After hosting more than 1,000 episodes of her podcast, "So Money," Farnoosh Torabi says one piece of advice has been transformative in her life.
Torabi's "light bulb moment" happened over the course of interviewing scores of people for her award-winning show, she says, and delving into how they earn, invest, save, and spend. "I realized I'm leaving a lot of money on the table," she says. "I have skills, there are things that I know, that I don't just do, that I can share and people will pay for that."
Torabi has made a name for herself in personal finance by hosting the podcast, writing books like the bestseller "When She Makes More," and doing public speaking. And once she realized she could make money from what she's learned, 25% more in her case, she began to seek out opportunities to share that information with others by offering courses and workshops about how to create a podcast, write a book, or navigate media interviews.
"There's two ways you can make money: You can make money from what you do, which is on your business card or on your LinkedIn page profile, and then there's a way to make money from what you know," explains Torabi. "There's so many things you can do with your talents that may not be utilized at your 9-to-5, so think about that."
Video by Courtney Stith
Here are three proven ways you can make extra money from the skills and knowledge you already have.
A favorite hobby could lend itself to a lucrative side hustle. Nearly a third, or 27%, of working adults have turned a hobby into a side hustle, according to a 2019 study of 2,000 employed adults commissioned by Vistaprint, an online provider of marketing products and services to small businesses.
The two most popular categories for side hustles are beauty, health, and wellness, followed by art, music, and entertainment, according to data from Vistaprint. On average, survey respondents reported side hustle earnings of $14,705 per year.
Looking for inspiration? Check out some recent Grow success stories of people who've turned their passion into profit:
- Cate Meade. This "MasterChef" finalist has turned her hobby of cooking into a career as a private, in-home chef and now earns up to $2,500 a week — or around $130,000 a year if Meade were to never take a week off.
- Tatiana Ward. Even though her first passion was music, Ward was always fascinated with makeup and started a YouTube channel in 2010 to advertise her skills. Eventually, she turned cosmetics into a career and now works with the likes of Nicki Minaj.
- Nicole Buergers. Beekeeping was a longtime passion for Buergers. She became "obsessed" with what she'd originally envisioned as a side hustle: taking care of bee hives and selling local honey. Now, the business brings in as much as $10,000 a month.
Video by David Fang
Some people ease into entrepreneurship with a side hustle while others dive into their idea and go full time.
- Kishan Patel. Less than a year after Patel founded Kunai, a financial services consulting company, he landed his first half-million-dollar contract. He started the business as a full-time venture and today he counts Capital One and Bloomberg among his clients.
- Priscilla Tsai. In 2015, Tsai launched the skin care brand Cocokind with $60,000 that she had saved up from her job at J.P. Morgan. The business became profitable within the first two years and today her products can be found on the shelves of almost 1,800 Target stores.
- Mike Zighelboim. A hangover was the inspiration for a tasty business idea: Importing raw coconuts from El Salvador to the U.S. for sale. Since launching in 2012, Zighelboim's business, Coconut Cartel, has expanded into alcoholic spirits.
Video by Jason Armesto
Rather than selling a tangible product, these trailblazers identified used their skills to create a service-oriented business around what they know:
- Brandon Dennison. Dennison saw an opportunity in the aftermath of declining coal mining production in West Virginia: He could teach others to find new career paths. He founded Coalfield Development Corporation to help young people build skills, earn degrees and find new career paths. To date, his nonprofit has trained more than 1,000 workers.
- Natalie Zfat. This social media influencer brings in more than $400,000 a year year by creating content, events, and experiences for some of the largest brands in the world. She founded the social media consulting company in 2010.
Realizing that all the information she'd learned from her primary job could be monetized was "eye-opening" for Torabi, and led to her secondary income stream of leading workshops and courses. She says she has learned from a lot of listeners who have built on what they know by starting a side hustle or business, creating courses online, or becoming Instagram influencers.
Regardless of the route you take, Torabi recommends finding ways to diversify your income so that you're not relying on one paycheck from a job.
"I want everyone to optimize their earnings potential," she adds. "Sometimes it's not enough to just get the raise at work. Sometimes you've got to find external income streams."
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