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Chelsea speaks with Daniella Flores of I Like To Dabble about their side hustling journey, and how their side gigs earn them $40,000+ per year.

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Daniella Flores on Twitter: https://twitter.com/iliketodabble
Website: https://iliketodabble.com/

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Hello, everyone.

It's me Chelsea Fagan, founder and CEO of The Financial Diet, and person who loves to talk about money. And today, we are talking about a very specific part of money, which is earning more of it.

Now, we talk a lot on the channel about how when it comes to things like saving, investing, budgeting, et cetera., there's really no magic formula, right? It's either you spend less or you bring in more. And when it comes to spending less that is something that is very important for all of us to do.

We should always be thinking about the types of purchases we're making that aren't serving us, things that we could probably renegotiate, or get for cheaper, or things that just should be cut out of our budget entirely. We need to be a lot more thoughtful no matter where we are about the ways in which we're spending our money. But it's also very important that we realize that at a certain point there's only so much you can cut out.

And even if you could technically cut out more from your spending, at a certain point you really probably don't want to and/or shouldn't have too. Much personal finance content is focused around the sort of hyper restrictive angle but, for many people, especially people who are doing things working to pay off debt, or saving to invest more aggressively, are going to need at some point to bring in more. Similarly, in an economy that is increasingly volatile when it comes to things like employment and labor, having more control over your different streams of income, leveraging and monetising different skills, and diversifying the things that you can bring to any kind of industry are increasingly important.

For most people, at some point, diversifying their income is going to be something that they want or need to do. And for many of us, myself included, that will come in the form of some kind of a side hustle. But when we talk about side hustling, and we've done plenty of content on it, we'll link you in the description and show notes to some of our videos and podcasts on the topic, many people are left thinking, well, how, especially if I feel like I don't have a lot of time, or I'm pretty low income, or I'm dealing with a mountain of debt.

Not just from the practicals of like what jobs should I take, but also how do I reframe my thinking, how do I not get burned out, how do I deal with the mental health aspect of it all. My guest today is someone who is an expert on all of these things and has actually gotten themselves out of an enormous amount of debt, in large part, through diversifying income in just that way. And before we get started, I want to thank Calm, the number one mental wellness app, and one of my personal favorite apps for supporting the Financial Confessions.

Calm is offering you an exclusive offer of 40% off a Calm Premium subscription at calm.com/TFC. My guest today is Daniella Flores, and just for a little context, some of the side hustles they've done over the years, clothes reselling, live painting, and sold paintings, freelance web developer, brand ambassador, snow flower, waitress, pet sitter, mystery shopper, online research study participant, blogger/ content creator, freelance writer, freelance designer, consultant, coach, reseller, such as thrift store flipping, eBay, Poshmark, Mecari, and more. Etsy seller, affiliate marketing, course instructor, and speaker and founder of I Like to Dabble.

Welcome, Daniella. Hi, thank you so much for having me on. Thanks for being here.

So I know I teased a little bit about who you are, but can you share more about yourself, and specifically around your experience with side hustling and diversifying your income? Yeah, absolutely. So my name is Daniella Flores, Chelsea kind of alluded to.

I am the founder of iliketodabble.com, which I created back in 2017 between back-to-back layoffs, but it wasn't my first side hustle at all. I had actually started side hustling, per se, when I was a teenager in high school. I had started working my job at the movie theater.

I knew what you should do with money-- save it, put it away for your goals, and yada, yada, yada. People tell you that. But at 16, 17 years old, that sounded like nothing to me.

I did not care. So I did have a lot of problems with impulsivity and other mental health issues at the time that did play into this. But I would spend all of my paycheck, and I would actually make up the difference with my side hustles.

It was kind of a toxic cycle I got stuck into for a while, until I actually started freelance web development. At the time, I'd gotten fired from my first job out of college. And one of my past clients that I worked with-- which weren't my past clients, they were their past clients, but they had no longer been working with them either.

They reached out to me, and that was what introduced me to freelancing and this whole world of online side hustles. So my first side hustle before this, by the way, was reselling clothes. I started by selling my own things.

And then I went to thrift shops to gather things to resell at thrift shops, other thrift shops, or on eBay and Craigslist back in the day when Craigslist was more of a thing. So yeah, from there, I went into freelancing. At the time, it was solely tech-related freelancing because of my background and my career with web development and software engineering.

And I got pretty burned out from that. And right now, I'm working on transitioning my entire career because of side hustles. You mentioned that this really kicked off amidst some layoffs.

And I think-- I have, myself, been fired. I have been fired more times than I would like to admit, honestly. But for me, and I think for a lot of people, getting fired or laid off is-- obviously, it's very difficult financially.

