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Gigs for Goals – My New Favorite Mindset!

by J. Money on Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Remember how the other week I was asking if anyone had any blogs that were up for sale by any chance?  Well the reason for that came out of a convo I had with one of my friends who started thinking of side jobs as ways to pay off specific bills.  He told me he was working on a new project that he hopes would pay off his mortgage each month, and then he’d go down the list and find gigs to knock off the other expenses he has too!

It’s pretty much the same thing as getting 1 major job and using the money from THAT to pay off all your bills and expenses and what not (which is what we’re all used to doing, right?), but this *new* way of thinking really resonates a lot more with me lately.  The idea that you could knock off each of your expenses by tying it to a certain gig or revenue stream is extremely fascinating! In theory you’d only need a set number of jobs to break even until you wanted to bring on something new, or perhaps start saving for something specific (at which point you’d have to add in a new hustle to account for it).

You could have a whole line-by-line list that kinda looks like this:

gigs for goals
Etc. etc.  Your 9-5 of course would cover all of this in a perfect world (and your “main job” doesn’t even have to BE a 9-5, it could just be the one you spend the most time on out of the handful of jobs you have) but breaking it down as to WHY, exactly, we need to be making $XX really gets your brain thinking more in depth.  Why do we want a job making $40,000 or $60,000?  Do those numbers themselves really get you fired up?  Or would the idea that your house  and car(s), and vacations and savings and play money and everything else that it GETS YOU be more exciting than the actual salary number itself? For me it’s def. the latter.

I’ll give you another example:  When I was blogging 40 hours a week and working 40 hours a week at a 9-5 at the same time, my income was pretty much doubled.  But do you know what that meant to me whenever I said it out loud or talked it over w/ the wife?  Pretty much nothing. I mean – I UNDERSTOOD that $130,000 was a lot more than, say, $70,000, but if you don’t spell out what that REALLY means as far as what it gets you, it doesn’t really soak in as much.  Do you know what DID, though?  When I started realizing that all this extra money meant I could one day BLOG FULL-TIME for myself!  It was something that I could almost touch, and really feel like it was actually *worth something* to me. And it could have been anything else too – A new home, a new Benz, a trip around the world, whatever.  It’s the “attaching” part that really hits home for a lot of us.

I remember as a kid wanting a newer car than the one my parents handed down to me, and whenever I brought it up to them or complained about how boring the car was or whatever (looking back I wish I was more grateful!), they’d always say “you want a new car?  go get a job,” haha… it’s something I’m sure all of us has experienced growing up at some point, but the message was loud and clear:  If you want X, you had to go out and earn $X to make it possible.  It’s so simple and clear, yet I don’ t think we’re used to thinking along those lines anymore as we’ve gotten to become much much older (some of us more than others ;)).

Breaking down our “wants” or “needs” so simply like this REALLY adds a whole new perspective to things.  You should try it out if you haven’t done it before!  And that’s why I’m starting to separate out my own streams of money, and attaching certain jobs to specific bills and goals of mine so I can easily determine what’s WORTH doing so, and what’s not!  Breaking it down really helps cut out the crap and junk that easily adds up in our lives too, I feel like.  Imagine saying “You know what? I don’t want that expensive car payment anymore. I’m gonna sell it and start using my boring one again and cut out those 10 hours a week I spend upkeeping it all.”  SEXY huh?!  Or better yet, you could even substitute it out and apply those 10 hours of work towards something even better you’re excited about! In this way, it’s always a conscious decision you’re making.

I think my friend is definitely on to something here. And I think we need to go back to the basics sometimes and remind ourselves as to WHY it is we’re actually working, and if the money we’re spending on things really IS worth it and aligned with our current goals at the moment.  If I ever buy up someone’s site any time soon, I’m totally gonna use that money to start knocking off those upgrades on our home improvement wish list I giddily divulged the other week.  I can’t justify taking out the money from any of my other “funds” going on right now, but you better believe I could apply any *extra* hustles I got going on towards it!  And the beauty of it all is I can stop at any time and still be just fine ;)  That’s the power of gigs for goals, baby!  It all lies on YOUR efforts!

