In one year, I turned my side hustle into a business that brings in six figures: Here's my best advice

"My perspective shifted when I realized investing in the stock market could help me retire early."

Delyanne Barros is the founder of Delyanne The Money Coach LLC.
Courtesy Delyanne Barros

A year ago, I was earning a six-figure salary at a job that I was good at that made me miserable. In March of 2021, after spending 2020 growing my side hustle, Delyanne The Money Coach LLC, I walked away for good to run my business, which brings in six figures.

It took some time to get to this point. I was born in Brazil and moved to the states when I was 8. I always loved school and learning, and as I got older I considered becoming a doctor or a lawyer. I ultimately chose to go into employment law because I wanted to help people.

While I was in my element and graduated at the top of my class, three years of law school landed me with $150,000 of student debt. I got what I thought was my dream job at an employment law firm that specialized in representing plaintiffs. But I soon realized that the academic preparation and the reality of practicing law were quite different and that law firm life was not right for me.   

In 2014, I made a career change and got a job as an attorney editor. I was making more money than I ever had, but I felt completely disengaged and empty. I found myself feeling jealous of people who really loved their job and I wanted to know what that was like. 

Still, though I knew something needed to change, I hesitated. I was the first in my family to graduate college and the first to become an attorney. As an immigrant and the oldest child, I felt a huge sense of responsibility, and some shame, when I thought about making a big life-changing decision like quitting my job or starting something new. 

How learning about investing inspired me to start my side hustle 

In the fall of 2019, I started my debt-free journey, paying off my student loans, and it was important to me to share openly about it on social media. Around that time, I discovered the concept of financial independence

My entire perspective shifted when I realized that investing in the stock market could help me retire early. And I don't mean day trading. I'm talking about long-term investing with index funds. This is a system that's been around for years but I had never heard of it, and I was sure that I wasn't alone in that. 

So after years of struggling with my 9 to 5, I decided to launch a side hustle. And the same drive to help people that informed my law career was the foundation of my new venture, Delyanne The Money Coach LLC.

I started a TikTok account for the business in February 2020, not knowing what to expect. The more I shared about things like my progress with my debt journey, and my experience opening my first brokerage account, the more my business grew. I think my transparency about my financial goals and struggles resonated with people. 

Today, Delyanne The Money Coach LLC has more than 183,000 followers on TiKTok and 56,000 on Instagram. 

I launched my Slay the Stock Market course in late 2020 and over 1,100 students have joined since then. In the course, I teach people about the stock market, how it works, its history, and how people can start investing towards financial freedom so they too can have options to choose their own path instead of being dependent on a job that could disappear at any moment. 

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Too many people have been denied access to this type of information. It's information that should be taught in our schools or provided by our employers when we sign up for a 401(k). Today, I have also created an investment plan with the goal of retiring by 45, and I continue to work toward that today.

On March 15, 2021, I gave my two-week notice and said goodbye to my legal career forever. This was not an easy decision but it was a decision that was years in the making. I was ready. 

'Reach out to your community' and more side hustle success tips

Over the last year I've learned so much about what it takes to turn a side hustle into a thriving business and a full-time career that I am excited about. 

Entrepreneurship is hard work, but I've realized that long hours working on things that spark your passion are worth it. After spending countless hours creating educational content online for free, I knew that I was ready to turn this into a business.

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If you are feeling stuck, my best advice is to reach out to your community. Read up on new subjects that might intimidate you, and talk to people about what makes them happy, and how they are pursuing their goals. Expand your world, and find the things you enjoy.

Don't chase the things that seem lucrative if your heart isn't in it. 

And if you are at the point where you are thinking about making the shift from side hustle to full time, I would recommend sticking with your 9 to 5 until your business starts to produce enough consistent cash flow to cover your expenses. Once the income from Delyanne The Money Coach LLC replaced my salary, I felt comfortable enough to leave.

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Remember that you don't have to go it alone. My sister Nathalia Copeland is a business coach, and I was so fortunate to have her guidance and expertise during this time. I don't know that I would have succeeded the way I have without her help. 

There are many moving parts to launching a business online and Nathalia taught me all about things like copywriting, sales, list building, email marketing, and how to create new sales leads. If you can, ask for help from someone who knows your industry and how the business world works.

As a Latina and an immigrant, I often struggled with the idea of giving up such a prestigious career. My parents sacrificed a lot to make sure that I had a great education growing up. I had invested so much money and time to pursue this original goal.

But I couldn't let that guilt control my life choices and my mental health. 

The biggest lesson I have learned from this experience is that there is no shame in changing your mind and trying again. I started over at 37 years old, and even though things are perhaps more unpredictable now, I'm so hopeful for my future. 

Delyanne, an employment attorney and money mentor, launched Delyanne The Money Coach LLC after she discovered FIRE (Financial Independence Relax Early as she likes to call it). Since then she's paid off $110,000 in student loans and her business has generated multi-six figures. She's now on track to reach Financial Independence by 45. You can find her on Instagram and TikTok under the handle @delyannethemoneycoach.

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