Earning More When You Have No Free Time: How a full-time law student earned $50k on the side

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In my research of over 100,000 people, I discovered that one of the top 3 barriers to earning more is “no free time.”

So how did Liz, one of my former students, earn $50,000 on the side as a law student? With a part-time job? And a new baby?

Today, she’ll share how. By the way, Liz is contributing this writeup as part of Women’s Money Week 2012.

Take it away, Liz…

*   *   *   *   *

Last year I earned over $50k on the side. On the side of what, you ask? Attending a top law school full-time, working part-time during the school year and full-time during the summer, and starting a family. My son was born in November. How did I find the time and energy to do all this?

As a blogger, freelance writer, and website optimization consultant, I earn anywhere from $20/hr to $250/hr. Before incorporating the following principles I averaged $26/hr. But with these principles I doubled my hourly average to over $53/hr.

Here is how I incorporated many IWT methods into the 3-step approach I used to earn $50k on top of my already packed schedule.

Step 1: Take the Time to Prepare

Instead of “just getting started,” I prepare for success by setting up triggers and establishing accountability.

Set Up Triggers

In my favorite IWT interview, Stanford Professor BJ Fogg identified the three things you need for behavioral change: motivation, ability, and triggers. A trigger is reminder to do something now. For instance, placing a bottle of vitamins next to your bed is a cue to take your vitamin before you go to sleep. For me, triggers are the key to success. To earn more money in less time, I set up triggers that help me stay on task.

Here are my top three triggers:

  • Place a Prewritten To Do List Next to My Computer — Each night before going to sleep I make a list of everything I need to accomplish the next day. I leave the list open next to my computer, so it’s the first thing I look at each morning when I start work. Doing this triggers me to immediately start working on the listed tasks and not get sidetracked.
  • Have My Computer Open and On — I used to wait several minutes for my laptop to turn on each morning. While waiting, I would read emails on my phone and get distracted from that morning’s priority tasks. Now, I leave my computer on as a trigger to get right to work.
  • Remove “Bad” Triggers — Because triggers cue you to do something, it’s critical to remove triggers that cue you to start the wrong task. Now, as a nightly ritual I remove anything from my workspace that would trigger me to start working on the wrong task.

Establish Accountability

Accountability is a powerful motivator. When you’re accountable you work more efficiently and you  save time.  Before I start a project I set up mechanisms to ensure that I will be held accountable.

Here are the top ways I establish accountability at the outset of a project:

  • Work With Other People — For the biggest project I’m currently working on, I hired an independent contractor and gave her a stake in the outcome of the project. Working with another person motivates me to work when I might otherwise give up because I don’t want to let that person down.
  • Set Deadlines — For any project I work on I set deadlines for myself. But that’s not always enough of a driver so I also tell whoever I’m working for when the project will be done, even if they haven’t given me an end date. Telling someone else the deadline holds me accountable to them.
  • Pay For Services — I’m one of those people who has to pay for a gym, even though I know I can exercise for free at home. Why? Because knowing that I’m paying makes me go. The same is true of work. For one of the websites that I run, I wanted to start a monthly newsletter. So, before I had an exact plan for the newsletter, I signed up for a monthly subscription service. Knowing that I was paying for the monthly subscription service held me accountable to start the newsletter.

Step 2: Balance Certainty with Risk

My second strategy for making more money in less time is balancing projects that are certain with projects that are risky. Just like you allocate your investment portfolio between riskier investments and stable investments based on your needs and risk tolerance, you should also balance your time between risky projects and those that are certain to generate income. Balancing your time between risky and certain projects allows you to earn more money in less time.

Before I explain why, let me clarify what I mean by certain and risky.

Certain projects are those when you know you’ll make money and you know how much you’ll make. Most consulting and freelancing projects are examples of “certain.” If you know, that you will make $50 for writing a piece of content, and you also know that this piece of writing will take you no more than 2 hours, this is certain.

Risky projects are those that could earn you money — and hopefully more money than you’d earn with a certain project — but you don’t know if you’ll earn anything. Or when. For example, blogging, building apps, or running a startup are all risky. Even working for free to get a client in the door is risky. These projects are risky.

The bottom line is that a certain project guarantees that you’ll make a specific amount of money for doing a specific task, a risky project guarantees nothing.