It's also, I think, for many people, hugely difficult from a mental health perspective. And a lot of people, I think, myself included, when they're in that situation, find themselves really kind of completely lacking motivation, feeling extremely depressed, lethargic, all of these things that are really in some ways antithetical to the extra above-and-beyond motivation one needs to really diversify their income in that way. Can you talk a little bit about the mental health aspect of the layoffs and how you leveraged or overcame that to flip it into to some extent a financial positive?

Oh, yeah, so my layoff story is a little weird. So at the time, I was working at a company under the Hudson Bay umbrella. So the Hudson Bay company is a Canadian company.

They own Loren Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, and all those fun little retailers. And I worked in their mobile engineering department for mobile applications and mobile handheld store systems. And at the time, they were basically-- they did the slow layoff thing of their entire IT department, everybody, because they were outsourcing it to a company based out of India.

And we were notified of our layoff. It was one of those mass virtual things that you hear a lot about. And they said, this is your period that you can work with us to transition your job, and they offered us a small bonus, which was also another blow to my mental health because it's like, OK, now you expect me to stay here and transition my job out to somebody else for a really low bonus amount of an extra 1,500 bucks.

So the good thing was is I did have that time to plan. I was planning for my last day because they did give us a couple of months. So at the time, I was also playing around creatively online.

I had gotten kind of obsessed with a couple of bloggers. And since I had the background of creating my own blogs via WordPress, since I had the experience of creating custom WordPress themes and entire built-out websites for small businesses and political candidates, actually, I was playing around one day on WordPress. I love playing around with WordPress themes that are already created to see what I could do with them and then creating my own kind of wire frames for them.

And I just loved the entire content process, but I was never involved on that side. I was always involved on the frontend and the backend of the actual website and any kind of applications. So I was like, I love what these bloggers are doing, and I want to do something around this.

But I didn't know what it was. I started with crafting. I didn't know what that was either.

I knew what it was, but I could not bring myself to write about what I was crafting, rather. I just couldn't do it. So I was playing around with a lot of different writing styles.

I really loved writing, but I hated writing in the sense that I need to write for a search engine. So at the time, I was dealing with a lot of different-- these mental health issues like, OK, I'm not enough for this job that has now laid me off. I don't know what to do financially.

I was already in this mountain of debt that I wasn't really paying off that well anyway. I didn't know what I was going to do going forward with student loan-- the loan agents calling you all the time back in the day when they did do that, I guess. I don't know if they still do.

But they would call me, like, every day. And so I was fortunate, though, that, at the time, my wife had a job at the same employer, by the way. And she was not laid off yet.

She got laid off later down the line. But I did have that extra income in our household to fall back on. So that did give me some, I guess, comfort.

But I was very frantically worrying about what I was going to do next-- so applying to these jobs at the same time of I was trying to build something creatively. I didn't know what it would become. But I just started pouring all my creative energy into it as I was trying to get another job.

So yeah, it was a weird time for me mentally. I remember crying out in the backyard with the dogs, being like, oh, my god , what am I going to do? And I used to tie all my worth to work.

And it's so weird. Like, all of the people I knew did that too. My life's completely different now.

But yeah, it was a weird time. So you paid off quite a substantial amount of debt in large part through this diversification of income, as I mentioned. Can you walk us through a little bit how much debt you paid off and, more importantly, how you found the right system or discipline to channel the money from these other streams of income towards that debt?

Because I do think a lot of people struggle with-- they make more and, therefore, the lifestyle inflation kicks in. They're spending more. They're not able to channel it to the more productive things.

Right, yeah. So I had that lifestyle inflation before I had gone through these layoffs where I was making enough money. And I should have been paying off debt, but it just wasn't-- I thought it was a thing that was just going to go away.

Well, it wasn't. But I also don't have the most perfect debt payoff story. I started paying off debt with my student loans first because of the urgency of them calling me all the time.

I couldn't stand it. It was like this very weird negative trigger in my head every time I had to deal with any kind of student-related loan thing. I started doing that first.

And that's when I found out about the debt avalanche method, where you go ahead and you look through all of your loans-- sign into all the portals and see which ones have the highest interest rate. So the idea behind that is, when you pay off loans with the highest interest rate first, you're paying off less money over time because you don't have to pay because, over time, those interest rates will continue to accrue. And the larger they are, the more that you're paying.

So in line with that, we also had credit card debt. So when I did find out about the debt avalanche method and then thinking about that and watching it myself in the portal get bigger, we did credit card first. So we pivoted over to that, and my minimums were in my student loans.

So credit cards first, finish the student loans. While that was going on, we bought another car because sometimes you need to take on debt for a reliable car. So we took on debt for that.