What would you take on an extra job for if you could right now?  Would the extra hours put in *really* be worth the goal at the end?


{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Peliroo November 22, 2011 at 7:42 am

Great way to think about what I’m earning. I kinda do this now, but never thought about out that way. My second job is for spending cash. If I could sell my art I would throw that $ toward a house down payment. I think I’ll look into that.

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2 KC @ PsychoMoney November 22, 2011 at 7:45 am

If I took on an extra job right now it would all go toward investing. Forget material things, I just want more passive income so I can do what I want or just be lazy.

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3 Kevin November 22, 2011 at 7:46 am

I have thought about a few different little side jobs that could be fun and I would enjoy the extra funds from. But if I did it would have to be enjoyable and semi flexable with the schedule. The last thing I would want is stocking shelves, mopping floors, or being a waiter. I’ve also toyed around with the idea of doing my own little side venture but other than my own bar nothing has really jumped out at me in the last yr or so.

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4 LORIC November 22, 2011 at 8:25 am

I am working at the mall this holiday season to pay for Christmas and not use my charge cards this year.

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5 Lynn November 22, 2011 at 8:31 am

I sort of do this with my regular job. I have been working a crazy schedule this year where I have been working a rotating days and nights schedule. I have also had to work weekends and holidays. I have taken most of the money I have earned on night and weekend differential pay and paid off my car early and now I am increasing my Roth contributions. My holiday pay and any overtime pay are going towards home improvements in the future (I am about half way there saving up the funds for hardwood floors.) My regular salary takes care of everything else.

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6 Mary H November 22, 2011 at 9:45 am

I took on a second job in October. I do miss the time but I like having the extra money for a while. Also, I was feeling stale at my regular job, so this has kinda shaken things up and made me appreciate job #1 more as well as exercising my brain cells. I also have another income stream from a couple of rental houses I own. And I have a tiny small income stream from selling some craft things at a friend’s gift store, not much cash but it more than pays for my hobby. Have you read “your Money or Your Life” by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin? It’s an a classic personal finance book that taps into this kind of thinking by getting into the real cost of things.

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7 Well Heeled Blog November 22, 2011 at 10:10 am

My money from the blog basically goes into SEP IRA and a tax fund, and the rest kind of disappears (into fun stuff). So I am at least saving 30% it… which is good, right? Right?

I am trying NOT to treat my money differently despite where it comes from, because every dollar is equal, regardless of origin. Money is fungible, and where I got into trouble was thinking that I can more frivolously spend money that came from side business or my mom or whatever. The more I make – regardless of source – and the more I can keep my expenses down, the more I can stash away.

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8 J. Money November 22, 2011 at 10:15 am

@Peliroo – There you go! Maybe you’ll surprise yourself and REALLY get motivated more? I’d be interested in buying a piece from you ;) I can start you off!
@KC @ PsychoMoney – Haha, nice. I can repect that :)
@Kevin – Yeah that’s the tradeoff sometimes – picking up not so glamorous jobs to reach that end goal. I’m right with you on that owning a bar idea though! It’s been something I’ve thought about in the past too — just not sure if it’s a fake dream of mine, or a real one ;) I can’t seem to get started on the research.
@LORIC – There you go! I love it. EXCELLENT way to pay for all those presents/etc – good thinking.
@Lynn – NICE! Another great example, that’s awesome. And very very smart too – I’m glad it’s paying off for you! Literally!
@Mary H – No, I haven’t yet – and the crazy thing is I’m literally staring at it right now! Haha… I picked it up a cple years ago when someone recommended it, but I just keep forgetting to start digging in. Any free time I have right now is dedicated to sleep and the wife (and maybe a combo of the two? haha…) but I’ll eventually get to it! You’re the 3rd person this week that’s brought it up – I think it’s a sign ;)
@Well Heeled Blog – Oh man, you are MUCH better at that way of thinking than I. I TOTALLY still treat every single dollar differently – esp those that I make on the side or that come from friends and family (i.e. it’s always harder for me to spend that money cuz it’s more “special” to me). I don’t think it’s too big of a problem for me though since I don’t spend the “work” money too frivolously or anything, but I can see how it could cause trouble for people. I think it’s actually kinda fun to think of these dollars differently ;) I could totally be an idiot though.

