I don’t know exactly when, but I remember the phrase “side hustle” becoming popular amongst my coworkers. And I must be clear, it was the word the became popular. Most of them were already engaged in some kind of extra work. Some taught private students, some taught online, some played music, some tested video games, some worked at the beer store, and some wrote. The universities and school boards paid, but the rest of us were living hand to mouth.
As for me, I really don’t have a side hustle. I worked extra when I could, and I rarely turned down a chance to substitute for someone–there are some people I wouldn’t work for, but that’s a story for another day. If I somehow managed to catch lightning in a bottle, maybe this blog will one day provide some passive income, but right now, I think I should just focus on the writing.
One thing I did do was upload some photographs to a stock photo website. I’ve got a digital camera and I come across interesting scenes all the time. They only accept one or two photos out of the eight or nine that I submit each time, but that is more motivating than discouraging. I treat this like a hobby. I am under no illusion that I will be able to quit my job and do it full time. It’s a numbers game. They’ve got millions of photos and a handful of customers. Add to that, I’ve got to have a significant number of photos in my portfolio to increase my odds that even one of them will get chosen.
The interesting thing is that the other day, I got a notification that I had sold one of the pictures. When I read the notification that it had happened, I was really surprised at how good I felt. I am still bouncing about it. I am not sure why it gave me such joy, but it did. It is definitely a Perfect Moment. Somebody paid me for something I created. The amount of money is negligible, and it will probably be years before I hit a payment threshold, but that isn’t the point. The point is that I felt really good about it.
It has given me inspiration to submit more photos obviously. If I double the size of my portfolio, I might sell two pictures a year. It has also give me inspiration to start writing fiction again. If selling a photo of a coffee cup can make me feel good, imagine what selling a story could do for me.