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Side Hustles April 2014 Version


Coin Faucet

A lot of people expressed that one of the ways they were able to eliminate their debt quickly is by finding ways of saving money and/or making money.  I really took it to heart (even though it appeared as if I didn’t), and started thinking of ways I could do more “side hustles.”  This month has been pretty good on this aspect.  And even though it isn’t much, every little bit helps right?

Before beginning the list on how I made some extra money, I wanted to give an update on the three possible contracts.  Out of the two contracts that looked like they could be winners, I heard back from one of them, and everything seems pretty good… Until the lady said I had to do a “HireVue.”  Anyone ever hear of this?  This isn’t uncommon for my line of work, since many of the clients are across a few states.  It basically is where I would be interviewed online.  Now usually this means a Skype call with every person in the process which I can usually nail really good,   But the company that I was doing this contract with decided a little bit ago to basically do a video recording where they ask you questions and you speak right to your webcam, with nobody on the other end.  I didn’t know what the questions they were going to ask me and had three minutes to answer them.  

Now they did give some practice questions, which I could retake as much as I wanted.  So when I went to the real questions I thought this would be the same way.  Nope!  Had three minutes and no retakes.  Well I think I tanked the HireVue, but I still have some leverage as I worked with this company many times before, so hopefully that will be enough. 

I also had the Skype Interview with the well known marketer that I really want.  I didn’t bring much to the table with this one, but as he pointed out that he was only looking for entry level.  So we will see how that goes, he told me by next week he will make a decision.

Anyway here are some of the ways we made extra money this month, not including things that I do regularly for my business.  From here on out, I am considering the Amazon venture part of my business, as it has been proven to me that this is a viable way to make money.

  • $225 Gas Money from my Buddy.  At the moment I am not sure if I broke even on the gas situation or if I made/lost money.  I will know for certain in a few days when I do my budget analysis.  I am thinking/hoping I came out ahead.  But if I didn’t, this was for my best friend, I know he would have done the same for me.
  • $25 Gas Card from Client.  A little bit ago I got a phone call from a distraught newspaper client.  For the past few years, since I have been delivering their paper I been throwing their paper in their yard.  They trained their dog to get their paper.  Well it turns out their dog died.  I really felt bad and sent them a card, stating I was sorry for their loss.  Now I didn’t do this for any type of benefit, just knew that losing a dog is like losing a child.  Well the card meant a lot to them, and I was left a $25 gift card to my local gas station.
  • $70 Tips (plus a box of chocolate) from Clients.  I get many cards and tips throughout the year from different clients, stating that I am the best carrier.  And even though this is just me delivering things to people on a very regular basis, I do it to the best of my ability.  This money will be put in my emergency fund.
  • $86.85 Total Amount of Commissions my wife made from her Younique Business.  If you read my Author Box, it states that I am trying to get her direct sales business off the ground.  It is a little hard when we have so little money to get her the stuff she needs to do a vendor show.  Another drawback is that the makeup she sells is a little expensive for our neighborhood, so she mostly is trying to gain traction in a cold market.  It is starting to see some success, and she was promoted to the next level in her business.  This money will stay on the card that we got for the business and it will be reinvested back into the business.
  • $65 Affiliate Sales from People.  At the beginning of the month I offered up a service to my wife’s teammates, where I would set up a domain and blog for them for free.  I informed them that the hosting companies they chose paid me a commission for sending them a client, so that was how I was getting paid.  There was an up sell to this that I would design the blog for cheap as well.  Now this $65 I won’t receive till I break $100 threshold, which is just one more client, plus they pay the next month.  So if I get another client in the next few days, I would get paid middle of next month, if not the amount rolls over and I get it the following month.
  • $50 Doll Selling to a Friend.  I mentioned in a previous post that my daughter really doesn’t play with anything.  Well one thing she loves is Monster High (she has had two birthday parties of this theme.)  Well she wants everything Monster High, and with that we started collecting all the dolls.  She has almost every doll opened.  And just like Barbies there is many different versions of the same doll.  We have about a dozen or two unopened.  I sold five dolls!  This money will also go into funding the emergency fund.

Well that’s about it.  Later today I will go over my debt payoff, be on the lookout!


  • Reply OC Budget |

    Jim, Can you explain a little bit about how the gas money side hustle is made? Sorry if this has been explained prior to this post already.