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9 cashflowmantra November 22, 2011 at 10:16 am

Great way to think about this. I never really tied the two together this way per se, but it makes a lot of sense. Getting passive income to take care of a few bills and start knocking them off one at a time sounds like a great idea.

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10 PKamp3 November 22, 2011 at 10:19 am

Interesting strategy. There isn’t much flexibility for us 9-5ers (more like 9-6:30ers, heh) so our purchases are more detached from the work we do. When you’re on salary another 5 hours of work might get a nod from the boss, but it doesn’t automatically result in increased pay.

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11 J. Money November 22, 2011 at 12:49 pm

@cashflowmantra – Yup! And it doesn’t even have to be passive income either (though, of course, that’s always optimal). Any gig can be applied to paying off something great.
@PKamp3 – Not much flexibility from 9-5ers? I beg to differ ;) It may not allow ample room if you’re not passionate enough, but if I can work 30-40 hours outside of a 40 hour week, anyone can – you just have to really WANT it and go all in. Which of course isn’t for everyone, but then again not everyone wants things as bad as others.

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12 retirebyforty November 22, 2011 at 12:56 pm

I love it! I have to make this list too. What a great idea!
The day job pays for everything now, but the goal is to have several side income that can cover each expenses.
Here is the beginning of the list

mortgage for rental – blog income

I can dream, can’t I? :)

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13 Foxie November 22, 2011 at 1:07 pm

This is kinda funny for me….. You see, I just ordered myself an iPad. I’ve been wanting it forever, and my husband pretty much gave me permission to buy it for myself for my Christmas present.

I still felt guilty about it though, so I decided to try and make up for the cost by working at my second job. My goal is to make $500, and with the days I’ve put in (it’s sporadic work and I can’t always take it on, but I do when I can) I’m about halfway there. I’ll pay for the iPad now with my first job earnings, but my goal is to pay myself back for it.

Somehow, I feel that working this extra makes it less of an indulgence than otherwise. :) The “paying back” money for it will be funneled into an account for a trip next year to either Seattle or Portland, or maybe even a cruise to Alaska instead.

It even got me so inspired that I want to try and sell some things on eBay to make up the cost of some headphones I want to get to go with the iPad. Wish me luck, I think I need it!!!

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14 brooklyn money November 22, 2011 at 1:57 pm

I am with PKamp3. I work much longer than 9-5/40 hour work week and I can’t really do a lot outside of my main gig, because it’s a job with a decent amount of travel (hi, can you go to Texas for the day next Wed, great thanks) and weird hours (late night calls w/ Asia/Europe).

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15 Matt, Tao of Unfear November 22, 2011 at 2:01 pm

I like this idea, so long as we’re not talking a 9-5 for the main job. Or, perhaps, no main job at all. I like to have a variety of tasks to do, and many jobs are pretty monotonous. I also like to have a mix of tech/computery/office type stuff, and physical stuff where I using my hands (cooking, gardening, putting things together).

I think I’d be happiest with a bunch of jobs where I worked only 5-10 hours a week at each one. Of course, if you’re working for someone else, you often don’t get that level of scheduling freedom (depending on the kind of work). I don’t know that I would necessarily need to break it down by what gig was paying for which goal; just the variety of work itself would be its own reward.

And, even if it wasn’t passive income, you’d still at least have multiple streams of income.

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16 David November 23, 2011 at 12:19 am

J$, this is really a great post! I really do like to think this way and hope that I can get some side gigs going that can cover certain bills/savings goals.

