The Hustle

How the heck am I supposed to make $54,665 in 2 years on top of working a 50-60 hour a week teaching job? That’s $2,277 a month!

That’s the distressed thought I ended with before the weekend, but in the past few days I’ve already noticed a change in my outlook on life. Before, I was passively allowing life to take me in whatever direction it took me. Now, I’ve man-handled the steering wheel back and am setting a new course. Over the weekend that $2,277 a month I need to create is sounding more and more doable. Being debt-free by May ’14 sounds less like a possibility and more like a certainty.

The Brainstorm

So I have been thinking a lot about our skills and how we can utilize them to create income every month. Here’s the result of that contemplation:

Cell Phones

Like I said before, the goal is $1,000 a month during the school year. What I am really excited about is to see how much I can make during June and July. Sure, some of those days will be dedicated to preparation for the fall marching band season, visiting family and friends, etc., but there will be many days where I have all of the time in the world. I’ll be able to increase the average number of awkward meetings with strangers from the  internet 3 or 4 fold in those two months. I know I can make at least $3,000 from cell phone sales in June and July. I tell you what, this beats the heck out of waiting tables or delivering pizzas. I work on whatever time is convenient for me, and I don’t have to answer to anyone except myself.

>Potential Upside: $32,000 through May ’14


For someone with as much musical skill as myself it’s a wonder that I haven’t been putting it to use outside of my day-job. For every professional jazz musician making money playing in different bars/clubs there’s got to be 30 self-taught musicians with far less skill doing the same thing. Surely I could get a piece of this action. I’ll start checking out the Craigslist ads. I’ll respond to anything and everything bass-related that isn’t pro bono. The other band directors that I work with have also expressed an interest in creating a jazz combo group… it’s time to make this happen! Maybe I’ll make a website for myself, and contact all the large churches in the area to maybe get involved in their special events. I’ve also advertised my services on the Texas band director message board, but nothing has come of that yet. The possibilities are endless!

After making a quick perusal of Craigslist, I found this ad:

Bass accompaniment needed on Hip Hop/Rap song. A link to the instrumental will be given to those who reply. Also, reply with your fee. Thanks

How could I resist?

“Saw your ad about needing bass to go with your hip hop song. Do you need someone to record it in studio, or someone to just write an accompaniment track? You requested my fees, so here they are: $100 to write a bass track, $25/hour for studio recording time. Looking forward to making music with you!”

Since I have never done this and have virtually zero connections, I’ll see if I can get one $150 gig a month, starting in May.

>Potential Upside: $150/mo | $3,600 through May ’14

Music Lessons

Earlier this semester, I tried to get my foot in the door with teaching orchestral bass lessons. I made some headway and did manage to get one student that I taught for about six weeks. She was an avid learner, practiced a lot, and paid me both in cash and homemade Mexican food. Unfortunately, our time was cut short because she got into a horrific car accident, and won’t be playing bass for a few months. Fate is working against me it seems. Most private teachers teach on-location during the school day and some teach after school. Unfortunately, my day-job does not allow for either of these possibilities. It’s either evenings or weekends for me. Arlington is the closest city with quality orchestra programs, but it’s a little too far for me to easily convince parents to drive their kid to my house.I’ll try to make a big push for “summer lessons” and try to get a few teachers to send their students my way. Also, I’ve never tried advertising on Craigslist. I’ll start putting up weekly ads and try to snag all the 12-year-olds that want to play Foster The People and Blink-182. This is another opportunity where making a website would help me out. There’s also a large market for people seeking piano lessons. As I’m not a pro, I’ll try and undercut the going rate. I’ll see if I can find two dedicated music students to meet weekly in my home for $20/half hour.

>Potential Upside: $160/mo | $3840 through May ’14


Rachel is a great artist and has painted rooms in all of the day-cares she’s worked at. She’s painted a jungle bathroom, an ocean bathroom, and a full-wall depiction of one of Midlothian’s nearby parks. Many parents have said things like “Oh, you should come paint my kid’s room!”. Maybe it’s time to get a website and a car decal and see if she can do a room or two this summer.

>Potential Upside: $500/yr | $1,000 through May ’14


Rachel plans on letting the parents at her child-care center know that she will be available this summer for baby-sitting. Let’s guess that this happens 5 times for say… $50

>Potential Upside: $250/yr | $500 through May ’14


I filed suit against my old landlord in September of last year. There’s a good chance that I can win the case, and then I’d legally be entitled to $3,700. Of this, I’ll take a $2,000 cut and split $1,700 between my two roommates. The court date is May 3rd, so I’ve got 10 days to prepare. This would be an excellent source of random income. I’ll post the details of my preparation this week.

>Potential Upside: $2,000

Tax Return

This year’s tax return was $1,400. I’ll assume $1,500 for the next two years because last year we liquidated some stocks and bonds and that increased the tax a bit.

>Potential Upside: $3,000 through May ’14

App Design

There’s an iphone/android app that I’d like to develop this summer. It’s related to my field of work, and something that has not been done before. It started as an idea four years ago, and the explosion of mobile apps has made it practical. If done well and marketed right… it could net me some big bucks, as the market for this product would be large. This will be a huge project, and I have no idea if it will be successful. For right now, I won’t include this in the total potential upside, because there are so many variables and uncertainties.

>Potential Upside: $50 – $5,000

>Total Potential Upside: $45,940 through May ’14

Delta from $54,665: ($8,725)

So even after all that, I’m still coming up short by $8,725 or $364/mo. I’ll have to find some random one-time jobs on Craigslist, and REALLY hustle to make the most of my current ventures. Also, we might end up cutting our expenses a little more over time. However, needing to find $364 a month sounds way easier than finding $2,277! What gives me hope is that even in this hypothetical scenario where Rachel doesn’t see an increase in income, there is still a fathomable way to pay off all that debt. I think it’s possible, even though I made lots of assumptions and was thinking very optimistically in this post.

Urban Dictionary defines “Hustle” as follows:

“Anythin you need to do to make money… be it sellin cars, drugs, ya body. If you makin money, you hustlin.”

Well folks, we certainly won’t go to those extremes, or do anything illegal, but these last few posts are a rough draft of our two-year plan. The question is… can we hustle?


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