March 4, 2024

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“I only work 3.5 days a week”

"I only work 3.5 days a week"

In 2017, after graduating from college, I started working as an engineer in an oil company. I was 23 years old and earning $98,500 a year.

At first, I thought I had my dream job. But after seeing senior leaders work 60 hours of routine travel, I realized it wasn’t the lifestyle I wanted. My father passed away when I was three, so spending time with family has always been very precious to me.

Josh works less than four days a week and spends most of his free time with his family.

Photo: Danny Mizziko for CNBC Make It

In 2018, I started experimenting with side business. I set a goal of earning $3,450 a month (after taxes) from my struggles to support my lifestyle. Once I achieved that, I decided to quit my full-time job.

Today, I have accomplished my goal of becoming my manager, and more. I left my engineering job in February 2021 to work on both sides of the job full time.

Last year, I earned just over $189,000 from my seven sources of income:

  1. YouTube (Google Adsense): $82,349
  2. Sold by Amazon: 13,886 dollars
  3. Patreon (training): $33,114
  4. Fiverr (product search): $29,014
  5. Affiliate Marketing: $29,496
  6. property for rent: $1,272
  7. Taxable profits: $639

Now I only work 22 hours a week. Take off Thursdays and Friday afternoons and weekends. Whether it’s playing golf with my grandfather, cooking family dinner or starting new businesses in my community, I have plenty of time to invest in the people and things I care about most.

Here’s my best advice for turning your side hustle into your full-time job, all while working fewer hours:

1. Don’t be afraid of trial and error.

With my early side struggles, I tried to get rental properties, then I started placing ads in the back seat of Ubers and renting my Polaris Slingshot three-wheeled motorcycle on Turo, an online car-sharing platform.

But none of these works were successful. It wasn’t until I started selling products on Amazon, using Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) that I started making real passive income.

All I had to do was find a generic product that was in demand and ship it to Amazon. My first product was $1000 headphones, then I moved on to iPhone cases and sports equipment.

I made over $25,000 in 2019 with my Amazon store. I wanted to share with others what I learned from my experiences and my mistakes, so I started a new project, which would later turn into my biggest income: starting my own YouTube channel.

2. Build a community around your expertise.

I launched my YouTube channel, dollar debt, in February 2020. I made a commitment to post at least two videos a week at first. Over the next eight months, she gained 14,000 subscribers and 871,000 views for the channel.

Josh’s most profitable source of income in 2021 was his YouTube account, generating nearly $83,000 from ads.

Danny Mizziko for CNBC Make It

While growing my audience, I realized that I wanted to connect more with my subscribers and build a real community. So in October 2020, I started instructing students individually for $50 a month on how to make money selling products on Amazon.

I am currently using Patreona platform that provides business tools for content creators to run a subscription service, to host my training sessions.

In February 2021, I started my product search service on Fiverr, where customers will pay me to find high-demand, low-competition products — popular toys, pet supplies, or travel accessories — that can be sold on Amazon.

These community-based businesses helped me reach my long-awaited income goal $3450 per month.

3. Prioritize debt treatment.

I was able to quit my full-time job when I was making less than $4,000 a month because I had paid off all of my debts, except for my house and car.

There are many methods you can use to pay off debt, but I personally like the “Debt Snowball” method because it helps you see your progress.

Here’s how it works:

  1. List all of your debts from smallest to largest.
  2. Make the largest payment on the smallest debt you have and the lowest amount for the rest.
  3. Repeat until you’ve paid off the smaller debt, then continue with your next smaller debt.

4. Prepare the legal aspect of your business ahead of time.

5. Find a schedule that works for you and stick to it.

When I was working my full-time job, I lacked the motivation to work on my side.

But once I put my pen to paper and stuck to a schedule, working on my work was part of my weekly routine. I choose to focus on my side hustle every weekday evening after work and every Saturday morning.

I still stick to a weekly schedule. I work from Monday to Wednesday and half on Friday. Every day I will work four to six hours, with each hour blocked out for a specific task.

One advantage of setting his schedule is playing golf with his grandfather on Thursday mornings.

Photo: Danny Mizziko for CNBC Make It

If you don’t set aside specific times to work on your side hustle, your work may get lost in everyday priorities.

6. Set up systems that will save you time in the future.

I invest in business models that require the least amount of my time. It’s the only way I can work 22 hours a week and still be able to grow multiple income streams. But remember that automating things and creating the most efficient systems can take some time at first.

Every month, I think about where I’ve spent most of my working hours and find ways to make these processes more efficient. For example, I used to spend four to eight hours a week editing videos.

I decided to outsource my video editing, but that also required some time up front to run the numbers to see what fits my budget, and find a great editor to do the work. But now that I make time to do it, I spend those hours growing my business in other ways, or working less.

7. Determine what makes you different.

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