affiliate links, and sponsored posts – all revenue producers. My ad money helps pay a few of our bills, even. I’ve been blessed with numerous opportunities because of my blog (Remember when we flew to San Diego in 2015? That was a fully paid trip from a blog partnership! And our upcoming flights to TN? They’ve been paid for with blog money!), and I’ll never take that for granted. It’s taken years of hard work, and continues to take a lot of hard work. My blog is probably my favorite side hustle, and it’s just become an everyday part of my life.
- Zyia Active – *Late edit to post* This is actually my newest side hustle. Zyia Active is a fairly new women’s activewear and athleisure company, that is built like an MLM. They make super cute workout clothes, and allow their reps to sell and promote their clothing line, resulting in commissions on every sale, as well as a generous discount. I haven’t spent too much time on it, and am kind of just working on it in the background as I have time for it because I’m always wearing workout clothes anyways! But, I’ve enjoyed it thus far, and although I think the company still has some kinks and growing pains to work out, the clothing itself is pretty great and definitely worth looking into! They release NEW items every Wednesday, so be sure to follow me on Instagram, @zyia.with.sarahingle to see the new items as soon as they’re released! Things tend to sell out quick, so be sure to snatch something up if you really love it.
- The Rustic Paci – Flashback to when I thought I was going to start a super cute leather paci clip business! JK. It didn’t last long, but it was cute while it lasted. I still love it, but honestly just got busy with Adeline and then we moved and I kind of just forgot about it! Anyone need a paci clip?? Ha!
- Woodworking – Adam has done several woodworking projects through the years, but in 2016-2017 he really honed his craft on wood pens. He sold them by the dozens it seemed, and participated in several craft fairs and festivals around Little Rock where he was able to earn some extra spending money. It also helped go towards some of our moving expenses.
- Uber Eats – Adam did this for a few months here in DFW, but eventually decided it wasn’t worth it. It started out promising, but he eventually stopped because he was spending more time away from home than he wanted and wasn’t making an amount that really justified that.
- User Testing – This is a new hustle for both Adam and I, where you get paid $10 every time you complete a user test geared towards user experience on website. Adam has probably already earned $100 in just a couple weeks doing it at bedtime a few times, and I just set up an account so I can get in on the action too! The best part? Each user test only takes about 20 minutes to complete. (Or less!!)
- Freelancing through UpWork – UpWork is a freelance platform where you bid for projects. Adam has been a member for over a month but hasn’t had a project come through just yet.
- Robinhood Dividend – I’ll let Adam explain this one: “A lot of you know that I love Robinhood for commission free investing. I have since moved my serious investing to Vanguard, but I keep Robinhood as basically my stock exchange casino. I bet a little bit on extremely high dividend yielding stocks (around 15-20%) and roll the dice. I am up about 60% this year from this strategy.” And, if you guys want to set up your own Robinhood account, you can use THIS LINK and we’ll BOTH get a free stock!
- Amazon Mechanical Turk – With this, you set up an account and do very short simple tasks for a very small sum. Most of them are something like “what is the total of this receipt” and will pay you $.04. It’s not much, but could add up over time – Adam has already made ~$45 in just a few days. The point is to help AI better learn things, which is cool.
I don’t share any of this to brag, but to paint a realistic picture of the side hustle. I don’t think there’s any shame in taking on something outside of your 9-5, or outside of the home if you’re a SAHM, in order to reach some sort of financial goal. Side hustles can be great for everyone’s mental health, and we fully support everyone who is hustlin’ these days! Life is expensive, ya’ll, there’s no denying that, and kudos to anyone who’s doing whatever it takes to make it a little bit less expensive.
Do you have a side hustle? What is it? If you could start a side hustle, what would it be?