Why Take on Both Certain and Risky Projects?

Some people might argue that you should only ever take projects that are certain. But the only way to earn more money is to take on more risk. The greater the risk, the greater the potential reward.

Another reason I advocate taking on risky projects in addition to certain projects is that, with time, they can turn into certain projects. For example, if you intern or take on a side project for free to show a potential employer your skills, that employer will likely end up hiring you (provided you’ve done a good job). I’ve interned at an organization for free, and once they saw my skills they hired me for a paid position. Another example is a blog that I started which led to a $250/hour consulting gig with a Fortune 100 company. The blog was risky (because it took time to create without knowing I would earn anything) but with time led to certain income.

Calculate the Certainty/Risk Balance That’s Right for You

To determine how much time you should allocate between risky projects and certain projects ask yourself three questions:

  1. How much money do I need?
  2. How much time do I have to get that money?
  3. What’s my tolerance for risk?

Last year, my goal was 1) to earn $150 a day in side income, 2) by the end of the year, and 3) with minimal risk.

So I allocated my time accordingly. I increased the number of projects I worked on that were certain to generate income (up to 80% of my time). And each day I did whatever I could to ensure that I earned $150 that day.  For some of my consulting gigs this was only about a half hour of work. For other freelance projects, that required over 2 hours of work. And some of my writing gigs required 5 or more hours of work to achieve this goal. But, by allocating my time towards projects that were certain, I got the result I wanted.

This year, I’ve shifted to riskier projects. Right now instead of allocating my time so that I make a set dollar amount per day, I allocate over 75% of my available time to risky projects.  I know that if I need to I can scale up the consulting gigs that are certain to make me money, but I love the thrill of trying something new and the possibility of having a huge payoff. These gambles are what make work fun for me.

Always Have Some Certainty

I recommend always having some certainty in your side projects. Besides the financial cushion certainty brings, when risky projects aren’t going as well your projects that are certain will build confidence and help you overcome your fear of failure. There’s nothing as confidence building as getting off a consulting phone call where not only did you help someone with their business problems, but you also earned side income.  Success from certain projects gives you the confidence and skills you need to continue with risky projects.

Step 3: Protect Your Productive Time

Even when I’m prepared and have projects certain to bring in side income, last year would have not earned me more money in less time if I had not discovered how to protect my productive time. It sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how many small tasks eat away at our most productive hours of the day.

Find Your Productive Time and Space

Before I was able to use my productive time effectively, I first had to know exactly when I was productive. Ramit’s writing on testing helped me identify and maximize my productive time. I recommend starting with Test Responses at Bars, Testing Your Assumptions, and How a Beggar Uses Data to Optimize Donations. Use these methods to test to find out what time of day you’re able to get the most accomplished.

Don’t Let Anyone Mess with Your Productive Time
Once you’ve figured out when you’re most productive, protect that time and don’t plan anything during it. Seriously, during your productive time don’t schedule:

  • meetings
  • doctor appointments
  • coffee with friends
  • errands
  • class
  • exercise
  • or anything but those tasks for which you absolutely need full concentration

Personally, I’m a morning person. I get the most done between 6 am and 11 am. When I rescheduled the two things that used to consume most of my morning hours (taking classes and exercising) I was able to use those hours to more quickly and efficiently get the things done that require the most concentration. In the afternoon, writing an article used to take me 1-2 hours. In the morning, I can get it done in half the time.

Spend your productive time working on the tasks that require the most focus and will make you the most money.

“What if I have a 9-5 job?”

If you have a day job, decide how to divide your productive time. Ask yourself:

  • Will you earn more money if you are more productive at your day job?
  • Can you leave early if you’ve completed all your day job work?
  • If the answer to both of the previous questions is “no,” can you rearrange your work schedule?

Then, allocate your time based on your answers to these questions. For example, if your most productive time is from 7am to 1pm and you earn more money at work if you get more done, ask your boss if you can rearrange your schedule to start work at 7am.

If you don’t have a flexible schedule or workflow, then test to determine your most productive hours during your normal work schedule. Adjust the factors that do have control over to get the most done in the least time.

“How Can I Earn More Money in Less Time?”

