Boosting your Bottom Line with a Side Hustle

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It was almost exactly five years ago that I was sitting at the tiniest kitchen table in what felt like the tiniest condo in all of Halifax hitting ‘publish’ on my first ever blog post. It was about a hideous blue dresser- that I then repainted twice. I don’t really remember how I felt in that exact moment, but I do know that something that can only be described as electricity passed through me – connecting me to this strange and wonderful digital space – and it’s been there ever since. If you had told me then that this blog would become a source of income for our family, I would have LAUGHED IN YOUR FACE. If you had told me then that bloggers even MADE MONEY, I would have likely said “Oh go on now. Quit yer tales. No way Jose. Jaysus Mary and Joseph – it’s just a silly website.” I mean, if you had even told me there were other people out there like me, I wouldn’t have believed you.

*coughs*

Well. If only I knew then what I know now.

In five years, all of my preconceived notions about this little hobby have been turned upside down. It has become a source of income for our family. Bloggers – or rather influencers (I loathe that word) – make BUCKETS of money. (Comparatively, I make a thimble). And I now count ‘my bloggy tribe’ among some of my absolute favourite people in the universe (most of whom I’ve never met face-to-face).

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There’s a lot to be said for turning a passion into a hobby and then into something with earning potential over and above a regular 9-5 job. And trust me, I do not intend to say it all today – but I do feel ready to let you all in on how this journey to becoming a ‘blogger’ has impacted some of the financial decisions we’ve made as a family and how it is helping me plan and grow into the future.

It feels like a natural progression in our Family & Finance series, which we are undertaking in conjunction with Atlantic Credit Unions. If you’re here for the first time, Hello! Check out this post about our Financing our Fixer Upper and this post about When EVERYTHING breaks in the same month. Essentially, we are pulling back the curtain on some of what goes on behind the scenes of the blog, showing you the other side of our story 🙂 I don’t feel as if we can really talk about our finances without opening up a bit about how we manage my blog income and what we do with it. However, I believe this applies to any kind of side hustle – whether you’re babysitting on weekends, running an online store, freelance writing or whatever!

First and foremost, when I make anything off my blog – I pay my expenses. I pay for web hosting, site domain and URL registration, my WordPress theme and support, scheduling apps, website back-ups, security apps, social media courses, advertising and promotions and more. I’ve also recently hired a local PR student to help me manage some behind the scenes tasks. I make sure all these ‘bills’ get paid before anything else happens.

Luckily, there’s usually positive cash flow and if you’re running a lean side hustle, there should be! When I started to pull the blog out of the red and into the black, Dan and I sat down and had a frank conversation about what that really would mean for us. Here’s where we landed in terms of priorities.

First – we split the monthly earnings 50-50. Half goes directly into long term savings, like a registered retirement savings plan, to off-set the increased tax bill we have due to earning more money. (Mo’ money, mo’ tax bills, amiright?) We made sure to consult a financial expert at our local credit union before doing this. Basically, we had to make sure we weren’t hitting our annual RRSP contribution limit because that can cause headaches. So before you set up a contribution plan, it’s best to check with someone who knows about these things!

The other half goes into a high-interest savings account affectionately known as ‘Blog Land’. It sits there in case of a ‘rainy day’ – which we know can happen! I draw on it to pay my expenses and to finance some of the larger projects we do for the blog, such as our recent One Room Challenge in the Master Bedroom.

One thing I do want to address is how we manage LB in all of this. I’ve seen some Mom bloggers taking flack lately over perceptions that they are making money off their children. Oh dear. The Internet can be a judgmental and nasty place sometimes. I will say, from the get-go, any income this blog makes as a result of a post or partnership that wouldn’t exist without LB goes into an account for her. If she is integral to the creation and existence of the content; the earnings are, in effect, hers. We will be able to draw on those funds to pay for piano lessons, soccer, Girl Guides, school trips – all those costs that come with being a big kid. I feel fortunate to know we have a cushion so that we can allow her to gravitate towards whatever extra-curricular activity she likes. And it makes me smile that this side hustle is what has built that cushion!

It’s still kinda weird to me that this blog generates income. It really began as a project of love and passion. It still is very much my happy place. Sometimes, when I talk to other bloggers who are making buckets more than I make, I feel a bit silly that I didn’t monetize and make money earlier. (I totally could have!) But when I really think about what I’ve accomplished for this blog, for my family and for myself – I realize this has all unfolded in exactly the right way. The learning curve has been steep and I look forward to many more lessons. If I’m to leave you with anything today? It’s that any passion can become a business, it just takes time, dedication and a little belief in yourself 🙂

In truth, I’d have the same advice for anyone who’s also struggling to find balance financially. Next month, I’m going to go back in time and share some of our debt-free story with you. It’s been a challenge to put my current self back in the mindset of my former debt-ridden self – but I’m  working on it. Make sure you follow us on Facebook and Instagram so you don’t miss out.

-E

xoxo

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This post is part of an ongoing series sponsored by Atlantic Credit Unions. We partner with brands and companies to bring more value to you and to help us keep our blog going! As always, all opinions are our own and you can see our full privacy and disclosure policy here. 

 

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2 thoughts on “Boosting your Bottom Line with a Side Hustle

  1. As a blogger who’ve just recently srtaed making income from it, I’ve been giving these things all sorts of thoughts…including making at appoitment at my local Credit Union…where where are members. 🙂 Thanks Erin!

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