10 No Bullshit Ways to Make More Money

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Kristy Shen (aka "FIRECracker") is Canada's youngest retiree. She used to live in one of the most expensive cities in Canada, but instead of drowning in debt, she rejected home ownership. What resulted was a 7-figure portfolio, which has allowed her and her husband to retire at 31 and travel the world. Their story has been featured on CBC, the Huffington Post, BNN, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance. To date, it is the most shared story in CBC history and their viral video on CBC's On the Money has garnered 4.5 Million views.
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Steve Jobs is the only person, in my opinion, with the BEST and WORST quote.


“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

This is absolutely true. I tried living someone else’s life and was trapped by dogma when I tried to buy an overpriced house and worked a stressful, unstable job. None of it worked out. Once I stopped listening to the Boomers, I was able to live the life I wanted.


“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

As much as I love Steve jobs, this has got to be his worst advice ever. And this is coming from me— someone who accomplished her dreams of becoming a published author. Even now after YEARS of writing, re-writing, rejection, and finally getting published, our writing income is still not enough to live on. If I hadn’t put in the years of effort to develop coding skills to get the high paying job, and saving and investing to build a 7-figure portfolio, I’d be SCREWED!

And this was true for Steve Jobs too. He was sleeping on dorm room floors and relying on free meals before he gained the skills to become a billionaire.

And this is why I believe you won’t make money until you become USEFUL. And most of the time, that doesn’t include doing what you love. If you just HAPPENED to love computers, like Wanderer does, than you’re all set. But if you’re like me, and love writing, you’re out of luck. There are A LOT more coding jobs than writing jobs, and fewer coders than writers. That’s just how it is. You can whine about it but it won’t change anything, and whining is a waste of time.

This is why, in order to make more money, you need a solid plan, and the girl-balls (or regular balls) to follow through.

In order to make more money, you need to do one of 2 things:

  1. Develop a useful skill that other people don’t have
  2. Do something that other people aren’t willing to do

DO NOT just blindly follow your passion and expect to make money. Hard work comes first; fun stuff comes later. If you want a fun job, you will NOT get paid well for it (or at all). Why? Because there are thousands of other people clamouring to get that job.

So, instead of holding your hand and telling you how special you are, how you can beat the odds, and how you are going to succeed by doing something you’re passionate about, I’m going to give it to you straight.

hard work
photo credit: Nylee Hamilton @ Pinterest

To make more money, you are just going to have to bust your ass and tough it out. And no, it’s not going to be fun, it’s not going to be easy. But it IS going to make you a better person. Why? Because just doing easy things and having things handed to you, does NOT make you a badass.

So how will you turn into a badass and make more money as a result?

Develop a useful skill.

Without having to go to school for 10 years to become a highly paid doctor, lawyer, or dentist, you can develop a skill, right now, and get paid for it.

What that skill is, depends on each person’s existing skill set and personality but here are some real life examples to inspire you:

1) Become an “Sidetrepreneur”:

We met Luca, a bike mechanic, in Amsterdam. Luca had spent years bouncing around Europe, working shitty jobs as a hostel receptionist, making minimum wage. He didn’t have a college degree (after going to business school for 1 week, he decided it wasn’t for him, and dropped out), which limited his options but he didn’t let that stop him.

While he worked in his shitty job, he also fixed bikes for his friends on the side. At first he did it for free (Luca comes from a family of mechanics and loves tinkering with cars), but then word started to spread, eventually it grew into a business making $70,000 Euros (or 100K CAD) per year. But Luca didn’t quit his job right away. He waited two years, making sure the business made enough to pay his rent, before he quit his hostel job. Now, Luca works 12 hour days, but because he chooses to. He loves being an entrepreneur, and by providing value to his clients, he’s getting paid well and energized to keep going.

2) Get a Professional Certification:

My friend, Amanda, after getting let go from job making $60K/year, studied for 4 months and took the PMP (Project Management Professional) exam, which is a designation recognized all over the world. Now she earns 100K/year, working as a contractor for one of the major banks.

3) Learn to Code:

My friend, Ken, who never got a university degree, but learned how to code in Java, became an authority in the community, and now works remotely for a Silicon Valley startup, making $150K/year.

4) Get Multiple Jobs:

Sean Cooper, the biggest hustler in Toronto, worked 3 jobs to make $92K per year (financial analyst @50K/year, freelance writer@ 36K/year, grocery story clerk @ $6,276/year) to pay off his $400K mortgage by 31.

Now THAT is some serious hustle. I’m not saying everyone has to be as INSANELY hard working as Sean Cooper (I definitely am not), but damn what an inspiration!