If you want to earn more money in less time this year, these 3 action steps will help get you started. Try implementing at least 1 step of this system for the next week. After a week, evaluate and determine how you can incorporate that step into your long-term work plan.

In the comments, leave the step you are going to implement this week and how you will implement it. Be specific.

If you want more case studies — including the word-for-word scripts they use — start here.

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77 Comments

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  1. “Now, I leave my computer on as a trigger to get right to work.”
    May I suggest to use (or at least check) the BIOS capability to power on automatically the pc at a certain hour every day?
    I wake up at 6.20 am and so, automatically, my pc. Some minutes later, after breakfast, I’m ready to work. And, in the evening, the automatic backup starts and power off the pc when finished.
    I suspect some hours of rest for your pc mean:
    - lower energy costs
    - longer life for your pc
    - lower pollution from power generation (yes, I know it hasn’t a direct impact to you, but, damn, we live in a global world! ).

  2. I almost typed RAMIT as my name :)

    This is a lovely write up and it shows why so many people can make a decent living online. the online world needs people that are creative, who are ready to do great works online and position themselves as expert.

    Blogging and freelancing pays alot if you have the skill

    Sheyi

  3. I am being protective of my productive time and have found a way to increase it…accidentally.

    I used to need about an hour every morning after waking up until I actually started doing stuff.

    Not anymore.

    The secret? Deep relaxation before I go to bed the night before. With BJ Fogg’s help I got into the habit of meditating (started by meditating for just two breaths 6 weeks ago!!! – evolved to meditating for 10 min every night…). Meditation helps me relax. The result is that I sleep better, and when I wake up in the morning I find that I want to immediately start doing!

    That extra energy gave me 1 extra hour of productivity each day, and the best part of all is that it was an unintended consequence…

    I didn’t start meditating to become more productive – I did it because I wanted to try it and was expecting to sleep better. Well, 1 extra hour each day of QUALITY work was a good “side-effect” of this process. :)

  4. ramit, I’m generally a fan but this has nothing to do with how your student actually made 50k on the side. Quite frankly, you posted on twitter once that you hate vague, generic posts or top X lists. This post of yours is a perfect example of the former.

    How did he/she find these jobs? What resources can we use? What are some other ways to actually make $ on the side?

    I loathe “generic”.

    • I think the exact steps she took isn’t important and is somewhat irrelevant. She did what works for her. The point is that if you create your own systems to produce outcomes and actually implement those systems and fine tune them to work for you, you will get results.

    • It’s not generic. It’s a behavioral change article, not a biographical one. I’m certain the info about law student, full time job, new baby are all included so that readers have absolutely no room to whine “But I’m Too Busy!”

  5. Not many specifics here…don’t know what to do with this information. Work hard and balance cost/risk/benefit?

  6. There’s a tab called “Earn More Money”…. need I say more?

  7. Step 1) I am establishing accountability for doing Step 3 by leaving this comment. No, I don’t expect anyone to follow up on this, but just putting it out there with my name on it makes me feel accountable.

    Step 3) I know what time I am most productive and I have been guilty of scheduling other things during that time b/c it’s also the most convenient time to get other to-do items done. Basically, I need to prioritize my to-do list so that I am making the most out of my productive time. I appreciate the reminder to do so. Tax time is a busy time of year for me – it means that I’m working up to three jobs at a time. I have to be at my peak productivity during this time. So, this week, I am going to prioritize my to-do list and schedule in one of my side jobs during my most productive hours: from about 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. I need to get this job completed – the client needs it done ASAP, but it’s not a project that I particularly love to do. It pays fairly decent, so I keep it as part of my certain income. But, because the project itself doesn’t motivate me to work, I have to literally schedule it in and force myself to do it. By scheduling this in during my most productive hours, I’ll have the energy to tackle it and hopefully get it done quicker.

    Thanks for the great, detailed article. It’s much easier for me to learn from organized posts like this one. :)

  8. I love when she talks about: motivation, ability, and triggers. How can I follow Liz on twitter?

    Those productivity hacks are no joke, I’ve been experimenting w/ my timing and to-do list, and I’m getting really good results. I usually spend the first part of my day reading and keeping up w/ changes in my industry (SEO). I’ve recently been coming in and getting straight to work, ignoring any reading I might need to do.

    I can almost get my whole days work done in 4 hours. (almost!)

