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BiggerPockets Money Podcast 263: Becoming Debt-Free and Generating $320,000/Year from Simple Side Hustles w/ Jannese Torres-Rodriguez

BiggerPockets Money Podcast 263: Becoming Debt-Free and Generating $320,000/Year from Simple Side Hustles w/ Jannese Torres-Rodriguez

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Most people assume wealth is built from a singular source, but the most successful people have multiple streams of income. 2020 was the year of the side hustle. People started to find ways to monetize their hobbies, create services, and capitalize on their talents. While some people are just now catching on, today’s guest, Jannese Torres-Rodriguez, was ahead of the curve. It all began with a food blog she started for fun that has turned into passive income for her $320,000 salary composed solely from her various “side hustles.

Before the start of her money journey, Jannese was on the traditional path to what most would consider the ideal type of success. She not only graduated from college but got her master’s in pharmaceuticals and landed a job that led to her dream, a six-figure salary. Despite this, she was still unhappy and soon realized she was unaligned with the power of money. Over time, she made several lifestyle changes and started learning about financial independence. Using what she learned, Jannese finished paying off her $57,000 student loans and became debt-free in February of 2020.

After 5+ years of accruing income from her food blog, Jannese discovered she could make her side hustles a full-time business and finally be fulfilled by the work she was doing. She began a podcast about financial independence that aims to help people of color learn more about financial freedom. She also does virtual workshops, digital courses, and brand partnerships as well as several other services that contribute to her salary. Jannese is a perfect example that you don’t have to give up what you love to make money, you just have to capitalize on it.

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Read the Transcript Here

Mindy:
Welcome to the BiggerPockets Money Podcast show number 263, where we interviewed Jannese Torres-Rodriguez from the Yo Quiero Dinero Podcast and talked about side hustles.

Jannese:
So, around that time, I was making around $75,000, $80,000, which was really good, considering the fact that I was so young, had not a ton of experience in the industry. But, it was just like, I felt like the more I pursued the money, the more I realized that that’s not actually, what I was pursuing.

Mindy:
Oh, that’s good.

Jannese:
Actually, I wanted a lot more freedom. And I didn’t understand how I could use the money that I was making to actually, gain that freedom until I learned about financial independence.

Mindy:
Hello, hello, hello. My name is Mindy Jensen. And from time-to-time, Scott’s schedule is just too jam packed to record with me. Rather than miss the week, I am bringing in some friends to help me out. Today’s guest host is Doug Cunnington from the Mile High FI podcast, which he cohosts with my husband. Doug, thanks for stepping in today to Phil Scott’s shoes.

Doug:
Thanks for having me. I’m so excited to get into the episode today and talk to Jannese.

Mindy:
Doug and I are here to make financial independence less scary, less just for somebody else to introduce you to every money story because we truly believe financial freedom is attainable for everyone, no matter when or where you’re starting.

Doug:
Whether you want to retire early and travel the world, go on to make big time investments and assets like real estate or start your own business, we’ll help you reach your financial goals and get money out of the way, so that you can launch yourself towards your dreams.

Mindy:
Doug, today’s guest is on fire, literally and figuratively, and in the whole financial independence way as well. She believes in multiple sources of income, and she has 15 different side hustles that generates money for her, none of which can be called a W2 job. And I, this is absolutely, one of my most favorite episodes we have ever recorded. I absolutely, love Jannese. She just really, really brings the energy, and the information. And she’s just so good at this.

Doug:
It was amazing hearing how she was able to start from virtually nothing with a hobby. And then, it’s turned into this huge endeavor. And now, like you said, she’s doing it full time.

Mindy:
Yes, she is crushing it. I don’t want to give away her whole story. But she’s really, really doing an awesome job and living the life that she wants. Jannese Torres-Rodriguez from Yo Quiero Dinero Podcast. Welcome to the BiggerPockets Money Podcast. I’m so excited to talk to you today.

Jannese:
Thank you so much for having me. This is such a dream.

Mindy:
This is going to be such a good show because you have such an amazing story. We actually have a two-part episode today because first, we’re going to talk about your money story, which is fabulous. And then, we’re going to talk about a little thing called side hustles. So, let’s jump right into it. Where does your journey with money begin?

Jannese:
Oh, man. Okay, so my story with money or my journey with money really started in my late 20s up until then, I had really followed the prescription, if you will, that my parents had told me, “Go to school, get a good job, maybe you can be lucky enough to find a job with a pension, work there for 45 years, and then retire.”
So, I definitely subscribe to that mentality. I went to school for originally, I was a pre-med student. So, I was intending to become a doctor. My junior year of college, I was like, “I’m so burnt out. I don’t want to go to medical school.” So, I decided instead to take my degree in molecular biology and chemistry and go into the pharmaceutical industry.
So, I was born and raised in New Jersey and the pharmaceutical industry is really big out here. So, I was actually, able to secure a job right out of college. I did that for a couple of years, got a master’s degree. Because again, I’m still subscribed to this idea, just get more education, you want to make more money, keep getting the degrees.
And I found myself around the age of 27 having a legit quarterlife crisis. I was very unsatisfied with my career. I just felt like, “I’m making all this money, but why am I not happy?” And it really, was the first inkling that I was on aligned with how I was understanding the power of money, and how I was pursuing money. And that for me is when everything shifted.
I started listening to personal finance podcasts. I started realizing how much I actually, didn’t know about money. And then, I learned about financial independence. And from that point on, everything changed.

Mindy:
And what year are we talking about here? Just for a little bit of reference.

Jannese:
Yes, so I graduated college in 2007. I was 27 around the age of… It was around 2013.

Mindy:
2013.

Jannese:
Yeah, it was 2013. I was full blown quarterlife crisis, just got engaged to be married, just graduated with a master’s degree. And I was more unhappy than you could imagine for somebody who superficially had checked off all of these things that are “successes.”

Mindy:
And what was your financial position coming out of college with your four-year degree? With your master’s degree? Did you have a lot of student loan debt or were you pretty set?

Jannese:
So, luckily, I did get a partial scholarship for my undergraduate degree. So, I only ended up having to pay for the last year of it. But with room and board and everything that was still around $25,000. Then, my master’s degree, I had to pay for in full. So, that was another 30 grand. So, when it was all said and done, I was about $57,000 in student loan debt.

Mindy:
And what income were you generating at that time through the pharmaceutical industry job?

Jannese:
Yeah, so I started off making about $42,000 a year, and after getting promoted and switching jobs a couple of times. Around that time, I was making around $75,000, $80,000, which was really good, considering the fact I was so young, had not a ton of experience in the industry. But, it was just like, I felt like the more I pursued the money, the more I realized that that’s not actually what I was pursuing.

Mindy:
Oh, that’s good.

Jannese:
Actually, I wanted a lot more freedom. And I didn’t understand how I could use the money that I was making to actually gain that freedom until I learned about financial independence.

Doug:
Was there some like precipitating event where you realized, “Hey, I’m not happy,” even though like you said, superficially, super successful, you followed the path, got a great job, excellent salary, or was it a gradual, “Oh, I’m not getting as much joy doing this work?”