    • Reply Jim |

      Hey OC… I did explain this before, but I am not sure if I went into detail about this. My friend’s truck broke down and needed help doing his deliveries. I woke up at 2:30 in the morning every single morning and took him around. After his route was finished I would do mine. He paid me gas money, which was the only thing I asked of him.

  • Reply Pat |

    I am sorry if this has been explained before. You talk about side hustles, but what is your day job or main hustle?

  • Reply Jim |

    There is various form of income that comes in each month Pat. There really isn’t a main hustle that would be considered the primary breadwinner. I dabble with many online endeavors, I deliver papers, I contract myself out to different companies, doing many things but the main three are Brand Ambassador/Product Demonstration, Merchandising, and Mystery Shopping.

    The Mystery Shopping has been slipping away as of lately because there haven’t been really any shops that you make a decent amount anymore. Basically I only take on things that will give me a bang for my buck. Such as oil changes at a dealership, since I need to get an oil change. Or evaluating a place to eat, when I am in between jobs, so I don’t have to pay for my meal.

    On top of that, there is some small amount of passive income as well.

    Hope that explains it enough…

  • Reply Anonymous |

    I really don’t think BAD is the right forum for you. I don’t think you are really committed to the whole debt pay off. You are basically satisfied with your working conditions and without looking for a full time job, your debt payoff is minimal at best. That’s fine if you want to stay home to watch your son grow up, but as an adult, we have to put aside what we want to do and do what is necessary. If truth be told, I think we’d all love to stay home and watch the kids grow up. Picking up these side jobs is fine however it’s not really going to impact the debt in any significant matter. These few side jobs, delivering newspapers for your friend I don’t even know any adult who knows a guy with a paper route.) and the $14.50 you made from your online endeavors, aren’t really worthy of reading. I think you were more interested in promoting your business. If you really want to change your life, you need to think a little bit bigger in getting a career path started, finding a full time job with benefits for your family, going back to school so you can communicate (write) better and then doing what it takes to not only pay off the debt but learn the terms of these financial contracts (loans) that you sign. Trying to pick up odd jobs here and there isn’t a great long term solution and I think it’s only going to get harder to do this in ten or twenty years. Reading about passive income opportunities is fine however you have to learn to discriminate a bit more between the “get rich quick schemes” and building a real career path, some of which may include passive income streams. Continuing education, especially learning to read and write better, will also help you comprehend what you read better making it easier for you to comprehend what you read in those financial books. If your contract work will include more Skype calls, communication skills as well as appearance will be even more important. I do wish you look, but like I said, you just aren’t right for this forum.

    As a reader, I am looking for someone who is really committed to getting rid of their debt, is willing to do anything to get rid of it, has a command of the English language and who has an interesting story. I just don’t think it’s worthy for this forum. For the BAD forum, highlighting a person who is just doing the “same old, same old” isn’t really worth reading. Any suggestions people have made to change your lifestyle, just seem to fall on deaf ears. There isn’t a problem in not wanting to change, it’s just not worthy to read about that.

  • Reply DC - Kate |

    Hmm, I just read this post and your monthly update. Out of the 4 new bloggers, I have to say that you’re the one who has me worried. Without at least one steady paycheck coming into your home, it is going to be really hard to make any significant progress. You have some pretty large obstacles to getting out of debt, not limited to your wife’s ex and disability. Life happens with kids, homes and health, and your finances aren’t prepared to meet any surprises without just incurring more debt. I really encourage you to re-think going back to a more traditional job. Delivering newspapers, Amazon ventures and multi-level marketing are going to make it a very, very difficult climb. I’m honestly feeling more discouraged than encouraged for you.

    Also, and not to pile on, but there is a typo in the percentage of change for one of your debts in your next post. the 13.99%. It’s less than that, and maybe just switching to showing the amount paid off in the last column would be more readable. Then we can see how much actual money you have to snowball to another debt.

    I appreciate that you’re looking under every rock for extra money. That’s a necessity if you’re going to overcome this debt. But, really, it seems like the key to a secure future is changing your job status.

    • Reply Jim |

      Hi Kate,

      Thanks for worrying about me, but there really isn’t anything to be worried about. I do have a steady income coming in. Agreed it isn’t much after some of the deductions like health insurance and self employment taxes.

