I want to travel – to teach our baby how to sleep on airplanes, to tote him around the United Kingdom and France, to show him as many new people and animals and foods as I can. I want to get tipsy on a beach in Mexico with Kristie. I want to rent a trailer and drive our family around the country. I want to camp somewhere remote and beautiful and mountainous.
I want to be out of debt.
(I've wanted these things for awhile. So why don't I have them? Because money is hard and life is hard and sometimes I go grocery shopping on an empty stomach.)
We're essentially living on one income right now. Kristie and I are both working (because work can be fulfilling and I think we can all agree that a fulfilled person [however that happens] is a better parent), and I'm the primary earner, so what she makes basically goes right to daycare.
Four years ago I wrote this post about how to spend less money. All the tips are good and relevant and we still do almost all of them, but we're obviously not millionaires yet, and we're not going to get there just by meal-planning and going to matinees.
Luckily we each have a pretty good work ethic, especially when it comes to creative projects. This is what we work on on weekends, at night, during nap times. This will be what changes our lives.
Things We Do to Make More Money
Freelance website editing: Kristie works from home one day a week and in the evenings editing listings on a travel site, a gig we came across a thousand years ago on Craigslist.
Wedding videos: Kristie and I are a good videography team. Individually, we've each worked with Brittney and Shana as a third shooter on their wedding videos, and done a couple ourselves that I'm really proud of. These videos are some of my favorite things in the world to make, and I want to do more. We're looking for one or two more this summer, and talking about making it our official (and primary) side gig next wedding season. My dad is a certified drone pilot, so we'll be pulling him on board too! This is the thing that probably makes us the most money, and it's what I enjoy the most too.
Blog: I've been writing this blog for about six years (wow!). I usually take home between $1,000 and $3,000 per year from affiliate links (I have partnerships with some websites like Amazon or Etsy, and when a reader makes a purchase through a link on my blog, I get a small percentage of the sale), sponsored posts (I've made the most through opportunities posted on Clever), video gigs (through Darby), and Google ads. The money I make blogging first goes to things like my domain name and hosting, and DIY supplies for new posts. Then I "pay myself" with whatever's left over. It's not hugely lucrative, but it's something I love doing and that has its own value, too.
Freelance writing: I've done freelance writing on and off since I graduated from college in 2009. Most recently, I sold three essays to Pregnant Chicken for $50 each.
Graphic design: I made $15 last winter with digital holiday card templates on Etsy [affiliate link]. I was anxious about my ability to handle the work with a newborn, but it went well and I'll probably market a little more heavily this winter. I also designed the graphic identity for my dad's drone business for free (see it here under "Portfolio"), and am cautiously interested in doing more of that.
Passive income: I design and sell cross stitch patterns on Etsy [affiliate link], and photos on Creative Market. Once the up-front work is done (designing, stitching, and shooting patterns/shooting and uploading photos), I take home about $20 a month.
I'm also working on two e-books (one of 10 French macaron recipes, and one of 10 mini feminist cross stitch patterns), and I'm planning a year-long cross stitch subscription for 2019.
Photo editing: I passed the tests to become a Mendr editor (basically freelance Photoshopping for $6-$10 a pop), but they have editors on-staff so there are almost never any available gigs. I still check, though! And I'll edit photos for friends here and there.
When it comes to what we do with the extra money we make, it first pays for whatever the gig's needs are (a rented camera for wedding videos; the blog domain name; etc.) and then we try hard-but-not-hard-enough to follow the plan set out in this book [affiliate link]. Be warned, there's a lot of Christian rhetoric in Dave Ramsey's books and on his podcast, but his ideas are sound and his writing is motivational.
I've made the mistake before (at least once) of taking on too much. Too many hustles. And now I have more to lose now than just downtime; I don't want to do any of this at the cost of spending time with my son. (As I'm writing this, I'm actually kind of talking myself into picking one and putting my time and energy there. It should probably be the wedding videos.)