  9. Thank you for your article, I began reading this blog last year to perhaps earn an extra $500 pm, but in the last 2 months at $2000 extra pm! I’m a computer programmer full time, wife & mum to a very busy 5 year old, my most productive time is 5am-7am, so by time my daughter is up for school, my ‘morning job’ of making jewelry is done! I have naturally used your steps above and now trying automate things, by making things simpler for the purchaser.

    Thanks again for your article, at least I’m not the only one who does more in a work day!

  10. Ramit, thank you for Liz … and everything else! Liz, thank you for this wonderful article. I currently use something I call a trigger list which is essentially all of the typical sequences of my day. I then load up each sequence with actions intended to help me install habits over time and use the list to keep me on track throughout the day. I absolutely agree that triggers are critical. I love the idea of focusing on eliminating negative triggers. I suppose I have been doing this somewhat in the background, but this really helped me key in on it. I’ll do a mind sweep this evening and see if I can identify some of the key negative triggers that are tripping me up and either eliminate them or set up new triggers to override them.

    The balance of certain and risky is wonderful. Thank you so much. I really can’t tell you how much clarity this brings me today and how needed it was. Sometimes you just can’t see what’s right in front of you! I will do the certain/risky assessment this evening and begin incorporating those measures into my schedule tomorrow.

    Also, amen to the protection of your productive time. Working from home, I realized recently during a major purge of my office space how many non-work items had migrated from the rest of the home into my office and into my schedule. It’s been a dramatic shift since I clamped down on that.

  11. I’m another one for whom this came at a perfect time!

    I work full-time, have a long commute, and have three kids, so, yeah, I’m pretty busy….but I also know that when I DO have a stretch of free time, I waste a lot of it, and I don’t utilize downtime between projects well. So I already knew that being “busy” wasn’t a good excuse — but now, after reading what Liz has accomplished, I REALLY don’t have that excuse!

    I’m just breaking into copywriting, too, and Liz’s story gives me a lot of hope. I’m going to start the to-do list idea immediately…having it done and set out the night before is genius!

  12. This is one of the most concrete and useful articles I’ve written in a while. So many gems here: certainty of income, specific goals, setting up the conditions for success, and more.

    Thank you Liz!

  13. Awesome article! Thank you for sharing!

    I am going to focus on step three: Protect Your Productive Time.

    Thanks again!
    Ryan

  14. Awesome article. I’m actually a law student, building my own business.. and law school really is tough here in Australia..

    Got alot of good insights from this post, thanks Ramit!

  15. This is the only disappointing article that I have ever read on IWT – really sucks.

    This article sucks because although it highlights a few areas and an article cannot cover everything, the first section is the most relevant to people and the third section was good until it effectively told workers who cannot reschedule any of their time (say lawyers) that they’re screwed.

    Moreover, NOTHING on how she managed to do this, with the load of law school work (the hours, I’m assuming it takes, aren’t remotely explained, and impression given that classes not important or compulsory) OR about being pregnant and the tolls that takes – i.e. that would have been an idea place to talk about psychology (and not just for women!) let alone having a baby at the end of the year.

    Truly and thoroughly disappointing.

    • OH – I forgot to add – I would be very happy to read much more in depth about how she ACTUALLY managed to accomplish law school, this job and a baby, let alone the other commitments of life that probably include a social life and a husband/partner and maybe cooking/cleaning etc. I’d be very happy to read it either on this blog or on another one, if the writer did that. So I’m not totally a nay-sayer.

  16. I somewhat agree with BV — not that the article sucks, but that I would like more specifics on how she coped with balancing everything and managed what must’ve been crushing physical and mental exhaustion (I’m assuming; I don’t have kids but I don’t function well on a couple hours’ sleep a night, so…).

    That being said — I really appreciate the discussion of sure-thing vs. risky side projects. I have several side projects right now and while I’d like to spend most of my time on the riskiest one as it’s something I really enjoy, I always feel guilty when I do because, unlike my other side gigs, it’s not an “if I work X hours, I will make $Y” deal. I could work X times 1,000 hours and earn nothing… or earn Y x 5,000. It’s a crapshoot. So I tend to spend less time on that and more time on the sure thing.

