How to Make Money On the Side in Your Thirties

I’m working at a tradeshow right now while writing this blog post- don’t tell my manager. Actually, you can go right ahead and tell my manager, because I’m writing this on a break.

Sometimes I work on side projects while I’m on a break from another job. I’ve spent many a lunch break reading scripts for my theater company, Mission to (dit)Mars. I’ve finished invoices as well as sent out receipts on my break. And I’ve definitely blogged whenever I can grab a free minute- including on the subways of Japan during my vacation. Because blogging is fun- not work.  But this summer and last summer I spent a lot of time working on a side project from my computer that was fun and made me some money…and I was worried about not having enough time to continue working on it during my usual business travel during the fall and winter. Last year I got sidelined and didn’t work on much of anything extra. I was quite disappointed in myself.

However, this year I’m way more determined to work on side projects whenever I get a free moment. It’s funny that the second I start really getting into working on side projects during any free time I have (even during a full ‘real job’ schedule), I start to see other people doing the same thing. A coworker I’m working with at this show has a real estate business on the side where she buys, manages, and rents out property- and she’s sitting a couple of seats away from me working on that. Another coworker of mine manages liquor sales and is scheduling tastings and demos during her break. I work with someone else who doesn’t go out with us for dinner most days after shows – she’s instead returning emails and scheduling events for her event management job… which she has on the side.

It seems to me that the hardest thing about making money from a side job is having the discipline to give up some of your free time. I hate turning down social time with my coworkers when I’m on the road, because they’re nice respites from work hours. But sometimes the only way to get anything going on the side is to say no to invitations to go out after work. And if I manage my time well enough, I’ll still have time to be social with my colleagues for a few nights. It just takes determination and planning. But I’m inspired by other people I know who are able to turn down social events and get the work done on the projects that really matter to them. These types of people are quietly getting amazing things done all around you while working at a ‘real job’- in fact, maybe you’re one of them.

If you want more information about starting a side business, I love Ramit Sethi’s material on making a business out of something you’re already good at. Once you have a side business started -even a tiny bit of one- it’s all time management from there.



How Would You Answer This Question?

What would you say if someone asked you if you agreed with the below statement?

“I’m confident that eventually I will get what I want out of life.”

I would say yes. But I happen to be a pretty optimistic person generally (if, anxious).

In a study at Clark University completed by Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, 655 thirtysomethings were asked the same question – if they agreed with the above statement.

And guess what percentage said yes? 87%. Not only that, but more than three quarters said they still feel like “anything is possible.”  That’s pretty impressive, especially considering how many thitysomethings feel like they aren’t where they want to be career-wise or personally (That’s my informal, completely un-researched opinion after talking to my friends).

Arnett, the researcher, was surprised by these results, and while he said they are admirable, he also felt they were unrealistic. That’s because he also asked these thirtysomethings if they have gotten as far in their careers as they’d hoped to be by now. And 56% of respondents (born between 1975 and 1984) said they haven’t gotten as far in their careers as they’d have hoped to by now. And 17% said they are not in a relationship now but would like to be.

Maybe it’s because we may not feel like we’re at the ‘destination’ of where we want to be, but we’re enjoying the ‘journey’ a heck of a lot. Personally, I do love the fact that I have more time and freedom right now than people with children or very demanding jobs. That time has allowed me to explore screenwriting and TV writing as a career.

We also might not be settling for less. We’re realizing that it may take a longer time to get exactly what we want, but it’s way better than settling for a mediocre career or relationship situation that society tells us is what we should have in our 30s.

The Hush-hush 30’s Decade- Why Are the 30’s Not Really Talked About?

When Jane and I started this blog, we were excited to connect with a community of 30’s bloggers. We thought we’d be able to get tons of advice about the 30’s decade, and find tons of research on the 30’s had already been done for us. However, 30-somethings truly have to search for this kind of community, because it doesn’t really exist in any kind of cohesive way. The 30’s decade seems to kind of be a hush-hush decade.

There are lots of opinions about why the 30’s are the least talked about decade, but none of them satisfy me. I was reading an article the other day called The 30-Something Female Experience- What Is It Really? and the author asked a lot of women (well, her friends) why they thought the 30’s weren’t talked about as much as the 20’s or 40’s and most of the friends’ answers went something like “the 30’s are a boring decade,” “the 30’s are the middle child decade between the cool 20’s and the amazing 40’s.”

