“But How Did You Do It?” Part 2: Bring in More Dough

While planning for the Quest, we were both working full-time jobs. Andy was an aerospace engineer and I was a non-profit program manager.

Andy was on a project that involved a team of engineers in Australia which led to strange hours and a lot of (paid!) overtime.

Since he was always working, I thought it would be a good opportunity to fit more into my schedule. I knew it would be tough, but I was committed to saving up as much money as possible.

What side hustles could I start or pick up?

I knew that I could bear the crazy schedule for a limited amount of time and to me, the payoff was most certainly worth it.

Through grad school, I sometimes worked 12-14 hour bartending shifts during football season. I thrived in the seasonal madness, always looking to pick up extra shifts in order to “make bank”.

This wasn’t going to be much different.

Do the hustle!

Here’s a brief rundown of the side-hustles I took on during the 19 months we planned and saved:

1. Yoga instructor

Becoming a yoga instructor was one of the best things to prepare me for the Quest. It gave me valuable knowledge that would help us stay strong and flexible throughout our travels. It also made me brave and helped me learn how to be present.

Not only did I get paid to teach, but I also got unlimited access to yoga classes at my studio. This was so helpful throughout the stress of hustling and planning.

My yoga family also threw us one of the greatest going away parties of all time.

2. Plasma donation

Twice a week, I would go to a plasma donation center before heading into the office.

I would go through intake, which included a finger prick and a ton of questions. Then I was stuck with a large gauge needle and hooked up to a machine that separated my plasma from my red blood cells.

At the end of each donation, I was compensated for my time. The money was transferred to a debit card and I could track the amount via text.

It was an interesting experience for me. Not ideal for people who have some health issues or are anxious about needles.

It usually earned me an extra $250-$300 per month toward the Quest.

3. Babysitter

Confession: I didn’t babysit until I was 30 years old.

I wasn’t around babies a lot growing up, nor did I ever have any close neighbors that called on me to babysit.

I was a big sister, sure, but that wasn’t babysitter-level supervision or entertainment. And it was definitely not a paid gig.

Thank you, Mer and Dave for entrusting me with your child and supporting the Quest!


4. Catering staff

I worked as a contractor for a catering company for special events, usually as a bartender, sometimes as waitstaff.

I enjoyed seeing so many different event venues in my city.

And because I liked bartending so much in college, it was a fun gig for me when I could make it work with my schedule.

5. Bartender for an event venue

This was a really cool gig.

A friend from my bartending days connected me to a concert and event space that was in need of bartenders.

Not only did I get to make some decent cash, but I also got to see some great shows for free.

It was one of the last gigs I picked up before we left so I only got to work a few shows. One that I got to see was Bon Iver.

Double win.


6. Mystery shopper

I worked in a sports bar during my college years, so I was familiar with the “secret shopper” gig.

I signed up to do it and while the time/cost didn’t work out to be all that great, I signed up for a lot of gas station gigs.

I had to stop to fuel up my car anyway, why not get paid for it?

It wasn’t my favorite gig, but it was pretty ok and didn’t require a lot of extra work.


Longterm, this level of hustle would not have been sustainable for me or our relationship. But we were determined to save and make as much dough as possible in this 19-month window.

Some of these gigs I enjoyed so much I would do them again. They added variety and got me out of my comfort zone in the best way.

What gigs or side hustles have you used to bring your financial goals to life?


  1. ridersgrimm

    Travel nursing.

    1. Yes! Such a great option for travelers. And for renting out a room, as my girl Jamie knows!

  2. Janie Steele

    Plasma donation was a surprise. I worked for one for several years. Interesting clientele to say the least.

    1. Definitely an interesting experience, both clientele and staff. I saw a pretty wide range of donors there but I know some places can get dicey.

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