Make More Money

  • How to Increase Your Income in 202

    How to Increase Your Income in 2021

     

    When my husband and I got married, we knew the only way we would be able to pay off our six-figure student loan debt while also saving for our other goals was to increase our income.

    Finding ways to save money is great. But you can only cut so much from your budget. And we knew we wanted to continue to enjoy hobbies like travel, eating out, and seeing live music while paying off our debt.

    More and more often, I hear from other millennials looking to find ways to increase their income to help them reach financial goals.

    In this article, I’m rounding up a few of my favorite tips for how to boost your income in 2022.

     

    How to Increase Your Income in 2022

     

    Ask for a raise

    If you love your current job, then asking for a raise is one of the best ways to increase income while continuing to do what you love. 

    While I know trying to negotiate your salary might sound stressful, look at the positives. Increasing your salary now increases your entire career income projection, meaning you’ll make more money over the course of your working life, AND set aside more for retirement.

    Before you approach your boss about a raise, there’s some prep work you’ll need to do.

    1. Start by making a list of your job responsibilities. Write down everything you do in your job, either on a regular or irregular basis.
    2. Next, collect your recent performance reviews. Chances are, your company has some sort of review process in place. If not, gather other written positive feedback you’ve gotten, both from your boss and others. While you’re at it, make a list of any major accomplishments or successes you’ve had in your job.
    3. Do some research online about the average salary for your position. How much are other people making in the same type of position as yours? Another step I’d recommend is asking your colleagues, especially your male colleagues if you’re a female, how much they make. Bringing this up might sounds scary. But when I finally got up the nerve to speak to a few of my male colleagues about salary, I found that multiple men were making more money than me in similar roles, and I had more responsibility than they did. Even in 2020, the wage gap is still something we’re dealing with.

    Once you’ve done all your prep work, set up a meeting with your boss. I’d recommend telling them upfront that you’d like to meet to discuss a pay raise. That allows both of you to go to the meeting a bit more prepared.

    Once you’re in the meeting, sit down with your boss and tell them that after going through your list of tasks, your reviews, and your accomplishment, you feel confident that you’ve made valuable contributions to the team and would like a raise. 

    Give a specific percent increase. Most raises are about 3%, so ask for a little more, like 5%.

    If your boss has hesitations, you can talk about the conversations you had with your coworkers and the research you did online, showing that people in your role are being paid more than you are. 

    You can also ask some follow-up questions, such as what is causing them to hesitate, and how long someone normally works in your role before getting a raise. 

    During this meeting, keep the conversation focused on the job and your accomplishments in it. Don’t bring your personal finances into the mix. Companies don’t give raises because people are trying to pay off debt — they give raises to people who make valuable contributions.

    Ultimately, whatever the final answer is, be gracious and polite and thank them for their time. The worst answer you can get is no. But if you’re rude or don’t take the word no well, then you might damage your reputation with your boss and the company.

     

    Find a new job

    Getting a raise in your current job is a great way to increase income, but it’s not right for everyone. Some people may not be able to earn as much as they’d like in their current company or line of work. And for those who really dislike their job, more money may not be enough to make up for it.

    Instead, you might consider finding a new job altogether. Here are a few steps to take:

    1. Consider the type of job you want. Before you start applying for jobs, spend some time thinking about what you really want. Ask yourself if you want to stay with the same company, and simply apply for a higher-level job. Or maybe you want to switch careers altogether.
    2. Research the job market. Do your homework about the career you want and the current job market. Learn about the types of jobs available, the top companies, and the salary you might expect to get.
    3. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile. Update your LinkedIn resume so it will attract recruiters. When it comes to actually applying for jobs, create one that is tailored to each job you apply for.
    4. Reach out to your network. Once you’re ready to start looking, connect with people in your network. Let people know that you’re in the market for a new job and ask them to keep an eye out for any opportunities.
    5. Talk to recruiters. Depending on your field, there may be plenty of recruiters who specialize in finding candidates for jobs like the ones you want. You can contact recruiters directly, or connect with them on LinkedIn.
    6. Apply consistently. Job hunting can be discouraging, especially if you find that it’s taking longer than you hoped. Find a few job boards that you find the best jobs on, and visit those consistently. Eventually, your hard work will pay off!

    It’s important to note that if you’re applying for jobs during the pandemic, finding a new job may be a bit more challenging. There are fewer jobs being posted, and more people applying for them. 

    But don’t let that discourage you! There are still plenty of opportunities for someone willing to be persistent.

     

    Get a part-time job

    A part-time job might not sound like the most glamorous way to make money, but it’s effective and consistent. So many people are on the lookout for the next popular side hustle that they forget that getting a normal part-time job is an option. 

    While my husband and I were starting our debt payoff journey and saving for our RV, I was working full-time in politics while working on my business as a side hustle. My husband, in the mean-time, worked as a bartender a couple of nights per week. It was a fairly easy job, and one that he liked, and he was able to make an extra $1,000 per month.

    There are plenty of part-time jobs available in food service and retail. Depending on your skill set, you might also be able to find something more specific to your career and earn even more money.

     

    Join the gig economy

    While there’s no technical definition here, the Bureau of Labor Statistics describes a gig as, “a single project or task for which a worker is hired, often through a digital marketplace, to work on demand.”

    These types of jobs are contract positions, and most allow you to work whenever you’re available, rather than abiding by a schedule like a part-time job would require. 

    Examples of gig jobs would include:

    • Rideshare opportunities like Uber and Lyft
    • Grocery shopping and delivery through companies like Instacart
    • Food delivery with Doordash, Postmates, UberEats, etc.
    • Pet sitting and walking with Rover or Wag
    • Tackling specific tasks with sites like Fiverr or TaskRabbit

    These side hustles can be great for anyone who wants to be able to make extra money on demand. With a part-time, you’re usually subject to a set schedule. But these apps allow you to work and make money when it fits with your schedule.

     

    Start a business

    The final strategy I want to talk about for making extra money (and my personal favorite) is to start an online business.

    Now let me preface this by saying that if you’re just interested in picking up some extra income right now to help you on your debt payoff or savings journey, then this probably isn’t the right choice for you.

    Depending on the type of business you want to start, there are likely going to be some start-up costs. Plus, it could be a while before you really start making money.

    I can tell you that I put hundreds of hours of work into my business before I made money. At the same time, if you’re looking for something sustainable that you can build over many years, I love this idea. 

    Starting a business involves selling something, whether you’re selling a physical product, a digital product, or a service. I run a service-based business. I provide money coaching to clients and provide freelance writing services to financial companies. 

     

    Service-based business

    Starting a service-based business is fairly low-cost, and doesn’t require a lot of upfront work. What it does require is for you to have a specific skill that you’re offering to your clients.

    Here are the steps you can follow to start your own service-based business:

    1. Step one pick a skill. For me, it’s writing and coaching. For others, it’s social media management, photography, ad management, web design, editing, or a million other options.
    2. Step two is to hone your skill. Depending on the skill you chose, this might be a little or a lot of work. When I decided to become a freelance writer, I already had a degree in journalism and had been writing on my own blog for years. There wasn’t a huge learning curve. But I did have to learn how to freelance write for other sites. But some people might decide to start a service-based business doing something they’ve never done or haven’t done in years. In that case, you may want to take an online course or find an online certification to help boost your skills.
    3. Step three is to build your portfolio. Once you’ve honed your skills, start putting together work to show potential clients. This might require doing a bit of free work. If you’re starting a business as a social media manager, you could reach out to friends or family members who own businesses and ask if you can manage their social media for a while in exchange for testimonials. When I was starting to freelance write, I was able to use my blog as my portfolio. The bottom line is that you need to find a way to display your work and prove to potential clients that you can do the job.
    4. Step four is to start marketing your business. You can do this through social media or by directly reaching out to potential clients. When I started freelance writing, I just started emailing sites I wanted to write for and asking them if they needed more writers. It was surprisingly effective. For my coaching business, I do things differently. I don’t just email women and ask if they want a money coach. Instead, I share value on social media by offering personal finance tips and then share information about my program for people who want to work together one on one.

    So that’s how you can get started with a service-based business. I’ve found that’s the type of business that was the best fit for me. It’s my favorite way to make money.

     

    Product-based business

    If that’s what you’d like to pursue, start by considering what product you’d like to sell. Maybe you’re good with crafts and want to handmake something to sell. Or maybe you’re good with graphic design and want to start selling printables.

    Once you figure out what you want to sell, figure out where you’d like to sell it. Etsy is a great marketplace for both physical and digital products. You can also decide to sell your product on your own website using a program like Shopify or WooCommerce. 

    And just like with starting a service-based business, the final step is to start marketing your product online.

    Now, this is obviously a simplistic explanation for how to start a business. There’s so much more that goes into it. If you’re serious about doing this, I recommend seeking out an online course to help you get started.

     

    What to do after you increase your income

    Once you actually take steps to boost your income, I encourage you to think about what you’ll do with that extra money.

    When your income increases, it can be tempting to spend all of that money. But chances are you’ve got some financial goals you want to save for. Deciding ahead of time how you’ll use the best way to ensure you don’t waste it.

    And once you start bringing in money, follow through on your plan. You’ll be happy that you did!

     

    Final Thoughts

    Increasing my income has been one of my favorite ways to reach my financial goals even faster. It helps me to save more without necessarily having to cut everything I love from my budget.