Jannese:
Yeah, the big wake up call for me was a couple of years later, in 2016, I finally started making six figures in my career. So, I was about 30 years old. I had made this goal in my head like, “I need to be making six figures by the time I’m 30.” I did it.
My husband and I then, we proceeded to do the next thing that you do as an adult, you buy a house. And the combination of those two things was the catalyst for, “Oh, my God, I have been operating an autopilot this entire time. I hate what I’ve just done.” Because for me, learning about financial independence, and then realizing that I had just signed myself to like a $430,000 mortgage, and was essentially forcing myself to continue working in this career that was going to have to happen for me to pay for this house. It was just like, “Oh, my God, I am making so many decisions that are not aligned with what I actually wanted to do.”
And as a result of buying the house, believe it or not, I had a legit mental health crisis. I started spiraling down into depression and anxiety, because just this realization of, I am not operating in alignment with what I actually, envisioned for my life. That was a huge wake up call.
And that was, when I really started to dive into personal finance. I needed to get my thoughts out of my head. So, I replace those thoughts with other people’s words by listening to podcasts, and that was like my therapy. I’d be laying in bed and just learning about compound interest and this concept of reducing your expenses.
And maybe, you don’t need to buy a house in order to build wealth, right? Because especially as a Latina, the only thing I was ever taught about building wealth was like, you need to own property. We never talked about the stock market. We never talked about entrepreneurship. We never talked about any of these other things that now have been the thing that have allowed me that freedom that I was always looking for. Doing these things that I was told to do were actually keeping me stuck.

Mindy:
Oh, that’s good. Yeah, you’re absolutely right. You are supposed to go to college. You are supposed to… And if you have to go to college, you might as well take out student loans, because that’s what everybody does. And once you get a job, you are supposed to buy a new car, and you’re dressed for the part that you want.
So, you are supposed to go and get brand new clothes and you are supposed to drive a nice car and you were supposed to buy a house because that’s how you do it. And because this is bigger pockets, I have to say that real estate is a great investment. But not all real estate is an investment and your primary residence is typically, not an actual investment. People think it is, but just because something costs a lot of money doesn’t make it an investment and it doesn’t make it a good investment.
How did you find financial independence? You said on podcasts and things like that, like did you just Google it? I know my husband, when he was like, how do I quit my job early? He had a horrible day at work, and he’s like, so stressed out. How do I quit my job early? And Mr. Money Mustache popped up. What was the first thing that you found?

Jannese:
Yeah, that’s very much my same story. I was literally searching like, how can I just stop working? How can I quit my job? How can I become a millionaire? All these things. And Mr. Money Mustache definitely came up. I found the FI Show podcast, choose that FI. And then, I started wondering like, “Are women also having these conversations? Are women of color also having these conversations?”
So, I found Jamila Souffrant’s journey to launch podcast. And that for me, was definitely the first time that I felt like this was something I could do, because I think representation in the personal finance community is like such an important thing for me, and that’s why I do what I do.
So, seeing a black woman, a woman from New York City, from an urban environment like so many things that I had in common with her, I was like, “Oh, wow.” So, this is not just for like, some rich guys in Silicon Valley that can do this because they’re software engineers making $300,000 a year. I can also do this as a first gen Latina, who happens to have a six-figure income and just really, doesn’t know what the hell I’m doing money.” So, that for me was the catalyst for sure.

Mindy:
I just want to halt right there and say, Jannese is saying at one point, she didn’t know what the hell she was doing with money. I was there too. I’m sure Doug was there too. Everybody at one point doesn’t know what they’re doing. And that’s okay. I think, there’s a lot of shame around, “Oh, I’m bad with money.” Okay, that doesn’t mean that you always have to be bad with money. You can get good with money. Is that the name of Tiffany Aliche’s book? Get Good with Money?

Jannese:
Yes.

Mindy:
Yeah, I was even trying to name drop other Tiffany, is a friend of the show. And we had Jamila on Episode 39. She taught me new things. I’m not a public employee. So, I had no idea that the 457 plan existed. And she’s talking about this. She’s like, “Yeah, oh, we contribute $19,500 to our 457 plan, and an additional $19,500 to the 401(k), or 403(b), or whatever it was. I was like, “Wait, what? Tell me more about this.”
So, she was… We love Jamila. She is an amazing fountain of information. And so down to earth and easy to talk to.

Jannese:
Absolutely.

Mindy:
Okay. So, sorry, I jumped in there, and I halted your conversation. And now, let’s pick it back up again. So, you discovered financial independence, you’re making a six-figure job, you have saddled yourself with a 30-year mortgage, what comes next.

Jannese:
So, first, I tell my husband, we are leaving the state of New Jersey because we were both born and raised here, and the cost of living is just astronomical. We were both making, very good income. And we just always felt like, we were on a hamster wheel.
So, the first thing was, we need to lower our cost of living, and we’re not going to be able to do that here. So, we started strategizing how can we get job transfers to move to Florida, keep our salaries, and really reduce our cost of living. So, we were able to orchestrate that over a 12-month period. I got a job transferred through my employer, who also had offices based in Florida. He did as well.
So, that started for us in the fall of 2017. By the fall of 2018, we had moved. We put the house up for sale, even though we had owned it for less than three years. And we’re like, “You know what? This was an expensive lesson to learn.” But I am not equipped to be a property owner.
At this time, I definitely don’t want to be a long-distance landlord. It’s just not in my personality, to be able to manage all of that. And you know, with everything that happened with pandemic, we’re just like, “Oh, my God, thank God, we got rid of that potential stress.”
And then, it was really getting serious about what my numbers were. So, I never had a budget growing up. After I started making money, I always just felt like I made enough money to not need a budget. I was convinced that, “Oh, you make six figures, girl, you don’t need a budget. You just can’t out earn your bad spending habits.”
And guess what? That’s just actually, not the case. I just kept finding really, really stupid ways of making money disappear. And so, I had to get really serious with the fact that even if I was making a lot of money, I needed a plan for it. I needed to start getting serious about knowing my interest rates on my student loans and my credit cards, and all these things. And I really started just making a plan to pay that off.
So, at that point, it was… I had started my first side hustle about five years before that, which was a food blog. For a couple of years, it was very much just a hobby. But by 2018, it was earning about $3,000 a month. So, instead of using…

Mindy:
What?

Jannese:
Yeah, yeah.

Mindy:
Okay, what is the name of this food blog? Because I already know it, and I want you to say it.

Jannese:
Yes. So, it’s DelishDlites, and it’s D-L-I-T-E-S .com. It’s a Latin food blog. Yeah, so it was earning about $3,000 a month at that point. And instead of just buying stupid things, and not knowing where that money was going, I started throwing all of that money towards my student loans and my credit cards. I said, “This is money that I really don’t need to live right now. This needs to go to paying off my debt.”
And I made a plan in 2018 that I wanted to be debt free by the time I was 35, which would have been 2020, May of 2020. And I achieved that in February of 2020. So, becoming debt free right before the pandemic. Wow. Talk about divine timing, I was super happy to put myself in that situation, given what we then experienced the chaos of that whole time.

Doug:
I want to jump back and ask about getting your husband on board, was he immediately on board? Let’s do this? Or was there some negotiation?

Jannese:
Luckily, my husband is very much like, you’re in charge here. So, he indulges my crazy ideas, and that’s probably one of the reasons why I married him. He’s just down for whatever. But we were both feeling that rat race fatigue at that point, and we were both just feeling very, like we had accomplished everything we could accomplish at this point in New Jersey, and it was just time for a fresh start for both of us. So, when you entice someone with a way lower cost of living and palm trees and beaches 24/7 like, it’s not a hard argument to have.

Doug:
Got it. And then, maybe, you have something to share here. If not, that’s okay. Any silly purchases during that time, before you discovered the value of personal finance? Any big, fun, or maybe things you’ll look back and you thought, “Well, maybe I shouldn’t have bought that thing.”

