My Motivation For Side Income

As most of you know, I have had many side jobs (they are all a part of my business now and I am self-employed). I didn’t think my side jobs would eventually become my full-time job. But these side jobs did become my full-time job, and I’ve never been happier. My side hustles completely changed my…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: December 13, 2021

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Financial Changes When You Work For YourselfAs most of you know, I have had many side jobs (they are all a part of my business now and I am self-employed). I didn’t think my side jobs would eventually become my full-time job.

But these side jobs did become my full-time job, and I’ve never been happier.

My side hustles completely changed my life and when I think about how everything turned out, I can’t help but think about how lucky I am.

My life is completely different from what I thought it would be like just a few years ago.

In the beginning, I really wanted a side job after I received my undergraduate degrees (I had a break of around 8 months, I believe, before I started my MBA), and I also even thought about getting a side job while I was working full-time and taking MBA classes full-time. W did not think me starting a side job was the best idea though, because he thought that I really needed a break from everything.

He was right. I think taking a part-time offline job would have been too stressful.

So, instead of looking for a more “real” part-time job where I would physically go in every single day, I eventually expanded what I was doing online and looked for positions online. I knew that writing and offering other online services was something that I really enjoyed, so it felt more like a fun hobby.

I found many online jobs and everything just happened from there!

Even though I always had many side jobs, most of my friends do not make any sort of money on the side. It must be a personal finance blogger/reader thing! I’m not sure why this is. There are plenty of positives for having a side job.

My Motivation For Side Income

 

1. I had a lot of student loans.

I knew that if I only had my day job, then paying off my student loans would take a very long time. I can’t remember exactly (I try to push all student loan memories out of my mind!), but I believe my monthly payments would have been around $500 per month if I would have paid them just “normally.”

Paying $500 a month for like 10 years?

Hmmm… That was not something that I wanted.

I had and still have friends who pay the minimum payments (some are over $1,000 each month!) and don’t really try any harder to make any extra money to pay them off quicker. I didn’t want that to be me. I knew I could pay them off more quickly than the schedule.

I made a student loan payoff plan and paid off all of my student loans within one year after I graduated with my Finance MBA. Without my side jobs, I really do not think this would have been possible.

Yes, I could have paid extra each month, but not at the same magnitude.

 

2. We were struggling.

Yes, we always had shelter and we never went without food, but we weren’t doing the greatest. We weren’t saving money and I was racking up student loans even though we were both working full-time.

 

3. We wanted to travel.

With the amount of money that we were making and the level of expenses that we had, traveling just didn’t really seem possible. With side income, we were able to apply this extra money towards traveling. This was great because we didn’t feel horrible going on a vacation!

It was paid for by extra bonus money.

 

4. We wanted to save money.

Making side income allowed us to save a good amount of money. We were able to be less reliant on each form of income because we were able to save over 50% of our income each month.

We were able to save a large emergency fund, save for repairs, save for retirement, save for vacation and so on.

 

5. We didn’t want to feel stuck.

One very large positive of having side income is that if something came up, we had a fairly large buffer in our cash flow each month so it didn’t seem like the end of the world.

This is significantly different to how it was before we made any amount in side income. If something broke, we definitely freaked out.

 

6. We were fairly frugal but didn’t want to cut any of our expenses.

The only other way was to earn more.

Yes, we probably could have cut our expenses a little more, but not enough to where it would have really mattered. We’ve always been kind of frugal.

So, we knew that we had to make more money in order to actually make a change in our lives.

Related: User Interviews Review – Make $50 To $100 An Hour Sharing Your Opinion

Why do you make extra money? Why do you not? Would extra money change your life? How would an extra $500 each month change your life?


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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. I really want to make an extra money for me to save more but sometimes I can feel that my daughter really needs an extra attention and I don’t want that time will come she will ask me how much is my hourly rate.

    1. Great post! I wanted to have a side income to augment the income I get from my full time job, so that I can save more for my retirement.