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  • How to Start a Side Hustle and Make More Money

     

    One of the most important lessons I’ve learned, both through working with money coaching clients and through my own money journey, is that the best way to reach any financial goal faster is to increase your income.

    Wanna pay off debt? Increase your income, and you’ll pay it off faster.

    Wanna save up to buy a house? Increase your income, and you’ll get your house faster.

    It’s just basic math – the more money you have, the more you can do with it. And one of the best ways to increase your income is to pick up a side hustle.

    I started my side-hustling journey in 2014. I had a full-time government job, but the pay wasn’t great and it didn’t do a lot to spark my creativity. So I started my first blog, both as a creative outlet and as a way to earn a bit of extra money.

    In the past six years, side-hustling has helped me to pay off tens of thousands of dollars in debt and save up enough money to buy an RV, and travel the country full-time. Not only that, but I was able to turn my side hustle into my full-time, allowing me to work from anywhere on my travels.

    In this post, I’ll share all of my best tips for starting a side hustle and making extra money to help you reach your financial goals.

    Not sure a side hustle is for you? Read this article on why a side hustle is a great idea!

     

    How to Start a Side Hustle and Make More Money

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.

     

    Step 1: Choose a side hustle idea

    Some of you might already have a side hustle idea that you can’t wait to dive into. For others, maybe you know you want to start a side hustle to earn a bit of extra money, but you’re not sure what exactly you want to do. Well, that’s what this step is for. This phase is all about brainstorming!

    First things first, ask yourself what you are good at and passionate about. It’s important that this isn’t something you’re going to get sick of right away! I could talk about my personal finance for hours on end, which made money coaching and personal finance blogging the perfect side hustle for me.

    In addition to finding a topic that you’re passionate about, you have to make sure it’s something that other people are interested in as well. Because as important as it is that YOU love your side hustle, you can’t make money from a topic that no one else will spend money on.

    Still short on side hustle ideas? I’ve got you covered! In this blog post on starting a side hustle, I shared 9 AWESOME side hustle ideas!

     

    Step 2: Do your research

    Let me preface this by saying that when I started my side hustle, I did ZERO research. I literally didn’t even know that blogging was a thing you could make money from when I first got started. But once I learned that it was something you could make an income from, you better believe I did a TON of research!

    Whether the side hustle you’re starting is a blog or something totally different, I guarantee there is tons of information available online from people who have done the same thing you are trying to. Side hustles are ridiculously common today, and I guarantee someone else is teaching people to do exactly what you’re trying to do.

    Research everything from the logistics of setting up your website to marketing. Join some Facebook groups with others in your niche and learn from them. One thing I’ve learned is that online business owners seem super happy to share their knowledge and create connections with other online business owners. It’s such an awesome and welcoming community!

     

    Step 3: Get it up and running

    Okay, so you’ve figured out the what and the how. Now it’s time to just freaking do it already! The launching phase is going to vary from person to person. Part of this depends on the side hustle you’ve chosen – some just take longer to get set up than others do!

    It also partly depends on what else you’ve got going on in your life. The more prior commitments you have, the less time you’ll have to work on your side hustle, meaning it’s going to take a bit longer to get set up.

    I remember when I was just in the launch phase of my blog, I seriously looked for every spare moment I could find to work on it! I spent entire weekends curled up on the couch with my laptop, excitedly planning and designing everything. I also spent lots of nights up WAY too late because I was mid-project and just couldn’t bring myself to stop.

    If you’re like me and have chosen a blog as a side hustle, the launch phase is going to include things like setting up your website and choosing a blog design, getting your social media pages set up, and getting your first few blog posts written.

     

    Step 4: Create a schedule

    If you truly want this side hustle to make money, then you have to treat it like a business. That means setting aside certain hours where you are going to work on your business. Obviously, since it’s your own business, no one can enforce these hours for you. There will definitely be times when something else sounds more fun than working.

    But just remember, you will only get out of it as much as you put into it. How many hours you work is 100% up to you. Someone with a full-time job and a family with kids at home is going to have fewer hours available than someone who is single with no kids.

    Since this is a side hustle, your work hours are certainly going to be limited. You might have a full-time job, be a stay at home parent, or be going to school full-time. You know best when you are free and will be most available to work on your business.

    When I was still working my full-time job, evenings and weekends were my side hustle time. I scheduled certain work hours into my calendar, and those hours are non-negotiable. And if I knew I’d be busy all weekend, I’d make sure to work extra hours in the evenings that week.

    Part of creating your side hustle schedule is respecting everyone’s time. You need to respect your own time and hold yourself accountable for those hours you plan to work on your side hustle. But this also means respecting your employer’s time, if you work a full-time job. Don’t let your side hustle interfere with your job. If you have a lunch hour or breaks available to get in a little work on your side hustle, that’s great! But don’t work on your side hustle when you should be working on your full-time job. If you do, you may not have a full-time job for long.

     

    Step 5: Set SMARTER goals

    Even though you spent a TON of time doing research before launching your side hustle, there’s still so much to learn. And you’re going to learn a ton right after you launch your side hustle and really dive into working on it every day. Once you have a better idea of what you’re getting yourself into, it’s time to set some goals for yourself.

    I set zero goals for myself when I first started my blog. And guess how long it took me to make my first dollar. One year. I’m guessing you’re not interested in waiting that long! Part of this is because I started off just blogging as a hobby, and part of it was that I didn’t get organized and set goals for myself.

    So what kind of goals should you be setting? This isn’t just about throwing out arbitrary goals, but setting realistic goals and coming up with a plan to meet them. In other words, you want to set SMARTER goals. And just what are SMARTER goals?

    • Specific: The more specific your goals, the better. Don’t just set a goal of earning money with your side hustle. Set a goal of earning $1,000/month from your side hustle within the first year (that’s just an example, the actual number will vary person to person).
    • Measurable: The progress of this goal can be easily tracked. $1,000/month is very specific – you’ll know for sure if you’ve reached it or not! And once you know how much you want to make per month, you know what your daily and weekly goals should be!
    • Attainable: While setting your goals high is awesome, make sure it’s something you can actually accomplish. Consider what will be required of you to complete this goal, and carefully consider whether you have that to give.
    • Relevant: Make sure your goal is in harmony with your core values and what you’re working toward in life. If your ultimate dream is to work from home full-time, then setting a goal of $1,000/month in the first year is awesome because you’re totally moving in the right direction!
    • Time-Bound: Don’t make the time frame for reaching your goals open-ended. We tend to take as long to accomplish a task as we are allowed. If your goals are completely open-ended, they may never seem urgent enough to get to. As you can see, we set a time frame of one year in the goal we’re using as an example.
    • Exciting: Let’s be real, it’s going to be a lot easier to make time to work on goals that excite and inspire you. Emotions are a big factor when it comes to goal-setting, and you’re far more likely to reach for things that excite you.
    • Routine Bound: I firmly believe that creating routines and habits is the absolute best way to make changes in your life. Incorporating your goal into your daily routine ensures you’re making time for it and gives you a MUCH better chance of reaching it. For example, you might say that every evening you get home from work at 6 pm and work on your online business until 8 pm. It becomes a daily routine and ensures you’re putting in the time to reach that $1,000/month goal.

     

    Step 5: Invest in growth

    If you truly want your side hustle to be a real business that brings in income, then you have to treat it like a business. And this means investing in your growth. Time is certainly the biggest investment you’ll make in your side hustle, but there will be some financial investment as well. The good news is that most side hustles, such as blogging, are relatively cheap to start, and you can increase your investment as you start making an income.

    Some of the investments you’ll make in your side hustle will be tools, such as those to start your email list or market yourself on social media.

    Here are a few of my favorite tools that I use to run my business:

    • SiteGround: This is the website hosting company I use – monthly plans start at $3.95/month, so SUPER affordable for beginners.
    • Flodesk: For many side hustles, having an email list is going to be crucial. Flodesk is the best!
    • QuickBooks: This is the tool I use to manage my business finances. You’ll need to do so no matter what side hustle route you choose to go.

     

    Step 7: Track and evaluate your progress

    You may think that once you make it through the research phase and launch your side hustle, it’s all smooth sailing toward your goals. I assure you this is NOT the case. There are going to be bumps in the road. A LOT of bumps in the road. One month you’ll have an amazing month and feel like you’re making a ton of progress, and the next month you’ll feel like you’re starting from square one.

    And one thing I can definitely promise you: you will never, ever stop learning when it comes to best practices for your side hustle.

    Because of this, it’s super important that you’re diligent about tracking and evaluating your progress. Make sure to have some sort of system in place where you can track how things are going. If you’re blogging like I was, that probably means spreadsheets where you track everything including income, expenses, traffic, email subscribers, etc. So. Many. Numbers.

    In addition to tracking everything, you need to be regularly evaluating those numbers to decide if what you’re doing is really working. If you see a trend of several months where you’re income is going down, it’s probably time to change something up. It’s when you get complacent that things start to really slip.

     

    Step 8: Make a plan for your side hustle income

    I love that having a side hustle can help people to pay off debt and reach financial goals years earlier than they otherwise would have. But in order to really make the most of it, you’ve gotta make a plan for that money.