And then we recently just paid that off beginning of this year. So overall, total, with the car is close to 50. But without the car, it's, like, 40.

OK. And in terms of-- you mentioned it used to be, for you, something that you were pretty avoidant about. I mean, obviously, you were getting these calls.

You were in a place where it just wasn't either a priority or something you were really ready to deal with head-on. How did you switch into that mentality of, like, I'm going to not just bring in more money, but I'm going to put that money towards this stuff in a really targeted way? Yes, that didn't happen until after these layoffs.

So while the layoffs-- so I got laid off first from Hudson Bay. I got a new job working with a government contracting company, fully remote office. It was actually a great company to work with.

But then we had a change of administration, and a lot of veteran affair office projects were cut, including my project. So I was laid off again. And when this was happening, I started to feel the effects of the debt just through calls, through letters in the mail a lot, and I was feeling a lot of pressure.

And I also started to get into more personal finance media online, looking for answers of what to do. And that's when I actually got my head in gear. But it wasn't a consistent way.

I didn't sit down and create this plan, like, I need to pay off all this debt. I tried to. But I struggle with ADD, for one.

I also am bipolar. I have some mood issues. It's really hard for me to stay on track, especially towards financial goals.

So I would be really good about paying it off. And then another month would come where it's like, OK, I want to plan for this vacation. I don't know if I should put the money towards debt, or let's plan a vacation.

I'd be like, OK, screw that for this month. I want to go on this vacation. It took a little bit longer to pay it off, like an extra couple of months.

But that wasn't a really big deal. At the beginning, I would stress out about that stuff and be like, no, I want to get done by this day, so I can do this, and do this, like all the goals lining up in a roadmap kind of thing. And that's not how life works.

And I realized, especially when people started talking about this online, you don't need to pay your debt off in this perfect way. Don't forget about the life you're living. Your life isn't completely about all this money and all this debt.

Yeah, you'll get there. But at the beginning, I was really stressed out about it. Which, at the same time, the combination of the stressing out and trying to stay balanced through it, I think, is what got me there.

You mentioned that you have ADD, and a lot of our audience will, especially when it comes to the sort of financial habits or activities that take quite a lot of discipline, consistency, time management, all of this stuff. They're like, OK, but my brain doesn't work like this. I really feel like it's inaccessible to me.

Can you talk about how you hit all those factors that is necessary for robust side hustling in terms of, again, time management, motivation, consistency, et cetera, punctuality, organization-- how you sort of mastered those things to the extent that you have while doing it with ADD? Oh, yeah, that's a good question. This is a long work in progress, I think.

So with that, side hustling while you have ADD is extremely hard, especially-- this is your free time you're giving up. If you go to a day job, or you have a day job, or any other job-- side hustlers may have other several side hustles that support them. It's hard to manage your schedule.

I needed everything to basically have a meeting appointment. So I would make own meeting appointments for myself, which is like time blocking. It's a simple idea we hear a lot about.

But actually getting yourself to do it is hard. So just basically forcing myself, but I had to make memos for me to make a meeting invite and make sure it alerts me at a certain time and to get it done. Coworking has been really a huge help for me.

I started using a app-- this was only recently, by the way-- it's called Focusmate. But before that, I also cowork with a couple of colleagues online as well as my friends. Coworking got big definitely during the pandemic because we were all kind of stuck in our own silos.

So coworking became big. But before it was really called coworking or that word, I guess, came about. I guess, another word for it is body doubling.

Yeah, we would get on Zoom chats and just do the work that we need to do. I really need that accountability sometimes, or I'll put off to the last minute. So time blocking, coworking, having some sort of central place for your organization for everything is key.

And this is also something we just started doing thanks to this amazing virtual assistant that I've hired. Her and I have worked together to set up our own workspace in Notion. So everything that is a side hustle of mine is in Notion.

And that's pretty cool, except when you're getting started, having ADD and setting up Notion is a huge feat. So look into Notion templates. We used everything from a Notion template, and it was perfectly fine.

So I need to set up actual systems of organization and really force myself. So that's like, making memos, like, sticky notes on mirrors. I put memos on my phone, on my background.

But then I'll even get to a meeting that I set up for myself to do something and be like, oh, I'll move this to the next day. So I have to have a lot of mental talk with myself, which is stuff I've only learned in therapy. Before that, it was a huge struggle.

I'm not on any ADD medication at the time, either. I used to be on it in high school and college. But with my specific, I guess, state of my mental health, it wasn't the best option for me.

