Inside the Hustle: Card Writing

There is a niche and market for just about everything out there. No joke. Above is an email message I just received from a long time real estate client of mine asking about some anniversary cards she and I worked together on for her clients. “Anniversary Cards”? I’ve been working with Dorit and her husband for over five years as one of my side hustles. I first started out providing administrative work for them on Saturdays while I was working full time and that morphed into some marketing work, which I love ten times more.

The anniversary cards she’s asking about is a marketing tool she/we’ve been using for the last couple of years as a top-of-mind direct mail tactic. It keeps her current clients returning to her and her husband for real estate services but also as the first name her clients think of when they want to refer other clients to her.

What’s my role in the process? I create the content for each of these anniversary cards or any marketing material we mail to her clients and I hand write them… all. Because nothing is more personal than a hand-written note these days. People are more likely to read them and respond them. And seems to work for her and her husband’s real estate business.

I will admit, I don’t always enjoy the hand written part of this task, but it’s all in a day’s hustle.

I responded back letting her know when she should have received them and if she can’t find them, to let me know so I can recreate them. How do I get paid? Venmo. We use to meet up and I woudl get paid cash or by check. But this works too.

Working 5 to 9: Don’t Share Your Aspirations With Everyone

There’s something about having big goals or dreams that puts people in an uneasy state with you, particularly if it’s not their big goal or dream. I wouldn’t call this jealosuy or envy right away, but definitely an opposition. I’ve learned a few times with different people not to share my lofty goals or aspirations.

I had a coworker, neither she or I work at the former company anymore, who told me she would never work as hard as I do. There’s nothing that she would ever want in this life to make her hustle they way I was. What was funny about her statement was I knew her boyfriend and he was, probably still is, a hustler. He was working, seriously like three jobs. The two of them lived together split their rent and bills down the middle and even had a joint checking account (unmarried and in their 20s, girl, yes). But she was content with her one job and one income stream. Her boyfriend obviously wasn’t.

I’m obviously not. YOU’RE obviously not. That’s why we hustle. At least, that’s one reason.

Sharing with her wasn’t a bad move. Neither was sharing with any of the others, not entirely. Not at first. At first, people seemed to want to have a hustle of their own too and wanted my help creating one. Awesome! But, when I would try, they would hit me with excuse after excuse as to why they couldn’t start right now. It was like I was getting pumped for information and having the life sucked out of me. Later, perhaps, it grew into an envious mindset. After all, I was the only one who wouldn’t complain about money all the time, even though there were others who were making more of it than myself. Because a side hustle helps you generate more money.

And it removes the desperate factor from your life. It takes away your money urgencies. That need you have for more money all the time. You may still feel that at times, but the truth is if you have an active side hustle, you don’t need money as bad as many of your counterparts. And they see that. They see you hustle but not struggle like them and that doesn’t sit well with some people. Some people want you in the same boat as them. Misery loves company.

I’ve learned that. So I don’t tell new people and even others who I haven’t told already that one day I plan on being wildly and successfully self employed. That’s my big goal. That’s what I’m hustling for.

Working 5 to 9: When You Don’t Control a Resource

Where are all the cars?

If you’ve been keeping up with the Uber IPO news of late, you know that Uber is set to go public this Friday, May 10th. And the company is looking at a $90 billion valuation. But more importantly, that their drivers are striking today in about a dozen major cities in protest to cut wages and longer hours.

If you’ve been keeping up with me, you know I use Uber frequently for my notary business. It’s how I get around Los Angeles to all my clients. It’s how I’ve gotten to clients in areas I typically don’t service, but thanks to Uber, I could. But in light of the strike today, I’m down a resource that’s beyond my control.

How does that work?

The short version: I would not be available to see clients today, if requested. Couldn’t I just take the bus? Yes, I could. But depending how far I’m going, my commute to the client would be longer than the both of us would like and I may be traveling to an area that’s not all that safe.

Typically, whenever something like this happens, as someone who side hustles, it’s my job to find an alternative solution. My alternative solution could be to use Lyft. But they too are striking today. I could find another ride sharing service. I could take the bus to clients who are closer. However, just like I have no control over the Uber and Lyft strike, I have no control over the location of clients.

So they best I could is hope this strike doesn’t last longer than today and that I don’t have a super in need client.

Has anyone else been in a similar pickle with their business or side hustle?

Working 5 to 9: Hustle Anyime

I was on the bus yesterday morning headed to work and a man got on the bus through one of the back doors with a wagon full of essential oils. He was selling them as an alternative to perfume and other fragrance options. He said a general hello to the rest of the passengers on the bus then sat down. I got off before he did, so I never knew where he was going, but it didn’t matter. He was already at work.

He was hustlin’. And for us who are consistent with the hustle, we know it never quits. We may say we’re gonna have a little side hustle after work and on our off hours, but we get the hustle in whenever we can. Nighttime, daytime, anytime, we are hustlin’!