    Imagine this: You start a side hustle to help you pay off your debt faster. You get it set up and start bringing in money. You’re so excited about this new income that you find yourself doing a lot more online shopping than planned. Suddenly the money is gone, and you haven’t put any extra toward debt.

    Listen, I’m all for spending money on things that bring you joy. In fact, it’s one of the things I teach in my money coaching program. But I also teach my clients to be incredibly intentional about their spending and to have a plan in place.

    Instead of letting your emotions guide your spending decisions, make a plan ahead of time. For example, maybe you decide you’ll spend 75% of your side hustle income on extra debt payments, while the other 25% will be fun money. You still get to treat yourself, while also making progress on your goals.

     

    Step 9: Know the tax laws regarding side hustle income

    One thing to keep in mind about starting a side hustle is that there are tax laws you’ll have to follow.

    When you have a full-time job, your employer takes money out of each paycheck to pay income taxes on your behalf. But with a side hustle, there’s no one doing that for you. But the IRS still expects to get paid. It’s critical that when you’re making money on the side, you track every single dollar you earn and spend so you can report them for tax purposes.

    Software like QuickBooks can help you get this process started. And if you’re uneasy about handling the finances yourself, consider hiring an accountant or bookkeeper to help you out.

     

    Final Thoughts

    A side hustle is my absolute favorite way to increase your income to pay off debt and reach your financial goals. It can collapse the timeline on these big goals by years! And while starting a side hustle might seem overwhelming at first, it’s a lot less scary once you get started! 

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  • 11 Ways to Make an Extra $1,000 Per Month

    11 Ways to Make an Extra $1000 Per Month

     

    When my husband and I got married, we knew we had some financial goals we wanted to meet pretty quickly. 

    Together we have six figures of debt, and we knew we wanted to pay that off as soon as possible. Thinking about making these student loan payments twenty years from now sounded miserable, so we settled on a payoff timeline of about seven years. 

    We also had some big purchases we knew we wanted to save for. We also had plans to give up our apartment and buy an RV so we could travel the country in it.

    We also know that we’ll probably want to buy a house when we’re done traveling, so we wanted to start preparing for that early. 

    So I guess you could say we’ve got an expensive few years ahead of us. 

    The best way for us to aggressively pay down our debt and save for our financial goals at the same time has been to increase our income. 

    $1,000 in extra income per month can go a long way!

    In this post, I’m sharing how you can make an extra $1,000 to start tackling your financial goals. 

     

    How to Make an Extra $1,000 a Month

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.

     

    Why is it good to make extra money?

     

    How many times have you read a personal finance book or blog post that said you should stop buying lattes or start clipping coupons to reach your financial goals?

    Yeah, it might not be terrible advice and those things can help you to save a few dollars here and there. But are you really going to pay off your student loans or buy your dream house by saving a few dollars here and there? Probably not. 

    Rather than ruthlessly cutting small things from our budget, Brandon and I have found the best way to reach our financial goals is to make more money. 

    After all, we really wanted to be able to aggressively pay off debt while also enjoying live music and eating out, since those are our favorite things to spend money on. 

    Making an extra $1,000 a month can make a huge difference in helping you to reach your goals. 

    With $1,000 extra income per month, you could pay off your student loans in just a few years rather than the 10-20 years it’s scheduled to take. 

    With $1,000 extra income per month, you could save the downpayment for your dream home in just a few years. 

    With $1,000 extra income per month, you could take an amazing vacation every year and still have enough to aggressively save for retirement. 

    I’m telling you, making extra money is the secret you’ve been looking for!

     

    What are the best ways to make extra income?

     

    When you first think about it, $1,000 sounds like a lot of money. And don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely more than spare change. 

    But when you do the math to figure out exactly what you have to do to hit that number, it’s actually not as hard as you’d think!

    An extra $1,000 could be:

    • 25 hours per week at $10 per hour
    • 10 hours per week at $25 per hour
    • $250 from four freelance clients each
    • 10 online courses sold for $100 each
    • 8 musical lessons taught for $125 each

     

    Start a blog

     

    I can honestly say that starting a blog was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Not only is it something that I genuinely enjoy doing, but it is also an amazing way to bring in extra income every month. 

    There are plenty of different ways to make money blogging depending on what interests you. You could make money through affiliate marketing, sidebar ads, working with companies on sponsored content, or selling your own digital products like eBooks and online courses. 

    You can start a blog on just about anything. I’ve seen successful blogs in just about every niche you could think of. As long as someone out there is interested in it, you’ve got a potential audience. 

     

    Become a freelancer

     

    When you work as a freelancer, you’re an independent contractor providing a particular service to another person or company. 

    If you’ve got a specific skill set such as freelance writing, graphic design, or managing social media accounts, you can find work as a freelancer online. 

    In 2018, in addition to running my blog, I started picking up freelance writing clients. In just a little over a year, I was able to take my freelance writing income from just a few hundred dollars here and there to $10,000 per month. 

    My favorite resource to get started with freelance writing is the online course Earn More Writing. In this course, six-figure freelance writer Holly Johnson teaches you how to get started with freelance writing and make serious money online. 

     

    Start a YouTube channel

     

    We’re living in an increasingly visual world, so it’s not surprising that video continues to become a bigger and bigger deal every year. 

    And while it might seem like it’s too late to start a YouTube channel (hasn’t it all been done already??), there’s definitely still room for anyone who has something unique to bring to the table. 

    Certain niches tend to really go hand in hand with video, but honestly, people have been successful on video in just about every niche!

    If YouTube sounds right for you, I recommend finding an online course on video and editing. With so much competition out there, people really expect high-quality videos. 

    Start sharing your creations with the world, and before you know it you’ll start bringing in extra money. 

     

    Become a virtual assistant

     

    One of the awesome things about the rise of online businesses is that it’s created an entirely new career — Virtual assistants. 

    A virtual assistant (aka a VA) is an independent contractor that provides administrative services for online clients. 

    Plenty of online business owners higher VAs to help them in all areas of their business. Some do really basic administrative tasks like responding to emails, while others might have a more narrow specialty like running someone’s Pinterest account or doing all of their social media scheduling. 

    You can find VA jobs on just about any job board these days. You can also join Facebook groups for business owners and find anyone looking for VA services. 

     

    Start a service-based business

     

    Plenty of people make extra money by offering services to people in their community. If you have a talent, chances are other people are willing to pay you for it. 

    For example, the photographer Brandon and I hired for our wedding actually does that as a side hustle, and she has a different job she works as her full-time gig. 

    She’s at the point where she’s definitely making more than $1,000 per month, but you’ve gotta start somewhere! 

    A service-based business could also be something as simple as mowing people’s lawns in the summer or shoveling their driveways in the winter. 

    Plenty of people offering service-based businesses start off just to make some extra money and then end up going full-time later on. 

     

    Teach English online

     

    One of the easiest ways to make $1,000 per month is by teaching English online. You can do this by using a site like VIPKID

    VIPKID is an online education service that connects kids in China with English teachers. And no, you don’t have to be an actual English teacher to join. 

    On VIPKID, you can make up to $22 per hour teaching short half-hour lessons to kids. The best part is that you can make your own schedule, meaning you can make an extra $1,000 per hour at the most convenient times for you. 

     

    Start an Etsy shop

     

    If you’re crafty, Etsy can be a great way to make some extra money every month. Etsy is an online marketplace where you can sell anything that is handmade or vintage.

    You can sell hand-made items on Etsy like jewelry or knitted items. You can also sell digital items. Plenty of people sell printables and spreadsheets of all kinds. 

    I had an Etsy shop as a part of my business model for a number of years, and it was a great way to make a little extra money every month. 

    My favorite online course is called Mastermind Your Marketing. If you follow the advice in the course and gain a good reputation on Etsy, you can easily bring in an extra thousand dollars every month. 

     

    Join the gig economy

     

    One of the great things about technology today is that there is no shortage of apps you can download and immediately start making money. 

    These apps exist in what is called the gig economy, where you make money by picking up gigs.

    One way to make money with apps is by driving for Uber or Lyft, where you make money by driving people around in your own car. You’re basically a freelance taxi, and you can pick up a few rides whenever you’ve got time. 

    You can also make money online by delivering things. Apps like DoorDash and GrubHub allow you to sign up to deliver food. Other apps such as Instacard pay you to go grocery shopping for other people and deliver their groceries to their homes. 

    There are also gig apps that don’t require driving anyone or delivering anything. Sites like Rover, for example, allow you to make money by pet sitting or walking people’s dogs. Sounds like a fun way to make money to me!

     

    Teach others a skill

     

    You might be noticing a trend with this list, but the gist of it is that you can find a way to monetize just about any skill. 

    Depending on the skill, you might be able to teach lessons in your community. 

    For example, let’s say you’re skilled at a particular musical instrument. Chances are there are people in town who are interested in taking lessons. 

    If you’re teaching people locally, you can start sharing your services on social media. You could also offer a few lessons for free and ask those people to spread the word about your services. 

     

    Rent out a room on Airbnb

     

    If you have an extra room in your house or a house or apartment you’re not always using, you could make extra money by renting it out on Airbnb. 

    This can be a great way to make a bit of extra money without too much of a time commitment. 

    Even if you don’t live in an area with a ton of tourism, there are almost certainly people coming into town for events, businesses, or to visit friends and family. 

