In 2013, I was working as an engineer and making $80,000 a year. But I felt unfulfilled by my job, so I started a food blog called Delish D’Lites.
Shortly after, I was laid off from my job. At the time, it felt 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 income stream anymore.
So I continued to work on my blog, even after I got another full-time engineering position. 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 growing my side hustle, 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 other people build wealth.
Today, at 37, I have 10 income streams, including blog and podcast ads, affiliate marketing, speaking engagements, digital course downloads and brand partnerships. Combined, they bring in an average of $35,000 a month in revenues — $10,000 of which is in passive income.
Last year, I began earning enough passive income to quit my 9-to-5 and run my side hustles full-time. That decision paid off: This August, I made more than $1 million dollars in total revenue since starting my entrepreneurial journey.
Here’s my best advice for anyone looking to create multiple income streams and achieve financial independence:
1. Not sure where to begin? Start by identifying what you don’t want.
When I first started my blog, I didn’t have a plan for how 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 wasn’t for me. I wanted to be my own boss. I didn’t want to have to request paid time off to travel, nor did I want a cap on my income.
This helped clarify the type of services I wanted to provide. Once I figured that out, I looked at my personal and professional skills, and came up with 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 way to success and learned from my mistakes, as well as from other people.
2. Don’t be afraid to charge what you are worth.
It took two years before I was able to earn money from my blog. I worked with big clients like Walmart, Crockpot and Publix to create custom recipes using ingredients or appliances sold by each of the brands.
A brand partnership typically included a custom blog post, photographs and promotion on my social media platforms.
At the time, I couldn’t believe that anyone would pay me to create a recipe with their product, so I charged $125 per partnership deal. While it turned out to be more work than I expected, I was just happy I was getting paid.
But when I was preparing to leave my 9-to-5, I knew I needed to stop treating my work as a side hustle, and more like a legitimate business. That meant raising my prices to reflect the amount of time and effort I put in.
Today, I consistently charge up to $10,000 per partnership. I also have a talent agent to negotiate my prices, based on factors like market rates, my audience demographics and past partnership success rates.
I used to struggle to ask for more, but I know now that my unique perspective and Latina identity are what sets me apart from my competitors. Leaning into that allows me to be my own best money advocate.
3. Make creating a passive income ecosystem your ultimate goal.
I started my blog because I wanted to make money doing what I loved, 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 the blog, I make passive income through podcast ads and affiliate marketing. I also automated the marketing and sales systems for my digital products and courses so that people can purchase them without me having to do additional work.
There’s almost always a way to build passive income if you have a strong following and brand. But you have to put in the work. I’ve written hundreds of blog posts for Delish D’Lites, done speaking engagements, spent time on my podcast, and created online money courses.
I also invest a portion of my earnings into the stock market and in real estate, so my money is always working, even when I’m not.
4. Prioritize high-value tasks, and outsource the rest.
The idea of entrepreneurship was enticing to me because I didn’t want to answer to an employer. But being a lone wolf and running a business was exhausting.
After feeling extreme burnout, I realized I was wasting too much time on administrative work like responding to emails, scheduling social media posts and coordinating meetings.
Of course, those are things you must do on your own when starting out, especially if have a tight budget. But as my business grew, I knew I needed to put more focus into high-value tasks.
So in June 2020, seven years into my entrepreneurial journey, I hired my first part-time virtual assistant at $15 an hour. I also brought on part-time contractors to help me improve my business operations.
All of this started with a desire to share my passion and help people improve their finances. It feels amazing to see how far I’ve come, and I can’t wait for what is next.
Jannese Torres is an award-winning Latina money expert. Her mission is to educate marginalized communities on topics like entrepreneurship, investing and financial independence. She is also the founder and host of the podcast “Yo Quiero Dinero.” Jannese’s forthcoming book, “Financially Lit!,” will be published by Grand Central Publishing in March 2024. Follow her on Instagram @yoquierodineropodcast.