Total Side Hustle Income for May 2017: $786.04
Hello again! Welcome to another month of sweet side hustling cash. In fact, it’s been my best month yet. I like to post these income reports to show people that there’s real money to be made from side hustling. It’s not always a quick and easy buck (although, sometimes, yes), but it takes a little bit of time, effort, and hustle.
Here’s how it all played out…
Table of Contents
- Total Side Hustle Income for May 2017: $786.04
- Dog Sitting Income via Rover.com: $342.40
- Bartending Income: $170
- Face-painting Income: $120
- Freelance Writing Income: $102
- Vanguard Returns: $38.92
- Mystery Shopping Income: $10 and free groceries
- Survey Income: $2.20
- Rebates: $0.50
- Blog Pennies (A.K.A.: Blog Income): $0.02
- TOTAL: $786.04
Dog Sitting Income via Rover.com: $342.40
The dog sitting income keeps increasing each month! This is especially great considering that I’ve expended zero time and effort into marketing. This month, I house-sat two pit-bulls, a friend’s gorgeous Collie/Malamute mix, and hosted a Coonhound mix at my own house for Memorial day weekend.
As much as my heart was full with puppy love, I’m learning from my mistakes:
- My rates are too low. This is a result of caring way too much about what other dog sitters were charging relative to my own rates. At first, I thought having the lowest rates around was the best way to beat the competition, but any kindred entrepreneurial spirit will tell you that line of thinking is a rookie mistake. I’ve built up a good reputation, I’m confident in the quality of my service, and my rates are going to start reflecting what is actually worth my time. If I’m too expensive, then customers will find someone else. If I’m not, then they’ll pay. Win-win.
- Consider drawing up a written agreement that outlines responsibility for damages done by doggos. This month was my first time having a dog at my house, so I didn’t know any better. The owner told me her puppy wasn’t destructive, which was true… except for one incredibly scratched up door-frame. Come to find out, Rover doesn’t cover damages to the host’s home, only to the pet owner’s home. Luckily, I’ve got some wood putty and varnish, but still. It’s annoying.
- That said, Rover gives you an option to charge extra for puppies <1 year old. Do that.
- If you’re house-sitting, don’t assume the owners have Internet, like I did. Always double check.
Overall, it was easy money for snuggling with dogs, if a bit of a learning experience. I’m pretty done with house-sitting for the time being, and I’m going to stick to only hosting dogs in my own home.
Bartending Income: $170
As you may remember, I applied for a part-time bartending gig with a catering company after finding their post on Craigslist. They have an online portal with all available shifts that you can fill as you please. I had some rose-colored glasses on when, after one 5-hour shift, I made about $140. Awesome as that was, it turns out it was all to do with how well the client tipped for that particular gig. It definitely was not the norm, as I learned the hard way by picking up three gigs and receiving zero tips. It’s just a minimum wage job, at that point.
Whether or not I’ll continue on with this gig remains to be seen. I like having it in my back pocket if I need some extra cash. I may bartend outside of the catering company, as a good friend is a general manager at a microbrewery nearby. I’ve agreed to be an ‘on call’ sort of person to fill any weekend shifts she might need. We shall see. It’s all up in the air at the moment.
I’ve recently started working full-time hours, so I’m really appreciating leaving my weekends open for some R&R. Or, if I’m going to side hustle at all on the weekends, I’d much rather face-paint. Not that I don’t like slinging drinks (and I will make you a margarita that can knock your socks off), I just like painting Spiderman faces better. Speaking of face-painting…
Face-painting Income: $120
Not great. I’ve just been lazy, pure and simple. My website was offline for a bit while I revamped it, and Thumbtack hasn’t been bountiful this past month. Essentially, I was on a face-painting hiatus. The only gig I had was for a company picnic with my former employer. That is, since it was all friends and former coworkers, I didn’t pass out my business cards.
But, June is looking promising! I’ve got two gigs booked for the same Saturday, both of which are going to be huge (I hope), public events. If all goes well, that’s slated to be a $400 Saturday.
Freelance Writing Income: $102
I mentioned last month that I finally landed a gig on Upwork but that the communication between myself and the point of contact was extremely slow. She finally sent me my first project and paid the agreed-upon amount into Upwork’s escrow. Awesome! I wrote the article, sent it, asked for any revisions…
… and radio silence. After two weeks, she timed out, and Upwork automatically released the amount in escrow to me.
All right, then.
I also ground out two content mill articles to build up my writing portfolio. Content mills, I’m learning, become profitable if you stick to writing what you know and churn it out quickly. For both articles, I challenged myself to see if I could spit them out during my lunch hour at work. Turns out I can, my quality of work didn’t suffer, and it was easy pocket change.
Vanguard Returns: $38.92
By no means am I a smart investor. I just dump money into crowd-sourced recommendations for stocks and bonds and enjoy the show. Also, note that I’m only including this because I cashed it out. If I’d left it brewing, subject to further gains and losses, I wouldn’t have included it here.