      There are certain reasons I decided to go some of these routes of unorthodox jobs. Most I have already pointed out, i.e. being home for the family, being an entrepreneurship. There isn’t much job opportunity where I live, and if I can make some of these streams of income grow, then I am not relying on others for my success.

      Thank you for pointing out my mistake I will go fix that right after this post. Seems like my coding for the table is off since it didn’t make a table. And since I am doing the table by hand, it seems I didn’t do it right.

      You might be right about the job status, and maybe I will look more into it.


  • Reply Jim |

    Hi Mary… Oh I mean Anonymous,

    I had a huge reply but I really don’t think this harsh comment deserves my attention for longer than a minute. You can think what you want, my friend has a paper route so he doesn’t have to take money out of the restaurant he owns, so he can put more money into and see it grow.

    I have been on my debt payoff for a while now and have paid off much. You can think what you want, but I am fully committed to this and will prove you wrong. None of my endeavors are get rich quick schemes.

    This community is called Blogging Away Debt, not Blogging Away Debt Quickly or anything like the sorts.

    There is one easy way to get around this, don’t read my writing! There is plenty other great content on the site. Nothing fell on deaf ears, just because I don’t take every suggestion, does not mean I have not been doing anything.

    To each his own, to each his own.

    • Reply Matt |

      I’m going to have to agree with what anonymous is saying. There’s nothing here that’s really appealing to me as a reader.

      Great, you don’t want to get full time job. Great, you want to stay home with family. Like you say: ‘To each his own.” But a simple calculation from this afternoon’s post shows you’ve paid off just over 1% of your debt this past month. I’m not sure I want to read about someone’s who’s willing to plod along for 8 years to pay off the little debt they have. And that’s assuming you’re able to maintain the pace you’re keeping now. I get you’re paying into an emergency, but how long before disaster strikes (which, according to you, may not be too far in the future due to bad luck) and you have to revert to paying back into it. You very well could have a plan for a faster debt pay down; I’m just calling it as I see it.
      I’d rather see someone with a full time job, who takes on extra hours or another part time job on here as opposed to someone trying to get various (and goofy) business ideas off the ground. I just don’t see the profit margins in being a 3rd party Amazon supplier, or in the over saturated make-up industry.

      • Reply Jim |

        Hi Matt,

        You are right it was a very little amount, but this month’s priorities went toward putting money into my E. Fund. That is what everyone suggested I immediately do. And you are right about the disaster… you never know. But also people here got me thinking in a brighter picture.

        One question though, how is me picking up more contract work not doing the same thing as you say about picking up more hours? This will add a bit more income in the oncoming months.

        And how is selling on Amazon any different than selling on Ebay or Craigslist? Besides the fact that those two there is more work to it with the shipping & handling, customer service, and whatnot. The profit margins are huge! I wish I could show you the possibilities, but I don’t want to clutter up this blog with that info.

        As for my wife’s business, I am very happy with it. There isn’t many things she can do to supplement our income, but this she can do. In the two months she has done, I have seen many things change in her. Things I am very proud to witness.

        • Reply Matt |


          The difference between you and someone picking up extra hours is that they have a full time job; they aren’t counting on variable hours/extras as their main source of income. And the difference between you and a craigslist seller? You’re trying to make it into a business.

          I’m sure given the size of your small enterprises, the profit margins right now are huge. But are you taking into account how much your time would be worth at a full time job, compared to just what you’re doing for these minute profits?

          I’m glad to hear that you and your wife are doing well; however, I was wondering what is holding her from taking a full time job? I may have missed that earlier in your story- I just want a clearer picture of your debt journey.

  • Reply Jim |

    That is exactly it Matt, I am not counting on variable hours/extras as their main source of income. My income is steady every single month. Just like a full time job.

    Are you saying that 100% ROI is not huge margins? These might seem as minute profits to you, but for investing three hours of my time has the potential to make over $2000 once all the items are sold. I am not trying to turn this into a business, well not yet. I haven’t added anything into Amazon since the cereal. But once I do get out of debt, which I will quickly, then I might add this into the mix, unless there comes another deal like the cereal.

    As for my wife, she is disabled and can not work.

    • Reply Kerry |

      Jim, how is your income steady when when you don’t have a main job/income producing endeavor? Because everything you tell us about is what I would deem a scammy, MLM-type endeavor, aside from delivering papers, These contract jobs that aren’t guarenteed employment and you now have to audition for them. I am honestly curious.