So I don't take it now. Just for a sense of scale for our audience, can you just break down-- I'm sure it obviously probably fluctuates and has fluctuated-- but what your work schedule is like with regards to full-time and then side hustles, how many you have going at a given time, how many hours that represents. Just like, what are we working with?

Oh, yeah. So my full-time job is from 6:00 AM to 2:00 PM every day. Besides Fridays, we get off pretty early.

The company I work for is trying to test out a four-day work week, which is great. [SNAPS] Yay, snaps for a four-day workweek because I know Financial Diet has it too. Holly's snapping too, off-screen. [LAUGHTER] So that is a great perk that I have a very flexible position for my full-time day job. It's 100% remote.

We have those kind of four-day work weeks. But my boss is amazing. I don't know how I feel it is like a really good boss.

But the fact that my job supports this is a huge factor, I think. People really talk about this. But when you work a job you have to go to every day, five days a week, 40 hours a week, you're commuting also, you probably have family commitments, other commitments, it's hard to fit in a side hustle.

So I will say up front that I'm a remote worker. I don't work, really, a full week. I have a very flexible position.

Outside of that, I work about 10 hours a week on my side hustles. And I say, side hustles. I really just mean one, and that's I Like to Dabble.

Everything kind of comes underneath it. Even with my freelance writing, all the freelance opportunities I've gotten is because of I Like to Dabble. And other income streams is kind of what I call them because people will always reference, like, oh, your nine side hustles or whatever-- how many side hustles you have.

It's like, well, I don't do all these separate things. I'm doing everything for the blog, for I Like to Dabble. But I also write for other publications.

But they always refer back to me as Daniella from I Like to Dabble. From I Like to Dabble itself, the way we bring in income is from ads served on the website from Mediavine, affiliate income, of course, sponsorships, creating digital products, workshops and webinars. I do some coaching and consults.

But that isn't something that's widely offered just because of the limit of my time. So it's kind of like this network of side hustles under this, I guess, a brand, is what you want to call it. For someone who wants to start doing this, let's say, maybe they are a person who has that full-time job that takes up more of their time.

But they definitely know, I want to diversify my income at least a little bit for various reasons. And I think and something that we've talked about before on TFD is that it's very important to be able not just to have more of that kind of control over your income, having various flows of revenue that you can ramp up or down. It is-- especially in a time where people are laid off with basically no severance for no reason at any time, it is a good protector, but it also, I think, for many people, does increase that sense of control and autonomy over their professional life and also allows them to tap in and develop other skills.

But so for whatever the reasons it might be, if you have someone who's looking to do this, doesn't have a ton of time, and is just sort of asking themselves, well, where do I start? Which job should I get? What would be your sort of very initial advice to them?

Oh, this is a great question. So for the folks that don't have a lot of time, first, look at your current week or next couple of weeks and see-- basically, highlight the windows that you don't have any commitments because you don't want to be sacrificing any part of your personal life starting out because that'll just kind of lead you right to burn out. So first, highlight the windows of time that you know you have time during the week, and add them up.

And then go ahead and try to identify any skills that you have that might be able to transfer into a side hustle. I know when I say this, it sound kind of daunting. As much as we try, most of us will not give ourselves enough credit for the skills that we have.

And I hear this a lot from people, where they're like, I don't have any skills. It's like, yes, you do. Skills are not just professional skills.

Think about the other skills. What do you love to do in your life? Do you garden?

That's a skill. Are you really good at elderly pet care? That's a skill.

Or cooking, that's a skill. I mean, writing is a skill, and that's not something I ever used professionally. But now, I make money with it, which is kind of mind-blowing.

So I also have this free quiz on my website that helps folks do some of this and then send them to free resources to get started. But freelancing is a great place to start with. It's not going to be like the passive income fantasies you read about online starting out with a side hustle.

Absolutely start with active income because, eventually, it might lead to opportunities with semi-passive income and stuff like that. But starting out, looking into active income like freelancing, maybe using the same skills you use at work-- but the skills that you actually enjoy using at work. don't. Do something that'll burn you out even more within your current career.

So something that I did with my own career-- and it's something I never thought I would do either-- was when I was doing freelance web development and I was starting the blog and I wanted to get more writing experience, I actually reached out to a couple of programming blogs that I myself followed, and I also enjoyed their design on these websites. And they were looking for technical writers, but freelance. And they weren't paying that well, but I needed to get more experience just writing online, specifically at the time.

So I reached out to a couple of blogs, and I did freelance writing. But it wasn't freelance writing for a blog, like in a blog sense, like if you go to my blog and you read some of the articles, and they're informational. It's more like a technical writing.

There might be some syntax involved. It was like more of those articles that you go and look up online if you're a developer or something and you're looking for a tip on how to fix some syntax issue or something like that. It's like that kind of technical writing.