Jannese:
I think the worst habit I had was using vacations as a coping mechanism for the stress of life. So, I would be the person that was booking like three or four vacations a year, even though I had not saved any money for them. I was always putting them on credit cards.
And so, then, I would get that high of the vacation while I’m there, escaping from the job that I hate. And then, I’d come back and have thousands of dollars of credit card debt. And I realized that I was using what felt externally like, “Oh, this is so much fun. I look at me treating myself. I’m so successful, I can take all these trips.” It was really a coping mechanism for wanting to escape life. And so, it wasn’t that it was fun in retrospect, but it felt fun at the time.

Mindy:
Yeah, I love the point that you’re making. I made so much money, why am I miserable? I made so much money, I don’t need a budget. Yes, you need a budget, we’re just going to drop all sorts of names today. But you don’t need a super strict budget when you’re making $100,000 a year unless you have massive debt that you want to pay off. But you still need to be conscious of where your money is going, no matter what your income level is.
And I have actually, started to stray away from this with life kind of going crazy. I work a full-time job, I have my real estate license, and last year was crazy real estate. I was working every minute of every day. And it was like, “Oh, it’s so much easier to just go to Chipotle or go out to dinner, or do whatever.” And it actually, takes the same amount of time to get in your car and drive over there and order and eat, and then come all the way home, you could have already done it and I had stuff in the house, I was just like, burned out.
So, our lifestyle has started to creep up. And one of the things I want to do next year is be very open and transparent with my budget, even though we have made it, we are financially independent. I still need to know where my money is going. And right now, I don’t really know where it’s going.
And just because you have money doesn’t mean that you can just throw it around wherever. You still need to know where it’s going because there’s a lot of dumb stuff that I’m buying, and I want to rein that in.

Jannese:
Yeah, absolutely. And for me, I realized that the reason why I didn’t have a budget is because I always associated with dieting, and this restrictiveness that I don’t want to do this. I’m not a diet or I’m not like a freaking gym rat. I don’t practice extremes in any part of my life.
And so, budgeting felt like that, because that’s the narrative that a lot of us get, right? Deprive yourself, have some discipline and it’s just like that messaging is so toxic. It wasn’t until I realized like, “Oh, wait a budget is actually me setting up a plan for my goals, so that that thing of financial independence can actually become a reality, because now I know exactly how much I need to invest. Now, I know exactly how much I need to have in my emergency fund.”
It’s actually, me doing things that are going to help me get to my goals faster. It’s not about me, depriving myself and making this an excruciating process. And I think, that’s what a lot of people get wrong about budgeting.

Mindy:
That isa brilliant quote. I’m having a hard time keeping up with all of the quotes that you’re giving me. Okay, so you’re in Florida, you have sold your house in New Jersey and I want to say, I am a big fan of real estate, but I am not a big fan of rental real estate in New Jersey. And if I’m talking about you, I’m sorry, email me [email protected] and tell me how great it is.
But real estate in New Jersey, the laws are very… First of all, your taxes are insane. And then, the laws are very restrictive. You can’t, not renew your lease. If Doug is renting from you and you’re like, “Oh, Doug keeps the house kind of messy, tough.” You have to renew Doug’s lease. Doug can choose to leave at the end of his lease. But you can’t say, “Doug, I’m not going to renew your lease.” Unless he stops paying. Doug, you should always pay rent? I’m just kidding, Doug has house.
But I digress. So, that was a good move to get rid of the house in New Jersey, especially because that isn’t your passion. If you wanted to be a landlord, and you would run the numbers, then it worked as a rental. I’m guessing, it probably didn’t work as a rental, because not all properties make good rental properties. So, you’ve sold your house in New Jersey, did you make any money on the sale?

Jannese:
Oh, God, no. I actually, lost $10,000. I had to sell it for less than it was worth because it was actually, a multi-family home. So, I was living on the first floor with my husband, and we were renting the second floor. But we paid so much for the house that we could only break even with the rent. And that’s the thing.
I didn’t know anything about how to properly scout out rental properties, how to figure out what those profit margins are. I was just falling victim to the, “You should buy a house because renting is wasting money,” narrative. And so, that’s where I got myself into a toxic situation.

Mindy:
Yeah, okay. So, we have sold our house, we lost $10,000, you had enough that you could afford to lose it. I hate to say that afford to lose it. But you did lose the money. That’s okay, move on. I lost $13,000 on the sale of a house and I was happy to lose it because I want to be done with that house. I’m out. I don’t care. It was a disaster. So…

Jannese:
But this is exactly how I felt.

Mindy:
Yeah, would be done. So, you move to Florida, did you buy another house in Florida? Or are you renting?

Jannese:
No. So, we’ve been renting since we got out here. And I realized, the fact is that for us, renting just makes a lot of sense. My husband and I, we are a flight risk. We just love to be able to change jobs or change what we’re doing or just have that freedom and flexibility to say, “This is not where we want to live long-term.” And it’s not to say that we’ll never own property again.
But it’s just not aligned with what we want right now, which is just a lot of freedom and flexibility. And I just had to let go of the guilt that people will put on folks who want to rent because they just don’t understand the motivations behind why some people do it.

Mindy:
So, I am going to again, everybody knows that I love real estate, but I’m going to say, “Good for you, the only person that this has to work for is you and your husband.” And you’re both in agreement, which is very important. But also, when you sell a house, it costs a lot of money. People don’t think about that.
When they think about, “Oh, I’m going to buy a house.” Well, it costs you between 2% and 4% to purchase of the purchase price in closing costs. When you go to sell, that’s more like 8% to 10% of the purchase price or the sales price, when you go to sell.
So, that is 10% to 14% of the cost and the sale of the home that you are paying in extraneous random costs other people. So, if you know you’re not going to be there for at least five to seven years, renting makes a lot of sense. There are very few times that you can jump in, buy a house, sell it, make a lot of money, and then move on to the next one.
That’s something that my husband and I do, but we buy really gross houses and make them beautiful, and then we sell them. And the appreciation that we have forced makes it worth it. But if we were not, like I just said, I lost $13,000 on that house, I had it back on the market four months later, because I did not want to live in that house anymore.
There was nothing wrong with the house. That was the neighborhood. It was like the vibe of the city. We didn’t do any research. We just moved across country and bought a house. And if you’re going to do that, I hope you have better success than I do.
Okay, so you’re renting. And you mentioned your freedom to change jobs. Let’s talk about your job. You moved from New Jersey to Florida with a company.

Jannese:
Yup.

Mindy:
What happened with that company?

Jannese:
So, the reason why I was actually, able to move is because around the time that we decided that we were going to move to Florida, they acquired a company that was based out in Florida. So, I did a lateral transfer, and was able to keep my salary and work in an equivalent position based out of Florida. And my husband was actually, able to do the same thing too.
So, I was in the consumer manufacturing industry at that point, and my husband was in auto insurance as an adjuster. So, we both had careers that were already work, remote work opportunities. So, that was a big plus for us. And I think, we also realized, we had the social capital in our careers to be able to have those conversations and make those things a reality.
I would not advise just up and quitting, and trying to find a job in a place especially where the cost of living is lower just because if I had done that, I probably, would have had to take like a $30,000 to $40,000 pay cut, and our lives probably, wouldn’t be as different as they are. So, I worked in that job after transferring for about three years. And as of May 2021, I actually, went full time entrepreneurship.

Doug:
Congrats.

Jannese:
Thanks.

Mindy:
And you are much happier because of it.

Jannese:
Oh, absolutely. I consider myself to be fully unemployable at this point, because it’s just, I can’t see myself going back to a 9:00 to 5:00 for any reason other than, like an emergency situation.

