How I make 6 Figures Working Only 16 hours/week
How I make Six Figures Working Only 16 hours/week
Today we bring you an awesome guest post from a reader who prefers to go by Steveark. Steveark has FIREd (Financially Independent, Retired Early), but is still able to bring in six figures through his side gigs.
Steveark is not a blogger, but he likes reading pf blogs and you might have seen his comments here and there. (Update: Steveark has now started his own blog Steveark.com )
Recently, he left a comment on our blog, and he mentioned how he makes six figures working only 16 hours a week! I asked him if he could do a guest post talking about it because we and our readers are really interested in that type of information.
He graciously accepted, whipped up the post and sent it to us within a couple of days!
Without further ado….
The Six Figure Side Gigs
In 2017 I worked no more than two days a week and made six figures in net profit with five side gigs. On top of that I had an absolute blast doing them and did no marketing, the work just sought me out. I’ll tell you how I did that but first let’s do some math.
I made over $100,000 and worked approximately 800 hours, which is 16 hours a week for 50 weeks. That comes to $125 per hour and while that may sound unrealistic to you, my rate for new projects is actually twice that amount, $250 per hour.
I don’t need the money because I retired a couple of years ago with more than enough investments to fund my lifestyle, which is admittedly excessive by most FIRE standards. I’ll probably increase my rates up to $450 per hour over time since I’m finding out I’m well under what my competition charges.
So how did I put together what sounds like such a sweet deal?
To tell that story I have to go way back into my past. I knew from my first days in high school that I wanted to be an engineer. I chose chemical engineering as a university freshman and graduated four years later with my degree and took a job in my home state at a chemical plant.
I recognized early in my career that there were some parts of the job I liked more than others. I loved solving technical problems. I loved being the center of attention and in the spotlight. I loved being the smartest guy in the room. I loved teaching others and yes, I loved arguing when I won.
Maybe that says some things about me that are not all that flattering but it pays to know yourself and that is who I was and who I still am.
There were also parts of my job I did not enjoy, at all. I didn’t enjoy getting chewed out by the CEO. I did not like working nights and weekends when the facility was not operating properly.
I didn’t like the legal risks of operating a highly regulated business where I might be held criminally liable for misdeeds of others that I wasn’t even aware of.
I did not like the personal issues that came with having employees under my supervision. I did not like firing people.
So I began to imagine side gigs that would contain all the fun stuff and as little as possible of the ugly. I couldn’t actually start up any ventures while I was employed because my job took up all my time but I could find ways to build my skills in the fun areas.
I volunteered to be the company spokesman in giving speeches and presentations and tours. I became the company lobbyist in my spare time attending legislative sessions and testifying at the state house on issues that impacted us.
Eventually I started doing that in Washington DC. If you know where to look I’m all over YouTube testifying before both Senate and House subcommittees and going toe to toe with the EPA. That led me into being a witness for our company in various lawsuits which really fed that performer gene in my DNA.
Fast forward to two years ago when I had finally had enough and I walked away. Within two weeks I had three contracts that would earn me six figures that year. Over time I added a couple of more side gigs and kicked my fees up to $250 per hour.
My side gigs are all various forms of consulting. Two of them are retainer based, no hourly fee, I just work as much or little as needed for a flat fee helping negotiate solutions to regulatory issues.
Contract lobbying I do for $100 per hour if I believe in the issue.
Assisting in litigation as a technical expert and actually helping my old industry contacts with equipment problems were added to the mix later and those are the $250 per hour gigs.
Now you aren’t me, and you might not be a licensed and registered Professional Engineer so my particular side gigs might not resemble yours. But that doesn’t matter.
The important take away for you is that nothing that I’m doing now was a core part of my old job. Everything I’m doing now I purposely added to my job, at the cost of extra hours worked, just so I could be where I am today.
I looked at possibilities that would feed my needs, the needs to perform and negotiate and teach and I made the contacts I would need later to create and monetize them.
How do you do that?
Start by taking an inventory of what lights you up inside. There are a number of commercial personality inventory evaluators like Meyers-Briggs and StrengthsFinder. Take your pick of any reputable one and see if you can come to terms with who you are and feel a whole body acceptance of what makes you happy.
Start imagining what kinds of part time ventures could stoke that fire. Don’t worry at first about fees or profits.
Volunteer for every possible task that lets you enjoy meeting those needs. If your job limits your ability to grow then find a way to build those skills in your off time, perhaps through volunteering.
Build your network of contacts that you will need later. Often, they’ll help you find places and opportunities to improve and those in turn will help you build your network.
Be patient. It took me some time to develop the contacts and skills I use now to have meaningful work in my retirement so you have to have patience but it is not an arduous process. Since you are building skills in your sweet spot it doesn’t feel like work, it feels like fun.
You might even find you keep working well past financial independence because you have built so many fun things into your work and life by then that you do not want to quit. That is what happened to me and I have no regrets about working longer than I had to.
Act now. The important thing is when you want to leave the corporate world behind you have a soft landing of interesting and enjoyable part time work. As much or as little as you want. You have to act now if you want to be ready later.
Most of my retired friends envy the fact that I have things to do that excite me in addition to the many active hobbies my wife and I share. You might be satisfied with volunteering, home projects, hobbies and travel but I find that all of those plus a couple of days of fun and challenging highly paid work is the right balance for me.
What about you guys? Do you currently have any side gigs? How much do they bring in? Once you FIRE, do you plan on doing side gigs?
How did you like Steveark guest post? We personally found the article very good, captivating and full of actionable tips. We invite him to come up every once in a while and keep us updated on his goal of reaching $450/hr.
Steveark is also thinking about starting his own blog, and we think he should go for it. He’s a natural! (Update: Steveark has now started his own blog Steveark.com )
Thanks for reading. Please feel free to comment, share and subscribe! We love ya and wanna get to know ya!
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Do you want to learn more about us? If so, you can also read these other posts:
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- How We Increased Our Annual Income From $0 to $160K to $400K+
- How we live on 15% of our income
- Joining the Million Dollar Club/Challenge and So Can You
- How To Pay Off A Mortgage In 5 Years
- Our Biggest Money Fight and 9 Lessons Learned
- Our 6 Financial Mistakes and 15 Lessons Learned
- How I Paid Off My $40,000 Student Loans Before Graduating
- The resumes that bring in $400,000+/year (Samples Provided)