It's not that enjoyable. It's not that fun. But it's something that I never thought I would be doing.

I never thought that I could do it, even though I was doing a lot of documentation type of stuff at my job. For every kind of code I had to write, you had to do a lot of documentation. For all the applications we developed, we did so much documentation.

And I didn't know it's like, oh, people actually get paid on a freelance basis to do the same kind of documentation but for big programming blogs. So at the same time, that gave me some of this experience to build my own blog. So that was just something to think about.

Maybe there's a skill that you're using at your job that you love to do, and you want to take that outside of your job in a freelance way. And maybe you'll find how it could evolve into something else. It's time for a break.

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Go to calm.com/tfc for 40% off and unlimited access to Calm's entire library. That's calm.com/tfc. OK, so you guys sent in quite a few questions for Daniella, so we're going to go through a few.

How do you not waste a lot of time or effort on a side hustle if it's not working very well? Oh, that's a good question. So how you don't waste time is you wouldn't really know until after you wasted the time. [LAUGHTER] So unfortunately, that's like-- OK, so if you're starting a new side hustle, you've never done this before.

You don't know if it's going to be a huge waste of your time. Maybe go on to-- if you have a couple of people you follow on Twitter that maybe talk about side hustles, or a message board on Reddit, or some kind of group on Facebook. I know a lot of people are on different finance groups on Facebook.

I myself are in a couple of them. You could pose that question there if it's a specific site also you're looking into. And you're like, I don't know if this is a waste of time.

Talk to other people. Maybe they've tried it. If no one has, you can try it out and see if it's a waste of your time.

And if it is, if you feel like you were doing way too much work for the pay, it is probably a waste of time. That is fair to say. OK, so a lot of people are asking about taxes, and how do you not get screwed over?

How do you deal with taxes, basically? Oh, OK, so I'm not an accountant or CPA. But from what my CPA has told me and guided me to do-- so with taxes, I am an LL-- well, I Like to Dabble is an LLC.

We pay self-employment taxes every quarter. And last year, I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to do the self-employment taxes in a way that it made sense because you had to do it in this way where they had to be the same amount each quarter. And I was like, well, what if my income goes up?

And it was like-- my CPA couldn't even explain it to me either in a way that I could understand. But she said, OK, if you don't-- I had a problem with manually paying them every quarter just because I hated to do the whole manual thing. And she said, if you want to not have to do that, you can opt with your job to do extra withholding, which I did.

But this year, we are exploring maybe doing an S-corp so I can save on taxes. So that's just from my point of view, being an LLC moving into S-corp so I can save on taxes. OK, how do people pick how much time they should devote to a side hustle or side hustling in general even just as a percentage of time?

Oh, I don't think I've ever actually thought about the percentage of time, but I probably should. So when I started, I did not do it in a healthy way. I basically poured in all of my night time into anything I could learn about building a blog and how the business side of that works.

So when I started, I was pouring way too much of my time and energy into it, and I burned out a lot at the beginning and had a really slow start to things. And I still have a problem with burnout now. But I had to work really close with a therapist to actually get to a good way of working.

So how you should do it starting out is-- I did kind of give the tip earlier of looking at the free time that you have every week that's actually free that you're not committed to doing something else. And that's including your activities in your home because, I mean, if you're with your family and you have things like a ritual thing that you do, don't skip out on that either. But maybe starting out something like 10% of your time or 10% of maybe what you want to be doing with your working time.

Don't think about it as your overall time too because I think we have-- this is something I experienced in the beginning of my side hustles was the boundaries of work for me morphed in this weird way where it's like, I thought that I'm only needed to do work during working hours. And when you work is an online content creator, you will notice very quickly that people need all of your time. They will DM you, message you, email you, whatever.

They will reach out to you In any way possible to get, basically, your energy to do something for them because there's really no boundaries there when they can and can't do that. So I found a lot of resentment starting out, being like, why are you asking me this? Why are you reaching out to me?

I don't get paid to talk to you. And then I had to really think about it. I was like, OK, I need to be more upfront with my own boundaries then with this stuff because even though it's not my job, this is still work, and I need to be a little bit more upfront about that.

So as you're doing it, set clear boundaries with yourself and with others. That might not be comfortable, especially when they push back on those boundaries, or they just choose not to respect them. You have every right in your power to be like, if they don't respect them, who cares?

They're your boundaries. Still hold them up. So yeah, I mean, listen to your body.

And just feel your way through it starting out. Start slow. Don't go guns blazing.

