I earned $100,000 from side hustles in 2020: Here are my top tips

"Be prepared to invest in yourself," says "Yo Quiero Dinero" founder Jannese Torres-Rodriguez

Jannese Torres-Rodriguez is the founder of the blog Delish D'Lites and the podcast "Yo Quiero Dinero."
Courtesy Jannese Torres-Rodriguez

I've been an avid side hustler since 2013, when I started my first one, a food blog called Delish D'Lites. I began working to monetize it after getting laid off in 2014, and in 2020, it has grown to a blog that 3 million readers flock to every year, and earns over $5,000 a month. In 2019, I created "Yo Quiero Dinero Podcast," a personal finance podcast for Latinas and women of color, and began to monetize it during the pandemic. 

I started the podcast because I noticed the lack of representation in the personal finance space and wanted to create a community where people of color could learn about money in a way that is fun, relatable, and refreshing. The podcast has grown exponentially and is now a five-figure business in its own right.

Thanks to these multiple ventures, I was able to hit an amazing milestone in 2020 and celebrate my first year as a six-figure business.

In 2020, I set a goal to exceed my 2019 side hustle income ($46,000) and try to make $100,000 in side hustle income. If that was going to happen, I needed a 100K plan combined with a 100K mindset, and I needed to start making 100K decisions. Most of all, I needed to believe I was worthy of achieving my money goals

The strategy worked: By the end of 2020, I'd brought in a total of $101,566.

Here's my best advice and what I've learned about setting, and then exceeding, goals.

Figure out if what you love to do can be profitable

Over the past seven years, I've developed nine different income streams that allow me to use my spare time to earn extra income: my full-time job, sponsored content, affiliate marketing, display ads from the blogs, podcast sponsorships, merchandise, stock picking, speaking engagements, hosting virtual events, and freelance writing. 

Some of them, like ad revenue and affiliate marketing, are passive income streams, so they don't require any time at all. What I love about side hustles is that especially when you are just getting started, you don't need to spend a lot of money to get an idea off the ground. 

What matters is that you pick something that works with your schedule, skills, and maybe even a passion that you've ignored for too long. The key here is to be intentional. 

Be prepared to invest in yourself

At the start of 2020, I made the necessary upgrades to my technology, and started investing time and energy into learning new skills like podcast editing, how to conduct virtual workshops, and how to get paid for freelance writing and speaking gigs. 

Probably most importantly, I hired help, because I knew I couldn't grow as a business unless I was willing to outsource time-consuming tasks, like responding to emails and posting on social media.

I needed a 100K plan combined with a 100K mindset, and I needed to start making 100K decisions.

My multiple side hustles, which all operate under an LLC, weren't earning six figures at the time, but I stopped looking at investments into myself and my business as losses and started trusting their return. Hiring help allowed me to use my time living in a CEO mindset and create additional income streams, rather than spending time on administrative tasks.

Write down your goals to hold yourself accountable 

If you only state your goals verbally, it's easy to blow them off and forget what it was that you hoped to achieve. Put your words to paper, and they will now exist in a much more real, tangible format. 

My baseline monthly side hustle income before setting my $100,000 goal was approximately $5,000 a month. I knew I would make at least $60,000 in 2020, so in order to make the other $40,000, I started to diversify my income streams. 

This personal chef transformed her business during the pandemic

Video by Mariam Abdallah

I sought every opportunity I could to monetize one or more of my skills. Thanks to my experience teaching virtual workshops, I had the opportunity to speak to employees at Spotify and host events for the podcast. I used my skills as a blogger to get hired to write personal finance articles, something I never dreamed I'd be able to do. 

I also stopped spending time and energy on unpaid work, and used my network to find additional opportunities that could help me reach my income goals. 

Keep track of your progress 

Prior to 2020, I used to use basic spreadsheets to reconcile my side hustle income and expenses, and I usually only did this during year end, so I had no idea what was happening throughout the year.

In 2020, I decided to invest in accounting software that allowed me to track my income on a daily basis. 

Having this information at my fingertips helped me stay in touch with my progress. Use any of the expense-tracking software to record your expenses. Once you start doing it regularly, you can cut out unnecessary expenses that are draining your bottom line in real time.

The Budgetnista: Smart money moves to make in 2021

Video by Mariam Abdallah

Find your tribe

I can't say enough about the power of social media to help you achieve your money goals. I've been able to network with so many inspiring personal finance content creators who have shared their knowledge and skills, and we even formed a business mastermind group. 

My tribe includes amazing women like money coach Delyanne Barros, Build with Joy founder Joy Valerie, Wander Onwards founder Vanessa M.W., and money coach Kerry DeLiz.

There are so many personal finance communities on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok who keep me motivated and inspired to exceed my money goals. It's important to surround yourself with people who are also on the same path. Regular discussions and check-ins with them can keep you motivated to move forward in your goals.

Keep thinking big

My 2021 goals are to keep growing my side hustles and maybe even hit $200,000 in revenue. I will continue to evolve as a business owner by saying yes to new opportunities, learning new skills, and embracing the fear of the unknown.

When it comes to exceeding my money goals, I've realized that determination and perseverance are key. The sky's the limit.

Jannese Torres-Rodriguez is a certified financial education instructor (CFEI) through the National Financial Educators Council (NFEC) and a first generation Puerto Rican blogger and business coach who built a $50,000+ side hustle and is pursuing financial independence. She became an accidental entrepreneur after a job loss led her to create a successful Latin food blog, Delish D'Lites. After becoming a successful business owner, Jannese became passionate about financial literacy and is on a mission to educate Latinas on topics like entrepreneurship, investing, and building generational wealth through her podcast, "Yo Quiero Dinero."

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