However, if I were to dispense some advice, I abide by the golden rule of investing: only invest as much as you are comfortable losing.
Mystery Shopping Income: $10 and free groceries
The first shop of the month was for $29 worth of groceries from a farmers market near my house, fully reimbursed. The second shop was at a pizza joint I’ve evaluated before.
Incidentally, pizza is how this mystery shopping company roped me in in the first place: they posted an ad on Craigslist that was something to the effect of “Want to get paid to eat pizza?” Turns out it’s literally the worst pizza and customer service I’ve ever experienced. Even though I was paid $10 and the food was reimbursed, I’m never going there again. Seems I’m not the only one, as the mystery shopping company keeps upping the bonuses and sending out emails begging people to sign up for these shitty pizza shops. It got to the point where I told the scheduler to stop texting me.
But, that’s the beauty of mystery shopping (and side hustling in general): set your own schedule and work when you want to. This month? Wasn’t really feeling it. Next month? I’ve got another grocery shop lined up! Which, by the way, hell yes. I am all about eating as cheaply as possible.
Survey Income: $2.20
While I know there are other bloggers out there who hustle harder/smarter and make decent beer money off of taking surveys online, I don’t really fall into that group (yet). But, I have a half hour to kill twice a day while I’m riding the bus to/from work, so I don’t mind spending a few minutes here and there answering questions on my phone.
I use the apps StreetBees and Surveys On The Go. StreetBees seems to pay higher rates for tasks and surveys (I’ve never seen anything that paid out less than a dollar), but it’s fairly infrequent. SotG seems to have surveys more frequently, but they have a cash out threshold of ten dollars, which I’ve yet to hit in the months I’ve had this app.
This was a rebate from iBotta for making purchases at a qualifying store. Maybe if I’d done more grocery shopping, it would mean more rebates. But, this month was especially cost-effective food-wise because of…
- The reimbursed grocery mystery shop.
- The mystery shop for the pizza joint, which, although the pizza was gross, I also ordered an entree salad. That lasted for an extra meal.
- Since I bartend with a catering company, we get to eat leftovers and take styrofoams of all the extras. I worked three gigs this month, and brought home enough food for 4-5 extra meals.
- Mooching from the people for whom I was house-sitting was good for an extra meal or two. Also, one family left me a $15 gift card to Trader Joe’s.
- Events with free food! I work on a university campus, and there seems to be student organizations having events all the time. Additionally, there’s been a few employee appreciation gatherings this past month. There’s usually food, and I’m entirely shameless about taking leftovers.
In fact, I only went grocery shopping, proper, once this entire month. Had I not been naughty and gone out to eat a few times, my total food expenses would have been under $50.
Blog Pennies (A.K.A.: Blog Income): $0.02
It’s not quite time to quit my day-job, but I’m two pennies closer than I was!
Upcoming Hustles and Goals for June 2017:
- On deck: two face-painting gigs, a grocery mystery shopping job, a morkie (Maltese and Yorkshire Terrier mix) coming to stay the night, and a sweet chocolate lab coming for two weeks (eek!)
- Last month, I wrote that I was interested in pursuing AirBnB-ing, online tutoring, and selling tradelines. However, I didn’t actively work on these goals this month because, plain and simply, I didn’t have time for it. The sudden switch to full time hours, naturally, cut into my side hustling time. I listed my space on AirBnB (though the listing is about as bare-bones as can be), but that’s all I did. I did get a request for two exchange students to the university where I work, but they wanted to stay for a month, and I wasn’t mentally ready for that. As far as tradelines go, the most I did was to get my credit limit increased on one of my cards and getting my mother to do the same for one of her cards (on which I’m listed as an authorized user). Maybe I’ll work on these three side hustles next month, but really, I think they’re just on the back burner for now.
- Pass out all of my remaining business cards during the above-mentioned face-painting Super Saturday. The two gigs I’m scheduled for are open to the public, which is essentially free advertising. Got to make the most of it (plus I want to redesign my current iteration of business cards and need an excuse to order more).
- I’ve signed up with ShareASale.com and Commission Junction. I’d really love to see if I can become an affiliate for companies I’m already recommending on this blog!
There you have it! How were your side hustles this month? What’d you do, and was it worth it?
Previous Side Hustle Income Reports:
Referrals and Recommendations
- When you sign up with my referral link to iBotta and make your first redemption, you’ll get a $10 welcome bonus. That’s some seriously easy cash for groceries you were probably going to buy anyway.
- The world is full of dogs just waiting to be petted by you. Use my referral link to get started on Rover.com.
Before you go, I’ve started a group board on Pinterest: Inspiring Income Reports. If you would like an invite to collaborate, follow me on Pinterest and either leave me a comment below or drop me a line with your Pinterest profile.
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