      And did you read that article someone posted on that blog post you wrote about arbitage? Going through a program like Amazon’s opens you up to liability in ways you cannot control. I think the internet and selling things online is played out. Fifteen years ago when it was new and exciting it was a way to make a killing but companies have really usurped the regular user with a niche in taking over their part of the commercial relationship. My sister built a sideline career as a dealer in antique silver and she has been hit over and over with eBay’s raising of fees and policies that go against sellers.

      • Reply Jim |

        I don’t count any income from my wife’s MLM/direct sales business as true income. Almost my entire income is on a steady basis, it is basically a job but I am an independent contractor. It ends when I end the contract. No they don’t guarantee me employment, but does your job? I mean almost ever job in in the state of PA, is an at will job.

        I did read that article and it is noted. Yes Amazon does take a hefty share (almost 1/3 of what I sell goes back to them in fees,) but at the same time I am willing to pay them that for what services they provide.

        • Reply Kerry |

          I also live in an at-will state, but I am comfortable saying I will be employed in the forseeable future. 1) I am capable of following my industry and the monitoring the financial health and tone of my industry of my workplace, and 2) I have used my career/job to improve various skills I can use in the future. I am continually improving and growing. I also don’t have to reaudition for my job on a weekly/monthly basis–my clients and the work I produce is testament to my skills within the organization.

          And in the meantime, I get things like cheap employer-sponsored insurance, a 401k match, a reliable steady paycheck, and work I enjoy that sharpens my skill so I can go ahead and do different things in the future.

      • Reply Ashley |

        I just had to chime in – I will admit in an attempt at full disclosure that I know next-to-nothing about selling online (does Facebook “garage sale” groups count? lol). BUT, I know my youngest step-brother (21 years old) has built an entire career on buying stuff and reselling it online. It has been INCREDIBLY lucrative, to the point that he drives a brand new BMW and is a home-owner (did I mention…..he’s 21??). You cannot imagine my envy of this guy. When I was a teen still living at home (and him, then only about 10 years old), he was making disgusting amounts of money from simply selling candy bars at school (after schools had removed candy vending machines following some governmental and/or school legislation). The kid has a crazy entrepreneur spirit (much like Jim). I, for one, am really interested to see how things go for Jim. I think his story is a unique and interesting one precisely because of its “non-traditional” nature.

        • Reply Alexis |


          Your brother truly seems to be an outstanding example of what success with an entrepreneur spirit can look like. My own father also had a side business on ebay with buying junked car radios, fixing them up, and selling them for incredible profits that hugely increased my family’s income. Unfortunately, most people who opt for this type of lifestyle don’t have the same results (e.g. Jim). I’m assuming your brother does not have any debt just by his choice of car in addition to the ownership of a house at the age of 21, and therefore his situation is vastly different from Jim’s.

          Jim is struggling with debt while attempting to support a family and wife that is on disability. While side projects to make more money and keep the creative fire alive are wonderful, I believe a full time, steady job with a reliable income would make all the difference here. I think we can all agree that Jim’s story is “interesting” and “fun to read,” but in the long run this is a blog about reducing debt, not entertaining the masses.

          • Jim |

            See here is what most everyone isn’t understanding Alexis, and from the comment above I don’t think you see the whole picture. You are saying I am not seeing the same results, but I think I am. I am in the black! I have grossed $180 in a month. Yes, I only made around $45 so far, but from here on out it is nothing but profit. I made the $50 for shipping and the $30 for the product, back. Amazon took their fees, and I am ahead $45. I have over 140 boxes of cereal still there, still selling on auto-pilot. How is this failing at this?

            How is what I do not steady? I showed every penny I made for the last few months. It has been around the same amount every month. Around here, if I became a cook (because no where around here does my culinary experience come into play) I am expecting around $10-$12 a hour. I make far more than this.

            I have been reducing my debt for the past two years, paid off almost half of my yearly income in that time. I was set to be debt free by the end of this year, if I didn’t have to buy a new vehicle. I don’t see how this is “entertaining the masses”

    • Reply Matt |


      I’m highly suspicious of the numbers you just typed out, but I dont want to dive into their validity. I’m sure that will come up another day.

      I’m curious as to which part of your income you feel is the most steady? By its very nature, contract work is irregular. What are your current contract terms? From what I understand and from reading in the past, the only steady income is your wife’s disability payments- is this accurate?

