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Passive Income and Side Hustle Report, September 2020

What a month September has been... Maybe I'll write a post about my summer-into-fall adventures in the future, but for now I'll just say that I'm very grateful for my job's health insurance. At the same time, passive income and any income I can make from home is looking cooler and cooler by the minute.

In August, I made $132.71 on the side -- just a couple more bucks than July. But September saw a much bigger jump, thanks to some book sales and more involved freelance jobs. Here are the goals I'd set:

  • Sign up 2 more Patreon subscribers

  • Continue with 2 freelance writing jobs per month

  • Get 5 more ebook preorders for Money Hacks for Metalheads and Old Millennials

  • Continue earning credit card cash-back rewards (to be hoarded for Christmas shopping)

  • Create some listings on eBay for a bunch of stuff I had sitting in my closet

So how'd I do?

Patreon = DONE! It was nearing the end of the month and I still needed one more subscriber to meet my goal. I figured it was a lost cause, but then made a single tweet about it.... And whaddaya know, a new subscriber signed up! I had to upgrade my other site's web security this month, so the monthly "break-even" point is now $45.... And we're getting there!

Freelance jobs = OVERDONE! I ended up with four jobs -- two one-time things, a social media client who continued for another month of services, and one job that is more involved. I also got paid for an article I wrote in July, so the writing income was above average this month.

Ebook Preorders = not done. But even better, I SOLD 17 PAPERBACKS! 9 of those sales were directly through Amazon. I had also purchased 15 author's copies from Kindle Direct Publishing at the printing cost plus shipping (which worked out to $3.56 per book); 7 went out to reviewers and interview contributors, and I sold the remaining 8 through social media posts.

Credit Card Cash Back = DONE. It continues to exist. Looking forward to redeeming it in December!

eBay Listings = DONE. Not quite sure I have my pricing and shipping strategy down yet, but at least some stuff is out of my closet? I made two sales, but at this point the Goodwill bag is a lot less hassle...

Let's see how all those goals stacked up...

  • Interest: 13.83

  • Dividends: $5.70

  • Credit Card Cash Back: $14.08

  • Teachers Pay Teachers August Payout: $10.41

  • Writing: $325

  • eBay sales, less shipping and fees: $8.02

  • Book sales, less cost and shipping: $44.52 from the author's copies, as Amazon takes 30 days to pay out

  • (Still not counting Patreon, as it hasn't reached the break-even point)

Total: $421.56

Wooooo! Pretty awesome! My net pay was $200 less this month due to changes in health insurance and my HSA contributions, so it was nice to see that the dip was offset and then some. (Not complaining about the health insurance either, it's my favorite thing right now. Just glad the balance sheet evened out this month!)

You may be thinking, "That's great that you made four hundred bucks on the side this month, Jessie, but why should I care?"

Welp.... I don't have a great answer to that, but I do have some takeaways from this month's hustling that are broadly applicable:

1. Social media is your free tool for finding clients and making sales. Almost every writing client I have, and all my book and music sales, somehow originate from social media. It's the word-of-mouth of the 21st century! Whether a sale is directly in response to a post I made or my if music pops up in someone else's friend's bandcamp Collection, an active social media presence is instrumental to my side hustles.

On that note, I find video posts to be very effective for selling my widgets. When a Facebook friend sees me holding up my book and hears me explaining why I wrote it and how it could be helpful to people, it's more of a call to action than just a text post. Speaking of which, don't forget to close your video with a call to action!

2. Always follow up. Only one writing job fell into my lap this month. The other three involved me sending messages/emails to see if someone was interested, see if they still wanted some widgets, see if we could get the ball rolling... You get the idea. People are busy and it's easy for things to get lost in the shuffle. If you don't hear back about something, send one quick message. Worse that could happen is that you don't get a response, or the person tells you they don't want your widgets right now. Best case, you have a new job!

3. Have a measurable goal in mind. You might not crush every goal every month, but it's easier to take steps towards something you can measure. If I wasn't specifically trying to sign up "two more Patreon subscribers," I never would have tweeted about it -- and then I would have missed out on a person who values my blogging content enough to support it monetarily!

Another example: a lot of folks on Money Twitter and Metal Twitter want to get more followers and build engagement. Having a follower-count goal is one idea -- and a trap I fall into every month lol. But what about goals that will help you build an authentically engaged audience? I'm going to take my own advice on this.... Instead of my original goal of reaching 500 followers this month, I'm going to shoot for one quality blog post per week plus daily activity on Twitter.

This approach may or may not get me up to the latest "magic number," but it will make my content more relevant and helpful to the people who do choose to follow me. And if those folks think my Twitter feed is helpful, they're more likely to make a purchase from me next time I'm hawking my widgets.

But let's not forget, helping people is the main idea -- right, guys? Right??

Let me keep myself accountable with a couple more October goals:

  • Update my best-selling Teachers Pay Teachers Flipgrid tutorial to reflect new site design

  • Sign up 2 more Patreon subscribers

  • Sell 10 copies of Money Hacks for Metalheads and Old Millennials -- 5 more to go since the beginning of the month!

  • Put my measly eBay earnings towards a share of some dividend-paying stock so that it wasn't a complete waste of time

What are your October goals? And -- especially for my Money Twitter folks -- how are you helping people?


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