    I know it can sound super sketchy to let a stranger come stay in your home with you, but you can screen the people who stay with you. 

    Plus, someone coming to visit the city is probably going to be spending most of their time out, so you won’t run into them too much. 

    I’ve even read about people who rent out their apartments during their city’s tourist season and then just crash with their parents anytime someone books the place. 

     

    Get a second job

     

    So many people are constantly on the lookout for the next big side hustle that they forget all about the original side hustle: getting a second job. 

    Often, these are the side jobs where you can actually earn the most money the most quickly. 

    You might think that sounds crazy, but hear me out!

    I started my blog in 2014. It started as a hobby, but it didn’t take long for me to learn that people actually money from their blogs. As soon as I learned that, I wanted in. 

    I worked on my blog for an entire year before I made a single dollar. That first year was spent building a framework I could make money from home with later. 

    It was another year or so before I was making $1,000 per month. 

    Now don’t get me wrong — Plenty of people make a lot more money with their blogs a lot more quickly. But to do that, you have to devote a lot of time to it. As in, you skip all those happy hours and weekend plans with friends because you’re always working.

    Contrast that with my husband who side-hustles as a bartender for a couple of nights per week. 

    When he started that job, he was immediately able to start earning $1,000 per month (or more). There was no period of “building a framework”. 

    While it took me a couple of years to get to earning $1,000 per month on my blog, it took him no time at all. 

    So if what you’re really looking for is just an extra $1,000 per month, getting a second job might be the quickest way to make it happen. 

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    An extra $1,000 of income per month can have such a big impact on your life. It doesn’t take that many hours per week to get there, and yet it can actually be life-changing. 

    I can tell you that when I was going through my divorce and at my lowest financially, that extra monthly income is what got me through it. 

    Whether you want the extra month to pay off debt, save for a financial goal, or just live a little bigger, all of the tips on this list can help you to get there. 

     

     

    CONTINUE READING

  • The 4 Best Books About Blogging to Read in 2022

    The 5 Best Books About Blogging to Read in 2019

     

    In five years of blogging, I have read so freaking many blogging books. 

    Some of them were amazing and really helped me to move the needle in my business, while others weren’t great. 

    In this post, I’m talking about the 5 best books about blogging that I have read and that you can read in 2021 to help you grow your blog. 

    These books all include super actionable steps you can take to see an almost immediate difference in your business. 

    Not only do they tell you what to do, they tell you what not to do, so you don’t waste your time on tasks that aren’t worth it. 

    There are plenty of blogging books out there, but these four are my favorites!

     

    The 4 Best Books About Blogging to Read in 2022

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.

     

    ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income by Darren Rowse

     

    If there’s one person you can definitely trust for amazing blogging advice, is Darren Rowse of the blog ProBlogger. Darren is one of the OG bloggers, and seriously, the guy knows everything!

    His ProBlogger book is where he teaches bloggers to choose a blog topic, analyze the market, set up their blog, and grow their blog to start earning money. 

    As with each of his blog posts that I’ve read, his advice is super actionable and he offers very specific steps you should take. 

    He gives step-by-step instructions for how to make money on your blog to eventually hit that elusive six-figure mark. 

    Click here to get ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income

     

    The Essential Habits of 6-Figure Bloggers by Sally Miller

     

    When I’m looking for great books for bloggers, I’m looking for those that have awesome and actionable advice, but also those that bring something different to the table!

    Unlike other books that just share blogging tips, Sally goes a lot deeper to look at the habits and systems of six-figure bloggers. 

    Sally interviewed 17 successful bloggers to really dive deep into their backgrounds, habits, and characteristics, and the business strategies that made them so successful. 

    You probably won’t be surprised to hear that all 17 of the bloggers share some common traits and habits. 

    Sally breaks down three specific habits that all of the six-figure bloggers shared – and they’re habits that can be applied to literally any area of your life!

    In addition to learning about the habits of six-figure bloggers, Sally does also share specific business strategies and systems of the bloggers that you can apply to your own blog. 

    Click here to get The Essential Habits of 6-Figure Bloggers

     

    Traffic Transformation Guide by Lena Gott

     

    When you’re working on growing a new blog, traffic is a huge focus. And Lena’s book is hands-down the best book I’ve read on growing your traffic!

    Even though I was several years into my blogging journey when I read this book for the first time, I still learned quite a few new tricks about growing my blog traffic. 

    I love the strategy behind Lena’s tips, and I’ve seen success implementing some of them myself. 

    The impetus for this book is a situation I’m sure so many bloggers can relate to:

    Lena checked her blog stats, sure that she had had a record-high month for page views, and realized that her traffic had actually dropped. 

    Then she starting testing one new strategy every day for growing her traffic. And by doing this, she was able to grow her traffic from 17,000 page views to over 400,000 pageviews in just ten months. 

    This one is really a must-read for me.

    Click here to get Traffic Transformation: 21 Strategies I Used to Increase My Monthly Page Views from 17k to 400k+ in 10 Months 

     

    One Hour Content Plan by Meera Kothland

     

    Most bloggers I know do not have a strong content plan. They struggle to come up with blog post ideas, and they write posts based on what sounds fun to them on any given day rather than really following any kind of strategy. 

    And to be honest, I think this is a big part of why most bloggers don’t make it. 

    Meera’s book shares amazing guidance on creating a content plan for your blog.

    She talks about the types of content most likely to get people to buy, and how to create a long-term strategy for your content. 

    She also talks about creating free and paid offers and how to weave those into your content plan. 

    If blog content is an area you struggle with, Meera’s book can help you so much.

    Click here to get One Hour Content Plan

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    There is so much to learn about blogging. And it can be so overwhelming. I remember being in my first year of blogging feeling like I would never get it all figured out. 

    But I did. And these four books were the best books about blogging I found and a huge part of getting me to where I am today. I know you’ll love them too!

     

     

    CONTINUE READING

  • How to Start a Blog in 2022: A Step By Step Guide

    How to Start a Blog in 2020

     

    In 2015, desperate for a creative outlet when I wasn’t at my government job, I started my first blog.

    Years later, that job has not only made me a lot of money, but has also helped me to launch my six-figure freelance writing business, quit my full-time job, and completely change my life.

    Whether you’re starting a blog just as a creative hobby or because you’re hoping to grow it into a side business, this post is for you! This guide for how to start a blog in 2022 will go into the technical aspects of setting up your blog, as well as helping you to figure out what you want to blog about and how to get started with the creative side of blogging.

     

    How to Start a Blog in 2022

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.

     

    Step 1: Deciding What to Blog About

    There are plenty of general lifestyle blogs that have turned out to be successful, but you’ll see the most success by choosing a specific topic to blog about. 

    I’ll be honest, my blog was kind of aimless for the first few years. And while I did alright and was able to earn some money from ads, sponsorships, and affiliate marketing, it was when I narrowed in on a particular topic that things really started to change.

    You might find that your blog topic changes over time, but just start somewhere. If you’re struggling to figure out what you want to blog about, take some time and think about what you’re really passionate about. What do you love to talk about? What do you know a lot about and can pass that knowledge onto others? That’s your sweet spot.

     

    Step 2: Purchasing a Domain Name

    Next up, it’s time to choose a domain name! You can click here to purchase your domain whenever you’re ready!

    Choosing a domain name for your blog can be challenging. Finding the right name for your blog is probably going to take a lot of brainstorming and, unfortunately, a lot of the great ideas you have are probably already taken.

    Here are just a few guidelines to help you. First of all, do a brain dump and just write down anything that comes to mind. I found my current domain name by doing a brain dump, and then using the thesaurus to find synonyms of each word until I found some that sounded really good together!

    Second, make your domain name easy for others to type in. This means making it short, memorable, and easy to spell. I recommend going with a .com if possible as well because that’s what most people naturally search for.

    Finally, remember that it can be changed later. It’s certainly easier if you get it right the first time, but I changed my blog name after two and a half years of blogging and was able to easily switch everything over without losing any traffic or social media followers.

    Once you have some ideas, head over to SiteGround and start checking to see what’s available! You may find the occasional domain name that is for some reason super expensive, but most of them are going to be pretty reasonably priced for under $15 per year.

    Note: SiteGround is the company I recommend for blog hosting so also purchasing your domain name there helps streamline the process a bit. Click here to purchase your domain name with SiteGround

     

    Tip: Secure Your Social Media Handles

    Before purchasing a domain name, I recommend checking to see if the corresponding social media handles are available on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Though it’s not absolutely necessary to have the same name on every platform, it will be a lot easier for people to find you if your social media pages match your blog name.

    When I was rebranding my blog last year and brainstorming new name ideas, I checked every single one on social media first and crossed out the ones where I wouldn’t be able to get matching names across platforms. And once you’ve checked social media and purchased your domain name, I recommend securing those social media usernames right away!

    You can use a free tool like Namecheckr to check the availability of your name on every platform at once.

     

    Step 3: Choosing and Installing a Platform

    Once you’ve purchased your domain name, it’s time to get started setting up your blog! First things first, it’s time to choose a platform. There are several options, including free platforms (Blogger) and paid platforms (WordPress and Squarespace). I highly recommend choosing one of the paid platforms. They aren’t that expensive, and it’s the only way to truly own your blog content.