I don’t know if I’ll ever find myself selling oils or whatever else can be transported in some tote or wagon, but sometimes we gotta step outside what seems normal to earn a little extra money. And we gotta work when the opportunity presents itself. Think of the people at the promenades. Whether they’re pretending to be still as a statue, move robotically or perform magic tricks, they’re all working out side our normal comfort zones. And doing it during prime hours.

Hustlers are different. We’re not like everyone else. Because deep down, we don’t want what everyone else is willing to settle for. That’s why we hustle.

Working 5 to 9: Is It Too Much?

I preach so much about how important or freeing it is to have a side hustle that I often forget or ignore the fact that maybe the reason most people don’t have a side hustle is because they don’t want one. I often assume the reason someone doesn’t posses a side hustle is because they dont know of the possibilities a side hustle and the extra income it can offer. What if everyone is aware and only few people seek out side hustling because at the end of the day, a full time job and a side hustle is just too much?

I’m a single woman. And by single I mean I’m not married. I have no husband (or partner if I wanna be P.C. about it), I have no kids, no mortgage, no children’s college I’m funding or ill older parent I’m caring for. A side hustle was made for someone like me. Someone who can remain focused on themselves. Someone whose priority is just them. What if you’re not single? What if you got little ones running around the house? Or a spouse whose income you rely on to help support the mortgage and the bills? Can you still have a side hustle, your full time job and your life?

The technical answer is yes. But the question is, do you want to? Do you want to juggle something else on your plate willingly? Do you want take on odd jobs and gigs. You want to use your spare time on other “work”. I can’t answer that for you. But you know whether or not you could and if the rewards would be worth your time.

So even though this blog is dedicated to the single woman out there hustling to pay her bills and save for that Spain vacation, I want to acknowledge the moms and caregivers who’ve thought about taking on gigs to supplement their income or expand their skill set. I know you have a lot on your plate and you’re taking care of priorities bigger than yourself. You’re not forgotten. You’re just hustlin’ in your own way.

And maybe your answer is yes. You’re willing to use the quiet in the morning when everyone is asleep to start your hustle. Or after you put the kids to bed. Maybe… you just need a little push. If it’s not too much.

Money Matters: Get You a Side Hustle

If don’t have a side I hope you’re already living your dream. And if so, 👏👏👏👏👏👏. Do you, boo!

But if not, why not? It’s been reported and polled and studied that, in U.S. at least, between 70-80% of people hate their job. I’m one of them!!! But unlike the bulk of the country who would rather call out sick than drag their crushed souls into the office Monday through Friday, I have a side hustle. I have a few, in fact. And I roll my eyes to those who do not have a side hustle at all.

Sorry, not sorry.

In all seriousness, how can anyone complain about a job they feel pays them too little and works them too hard not do anything about it? I never understood that.

Now, you may think that person can just start looking for another job but let me ask this: do you really think they’re going to find everything from that one new job?

I’m gonna go with no. And that’s ok. Its almost weird if a job is completely satisfactory that we don’t need to look anywhere else to fill our voids. Even a decent or good job may lack some soul-purpose elements.

But to work at job and not have a side hustle in the city is almost dangerous. We have rising rents, fees coming at us left and right, and for 61% of us (allegedly), no savings. I mean, why don’t you just get the lighter fluid and matches now?

Okay. Sorry, sorry. Too far. But, was it really?

2017 and 2018 were some pretty expensive years as Los Angeles made it’s way to being the 3rd most expensive city in the county. Being beat out by only New York and San Francisco. And I don’t see 2019 being a generous one. So I tell everyone who has the mindset to hear it, get you a side hustle.

If for no other reasons, for these two:

  1. Build your non existing savings or to beef it up
  2. To add more skills under your belt and become more you desirable to lucrative prospective employers (bosses who will pay you better)

In other words, a side hustle is the easiest and quickest way to increase your net worth, help you build wealth and develop and build skills.

Your job now may be about your career or a bridge to your career. But a side hustle is all about staying in the black.

Side Hustlin’ Sunday: Photographer

I think this is a side hustle I’ve been a little leery about sharing, not because I don’t believe it can’t be a lucrative side hustle, but because the market is so heavily saturated. I mean, I can think of five people I know personally who are self proclaimed photographers, regardless of how successful their hustle may be. And I love photography. I love taking pictures, even if it’s on my smartphone. I mean, there are dozens of apps out there dedicated to art of taking pictures.

But when people think of photography as a way to make money, they think photo shops, weddings, big production events because that’s where the money is. But how does one break into an industry where there is so much competition? Look for other niche markets.

Such as…?

Maybe you can be a business photographer. Companies need someone to professionally take of their business location for their website or social media. Or take pictures for a local digital magazine. Or…create your own.

Sites like Foap will pay you for your photos. In other words, in a market so competitive, find opportunities that aren’t. After all, the best side hustles are finding markets whose needs have not been met.

Stay hustlin’!

PTHS Tuesday: Division, Subtraction and Addition

Part Time Hustle Struggle: Time is the answer and equation involves division, subtraction and addition.

I find that the subtraction and addition become easier to pinpoint when I become more focused, but the division gets a little tricky.