5) Develop Your Marketing Skills:

Lauren Holliday, went from a waitress making minimum wage to a marketing director making 75K/year in just 6 months! How did she do it? By learning how to create a WordPress site for her Dad’s dry cleaning business, acquiring clients, and pitching herself as a “FullStack Marketer” to a firm in Boston. AWESOME!

6) Freelance:

With so many tech startups coming online everyday, freelancing opportunities has exploded! From virtual assistants, to graphic designers, to project managers, you have tons of options to help out entrepreneurs and get paid. Here are 2 freelancing sites to get you started:

The competition may seem a bit intimidating at first, but don’t panic. More than half are non-native English speakers and use “canned” proposals. You’ll have a leg up on them by reading this freelancer’s advice on how he made 24K, developing WordPress sites.

So whether you are good at fixing things, writing, or coding, if you find a niche where people need that skill (ie contractors/renovators in Toronto, bike mechanics in Amsterdam, software developers, online content creators in…anywhere in the world), you can make money. And that’s one of the advantages of the world we live in. Job security may have disappeared, but there are now more ways than ever to make money online.

Do something others aren’t willing to do

If you can’t invest the time to develop new skills, use your existing skills and assets to make money.

Here are 2 bloggers who’ve done it successfully:

7) AirBnB:

The AirBnb Experiment: How I Impulsively Started a Vacation Rental Business

8) Uber:


And if AirBNB and Uber isn’t your thing, if you have a nurturing personality, you still have lots of options . Now that the aging population is growing and their kids are working longer hours, there’s a huge demand for child/elderly care:

9) Child Care:

If you’re a stay at home mom and are working hard to raise your children, why not use those talents to help other kids as well by starting your own home daycare?

10) Elderly Care:

Busy family members will pay for visitors to keep their parents company–especially those who have dementia, or Alzheimer’s. (My friend’s parents paid someone $15/hour to visit their Dad for 3 hours/day) Not only are you making money on the side, you are helping to improve an elderly person’s day. Win-freaking-Win.

Photo credit: Produnis @ wikipedia. License: CC BY-SA 3.0

Working a side hustle also has the effect of lowering your costs. Why? Because instead of going out and spending all your hard earned money on “quick dopamine” fixes like clothing, cars, and spas, you’ll be focusing on being developing new skills and providing value. And that’s MUCH better.

If you already have a high paying job, all you need to do is save and invest wisely, and you are set to become FI in 10 years or less.

For other readers, if you’re already stuck in a low paying job you hate, struggling to pay the bills, and have no time to think about anything else, trying to make more money will be like climbing Mr.Everest in a blizzard with rollerblades on. I’m not going to lie. It’s NOT going to be easy, and it will take time. But it is absolutely possible. Especially since the Internet has opened up a world of possibilities to make money (ie, sell stuff on amazon, drive for Uber, rent out your place on AirBnB, do freelance writing or coding)

Photo credit: BK @ Flickr. License: CC BY 2.0

And if you’re young and trying to decide what to major in, lucky you! Time is on your side. So please, for the love of God, do your research and get a degree that gives you a good return on investment! Don’t get a fun degree just because your friends are doing it. Find something that pays you well instead, build an arsenal of FU money for 5-10 years, then retire and do whatever your little heart desires. Trust me. It’s WORTH it.

pexels-photo-28764 (1)

I got to where I am today, NOT by following my passion, but by strategically “settling” for job that I was not remotely passionate about. I needed to first become useful and get paid before I could follow my passion. And I did that by toughing it out in tech for 9 years, learning how to save and invest, and then retiring at 31. And now I can travel the world and do what I love for the rest of my life.

Do I regret it? Not for a second.

That’s why I urge you NOT to follow Steve Job’s worst piece of advice.

Don’t follow your passion. Don’t do what you love. Instead, develop a rare and useful skill or do something others are not willing to do. Get paid, learn how to save and invest, build an arsenal of FU money, and then follow your passion. It’s mathematically proven to work. And you don’t need any natural-born talent, luck, or rich relatives either. All you need is your badass self, a well thought-out plan, and lots and lots of girl-balls.

So tell me, what’s your plan to make more money?

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23 thoughts on “10 No Bullshit Ways to Make More Money”

  1. I tend to agree, at least purely from a financial perspective. If you want to retire early, a big honking income is usually part of the equation.

    The world is littered with people who gave up their passion and never found it again, too. There’s always a risk when you put off the things you love too long.

    I’m intrigued by the possibilities of frugality. One option is doing what we do, and using the delta to save and invest hard for a decade, then get out of the race. But I admire people who go another route, and use frugality to pair with a lower income paid for by doing the thing they really like right out of the gate. Sure, they won’t retire young, but they also get to strike while the passion is hot and avoid the deferment of whatever it is they want to do.