      1. Yes, extra income makes it easier to save for retirement ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. You definitely need to weigh the value between your family and making money. For me, if it came between the two then I would definitely choose family ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Liz

    I can see that you have worked very hard to get to where you are today. Thanks for providing me with inspiration on blogging!

  3. I make side income because it gives my family’s budget that little extra “boost” while we’re paying off our credit card debt. Once that debt is paid off in February, it will be used to play catchup with our retirement accounts. When I started blogging that side income started small, but over the years it’s grown into a significant part of our budget – no where near the amount needed to allow me to quit my day job (nor would I want to), but I never thought I could take it as far as I have. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. All great reasons Travis ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I used to make side income but now it’s my real job income since I work from home. I don’t know if that changes anything, really, but it does motivate me more since it’s no longer “extra” money!

    1. Yes, same here! I definitely have more motivation since I am more reliant on it.

  5. I wanted to have a side income to augment the income I get from my full time job, so that I can save more for my retirement.

  6. My business started as a small side hustle and it’s now the way I earn my ‘main’ income. I’m always looking at new ways to earn money though and love it when it works. We can save more for the future and enjoy life.

  7. When I first started I had very similar motivations as you. I have student debt that I want to knock out. I want a large emergency fund. I want to travel. Most of all, though, I want to build a business. I have been focusing on my blog because it’s a business that can be run from anywhere and ultimately can be sold to an investor.

    1. Yes, I definitely want to build my business ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. My side jobs have definitely helped me reach my goals. Travelling being one of them, they’ve enabled me to still save up for and buy a house, have a comfortable amount in my savings and retirement accounts, buy a car and pay off the loan shortly, and travel to boot. It’s awesome!

  9. Connie @ Savvy With Saving

    I want to make extra money to travel and to buy a home. I just hit $500 in extra income this month and while it’s a small number, it’s really shown me that there are so many possibilities out there.

  10. Looking back it’s easy to see why you were motivated to make income on the side. I do it for some of the same reasons – to be able to travel when we want and be able to save more money. There are many possibilities out there in terms of making money on the side, you just have to look for it and be willing to put in the work to get it.

    1. Saving more money is definitely a positive!

  11. When I started blogging, I didn’t really envision making consistent income and the first year I didn’t make anything! However, after that, I’ve consistently made a few hundred a month. I know I could ramp it up, but I really can’t until I’m finished with my second credential (in 2015!) Then I can spend the time I do homework on blogging. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. I don’t think I made any money blogging for a while. It wasn’t my goal so I didn’t look further into it at first. That changed quickly!

  12. My side income goes toward paying our mortgage off, so that we’ll have flexibility in my career. I’d love the flexibility of spending more time at home with my kids!

    1. Yes, flexibility is definitely important for us!

  13. I am building up extra income so I can replace my wife’s income whenever we have a second child. She wants to stay home and I want to be able to provide that opportunity for her. That is why I work on the side.

    1. That is definitely a great reason ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. I want to make extra money so we can invest and save more and become our own bosses some day. I’d really like to do what you did- turn my side hustles into my main gig! Thanks for being an inspiration!!

    1. Thank you Dee ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. We make extra money because I’ve always seen that working a job (or two, or three) never really helps solve the money/time issue. We’ve been working hard to build our business because I don’t want to have to constantly stress about money the way my parents did when I was growing up. An extra $500 each month right now would help us restock our emergency fund as well as allow us to invest even more into our business to help it grow faster.

    1. Yes, you are right!

  16. Katharine @ Katharine Writes

    I think another great thing about that sort of side income is that you’re so much more aware of it than of a paycheck. It’s not just a set amount that appears in your bank account each month no matter what.

    You know exactly how much work – from marketing to follow-up – went into each dollar you earned. So you appreciate spending it a lot more!

  17. I’m motivated to make money from my side hustles so that I can save more and travel extensively. I’ve finally started to make some money and I hope next month will be my first $500 month. That in itself is motivation, and remembering my goals makes me want to throw everything into overdrive to make my dreams happen!