    Since I use and recommend WordPress, this tutorial will be for those setting up a blog on WordPress using SiteGround hosting.

    First things first, head over to SiteGround and click “Sign Up”. This is where you’ll choose your hosting plan. If you’re setting up a brand new blog, I recommend going with the cheapest plan available. You can always upgrade later, but this plan will be a good starting place, and it’s a bargain at only $3.95/month!

    Seriously, that’s less than $50 per year!

     

     

    Finish signing up. Go through the signup form, filling in every space. Most of this is pretty self-explanatory, such as contact and payment information. When you get to the bottom, they’ll present you with additional services available. These are totally up to you, but I do recommend purchasing the domain security.

     

     

    Now that you’re all signed up with SiteGround, it’s time to install WordPress! In your SiteGround dashboard, you’re going to want to head to the “My Accounts” tab and click that red button that says “Go to cPanel”.

     

     

    Head down to “WordPress Tools” and select “WordPress Installer”, which is the first button in the box.

     

     

    This is what you’ll see next. Click the blue box that says “Install”.

     

     

    Fill out the form that comes up on the screen. This is where you’ll have an opportunity to name your site, fill in a site description, and choose a username and password. You can also choose to install a theme here if you already have one, but we’ll wait on that part for now.

    Once WordPress is fully installed, all that’s left to do is log in! Head over to your admin page (yourdomain . com / wp-admin). When you see the following screen, just log in and you’re all set!

     

     

    Tip: Why SiteGround?

     

    SiteGround is the hosting provider I recommend to all bloggers, both new and old. When I first started blogging, I was using a different hosting company (one you’ve probably seen promoted by other bloggers). It was a struggle for two years. My site was going down fairly often and the customer service was hardly ever any help.

    On the recommendation of quite a few other bloggers, I switched to SiteGround and haven’t regretted it once. My site hasn’t gone down a single time, and I literally cannot say enough good things about the customer service!

    Plus they offer SO many services that you otherwise would end up paying for separately, such as daily backups for your blog, free moves from http to https, and WAY more.

    The best part is that despite being (in my opinion) the best hosting provider, the pricing still cannot be beaten! You can start your blog for just $3.95/month with SiteGround, which is an amazing deal!

     

    Step 4: Installing a Theme

    Your work is far from over once you install WordPress, but there’s just one more technical piece we’re going to go through today – installing your theme! There are lots and lots of free WordPress themes available, but I really think purchasing a premium theme is worth it when it comes to making your blog as easy to use and aesthetically pleasing as possible.

    On my blog, I used the Divi Theme by Elegant Themes. I’ve used quite a few different themes over the years. The reason I ultimately chose Divi is how customizable and easy to use it is. Everything is drag and drop, meaning even someone who doesn’t understand code (like me) can totally customize their site however they want it.

    That’s why I think it is hands-down the BEST theme for beginners!

    Elegant Themes has TONS of tutorials on their website to set up your own blog with the Divi Theme. I’m planning to do a post at a later time sharing how I use it to create my site!

    Remember as you’re searching that most things in a theme such as fonts, logos, and colors will be customizable. The best bet is to focus on the overall structure and features of the theme when making your decision.

    Once you’ve downloaded your theme, find the “Appearance” button on the left side of your WordPress dashboard and select “Themes”. This is where you’ll be able to upload your new theme.

     

    Final Thoughts

    Everything I shared above is a lot of technical information that’s probably going to seem overwhelming if you’re brand new to blogging. But don’t worry! Take as much time as you need to get everything set up before you start creating content. 

    Plus if you ever have questions or technical issues, SiteGround‘s customer service is AMAZING and they can help you get over any roadblocks you might run into.

    Plus, you can ALWAYS reach out to me with any questions and I am happy to answer as best I can!

    I hope this information was all super helpful to you and provided you with the starting blocks to get your blog up and running and figure out where to focus your blog. Now that you’ve got your blog all set up, make sure to head over to my super-detailed guide on growing your blog this year!

     

     

     

     

    How to Start a Blog in 2018 - Want to start a blog? This the comprehensive guide for how to start a blog in 2018 is just what you need to help you with the technical aspects of starting your blog! | Blogging, Business, Side Hustle

    CONTINUE READING

  • 35+ Legit Ways to Make Extra Money

    35+ Legit Ways to Make Extra Money

     

    I love thinking of and talking about ways to make extra money.

    Like most people in my generation, I graduated college with my fair share of student loan debt. And let’s be real, life is just expensive in general. And rather than just getting by, paying my bills and being able to put a little extra in savings, I want to reach real financial freedom someday.

    And I truly believe that side hustles and extra income will be able to change my life – and yours too! Because of that, I’m sharing 35 ways to make extra money!  

     

    35+ Legit Ways To Make Extra Money

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.

     

    Start a Side Hustle

     

    1. Start a blog: This one is first on the list because it’s seriously my favorite of all the ways to make more money! Blogging started as just a hobby for me, but as soon as I realized the income potential, I dove right in! You can check out my tutorial on how to start a blog to learn how to start your own!

    2. Become an influencer: These days, it’s possible to make money with your online presence without even having a blog! If you have a significant following on social media, you can become an influencer and get paid to promote brands on social media (primarily Instagram). My favorite resource for becoming an influencer is the course Making Sense of Sponsored Posts.

    3. Start an Etsy shop: If you’re a crafty person, Etsy is definitely for you! Etsy is an online marketplace where you can sell anything that is handmade or vintage. My favorite resource for getting started with an Etsy shop is the course Mastermind Your Marketing.

    4. Freelance writing: Not only can you make money writing for your own blog, but you can become a freelance writer and make from other sites as well! I love using freelance writing as a way to supplement the money I make from my own blog. The best way to learn about freelance writing is through the course Earn More Writing, which is what I used to help me make money through freelance writing.

    5. Editing: In addition to freelance writing jobs, you can also find freelance editing jobs. Lots of blogs and websites hire freelances to edit their articles for them.

    6. Affiliate marketing: Affiliate marketing is where you make a commission selling someone else’s product. Bloggers make a lot of money with affiliate marketing, but you definitely don’t have to have a blog to be successful at affiliate marketing! You can share affiliate links anywhere, such as your social media pages, and make a commission when someone uses them. My absolute favorite resource for learning all things affiliate marketing is the course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.

    7. Become a virtual assistant: More and more companies and individuals are hiring virtual assistants, so it’s becoming a and more and more lucrative career. A virtual assistant (or VA) does administrative tasks for a person or business, but it’s done online instead of having to go into an office.

    8. Social media management: If you love being on social media and figuring out social media strategy, you can become a social media manager for other companies. Many companies and websites outsource their social media management rather than bring on someone full-time to handle it.

    9. Sell your photography: If you’re good with a camera, you can use that to make extra money. You could become a part-time photographer and take on jobs on the weekends, or you can sell your photography to a number of different stock photo sites.

    10. Start a different business: The options for online businesses are pretty endless these days, and chances are you can take something you’re passionate about and figure out how to make money from it online.

    11. Self-publish books: These days it’s surprisingly easy to publish a book. Here’s a guide on how to make money publishing your own books on Kindle!

     

    Make Extra Money Online

     

    12. Sign up for Rakuten: If you shop online, Rakuten is seriously the easiest way to make more money because it gives you FREE cash back on purchases you’re already making! You just sign up and click on a link through the Rakuten website when you make your purchase, and you’ll get cash back. You can sign up for Rakuten here and get $10 when you spend your first $25!

    13. Get cash back on groceries: Apps like Ibotta allow you to get cash back on groceries you already purchase! You just upload a picture of your receipt, and you’ll earn cash back on certain grocery purchases. I use Ibotta every week and ALWAYS find something to get cash back on.

    14. Teach English online: These days it’s super easy to find work teaching English online, and companies like VIPKID actually pay you really well to do it. You can get paid $17-$22 per hour and make your own schedule.

    15. Airbnb: If you’ve got an extra room in your home, try renting it out on Airbnb! There are even people who purchase rental properties just to rent them out on Airbnb. If you live in a popular city, you can seriously make a killing!

    16. Take online surveys: There are TONS of companies that will pay you to take market research surveys online! They’re free and easy to join and use. Here are a few companies that will pay you to take surveys:

     

    Offer Services to Other People

     

    17. Pet sitting: If you’re an animal lover, this one is seriously right up your alley! This could either mean you staying at someone else’s home, or having their pet stay with you. Either way, it’s a win-win because you’re getting paid to hand out with animals!

    18. Babysitting: If pets aren’t your thing but you love kids, look for babysitting or nanny jobs instead! You’re not going to get rich taking care of someone else’s kids, but it’s definitely a way to make some extra money.

    19. Housesit: Believe it or not, you can make money looking after someone’s home while they’re out of town. Sites like TrustedHousesitters can help you to connect with people who are looking for someone to housesit for them. This is even more lucrative an offer for people who are traveling and can save money by housesitting instead of paying for lodging. TrustedHousesitters is specifically for pet lovers!

    20. Yard maintenance: You can make money by mowing lawns and doing other lawn maintenance in the summer or shoveling and plowing snow in the winter.

    21. Clean homes: If you’re one of those rare people who really don’t mind cleaning, then getting paid to clean homes might be right up your alley!