    1. Yes, I do have friends who followed their passions, and even though they don’t make a lot of money, are happy.

      But they are the exception, rather than the norm. You can take the chance and follow your passion, BUT (and this happens ALL the time), what if you don’t find a job in that field? You’ve no choice but to go work in shitty job, paying peanuts, and you end up not doing what you love anyways. If you’re going to have a shitty job, it should at least pay well. Then you can find your passion on that side.

      By getting a high-paying job but setting a timeline to become FI, you take away the risk of waiting too long to follow your passion. This allows you to NOT be forced into a shitty low paying job (and NOT following your passion ANYWAY) AND giving you the rest of your life to follow your passion. Win-Win.

    2. Passion is usually, incorrectly, looked at as a static ‘thing’. Passions will change as you grow, age, reproduce, etc. Losing your passion by giving it up for practicality usually leaves you open to discover new passions. There will ALWAYS be something to become passionate about, you just have to be open to it.

  2. The problem with getting your PMP is you need to already be working in that field. I’m in Application Support; there is no certification for this. Will do more research.

    1. If you want to stay in application support, you can get admin certifications in various technologies. You can research if any interest you/are in demand.

      As for the PMP, you don’t need to be working strictly as a project controller or PM. The experience they’re looking for can be had in a variety of roles if you work on projects/projectized environment. Mostly it’s looking at it through the correct lens. I can get more detailed but it would get lengthy. I started out as a developer so you can definitely make the switch from tech to project management field.

      A couple of other options: building a relationship with the internal PM group or getting your CAPM as a bridge. For building the relationship, you can take a course and see if they’re willing to hire you as a lateral transfer and build up your skill set!

      Whatever you do, I’d pursue two or three options and see which one pans out first.

  3. I wonder, why don’t more people just do BOTH? Work at a job to pay the bills or that pays you a lot even though you might not love it, and then work on doing what you love? Seems like a no brainer to me, especially while you are young and full of energy!

    I was fortunate to get a job that I really enjoyed in the beginning. The stock market, Asian equities, traveling to Asia for work, and taking clients out was so much fun. But everything gets old after a while.

    Starting FS during the downturn b/c I wanted to do something new was a huge relief and a release. You just never know what can happen if you work on something you love on the side while making your making. It’s like playing with house money!


  4. “Why don’t more people just do BOTH? Work at a job to pay the bills or that pays you a lot even though you might not love it, and then work on doing what you love?”

    Absolutely agree, Sam. The problem is that many people think it’s too hard to juggle both. They’re rather just focus on one job…the sexy, fun job, related to their passion…that doesn’t pay well, or doesn’t exist. If you try to hit a home run by following your passion, and don’t find a job in that field, you’re stuck working a minimum wage job that ISN’T your passion anyway.

    For you and me, working the high-paying job and following our passion on the side worked out. I hope this will inspire others to do the same.

        1. I read it and liked it. Highly recommend it. I first found out about him through this “World Domination Summit” video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUQjAAwsKR8.

          Newport gives very thought-provoking, practical advice. The only caveat to what he’s saying is that never following your passion is not good either. It makes more sense to develop a skill, get paid, become FI and THEN follow your passion. Too many people out there never follow their passion and get stuck in high-paying jobs they hate for the rest of their lives. And on the other side, too many BLINDLY follow their passion, only to never find a job doing what they love. From my experience, it’s possible to succeed at BOTH. But order of operations is vital. Get rich, THEN follow your passion.

  5. Loved your article. Could you provide more details on the freelance software work or put me in touch with your friend? I’ve recently changed careers and am starting a software business but I’d also be interested in freelance work. Any advice would be appreciated.


  6. Hey, I just wanted to say thank you for this post.

    I’ve spent the past ten years trying to graduate, while struggling with a chronic illness and working those low-paying crummy jobs. Most of the people I know are also working low-paying crummy jobs, so the discussion of “how do I make it to middle class” tends to go nowhere.

    More profiles of freelancers, more stories of others who are working multiple jobs, would be appreciated (if you have time). Thank you.

  7. Another way for some people ou t there who are serious about cutting expenses and being FI in 5-10 years: I rented out both suites in my home and moved in the garage (before converting it in to a suite).

    Say you have a single family home with with an attached 2 car garage rent out the rest of the home. (In Victoria you can get at least 1500 a month plus utiliesfor your average 3 bed 1-2 bath) how’s that for extra income 18,000 a year for life. 400 sqft is very do able. They are building 300 soft condos now in Victoria BC. Or go see Ikeas 280-560 sqft mock suites set up in their show rooms.

