Ways Side Hustles Have Changed My Life - picture of young woman holding coffee at her laptop

5 Ways Side Hustles Have Changed My Life

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I love me a good side hustle story.

That’s why I was super stoked to receive a gift in the mail last week. It was from my friend David Carlson, a fellow personal finance blogger and Minnesota native. (Skol!) Even though I’d been expecting it for a couple of weeks, I rarely get anything cool in the mail, which made me even more excited to bust it open and check it out.

Inside was David’s new book, “Hustle Away Debt.” It’s a great read that covers all the different aspects of side hustles – including how to get started, ideas for side hustles of your own, and ways to improve your results. Whether you’re new to the concept or an old hustlin’ pro, the book provides valuable insight into creating successful side hustles.

But, what really intrigues me is the premise behind the book: Using a side hustle to get out of debt. I think that’s a freakin’ brilliant idea.

Personally, I despise debt. Unfortunately, I don’t think most of us understand how much debt really affects our lives.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Debt is the single biggest obstacle standing between you and the life of your dreams. I know it was for us. And ever since we worked our way out of debt, life has really taken off for us.

So, using money  from a side hustle to pay down debt? Hellllls to the yes! I’m all about it.

How Side Hustles Changed My Life

Of course, David’s book got me thinking about side hustles in general. I mean, side hustles have changed my life in about…oh…a gajillion ways. So, like the sentimental goober I am, I started making a list. It turned out ridonkulously long, but here’s the short version which highlights some of the most important.

Side Hustles Helped Us Get Ahead

If you’re going to start a side hustle, you want to make extra money, right? I mean, that’s the whole point. But, a little bit of cash can’t change your life, right?

Wrong. This blog was originally intended to be just a side hustle. When we started it, we crossed our fingers and hoped to make a little bit of money. Of course, we always dreamed it may grow larger, but I’m not sure we ever really believed it could replace our income.

But, we worked at it. We put our time in. And, eventually, our new project started making a few hundred bucks a month.

As the blog kept growing, so did the income. Rather than blowing that money on Birken bags and boy toys, we continued saving money! The nest egg we created with side hustle money gave us the flexibility and the confidence to take a few more risks, which in turn led to more money. It was a giant snowball that just kept building on itself until…

They Allowed Us to Quit Our Jobs

Yep. We grew our side hustle into a full-time job…for both of us. We ditched our 9 to 5s and said hello to the world of self-employment. Starting a side hustle helped us stumble into a career that we both love.

That’s the thing about a side hustle. When you work for somebody else, you don’t have much control over what happens with your career. Both your income

Hustle Away Debt
Here’s me with my copy of the book! Thanks DC!

potential and upward mobility is (generally) limited to the extent your employer is willing to let you grow.

With a side hustle, you’re in control. It’s your own little business for you to nurture and grow as large as you want. Your income is limited only by your market size and the amount of work you’re willing to put in. You can use your side hustle as a way to supplement your income or – eventually – turn it into your full-time gig. The choice is yours.

They Gave Us More Freedom

One of the biggest benefits of being debt-free is that it creates options. Since we were already out of debt, we were able to use our side hustle income in other ways. Generating extra income gave us more freedom to find and pursue our passions. For us, that meant (and still means) traveling the world.

Before we started our side hustle, we couldn’t afford to do a ton of traveling. Generally, we went on one or two small vacations a year. With our side hustle generating extra cash flow, we had more wiggle room in our budget.

Our side hustle provided us with extra money to use on the things we value. Of course, it eventually led to the biggest freedom of all – working for ourselves.

Need Free Travel Advice? Click Here!

Side Hustles Taught Me How to Run a Business

When you work for somebody else, you don’t fully appreciate all that it takes to run a business. I never did, at least. Starting our different side hustles not only taught me the logistics of running a business, but it also helped me appreciate the concept of “working on the business” rather than in it.

Learning to run a successful business is a great lesson for anybody. Small business is filled with all kinds of personal finance gems. Learning how to manage budgets, cash flow, expenses, taxes – it’s all stuff that you can apply to your own money. Plus, if you’re working a regular 9 to 5, you’ll gain a greater understanding of what each small expense really means for your boss’ bottom line.

They Helped Me Appreciate the Hustle in Others

I have to admit, I used to have a little bit of class envy. I’m not even sure I even realized it. Not any more.

It’s easy to look at somebody successful and think, “Man, some people have all the luck.” When we haven’t experienced the hustle it takes to build and run a successful business, it’s easy to blame success on privilege, inheritance, and dumb luck. We’re quick to discount the true cause of most people’s success: Hard freakin’ work.

After experiencing success firsthand, I’ve come to appreciate the hustle in others. I can relate to their journey and I understand their sacrifice. I’m no longer intimidated or put off by others’ success. I cheer and encourage it. In fact, I think the world needs more hustlers. I’ve learned that success is rarely a product of luck or accident. To steal from Thomas Edison, the reason that most people miss opportunities to succeed is because it’s usually dressed up in overalls and looks like work.

Congratulations hustlers! Keep it up!

See Also: 52 Side Jobs You Can Start Today!

Wrapping Up

Starting a side hustle has changed our life in incredible ways. It can do the same for you.