Mindy:
So, let’s talk about your side hustle, and which are now, what do we call these now? Because, in my opinion, a side hustle is something you do on this side, like DelishDLites was for you, you had a full-time job. And then, on the side, you were making $3,000 a month, which is awesome. What do we call this now, your entrepreneurial endeavors?

Jannese:
At this point, it’s my full-time business. And I think, the language around side hustles is what stops a lot of people from realizing like, “Hey, you are building a legit business, if you want to.” For me, it took about five years to make that realization and was when I had a five-figure tax bill, because I wasn’t doing my estimated tax payments.
And I was just making a such a substantial amount of extra income and wasn’t accounting for it in my tax preparation time that my accountant did my taxes for 2018. She was like, “Hey, guess what? You have like a $7,000 tax bill, congratulations. You made a ton of money with your business.”
So, at that point, I was like, “Oh, wow, maybe this is just like it’s a real thing.” I got my LLC, I really started to treat it more like a business. But it really was the language I think, I had around it of just like this side hobby that I did. But it’s a business. I mean, at the end of the day, anybody’s paying you to do something, sell a product, sell a service, like you’re a business owner, so own it because I think that’s part of the transition, for me.
I think the biggest part of transitioning from W2 job to now being self-employed is the mental aspect of it. It’s just like acknowledging that it’s a shift. It’s a shift in how you think, how you operate, how you value time, how you value your skills. A lot of it is the mental game.

Doug:
And can you give us an idea of the scope of what you were earning and feel free to share as much as you want to hear, but just so people know of how successful you have been?

Jannese:
Yeah. So, when I first started the food blog, it was very much just a hobby. I didn’t actually, realize that you could monetize a blog. I just knew I was checking out a lot of blogs. I loved cooking. I mean, I’ve been in the kitchen with my mom since I was 11.
So, food has always been a big thing for me. And back in the quarter life crisis days, I was really thinking like, can I just like quit my job and go to culinary school and be like, the next Gordon Ramsay? That would have been like, the dream. But then, I realized, “Wait, I have to go get another degree, go spend $40,000 more on a culinary degree, and then work 16-hour days in a restaurant for like $35,000 a year. That was not going to be it for me.”
So, when I realized that people were taking their passion for food and taking it online, and basically creating living cookbooks through these blogs, I decided I wanted to do the same thing. So, I started that in May of 2013. In January of 2014, I actually, got laid off from my job. And I actually had three months to myself to pretend this was my full-time gig.
So, I got a decent severance package. I didn’t have to rush back to work. And I really, started just pretending what it would be like to be a full-time blogger. I was studying everything I could on Google, on YouTube, really just spending every day learning, learning, learning, and putting those things into practice.
By 2015, I had started monetizing the blog, it was like, couple $100 a month. By 2016, I had hit my first like four figures in side hustle income. Then, 2017, I hit $10,000, 2018, I made $26,000, 2019, $46,000. And 2020, actually, I made a $100,000 with side hustles.
So, 2020 was definitely the year where I realized, “Hey, if I keep scaling this the way that it’s going, I might be able to quit my job this year.” And that’s exactly what happened in 2021.

Doug:
That’s amazing. That’s obviously, a large amount of money. Can you break down some of the different income streams because I know that you have a lot of diversification where money is coming in?

Jannese:
Yeah, absolutely. So, in 2019 was when I started the podcast. So, that became the second business that I began to monetize, especially in the pandemic. I feel like the pandemic definitely accelerated the growth of my podcast and the brand associated with that. But I have a ton of different income streams of affiliate marketing, my blog, ad income.
So, I have two blogs now. I have one for the food blog and one for my podcast. I have brand partnerships that I do, coaching calls, digital courses and downloads, freelance writing, my podcast ads. I have commissions from financial professionals that I get for referring their services, sponsored content and virtual workshops. And of course, I invest. So, dividend income, and then that type of thing.

Mindy:
And what income are we talking about grand total here?

Jannese:
Yeah, so 2021 gross income has been about $320,000 across my two businesses this year.

Mindy:
$320,000?

Jannese:
Yeah.

Mindy:
Okay, so this is not such a bad idea.

Jannese:
No, I think January 2021, was the first inkling that this is going to be the year because I put out my first digital course in the beginning of January. And by the end of that month, I had made about $25,000 in the month. So, I was like, “Okay, if this is what’s going to happen, I’m only earning like, $10,000 a month in my 9:00 to 5:00. There’s really no reason for me to keep…

Mindy:
Only.

Jannese:
… other than the benefits. And then, I just start talking to my husband, “Hey, honey, here’s my next crazy idea. I’m going to quit my job; I’m going to need to sign up for health benefits. How do you feel about that?” And he’s like, “Look, you haven’t steered us wrong, yet. So, let’s do this.”

Doug:
Very awesome. And do you have a team, obviously, with all those plates spinning? And perhaps, even some support that you have to do for the courses? Do you have a team that you’re working with right now?

Jannese:
Yeah, so I didn’t have anyone until January. I mean, I’m sorry, June of 2020. That’s when I started realizing like, “Wow, there’s a lot of moving parts here. I am definitely burnt out and exhausted.” So, the first thing that I outsource was the social media for my blog for my podcast, I’m sorry. For Yo Quiero Dinero, it was just a constant… I mean, I was spending like 10, 12 hours a day on social media, just building the brand, and that’s just not sustainable.
So, that’s the first thing that I outsourced. And then, podcast editor. So, I do have a podcast editor who handles all of that. And this year, I was actually, able to bring on my little sister. She is now my executive assistant. And she helps me manage my group coaching programs. She sends out invoices. She’s like the master of all trades.
So, I have two contractors who work directly with me. And then, my podcast editor is from Fiverr. So, I found him on there, and he manages all the editing and finalization of my podcast. But the food blog stuff, I still manage all of that. So, I create my own recipes, I shoot my own recipes, edit the pictures, write the blog post, all those things. But that’s not something that I’ve actually, done actively since last year.

Doug:
Okay.

Jannese:
Just because I don’t have time for it. It just kind of does its own thing out there on the internet.

Mindy:
Let’s talk about time for a moment because this is, I think, something when somebody is deciding to do a first a side hustle, and I really hope that they are deciding to do a side hustle first, as opposed to, “I’m going to quit my job and jump in full-time to be a food blogger.” You’re not going to make $3,000 a month, the very first day. And if you do, I’m so excited for you. I’m super happy for you.
But that’s not the reality of online content creation because I don’t know if you know this, Jannese. There’s more than one food blog out there…

Jannese:
Right.

Mindy:
And can I just say thank you so much for not having the 400-word essay about how you and your mom were doing this since you were little. You click on the thing, and there’s the recipe. Thank you, thank you, thank you from every reader who has ever read of food blog, you’re the best ever.

Jannese:
Okay, thank you.

Mindy:
But this is a time commitment, when you were making $3,000 a month, which is $36,000 a year, which is way more than I was making at my first job. How much time were you committing to this? And what did it cost you to do this job?