      And from past posts, I was under the impression you WERE trying to turn your Amazon experience into something of entrepreneurial venture. Is this no longer the case?

      • Reply Jim |

        The $2000 was a rough gross estimate, if you like I can actually do the math.

        Everything I do is steady, it is when I take on extra contracts (mostly seasonal) I know exactly what days I will work and how many hours. I don’t believe that it is accurate, I have made around the same pay for over two years now.

        I do want to turn it into more, but only if I get a deal like I did on the cereal. That is until I am out of debt. Then I probably will scale it up more. From the profits I make on this, I plan to save just a tad bit to reinvest in the program… but the rest will go to debt payoff.

  • Reply Kim |

    Jim, I think your journey is very different than the other bloggers on here. Do you make decisions I would make? No. But, the difference is what makes you an interesting read for me.

    Just want you to know not everyone is a grouch in the comment thread. Keep your head up!

    • Reply Alexis |

      Hey Kim,

      It’s been my understanding that readers are welcome to post their thoughts, opinions, and ideas as a means of helping the bloggers on their journey. Instead of assuming posters are “grouchy,” you may want to take a minute to read their thoughts. While the bloggers do need cheerleaders every now and then, I think constructive criticism and helpful ideas go a lot further than the “I wouldn’t do it that way, but keep on keepin on!” philosophy.

      As for my views, I do tend to agree with the above comments. While I believe that Jim has the desire to be debt free, there has been a certain pattern of “bad luck” and unreliability in his stories/income. To his credit, Jim does seem to listen to the readers and post thoughtful comments rather than responding out of emotion. Hopefully all comments will go towards helping his family and motivating him further by being honest with himself.

      • Reply Jim |

        See I guess I am not communicating well enough, if you think there has been unreliability in my “stories/income.” I will say that I write over 100 blog posts a month, and I have never heard that I communicated bad and my grammar was horrible till this blog.

        Granted this is a much different posting style than I am used to, simply because I go into such a personal/emotional level with all of you.

        I don’t really understand what you mean by being honest with myself? Can you please elaborate.

        • Reply Alexis |


          I understand that others have commented on your grammar, but I have done no such thing. I make no digs about your vocabulary or ability to write, just simply offering my opinion on the debt situation.

          As for being honest with yourself, I guess my answer to that would be it seems we, as readers, are getting mixed messages. In your response to anonymous you had stated that, “This community is called Blogging Away Debt, not Blogging Away Debt Quickly or anything like the sorts,” yet when responding to Matt, you told him, “once I do get out of debt, which I will quickly,” Also, earlier in this post, in a response to Pat, you stated that you don’t have a “main hustle,” but rather “dabble with online endeavors,” deliver papers, and so on. But then later in responding to many others you state that your income is steady and reliable. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see “dabbling” without any primary resource as reliable. In terms of being honest with yourself, if the readers are getting mixed responses, I can only imagine what is going on for you internally as you attempt to sort this out.

          Honestly, Jim, I’m not trying to attack you, but rather merely point out it is difficult to read and believe your comments when it seems they contradict each other so often. I guess I’ll just take your advice to anonymous that you so graciously offered earlier and stop reading your posts.

          • Jim |

            Hey Alexis,

            I wasn’t trying to attack you either. And I wasn’t trying to say that you were saying anything about my writing or anything. What I was merely pointing out was that my writing for this blog is so different then my other writings. Because it is so personal and for the most part very raw/emotional to me, I don’t think I communicate well enough.

            As for the comments about being honest with myself. I totally can get where you are coming from, once you pointed everything out. Here is my take, everyone keeps saying that I should get a job and what not, that it is the fastest way to get out of debt. Well I will not get what everyone considers a “conventional job” , but I can still hit my debt hard and fast with what I do have.

            I keep my hours I contract out at around the same every month, if a contract runs out or I end one, I pick up one that is around the same number of hours or less hours/more pay. I hope that makes sense. It’s on the same basis as Hope, just on a lower scale. Now this is scalable, but it wouldn’t be living the lifestyle I have chosen.

            However I have since applied for two contracts, granted they only will go to Labor day and are for about 6-10 hours a week. I also applied to work under a well known internet marketer (not sure how that actually turned out.)

            Alexis, like anonymous up above, you can stop reading if you want to. I rather all readers still read my posts, but I can’t stop you.

