How Side Hustles Can Snowball Into Income

In June 2015 I had never had any income other than my 9 to 5. I did get a second job for 6 months to buy my now wife’s engagement ring, but other than that I never knew there was a possibility of income.

I knew I could start a business, my family has always done that. But, to me that was something that you stop being an employee and you run, not something you do in addition too your 9 to 5.

Early 2015 I discovered personal finance blogs, and that people were even making money doing that. That sounded interesting, but not like something I would ever do.

Then in June I discovered the Smart Passive Income Podcast. I listened to the recommended shows (at the time 14 through 16 but has since been updated) and decided this was what I wanted.

Not a blog, that didn’t seem like something I would ever do still (though I am now) but starting a “side hustle” that I can work on and make a small amount of income from that may snowball into a replacement for my 9 to 5 income. Allowing me the freedom to work from anywhere and live the life I want now, rather than later.

Failed Side Hustle Attempts

In listening to those first podcast episodes by Pat (trying to be on a first name basis, let me know how it works) I found that I could get paid to write without owning a blog on sites like InfoBarrel and HubPages. So I started writing sometimes several articles a day and submitting them to InfoBarrel. None were accepted, looking at the articles now I wouldn’t have accepted them either.

Editing was something foreign to me, as was the English language it felt like. But I didn’t give up, I kept trying, and after a little research decided to write on HubPages instead. Hubpages accepted and posted my articles and for a while tried to build a business off of my Hubs.

I remember seeing my first income off of that. It said I had made “<0.01” and I was thrilled, I had done it, I had made on the side, with out having to work hours to do it. Though yes it was basically no money it was enough for me to realize that I could do it, I could make money on the side.

I continued with HubPages, and maybe had I continued I would have made income off of it, the thing is though that everyone who talks about HubPages or InfoBarrel or any site like them says that you can no longer make money from them. And it was true, after several months I hadn’t got a pay out once and only made a few dollars total never reaching the payout amount.

It was then I decided I would start my own blog, as most of the rejections from InfoBarrel or HubPages said that it was because the articles were “more suited for a personal blog”. And so Cooking To Independence was born. I still have the domain (for a few months anyway) I’m not going to renew it because it was pretty terrible.

My plan was to go to restaurants, eat there food, come home and recreate the dish in my kitchen for much less than the cost of dinner. I was also going to talk about how doing this saves money and how it would help me reach financial independence.

I like the concept of the site, and in its own way it was successful, the problem though was the cost to start up, I did the wrong thing and put everything on a credit card and spent way too much money on everything. I quickly realized that I had not truly counted the costs and so I canceled everything and fortunately was able to get a refund on almost everything.

Successful Side Hustles

For a long time I had considered driving for Uber, after looking at their site and trying to sign up my car was too old for their standards. So I gave up, thinking that if I ever do get a new car I would sign up then.

One day though a friend of mine asked me what I thought about them driving for Lyft. I had never heard of it before but after being told it was like Uber I started investigating. After looking into it I found my car did qualify for Lyft and I signed up that same day.

By the next week I had started driving and my first night in only 4 hours I had made $60 dollars, I was hooked.

I started going out more and more, and later and later trying to chase the money. After a few months though I realized that I don’t like driving intoxicated people around. It isn’t worth the money to me. I do still drive for Lyft I just prefer the early morning runs to the airport, taking people to work, and the early evening hours when I pick people up from their jobs and take them home. I do still on occasion go out on the weekends and nights to make some extra money but that’s more of a when I need to.

December 2015 I listened to episode 99 of the SPI podcast, where the selling family was interviewed. They sell on amazon and make a six figure income working part time. After doing some additional research I thought this would be a great thing to try.

I started off small (which I have found now to be a mistake) and sent in $50 dollars worth of stuff. I didn’t check the rankings of the items or really knew much about selling on the site, all I knew was my purchases were cheap clearance items were selling for much more on amazon. After paying for the fees and the shipping I think I lost about $45 dollars on the first round, but I was determined.

I kept trying and trying and learning from each sale, I figured out how to get the cheapest shipping. I learned that you have to find items that are actually going to sell for profit. You have to look at the rank to make sure the item will sell, and you have to spend hundreds of dollars at a minimum on the merchandise or it’s not worth sending it.

My personal amazon selling experience has gone from terrible to making more money than I thought I would. My goal now is to double my investment every month for 6 months which would enable me on the 6th month to have my debt paid off. That would mean for May I have to make $600 dollar of profit or more.

