In 2013, I was working as an engineer and earning $80,000 a year. But I felt dissatisfied with my job, so I started a food blog called Delish D’Lites.
Shortly after, I was fired from my job. At the time, it looked like a setback. But it was actually the start of something great, because it made me realize that I didn’t want to rely on just one source of income anymore.
So I continued to work on my blog, even after I got another full-time engineering job. I set aside time to post once a day, sharing recipes inspired by my Puerto Rican heritage. And within three years, Delish D’Lites had grown to 15,000 monthly readers — enough to create a profitable brand.
While developing my side business, I developed a deep interest in personal finance. In 2019, I started a money podcast called Yo Quiero Dinero to share my experience and help others build wealth.
Today, at 37, I have 10 sources of income, including blog and podcast ads, affiliate marketing, speaking engagements, digital course downloads, and brand partnerships. Together, they bring in an average of $35,000 per month in income, including $10,000 in passive income.
Last year I started earning enough passive income to quit my 9 to 5 and run my side business full time. Taking that leap paid off: in August, I made over $1 million in total revenue since the start of my entrepreneurial journey.
Here’s my top tip for anyone looking to create multiple streams of income and achieve financial independence:
1. Not sure where to start? Start by identifying what you don’t want.
When I started my blog, I had no plan to turn it into a profitable business. I just knew that writing about food brought me joy.
I also quickly realized that working for someone else was not for me. I wanted to be my own boss. I didn’t want to have to ask for paid time off to travel, or limit my income.
It helped clarify the type of services I wanted to provide. Once I figured that out, I looked at my personal and professional skills and made a list of things I wanted to learn.
Even if you don’t know everything about the business you’re trying to start, don’t be discouraged. I Googled my path to success and learned from my mistakes, as well as others.
2. Don’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth.
It took two years before I could make money from my blog. I’ve worked with large clients like Walmart, Crockpot and Publix to create custom recipes using ingredients or appliances sold by each of the brands.
A brand partnership usually included a custom blog post, photography, and promotion on my social media platforms.
At the time, I couldn’t believe someone would pay me to create a recipe with their product, so I charged $125 per partnership deal. Even though it turned out to be more work than expected, I was just happy to get paid.
But as I prepared to quit my 9 to 5, I knew I had to stop treating my job like a side hustle, and more like a legitimate business. This meant increasing my prices to reflect the time and effort I put into it.
Today, I routinely charge up to $10,000 per partnership. I also have a talent agent to negotiate my prices, based on factors such as market rates, my audience demographics, and past partnership success rates.
I used to struggle to ask for more, but now I know that my unique perspective and Latina identity is what sets me apart from my competition. Leaning into this allows me to be my own best money advocate.
3. Make building a passive income ecosystem your ultimate goal.
I started my blog because I wanted to make money doing what I love, reach people all over the world, and have the freedom to work from anywhere. Passive income makes my dream possible.
In addition to what I earn from blogging, I earn passive income from podcast advertisements and affiliate marketing. I also automated the marketing and sales systems for my digital products and courses so people could buy them without me having to do any extra work.
There is almost always a way to generate passive income if you have a strong following and brand. But you have to get to work. I’ve written hundreds of blog posts for Delish D’Lites, given speaking engagements, spent time on my podcast, and created online money courses.
I also invest part of my income in the stock market and real estate, so my money is always working, even when I’m not.
4. Prioritize high value-added tasks and outsource the rest.
The idea of entrepreneurship appealed to me because I did not want to respond to an employer. But being a lone wolf and running a business was exhausting.
After feeling extreme exhaustion, I realized I was wasting too much time on administrative tasks like answering emails, scheduling social media posts, and coordinating meetings.
Of course, these are things you have to do yourself at first, especially if you’re on a tight budget. But as my business grew, I knew I needed to focus more on high-value tasks.
So in June 2020, seven years into my entrepreneurial journey, I hired my first part-time virtual assistant for $15 an hour. I also hired part-time contractors to help me improve my business operations.
It all started with a desire to share my passion and help people improve their finances. It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Jannese Torres is an award-winning Latina money expert. Its mission is to educate marginalized communities on topics such as entrepreneurship, investing, and financial independence. She is also the founder and host of the podcast “Yo Quiero Dinero.” Jannese’s next book, “Financally Lit!”, will be published by Grand Central Publishing in March 2024. Follow her on Instagram @yoquierodineropodcast.