Side Hustle, Self Employed, Entrepreneurship

by David Ning · 19 comments

Some of you know, others are jealous, many wonder but yesterday, one person actually asked.

You are making a living sharing what you do day to day and you seem to love it. I can only wish to make money doing what I love. What’s the secret?

I was flattered by the question. It’s true that I love writing over here, and I’m very fortunate that what I love to do happens to put bread on the table (those are for show of course, I secretly eat steak instead since I’m a meat kind of guy). It’s great now, even though it hasn’t always been like this.

When I started writing, I was excited when I made just one dollar that particular day. To give you some perspective on my earnings expectation, Emma and I used to have a little competition to see who could have a bigger paypal account at the end of the month. She would sell her one or two items a month on ebay, I would write.

You see. I never planned for this to become my primary source of income. At the beginning, I saw this as a hobby that gave me cash on the side. I was already passionate about money topics, and I was excited to learn about putting up a website, changing the look of it and adding new features. The time I spent on it (and it was a ton of time because I practically did nothing else back then) didn’t matter because I wasn’t keeping track.

Just Start quote image

It didn’t matter that I wasn’t making nearly as much as I could by working a part time job. I loved it. I couldn’t wait to get home to work on my site and read up on the latest news. I wrote and wrote and wrote, changing, improving and adapting at the same time. Slowly, more money came my way and that only fueled my desire to tweak, change and improve some more.

There are no secrets. I just kept doing stuff and not settling for what’s good enough. I spent more time on the look of the website. I wrote longer and more interesting posts. I made some friends and wrote on their websites. I even wrote a budget travel book that is coming out soon. As time went on, I did more, tried to be more efficient, and then took on more projects.

Whether it’s getting out of debt, saving or making money. The key is always to do something about it. Stop reading how others do it. Study them and apply it to your own situation. There’s no right way. Just start.

Otherwise, you are still hoping, wishing and dreaming while others are doing, living, and enjoying.

Money Saving Tip: An incredibly effective way to save more is to reduce your monthly Internet and TV costs. Click here for the current Verizon FiOS promotion codes and promos to see if you can save more money every month from now on.

Related Posts

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

ObliviousInvestor June 26, 2009 at 6:21 am

That’s very much how it was for me, too.

When I wrote my first book, I was simply doing it b/c I wanted to have something to recommend to people who needed information about the topic (taxation for sole proprietors).

I had no idea that complete strangers would actually find it on Amazon and *gasp* buy it.

They seemed to like it, even. And more people bought it. So…I figured maybe I should write a few more books. :)

It’s surprising how many entrepreneurial successes are (at least slightly) accidental.

Reply

MoneyNing June 26, 2009 at 9:03 am

More people should try entrepreneurship and see how he/she does. It’s becoming clearer and clearer to me that “doing” is much more important than “thinking”.

It’s interesting to note that smart people often have trouble with this as they are always aware of the possible negative outcome and try to think of the perfect solution before they act.

Reply

Monevator June 26, 2009 at 11:56 pm

David, you’re absolutely right about this.

I’m certain I’ve missed out on many opportunities in life because I always see the risks and the downside. It may help me as an investor, but it doesn’t help me as an entrepreneur (as I know through experience of setting up a company with a real one, and then finding it wasn’t for me).

Even with the blogs, you guys who have turned full-time impress me so much. I love writing Monevator, and I’m excited too by the small change that rolls in. But barely a week goes by when I wonder if it is all worth it – even as my subscriptions slowly edge up and nice people write to email me.

Thanks for sharing your back history, anyway. Quite inspiring. :)

Reply

Dividend Growth Investor July 27, 2009 at 7:30 am

I am the kind of person that always tries to play it safe, as my life has always been kinda volatile. But I don’t feel “safe” untill my dividend and interest income don’t cover most of my expenses. As for having your own business, I would recomend that you don’t quit your day job when you start your hustle, but do both at the same time.
That way you get a dependable paycheck on which to rely on, plus benefits. If your business idea is a great one, then working on it on weekends and after work should be fine. If your idea fails to generate much revenue by year one, then most probably you shouldn’t quit your job.
If your income from your business exceeds your expenses and even your salary from your employer, you could consider quitting your day job and concentrating on your business..

Reply

Samuel June 26, 2009 at 9:06 am

“There are no secrets”

You should be quoted on that. Very inspiring.

Reply

Super Mike June 26, 2009 at 9:08 am

If there’s something I have learned over the past couple years while working with successful clients, it was that they simply got off their duffs and produced something on the web in a niche and then re-invested 50% of the profit back into more advertising for traffic, more smart strategy and positioning, and actually surveyed and listened to their customer interests in order to serve them better.