Not Yet A Success But May Be Someday

I have recently got a freelance client, and hope to get more soon. I feel good about the work I have already done with freelancing, and though it hasn’t provided a lot of income yet, neither did amazon when I started and now it’s my largest income stream. I feel this, like amazon, will snowball into my greatest income stream. It’s my hope that I can actually use this side hustle to make enough money to support my wife and myself leaving our 9 to 5’s.

This site is also something I feel strongly about, even though I have had a failed blog before that was less about my effort and more about my income. I have fixed that now by adding so many different income streams. When I started the other site I had only my 9 to 5 and nothing to back it up, now I have other income streams that can pay for the operating costs of the site.


Keep pushing forward, keep trying till you become successful at something. This site and my freelancing have a long way to go, but I’m actually starting to get a decent income from Amazon FBA and if I need the money bad enough I can always drive more for Lyft.

What’s important to realize is no one starts off successful, they all start small and it snowballs into something that can support them, so as you follow my journey to that happening make sure you are going down the path as well.

If you’re in debt like me, do everything to get out of it, if you’re trying to retire early put every dollar you can into investments that will be able to support you. If you just don’t have enough income do as much work as possible to get a side hustle going that will make that extra income. If you keep trying and working on side hustles they can snowball into real income.

What side hustles have you tried and failed? Succeeded? What would you like to try but haven’t yet?

Image courtesy of jscreationzs at

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich, Disease Called Debt and The Millennial Budget*

12 thoughts on “How Side Hustles Can Snowball Into Income”

  1. Good post Tyler (Trying the first name thing as well)! I like what you are doing with the side hustles – and once you really get this Amazon thing figured out – you will have a nice information product to sell – where you can teach others how to do it. I can tell you that when I started my blog just a few months ago I committed myself to one full year no matter what. Like any business, it usually takes a year before you can plan to make a profit. On the flip side, you are smart to identify when an opportunity becomes a burden and get out while you can. What a great balance of ambition and common sense! Keep at it (all of your income streams) and you could be well on your way to achieving your goals.

    1. Hi Bill,

      It has been a huge project especially the Amazon thing. There is a course I want to get on selling for amazon but it’s a bit out of my price range for the moment. That being said I do have some stuff coming out later this month on selling on amazon and the things I have learned thus far.

      I plan on keeping at this blog for at least a year. I feel guilty when I don’t get articles out and have set down and started forcing myself to produce more. Soon I’m going to try to grow my other streams of income (specifically freelancing) so we’ll see what happens.

      1. There are definitely no shortage of courses available. The key is to find a good one. I have purchased quite a few ‘trainings’ over the past several months and the one thing they all have in common – they don’t actually teach you HOW to do what they say they will. Lot’s of hype and lots of motivation, but very low on the action steps. As I build out my training this summer, I plan to include videos to help with the actual ‘how to’ in everything I do. I hope the training course you want to purchase is very helpful and gets you to where you want to go!

  2. Tyler thanks for sharing your FULL experience! I actually find it inspiring to read about failures, not just successes! It reminds me to keep pushing, keep working hard, and to keep trying new things. Stay hungry and we will reach our financial goals!

    1. Thanks Erin,

      You are really an inspiration to me. I really love hearing about how people failed too, not so I can look down on them or anything but so I can learn from them. From everything I hear all successful people fail a lot more then they succeed you just only hear about the successes. I hope my story helps others to be willing to fail to learn from it.

  3. This is a great story, and I’m sure there’s lots more exciting stuff to come! I think you’re really good at trying lots of new things and identifying which ones are worth pursuing, and when it’s time to get out of them. This is a really strong skill to have. The next thing is taking the successful ones, and modifying them and learning over time to maximize them. It’ll be tough, but you’ve already come a long way!

    1. Lindsay, it has been a crazy experience so far. For me to think about it, less than a year ago the thought of doing more than I was and making income in other ways seemed impossible. The most successful so far has been Amazon FBA and that has grown so much more than I thought it would already. I’m looking forward to the journey and becoming the best version of myself possible.

  4. I remember Hubpages and Info Barrel. I actually made one payout on Hubpages and then that was it. I based most of my hubs off of popular keywords and they did pretty good initially, but I neglected them because of all the requirements with Hubpages. With Info Barrel, I think I lasted a month before I figured it was a waste of time. I’ve definitely made more money writing through my own blog and in less time than I did when I was running the rat wheel on these sites.

    1. Latoya, Yea using those services was nice to get my feet wet and that was about it. I didn’t make any money off of them really, I also haven’t made any off this site (not directly anyway). But, there are so many other things that can be done to make an income.

    1. Mel,

      Thanks for mentioning that. Most people will try one side hustle and give up and never try another when they fail. I failed so many times before I found one thing that worked, had I given up after failing the first time than I would never have accomplished what I have.

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