    So my takeaway from this is to decide how much money I need to make each week or month (breaking it down by day is, I think, a little too small of a time frame for me), and once I’ve fulfilled that with the safe gigs, then allow myself to spend time on the risky stuff (which would have great potential if I let myself work on it, I think!)

  17. implementing a to-do list is the first thing i am going to do now.
    Yesterday i tried it and got all the stuff doneincluding one that I have been procrastinating for the past 2 week.

  18. For those who are confused I believe the message is “Stop making excuses and start taking action”. Spoon feeding you everything would kind of defeat the message don’t you think? Anyway, just because she used blogging and freelancing to make money doesn’t mean that you have to. So giving you the steps to do that (not that there aren’t already a few million articles out there with the same info) wouldn’t really be helpful either.

  19. Another stellar post with practical use-it-now information to help us outperform and for FREE! Thanks so much for bringing us high quality info on an ongoing basis. This is why you are practically the only blog I read on the internet.

  20. I’ve always known the accountability requirement is a huge motivator for me but what I learned, and what I am going to implement this week, are triggers. Leaving gym clothes by the bed so all I have to do is put then on before thinking. And to improve my income, my trigger for that is to leave the list (that I always work from) on my computer. Then turn the TV off the minute I get up. My husband always turns it on when he gets up but if I leave it on I get slow even if I don’t watch it.
    Thanks for the motivation Ramit and Liz

  21. I like the article and think it has good advice. However, I think it is also a bit skewed; Liz clearly *already* had business contacts, freelance experience, and jobs lined up – I was expecting more of a primer on being able to start generating income, not information on making an existing side business work well.

    Still, good advice and thoughts on triggers, and obviously a great accomplishment for the writer. Covering the cost of law school with side work like this during school is a certain winning strategy. (50k a year is roughly, give or take 10k, law school tuition for a full time student for a year, depending on the school).

  22. Correction, I meant to say that 50k is not directly tuition for a year, but how much schools will recommend unemployed full time students borrow for tuition, books, and living expenses. Apologies.

  23. This article is disappointingly vague and unhelpful. The title is misleading. Given her time restraints, how the heck did she find the clients and contracts?

  24. [...] Earning More When You Have No Free Time: How a full-time law student earned $US50k on the side [I Will Teach You To Be Rich] time managementfreelancing  Discuss  Share  Tweet  Email  More get_count_post('http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2012/03/earn-extra-money-even-when-you-have-no-free-time/','post-419174'); « Previous post [...]

  25. [...] Earning More When You Have No Free Time: How a full-time law student earned $50k on the side I’ve interned at an organization for free, and once they saw my skills they hired me for a paid position. Another example is a blog that I started which led to a $250/hour consulting gig with a Fortune 100 company. [...]

  26. [...] Earning More When You Have No Free Time: How a full-time law student earned $US50k on the side [I Will Teach You To Be Rich] [...]

  27. THANKS FOR SHARING!!!! My favorite two takeaways from the article are:
    1. Have a clear to do list written and defined before you go to bed
    2. Set up triggers for important things that you want to accomplish. Triggers will help remind & motivate you to do them.

    PS, I loved the response to the first comment. Scott said to Sergio, “I believe you have successfully missed the entire point of the article.”

    HAHA I literally laughed out loud!!!

  28. As a new mother (had a baby last August), and blogger/freelancer, I also read this wondering how she did it with a baby. But she gave birth at the end of the year. I also find it nearly impossible to protect productive time when you have a baby needing attention. Unless she has a nanny or puts her son in daycare (she doesn’t say if she does or not). I don’t do either and as baby only takes 20 min naps, that leaves little time. I’m already exhausted from lack of sleep and trying to work at night, so, I’m curious how she’s been doing with all this SINCE November.

    • I’m with you on hearing how she’s doing after her baby was born – being pregnant for 9 months is nothing compared to a having a newborn as far as time drain is concerned. Once the baby’s born, say goodbye to any solid chunks of time (more than 20min) until they’re consistently sleeping through the night. I got a whole lot more done before my daughter was born. Even though she’s in daycare now, I still can’t get anything more productive done than reheat leftovers for dinner prior to her going to bed.

