Today, we have a special treat. My good friend Julie, of Millennial Boss, the Fire Drill Podcast, and Gold City Ventures (where she teaches others how to make money from profitable side hustles), is visiting to share her story about finding financial security through side hustles. Julie is expecting her first baby and is so glad that she’s given herself options by building up her side hustles the last several years. She wants to empower other moms and moms-to-be to find their own financial security. Take it away, Julie!
I’m 7 and a half months pregnant and the mom guilt has already set in.
I’ve taken on a new role in my day job and I’m finishing up a massive side project that is taking up most of my time outside work. I’m worried I may be working too hard. Or maybe the time I spend working at night I should be spending doing things for the baby?
I’ve put off a few key tasks for baby prepping that make me feel super guilty, like completing the nursery or finalizing my registry. Do I really need this Uppa Baby stroller everyone is talking about?
I also keep reading about moms who go above and beyond to give their babies the right exposure in the womb such as reading them books every night or putting music up to their bellies so they can become Mozart at 5.
Did you all do this when you were pregnant? Am I a bad mom already?
Plus, I’m struggling a bit with the anxiety. One of my coworkers accidentally collided into me in the hallway on Friday when he was running around a corner and hit my stomach. It took 15 minutes of Googling and WebMD in a bathroom stall for me to shake it off and emerge from the bathroom a stronger person. Everything feels fine now. I just freaked out a bit.
I’m guessing all of this is normal but it’s hard to tell because I keep hearing about the glowing, the good hair, and the strong nails. Not the freaking out and intense mom guilt.
I’m Grateful to Know I Have Options
I love my career and I’m super excited about my latest promotion to Manager, but I also make $40,000 per year online on top of my day job.
That is a significant chunk of side hustle income that gives me some cushion and flexibility with this baby…and I can feel it.
I know I’ll want to go back to work after leave but I love the feeling that I don’t have to. I have enough of a financial runway through years of saving plus income coming in every month to comfortably survive if the situation changes.
And by changes, I’m talking about something unexpected like a health issue (blocking out the anxiety as I type this) or just a change in my own mental state after I have the baby. I’m 100% into the idea of being a working Mom right now but I hear from other Moms that you don’t really know what it feels like until you’ve been through it.
I’m grateful that I have some flexibility and it gives me confidence as I get closer to the due date.
How Did I Get to This Point of Financial Security? Side Hustling & Saving
My husband and I started out over $100,000 in debt combined. We both had student loans and car loans. Then we got excited about 0% interest credit cards and went wild. I watched HGTV every Saturday and thought I was Joanna Gaines so I had put $10,000 in furniture on a credit card.
Luckily, we were able to pay off the debt in 2 years by increasing our income. I networked like crazy and went to every Women in Tech event I could get into. I also got my Masters degree online at night, reimbursed by my work. This made me more marketable because I didn’t have an undergraduate degree in the field.
We cut back on all the usual things (coffee, eating out, travel) but we really made progress when I was able to land a job in Silicon Valley with a big pay increase. We had already paid off more than half of the debt by that time but it helped us speed up on paying off the rest of it. My husband had to take a step back in his career to accommodate the growth in mine. I became the breadwinner by a significant margin.
By the time we got married in December 2016, we were debt free. We had a Game of Thrones themed wedding and paid for the entire thing ourselves. We did DIY flowers instead of using a florist and cut corners where we could to save money. My engagement ring is actually not a diamond but is moissanite. It cost $300 for the stone versus $3,000. That was another key area where we saved.
Besides just saving money we also learned online through this community where to save it. We opened up investment accounts outside of our retirement accounts and started contributing. We also opened Health Savings Accounts and we’re excited to see that we have years of saving in them to fall back on in the future.
Last, we have a cash cushion that will provide months of runway should we need it. We’re so grateful to the financial independence community for giving us the knowledge and the tools to put ourselves in a better financial position.
Enter the Side Hustles – The Real Key to Having Options as a New Mom
Even though we saved a significant amount of money from when we started on this financial journey in 2015 to now, we are nowhere near our financial independence number.
This is the number where we could walk away from work and never have to work again.
Although, I could technically walk away from corporate work now if I wanted to be a stay-at-home entrepreneur Mom because of my side hustles.
Blogging is definitely the most profitable of the side hustles. For example, I made over $7,000 in December 2018 blogging and I regularly bring in a few thousand dollars per month.
Podcasting is the most rewarding since I’ve made close connections with listeners. It’s not the most profitable but it’s fun.
My Etsy shop is the least work out of all the side hustles. I’m in the top 6% of sellers on Etsy and have made $5,000 selling bachelorette party printables. I last worked on the shop over a year ago and it still brings in hundreds per month in passive sales. While it’s not as profitable as blogging, the return on my time is amazing.
Now, three important things to note:
- I wasn’t always a super side hustler. This is something I got the guts to try in my mid-twenties and I’m so glad I put myself out there that first time and let these side hustles grow.
- I’m not a creative, artsy person and didn’t have any special skills going into this. I learned how to do this all online by fumbling around and giving it a shot.
- I don’t have tons of confidence and I hid behind an anonymous persona for years. Until last week, I actually didn’t use pictures of my face or do live video. I much prefer to hide in the background than be the star of the show.
Despite these blockers, I was able to become someone who makes $40,000 online and now can be a stay-at-home Mom if I want. And this is despite being the breadwinner and having the majority of the household financial responsibility on my shoulders.
Etsy Printables – My Most Passive Side Hustle
I’ll start with Etsy first. I started my Etsy shop back in 2017 and decided to focus on the bachelorette party niche because I was going to so many bachelorettes parties at the time.