And I think you'll get to a good spot. For context for myself, because I got a little side hustle brewing these days, you won't know what it is until it's done, though, because I move in silence like lasagna, as Lil Wayne once said, famously. [LAUGHS] But I work 32 hours a week at my full-time gig, and then I dedicate about 15 hours a week to it. So I mean, that brings me to what? 57 hours-- no-- 47 hours a week-- 47 hours a week.

Yeah, so I mean-- That's pretty good. Yeah, it's pretty good. And I feel like, at least for me, from my own experience, especially because back when we were starting TFD, and it was a nonstop, 24-hour-a-day affair, I think once you're starting to get up, no matter whether it's just your primary job or a combination of jobs, once you start getting past the 55 hours a week, that's when you're heading straight to burnout, in my experience.

Oh, yeah. When your head just stops thinking. You're trying to think, and you can't.

That's when you stop. Exactly. And also, I mean, I don't know, I feel like people need to take the entire concept of burnout more seriously in the sense that you can push yourself crazy hard but not for very long.

And eventually, it will catch up to you. Oh, yeah, absolutely. OK, so something that is just a more philosophical question, but it is one that we get a lot-- how do you avoid falling into the trap of feeling the need to monetize everything you do?

Yeah, oh, wow. That's something I was talking to my therapist the other day, where it's like-- we were talking about how it's like I feel like I needed to monetize basically any idea I had about I Like to Dabble or any kind of creative idea I had that I wanted to do at all. And I had this issue with painting for a while.

So painting is a huge hobby. I'm a self-taught sot taught painter-- let me say that again-- I'm a self-taught painter. And after college, I got into this cool little gig where I would go and sell my paintings at festivals, little farmer's market things, maybe like low underground club-level kind of concert shows, and bring finished paintings with me, and people would come and purchase them from me.

And it was so fun. I also got a bunch of free admission to a lot of local bands in the St. Louis area at the time.

And I did not like it after a while. I was like, I don't like writing-- I mean, not writing-- I don't like painting for the outcome to sell it. I like to paint from my own creative expression, just kind of go with it.

I'm a very abstract and surreal painter. And then when people started reaching out to me for commissions, and I tried that, that's when I was like, I can't do this. Mm-mm.

I cannot be forced to paint something. And then recently, I felt the same thing, where it's like, I don't need to be monetizing everything. And it comes from this feeling of not being enough, maybe.

Or in the past, I've had this instability with finances that I feel like, oh, I need to take every opportunity now going forward to monetize absolutely everything to make this financial foundation bulletproof. And oh, my god, a recession's coming. Oh, my god.

Diversify more. And it's like, OK, hold on. What actually matters to me?

What do I want to be spending my time on? I also have to think about the future of this thing that I'm monetizing. Will this take a huge chunk of my time and commitment coming up too in the future?

So think about, are these things that you really want to be spending your time on? Or is this sustainable going forward? Maybe, can you also pivot them to be possibly semi-passive?

I say semi-passive because a lot of things online are not passive income. So can they be things that they're semi-passive, and you can maybe offload some of it in the future too to outsourcing or just at the will of online systems. Just think of it more holistically when an idea like that pops in your brain.

Take notice of it. Really think on it. And then ask yourself if it's really worth doing that.

Or would you rather give yourself that creative satisfaction instead? OK, someone is asking, how do you make yourself competitive in oversaturated markets and platforms like Fiverr or Upwork? So Fiverr and Upwork are two platforms you could absolutely start on, but you don't have to start on them.

There is a lot of oversaturation there. It does take longer to get ramped up on them. You have to take the time to create your profile.

And then once you create it, you probably have to go back and then re-edit a bunch of stuff. I am not the biggest fans of Fiverr and Upwork also because you do have to pay service fees to them. It takes a lot of extra admin to work on your side.

All of my freelancing has started from, weirdly enough, my internal network. But writing was because of the blog, absolutely. But also, Twitter-- Twitter is this huge untapped resource for finding a network of people to reach out to for gigs or just needing work.

Look around at small businesses that you already love and go to online or platforms that you love to visit online, and maybe look to see if they're hiring for any freelancing positions. Or check out their social medias to see if they are hiring or posting about it. There's a couple great Twitter accounts that will post freelance writing and editing and proofreading jobs.

And there probably are equivalents out there for design and other things as well. Because on Fiverr and Upwork, it is really hard to stand out. And it takes a lot of time to get started.

And I just think it discourages people more than it helps them. Pew, pew, pew, pew, pew. The time has come. [LAUGHS] I don't know why, today, it was space guns.

But sometimes, it's like, boo-doo-doo doo-doo-doo doo. It is time for our rapid-fire questions here at TFC. Now, Daniella, feel free to take these, pass these.

