Note from Andrew of FIbyREI – As you might of noticed, Sarah helps write our weekly House Hacking Case Study Series. We asked her to share a bit of her side hustle story as it is a little different. So with that said, here is Sarah:

Side hustling can be rewarding, but it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to see big results. It is possible to completely transform your finances with the power of a side hustle. 

As a long time side hustler, today I will share my story — with all of the ups and downs along the way. 

Why I started side hustling

When I graduated from college a few years ago, I landed a job as a biologist for the state of Florida. Although it was a fun job, the compensation was on the very low end. Plus, my fiancé lives in a different city. With that, I was motivated to build a side hustle that could allow me to have more options in life. 

At that point, I was going to school at night to earn a Master of Science in Management degree. Since I was studying business management, my friends always turned to me for financial advice. After helping many friends head down the right financial path, I decided to extend beyond just helping my friends with their money issues. 

So, I decided to start my own blog, Adventurous Adulting, and pursue freelance personal finance writing to help everyone learn more about money. Plus, boost my own financial situation. 

Why I continue side hustling

When I first started side hustling, my goal was to save enough money to quit my job and move to the same city as my fiancé. I set the lofty goal of saving a full year’s salary before making the move. The motivation behind that goal was to give myself a safety net in case I quit my day job and my freelancing income disappeared. I put in long hours building my freelancing business and eventually reached the point where I had the choice to leave my full-time job. 

However, when I made the decision to move, my dream job opened up where I was moving. I decided to continue my career as a marine biologist while maintaining my freelance writing career. I love different aspects of each job. But I love the flexibility that freelancing on the side provides me. The extra cash flow allowed my husband and I to make a substantial down payment on our first home, build a rock-solid emergency fund, and work toward our financial independence goals. Plus, the option to leave my day job without any major financial repercussions allows me to focus on the “fun” parts of being a marine biologist without feeling too bogged down in the financial reality of that career choice. 

How a side hustle changed my life for the better

Side hustling wasn’t easy for me to do at first. Between a full-time job and attending graduate school in the evenings, there were countless days that I didn’t want to keep trying. The long nights and early mornings are exhausting at times. 

But the reality is that my life has been changed for the better through the power of this side hustle. I’ve not only completely transformed my financial situation but also built more flexibility in my life. I’ve earned the confidence to negotiate for better terms at my day job which has allowed me to ramp up my freelance writing business while continuing to work as a marine biologist on the Gulf Coast of Florida for a few days a week. 

Beyond that, I’ve built a new skill set that I enjoy putting to good use. I love writing and honing my craft every day. And I truly enjoy helping people learn more about their personal finances. Overall, pursuing this side hustle turned out very well for me. 

The bottom line

The best part about side hustles is that there are so many options! You could become a part-time dog walker or build your own freelancing business. There is no limit to the creativity you can include in your side hustle. And, no income cap! You can work to meet your financial goals in a satisfying way. 

Although there are a million reasons to avoid the time and effort involved in starting a side hustle, it can help you set up a solid financial foundation. As you work toward this financial stability, you can also build an entirely new skill set. 

Don’t let anything hold you back from your side hustle dreams. If I can build a successful side hustle, then you can too!


Sarah Sharkey is a personal finance writer who enjoys helping people make better financial decisions. Sarah enjoys traveling, hiking and reading when she is not writing. You can connect with her on her blog Adventurous Adulting.