  • Reply Janet |

    Hi Jim, I enjoy reading your contributions, so I hope you don’t take the request to quit seriously. Yes, I see that your writing isn’t of the standard of the other bloggers but to be honest, that makes it refreshing, you have a distinct voice and a different journey to follow. If everyone was from the same socio-economic background with the same level of education and living in the same economic environment, we wouldn’t have four bloggers. Just keep it totally transparent and answer all our questions when things aren’t clear (which I believe you are doing, but there is a lot of bitty stuff going on so yes, it’s hard to follow.)
    Can you add a totals row to your debt paydown table please so we can see total progress? I am reading on a mobile device so let me know if that is shown elsewhere.
    Cheers and good luck from Sydney, Australia

  • Reply Lily |

    Wow, this seems ridiculous. I’m not deeply optimistic about Jim’s strategies to get out of debt, but I certainly hope I’m wrong and wish him the best. How is it okay to try to kick him off the site because he doesn’t live up to your particular standard of debt reduction? Jim’s income is relatively low and his debt high – something he’s been up front about from the start. It was never going to be quick and easy.

  • Reply ginsue |

    in one of your replies to matt you say ” But once I do get out of debt, which I will quickly, then I might add this into the mix, unless there comes another deal like the cereal.” i would like to know what is your definition of quickly. not trying to be snarky at all but really curious about your idea of a timeline for your debt repayment.

  • Reply Jim |

    Hi Ginsue,

    I know for a fact that all debt except for the car will be eliminated this year, as for the car, I am hoping after that in a year after.

  • Reply Joe |

    I can see where Matt and others are coming from, and I to some extent share some of their concerns. But, beyond the simple fact that we are all adults and need to live our lives as we see best, I also agree that Jim’s approach is quite different and unfamiliar to me, so I’m willing to sit back and see the results. Maybe Jim will adopt some tactics/methods from us readers, or maybe we will be won over to his side, who knows? There is actually very little non-car debt involved here and using the numbers that Jim has provided, including this month’s, it seems like this debt should be eradicated fairly soon (within several months). Let’s hope it all goes according to (his) plan!

  • Reply Jim |

    I see where everyone is coming from, but the fact remains I am just like everyone else blogging here. It might be the fact that no one is seeing it, maybe because I am choosing to work less and earn less in order to spend time with my family, and to work on the passive endeavors.

    But here it is folks. Here is how I know my income is steady. On the 3rd of each month my wife gets her disability income. The first Friday of each month, after taking out for self employment taxes, health care, and savings for my business I pay myself the remaining. This is for my contract work and online work. Every other Tuesday my passive income comes in.

    Then on the 21st of the month, I bill my clients $20. Some pay every month, some pay every other, some even pay every six months. This is for the papers I deliver.

    • Reply Kerry |

      Okay then, I’ll bite–how many newspaper clients do you have? Are there other associated costs with the newspaper delivery (supplies, gas, bags,rubber bands, etc?) If there are, how do you account for those business expenses? You said that you pay yourself out of your contact and online income after subtracting health insurance, self-employment taxes and savings “for the business”. Is the savings for the business a percentage or fixed amount? Do you at least have a seperate account for the business? Is this the money you use for things like the Amazon cereal thing? How are the online work and the passive income work different? What is involved with each of these income streams?

      Because my impression (and from the comments above I think I’m not the only one who shares this impression) is that you are being deliberately cagey and not transparent in your disclosure on this blog. THe PF audience in general is very good at noticing BS and excuses, and this blog’s audience (and I’ve read since the Becks years) in particular is adept at noticing excuses and pointing out faulty assumptions and thinking.

      • Reply Jim |

        There is no BS or excuses here Kerry. If you look back in the archives, you will see I went above and beyond stating exactly what I have made so far. You will also see that I am the only blogger to put up my exact income.

        I am guessing that by your quotations about my business, you don’t consider it a business, well so be it, think what you like. I have around 300 newspaper clients, about 20 of them are carry collects (meaning they pay me directly) This money gets deducted from my monthly pay from the company. There are associated costs mainly with gas and bags, as I don’t use rubber bands that often any longer. How I account for these, any of the supplies will be taken out of my monthly pay. Gas is a little different, I receive a small gas allowance once a week, but that doesn’t come close to what I put into the vehicle.