    22. Rent out your car: Apps like Turo allow you to rent your car to others for the day.

     

    Sell Your Stuff

     

    23. Sell on eBay: eBay is still a great place to sell used items and ship them to their new owner.

    24. Sell on Craigslist: Craigslist is a great way to find local buyers you sell your used items. The one downside to Craigslist is meeting up with a stranger, so I always like to do this in a public place!

    25. Sell on Facebook: Facebook’s marketplace makes it super easy to sell stuff online. I’ve had a lot of success with this. The big upside to Facebook over Craigslist is that it’s a little easier to vet the person you’re meeting up with.

    26. Sell on Poshmark: If you’ve got a closet full of clothes you don’t wear, you can make extra money by selling them on Poshmark.

     

    Make Extra Money at Your Job

     

    27. Ask for a raise: Asking for a raise at your current job is a great way to make extra money because it doesn’t require you to take on extra work. You’re just making more doing the job you were already doing!

    28. Work overtime: If you work an hourly job, consider working extra hours to make extra money.

    29. Get a promotion: If there’s room to grow in your company, see if a promotion is available.

     

    Other Ways to Make Extra Money

     

    30. Pick up a seasonal job: During the holidays there are TONS of seasonal jobs available. This really comes in handy since the holidays are when most of us could use a little extra money anyways! In addition to a little extra money, you also might be able to take advantage of an employee discount for some of your Christmas shopping!

    31. Sell plasma: Did you know there are companies who will pay you for your plasma? The process is similar to donating blood, but you get paid for it! A lot of friends of mine did this in high school and college for extra money, and you can earn about $50 per donation.

    32. Sign up for credit card rewards: There are lots of credit cards that offer cash back for using them, or for spending a certain amount of money in the first three months. Make sure to only go this route if you really feel you’re responsible enough for a credit card (because let’s be honest, not everybody is).

    33. Invest: Investing obviously isn’t a sure thing and it’s not as quick of a way to make money as some of the other things on this list. But if you have the money available, you might consider investing.

    You can also use an app like Acorns, which will round up the spare change from your purchases and invest them. It’s 100% hands-off, and you aren’t investing a significant amount of money, so it’s a great way to start investing!

    34. Become an Uber or Lyft driver: A part-time job that you can do completely on your own schedule is becoming an Uber or Lyft driver. You don’t have a schedule so you can work around your life, and you can make a lot of money if you’re available to drive at peak times.

    35. Get a part-time job: Check out local businesses to find a part-time job. Jobs such as retail, serving, and bartending are ideal when you have your nights and weekends free.

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    Let’s be real, most of us could really use a little extra income these days. Whether you’re trying to get out of debt or saving for a big goal, making a little extra money is a great way to do it. Hopefully, one of the ideas on this list will speak to you and be just what you need to bring in a little extra money every month!

    CONTINUE READING

  • Why You Should Start a Side Hustle (And 9 Side Hustle Ideas)

    Why You Should Start a Side Hustle (Plus 9 Side Hustle Ideas)

     

    When I first started blogging, I definitely didn’t have the intention of making money from it (I had no idea you could make money blogging). But it didn’t take me long to realize that it’s totally possible to turn a blog (or another hobby) into a side hustle you can actually make an income from! In this post, I’m talking about why YOU should start a side hustle, and I’m also sharing a few awesome side hustle ideas!

     

    Why You Should Start a Side Hustle

     

    You Can Diversify Your Income

    When I first started blogging, I gave no thought to the idea that I might be able to monetize my blog. In fact, I didn’t even know you could make money blogging! But it didn’t take me long to realize that there are a lot of people online making a great income from their blog or online business. I don’t make a full-time income from my blog by far, but it’s nice to have a bit of extra income in addition to my full-time job.

    I love my full-time job and blogging on the side, but a lot of people are side hustling with the intention of turning it into a full-time job. Starting your business on the side before quitting your job is a great way to allow you to grow slowly and stay financially stable until you’re making enough money to make the leap.

    Regardless of whether you want to turn your side hustle into a full-time job, having an extra source of income is great! Whether you’re paying off debt, saving for a trip, or just trying to build up your savings account, the extra income always helps!

     

    You’ll Have a Creative Outlet

    When I first started blogging, this is exactly why I did it. I have always loved writing and while I was doing a lot of writing in my full-time job, it didn’t leave a lot of room for creativity. The content I share on my site has changed significantly from the beginning, but I still love that it’s my own space where I can write about whatever I want.

    I will say, blogging is no longer quite as much of a stress relief as it was when I first started. In the beginning, it was just a hobby and was great for stress relief and just a way to focus on something fun. Since I’ve started making an income from my blog, there are obviously additional stressors put on it. Nevertheless, I still get a lot of joy from it and love having it as a creative outlet.

     

    You Can Make a Career Change

    If you’re interested in switching career fields but don’t necessarily have the resume to get a job in the new field, starting a side hustle is a great way to do that! I’ve only worked in one field since graduating college, and by starting a blog I was able to gain experience in areas I would never have otherwise, and that experience would be super helpful if I wanted to change career fields to something more relevant to blogging.

    If you have a specific career field in mind that you’re hoping to switch into, think of the relevant skills you’re going to need and what kind of side hustle would allow you to hone those skills.

     

    You’ll Learn New Skills

    Even if you aren’t out to jump into a new career, you can still learn some awesome new skills from a side hustle! Before I started my blog, I had no idea of the skills and the hard work that went into running a successful blog and online business.

    When I started blogging, I decided I wanted to learn as much as I could about blogging, social media, SEO, etc., and really dove into educating myself. I’ve learned so many skills over the last few years that I would never have had the chance to learn otherwise!

    Even if you aren’t planning on taking your side hustle full-time or switching into a new career field, these skills can be super useful in growing your side hustle and in other areas of your life and career as well. I’ve definitely found some of the skills I’ve learned to be super useful in my current full-time job, even though it’s a completely different industry!

     

    You’ll Meet New People

    This one has come as a huge surprise to me, but definitely a pleasant one! When I first started my blog, it didn’t occur to me that I might be able to meet new people. I simply started it to have a creative outlet. However, I quickly learned that there are a ton of people online doing the same thing I am, and there are so many ways to connect with them!

    One of my favorite ways to connect with other bloggers and side hustlers has been through Facebook groups. There are tons of Facebook groups specifically for people to ask questions (lots of technical questions about setting up and running a blog, as well as questions on growing your audience).

    There are also groups solely for connecting with other online business owners. I have met some awesome people in these groups, and blogging definitely wouldn’t be the same without that online community of people who are going through all of the same struggles I am.

     

    You’ll Be Pushed Out of Your Comfort Zone

    I’ve always been a fairly shy person and to be completely honest, my comfort zone has always been pretty small, and I definitely feel like that has caused me to miss out on some experiences over the years.

    Since starting a blog, I’ve put myself out there in a way that I would never have otherwise, and have had the opportunity to interact with people who I wouldn’t have otherwise.

    If you’re someone who has a small comfort zone as I did for most of my life, a side hustle might be an awesome opportunity for you to challenge yourself and come out of your shell a bit!

     

    Side Hustle Ideas

     

    1. Start a Blog – This is definitely #1 for me! I started my blog in 2014 and have loved it ever since. It’s a great way to make some extra money while also doing something super fun (if writing happens to be super fun for you). The best part is there are so many different ways to make money from a blog!
    2. Open an Online Shop – Are you really crafty at something? Start selling your goods online! You can set up a shop on a site like Etsy, or set up your own site altogether.
    3. Become a Freelancer – Whatever your skill is, freelance it! There are tons of sites these days that connect freelancers with work opportunities.
    4. Sell Digital Products – It’s super easy to create and sell digital products these days. There are tons of options from online courses to eBooks to printables.
    5. Teach a Skill – If you have an awesome skill, chances are someone else is willing to pay you to teach it to them. Whether you play a musical instrument or are an awesome chef, I guarantee there’s a way to make money teaching someone else your skill.
    6. Become a Dog Walker/Sitter – If you love animals, this can be a fun way to make a bit of extra money while also doing something super fun!
    7. Drive for Uber/Lyft – I know quite a few people who have become an Uber driver in addition to their full-time job.
    8. Take Online Surveys – Online surveys won’t make you a ton of money, but a little extra here and there!
    9. Get a Part-Time Job – If you want to make a bit of extra money but aren’t interested in doing anything entrepreneurial, look for a part-time job at a nearby business.

     

    Final Thoughts

    These are definitely some great reasons to start a side hustle, and the side hustle ideas I shared above are a great start if you’re looking to start one! I would LOVE for you to leave me a comment and let me know if you have a side hustle, and leave a link so we can check it out!

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  • How to Start a Business While Working Full-Time

    How to Start a Business While Working Full-Time

     

    When I started this blog back in 2014, I really had no plans to start a business while working full-time. It was meant to be a creative outlet and a way to build relationships online with those with similar interests and passions.

    Things have morphed a lot since then. Not only was I able to successfully grow my blog, but I also used it to launch a successful freelance writing business.

    For most of the time I’ve been blogging, I had a full-time job. Yes, starting a business while working a full-time job is a lot of work. A ton of work. But it’s a task that more and more people are taking on as they try to increase their income through side-hustles.

    If you’re interested in starting a business while working a full-time job, then this post is for you!

     

    How To Start A Business While Working Full-Time

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.

