These 4 Side Hustles Have Earned Me $45,000

 In December of 2018, I quit my corporate job with no plan and never looked back. Since then, I’ve survived exclusively on side hustles and part-time jobs.

While I haven’t built a fortune, I’ve had the freedom to work when I want (and for whom I want), for nearly 4 years.

Here are 4 side hustles I’ve relied on to supplement my income over the years.

Music: $15,000 (~3 years)

Music was both my introduction to side hustling and my entry point into the creator economy. I’ve been a musician since I was a child, but in 2019, I finally decided that I wanted to find out if I could make money in music.

That’s the year I launched Roses from Bones, which has since grown into much more than music, but it’s still rooted in the same dynamic energy that inspired me when I launched the project.

I learned many hard lessons on my music journey, and after ~6 months of performing for free 5 nights a week, I finally landed my first paying gig on Friday, September 13, 2019: $150 for 4 hours of music.

Here are some of the ways I monetized my music side hustle:

  • Shows –– For bar gigs, I’d usually pull $150 — $300 for 3 or 4 hours of music, mostly covers. For all-originals shows, I could pull anywhere from $5 (not a typo) to $100 per hour, depending on the venue and the crowd
  • Merch — This was a high-risk, high-reward way of monetizing my music, but I could sometimes pull in over $200 just from merch sales at a show
  • Livestreaming –– When the pan-dem-ic hit, I lost 6 months of shows, but I used that time to experiment with Twitch streaming and make $1000 in my first month (from subscribers and tips) then a few hundred each month after that for most of 2020
  • Patreon –– This has been a new experiment for me, but I recently launched a Patreon and have one subscriber (my best friend!) paying for behind-the-scenes access to Roses From Bones content along with free merch and new music every month
  • Royalties –– I’ve published a few songs, and I’ve technically earned royalties from all the streaming platforms, but I think it adds up to less than $50 for ~20,000 streams, so this is the least important portion of my music income

Since I moved away from Tampa in 2021, I’ve shifted away from my music and focused on other streams of income, though I’m getting back in the studio soon and planning to put together some shows over the next few months, so keep an eye out for me.

Handyman Services: $15,000 (~2 years)

When I quit my job back at the end of 2018, the first thing I did was rustle up some handyman work.

I had experience from my time in college, so I contacted my old boss and landed a gig doing day labor for him a few days a week. On top of that, I started taking on projects for friends and family and quickly filled out my schedule.

Here are some of the ways I earned money as a handyman:

  • Small Remodels and Painting — If someone needed a closet moved, a vanity replaced, or a kitchen painted, I could come in and knock it out. Sometimes they’d even help me so they could learn the basics of home maintenance.
  • Basic Plumbing — When someone had a clogged drain, a minor leak, or needed their toilet replaced, I could usually fix it in a few hours.

I quit this side hustle because I left all my clients behind when I moved away from Tampa. My skills haven’t gone to waste, though, since I still build my own furniture from time to time.

E-commerce: $3000 (~1 year)

Towards the end of 2021, I decided to experiment with e-commerce. This has involved lots of trial and error, but it’s been super rewarding. I’ve launched stores on both TCGPlayer and Etsy.

I’ve learned graphic design, copywriting, SEO, and tons of other skills from first-hand practice growing my own small stores.

Here are the ways I’ve made money in e-commerce:

  • Roses from Bones –– Yeah, more RFB. Since my project draws heavy inspiration from ancient philosophy, I listed all my merch on Etsy, and I’ve gotten over 100 sales in the last year. Not too bad.
  • Infollyble Ink –– Infollyble Ink is a second Etsy store I launched with my partner that features pop culture designs including esoteric stickers and joke t-shirts (my favorite is the “Pho Queue” sticker). We launched in January and have made nearly 100 sales in 8 months.

Dead King Collection was too difficult for me to scale on top of my other projects, so I had to shut it down in February.

However, Infollyble Ink and Roses From Bones have been steadily growing even through the recent economic uncertainty.

Freelance Writing and Marketing: $12,000 (~1 year)

In March 2021, I got a Medium subscription and began learning about freelance writing.

I didn’t really know how to get started, so I just submitted applications on Indeed until I landed my first writing job for a content mill that paid $0.005 per word (not a typo).

The money sucked and the job wasn’t fun, but I learned a ton about working asynchronously from home, working in various CMS, and SEO.

Here are some of the ways I’ve earned money as a freelancer:

  • Fiverr –– I did a few jobs on Fiverr, but I wasn’t quite in the right headspace to put together compelling gigs, so I didn’t keep up with it for long. I might go back eventually, but for now, I’m too busy.
  • “Real-Life” Clients –– Over time, word got out that I did writing and marketing on the side, and some of my friends who run small businesses began paying me to handle some of their marketing tasks.
  • Upwork –– I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a fan of Upwork at first. I didn’t like the idea of buying credits so that I could apply for jobs. But I’m so glad I did, because, in the past two months, I’ve already started making more money on Upwork than I do at my part-time job.

The thing that I love about freelancing is that I can do it remotely from anywhere in the world, unlike some of my other side hustles.

Over the last 18 months, I’ve continued to gain experience and increase my rates, and now I’ve finally landed a few long-term clients that pay well and are pleasant to work for. The future is bright for my freelancing side hustle!

What About Medium?

I’m one of those lucky folks who got into the Medium Partner Program before they changed the rules.

Honestly, though, it hasn’t been that great. Most of my stories get less than 10 views, so I mostly use Medium as a live portfolio to land more freelance work.

Side Hustles Are The Future

If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last two years, it’s that we can’t trust our governments or our employers to take care of us during times of economic upheaval.

That’s why side hustles are so important. Specialized skills make for a fragile career, as many tech company employees have unfortunately learned in the last few months.

A wide set of generalized skills, on the other hand, makes for an antifragile career. By building a portfolio of profitable side hustles, people gain the freedom to set boundaries with their employers and to change jobs if they aren’t being respected.

After all the times the working class has been burned in the last 20 years, I know which path I’m choosing.

Hey! I’m Chris Fritz. I’m a freelance writer, working musician, and more. If you like my work, check out my projects or purchase my services.

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