Claudia Pennington and I just met recently. She reached out after noticing that we’d both been doing a lot of tweeting about side hustles! Her own side hustle journey and battle to defeat debt are nothing less than impressive! She and her husband took a stand against consumer debt, made some big decisions, and joined forces in creating a side hustle together!
You’re going to get a lot of inspiration out of Claudia’s story!
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Alright, here’s Claudia!
Options. Every reason why I hustle can be boiled down to one unifying theme: options. Of all the reasons why I hustle, there are three that illustrate the steps we’ve taken to increase the number of options we have at our disposal.
Reason #1: Rejecting the “9 to 5 Until 65”
At the beginning of 2015, my husband and I lived in a large home filled with all the stuff you’d expect (as well as $204,971.31 in debt). With every purchase, we renewed our commitment to the “9 to 5 until 65” track.
We didn’t have options.
We had debt. We used income from our 9 to 5 jobs to pay for that debt.
We lacked flexibility.
Because of the mortgage and consumer debts, we anchored our future to our past.
We were fed up. Knowing that debt freedom was decades away didn’t sit well with our adventurous spirits.
Seeing as how we had the antithesis of options, we made massive changes beginning in April 2015. Everything we acquired in adulthood was on the chopping block–anything that didn’t align with our future goals soon found its way to Craigslist and eBay.
We sold or donated 80% of our stuff, most of which went unused for years.
We sold our 1,500 sqft house and downsized to a 500 sq ft home.
We became a one-car family.
We used the principles of minimalism to focus on that which is both necessary and adds value to our lives.
We eliminated the unnecessary stuff that didn’t align with our goals.
With the changes we’ve made, we’ve eliminated 90% of our debt. We project to be debt free in April 2017, two years after we rejected the “9 to 5 until 65” life we constructed.
Reason #2: Achieving Financial Freedom
For us, financial freedom means freedom from debt, freedom from location-dependent work, and the financial means to travel at will.
Part of our journey involves side hustling. In fact, side hustling has become a big part of our success. We’re side hustling our way to financial freedom; our side hustle in digital marketing and SEO has helped us pay off debt and it’s a location-independent way to earn money.
Because of what our side hustle has done for us, we saw it as an opportunity to help others achieve their goals and dreams. We launched an online business, Side Hustle, LLC, and created online training courses to help others find the freedoms they seek in their lives by becoming SEO consultants.
Once we’re debt free, we’re saving up for what’s next: travel.
Reason #3: Seeking Adventure
Our personal histories lack grand adventures. We’ve had location-dependent jobs since college, so our travel has been limited to the space defined by our employers.
In 2011, we flew to the southwest and explored nine national parks in two weeks. While it was tons of fun, we didn’t get a chance to fully explore each park. We felt like we had to fit as much as we could in order to get the most out of the two weeks we were allotted.
Traveling in our tiny house (or RV!) will kick off a loosely planned road trip around the US. A few months here. A few months there. Living and exploring places like Utah and Colorado and all that they offer to a couple of hikers like us.
Our dreams take us beyond these borders and into other countries, too. So much of our lives up to this point exists within well-defined boundaries that we have intentionally left the “adventure” part of our lives unplanned.
Simply knowing that travel is on the horizon is enough to keep moving forward.
Why We Hustle
We’re hustling so that we have options, options like traveling, creating, doing, living, giving, earning…really anything that comes to mind.
We continue to hustle to pay off the remaining debt, increase our income, and save money so that we can begin our next adventure.
We’re hustling because we seek that which is beyond the debt, beyond jobs, beyond the borders in which we live. With location-independent work and an intense desire to move forward, we have options like never before!
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