I remember the day like it was yesterday.
I have done my family’s taxes online for years and this was no different. My husband and I each had several w-2s to enter from our multiple jobs. No, not because we were job hoppers, but because like 7.8 million people in this country, both my husband and I held more than one job at a time.
As educators, we were rich in many things. Money wasn’t one of them. So we were hopeful that our tax refund would give us a much needed exhale, by covering a couple of car repairs and giving us maybe a little bit of a cushion for the upcoming months.
I had entered all but my last statement which was about $800 worth of part time work. I remember looking at the amount and thinking how small it was considering the challenge of rushing across town, a few times per week, as I milked all of the life I could from my kids’ afterschool care and ran from job to job before I would be charged a late pick up fee. I entered the total amount and taxes paid and watched as my refund was literally cut in half.
Insert face palm emoji.
A few hundred dollars’ worth of part time income had ‘cost’ me $3000 in tax credits as I just slightly edged myself into a new tax bracket. I was at the bottom of a higher tax bracket paying the higher rate, but not making enough to feel the perk of being in that higher bracket. That day I made a decision to stop working for everyone else and start working for myself.
The concept of side hustling is not new. I’ve known people who baked cakes or cut hair from home for added income, but most trade hours for dollars in a way that’s only slightly better than a regular job. In my case, my sister had been talking to me about using my passion for parenting and educating “tough kids” to make a business. Before that night I had considered, and talked myself out of, starting a consulting business. Letting all the good reasons to be self-employed like, owning my own time, choosing how much I charged and how often I worked to name a few. But fear stopped me cold each time I thought about giving up the security of my full time job.
But that night I realized something else. If I wanted to create wealth for my family, finally get out of the paycheck to paycheck cycle, I had to take control of every tool I could. I didn’t have to quit my job, I could replace my part time job, with a business of my own. I could leverage what I knew to get what I needed. Coaching and consulting was the perfect solution.
At the core, serving clients is always about helping people achieve results. As a consultant you use your existing experience, success and passion to make that happen. There are 3 reasons I think consulting is one of the best side hustles you can create and here they are.
As a consultant, I didn’t need to go back to school, add any letters to my name or be bothered with complicated billing systems to get paid. You use your existing experience to help others do what you already know how to do. It’s literally that simple.
Next, the pay for consulting is usually pretty good. People will pay you for your knowledge because you’re actually saving them time and money. Depending on the industry, I’ve found you can make as much as double or more the going hourly rate for your industry as a consultant. In some industries it’s not uncommon for consultants to make upwards of $3-500 per hour, which means you can make a wonderful income from only a few hours of work per week.
Lastly, starting a consulting business has relatively low overhead and is can happen in 3 steps. Step one, choose your focus area or niche. This is the topic you know best and could talk about forever. For me, that included school and churches who needed help supporting kids. Step two, choose how you will help clients. I use books, on site and virtual trainings and those have been very helpful. Lastly, chose how and how much you want to be paid. With these items in place you’re well on your way to creating a business that will care for you for years to come.