        As for what I save for the business it is a fixed amount. I do have a separate account for my business. As for the Amazon spending, I did not use the business income on this. For this didn’t use my business EIN number, it used my SSN number. But when I start going hard with this and switch over to my EIN, it will be used with the business account.

        The passive income is different because, true to the definition of the word… I make this income based on what I did years ago. There is much involved how I make money online, from the websites I own, the social media campaigns I do part time, & affiliate marketing.

        I am not being cagey and I have been nothing but transparent. The only thing I have not divulged is exactly what percentage comes from what. Like I stated, you all do realize that I am the only one that did give my exact numbers.

  • Reply Sara |

    After reading your post and all of the comments, it sounds like your main family income source is your wife’s disability check. Is that the bulk of your combined income each month?

    My apologies if I’m incorrect on this assumption – with all of the the bloggers now I’m getting individual situations and monthly numbers mixed up.

  • Reply AS |

    I read a lot of defensiveness into these posts. I don’t know if it’s intended, but that is how it comes across to me.

    If you want to flip the tables, Jim, you need transparency. Maybe consider a post like this:

    Title: “Why I choose to remain self-employed”
    Key Messages:
    – Many readers have suggested I go back to work full-time. If I did, I would likely find work doing A, and that would gross me $X per hour/yr before taxes, or roughly $Y after. The position would/would not come with medical and 401k benefits.
    – I would end up having to commit 40 (30, 20) hours per week to this, and the hours would be in the evenings/nights/whatever. That’s why I went down the path of being self-employed.
    – I am self-employed. The main thing(s) I do are B, C and D. (eg delivering papers, whatever and whatever). I work on a 1099, sole-proprietor, S corp, whatever basis. These ventures returns me (gross/net) $Z per monthly net of self-employment taxes and my business costs and I invest E hours per month. That’s the return on my labor. I get more family time, and I am / am not giving up $AA dollars per month as part of this choice.
    – I also have ‘side-ventures’ I’m experimenting with. In the last 3 months I’ve earned BB dollars per month gross and CC net. These are above-and-beyond and I spend another F hours per month.
    – I’m ahead or behind by $DD per month but I’m living a life that I chose.
    – I can still focus $EE dollars per month to minimum payments, $FF to extra payments (debt or emergency fund), and $GG to basic budget / family needs.

    You’re about to lose support if you can’t shake off the idea that there is evasiveness or defensiveness at play. People may disagree with the contract work you choose, or the side-hustle ventures you play in, but unless you address the issue with consistency and simple facts — what alternatives you have and the tradeoffs – you’re going to keep getting challenged.

    I think you’d get far less pushback if you just answered straight up – what work could you get full time vs what do you do to earn your regular contract income today. If you have an almost-regular job, but it’s paid on a contract / 1099 / whatever basis and you explained that, you would have fewer critical comments about Amazon reseller, MLM, Internet marketing, etc.

    Just my 2 cents.

    • Reply Jim |

      This is a great idea to an extent. I was actually planning on a post for this weekend that was based off of why I won’t be taking on traditional jobs and why I choose to remain self-employed. But I really don’t think it is necessary that I give where every penny I make comes from.

      This would really be a great post, and maybe at the beginning of last month I would have considered doing such a thing. But when I posted up where every penny went for the first three months, asking for help. All I got was criticized, as well as continue to get criticized.

      I mean look above, this post was how I made extra money this month. How many people even said anything about that?

      • Reply AS |

        It’s true, you are making a big effort to respond to comments and put specific information out there. You made $525 extra this month, and net of your costs you saved some money to your Emergency Fund. Good work!

        But, it’s selective information, not always clearly presented, one reason you are being criticized and judged. Some people’s concern is the stability of your income given that you are the only working family member, and the fact that it’s not clear exactly what you do to earn your pay. So be clear what it is. Paper delivery, food demos, whatever it is, describe it. Frankly, take pride in honest work, and show your pride. Don’t be wishy-washy about it. And describe why that’s a better choice for you than taking a traditional job.

        Back to the issue of being the only working family member. Of your extra income, the $65 in affiliate sales and the $86 in cosmetics commissions seem sustainable. Gifts from clients is a good way to save money, it’s a reflection on people feeling good about the work you do for them, but it’s not sustainable.

