Friday, 30 September 2016

It's all about the Side Hustles

I'm acutely aware that the regularity of my posts has been somewhat lacking of late, a long way from my aspirational 1 post per week! I have actually begun work on an update about how I've been getting on with my goals so far this year (given that the last update was for March), but it's going to take me a little while longer to get that post finished to a standard I'm happy with. So for the sake of letting people know that I'm very much still alive and kicking I thought I'd drop in this post about the side hustles I've been trying.

I think I've mentioned before, I'm currently putting in a full time work week freelancing in IT for a retail company. I love the flexibility that contracting brings me, where I can have several months off at a time in-between contracts. The trouble is while I'm on my breaks between contracts I enjoy my freedom so much that I never feel like starting a new contract again! Of course I always do start again, because I have financial obligations to meet. 

In my ideal world I would be able to generate enough income from my side hustles to cover my expenses working from home. This is what I feel would allow me to truly be my own boss. Don't get me wrong, I feel very privileged and fortunate to be in a position where I can contract. In my opinion the freedom, variety and degree of autonomy freelancing provides, far outweighs the perceived benefits of having a permanent job. Nevertheless, while I'm working onsite as part of a contract, there's invariably a boss-man/boss-woman to be accountable to, whereas I'd rather be in a position to set my own deadlines and working hours.

So why am I telling you all this? Well it's because this year I've found myself on a bit of a journey. I finished my previous contract at the end of January and ended up taking 4 months off, mostly because I was preparing to move house. During that time off, I found myself drawn more and more to the blogs in the personal finance realm, because I was keen to find an escape route from the cycle of contract after contract. After initially being fascinated by the discussions around frugality, I quickly moved on to learning about investing as a means to becoming financially independent. This really struck a chord with me. Here was something I could work toward and action. 

So I set up this blog, worked out what I'd need to achieve to be FI in 10 years and I set myself some goals for this year to help get me motivated and keep me on track. 

As I read more blogs I started to discover that as well as saving I could potentially speed up my trek to financial independence by considering some income generating endeavours in addition to my freelancing. So I decided to take one or two of the ideas I've read about by other bloggers and have a go myself. Ironically it's because of the time I've been investing into these side ventures that my frequency of Organised Redhead posts has declined somewhat.

So what income generating activities have I tried so far?

Matched Betting

Back in May/June I had a go at a couple of matched bets. I love the idea of being able to make money (albeit in small increments) for relatively little effort and time. I used the two free beginner guided bets on Profit Accumulator and pocketed a profit of just under £40. However when it came time to sign-up for a paid account I paused because I had just moved house and did not feel I had enough time to dedicate to it. At some point I fully intend to get back into matched betting, but for now my focus is on my second side hustle attempt...

Kindle Publishing

I first heard about the potential of kindle publishing as a viable side hustle when I read about Huw's early experiments with it on his wonderful site Financially Free by Forty. It's not something which I would have considered previously because the thought of writing my own book was far too daunting a task. However, as I investigated my options online I realised that it was possible to get into Kindle publishing by commissioning someone else to write the book, once I had determined the topic, title and a loose outline of how I wanted the book to be laid out.

I'm a bit of a perfectionist, which I think goes hand in hand with having an OCD streak, so putting a book together was not a quick, throw-it-together kind of affair for me. I opted to recruit a more experienced writer who commanded more money per words than other people on Upwork (the site I used to find my contributors), because I wanted a quality book. It also meant that I took a reasonable amount of time to consolidate the book after it had been written, spending hours choosing the right cover, title, keywords, and getting the editing just how I wanted it.

After several months of working on my first book, I finally managed to publish it on Kindle (under a pen name), and then on Createspace which allows me to sell my book as a paperback. My next goal is to get the book onto ACX which is the site which allows you to offer books as audiobooks.

I launched this first book for sale mid July, being utterly clueless on how to market it to best advantage. Needless to say the sales were disappointingly low. However, I have since sought guidance through kindle coaching and putting what I've learnt into practice I've seen a markable upturn in sales and consequently my profits.

My endeavours into kindle publishing have ignited my passion for pursuing this side hustle with a view to one day making this my main income source. I have a long way to go, but I feel that for the first time in my life, I have genuinely found something which excites me and inspires me. Could it be that I've finally stumbled across my true calling? It certainly feels like exciting times ahead for me.

Even if I don't achieve early financial independence (which I am still pursuing in earnest incidentally), if I could simply succeed in growing my kindle publishing business to the point where it covers my month to month expenses, I would be one extremely happy lady.

I'm interested to hear of anyone else who has got the bug for Kindle Publishing, or indeed Matched Betting, or any other side hustles which they're enjoying. Please do let me know in the comments.

If you would be interested in being among the first to hear about my upcoming book publications, with exclusive previews prior to publication drop me an email using my contact form, and I'll be sure to let you know when I have new books coming out.


  1. Hey OR

    Interesting to read about your Kindle publishing. I too considered this as a viable side income but after reading up about it and chatting to Huw, I just thought that it was too great a commitment, despite the huge income potential.

    You hit the nail on the head when you say that Kindle publishing 'ignited your passion' - I think this side hustle very much needs you to be passionate - all in or not at all. Anyway, all the best with your Kindle work - what kind of books are you writing?

    I'm quite happy to just be half-passionate with my matched betting to make some average income!

    It's funny how in your opinion, the benefits of freelancing outweigh the benefits of a permanent job, since I'd say it's the other way round for me! I guess the benefits of both suit people differently.

    1. Hey Weenie,

      I think my thoughts on kindle publishing gradually evolved over time since I first started getting into it. Initially I thought it would be good to try as a side hustle for a little extra income, but the more I've learnt about it I feel like I've almost been retraining for a new career. As I mentioned in my post, I'm now hoping to work towards making kindle publishing my full time gig (even though I'm a long way off that just yet). The advantages this would offer in terms of working any hours I choose from wherever I choose are simply irresistible for me! If this were to just remain a side hustle I may not feel so inclined to put in all the hard work it requires, but thinking of it as my job makes me feel differently.

      My first book was aimed at the retirement generation, a non fiction book about retirement. I'm planning different non fiction subjects moving forward, to add a bit of variety.

      I've been toying with the idea of having another little go at matched betting soon. I feel like I'm missing out!