It's just whatever comes to mind. And we're going to try and shape these a little bit around the idea of side hustling because, obviously, we do speak to a fair amount of people who are in the personal finance space, but not as many who specialize in this area. So I'd love to get the specific take.

What is the big financial secret of your industry-- and for your industry, can we say, maybe the big financial secret of side hustling? Hmm, big financial secret of side hustling is, I guess, where you see competition, look for community instead, especially online content creation, freelancing. All those people that you think might be your competition are actually probably to be your ticket to your next gig.

I love that. I think that's such an underrated piece of advice for basically any industry. I feel like people are way too often focused on-- and it's generally true that, especially in more niche areas, another person doing well generally will raise the demand for that space overall-- like, rising tides, all boats.

What do you invest in versus what are you cheap about? Oh, I invest in traveling, food, obviously, the stock market, I guess. [LAUGHS] And what do I-- what was the second one? What are you cheap about?

Oh, what am I cheap about? OK, I am cheap about-- well, I'm cheap about clothes, which I didn't used to be. But it's, I guess, just kind of where I'm going right now through my gender identity.

I feel like I need to be cheap about clothes just because my wardrobe is starting to become this very strange mixed batch of things. And I'm also trying to downsize at the same time. So I don't really splurge much on clothes.

Home decor stuff, we don't really splurge on. Obviously, if it's furniture, we do because good furniture is great furniture. But other stuff, we like to make it, I guess, unless it's something that I really want or love, or it's a brand I love or something.

But yeah. Are there any things that you really invest in when it comes to side hustling? Yes, I love investing in software that makes my job a million times easier.

So obviously, email marketing, definitely invest in that. I invest in scheduling software for social media. I invest in contractors to help me get the job done because I could not do it all on my own.

I don't know how people run anything online by themselves. Would you mind dropping a few of your favorites? Oh, yeah.

So we use ConvertKit for email marketing currently. Same. Yay, ConvertKit.

So for scheduling, Buffer. For-- well, content management is Notion, but it's free. And WordPress for content management, which is also free.

It's just the hosting is what costs you for your website. And other ones are Webinar Jam. I do love Webinar Jam, even though it is a little pricey.

It does make the systems for redistributing old webinars really great. For courses, I use Teachable. And Canva-- of course, Canva for everything.

If I need to create something design-wise, I'm using Canva. I love that. Those are a lot of really good recommendations.

We use many of them, and you're welcome to come and give us ad dollars. What has been your best investment and why? Oh, my best investment is the VA I currently work with.

Yeah, so she's the only VA right now that I work with. And she helps me 10 hours a week for everything for I Like to Dabble that's Instagram or Pinterest. I don't like Instagram.

I'm not Instagram lover, so I needed somebody to help me with that. and I hired her on about a year and a half ago. She started doing Instagram, and then she went and took over all my Pinterest for me too. Now, I don't only have to do anything social media-related besides TikTok and Twitter, which I really don't care about doing anyway because those are fun.

I love that. Also, I realized now you mean Virtual Assistant. For a second, I was like, Veterans Affairs?

Oh, sorry, yeah, Virtual Assistant. Oh, my goodness. I can't believe.

I usually say the whole acronym out. What has been your biggest money mistake and why? Oh, my goodness, my biggest my mistake-- I have a couple.

I did fall scam to a consolidated loan scam when I was trying to pay off my loans. And I had to pay an extra $8,000 that I did not realize I was going to have to pay. This is something I often forget about too because I've kind of pushed it in the back of my mind.

Oh, my gosh. Well, we're talking about that-- we talked about that in a recent video. But that is crazy.

Yeah, I would say, that's got to be up there with biggest financial mistakes. Out of curiosity, how did they get you? They got me as-- so they presented themselves as the Department of Education.

And they even had-- so their company was 1File-- the letter 1 and File. 1File, I think, is what it was or something to that effect. And they worked with the Department of Education. They said they were contracting with them.

And they were. It was on the website and stuff. But they made me pay all these fees to consolidate my loans, and it totaled up to $8,000 once everything was done.

I was like, why am I paying 8,000 extra dollars to consolidate my loans? And then I read about online how people were basically falling scam to this. They kept calling me every day, countless times a day.

And I answered just to basically get them to stop calling me. But then they roped me in. At the time, I was very naive about it.

Yeah, I was just-- I have no excuses besides I fell for it. Damn, well, we'll link you guys to the video on how not to do that, specifically, because we recently talked about it. What is your biggest current money insecurity?

Well, my biggest current money insecurity is a health care, like, the amount of money that we are increasingly spending on health care every year. And so I guess I'll give you some backstory here. So I am currently planning on transitioning from my job to running my business full-time.