        So that takes us back to “how do you earn your living”. As the only working family member, you are responsible for your family, and you’re here to get help with your debt. Many readers see the ‘easy’ answer as “go get a regular job”. Which won’t work for you, so explain it.

        You’re probably entitled to feel angry for the constant barrage of criticism, but ask yourself why you are the only one in this situation, and use this as a chance for a reset. You need to regain the trust of the community — right now I believe they don’t fully trust you. You want the community here on your side. So start fresh, explain your self-employment with some clarity, supporting facts and opinions. Explain things and answer questions — even if you’ve answered a question before, answer it again. Don’t deflect, get angry, defensive, or anything else, even if you’re entitled to. Reset your relationship here, and get the community back on your team.

  • Reply Melody |

    I think AS’ idea is great. All this defensiveness and evasiveness doesn’t help him at all. And answers like “I can do the math if you want” I think his wife disability check is their main source of income. His writing style doesn’t do him any favors and he comes off as scammy. A tell all post would certainly help with his case

    • Reply Jim |

      There is no evasiveness, I don’t think that you need to know exactly the amount I bring from each of my ventures. My answer of I can do the math, was based off what I was expecting to gross from the Amazon venture. I think you need to re read things, as I stated in the post “Starting Jim’s Budget” I have stated exactly how much I made. You will see that my wife and my income is basically the same.

      • Reply Matt |

        The first sentences of your response is such a contradiction. The definition of evasiveness is saying things like “You don’t need to know this”. I understand if you don’t want your exact income numbers to be public, but then you can’t say things like I am being open etc. I think it’s your refusal to be open about what kind of contracts you do (without numbers) has people concerned. And that is probably why Melody and others think there is something fishy. It’s one thing to root for someone who is taking an unconventional approach, but I don’t expect people would want to support someone whom they think is doing something shady for money. Younique seems to be a MLM pyramid scheme from my google – which is the definition of scammy

        • Reply Jim |

          Younique could be considered a pyramid scheme… It is a direct sales company. But I am not here to defend that. Some people realize the possibilities of these kinds of companies, some don’t. I do know that many highly successful people, believe in network marketing/MLM whole heartedly. I believe in it.

  • Reply debtor |

    Wow, I totally missed all this. Keep at it Jim – this is a learning/growth experience for real.

    I tend to skim your posts but it’s more to do with the writing style (I admit, I was one of the first to complain) than the content. I think I explained my issues with it in that post so I won’t go into it again.

    I actually think that your multiple business set-ups sound interesting. I don’t think everyone needs a 9-5. What I think is missing (and this goes for all the bloggers) is something that shows how people are doing month-to -month I.E. I brought in x this months and a, b, c and d was spent on these items and this is how much went to debt. I know some people don’t like posting exact income amounts but even a ball parked (around $5k) figure would help.

    Next, I think you really need to finalize that budget. You put it out there for suggestions earlier and then I’m not sure what you did with it. Especially for someone running so many business ideas, it will help keep track of everything.

    Finally, maybe take a little more time and explain some of your ventures. I’m guessing some people find them “scammy” because they don’t really understand it. Frankly, I’m not clear on the amazon thing and i have no idea what you are actually doing to get the “free gas” and I know you have mentioned it more than once.

    I wouldn’t say that the answer is for you to not blog. Different strokes for different folks. I’m sure there are tons of folks that enjoy what you write. I don’t really follow Hope’s story much because the kids/homeschool angle isn’t one i really relate to but I know many others will.

    Just keep in mind that everyone will always have an opinion, take it all in and use what you feel is relevant and discard the rest.

    I will end with this – just give your posts a quick self- review and read aloud, it might help with the clarity issues.

    PS. Good job on all those extra income sources – Gifts from clients mean that you are doing a great job!

  • Reply Jim |

    Hi debtor,

    I understand people aren’t liking my writing style, I really do. I have been trying to fix it. But at the same time, I do remember thinking the same thing about a past blogger (no name given), where I hated reading all one huge paragraph.

    As for what you are mentioning I did the same thing you are speaking of, I stated what I brought in and where every penny was spent for the first three months. Granted at that time, I did not have a budget. I started one this month after posting “Starting Jim’s Budget.” That post will be sometime on Tuesday.

    Your last statement about explaining the ventures I have going sounds like a good post. I have explained all of them, mostly in comments, but it would be a good place to put them all together.

    Thank you for the well thought out comment!

So, what do you think ?