If you’re fed up with the rising cost of living and never have enough money to spend on yourself, you’ve come to the right place.
For many of us working hard in our 9-to-5 jobs, times are tough right now, but one woman showed that pursuing a passion can pay off, massively.
Mom-of-two Helena Faustin has nearly doubled her annual income, all thanks to side hustle.
The 35-year-old is a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse living in Freeport, New York, earning £89,438 a year in salary from her day job.
But in her spare time, she’s spent the past four years running “That Nurse Can Cook,” a food blog where she details recipes and posts cooking videos.
Helena told CNBC Make It: “I felt like I was going to work really and really out of necessity – you have bills to pay, you have mouths to feed and the work has to go on no matter what.
“I thought to myself, ‘Oh, if I could have more autonomy in my life, I would be able to make a lot more decisions for myself and for my family.'”
Initially, Helena spent around £596 on groceries, ring lights and other production materials to start her food blog.
But last year, according to documents reviewed by CNBC Make It, Helena’s side hustle brought in £99,629 – thanks to YouTube earnings, brand partnerships and e-cookbook sales.
Helena plans, films, edits and promotes all of her content herself and grossed over £21,288 from That Nurse Can Cook in June 2021 alone.
Helena inherited her love of cooking from her mother, a Jamaican immigrant who sent her to markets where she bought ingredients.
At just 15, Helena asked her mother to join the kitchen.
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Helene explained:[My mom] didn’t always have the patience to teach.
”[Jamaicans] cooking by instinct, then I would say, “How much garlic powder should I put in?” And she was literally looking at me and saying, ‘Use your judgment.’ »
But Helena never imagined that her new passion would earn her a living, so instead of pursuing cooking, she went to school, got good grades and became a NICU nurse.
She continued, “Anyone who is a first generation American and was born to immigrant parents, we were always raised to seek stability.
“They always taught us to go to college and get a degree.
“So for me, I couldn’t envision a career in the kitchen.”
Nursing has brought stability to Helena and over the years her annual salary has risen to £107,263.
But Helena launched her food blog in 2018 — she started posting photos of her Jamaican dishes on Instagram, and interest was immediate.
She added, “I had to learn how to create content that resonates with people.
“In the beginning, I had a lot of growing pains, a lot of trial and error.”
Another food blogger suggested Helena write her own e-cookbook.
Today, his two e-books — which focus on 30-minute recipes and “extravagant meals with sides” — make up a big chunk of his monthly income.
Last year, she earned £60,749 from e-book downloads, £33,239 from brand collaborations and £6,406 from advertising revenue.
Helena explained: “When I started this hustle, I was rightfully so passionate about seeing my dreams come true that I didn’t stop.
“I literally worked every day that I wasn’t working in the hospital.”
She still has long working days as a nurse, but the success of That Nurse Can Cook has allowed her to reduce hospital shifts.
Helena currently works eight 12-hour shifts per month, up from 13 previously.
Although she doesn’t plan to leave the nursing profession anytime soon, Helena said that one day she hopes That Nurse Can Cook will give her the stability to choose between the two roles.
She concluded, “You don’t have to sit behind a computer or work a nine-to-five to have the life you want.
“If you have a talent, harness that talent, learn as much as you can, and monetize that thing.”