From $0 to $100K: The Working Parent Side Hustle Challenge

We’re both working parents.  And while I feel like money isn’t too much of an issue (i.e. we can afford what we need), we still live on a budget.

Before having our daughter, life was pretty easy from a financial standpoint.  Without any real obligations (aside from a mortgage and student loans), we were free to spend as we needed, within reason.

We would have enough left over to build our retirement nest egg, as well as set some money aside for our child’s future education.  We never had to resort to credit card debt.

And while we’ve never been extravagant spenders, we would do things like eat out whenever we wanted instead of saving money by cooking.

Life’s a bit different now, with a child in the picture.  We haven’t had to change our standard of living, but there are lots of additional costs – the big one being daycare (approx. $1,500/month for part-time daycare).  We can afford it, but as a result, there’s less money going toward savings.

I’ve always been a bit entrepreneurial-minded – finding ways to make extra money on the side. “Side hustles“, as they’re sometimes called.

Today, I’d like to kick off a challenge for myself (and anyone who wants to join me), in the quest to earn $100K per year from side hustles.

While the initial goal would just be to make some extra money on the side to fund our expenses and build savings at a faster rate, the ultimate goal will be for one of us to quit our day jobs.

I don’t know how long it will take, but I do know it’s very possible.  Here’s how I’m going to do it – feel free to follow along. 🙂

Breaking the goal down into bite-sized pieces

Before jumping into any endeavor, I’m always a fan of breaking the goal down into smaller pieces.  Pieces that seem very achievable.

The number $100,000 is daunting.  So let’s break it down:

$100,000 in a year is $8,333 a month.

It’s also $1,923 a week.

And better yet, it’s $274 a day.

So there’s my bite-sized goal – earn $274 per day from side hustles.  That’s still a lofty goal, but it feels slightly better than thinking about $100K.

How are we going to get there?

It’s one thing to play with numbers, but we need to think about how we’re actually going to make this happen.  I have some ideas in mind, but it’s definitely not all figured out yet.

The one thing we are planning to do is have everything that we do be something that can be done online, at home, from our computer.  So while we could do things like drive for Uber in the evenings after work, those aren’t the types of side hustles we’re going to explore.

Here’s the list of what we’ve come up with so far – along with the estimate of how much each area could bring in on a monthly basis:

1) Blogging – Having a blog is the cornerstone of any online side hustle endeavor, because you can blog about almost anything and make money from it.  Granted, it’s not always easy and takes quite a bit of time and patience.

I used to run a blog that, at its peak, earned about $3,000 per month.  This was a few years ago, and I’ve since discontinued that blog to focus on other things.  But it definitely gave me enough experience and insight into how powerful a blog can be for earning money on the side.

So, here are my income goals with regard to blogging.  This is just a summary – I’ll go into more detail in future posts.

  • Affiliate income = $1,000/month
  • Ad revenue/sponsored posts = $4,000/month
  • Product sales = $1,000/month
  • Total from blog: $6,000/month

2) Social media – I’ve done a lot of work with my Instagram account; at the time of writing, I’m approaching 3,000 followers.

It’s nothing significant yet, but my goal for this year is to get to 10,000 followers.  The goal for next year is 50,000 followers.

It’s ambitious, but if I reach these levels, I’ll actually be able to earn money from Instagram by doing sponsored posts.

  • Sponsored Instagram posts estimate: $1,000/month

3) Other Online Activity – To round out the remaining income needed to hit $8,333 a month, here are some miscellaneous online activities:

  • Freelance writing – $300/month
  • Surveys – $300/month
  • Other – $733/month
  • Total from other online activity: $1,333

As you can see, blogging will be the key part of my plan to get to $100K, but that could shift depending on how some things go along the way.

What’s the strategy for doing all of this?

It’s one thing to set income goals, but the magic happens in the execution.

I don’t know exactly how it’s all going to happen yet, but I am going to follow a few basic rules:

1) Create one Instagram post every single day 

Nothing helps build a following quite like volume.  Quality matters too, but for a site like Instagram where people are on and off your image in a matter of seconds, you need to be putting up content consistently.

(By the way, follow us on Instagram. We post a lot of funny stuff that most parents will enjoy.)

2) Two weeks on, one week off

I’m a big fan of the productivity concept known as “batching.” It’s basically where you group together similar tasks and do them all at one time, thereby gaining some efficiency.

Take grocery shopping for example: is it better to go shopping every day and just buy the food you need for that day? Or should you just go once every two weeks and buy enough food for two weeks? Obviously the latter.

So when I say two weeks on, 1 week off, what I mean is this:  For a two week period, I will do nothing but write content (for this blog).  I don’t know yet how many posts that will equate to, but that’s the time frame I’m looking at.

For the “one week off” I will focus solely on social media, to promote the content I’ve written.  For me, that means Pinterest.  So whether it’s scheduling pins, creating Pinterest images, getting new followers, joining group boards, etc., that’s all I will be doing for that week.  The goal will be to make sure I’ve scheduled enough Pinterest content for the next two weeks (where I will again resume writing content).

I’ll explain my Pinterest strategy in another post – there’s no sense in getting into it right now when I don’t know yet if it’ll work. 🙂

Eventually, I’ll shift focus to Twitter and Facebook, but for now, my primary focus will be Pinterest.

3) At least one hour a day

It’s not really a secret, but the “secret sauce” for making something like this actually work, is putting in the time. Working hard.

That sort of thing.

It’s challenging when you already work hard.  We both work full-time jobs, and when we’re not working, we’ve got a young daughter at home to care for.

Everyone has these same excuses, and countless working parents have managed to achieve great things outside of their day jobs.  So we’re going to take a crack at it.

Our very simple goal, at least for right now, is to average at least 1 hour per day on this endeavor.

That’s 7 hours per week, 30 hours per month.  In all honesty, probably not enough to accomplish things quickly, but it’s enough to keep things moving in a positive direction.

Generally, when you start seeing success, you’re motivated to work harder. So once we see some results at 1 hour per day, I think we’ll naturally work our way up if possible.

This one hour a day probably breaks down into 30 minutes before I leave for work in the morning (I leave to go to work around 6:45 am), and 30 minutes in the evening after my daughter goes to bed.  I could easily expand that, but want to start with 1 hour per day, because I know there will be days where I do less than an hour and need to make up for it on other days.

Start simple.  

When I’ve taken on other challenges in the past, I’ve found that when I start “big” I can quickly lose motivation and quit prematurely.  It’s kind of like weight loss – focus on losing a pound, then losing 5 pounds.  Don’t go into it with the mindset that you must lose 50 pounds.

That’s the initial plan. What do you think?

I’m intentionally not diving into too much detail yet, because I’m at the point where I should actually be spending time working vs. planning the work.

As I make progress, discover new things, or simply feel like taking an in-depth look at part of this process, I’ll be sure to write new posts about it.

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Thanks! 🙂

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