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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
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.
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!
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!