Blogger Kristin Larsen has mastered the art of the side hustle for extra income.
In just one year, she was able to bring in over $4,500 of extra income by aggressively pursuing side opportunities. (Hint: She used a separate bank account to keep track of her extra earnings.)
Kristin, who says she started side hustling before she even knew that was a term, traces her roots as a side hustler to her younger years.
“I really had the side hustle spirit when I was just a teenager,” she says. “I was known in my neighborhood as the go-to babysitter in my high school years. I always had my summer babysitting schedule booked in advance.”
Once she went away to college, Kristin continued to seek out opportunities to bring in extra cash, initially finding work as a mystery shopper. As her first post-grad side gig, she began offering independent interior design consultations.
Scaling up her side hustle for extra income
Kristin was eager to get serious about her side hustles and earn more money on a more consistent basis. She wanted a leg up on paying off debt, boosting her savings, and establishing an emergency fund.
“The best way I went about this was making a list of things I was good at doing,” says Kristin. “I wrote down all the skills I had that I could offer to someone else.”
As a born planner, Kristin says making time for her side hustles was simple. She would meticulously plan her days, arranging to spend the most time on her highest-paying jobs.
“I was smart about how I planned my side hustles,” says Kristin, “If I knew I had to run to the grocery store, I would look to see if there was a mystery shop or cell phone survey I could complete while at the grocery store. This usually added about an extra 10-15 minutes of my time while at the grocery store, but would make me an extra $20!”
One of Kristin’s favorite (and most lucrative) side hustles was pet sitting and dog walking. Between taking neighborhood dogs for walk, providing doggy daycare during the day, or hosting them overnight, Kristin brought in over $3,000 in a year. She says she was inundated with requests, sometimes being asked to dog-walk multiple times a day—earning around $20 for a 20-minute walk.
Leaving her day job behind
In early 2015, Kristin tapped into her most challenging side hustles yet: she launched a blog and began offering Pinterest virtual assistant services. These projects would also prove to be the most rewarding. By the year’s end, she was able to quit her day job to pursue both opportunities full-time.
“One of the best tools I’ve learned since I started side hustling is how to think like an entrepreneur and businesswoman. I treat side hustling like a business. I can say yes or no to jobs and seek out better-paying gigs, which isn’t something I would have been able to do at my day job. This also allowed me to gain confidence in myself.”
As for the extra income she’s making, Kristin says she carefully tracks it in a spreadsheet and allocates it to its own savings account—separate from her regular income. This way, she can add it up, and see exactly how much extra income she brings in per year. One option is a Varo Savings Account—download the app to apply in less than five minutes. There are no fees or minimum balance requirements plus a great rate on savings.
Kristin acknowledges that pursuing a new side hustle can feel like a lot of work — especially when it’s new and unfamiliar. She encourages people to push fear of failing aside, and learn as you go.
“Sart by making a list of things you like to do, and then figure out how you can get paid. There is always going to be someone out there looking for someone just like you to help them!”