Jannese:
I have never been great with work life balance. I am a natural born workaholic. So, I’m going to put that out there. Anybody that says that they have balanced is a liar because it doesn’t exist. So, I would come home from work and literally work from 5:00 to 10:00 at night on a blog post. And that would be like, several times a week, I’d say at least three times a week.
If I didn’t have time during the week, I would do it on the weekends. And I think I’ve never put this pressure on myself to live that perfect entrepreneur life where like, you wake up at 5:00 a.m., you get a workout in, you drink your matcha tea like 7:00 a.m., and by 7:30 you’re like banging out blog posts and just living this freaking fantasy.
So, that’s never been my thing. When I tell people what it’s like to build a side hustle, it’s a grind. There are sacrifices that need to be made. I stopped going to the gym as much. I probably, wasn’t cooking as healthy as I could, because I just didn’t have the time. And I said no to going out to certain events, because it was going to take up time from what I needed to do.
That is part of that scaling process, when it comes to any business. There are going to be those long nights. There are going to be the sacrifices of your time, your sanity, your energy, whatever. But it’s all with the goal in mind where eventually, you get this to a place where it provides you with the time, the flexibility, the freedom, the income, to then live the rest of your life the way that you want. But it’s the hard things that differentiate the people who are successful and the people who give up before they get to that point.

Doug:
So, you started the first blog in I think, 2014, 2015 is that about right?

Jannese:
2013.

Doug:
2013. So, in the beginning, were there any inflection points or signs where you thought, “Hey, this is working? Or yeah, I’ll leave it open. Yeah, did you ever have a point where you’re like, “Wow.”

Jannese:
Yeah, absolutely. Social media has changed so much in that time. And before the days of Facebook ads, it was so easy to go viral organically, especially on Facebook. So, as I continued to blog consistently, and really figure out like what my audience wanted, because I didn’t initially have a niche. I was just cooking and posting whatever it was I was having for dinner, right? There was no rhyme or reason.
I started to post my Puerto Rican recipes from my family. And I started having stuff go viral. Viral to the point where my site would crash, because the hosting plan I had was just not equipped to deal with all the excess bandwidth. And that happened like three or four times in 2014.
And at that point, I realized, “Oh, I need to keep doing this. This is exactly what people are looking for.” And somehow, they’re just not being served. I did a little bit more of market research and realize there’s not a lot of Puerto Rican cookbooks. There’s not a lot of Puerto Rican bloggers.
And so, I had identified a niche by accident just by putting out what I knew best, and what I could talk about really authentically. So, that was the first indication that I don’t need to just be posting random stuff on the internet. I need to be posting my Puerto Rican recipes, and creating content for folks that are not being served.

Mindy:
I love that. I love that, finding your niche. You want… When you first start off, you’re like, “Oh, I’m going to be everything to everybody.” You can’t be. I saw an amazing talk at FinCon several years ago by Emma, Single Rich Mommy. Oh, I can’t remember what her name is Emma, something. She’s like, “You have to go small to grow big.” And you need to focus on like, identify who you’re talking to. And talk to that person.
She’s single rich mommy. She’s she talks to wealthy women who have… Wealthy single mommy, whatever. She talks to wealthy women who aren’t married. So, she’s talking about childcare issues. She’s talking about dating because she’s single. She’s talking about all these things. And women who maybe aren’t wealthy are listening to her because they want to someday be wealthy.
Women who are maybe in a bad relationship are listening to her because they want the freedom of the lifestyle that she has. Women who don’t quite have children yet are listening to her. But she’s not talking to those people. She’s talking to her one audience. And when you find something that works for you and your audience, focus on that. I love that. And I love your pigeon pea recipe.

Jannese:
That’s the same approach that I took for the podcast.

Mindy:
There is… Okay, so I hear from a lot of people, “Oh, is there really any space for me in the personal finance world?” Yeah, there is because your voice is going to speak to somebody in a way that my voice doesn’t, in a way that Doug’s voice doesn’t, in a way that your voice doesn’t.
Somebody else is going to be looking for the voice that you are sharing, and you speak to an audience that doesn’t identify with me, and that’s okay. We’re all different. We can all find somebody to listen to and learn from, and I think it’s fantastic.

Jannese:
Absolutely.

Mindy:
And I think it’s fantastic. Tiffany Aliche, I am like the president of her fan club. She is doing so much good work for women who have traditionally been underserved or not like underserved, suggests that they were at all paid attention to, not served at all. She’s like, “Here, let me teach you about your money.”
And with that success, she grew to another phase. Let me teach you about houses. Let me teach you about investing. Let me teach you about all these different things. There’s an audience for your voice. Have your voice, be out there and share what you know, because somebody wants to hear from you.

Jannese:
Absolutely.

Mindy:
So, you have so many side hustle income stream, let’s talk about the value of diversifying income, and how a person early in their journey should approach this because I think that, you had a lot of success with DelishDLites. And then, it could be really easy for you to be like, “Oh, okay, now I have to start 57 other blogs?” Maybe, but probably not the best choice.

Jannese:
Yeah. If anything, I think 2020 definitely showed us that relying on a single income source, whether that is for your business, or as a corporate employee is just the riskiest thing that you can do. I think I learned that lesson years ahead, when I got laid off in 2014 because I didn’t have a profitable income stream from DelishDLites at that point.
It was very much just a hobby. But that experience enough was for me, that experience for me was enough to realize like, I never want to be in this position, again, where I have to be forced to take a job, maybe one that I don’t even want to do, because I’m just completely reliant on a single income source.
So, even when I was scaling DelishDLites, I never just relied on blog ad income to be the single income source. I started pitching myself for sponsored posts. I started looking into how I could incorporate affiliate marketing. And so, this idea of having multiple income streams, it was a thing for me, even before I realized that it was something that was very popular with people in the financial independence movement.
So, now, that I talk about it with my audience on the podcast, it’s something that a lot of business owners still are not incorporating into their business models. And a lot of folks who rely on the brick-and-mortar stores are realizing like, you need to have an online footprint, because anything can happen like a pandemic, right?
And if your entire business gets shut down, because you have a physical location, and you don’t have any eCommerce component to things, guess what? The lights are getting shut off in your house, and you’re not going to have food on the table.
So, I’m always looking for ways to organically, weave income streams into what I do. So, as even as a podcaster, I monetize my podcast through affiliate marketing versus traditional ad space that I’m selling, and it’s just… There’s no right or wrong way to run a business. I think that’s what people need to realize, whatever works for you, works for you.
And what works for me is having a bunch of income streams, so that I can take two months off of time in my business and not have to worry about how the bills are going to get paid. Just relying on completely active income sources is a way to also burnout as an entrepreneur.
So, I think you really do you have to think about how you can incorporate passive income streams into your life, whether you are a W2 worker or an entrepreneur, because nobody wants to work forever. Let’s be honest, even if you love what you do.

Doug:
And with the various income streams, which it sounds like some of them are pretty new, like the courses, does it follow an 80/20 rule where a few of them really knock it out of the park, and then some of them don’t really deliver, especially in terms of like how much time you have to put into it. And this leads into another idea of cutting off some of the side hustles that aren’t performing? So, kind of a broad question, and I’ll just send it over to you to talk about that.

