This August, I totted up how much I made from five different income streams. I came to the proud and happy realization that my day job, while a very big chunk of my monthly income, was no longer the majority — it was a little less than exactly half of what I took in total.
That means that the other half came from the other four income streams I now rely on for my monthly revenue. Effectively, I’ve doubled my monthly income with my side hobbies.
How? Well, there are five separate income streams. It took me two years. I added on one at a time. And I’m not afraid to tweak the formula.
I break it all down in this video, but if you want the written version for how I doubled my income, read on.
1. I Really, Really Love What I Do
I work a typical 40 hour week. Then I work another 20–30 hours on top of that on my side gigs. I do it instead of Netflix, reading, lounging by the pool, and playing video games.
Sometimes, I burn out and take a step back from my content creation. But for the most part, my deep, abiding love for writing articles, making videos and talking shop lets me do this pretty much non stop.
Now, I can pare back my furious efforts — I write far less than I used to, but my articles are more thoughtful and well-written; I’ve reached the minimum threshold for making money on YouTube, so my videos are worth more every time I post; I’ve discovered freelance gigs pay exceptionally well. But I front-loaded those first years with a lot of work.
If you want to double your income, be prepared to put in a lot of work up front. To be able to do this sustainably, make sure you do it not for the money, but rather for the love of what you do. You’ll need money as a motivator, but if it’s your only one, you won’t last long.
2. I Added Each Stream of Income Gradually
About 50% of my monthly income is my day job, after tax, health insurance, 401k, and so on. The other half is split up into blogging, video, Patreon, and freelance blogging.
I started blogging two years ago for fun, and it quickly developed into my favorite hobby. About 8 months after I started blogging, I developed a Patreon and a newsletter. People kept asking me questions, so a few months after that I created my YouTube channel to bulk-answer them. Clients found me via my YouTube channel a few months after that, giving me my first few freelance gigs.
My point is it built up slowly. I didn’t throw myself into all five simultaneously — I created a steady base, and built up from it in an organic, sustainable way.
It’s possible the process could happen faster if you go all in, but it’s just as likely you’ll burn out. Pick one, put your heart and soul into it, and keep your eyes open for opportunities that will naturally arise from it.
3. I Made Mistakes — and I Course Corrected
I broke down how much I make per YouTube video and it turned out to be about 6 dollars an hour. This is slowly increasing (especially because I did it effectively for free my whole first year of vlogging) but right now, it’s one of my least cost-effective options.
Meanwhile, my Patreon makes me much more — about $50/hour. But this is decreasing in effectiveness. The way I set up my tiers means I now have to put in a lot of work to get just a bit more money. It’s not sustainable in the long run.
This has led me to make a tough decision: I’m going to maintain my Patreon for now, but I am going to invest more in YouTube. On YouTube, my earnings are only going up. While I will be at the whims of the algorithm and the mysterious ad formula, there’s no limit. I can continue putting in the same effort, and get more and more money each month.
If you want to double your income, you have to be open to the possibility that you made mistakes, like me. Instead of doubling down, I really thought about what it would take for me to increase — maybe even 3x or 5x my income — and what streams would be worth investing in.
Ultimately, I don’t want this to be the end of the path. I hope I add additional streams, and I hope I continue revising and learning from my past mistakes when it comes to how to be the best entrepreneur I can. Every lesson I’ve learned in building my business has come as a direct result of growing my income streams.
I love my jobs, and that’s what lets me invest so much of my time and energy into them. But more than just throwing resources at my hobbies, my financial success came from recognizing that each opportunity led to the next, and from understanding that I may not know what the next stream is for me.
As long as I keep an open mind about what might be coming down the road for me, I can ensure I keep growing my income sensibly and sustainably. It’s what’s let me get this far, after all.