I doubled my annual income thanks to my side hustle – I made £99k in a year and it doesn’t even feel like work | The Sun
IF you are fed up with the rising cost of living and never having enough money to spend on yourself, you’ve come to the right place.
For many of us slaving away in our 9-5 jobs, times are tough at the moment, but one woman has shown that pursing a passion can pay off, massively.
Mum-of-two Helena Faustin nearly doubled her annual income — all thanks to a side hustle.
The 35-year-old is a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse living in Freeport, New York, making £89,438 per year in salary thanks to 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 truly out of necessity – you have bills to pay, you have mouths to feed and the work has to go on no matter what.
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“I said to myself, ‘Gee, if I could have more autonomy over my life, I’d be able to make a lot more decisions for myself and for my family.’”
Initially, Helena spent about £596 in groceries, ring lights and other production materials to launch her food blog.
But last year, according to documents reviewed by CNBC Make It, Helena’s side hustle brought in £99,629 – from YouTube revenue, brand partnerships and e-cookbook sales.
Helena plans, films, edits and promotes all of her content herself and brought in more than £21,288 from That Nurse Can Cook in June 2021 alone.
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Helena inherited a love of cooking from her mother, a Jamaican immigrant who would send her to markets where she would buy ingredients.
By the age of just 15, Helena asked her mother to join in cooking.
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Helena explained: “[My mom] didn’t always have the patience to teach.
”[Jamaicans] cook off of instinct, so I would say, ‘How much garlic powder should I put in?’ And she would literally look at me and say, ‘Use your judgement.’”
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 out there who is a first-generation American and are born to parents who are immigrants, we were always raised to crave stability.
“They always taught us to go to college and get a degree.
“So for me, I couldn’t envision a career in cooking.”
Nursing did bring Helena stability and over the years, her annual salary had risen to £107,263.
But Helena started her food blog in 2018 – she began posting photos of her Jamaican-style dishes on Instagram, and the interest was immediate.
She added: “I had to learn how to create content that resonates with people.
“In the beginning stages, I had a lot of growing pains, a lot of trial and error.”
Another food blogger suggested to Helena that she write her own e-cookbook.
Now, her two e-books – which focus on 30-minute recipes and “extravagant meals with sides,” – represent a major portion of her monthly revenue.
Last year, she made £60,749 from e-book downloads, £33,239 from brand collaborations and £6,406 from ad revenue.
Helena explained: “When I first started this side hustle, I legit was so passionate about seeing my dreams come true that I did not stop.
“I literally worked every single day that I was not working at the hospital.”
She still has long workdays as a nurse, but the success of That Nurse Can Cook has allowed her to cut back on hospital shifts.
Helena currently works eight 12-hour shifts per month, down from a previous of 13 such shifts.
Although she doesn’t envision quitting nursing anytime soon, Helena said that one day, she hopes, That Nurse Can Cook will offer her the stability to choose between the two roles.
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She concluded: “You do not have to either sit behind a computer or work a traditional nine-to-five in order to have the life that you want.
“If you have a talent, harness that talent, learn as much as you can from it and monetize that thing.”
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