  29. Sharing this with everyone – love the trigger tip and a name to call something I already do (removing bad triggers). And a reminder that as a morning person too, I’m better served doing my daily reading/learning in the afternoon instead of to start my day. I also like the shift from $150/day (a great starting point) to the larger goal. Thanks Liz and Ramit.

  30. Thanks for this, I’ve been figuring out how to restructure my time to get more done. I like the bit about triggers. Now to figure out what mine are!

  31. I personally have to take on more risk. I work a job and that’s my only money.

    I’m a writer but have never gotten a paying side gig doing that. My only other option is riskier with my music and golf blog.

    If I don’t do this shit now I never will.

    Thanks for the

  32. The lack of detail is suspicious. This article doesn’t pass the smell test, IMHO.

  33. I thought this article has some solid leads to make money on the side. It is rather, how to use your time more efficiently article. Very misleading in my opinion. Not everybody can write for a blog to command the rates that author of this article can. Actually finding someone to pay you anything to write blog entries, likes of $1-5 per article, is harder than pulling teeth.

    My reaction to this article is BLEEEH… waste of time

  34. Hey Ramit – Earn1k student here – shot you an email a while back about how you helped me work with an author who’s sold millions of books.

    This article is a great supplement to Earn1k. Based on this article, I just split my day in half. I spend the first half of my day now working on “guaranteed income” projects until I hit $100-150/day.

    Then I spend the rest of the day mostly building out riskier projects. Also end up doing things that won’t ever make money, and working on other things in life.

    Correct and constant action for the win.

  35. Hello,
    Do you know where I can start a free blog? Thank you.

  36. [...] Earning More When You Have No Free Time: How a full-time law student earned $50k on the side | I Will Teach You To Be Rich [...]

  37. [...] Earning More When You&#32&#72&#97ve No Free Time: How a full-time law student earne&#100&#32&#3650k … | I Will Teach You To Be Rich [...]

  38. Ok great plan but what is she doing that actually makes the money? what is the product or service? I have product, SEO in place, youtube twitter facebook and blog in place I just cannot get traffic to my site to generate sufficient income(via adsense, amazon store and cafepress store).

    As of today I’m averaging 764 Unique Visits, 681 First Time Visits, 83 Returning Visits, as many know this fluctuates sometimes the numbers are cut in half! Id like to share the site but cannot as it is of political nature and IM sure it wont go over well with many here.

  39. Nothing actionable. Fair article restating already well known ideas. Sorry to be critical, but this is not helpful. I feel I wasted time reading the article. Case studies are great, but make it a case study, not generic principles someone follows. Details, steps, actionable items, some of the critical comments above hit on this. Seems everyone these days wants to be a blogger, writer, etc, boring stuff… I don’t want to write, blog, or web design consult. How about something original.

  40. This is a great article but it’s also important to have a life outside of work and making money! If you’re all work and no fun, you’ve totally missed the point of living.

  41. Thanks for the great article….JM

  42. Thanks for posting this article. I have been using a to-do list since last year and have found the practice and habit have helped to make me more productive during the day. I actually list the dates out per week. I then plug in items as they come up or if they are repetitive that way I’m building the week as needed and can see what days have the most time-consuming tasks.

  43. [...] Earning More When You Have No Free Time – Ramit has great content this week. He must be gearing up to launch a new product/service. See also: 4 Dumb Money Mistakes [...]

  44. Thanks for this great article. I do agree with the three things I need for behavioral change: motivation, ability, and triggers. I love the trigger tip The reminder will remind me to immediately start working on the listed tasks and not get distracted and to remove the bad trigger. I like to work with people because it forces me to be an accountable person. And the deadline is work so well to get me to finish the goal I’ve set. Your article is so motivative. I have three of the behavioral change needs after reading this inspired article. Thank you for sharing.

  45. [...] Earning More When You Have No Free Time: How a full-time law student earned $50k on the side – @ramit [...]

  46. [...] How a full-time law student made 50k on the side: We all have the same 24 hours in a day. But some of us seem to get a whole lot more out of it, don’t they?  Here’s how you can too. [...]

  47. I am always jealous to hear of freelancers doing their own things successfully. I wish you nothing but the best.

  48. Hey Liz,

    Good to know you’re doing so well and I hope I can get inspired to follow some of your steps. I guess to make more money, you just need to take bigger risks. I am trying to grappling the fear of questions such as “What if I don’t get successful with this blog, are these keywords good enough, what if this product doesn’t sell?”

