I know I said I don't talk about it. But this will be the first exception.
I've spent the last 256 days searching for something I can put my stamp on. And in the meantime, I've stumbled upon something interesting.
A side hustle. An extra source of income. Another income stream. Call it what you will. It's work you do outside of your primary daily activities that brings in some extra money.
257 days ago and for the previous 4 years before that, I worked at a company writing what's called "equity research". That is, I wrote financial based research reports on companies which trade on the stock market. Then based on my research, I would tell our clients to buy or sell stocks.
So when I left the company at first I wanted to search for something that was somewhat different from the skill I had honed for the last 4 years. I discovered something by trying this.
You will find it easier to do something you already know how to do. Trying to do a complete 180 is not the best approach. Start small, but keep what you know as your side hustle.
I now occasionally write equity research articles on a financial blog called Seeking Alpha. I don't see writing equity research as my primary work, but I do take it seriously. And I am paid for my work. For every article I publish I'm paid $35 plus every 1000 pageviews I'm paid an additional $10. The pageviews vary from article to article depending on the popularity of the article, but on average I've gotten over 5500 page views per article since May. So on average, I have made $90 per article. 25 articles later and I've raked in over $2000 for my efforts. I'll likely have to pay tax on some of this, but tax is not 100% as my wife always says.
Writing equity research is something I know I can do, and I have a financial blog that will pay me for it. I'm not going to make bank doing it, but for extra money to tuck away, it's working so far.
What Can You Do?
Learn to give first and not worry about getting anything in return, and you may find that people will return the favor. One of my friends studied English and is an editor by day. And by night, she's a freelance editor. People recognize her for her expertise and brought work to her. At first, she did it for free because she's a great person, but the amount of work is consuming her free time too much, so now she charges, and you know what, people are willing to pay.
How you brand yourself changes the opportunities that come your way. But the only way you will discover what you can do and what your brand is is to try. Be willing to fail. I've tried and failed at 5 ventures in the last 256 days. But I took the time to walk down each path so that I could discover what will work and what won't. All seemed like great ideas at the time. And maybe they are still great ideas, but it's not the time for them to succeed.
Just try. Don't be afraid to fail. Failing means you've eliminated a wrong path. It only makes finding the right path one less choice away.
Save Money Retire Early is written by Jon Lo, a barely 30 something, change optimist, and personal finance guy. I believe anyone can be rich or poor, it's what you save that makes the difference.