A side hustle is a great way to learn about money plus make some extra income. Use that money to pay down debt, build your savings, or use for fun. Who knows? Maybe you can even build it into your full-time gig someday!

So, what are you waiting for? Are you hustlin’ yet?

To get your copy of David’s new book – “Hustle Away Debt: Eliminate Your Debt by Making More Money” – just click the link!

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31 Comments

  1. Don’t you wish you could just MAKE people understand how great it is not to have debt and to not be living paycheck to paycheck? I think if people could just feel how it feels, everyone would be motivated to save more and make drastic changes in their lives (including for some side hustles)! Love your blog-thanks for all the awesome info!

    1. Ha! If only. But, it is much better for them to learn and understand that themselves 😉

      Thanks for the kind words! Glad you enjoy the blog!

  2. Love y’all’s story Greg and can relate a lot to it in our personal lives. It wasn’t until we started our side hustles that so many other things began to open up – in time of course. “In fact, I think the world needs more hustlers. I’ve learned that success is rarely a product of luck or accident. To steal from Thomas Edison, the reason that most people miss opportunities to succeed is because it’s usually dressed up in overalls and looks like work.” – absolutely yes – LOVE this quote!

    1. Thanks John! Without our side hustles, we never would have made it to where we are today. Plus, I didn’t even mention all of the friends we’ve made through side hustling. It binds us all together 🙂

      And you’re right, it does take a little time. You just have to keep grinding away, and eventually the results will come.

  3. I love a good side hustle. I am always fascinated by the different businesses people start to make money on the side. I’m in the process of creating my own online business which involves informational products. I plan for it to replace the income from my day job.

  4. I’ve cut back on side hustles to enjoy my life a bit more, but they really can make a difference in someone’s financial situation and it’s very empowering to now that there is no ceiling on income, if you want to put in the time and effort.

  5. I am SO glad I started side hustling. I would probably still be working my old day job that I absolutely hated.

    1. Heck yeah you are! Even if you don’t hate your day job, it’s a great way to make a little extra money and further your goals…especially if you’re in debt!

  6. Oh yeah! We’re hustling. Side hustling does all of that and more. I think there is great potential in the unknown that only becomes known after giving it a go. Side hustling has literally become our business, one that we hope to take on the road soon!

    1. Awesome Claudia! That’s what entrepreneurship is all about – seeing potential, creating something new (or finding a better way), and delivering on a need. Good luck!

  7. Side hustles have seriously had a huge impact on your guy’s lives. I remember a post a few years back where Holly talked about how she was considering quitting the blog at times. Can you imagine how different both of your lives would look? It’s so great that it turned into a new full-time job for both of you.

    And of course – thanks so much for taking a look at the book and mentioning it! I appreciate it!

    1. Yep. It’s crazy how one little hustle changed everything in our lives. You never know how close you are when you give up.

      And of course, we’re happy to mention the book DC 🙂 Great work. Like I’ve told you, it’s fun to watch you hustlin’ to promote it!

  8. I wish we had figured out a side hustle years ago. It could have helped us retire earlier. After we retire we may turn some of our hobbies and passions into side hustles. All in good time… You and Holly are doing wonderfully!

    1. Thanks Mrs. Groovy! I think side hustles are good at any time. Maybe you could start your side hustle now so it’s already hopping when you retire. That might be a nice little retirement income stream for you 🙂

  9. Every minute that I’m not at work ( and a lot of the time I’m at work ) I am thinking about what I can do extra to get us out of debt. I know that getting out of debt for us will mean we can start working towards doing what we want with our lives and not what we have to do.
    Definitely gonna have to take a look at this book!

    -KB

    1. That’s fantastic Kevin! I love the attitude…and you should definitely give the book a look!

  10. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t interested in side hustling until I became a stay-at-home mother. I quite enjoyed my full time job which allowed me to travel, attend lots of cool industry events, meet loads of people and on top of that, it paid well. Now that I’m staying at home with my son and our combined income has dropped, I’m seriously considering working from home. Thanks for a great post and inspiration!

  11. SO inspirational, and I’m ordering a copy of that book right now. Starting off the day right!

  12. Side hustling is finally allowing me to get a hold of my debt. Without it I’d probably still be in a dark place. Now I need to ramp the side hustles up and eliminate this debt for good.

    1. It’s a great way to throw some extra money at your debt, especially if you’re doing everything else right to begin with. Keep up the good work Jason!

  13. I love side hustles. They keep the bills get paid (most of the time). Side hustles were the main reason why I paid off my $40K debt and saved $70K, at the same time, in 2.5 years. Without these hustles, I would think I am still paying off the debt and might be paying it off constantly for the foreseeable future.

    1. When you’re in debt, it never hurts to throw some extra cash at it. Side hustles make it that much easier to do!

  14. I love side hustling. Because of it, I have been able to save more and get to places I want to visit. More than these, it has enabled me to reach my financial goals sooner.

  15. Great article. Side hustling paid for my pilot training and my homebuilt airplane, back in the ’90’s. Now that I’m retired, I’m looking at Side Hustles to supplement my retirement income. In the early years, I did woodworking and built wiring harnesses for old Chevy trucks. In this day and age, I’m looking at less labor intensive ways to hustle. 🙂

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