Friends were spending hundreds on accessories for these events so I knew there was a solid market opportunity. I ended up getting gold tattoos made on temporarytattoos.com. Now, I sell those on Etsy to packs of women who wear them all over their faces and arms on bar crawls.
The margin is crazy on these tattoos (I make a profit of at least $15 per sale) but it is so annoying to ship a physical product on top of a day job. And I say annoying knowing that I’m lucky to have this extra income coming in but I’ll be honest I have a lot going on right now and the fact that I have to remember to ship the tattoos every day bothers me.
That’s when I learned about printables and it changed my Etsy game forever. Printables are digital things that you make one time and list on Etsy. Customers buy them and print them out at their homes.
You do nothing after the sale and don’t have to ship anything. You have no inventory to worry about because they can be downloaded thousands of times.
I sell printable party games for bachelorettes such as scavenger hunt checklists. Girls print out the paper before the party and then carry it around to bars checking off the list. The scavenger hunt checklist says things like “buy the bride a shot” or “find someone with the groom’s name and take a picture with him.” People love these printables and each one sells for $5-$7. I can’t believe people pay $7 for a digital file but they do. I’ve made over 800 sales.
Just yesterday I was texting with my sister and I got a notification that I made a $5 sale in the middle of our conversation. It was from a product that I made and uploaded over a year ago and haven’t touched since. This truly is the perfect passive income business. (I’ve also convinced her to start her own Etsy shop).
Blogging – My Most Profitable Side Hustle
I started blogging in 2015 about my student loan payoff journey. Then when I paid off the debt and started getting serious about financial independence, I pivoted to focus on investing. Now lately, I like to talk about travel and lifestyle topics.
The best part of blogging is that I’ve made some real friendships through my blog. I meet other bloggers at events but in the past year, I branched out to meet other bloggers and readers in my city (Seattle, Washington). Some of my best friends here in Seattle are other bloggers. It’s crazy to me that someone who was an anonymous blogger online could have made real connections and genuine friendships. I’m so grateful for that.
Blogging has also given me the majority of my side hustle income.
At the beginning of blogging, I made $0. Blogging isn’t a side hustle that is going to bring anywhere close to instant income. You need to build a platform. But now, I’ve grown the blog to make thousands of dollars a month. And I do that without selling my soul.
Earning Affiliate Income as a Blogger
I think many people misunderstand what it would be like to make money blogging. Or, they think it has to be a net loss for someone. I promote products and services on my blog that I use and I get paid a small commission when people sign up.
That is not necessarily a bad thing for the reader.
For example, one of my most profitable posts is a DIY Wedding Flowers post where I take readers step-by-step through how I put together our wedding bouquets and centerpieces for the wedding using a service called FiftyFlowers.
You can see my husband and me in the pictures doing everything a few days before our wedding. You can also see my Mom in the background looking down disapprovingly since she wanted us to use a florist and didn’t think it would work out. (I actually had to take this picture down because I didn’t want her to get mad at me!) My point is though that the post is real and I really did use this service to save thousands for our wedding.
Readers can see all of the products I purchased and researched up front. They can see the pictures of the process and the pictures from the wedding of how it turned out.
Weddings are a big deal and brides are torn between using a florist that is crazy expensive and saving money. It helps them to see my experience going the DIY approach and it helps them make a more confident decision. If they purchase the flowers I recommend, I get a small commission from the flower company. It doesn’t cost the reader a penny more.
I don’t feel guilty that the post makes money. I’m not trying to convince all of my readers to use the service. Instead, I’m attracting brides who are nervous about DIY and my experience helps them save money. It’s a win-win for me, them and the company.
Using this philosophy, I make thousands per month on my blog while benefiting my readers.
Can a “Normal” Person Start These Side Hustles Too?
Yes! I am not a super side hustler naturally but I got up the guts take action and it has snowballed from there.
I want to help other moms and moms-to-be find the same financial security and confidence I have through my side hustles. Tomorrow, with my friend Cody, I’m launching courses on how to start successful Etsy shops, launch a profitable blog, or start a freelance business. It’s only open for a limited time (doors will close Sunday, June 30th!)
I hope to see you in whichever course most speaks to you so we can get started making money together!
Special Bonus for Smart Money Mamas Readers
Chelsea here! As many of you know, I love making printables. It’s how this site makes the majority of its income. And I completely agree with Julie that it’s one of the most passive sources of income available. The Family Emergency Binder, our best selling product, has done over $80,000 in gross sales since it was launched early last August. (You’ll actually see me in Julie’s Etsy Printables course describing how we made that product so successful!)
But, what most people find surprising, is that we create all of our printables in PowerPoint. No fancy software, no spending hours learning how to manipulate Adobe or getting free tools like Canva to do what we want.
The key to successful printable and Etsy shops is having beautiful products. So, while the doors are open to Julie’s Etsy Printable Course, anyone who purchases through the Smart Money Mamas link will also receive my course, Perfect Printables With PowerPoint for FREE, a $49 value.
Click here to purchase the Etsy Printable Course, open only through Sunday, June 30th, for just $197 and receive my Perfect Printables With PowerPoint course for free!
About the Author: Julie is a 30-year-old Mom to be from Seattle, Washington, she hosts a podcast, blogs, and sells to bachelorette parties on Etsy. She also teaches others how to start profitable side hustles at GoldCityVentures.com.
What would an extra $500, $1,000, or more a month in income mean for your family? What’s holding you back from getting started? Share in the comments!