Jannese:
Yeah, so one thing that I started doing, when I was first monetizing the podcast, I would do live virtual events. So, I would be doing like a workshop teaching folks about investing or social media marketing or whatever it is. And instead of just having those the one-off events, I would download the videos and make them an on demand digital video or masterclass that you could buy.
So, it’s like, this idea of creating something once and then having it, live in perpetuity and making money forever. I think that’s a really easy way for folks to start incorporating passive income into their businesses. So, that’s one thing that I did.
My signature programs, I have two of them. I have a blogging bootcamp where for six weeks I show students how to set up the framework for being able to monetize a blog. And then, I have a side hustle course where I walk you like A through Z about how to set up a profitable side hustle. Those courses have a live component baked into them.
So, I’m doing either bi-weekly or weekly coaching. So, those things are heavy lifts for me. I have to show it for my students, making sure that I have the capacity to serve them. So, when I’m doing those programs, things like my food blog, which is earning now over $10,000 a month, that’s just working in the background.
So, this year, I’m taking off the last six weeks of the month. I mean, the last six weeks of the year, so that I can just rest and recover because this has been like a really crazy year, I’ve worked a lot. And knowing that I still have the $10,000 of income coming in from that passive source, that gives me the peace of mind to be able to say, “You know what? I can do that.”
The other part of your question was figuring out what is worth your effort and what is not when it comes to side hustles, right? I am just a firm believer in if it doesn’t feel like something that I want to do, I’m just not going to do it. So, that comes into play very often when I’m pitched sponsored content, or like brand partnership deals, where like, maybe, I’m getting pitched like a $15,000 partnership, but it’s for a product that honestly, I wouldn’t use.
And it’s not for my audience. And it just wouldn’t feel like an authentic thing for me to weave into my business, as a content creator, and as somebody who’s like, your whole reputation is based on that trust that you have with your audience. You can’t pay me enough money to pitch those types of things.
And so, I think it’s just really being aligned with what authentically brings value to your audience doing as much of that as you want, and not doing anything that feels like, “Everybody else is doing it. So, I should do it too.” And I think digital courses is one of those things that aren’t people feel like, “Everybody’s doing a digital course, do I have to do one?”
No, if that’s not how you think you can best serve your audience, then don’t do it. Don’t fall for the trap of like, there’s one right way or one… The right way to do business. It’s a job that you get to create and it gets to look like however you want it to look.

Mindy:
I’m going to agree with absolutely everything you just said except that very last piece, you said there’s not one right way to do it. There is, and that’s be authentic. You can 100% tell when somebody has written a blog post that they were paid to write that they don’t believe in the product. It doesn’t do anything for their brand, you can absolutely tell when that is coming through.
And yeah, if, “Hey, Jannese, you should really talk about this meat product.” Well, I have a vegetarian blog. So, no, I’m not going to. That’s a really blatant example of what won’t work. But also, the meat product isn’t going to reach out to you either.
But yeah, you’re absolutely right. There’s, it’s your thing, you do what you want to do, as long as you believe in it, because I’m not going to name names. But I know several blogs, I’m very involved in the personal finance space, just in general and the food blog, but as a consumer, not I don’t create any food blogs, but when somebody… Let’s see, what was I going to say. Oh, there are several people and you read their blog, and you’re like, “You were paid for that?”
I totally, this is just like, it’s a throwaway article. And the tone is different. And if there’s one in an otherwise amazing blog, whatever. But if I see on your blog over and over again, stuff that’s just, you got paid to write that, that doesn’t feel authentic, it doesn’t feel like you care. And if you don’t care, why should I?
So, yeah, if you’re going to create content online, believe in it, have it be something that works for you. And $15,000 is nothing to sneeze at. But if it’s not in alignment with your soul, you’re just going to not do as good a job.

Jannese:
Absolutely. I equated to just not being paid adequately in a corporate job, right? When you know you’re not being compensated for the work that you’re doing, you don’t care about it. You’re not going to show up as your best self.
So, when it comes to showing up as my best self as an entrepreneur, I definitely need to be a 100% aligned, and believing in what I’m doing. And I also need to be compensated properly for the work.

Mindy:
Wow, does your time have value?

Jannese:
Oh, God. There’s nothing that costs more at this point.

Doug:
So, as you started to work for yourself, have you found any specific challenges where you don’t know what to work on that day? Or maybe, you’re taking on too much work? Like you said, you’re taking about six weeks off, which is fantastic. And I think, people should do that if they could work it out. But yeah, any specific challenges making all the decisions yourself? Everything’s on your shoulder success, and the failures too.

Jannese:
It’s funny because I was talking to my husband about this a couple of weeks ago. I felt almost this guilt because I had… When I decided I was going to quit my job, I said, “I am not working on Fridays. I am going to have a 24-hour work week. We’re only working Monday through Thursday. If this is like, I’m putting myself in freaking time management boot camp.”
And so, I was trying to squeeze all of the things that I needed to do into these very condensed timeline, and I would get random sparks of creativity on a Friday or Saturday or Sunday. And I would sit there and feel like, “You can’t work. This was not the plan. We did not agree to this. You have to wait until Monday to work on this.” And I told my husband, I’m like, “I feel so guilty because we’re sitting on the couch. It’s like Saturday, and I’m like, they have this brilliant idea. But I’m not allowed to work on it because I said it was only going to work Monday through Thursday.”
And he looks at me and he’s like, “What is wrong with you? You wanted this career, so that you could have the freedom to decide what your days look like? Why are you trying to make your business, a corporate job that has a schedule that has this regimented, rigid outline of who you can be? This is completely opposite of what you preach?”
And I just looked at him, I was like, “Oh, my God, you’re so right.” If I feel creative at 2:00 in the morning on a Saturday, what’s wrong with just taking that time and carving out whatever that is, and not feeling guilty about it. And I think I was just trying to put so much pressure on myself, because you see all these people that are like, “Oh, I’m an entrepreneur. I work four hours a week. Anybody who needs to work more than that, you’re failing, you’re a loser, you’re not…” And I just have to let go of the idea of what I had to force my business to be. And just let it be, and give myself that flexibility.

Doug:
Follow up question to that. So, what is a maybe, a perfect day or a perfect week look like? And maybe, you can place it in work week, and then maybe a vacation that is coming up at the end of this year?

Jannese:
Yeah. So, my ideal day looks spontaneous. I am not big on having a ton of structure. Now, one thing that I did do is like, I did segment days for specific things.
So, on Mondays will be when I record podcast episodes and handle all of that stuff. Tuesdays, I’ll catch up on administrative things, answering emails. Wednesdays and Thursdays are usually the days that I save for group coaching programs or doing some social media outreach, things like that.
But it’s just really allowing myself to not feel pressured to get all the things done on my checklist. If I wake up one day, and I’m like, “You know what? I didn’t get a great night’s sleep. I’m not going to do anything today.” And the world is not going to burn down, just letting go of that pressure of just having to be so perfect all the time. That’s been a big part of it.
One thing that I’m absolutely, enjoying is just being able to pick up and go, hop on a plane, visit family and friends whenever I want, not having to request time off. And that’s what I intend to do at the end of this year. It really just is about letting go of the expectations, spending the time with friends and family and just really enjoying the flexibility and the freedom that I’ve been able to build for myself, without the pressure to always do.

Doug:
I love it.

Mindy:
Let’s talk about imposter syndrome.

Jannese:
How long do you got?

Mindy:
Okay, before we talk about imposter syndrome, I want to highlight that Jannese who makes 300 and something thousand dollars, and it’s not even the end of the year yet said, “How much time do you got?” That I think is really, really, really telling because I don’t know anybody who doesn’t have imposter syndrome. But we all feel bad like we don’t belong.
You, sorry, Jannese, you can’t call yourself a side hustler, because it’s not your side job, or you can’t call yourself a side hustler because you’re only making $300,000 a year. And Tim Ferriss makes $500,000 a year with his four-hour workweek or whatever. You’re doing really good. I forbid you from having imposter syndrome anymore, because you have made it and you are amazing.
But how do you get over? I mean, there’s the whole fake it, until you make it. And I want to encourage somebody who’s listening to this who’s like, “Oh, I’ve had this idea, do it.” It doesn’t matter that somebody else is doing it better. They’ve been doing it longer. If you aren’t doing it and they are, they’ve been doing it longer. They have more experience. They’re probably going to do it better. That doesn’t mean that you can’t surpass them. That means that right now, they have more experience that doesn’t make you a bad person.