In a recent book called The Four Hour Work Week…

http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/

…the author basically admits that this was the key to his success, and in his case he did it through vitamin pills purchased online, and in his case ones that claimed to focus on brain function such as Ginko.

Time and time again when I meet my clients, who pay me well, I am baffled when I hear of their success and I keep thinking, “How can they be so successful in something I thought wouldn’t work?” And the answer is that anything goes on the Internet. Find a niche, get the traffic through free link exchanges and paid advertising, reinvest time and money into the niche, listen to your customers, analyze and strategize smarter than the competition, keep it legal — and you’re home free. The point, though, was to get off your duff and actually DO something. Eventually, though, your niche begins to get crowded as others discover and emulate your model. Therefore, there are five main ways out — keep finding more niches and spreading your investment money around on these projects, franchise your niche, write a best-selling book or eBook about it, sell off backend technologies and innovations discovered as you worked your niche, or a combination of some or all of these.

Reply

marci June 26, 2009 at 10:23 am

Luved the “Editor’s Note” – and the way you follow you own advice. Cute.

Reply

David Leonhardt June 26, 2009 at 11:50 am

I guess congratulations are in order. So many of us find our paths opening up before us, quite unlike what we had planned…and the secret is to start running down the path, because you never know where it might lead.

Reply

Moneymonk June 26, 2009 at 2:01 pm

great motivation.. most sit on the sidelines while others are having a ball, sought of like TV

Reply

Michelle June 26, 2009 at 4:17 pm

Sounds like persistence was the key. Thanks for sharing your story. Keep doing what you love.

Reply

Monevator June 27, 2009 at 2:55 am

David, you’re absolutely right about this.

I’m certain I’ve missed out on many opportunities in life because I always see the risks and the downside. It may help me as an investor, but it doesn’t help me as an entrepreneur (as I know through experience of setting up a company with a real one, and then finding it wasn’t for me).

Even with the blogs, you guys who have turned full-time impress me so much. I love writing Monevator, and I’m excited too by the small change that rolls in. But barely a week goes by when I wonder if it is all worth it – even as my subscriptions slowly edge up and nice people write to email me.

Thanks for sharing your back history, anyway. Quite inspiring. :)
Sorry, forgot to add great post. Can’t wait to see your next post.

Reply

MoneyNing June 27, 2009 at 8:40 pm

I’m glad that some of you found this to be motivating and inspiring :) Keep the comments coming because it will encourage me to share more stories about entrepreneurship.

Reply

Pip June 28, 2009 at 3:39 am

Its heartening to know about your success. I do believe that many entrepreneurs have succeeded in their venture because of perseverance and willingness to learn. We should always be ready to learn good habits and to unlearn our bad ones.Experience makes one perfect…

Reply

William June 28, 2009 at 10:43 pm

Ning, your article reminds me of one proverb, “Practice makes perfect”. I wished you all the luck and keep up the good writing work. :)

Reply

Mike Pastore June 29, 2009 at 2:58 pm

It’s really different if you earn from something you love to do. It inspires you to work harder and meet the goal beyond one’s expectation. A person is productive if the thing he’s doing is something he loves to do. Productivity means good income that leads to balanced personal finances.

Reply

Meaghan July 7, 2009 at 3:25 pm

Congrats on doing what you love AND being successful. I couldn’t imagine doing a job that I didn’t enjoy. Working part time on a side hustle can be very time consuming and draining, but if it is something you love to do then that extra time and effort doesn’t matter. It is wonderful that you turned your passion into a full time job…how wonderful.

Reply

MoneyNing July 7, 2009 at 3:41 pm

Meaghan: Thanks. I actually don’t consider this a job because I’m happy and excited doing what I do every day.

For example, I just wrote a book and I’m trying to market it right now. It’s a joy seeing it on Amazon and other big book retailers and I don’t feel tired at all thinking about how I can increase exposure to it as well as drive sales. It’s all fun for me.

Like they say: “if you love what you do, you won’t work a single day”.

Reply

James @ The Forex Articles July 10, 2009 at 2:36 am

Excellent post.

My view is that there are people who are happy to work for other people, and there are those who simply cannot work for other people.

(I’m definitely the latter).

Once you know you want to break out on your own, then it’s just a case of persevering until you succeed, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes along the way.

My main income comes from my trading, and to a lesser extent from my websites. However both ventures were unsuccessful to begin with. It’s only in recent years that my income from both has really taken off.

Reply

Alexander April 6, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Hi i am 16 years old
I love internet marketing and SEO, it’s my passion. I love it so much that in the following weeks i’ll start a company helping businesses with local, internet, and mobile marketing. It’s fun doing what you love.:)

Reply

Leave a Comment