    1. Good luck next month ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. I’ve been trying for two years to make side income without much success. I’ve been on care.com and sittercity for babysitting, pet sitting and house cleaning and have gotten nothing out of it so far. I take surveys for minimal amounts of rewards, have gotten about $150 in the past two years. I made about $20 sewing patches on Navy uniforms but that’s obviously not a reliable source of side income either. I’m still working on finding my niche in the side income world and would love to make $500 extra every month to throw at my student loans!

  19. My extra money goes to paying off my debt. So far its not much but every little bit helps. If I had an extra 500 a month I would apply it to debt and my travel fund.

    1. What do you do for extra money right now?

  20. Working side hustles allowed me to save up money in my emergency fund and also allowed me to quit my day job! I just feel like there is so much opportunity for everyone to expand and really make money online. It’s great and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

    1. Yes, there is so much opportunity!

  21. I haven’t earned much extra income other than grading papers for a exam prep class. It’s not much money. I also sell a few things on Amazon here and there but that is also not much. I think $500 in extra income would be pretty significant as it would boost our savings a good amount. Having more savings with give our family more opportunities to either be a one-income family or pursue starting our own business.

    1. Are you activity looking to make extra income?

      1. I am looking, but probably not as actively as I should if I want to get side income. It’s been really busy with the baby. Plus I’m a little risk adverse. I’d definitely like to monetize the blog at somepoint.

  22. I would use 500.00 extra to pay down the mortgage more quickly. I am obessed with paying it off as quick as possible. Not having a mortgage would change our world. We could give more, save more, invest more, and do more of what we want.

    1. We definitely want to pay off our next home quickly. Since we don’t plan on living here for too much longer, it’s not our main focus.

  23. I think I fall under quite a few of those reasons as well. I’m still asking myself though, Where am I going to find the time? Fore- go sleep? I watch very few programs already. Stop reading blogs or reading at all. Time and energy are so expensive I just can’t imagine where it’s all supposed to come from. Kudos to you for making it work.

    1. Yes, time can be a problem!

  24. Newlyweds on a Budget

    that’s exactly why i started with side hustle income too! mostly bc while we could afford our minimum expenses and debt repayments, if we wanted to travel we just HAD to make more money. Now it’s been such a blessing that we’re making more money in our day jobs and so we have been able to aggressively pay down debt, save, and travel.

    1. Yes, it is definitely a blessing!

  25. Yes, we used a lot of our side income towards things in our home as well ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Romona@Monasez

    I basically side hustle to make money to support my bigger business ideas and so far it’s working out well.

  27. Congrats on your first freelance gig ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Thank you so much!

  29. We are focused on building multiple streams of income as well. We need to start working on passive income.

  30. I’m so sorry Angella ๐Ÿ™

  31. Shannon

    I’ve only recently started to think about making extra money (I’ve always joked about needing a second job, but only now am I actually starting to lay the ground work for it). I have a great paying job in a profession I’m good at, but it doesn’t inspire me. I love to spend money. I’ve moved around the country a lot. I want to retire at 50. There are lots of other reasons, but it’s becomming more and more apparent that in order for me to maintain my current lifestyle and retire early I’m going to need to hustle a bit more. You’re blogs, great. There are lots of fantastic tips and posts here. Thank you.

    http://www.brasshoney.blogspot.com

    1. Thank you Shannon! Good luck hustling ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. Shannon

    I’ve only recently started to think about making extra money (I’ve always joked about needing a second job, but only now am I actually starting to lay the ground work for it). I have a great paying job in a profession I’m good at, but it doesn’t inspire me. I love to spend money. I’ve moved around the country a lot. I want to retire at 50. There are lots of other reasons, but it’s becomming more and more apparent that in order for me to maintain my current lifestyle and retire early I’m going to need to hustle a bit more. You’re blogs, great. There are lots of fantastic tips and posts here. Thank you.

    http://www.brasshoney.blogspot.com

  33. Anna

    Great post, Michelle! This was perfectly timed, because I’m feeling a little burnt out with my side hustle. At the same time, it’s my fault for spreading myself out too thin. It’s time to re-prioritize. Thanks for the motivation to keep going! My side income is going towards school loans and travel:)

    1. Thank you Anna! And good luck re-prioritizing ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. I’m really working on building my side hustle aggressively. I’m up to $200/month but would really like to grow ASAP so that I can put more of my focus on doing what I love rather than babysitting and “surviving”.