Doug:
Yeah.

Mindy:
So, what do you feel imposter syndrome about and how do you push through it?

Jannese:
I think, for me, imposter syndrome has manifested itself in a lot of different ways. When I was a side hustler, I was convinced like there’s no way I can actually, earn enough to replace my 9:00 to 5:00. This is a fantasy. I’m just living in la-la-land, who the hell am I to even be imagining that this is something that I can do.
And I think a lot of that has to come down to representation, especially in the entrepreneurship space. I don’t know any people in my family who are doing this, my friends circle. All the people that I know that are doing this are online. They’re not necessarily people that I know personally.
And financial independence was the same thing, just this idea that I can retire in my 40s. Like, what? There’s nobody in my family who’s doing this. There’s no way I can possibly do this. And again, when it comes down to representation, when I decided to quit my job this year, I started having major imposter syndrome about, can I replicate what I did in 2020? Can I make another $100,000?
And it wasn’t until, I really just stopped putting the pressure on myself and comparing myself to all these other people. These internet millionaires, like I made a million dollars this month. And just, you almost have to put blinders on at some point. You have to put the horse blinders on and really just focus on what you’re doing.
And imposter syndrome is something that never goes away. I want people to know that. Every time you’re asked to level up in your business, you’re asked to do something you’ve never done. It’s going to happen. The first time I was ever contracted to do a speaking engagement, I hate public speaking. It was a nightmare proposition for me.
And so, this idea, like, “Oh, my God, people are going to pay me to show up and talk, who the hell wants to listen to that?” It was a huge thing to get over. The first time I was asked to write a media article, like, “What the heck thinks I can write anything?” So, you’re just always going to be confronted with imposter syndrome when you’re asked to do something you’ve never done before.
And I have a friend who talks about this idea of like, building your confidence and being able to get past imposter syndrome feels like crap because you’re always going to be confronted with your insecurities. You’re always going to be forced to do the scary things that nobody wants to do.
But that’s the only way that you can prove to yourself that, “You know what? I’m probably capable of a lot more than I give myself credit for. But it just feels ugly in the moment.” And you got to get comfortable with the ugliness because there’s really cool stuff on the other side.

Doug:
In researching for this interview, I ran across one of your podcast episodes where you mentioned, how shy you are. So, hearing you overcome…

Jannese:
What?

Doug:
Right? The public speaking, and then just in general, like starting a blog, and putting yourself out there is really tough. So, how did you overcome that in any tips for people that have some shyness, or maybe they identify as introverted or something like that?

Jannese:
Yeah, this is the thing that like blows people’s minds. It’s like, dude, if you knew what kind of introvert I was, I need a break from people very often. I get very overwhelmed with too much human interaction. And so, the fact that I’m here on the internet, like doing all this stuff is just nuts.
But it was, I think back to the first speaking engagement I had. And I talked about this on like an Instagram Live where I would get hives when I was a kid. Talking in front of people, I’d be like, breaking out and sweat, like getting all patchy and red and crazy.
And so, knowing that, I was already preparing for that to happen during my speaking engagements. So, I went and turned the air conditioner on full blast, I made my house like 60 degrees because I’m like, “There’s no way it can sweat if it’s like a freaking refrigerator in the house, right?” I’m wearing shorts. I have fans blowing. I’m just doing everything I can to like, okay, just don’t get all sweaty and become a hot mess.
And we made it, we made it. You just have to get… I’m very much like, let me figure out how to tackle all the potential things that could go wrong here and that stuff, we did it. And then, it was the scariest time the first time I did it. And as I kept doing, it just got less scary, less scary. And it’s just like that psychological principle of repeated exposure.
At some point, it’s just like, okay, this is just a normal thing. We didn’t die. You’re fine. We can do this again. What are the lessons we learned? What can we do differently? And you keep doing it?

Doug:
Very good. Yeah, when I guess you’re shy.

Jannese:
No.

Doug:
So, when other area that I think maybe, you’ll you can give some people great advice on is taking skills, maybe from their day job and trying to figure out like, what side hustles they can do. So, I’m curious, did you bring any skills from your day job or professionally, that helped you would specific things, and then how people might be able to identify those for themselves?

Jannese:
Yeah. So, when I’m advising folks on where they should look for inspiration for a side hustle, I definitely say like, take a look at the skills you learn throughout your corporate career. And a lot of things like sales and marketing, and finance, all of those things can be turned into a side hustle.
So, if those are things that you’re already passionate about, and you want to be able to turn them into a business, go for it. But that doesn’t have to be your only source of inspiration. For me, I went completely opposite. I’m like, “I hate my career. What do I like doing outside of the 9:00 to 5:00? How can I turn that into a business, right?
So, I identified, okay, I love food, I love talking to people, okay, so I’m going to start a blog, I’m going to start a podcast. I’m going to do all these things that I do for fun. I’m going to try to turn them into a business. So, those are the two kind of pillars of skill sets that I would say, you need to start with as far as like, inspiration.
Some of the things that I realized were that my corporate career definitely prepared me for the things that I do now. So, as an engineer, I was always teaching folks how to break down really complex topics, and to understandable bite-sized nuggets of information.
And so, I’m doing that now with personal finance. I know how to present information, I know how to teach folks, because that was my career, just literally taking really hard problems to solve, and finding solutions for them. Also, this idea of standard operating procedures. When I started scaling my business, I realized, if I’m ever going to get to a place where I can hire people and outsource things, I need to be able to explain to them exactly how I do things. And how can I do that if I don’t have anything written down?
So, I took the concept of standard operating procedures, which I had been writing for years in my career, and I created standard operating procedures for how I do things in my business. So, how do we release an episode? Where are all the social media channels that this needs to be posted on? What time do we do this? What kind of content needs to be included here? How do we onboard a new member of the team? Where do they find all the logging information for the systems that we use?
All of those things, I proceduralized that and that made, I basically created like an onboarding kit for my business. So, I took some inspiration from things I saw in HR. And you’d be surprised, a lot of the things that we learned in our careers are soft skills.
So, the ability to network and reach out to people and collaborate. Those are all things that are going to serve you regardless of what you do. And so, don’t try to discount like, “Oh, I hate my career. There’s nothing I could possibly translate here.” The bare minimum, your job can be the angel investor in your business venture.
And I always treated it that way. I always said, “You know what? I’m going to use the income I’m earning here to build my ladder to freedom. And I’m going to use all the things that I can get from here. I’m going to do all the trainings. I’m going to ask for extra assignments. I’m going to learn all the things that I know could possibly benefit me when I make that transition. And so, I encourage folks to do that as well.

Mindy:
I just, I’m sorry for the awkward pauses. I’m just blown away by everything you’re saying. And more, especially the whole, I’m shy.

Jannese:
I used to be very shy, but I moved around a lot as a kid and I really liked to talk. So, I wonder I had to overcome my shyness, so I can make new friends.

Mindy:
So, not everything with regards to side hustles is all unicorns and rainbows. It doesn’t always work out and your best intentions can be, not enough. When is it time to call it quits on one side hustle and pivot in a different direction?