For example we have two cars that have seen better days, and we really want a Ford Escape (especially for the wife for winter driving!). Problem is, with really only a couple grand for a down payment we are looking at ~$250/mo. After all our student loans and other bills (and savings like 401k, HSA, etc.) we would really need a side income to comfortably pay for it. So what’s my goal right now? Side gig to make ~$250/mo to pay off this bill and make it a reality ;)

Keep up the great posts!

-DC

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17 NineToNever November 23, 2011 at 1:23 am

Great article! I never understood while people are so set on certain amounts of money to make either. Love this article.

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18 J. Money November 23, 2011 at 10:26 am

@retirebyforty – Dude, that’s not a dream – that’s your future reality! You can totally make enough from the blog to cover that mortgage, it’s gonna be great! :)
@Foxie – YES! That’s exactly what’s hot about this whole thing — it helps you to FEEL better about your expenses/goals too :) Esp if these extra hours you take up, or projects you work on, would not have happened otherwise ya know? Sometimes I remind myself that if I weren’t working I’d just be watching TV, so anything *extra* that happens goes right to something valuable ;) I’m proud of you for getting that iPad all paid off!
@brooklyn money – Ahhh…. so probably something in the online field would be good for you then ;) All that time on the road or plane or hotel? Lots of perks of being freelance online since you can pretty much do it anytime, anywhere.
@Matt, Tao of Unfear – Oh yeah, the variety is def. awesome – I’m with you on that one :) Def. helps th A.D.D. more for sure.
@David – Awesome! You can do it, man! And maybe if one of our own partnerships come through, you’ll be able to get that $250/mo too ;) Hustle, hustle, baby!
@NineToNever – Thanks for stopping by :) Going over to check out your site now.

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19 KJJ November 24, 2011 at 11:46 am

This year job #2 has been dedicated 50/50 to emergency fund and paying down debt. Now that those two are at acceptable levels it’ll go to stuffing the Roth IRA.

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20 Mid Life Miser November 24, 2011 at 3:12 pm

I dont take it to the extreme you discuss in this post. However, we did a similar exercise earlier this year. My wife quit her full time gig after our son was born. So, we were used to living off of one income. Earlier this year we decided to purchases a vacation home. At the same time, my wife decided she was going to go back to work on a part time basis at the animal shelter where she was volunteering. We determined that the the money she was now making would basically cover all of the costs/expenses associated with vacation home. So, we essentially picked up a vacation home that we really enjoy without noticing any impact in our checking account. So, wife work at shelter = vacation home expenses

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21 Cole November 28, 2011 at 11:36 am

Have you read “The Four Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss? This post reminds me the of one of the earlier chapters in the book where the author talks about the concept of dreamlining, you think about the goals and aspirations you want to achieve in life, then you eventually work down to how much each goal would cost per month to make it happen. After this the rest of the book is mostly about how to free up time and gain the income you need i.e. different “gigs” to make your dream a financial reality.

Very good book and if you haven’t read it I highly recommend it!

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22 J. Money November 28, 2011 at 5:44 pm

@KJJ – Nice! I love that plan :)
@Mid Life Miser – Brilliant! Not a bad way to run the ship at all – congrats on the new home!
@Cole – Yup! One of my faves actually, and one that got me into changing my mindset a few years back as well :) Thanks for bringing it up – hopefully it helps any others reading this right now!

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23 Frugal Portland April 20, 2012 at 1:12 pm

I was going to do that, but instead I upped my monthly student loan payment to $600, a place where I’m not 100% comfortable without the side income. So it kicks me to work on the side job!

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24 J. Money April 23, 2012 at 5:39 pm

What’s your side job? :)

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25 Frugal Portland April 23, 2012 at 5:45 pm

I help small businesses set up websites and start their online marketing process. I have three clients right now, and they’re all paying my intro rate, but I’m learning as I go. It’s been really fun so far!

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26 J. Money April 23, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Oh cool! My biz partner and I just started helping bloggers grow and monetize their sites too :) We have a few clients so far, and I’ll agree – you learn a TON doing it! Plus it’s really fun, haha…

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