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How I’m Busting My Butt Off Working 50+ Hours a Week, Earning 3K a Month

Yeah, not the typical “easy way to earn 10K” post, not yet

I’m not making fun of all these posts I read online that promise ways to earn thousands a month while working only a few hours. I’m really not. If anything, I’m jealous. Who wouldn’t want to be that guy or gal? I am not that guy. Not yet.

Are these stories even real?

First question I ask myself all the time. Maybe you did, too. Reading these headlines makes you wonder… or doubt:

  • “I earned 8000$ from self-publishing”
  • “How to earn 9K a month from writing
  • “Here’s how I made 10K in a month from my newsletter

Are these stories even real? Hell yes, they are! 
You’re right. This is not your typical rant. I’m actually trying to get a positive grip on this here. I just stumbled upon the latest story by one of my all-time favorite Medium writers Zulie Rane. In her story “How I Earn $8K+ Per Month While Only Working 15 Hours Per Week” she explains beautifully how she is doing just that… what the headline says:

Earning more money than ever before while working less than ever before. I mean that’s the dream, right?

And by the way, I’m still not making fun of this. I do love Zulie’s stories on Medium. She was the one that got me started on Medium (together with Shelby Church and a fine YouTube video).

Clickbait is not clickbait if it’s true, is it?

I’ve read a plethora of similar stories by fantastic writers. And while their headlines do sound like clickbait more often than not, it couldn’t be further from the truth. To me, these stories are inspiring because they’re true. I want to be that guy that makes a living doing what he loves. Wouldn’t you?

The real grind

But reality kicks in. I am not the guy making these numbers. I hardly make 3K a month, having a full-time job and two side-hustles, easily spending 50+ hours a week, while trying to maintain a healthy relationship with my very forgiving wife, and carving out enough playing time for my adorable children.

And let me be clear: I am not complaining about 3K. That’s great money. I support my family with it, I pay for my house, my car, my pleasures. I am not broke, I don’t have anything to complain about really… but, you know, I love complaining. Or let me rephrase that: I love dreaming.

Do what you love, love what you do

You see, I wouldn’t need to do all this. With my full-time job alone — which is a fine (home) office job as a computational linguist — I’d earn the majority of these $3000 anyway. Without the 50+ hours. More like 40 a week. Normal, you know. But there is this urge, this feeling of emptiness without the rest…

What I meant to say is: I love writing. This is my side-hustle number 1. It’s the reason for this post here, and for many, many more. I also love designing. That’s side hustle number 2.

And unlike most good things in life, these two came to me. I wasn’t looking for them. As far back as I can remember, I have always been writing. It’s a natural side-hustle.

I am, however, just now in the process of learning how to transform this passion into a viable side business.

That’s why I read posts like the aforementioned. Because those talented people have got it down! They know their stuff. And I want to be one of these guys and gals one day. I want to work fewer hours while earning more money. I want to spend more time with my loved ones and devote the rest to the things I love to do, including work I love to do.

Here’s the thing though

I need to learn my lessons before taking the leap. And what I’ve learned from Zulie and other writers that turned their passion into a job are these 5 things:

  1. Be prepared before quitting your full-time job
  2. Track your time. No, I mean really track your time!!!
  3. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Try to branch out your passion as much as possible, i.e., multiple income streams.
  4. Develop a habit. No, not that one where you say your workout 5 times a week… and then do it once. Develop a habit of religiously checking off your to-dos.
  5. And… be relentless. It won’t happen unless you make it happen.

Parting words

It’s easy to make fun of clickbaity posts. I did too, until I realized that many of these stories are true. Most people I know didn’t get to this level of success overnight. They didn’t even get there in two. They’ve been working their butts off for a considerable amount of time. Just like me. Without earning anything close to numbers like 8K or 10K a month.

They most likely started like me: With a full-time job and a passion for something else. Then, they took a leap. Like Zulie Rane. They quit their full-time career for an uncertain future as a freelancer. Maybe that’s the point of all this: If you want your passion to be your job… you need to turn your passion into your job!

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