Jannese:
I would say, don’t waste any more than six months on something, if you’re not seeing any kind of progress. So, a couple of things that I tried that were just an epic failure were like a dropshipping store. I had no idea like, what kind of products to pick for these things. The only person who ended up buying something for me was my mom. And that’s because I sent her the link to go and buy it, right? I didn’t know anything about that.
So, I did that for six months. I’m like, “Alright, this is not the thing for me.” I also thought I was going to be a travel blogger, because I see all these people taking luxurious vacations for free. And then, I realized very quickly like, “Oh, I don’t have money to actually be booking thousands of dollars’ worth of flights and traveling.
I only have two weeks of PTO. So, how am I going to do it, right? So, that was a short-lived dream as well. Try everything once. But don’t try to force something. I feel like if something is too difficult, it’s probably just because this is just not the right thing for you. Everything that has worked out for me has felt very much aligned. I’ve felt very little resistance. And I pay attention to those things now.
When something feels like it’s pulling teeth, like this isn’t the time, this isn’t the place. Maybe, we can revisit this later. But this is not what I need to be doing right now. So, just being able to say, “You know what, I made that investment. It wasn’t a good one. We learned some lessons. We can move on. And I feel guilty about it.” I think that’s a big important thing for folks to do because they just get so caught up in like, “Oh, my God, what if I lose money? What if I do this? What if this doesn’t work?” All right, you’re not going to die. You’ll be fine. Let’s learn the lessons and let’s move on and start working on something else.

Mindy:
Oh, I love that. I absolutely love that. That’s such great advice. Yeah, there are people who are making a lot of money as dropshipping, whatever and it’s like no time at all. But if it’s not for you, cut your losses and move on. Don’t just try and force it. I love that advice, Jannese. You’re just the best.

Jannese:
Thank you.

Mindy:
This has been a super fun episode. And we’re not done yet. But is there anything else we should be talking about before we move on to our famous four?

Jannese:
I will just say, the landscape of personal finance is changing so rapidly. And I think that it’s important for folks to know that these conversations are for everyone. So, regardless of where you grew up, what your background is, what kind of knowledge you have or you don’t have, find a place that is going to inspire you to get good with money, and we will pay the royalty checks to shouting for it continuously.
But it’s really, important to know that getting good with money is a journey. It’s not like you’re going to read one book. It’s not like you’re going to read one podcast. It’s not like you’re going to follow one person on social media and you’re going to be… You’re going to have all your financial issues together. That’s just not how it works.
Committing to the journey is how I have been able to accomplish what I have been able to do. And I think it’s just understanding that this is going to be a lifelong educational process. Get ready to keep learning because you’re always going to be a student when it comes with money.

Mindy:
Jannese, this has been just one of my favorite episodes of all times. Thank you.

Jannese:
Thank you.

Mindy:
Thank you, thank you for your time today. But like I said, we’re not done yet. We still have our famous four. Are you ready?

Jannese:
Let’s do it. Yes.

Mindy:
Okay. What is your favorite finance book?

Jannese:
The Simple Path to Wealth by J.L. Collins.

Mindy:
Oh, that’s a good one. That’s a really good book. He just explains everything so easily.

Jannese:
Yes.

Doug:
What was your biggest money mistake?

Jannese:
God, I mean, how do I pick one, there’s just so many. I think it really was just thinking that I could out earn my bad spending habits by making six figures. You need a budget, y’all. No matter what kind of money you’re making, don’t be like me.

Mindy:
Love it. Love it. Love it. What is your best piece of advice for people who are just starting out?

Jannese:
Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Knowing your numbers, knowing how much debt you have, all those things feel very icky. It feels like, you’re behind the eight ball like everybody else has things figured out. But just know that by knowing you will actually, be in a better position than like most people who just pretend like nothing’s happening around them. So, just get comfortable with being uncomfortable because that’s where we grow.

Doug:
What is your favorite joke to tell at parties?

Jannese:
I was thinking about this and I’m just not. I feel like I’m a comedian in the sense like, I respond to people’s stuff, but I’m just not wanting to come out with like random jokes. I don’t know.

Mindy:
That’s okay. I have some food jokes for you. Where did the broccoli go to have a few drinks?

Jannese:
The salad bar. They’re terrible.

Mindy:
Do you ever hear talk about pizza?

Jannese:
Go for it.

Mindy:
Nevermind, it’s too cheesy. That is not… Okay, Jannese, you have a lot of things going on, where can people find out more about you?

Jannese:
So, for all things food blog, you can go to delishdlites.com. That’s D-E-L-I-S-H D-L-I-T-E-S .com. And for the podcast, it’s Yo Quiero Dinero Podcast and it’s available wherever you listen to podcasts. And at yoquierodineropodcast.com.

Mindy:
That is fantastic. We will include a link to all of those in our show notes which can be found at biggerpockets.com/money show263. Jannese, this was one of the favorite episodes that I have ever recorded. You are amazing. And I thank you so much for your time today. This was absolutely fantastic and clear your inbox because I know our listeners are going to be flooding it with questions and requests.

Jannese:
Thank you so much for the invitation.

Mindy:
This was great. Okay, Doug, thank you for your time today as well and we will talk to you soon. Okay, that was Jannese Torres-Rodriguez from the Yo Quiero Dinero Podcast. Doug, what did you think of the show?

Doug:
It was fantastic. Like you said, Jannese really brought a lot of energy and I think the fact that she started in 2013, and didn’t really think she was going to be earning much money with a side hustle was just a hobby blog, and she’s grown it into this huge asset. And then, she’s slowly leveled up in these different areas. Just amazing to hear the story.

Mindy:
Yeah, I love that she’s taken her time to grow these and she’s decided when something didn’t work, she was going to pivot, but something that she took as just a hobby, a passion project and was able to grow through intelligent choices, and partnerships that make sense to her audience. She’s grown this. That one thing has replaced her income.
And then, she has another… Another 14 streams of income that have doubled her income. I mean, she’s making three times what she was making at her W2 job working less and enjoying life more. And that’s just what this is all about. I’m so excited for her story. I just fell in love with her today. This was such a fun episode.

Doug:
And one thing that actually, I identified really closely with is, externally she had such a successful academic career. And then, she got a great job, was earning money, living the “American dream,” purchasing a big house, and then realizing, “Oh, this is not what I thought it was going to be.” And then, her and her husband took action to figure out what they enjoy more, the work they enjoy. And she mentioned, basically being a workaholic. And now, she’s doing work that she loves, which is so cool to hear.\

Mindy:
Yeah, I just love her story. I would like to ask our listeners a favor. This is a brand-new year, it’s January 2022, Happy New Year. I hope you enjoyed the show today. If you did, we would love it if you could go to wherever you’re getting your podcasts and leave us a rating and a review.
Ratings and reviews help other people and other podcast listeners find our show. And with a show like this, I really want people to know how much information is being shared on these episodes. Also, we are going to open this up in our Facebook groups for discussion. Do you have a side hustle? Do you have a question for the group about side hustles? We would love to have you talking about this in the Facebook group which is facebook.com/groups/bpmoney.
And do you know somebody who needs this information? If you’ve got a friend who may be struggling with money, who might be thinking about starting a side hustle, share Jannese’s episode with them, have them listen to it and get all the amazing information she just shared with us. Okay, Doug, should we get out of here?

Doug:
Let’s go.

Mindy:
Okay, from Episode 263 of the BiggerPockets Money Podcast. He is Doug Cunnington, and I am Mindy Jensen saying, “Don’t pet Georgie.”

 

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In This Episode We Cover

  • How to find financial independence, even if you’re in a lot of debt
  • How to minimize excessive spending while still enjoying your money
  • Becoming a full-time entrepreneur and managing the struggles of being self-employed
  • Outsourcing work and its importance especially when you’re stretched thin
  • Dealing with Imposter Syndrome and overcoming shyness
  • The value of diversifying your income and why it’s becoming more popular
  • Finding your niche target market, even if you don’t think you have one
  • And So Much More!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in the Show:

Connect with Jannese: