One of my favorite aspects of blogging is definitely getting to network with some pretty cool people.
Since I started my blog a year and a half ago, I’ve gotten to know many successful bloggers, entrepreneurs, and business owners across the personal finance space and other niches.
The amount of valuable lessons I have learned throughout this process has been immense, and that is the main reason I started the Young Money interview series in the first place; I firmly believe there is no better resource for young entrepreneurs than to learn from others who have walked in the same shoes and done great things.
So, if you’ve missed the first 2 posts of Young Money, I highly recommend checking them out:
Now, once you’re all caught up with those interviews, sit back and find out how Todd from Invested Wallet worked to create multiples streams of income and a profitable personal finance blog since graduating college back in 2010!
Take it away Todd!
Table of Contents
About Todd & Invested Wallet:
My name is Todd, I’m 31 (when did that happen?) and currently live in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania with my Fiance. If you are wondering where Bethlehem is, the best visual to give you is it is an hour north of Philadelphia.
I work fremotely for a software company that is based in Utah as the head of marketing. I’ve been in marketing for over eight years, but more intensely in the last five years. I’m also a big traveler and have gone on two camping trips that took us in 25+ states and into Canada.
Additionally, I’m a personal finance and music nerd. Previously I had a music blog that I ran from 2010 until a few years ago, and now I run Invested Wallet, a blog that covers finances and investing for beginners and beyond.
My goal in the next few years is to reach financial independence, meaning if I chose to no longer work, I could have a self-sustaining lifestyle based on savings and investments. I have no plans to retire early per say, but being able to never worry about money is key.
What Side Hustle Did You Start?
I’ve actually had quite a few side hustles since graduating college in 2010. However, back when I started I never called it anything other than some side work.
The reasons I like side hustles is because I love the freedom of exploring my own entrepreneurial endeavors and making extra money. I’ve always felt that multiple streams of income are important for your financial health and to have in place in case something happens to my full-time job.
Here is a list of my past and current side hustles:
Music Blog: Back in Fall 2010, I started a music blog to share my finds, discover more music, and write about it. I was considering working in the music industry at the time and thought this could be cool to have on my resume.
Company & Domain Naming: I was a part of a website called CrowdSpring, a crowdsourcing company where I worked on graphic design projects to hopefully get paid. I went to college for graphic design so I thought it would be a good place to practice. However, they started offering writing work, company naming, domain naming, etc. And the minimum project paid $250 and the max was averaging $2,000. So I switch gears to that. I made over $8000 in the span of 9 months doing this.
Marketing & Web Consulting: As I got more experience with marketing and social media, I took some side work with local companies. This is something I’m looking to get back into in the near future.
Personal Finance Blog: This is my current side hustle.
When & Why Did You Start?
For all my previous side hustles, I started them for two reasons: to make extra money and to beef up my resume. I knew my side businesses could add value to my career while also helping me bring in some extra income.
I started Invested Wallet in June 2018 and have been focused on it since. I wanted to create a legit money making blog, so I turned it into an LLC, have a business bank account, and learning Quickbooks to manage the income and expenses.
But I also started blogging because I’m passionate about personal finances and wanted to hopefully be more relatable to others.
I’m not a six figure earner, haven’t made millions of dollars, but I have made some huge strides without being handed anything. I saw the financial media likes to focus on those big headlines. And while they can be inspirational, they aren’t the norm and isn’t very relatable to 99% of people (just look at the comments).
In 2017, I wrote some guest posts about my story on other finance websites. But, I also wanted to create another blog and treat it as a business. This is where Invested Wallet was born. Not only is my blog something that I can make money from my passion, but I can hopefully help others make a difference in their finances and improve their overall well-being.
All my side hustles have made money in someway. The music blog probably made the least, but I never treated it like a business or really optimized it to make money.
However, Invested Wallet’s main goal is to generate income. I recently crossed the 1 year mark this past June and in early 2019 the blog has started to make money every single month.
So far this year I’m closing in on $4,000 in profit, however 2019 was the first year I started to put a minor effort in to generate income. Currently, the blog makes $300-$400 minimum per month just through having ads up!
Add that income to any affiliate income and sponsored content, and it starts to accumulate quite significantly. In fact, I’ve had two months in the $1,000+ month revenue range, and I’m pumped about this for a few reasons:
- My blog is just over a year old.
- I only spend a few hours each week on it.
- It’s making passive recurring income every month through ads.
- My traffic is growing. I don’t have the highest traffic amount per month, but the blog is still making good money.
- I’ve already had two companies interested in purchasing the site (I’m not ready to sell, but always entertain the idea).
I have three goals for Invested Wallet:
- Generate enough income to cover all my monthly expenses (Would need to make around $1600 per month).
- Become a future full-time gig (Would want this to generate $45,000+ per year before consideration of this).
- Sell the blog for six-figures.
Wins & Losses
I’ve actually had some pretty awesome wins for Invested Wallet, which makes me excited for the future. I think some of my big wins are:
- Featured or quoted in many major media publications like Time, CNBC, Market Watch, Business Insider, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, and others.
- Two months recently where I made over $1,000 in revenue.
- Huge spike in SEO traffic, something I’ve worked on with the blog since day one.
As far as losses, I don’t have any major ones so far (*knocks on wood). There are always things I could have potentially done differently that may have resulted in better outcomes, but I’m happy with my progress in a short time.
What Advice Do You Have For Other Entrepreneurs?
Find something you’re passionate about and find a way to turn that into some extra income. Almost any hobby or passion can become profitable, you just need to figure out how to effectively monetize it.
The digital age has created so many more money making possibilities, you just need to get started!
Don’t worry if you do not know everything right away, most people don’t. Taking the first steps and just getting started is already doing more than most people ever will.
I was pretty unsure when I got started blogging, but it has led to so many more opportunities for me that I would have missed had I just not tried.
Will every side hustle work out? No. Will you get rich immediately from it? Probably not. But if you keep at it, work hard, and stay patient, there is a good chance you’ll find success!
I think one of the most common questions I see related to blogging as a side hustle is: “can you even make money with a blog?”
As Todd has shown, it is absolutely possible to create a blog that makes money within a year, even in a competitive niche like personal finance. Sometimes, the secret sauce is really just the right mixture of hard work, know-how, and perseverance.
Besides, as Todd also mentions, taking a stab at an entrepreneurial venture is one of the most effective ways to improve your resume, learn new skills, and to develop as a person.
You will rarely be handed opportunities on a silver platter in life. More often, the only way to take advantage of new opportunities is to create them yourselves. So, don’t be afraid to set big-picture goals and to back them up with consistent hard work and a solid plan. You might be surprised at where you end up after just one year or even a few months!
I’d like to thank Todd for taking part in the Young Money Interview series and for sharing his awesome story! If you have a hankering for more personal finance content, go and subscribe to Invested Wallet. You won’t be disappointed.
Catch you guys in the next one!