    Anyway, all the best for your future!

  49. I think it’s important to set realistic goals. Don’t think that if you have a full time job you can go out and make $53/hr. That is not a reasonable goal. I am all for side business and entrepreneurial(is that a word? haha) activities, but they require a ton of work.

    I started a personal finance blog on the side of my full time job and part time coaching position and I don’t plan on making any money for at least a year. I’m trying to succeed, but at the same time I’m realistic in the fact that I’m trying to break into a well established niche with intense competition. :)

  50. [...] Earning More WHen You Have No Free Time: How a full-time law student earned $50K on the side [...]

  51. Going by the numbers at the beginning of the article (50K and about $53/h) that comes to about a 19H work week. Should that be classified as on-the-side or is that treading into part-time work? Still very impressive and above the US average. Do you find most of your contracts come from the work you’re doing as a lawyer or are they unrelated?

  52. @i am 1 percent and other complainers: Stop complaining! Ramit has written articles like this only so many times: develop triggers, create actionable goals, and avoid fineprint fluff—keep experimenting and discover what works for you! Get off you ass and “find your bliss.”

    Well, I hope I’m right at least. lol

  53. This post is very helpful, although the tips are quite obvious. The tips are obvious but how many actually implement them? Well, just a few. And I want to try these for myself if it really works. What happened to me right after reading this post is that it is really possible, which means, my field of possibility just became wider.

  54. For me putting in the work gets rewarded. I can make an extra couple thousand on the side working my butt off. But I have small kids so spending time working means spending less time with them.

    So really how can I have the best of both worlds?

  55. What really throws me for a loop is when my triggers stop working. Simply having my day planner used to be all I needed. Now I need to examine my life and come up with new triggers which will help me optimize my days.

  56. [...] Some very interesting ideas – great tips for someone who needs help in organizing their productivity. Check out these details from I Will Teach You To Be Rich: [...]

  57. This was helpful. I have actually been thinking about this. I have definitely increased my productivity by focusing on my energy and trying to work during my most energetic period. At this point I feel like I have more time do things now than I did before and want to do more but I hit an energetic wall around the same time each evening. I need to work on my physical body more. I used to take Noni Juice which gave me a lot of energy. I’m going back to that. My goal at this point is to work at least on more additional hour than I am currently working to make time for a new business project.

    I have a job and a service business already. I want more energy to focus on something that is more risky like the writer mentioned. I want to work on it for 3 hours a week to for now. I know that once I put in the elbow grease to do this I can restructure my professional life even more and have it be more in alignment with what I want. One thing I’m going to try tomorrow is scheduling my work outs a little later during the day to see if I can get more work/business related tasks done. I milestone to my eventual goal of 3 hours a week would be 15-30 minutes extra doing something related to my risk whether that’s creating content or setting up a sales page. It needs to be something tangible. I’ve learned that even doing small steps like this consistently can lead to big results. Once I have reached the 3 hours and am actually making money I can cut out my consulting business or even transition out of my job to make more time for this project.

  58. I leave my computer on all the time too. And I work like mad when I’m at my computer, so that I can get a huge amount of work done in 15-minute or 2-hour increments. That lets me get up and go do things like hit the gym in the middle of the day.

  59. Liz, just wanted to thank you again. Your suggestion to leave the computer turned on has (despite the eco implications) been saving me well over two hours a day. I’ve been using a tiny netbook which I bought for maximum writing mobility,but the speed issues have really been bogging me down lately. I changed the settings to never, ever go to sleep when it’s plugged in. Now, no more waiting 10, 15, 20 minutes multiple times a day as my netbook tries to get itself together and wake up while (negative trigger) I become completely distracted by a bunch of low-level tasks. How long did I put up with that? I’ve already picked out a new desktop computer for my office. Thank you.

  60. [...] Earning More When You Have No Free Time: How a full-time law student earned $50k on the side [...]

  61. [...] Earning More When You Have No Free Time: How a full-time law student earned $50k on the side [...]

  62. [...] Earning More When You Have No Free Time: How a full-time law student earned $50k on the side [...]

  63. Great tips, time can be dificult to find especialy when you have so much to do. This post has great ways wich i hope to take on.