Remember Those Resolutions? Two Are Complete!

First, can I say thanks again to everyone who shared last week’s post? I’ve never gotten so many comments/likes on a post before, and I felt oh-so-special all week from all the retweets & love. Thank you.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Remember those 2013 Financial Resolutions that I posted a few weeks back? Well, miraculously I have completed two of them. Please know that when I make a New Year’s resolution, I usually have to get used to the idea for a while, but I’m really glad these two are finished. Here are the deets:

Significantly Reduce Our Dependence On Student Loans

This was my #1 resolution this year. We are three semesters into hubs’ medical school education, and we have now surpassed the $100,000 mark when it comes to borrowed money.

So, two weeks ago, we got a $13,000 loan deposited in our checking account. This is what was left over after the initial loan paid tuition & fees. A few days ago, after crunching numbers one more time, I sent the entire $13,000 back.

I didn’t think this would be as hard as it actually was. Every semester for two years, we have relied on these living expenses. They have been our back-up and our crux, but I have a full time job now so they aren’t as integral.

I fully understand that we’re saving ourselves tens of thousands of dollars in the long run by sending this money back, but I’m scared.

What sending it back really means is that I am now the sole earner in the family. It’s up to me to take care of the hubs and our pup. I know that many people deal with this responsibility every day, but I am experiencing that feeling for the first time. It’s a lot of pressure!

Okay, on to resolution #2!

Open an IRA

I have to say, opening an IRA was so easy. I have no idea why I waited so long to do this. It honestly only took a few clicks, and bam! an IRA popped up in my name. I won’t be maxing this out because I can’t, but I will be contributing a little bit every month.

Did you know that if you are 25 years old like me and you contribute around $300-$400 a month to your IRA, you can have about a million dollars at age 65? This is why talking about finances is so fun. :)

Okay, I can’t be the only one who has gotten a head start on New Year’s Resolutions. Are any of you working out? Running? Reading more? Spending less? I want to hear about it!


The Truth About Side Hustling

You know what side hustling is – all those jobs people do to make money on the side like babysitting, coaching, selling on eBay, or in my case, writing for other blogs.

I’ve noticed lately that there are a few misconceptions about side hustling or getting jobs in general. So, I’ve decided to write a post today dispelling some of those myths.

This post was inspired by a recent conversation that I had with a friend. I was trying to finish up a post that I was writing for a new client. I wanted it to be extra perfect since it was my first submission, so I was going a little Type A on it. I was running late, and when I let my friend know that I was going to be a few minutes and why, she said, “God, Cat. Don’t you think you’ve gotten enough jobs?” Now, I realize this friend might have had a twinge of annoyance or maybe even jealousy. However, I’ve also tried to help her before by sending her different ideas of jobs she could do using the amazing set of skills she already has. For whatever reason, whether it’s fear of rejection or just plain lack of motivation, she hasn’t done it. Yet, based on this remark and other conversations we have had, she somehow has this idea that I sit around sipping sweet tea and watch the money roll in.

Truth #1 The jobs will not come to you.

No one is going to wake up and say, “You know what? I think I might want to spend some of my money hiring Cat today!” I’ve been freelancing steadily for 1.5 years now, peeps, and only once has someone e-mailed me outright and asked me to write for them. And, you know what? They probably saw me write on another blog or perhaps saw something like this on twitter:

The same goes for babysitting or cutting someone’s grass. Is your neighbor going to walk over, knock on your door, and say, “Hey, could I please pay you $50 tonight to watch my kids?” No! They will not. You have to have a conversation with them letting them know you are interested in working. You have to walk over to your neighbor cutting the grass and say, “If you want someone else to do that sometime so you can enjoy the football game, I’d be glad to cut the grass for you. I only charge $x.” Sure, jobs could eventually come to you, but only when you have a recognized name, business, or referral (and you have to get up and do something first for that to happen!)

Nothing in life is handed to you. The only thing that works is persistence.

Truth #2 You will get rejected.

It’s true. You will spend a lot of time crafting a nice e-mail, updating your resume, or going to an interview, and you will be told no. I believe that this is the main reason people don’t pursue jobs or ideas. They are so afraid of being told no. I want you to look at how many times I’ve been told no just this month (and there’s still 10 days left in the month!)

Below is a spreadsheet that lists every job inquiry I’ve sent to bloggers this month. Some of these blogs advertised that they are looking for new writers. For others, I just noticed that they had contributor writers on their blogs, and so I e-mailed them writing samples and asked for a job outright. Sometimes people say they can’t hire me, but they’d like to have me guest post, which is why you see a “guest post” column in there. (I blocked out the blog names for their privacy and mine.)

To recap, this month I have e-mailed 16 bloggers to ask if I could be a paid contributor writer on their website. 7 of them have not written back. Of the 9 who did write back, 7 said no, 1 said yes, and 1 said maybe. 4 of them asked me to guest post, which I love to do and am happy to do.

I want to emphasize that that’s a good month for me. Why is it a good month? Because I got a job! Just one job, sure, but it beats doing all that work and coming up empty handed. There have been many other times where I’ve gotten all no’s, and that’s okay. Every application is a learning experience.

I use myself as an example to show you how many times I get rejected or ignored every month and yet still keep going. I understand by now that this is a part of the job. I understand that my writing might not be a good fit for every website. Whenever I am told no, I remain gracious and ask them to keep me in mind, or if they have time, let me know why they didn’t hire me so I can improve.

Nothing worthwhile comes easily.

Truth #3 You don’t have to have confidence. You just have to have no fear.

Another friend of mine recently commented on how confident I am in terms of this side hustle topic, and I nearly hit the floor. Me? Confident? Ridiculous! I’m just as terrified as the rest of you. I never send an e-mail with writing samples thinking, “Oh my gosh! They are going to love that post on credit cards!” I think, “Wow, I hope I don’t embarrass myself.”

The difference is that I have no fear when it comes to applying for my side hustle jobs. What’s the worst that can happen? 1. They’ll say no. 2. They’ll ignore me. I’ll just mark them off of that handy spreadsheet you saw above and move on to the next one. No one has ever hit reply and said, “Are you kidding? This is the worst writing I’ve ever seen!” And, they won’t do that to you either. Sure, I’ve gotten negative comments on my blog posts, but those don’t bother me. I think it’s an accomplishment for my writing to inspire enough passion in someone that they have to leave a negative remark.

Seriously, don’t be afraid. Walk up to that person and ask if they’ve ever thought of a hiring a life coach. See if your co-worker wants you to walk their dog. Take those pictures of your clothes to upload eBay even if you’re concerned they won’t sell. Just give it a try.

The only thing I am confident about is that even if I fail, I will try again.

4. You’re the only one who can force yourself to get started.

When it comes to side hustling, it’s all about you and your level of motivation. You’re the boss-lady or boss-man of your side venture. You’re not going to have someone giving you a list of things to do or people to call. You’re not going to have a superior asking you for that memo or if you’ve finished that project.

You’re the only one who can get the clients.

You’re the only one who can remain professional in spite of rejection.

You’re the only one who can make it happen.

So why don’t you?

Go ahead. Do it now.