    1. $200 is great! Good job Stefanie ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. jackie

    i’d love to find a side hustle too. since I went to law school, my student loans are really high (ugh) so i’d love to make extra money to start paying them down faster. hopefully I can start looking into side hustles more soon!

    1. I hope so too Jackie!

  36. I am aiming to place an emphasis on earning side income for the new year. My primary motivation for it is to make extra payments on my student loans. I agree with your sentiments on that subject wholeheartedly! After that, it would go toward travel.

    1. Good luck! You can do it ๐Ÿ™‚

      What would you do for side income?

  37. Micro

    I’m hoping that my blog and writing will someday provide some extra side income to make payments towards my student loans. I’m not quite there yet though. I’m not too concerned as I have other ways to make a little bit of money on the side by churning credit cards and participating in the occaisional focus group. It is a bit sporadic but every little bit helps.

  38. I am really ramping up the side hustles (again)! An extra $500 a month will take years off of my debt repayment. I obviously want to make more than that! I also want to move abroad for a year, get married, have a shortie, pay off debts and my mom’s mortgage/my mortgage. That’s a lot of money. Luckily I’m up to the challenge. Reading your blog, and others I see that it’s possible.

    1. Thank you Michelle. And good luck to you!

  39. I think that some people just have a spirit inside of them where they are always looking for new ways to make extra cash. I know that you have it, Michelle, and I think I have it a bit too (although I still have much to learn). You certainly made knocking out your goals much easier with all of that extra cash.

    1. Thank you Jefferson ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. Great post! Right now my side hustles are actually what’s paying my bills! That and savings since I lost my job. I really need to grow this area since it really doesn’t cover all my bills yet, but that’s something I’m working on. An extra $500 a month at this point would be almost life changing – it would pay for insurance and the things I can’t quite cover yet!

    1. Thank you! I hope you can grow your side hustles ๐Ÿ™‚ What do you do right now for side income?

  41. I earn extra to pay off my student loans quicker, its working really well. The sooner I pay them off the sooner I can live freely (as in not a strictly tight budget, travel etc).

  42. Peter

    My motivations line up well with your motivations. Now, it’s all for my family.

  43. Great post! I always encourage clients who feel like they can’t “cut” anymore from their finances to grow their income with the side hustle. My hubby and I use our side hustle income for the “fun” things we want to do that way when we are working harder, it doesn’t feel like work because we are really just working for fun.

  44. Thanks Catherine! Good luck paying off your debt ๐Ÿ™‚

  45. I have a few side hustles as well. I want to have the freedom to have choices in life. I don’t want to be in a job I hate and not be able to leave for something that pays less because I have debt or can’t afford to survive on a lower salary.

    1. Yes, asme here Jon ๐Ÿ™‚

  46. Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans

    Thanks for sharing my tweet, Michelle! Another reason I side hustle is just to have extra money thrown at whatever my financial goal is at the moment. It helped me make a small dent in my CC debt!

    1. Yes, it’s always nice to have extra money to throw at debt!

  47. Jedith@Jadedpocketbook.com

    Hi Michelle, my motivation for making extra side income is to put more towards my savings and put away some for an girls trip to Cabo. I’m surprised to have found a few companies to write for as well on Elance who are actually paying a decent pay! This was recently so that’s another addition to my online side hustle income.

    1. A girls trip to Cabo sounds amazing!