     

    Know What You’re Getting Yourself Into

     

    You should know ahead of time that the task you’re getting ready to take on is not an easy one. Starting a business under any circumstances is stressful and a huge time investment, but starting a side business alongside a full-time job means all the stress without having nearly as much time to devote to it.

    If you’re serious about your decision to start a side business, know that there are going to be sacrifices. It will likely mean passing up nights out with friends, time spent on other hobbies, and time you may have spent doing something more relaxing such as reading or binge-watching your favorite shows.

    While I caution you to take these things into account before you start a side business, I also wouldn’t consider these reasons not to. In the years since I started this blog, I’ve absolutely found those sacrifices to be worth it!

     

    Do Your Research Ahead of Time

     

    When I first started this blog, I was woefully unprepared for the task of running a business. That totally worked in my case, because it was purely a hobby for a long time, and I didn’t make my first dollar until I had already been at it for a year! But if you’re starting this journey with the intention of starting a real business, you’ll want to do a bit more research upfront.

    Take some time to consider what kind of business you’re starting, what services you’ll offer, and who your target audience will be. This will make it so much easier to start creating, whether it be a service, a product, or online content. It will also make it easier to make a marketing plan because you’ll know exactly who you’re marketing to, where they hang out online, and what it is they need from you.

    Running a business alongside a full-time job also takes a lot of planning. If you just wing it every time you sit down to work, or you don’t know what you should be working on, then you aren’t going to make much progress with your business.

    Everyone has a different system for planning that works best for them. Here’s how I plan my business ahead of time:

    • At the beginning of the year, I consider my business goals for the year and decide what projects and areas I really want to focus on.
    • Using Asana, I break those projects down into a timeline and write out every action item I’m going to need to accomplish.
    • Every week, I sit down and plan my entire week in advance. I use my Asana projects and task list to write out my daily to-do list/schedule for each day in my planner.

    Certainly, things come up that weren’t on my to-do list, or certain projects get dropped throughout the year. Plans change somewhat.

    That being said, it’s still super important to make a plan so you know everything on your to-do list is truly helping you to reach your goals.

     

    Invest in Your Business

     

    One of the great things about building an online business is that the start-up costs are quite low. I spent no money at all when I first started my blog, other than the cost of my own domain. Since then, even as my business has grown, I’ve still been able to keep costs low.

    The type of business you’re starting will certainly impact the investment needed up front, but I recommend limiting those costs as much as possible. You might also consider cutting costs in other areas of your life so you have more money available to put toward your business before you start bringing in an income there.

    Your costs upfront will likely include a domain and hosting service. You also might consider an email marketing platform and social media marketing tools. If you’re creating a physical product, you’ll have even more start-up costs associated.

     

    Set Goals and Hold Yourself Accountable

     

    I have found goal-setting to be hugely beneficial when it comes to growing my blog and business. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks of writing new blog posts and promoting them on social media, and sometimes you can lose sight of the big picture and other projects you might like to take on.

    I like to find balance by having a few big goals that I’m working toward along with my normal blogging routine. Most notably, those big goals have included opening my Etsy shop and writing and launching my eBook.

    It can be so easy when your business is a side-hustle to set goals for yourself and then find that you never actually get around to accomplishing them. Find ways to hold yourself accountable to your goals such as writing them down, setting deadlines, and sharing them with others.

     

    Manage Your Time Wisely

     

    There’s no doubt about it, you’re going to have to get crafty with your time management if you’re going to start a side hustle. If you’re working full-time, that means 40 hours every week that you won’t be spending growing your business.

    Your evenings and weekends will suddenly be worth their weight in gold for your business. I like to make the most of that time by making sure I’ve outlined ahead of time what tasks I need to get done. You can also try to take advantage of early mornings and lunch hours (if that’s an option for you) to sneak in a little extra work.

    Everyone eventually figures out a system that works best for them, and it’s different for every business owner. I typically spend a couple of evenings each week working on blog work, as well as one full day on the weekend if I can manage it (on weekends where I’ve got a lot going on personally I’ll just make up for that lost work by putting in more hours during the workday evenings).

     

    Have a Content Strategy

     

    When I first started blogging (and for probably the first 2-3 years of my blog) I had no content strategy whatsoever.

    I would write blog posts that I thought were interesting with absolutely no thought as to how they would fit into my overall blog strategy.

    I also created lead magnets for my email list without any sort of strategy. I once created a lead magnet around a topic I wrote about only a few times, and that I wasn’t really interested in continuing to write about or monetize.

    And then 2,000 people signed up for the lead magnet. And I had 2,000 people on my email list (that I had to pay for) who had no interest in what I actually talk about on my blog.

    That experience definitely showed me how important a content strategy really is. Any time you write a blog post or email, create a lead magnet or throw up a social media post, know WHY you’re doing it.

    Have a goal for every piece of content. Is your blog post meant to grow your email list by sharing a relevant lead magnet? Is it meant to sell your product or even an affiliate product? Is it meant to build trust with your audience?

    Since implementing a content strategy for my blog, I’ve noticed that my audience is way more engaged and actually care about me and the things I’m posting!

     

    Batch Your Work

     

    Since blogging is not my full-time job, I don’t always have a consistent time to work on it. One week I might have a full 30-40 hours to devote to my blog, and the next week it might be more like 10.

    The best way I’ve found to deal with this inconsistency is by batching my work. If I have a day where I have a full eight hours to work on my business, I don’t just write my next blog post. I write my next four blog posts.

    I also schedule my social media posts for the entire month at once. It just takes me a few hours, and then I know I won’t have to worry about social media posts for the rest of the month.

    The other benefit of batching your work is that you’re saving yourself a lot of transition time. For example, I like to schedule Pinterest images for all of my upcoming blog posts at once. I’ve already got my design program open. I’m already focused on that project.

    If you have a consistent blogging schedule and always have to same chunks of time to devote to blogging, you could assign certain tasks to certain days.

    For example, you might have one day where you write all your blog posts for the following week, one day where you design the graphics, one day where you write and schedule the social media posts, etc.

     

    Get Off Balance

     

    One of my favorite bloggers and life coach Natalie Bacon teaches that if you want to reach a big goal, you need to get off balance in your life.

    We read so much these days about creating balance in your life and the importance of creating work-life balance.

    But if your blog is really a top priority for you, then you just can’t give it the same weight as everything else in your life. You need to prioritize your time so that your biggest priorities are getting the most time!

    Making your blog a priority is going to mean cutting back on other parts of your life. It means fewer nights out with friends and fewer days binge-watching your favorite shows.

    It might mean being okay with your house being mostly clean instead of super clean so you can devote more hours to your blog.

    Personally, I love reading. I used to spend hours reading every week. And don’t get me wrong, I still love reading. And I still make time to read. But I don’t devote the amount of time to it that I used to.

    I would rather spend more time on my blog and have that hard work pay off sooner.

    It’s up to you to decide how you’re going to prioritize your life. But just know that if you’re balancing your blog equal to everything else in your life, you aren’t going to see the fast growth you hope for.

     

    Network, Network, Network

     

    As I mentioned before, more and more people are choosing to become entrepreneurs while also holding a full-time job. This means you’re in good company and there are tons of like-minded individuals online doing what you’re doing!

    Forming relationships with other online bloggers and business owners has been truly invaluable to growing my own business. First of all, it has helped me to grow my business by allowing me to find individuals who are interested in what I’m talking about on my blog. It has also allowed me to make online friends whom I can lean on and who understand the pressures and stressors that go into this world of online business.

    Just a quick search on Facebook will allow you to find countless Facebook groups of like-minded entrepreneurs! You can also connect by reaching out directly on Instagram, Twitter, or another social media page.

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    If you have a side business, you know that building a successful business with a full-time job is not easy.

    It takes time. It takes an insane amount of hard work. And it just might take a bit of your sanity (kidding…sort of).

    One of the biggest challenges people seem to run into when they’re building their blog is really balancing their blog with a job that takes up 40+ hours of their week.

    I know the lessons I shared in this blog post can help you get on the right track.

     

     

    How to Start a Business While Working Full-Time - Thinking of starting a side-hustle? That’s AWESOME! Here are some tips to start a business while working full-time. - Blogging | Side Hustle

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  • How to Write an eBook That Sells

    In 2016 I wrote my first eBook and officially launched it in October. Writing an eBook had been the #1 goal on my list for that year, and writing a book has been a goal of mine for just about my entire life. When I first got the idea I was grossly unprepared. I had this idea that I would just write something up in Microsoft Word, and surely people would buy it. Well, that’s not exactly how it went, and luckily I figured that out early in the process.

    You see, just when I was getting started on my eBook Abby Lawson at Just a Girl and Her Blog launched an eCourse called Book Boss, which was meant to help you write and launch an eBook in 90 days. Since it was at a launch price that seemed like a steal, I impulsively bought the course. Let me just say – best decision ever. In this post, I’m going to run you through what I loved about the course, and give you some guidance on how to write an eBook.

     

    write an ebook

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.

     

    HOW TO WRITE AN EBOOK THAT SELLS

     

     

    Know Your Audience

     

    My eBook idea changed a LOT from the time I had the idea of writing one until the time I actually wrote one. Part of the reason for that was that my blog changed a lot too! When I first started blogging, I blogged about just about EVERYTHING. I had no clear focus, and therefore no clear audience.

