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This 34-year-old mom's Etsy store brought in nearly $160,000 in 2021: How she built her side hustle while working full time

Jimenez and her daughter.
Courtesy Rachel Jimenez

Rachel Jimenez had long dabbled in side hustles by the time she started her Etsy store in 2019. The 34-year-old mother of two had tried dog sitting and babysitting. She'd given courses on building a business and budgeting. She also contributed to various blogs. She did much of this while working full-time, most recently as an administrator in higher education.  

"I think that's part of my success," she says. "I was testing different things slowly over time, and then, eventually, all the information and knowledge came together."

Jimenez sells printables, or downloadable documents people purchase and print on their own. Her store features a range including Christmas scavenger hunts and digital planners. In 2021, she brought in nearly $160,000 in passive income from Etsy. With sales going so well, in June 2021, she decided to quit her full-time work and focus solely on the store.

Figuring out how to balance her side gigs with her jobs over the years was a challenge, but, "you can achieve big things," she says. "Even when you're working full time."

Here's how Jimenez, who's based in Southern California, balanced her jobs with her hustles.

"Break down the steps"

Depending on what project she was tackling at the time, before even diving in, Jimenez would consider the different pieces involved in building it.

When it came to her course about building a business, for example, the first step was reaching out to a local women's business center to partner with them. The second was writing out the course content. The third was getting the word out. When it came to her Etsy store, the first was researching products in-demand, the second was creating those products and the third was posting them.

"Break down the steps and make it easy for yourself," she says.

Jimenez and her daughter.
Courtesy Rachel Jimenez

"I would wake up at six. I had a routine."

Once she figured out what steps she'd need to take to ultimately tackle the big-picture project, Jimenez would begin carving out time to do them.

When she was building the business course, for instance, she knew that a lot of the prep work was writing. Instead of waking up at her typical 7 a.m., "I would wake up at six," she says. "I had a routine. It was on the calendar. I knew what I needed to do, and just write for 30 minutes or an hour."

When she was working on her Etsy store, she'd find time during lunches.

"I would spend 30 minutes eating, hanging out with [my coworkers], and then another 30 minutes working on my Etsy store," she says. "And I'd go to the library or go to a different table where I could be alone and just get it done."

Whatever time you put in, "it will compound"

Jimenez also took advantage of her two maternity leaves ― the first for 10 weeks, the second for 12. After her first child was born, in 2019, she took a course through Gold City Ventures about starting an Etsy shop for selling printables. She opened the store and, during her second maternity leave in 2020, she took the time to sharpen her skills.

"When you're breastfeeding or something like that, you can watch a video," she says, adding that, "I would try to fill little pieces of time throughout my day just absorbing information."

Ultimately, Jimenez's advice is to get clarity on what side hustle you want to do and be intentional about how you go about doing it; she uses her site, Money Hacking Mama, to help other potential side hustlers do just that..

"I think any time that you can put in, even if it's five minutes a day or reading articles or trying to advance your skills over time," she says, "it will compound."

Check out:

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I quit my $35K job to grow my side hustle — now it brings in $141 million a year
I quit my $35K job to grow my side hustle — now it brings in $141 million a year