About 7 months ago, I chose to become a freelancer of sorts. I decided to earn my money through odd jobs and through selling jewelry, t-shirts, and a self-published book, all in the pursuit of allowing myself more time to write.
I think of it as being on the hustle. I’m hustling to get my money. And hustling ain’t easy.
If I think about it, I’ve been hustling most of my life. That’s how I made a lot of my money during junior high and high school. I worked in my mom’s daycare for twenty bucks a week. I worked in my cousin’s daycare for seventy-five bucks a week. I cleared junk off of lots for five bucks an hour. I saved what lunch money I didn’t spend. I collected change. I babysat. Hustling.
I don’t hustle as much when I’ve got a “real” job, aka, steady, official paycheck. But I still look for ways to make a little extra money. It’s like a habit I can’t break. Always hustling, trying to get my dime.
Like I said, the hustle isn’t always easy. I made twelve bucks in sales last month. That’s it. I scrapped up about thirty bucks doing what I call “spare change work”, which is quite literally doing little things for change. On a good day, I’d make four bucks. Not a lot, but it’s four bucks I didn’t have and four bucks I needed because I only sold a couple of things on Etsy and didn’t sell anything on eBay.
Those bad months can be killers. I had two in a row, only selling fourteen dollars worth of stuff in February. That’s rough. The tax return kept me afloat during that time, but it would have been nice to get ahead, you know? That’s how I look at it. Get the money for the bills this month, I can start working on next month. The more time I have, the more likely it is that I’ll make my bills. There is no surplus. It’s all about thinking ahead and paying the bills.
I live poor on the hustle. I couldn’t do this if I had “real” bills, I know that. I’d be forced to work a job I hate to make ends meet. That idea has never appealed to me and I’ve done what I can to avoid it. This doesn’t mean I don’t like working a “real” job. I like the regular paycheck, for sure. I like having co-workers, most of the time. In fact, I’m looking for a part-time gig right now because that regular paycheck would be a nice boost and frankly, I need to get the hell out of this house a little more.
But I would still be hustling. I’d still be selling on Etsy and eBay and Spreadshirt and Amazon and Lulu and Nook. I’d still be looking for odd jobs and taking extra gigs. I’d still be trying to sell my short stories.
I can’t help it.
The hustle is in my blood.