And with that, I will be losing all of my health care benefits that come through that job. And they do have really great negotiating power that we only pay $300 a month. Our deductible is almost met.

And I'm going to be transitioning now. And at the time, which, this is actually working out for it just now, but the insurance that my wife's company had for her, because she's out of state-- like, they have a lower rate for people in New York, but since she was out of state of New York, and we live in Washington, and she's a remote worker, the premium for both of us for medical, dental, and vision is more than our mortgage-- over $1,500 what we would have to pay monthly when I switch. That's my biggest money insecurity right now is just the entire cost of health care.

But this is great news-- knock on wood-- [KNOCKING] she just started talking to this company, though. So she's a contractor for them. They're bringing her on full-time, meaning that she'll get the benefits for that company instead of this contracting company.

So it might work out in our favor. But either way, our health care costs will be increasing. And I just see it as this trend year over year.

Everything goes up with health care costs. And it's like this ticking time bomb because we do spend a lot of money on health care, the both of us. So that's just the biggest category of insecurity for us for costs.

That is real. That is real. What has been the financial habit that has helped you the most?

Oh, financial habit-- well, talking to my wife with budgeting. So when we first started budgeting, it was really hard for us to get on the same page and actually talk about it because it was this stressful thing, and we don't like to budget. We don't like doing every line item kind of budget too.

OK, basically, document everything I'm spending on and put it in a spreadsheet so we can see all of it. It's like, OK, that would just kill my spirit every time. And it killed hers too.

So we started, once a month, we have this shared spreadsheet. We put in stuff when we feel like it, and then we compare it with the one-- like, what the bank-- so we have a credit union that we're a part of. And they have in their portal a breakdown of what everything you spent money on and what categories it goes to.

And you can change the categories yourself. So we'll go and do our laid-back shared spreadsheet thing with each other each month. It doesn't go the best way.

But we'll go back into the report in the credit union's portal, and we'll be able to see of there how everything panned out. But it's become this fun exercise. It's not been the best habit where we can stay on track every month with it.

But that introduced this new way of communicating with each other about it, and making it fun, and making it like a learning experience for both of us because there's no one right way to budget. You don't have to be really strictful-- like, strictful-- you don't have to be really strict with it. You can get to get to know you and your spending style and what really matters to you.

But yeah, I guess, that's what the new habit has been for us. Out of curiosity, are there any financial habits that really help you specifically with side hustling? With side hustling-- hmm, I mean, using QuickBooks religiously has really helped me.

I know not everybody wants to spend money on QuickBooks, but it is a great tool to use to make sure that you have all your business finances in check. And then my accountant is also synced in the system, so I could easily ask her questions and stuff. I love that.

Yeah, we were on QuickBooks for a very long time. We're on Gusto now. But QuickBooks is fantastic.

We had a great time with it. Last question is, when did you first feel successful? And what does that word mean to you?

Oh, I have such a problem with this word because it's like-- so I come from a family that's very traditional, I guess, in their work. So my dad immigrated here from Venezuela when he was 18. It was a very big tradition in Venezuela to send the male kids to America to get a job and kind of start a life there and stuff.

So my dad came here. He started out in help desk, and he worked his way up as an architect. My mom was a nurse.

They both believe that there is one way to be successful. You have to graduate college, get a corporate job, and, you know, like the, quote/unquote, American dream, like settle down, and yada, yada, yada. That was never anything I ever wanted to do.

And now as I'm transitioning away from this career that I'm also-- like, I'm completely leaving this career, and it's something new, it's really hard to navigate what success means to me when I was growing up this really narrow form of success. And still now, my parents are like, why are you quitting your job? At the same time that they will text me and congratulate me that they saw me in a Business Insider article.

And it's like, what do you want from me? I am very much struggling with previous identity, previous life stuff, and kind of going on this new chapter of my life. Success used to mean to me some sort of professional success.

But now, it means life success. Am I happy with the life that I'm living, the way I'm spending my days and who I'm spending them with? Am I living in the moment?

That is what success is to me, being able to live in the moment happily. What a perfect note to end on. Daniella, thank you so much for being here.

Where can people go to find more of what you do? Yeah, you can go and find me on iliketodabble.com or I Like to Dabble everywhere on social media. I love it.

Well, hopefully, this has been inspiring for all of you guys and your respective journeys with diversifying your income and side hustling, something that I've done basically all my life, and I'm getting back into again, and it feels good, man. I have to be honest. It feels good.

Thank you guys, as always, for tuning into The Financial Confessions. I will see you back here next Monday for an all-new episode. Bye, guys. [MUSIC PLAYING]