    Before somebody says this is not allowed. Get permits before doing any work then don’t put in an oven on the permit plans. (use a counter top convection oven, Etc after it passes inspection update your insurance on the home ). If neighbors ever complain which is extremely rare if you pick good tenants then say you are all friends living together.

    I can say I have done this and I receive about 31,000 a year for life and I almost live rent free 🙂

    Something to consider for the determined…. I can post pictures and more insight to people who are interested.

    1. Yup, renting out your house is definitely one way to make money. That being said, you do have to pay taxes on that income. However, depending on your tax laws, you may be able to offset a lot of it.

      Can you share how you vet renters? Because I think the biggest risk to renting out a property is headache of evicting bad tenants since the law favours them over the landlord.

      1. We have actually not had to pay any taxes in the last 3 years of renting out our house. In fact we have had a net rental loss which we use against our employment income (I know sounds to good to be true but the CRA allows this). The reason we have this rental loss (even though our rental income is more then our expenses; 80% of mortgage interest, taxes, utilities etc) is because of the depreciation. unfortunately when you rent out more than 50% of you home you have to claim depreciation (our case $320,000 house value alone (not land) x 5% ). this deprecation that is deducted every year is added back to your income when the property is sold as well as any capital gains. ( ie so better not sell because then you are kind of screwed hence another reason FireCracker has a point that the being FI starts with renting). doing the math we will start paying some taxes although not that much in about 11 years as the depreciation and mortgage interest comes down and are finally less than the rental income.

        as for vetting tenants: I am a member of the Rental Owners and Mangers society of Victoria (ROMS BC so we have access to bullet proof tenancy agreement forms and other resources) also I list my rental suites for 10% below market value to attract more tenants to choose from. I use my get feeling about certain people. Also I do open houses for rentals (no private appointments) when prospective tenants drive up I have a friend check their car. If it is messy with food wrappers, dirty, stains etc. I don’t rent to them because that is a good indicator of how they will treat your suite.

        1. Oh the depreciation is offsetting the taxes. Oh that sucks 🙁 I thought homes were appreciating in Victoria? How does it compare to Vancouver?

      2. Vetting is best done based on credit score and tenant occupation. Somebody with a credit score of 720 or higher has a 2% chance of defaulting on their financial obligations (such as paying rent).

        Likewise, if your tenant is making a good income, works for a big company – or even better, if their company is willing to foot the rental bill – all the better.

        As for the “10 no bullshit way to make more money” – I love it. There is no skirting around the fact that it takes years of hard work and sacrifice in addition to smart investing strategies. I vehemently hate “feelgood” practitioners who say “do what you love and the money will follow”. Such baloney!

  8. The land cost is appreciating and building/structure value is more or less the same due to higher costs of inputs year after year to build a new home on the property (inputs, labour etc) however, in the eyes of the CRA I have to claim the CCA (Capital Cost allowance i.e. depreciation) every year because more than 50% of the home is rented out.

  9. Great topic! Yeah I grew up to think that the money will follow if I follow my passion. YEah right haha. I was a veterinary assistant for 8 years. I loved it so much but it didn’t pay the bills. For 2 years I wasn’t sure what I should go back to school for. Well I had a horse riding accident where I broke both my wrists. I was forced out of my job. I could not physically do it anymore.
    I have now a mental health worker and make about $10 dollars more an hour than I made before. I have a permanent job with benefits, sick time, pension , blah, blah, blah. It is an ok wage I suppose. Im slowly paying down my debt and putting money away in my TFSA. I had my own business for a while as a Hypnotheripist. I did okay for a while. I found out most people didn’t have money to pay for my sessions and I was getting burnt out. This was nuts! So I closed down my business last year.
    I work 4 days a week at my mental health job and am now looking to pick up some casual extra work at another non-profit. Still trying to search for a skill that I can make extra money at. I love animals, but there is no money in that and other healing professions. I do like numbers, budgeting, savings. Is there a demand to help people with their money problems? Seems like there are tons of people doing that…my soul searching continues.

    Any suggestion would be helpful:)

    1. It’s great that you like numbers, budgeting, and savings. Maybe you can help your friends with their budgets and then later turn that into a business. That’s what happened to my friend, Luca, in this article. He started fixing his friends’ bikes for free, and by word of mouth, started his business.

      If you love animals, maybe you can do some dog walking? Or pet-setting for when the owners are on vacation? Not sure what the market for that is like in your area.

      Sorry to hear about the horse riding incident 🙁 You seem like a very resilient person who didn’t let that stop you and found work in mental health.

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