    Finally, when I was really ready to dig into my eBook, I did a survey to find out more about my readers and what they wanted from me.

    At this point, I had become more and more passionate about writing about both blogging and productivity, and a quick reader survey showed me that those topics were perfect! The majority of my readers have their own blog, but most of them also have a job outside the home, meaning they’re balancing the two. The survey showed me that people were struggling to find that balance, and I knew I had my topic.

    That’s how I ended up writing Streamline Your Side-Hustle, to help people balance their blogs, their jobs, and everything in between.

     

    Set an End Date

     

    I set the goal of writing an eBook in 2015 but didn’t really start writing it until July of 2016. I continued to tell myself I would get to it eventually, just not yet. Finally, in July I looked at my calendar and picked a date about three months out that I was for sure going to launch my eBook.

    I hadn’t even started writing yet and I was already running out of time! If there’s anything that will light a fire under you to get something accomplished, it’s having a deadline. It becomes even more real when you announce to your readers months early that you have an eBook coming soon because then you have people waiting and counting on you. Accountability at it’s finest!

     

    Write a Launch Plan

     

    Despite what I thought when I first set out to write an eBook, you can’t just write something and post it online somewhere and assume that people will buy it. The launch is as important as the writing process itself! Book Boss provides a super comprehensive planner of every single task you’ll do in the 90 days leading up to your launch, so it really made it as simple as possible for me.

     

    Have People to Sell To

     

    Writing and launching the eBook is all well and good, but you have to have someone to launch to! I used a free email course on a topic related to my eBook topic to start building my email list months before actually launching my eBook. That way, when the time came to launch, I knew I would have people on my list who were interested in my topic!

    Someone on your email list is going to be WAY more invested in your work than someone reading your blog or following your Instagram account, so getting people onto the email list is key to making sales. And I knew my email subscribers would be interested in my topic because my free email opt-in SUPER relevant to my eBook topic!

     

    So what about Book Boss?

     

    I feel super lucky that Abby launched Book Boss when she did. I can’t imagine what my eBook and launch what have looked like without taking that course. The tips I shared above honestly barely scratch the surface of what the course entails.

    Instead of just telling you to have a launch plan, Abby shares the exact launch plan she uses for her own eBooks, complete with a calendar of events. She gives detailed questions she asks in reader surveys to gauge what it is her readers want to learn from her and gives lots of technical advice on setting up landing pages, shopping carts, and more.

    If writing an eBook is something you have considered (I 1000% recommend it!), then you simply can’t go wrong with Book Boss!

     

    BEFORE YOU GO

     

    P.S. If you’re ready to start or grow your blog, here are some blogging resources I recommend checking out:

     

    And don’t forget to sign up for my FREE 5-Day blog challenge where I teach you how to grow your blog from hobby to side hustle!

     

     

    write an ebook

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  • Tax Tips for Your Side Hustle

    Tax Tips For Bloggers & How I Manage My Blog Finances

     

    One of the biggest mistakes I made when I started my business was not understanding the tax implications. I knew I paid taxes out of my paychecks from my full-time government job. Yet somehow, I didn’t consider the fact that I would have to pay taxes on my side hustle.

    And eventually, that ignorance came back to bite me. After a couple of years, I had started to make real money and ended up with a large tax bill when I filed my taxes. I definitely learned my lesson then.

    Now over the past few years, I’ve seen more and more people starting their own side hustles, which is amazing. But whether it’s a blog, an Etsy shop, a gig side hustle, or anything else, it’s important to know what it means for your taxes.

    In retrospect, I wish I had all of the knowledge and the bookkeeping and tax system that I have today in those early years. So today, I’m sharing all of that advice I have with you to ensure you don’t make the same mistakes I do.

     

    Tax Tips For Your Side Hustle

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.

     

    Set up a separate bank account

    First things first, if you’ve decided to start making money from any side hustle or small business set up a separate bank account ASAP.

    When you are making money from your side hustle, you have to track every single dollar of income you get. And since you report and pay taxes on your income, you’ll also get to deduct your expenses (meaning you need to track those too).

    The best way to do this is by keeping your side hustle income separate. If you have your side hustle income going to your personal bank account, you’re sifting through far more transactions to figure out which were and were not business-related.

    Aside from making it easier to track, it also helps with budgeting. I like investing in myself and my business with tools and education. However, I want to make sure the amount I’m investing in the business isn’t excessive compared to the amount I’m bringing in. Having a bank account with just my business income, especially early on, showed me exactly how much I’ve made from my business so I can get a look at the big-picture of my business finances.

    It also helps when it comes to paying quarterly taxes. QuickBooks (the tool I use to manage my business finances) keeps track of how much I’m likely to be paying in estimated quarterly taxes. I keep an eye on that number and make sure I ALWAYS have enough set aside to cover that number.

    Then, when I have money left after the amount I need for quarterly taxes and the amount I plan to reinvest in the business, I can transfer that money into my personal bank account.

     

    Track all income and expenses

    Track every dollar you make from or spend on your side hustle. That way when it comes time to file taxes, you’re ready to go. As I mentioned above, setting up a separate bank account makes it way easier to do this. So does using an accounting tool like QuickBooks.

    As you’re tracking your expenses, make sure you save all of your receipts so you can deduct them on your taxes. Without receipts to prove your expenses, you might run into trouble with the IRS down the road.

    I recommend doing your bookkeeping at least monthly. My QuickBooks is connected to my business checking account and credit card, meaning it automatically pulls all income and expenses. I simply sit down once per month and go through them to ensure everything is accurate.

    Then, at the end of the year, it’s easy to pull all of that information for my business tax return. And since I’ve been diligently checking it each month, I know it’s all accurate.

     

    Report all of your income

    The bottom line is that you need to report every dollar you make from your side hustle. I read articles or Facebook posts occasionally where someone says you don’t have to pay income unless you make a certain amount of money, or you only have to report income you have a 1099 form for. That’s simply not the case.

    The IRS wants to know about and tax every dollar that you’re bringing in. Yes, you may get 1099 forms from some companies you work for. But that is NOT the only income you have to report.

    The pain of having to pay taxes on your side hustle income is a lot less than the pain of the fine you could be facing down the road if you don’t report your income.

     

    Know what you can deduct

    Having to report and pay income on your side hustle income is a bummer, but the good news is that your side hustle expenses are tax-deductible! The general rule is that you can deduct any expenses that are considered reasonable and necessary for your profession.

    The expenses you deduct will depend on the type of side hustle you have. Deductions that I deduct for my own business include the cost of my website, bookkeeping software, marketing expenses, education, my accountant, and more.

    NerdWallet has a really good list of common tax deductions for small businesses you can use to see which of your expenses qualify.

     

    Learn about quarterly taxes

    Do you know how at your full-time job there is money taken out of every paycheck for taxes? Yeah, that’s because the IRS wants you to be paying taxes on your money as you’re earning it. Meaning if you’re making money from your side hustle, they don’t want you to wait until the following April to be making good on that tax bill.

    That is where quarterly taxes come in. Every quarter (on April 15, June 15, September 15, and January 15) you will pay your quarterly taxes. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have an accounting tool for your business, because this tool will estimate your quarterly taxes for you and coordinate the payment (my go-to accounting tool is QuickBooks).

    Don’t start freaking out now – this rule probably doesn’t apply to you if you’re a beginner. Generally, you won’t have to do this if you didn’t have a tax liability the following year OR if you don’t owe more than $1,000 in taxes for your side hustle. If you’re concerned about it though, I would definitely talk to an accountant.

     

    Find the right tools to help you

    Finances and taxes can be complicated. There’s a reason we pay accountants so much money to do this for us. And if you’re new to the whole side hustle thing, this probably all seems pretty overwhelming to you. The best advice I can offer you is to find tools that help you to implement these tax and finance tips. Here are my favorites:

    1. QuickBooks: This is the tool I use to do my business accounting. I’ve tried a couple of other tools, and this one is hands down my favorite so far. It connects to my business bank account, credit card, and PayPal account to track all of my income and expenses. It also tracks my estimated quarterly income. Finally, it connects with TurboTax (the tool I used to use to file my taxes) so I can just import all of my business income and expenses for the year.
    2. TurboTax: As I mentioned, this is the tool I previously used to file my taxes. I now work with a CPA who files my taxes, but when your business finances are fairly simple, a software like TurboTax can do the trick.

     

    Hire a CPA

    I’m going to share a secret with you: It took me more than five years of being a business owner before I finally hired an accountant. While many people will recommend this as a first step when you start a business or side hustle, I really think you can DIY your finances at first – if you understand what you’re doing.

    But eventually, you may hit a point where your financial situation has become too complicated to handle your own taxes. I should also mention that while I went the DIY approach for several years, I was a personal finance blogger, meaning I had a deeper understanding of taxes.

    If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the tax part of running a side hustle or don’t feel that you understand what’s expected of you, then I recommend hiring a CPA sooner. The cost you’ll pay is well worth avoiding any problems with the IRS.

     

    Final thoughts

    Learning to deal with taxes and finances is definitely one of the most daunting parts of having a side hustle. For years after earning income from my business, I was nervous that I would make a mistake. Do your research and when in doubt, talk to an accountant. if you already have an accountant you work with for your taxes, they should be able to talk you through all of this.

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