It’s easy to begin to subtract what is not important in my life as I make more and more moves to become career independent and financially free. I know what I want and I direct my energy and my TIME to it. In doing so, I subtract people who fall in one of these categories:

  • Negatively critical – offer nothing constructive, because they have nothing going for them
  • Have nothing going for them altogether – when the goal becomes crystal clear, it becomes a chore to entertain people who aren’t on the same mental wavelength
  • Hot air balloons – people who keep offering their help but never produce any kind. Almost as if they’re waiting for you to achieve it before they believe it
  • Small dreamers – they got dreams but they’re small. And not because they’re potential is small. They just believe they deserve less or “enough”; they believe in false truths
  • Toxic people- the worst. Nothing they say is positive and nothing they do is positive. The world sucks they’re doing nothing about it, it’s not their problem

Subtracting these people is easy. Adding better quality like-minded folks, easy too, but takes time. They have to find you, you have to find them. Work is involved.

But when the clutter is cleared and we’ve aligned ourselves with the right people, dividing our time is the biggest x variable I know. Yes, I believe in doing only what serves me. But that includes maintaining and building relationships. Improving my health and wellness. Increasing my business/ my bottom line. Saving more. Earning more. Making smarter investments. And all they while holding down a full time job. And God forbidden the other life occurrences that love to surprise me.

Hats off to the people who have kids and do this, because I’m still trying to make it work.

I think that the biggest part time hustle struggle is how to best divide your time to live and grow the life you want.

PTHS: Time to Network

Tuesday’s Part-time Hustlin’ Struggles — finding time to network.  When you already work 40 hours a week, it can be hard to find time to work on your side hustle or business.  The best hours to spend making those important moves are given to someone else in a time block that is traditionally hard to break.  I guess that’s another reason why side hustlin’ is so appealing.  The practice of working on your own schedule frees you up to take care of the mundane but necessary life tasks; going to the bank, going the grocery store, picking up your dry cleaning and so forth.

But what about networking?  That too is a very big element  I’ve learned over the years.  And we have to make time to network.   And no, not just networking events, although they are becoming more convenient as they’re being held after hours on week days, is not enough.  Networking is relationship building and you’re not going to accomplish that in a few hours no matter how in sync you might feel with that angel investor.

You gotta make time to meet other like-minded people.

I met a woman, by the name of Keyna this past Saturday at a Starbucks near USC (USC Village).  And although we had talked on the over, exchanged emails back and forth, this was our very first in person meeting.  And it was nice.  The meeting was nice, getting to learn about one another was nice and finding a kindred spirit was nice.  Who is the Kenya gal I keep using the word ‘nice’ about?   She’s a broker and financial consultant and we initially began speaking through an email she sent regarding an event she was scheduled to put on but had canceled for whatever reason.  I had notice that her email signature stated she was a broker so I took the chance and asked her if her organization was in need of a Loan Signing Agent. She said no, but was able to put me through to someone who she knew frequently used notaries and the loan signing agents.  All three of us had a conference call one afternoon on my lunch break.  I later touched base with the gentleman again and he assured me they recorded my information in their system to use me for any doc signing opportunities in my area.  After that call, Kenya and I set up a time to meet face to face.

All of which may have taken place about 30 days ago or so.  Not within no 2-3 hours time span at some lavish event.

And although I do enjoy the process, finding time to connect like that isn’t easy.  I have to make myself available hoping it fits whenever the other party is available.  And if not, I hope that whenever we do connect it’s not overly long as I’m probably only on a 10 minute break.  In which, I don’t want to rush someone off because then I come off as aloof and uninterested.  Emails turn into to calls, which are either, again, on my lunch break or after I get off of work.  Calls turn into meetings, which are, again, after work or on the weekends.  Which means any errands I had planned for the weekend gets shifted to an earlier or later time to accommodate this meet and greet.  And this is a cycle I go through with per person.

It’s a time consuming process for someone who always feels like they’re pressed for time.  But it’s just one of many elements I feel like I’m always pressed for time trying to take this hustle to the next level.  But nonetheless, very important.

Side Hustlin’ Sunday: Licenses and Certificates

I never thought I’d be the type of person who would chase after certifications and licenses as a way to earn extra money outside of my 9-5. Don’t get me wrong, I know that the more education someone has and the higher their degree goes, the better positioned they are for negotiating their desired salary. Like, a ‘duh!’

But how many people would a course or two or however many were needed to get a license or a certification to earn extra money? Which, I guess could be argued as being the same as earning ‘more money’. But I’m not talking about earning ‘more money’ as a W-2 holder, but rather as a freelancer. An independent contractor. Dammit, a hustler.

Who here is willing to spend the time and money on themselves for themselves, not for an employer? Not to look good to another employer, or look more appealing to your current employer or because an employer asked/commanded of you. Just for you to add to you wealth toolbelt.

I have a notary commission/license. Earned it last year. Been putting it to work and earning back the 18 hours of training that went into it and the $306 investment I made for it. I’ve reaching out and networking, putting myself out there on a daily basis. Because my success matters to me.

How many people are ready to stop being C students and are ready to go for As and A+s in their own professional journies?