“The 30s get the shaft by society because it is the middle child. The 20s are a time to experiment and experience, by your 40s you have it dialed in, but your 30s is that awkward adolescence of figuring out how to get your family and yourself out the door in the morning, kick ass at work, have a healthy dinner on the table that evening, connect with your partner but not skip story time for the kids and still find time to get in a run to recover your pre-baby body or maintain a healthy figure. It’s not pretty as you’re trying to figure this out.”

My theory on the dearth of 30’s information kind of comes down to: the 30’s aren’t a sexy decade in the eyes of society. I mean, I feel more empowered than ever (mainly because I feel like I know myself better than ever), and feel extremely sexy in my own body (though I felt sexy in my 20’s too, but in a different and more unhealthy way), but there’s no marketing buzz around the 30’s that catches the media eye… we are in a lost decade. The empowerment decade (complete even with it’s own magazine- More Magazine) seems to be the 40’s (thank god- I’m happy that the 40’s are empowered, don’t get me wrong), and the crazy, wild decade is known to be the 20’s. So the 30’s decade is the….?

I think the 30’s decade is the growth decade. So much happens here in our 30’s. So much is put together in our 30’s. But perhaps growth isn’t sexy- especially not in our mainstream society. Hint: 30’s growth definitely isn’t sexy to the media. What can we do to change that? Do we need to change the perception of the 30’s?


Life Lessons You Learn By 30

One of my favorite websites to read for inspiration is The Minimalists, run by two friends who had achieved everything they thought would make them happy by age 30: six-figure salaries, nice homes, cars, expensive clothing, etc. but even with all that, they didn’t feel fulfilled. So they gave it all up to live minimalist lives. You can read more about what that means to them on the “About” tab of their blog.

There’s a post of theirs in particular that I really like and that I think you guys will find relevant:  30 Life Lessons From 30 Years.

The most resonant lesson for me is:

5. Make change a must. For the longest time, I knew I wanted to change: unhappy, unsatisfied, and unfulfilled, I knew I didn’t have freedom—not real freedom. The problem was I knew this intellectually, but not emotionally: I didn’t have the feeling in my gut that things must change. I knew they should change, but the change wasn’t a must for me, and thus it didn’t happen. A decision is not a real decision until it is a must, until you feel it on your nerve-endings, until you are compelled to take action. Once your shoulds have turned into musts, then you are ready for change.

There were many years before graduate school when I knew I wanted to be a writer but I didn’t actually make the time to write. Eventually, it became MORE painful to NOT write than to actually sit down and write. And that is when I became a real writer.

How can you transform your ‘shoulds’ into ‘musts’? And if they’re too hard to make ‘musts,’ then perhaps you don’t want whatever it is badly enough and aren’t ready to prioritize that change.

I guess it’s also learning how to accelerate getting that feeling in your gut – learning to tap into your emotional drivers.

What big lessons did you learn by the time you reached 30?

When Self-Care Doesn’t Work

Last week for about the whole week, I had really, really bad anxiety. Like ‘a bubble bath and bottle of wine’ isn’t gonna help this kind of anxiety. It was strong and I didn’t feel like myself – this icky feeling possessed my brain (not Exorcist style in my body though, thank God!) in what felt like an unshakeable way. I’m not sure exactly what sparked it, but probably lots of little things that kind of exploded into a ball of overwhelm.

I tried everything. Watching my shows on Netflix, eating ridiculous amounts of pizza, drinking wine, reading cheesy magazines and books, taking walks – but nothing worked. My brain kept circling the same thoughts over and over again. Why didn’t I have more plans on Labor Day weekend? Am I going to live in this tiny studio apartment my whole life? Will I get get married and have kids? 

Those thoughts just kept repeating and repeating in my head, and I couldn’t shut them down.

I started getting angry at the idea of ‘self-care’ because it sure didn’t seem to be working for me.

So what do you do in these situations? Obviously, there’s medication, which I believe can be very helpful if you need it. But aside from that, what’s the biggest way to deal with moments like this? Now that I’m a little out of the anxiety fugue state, there’s one thing I know that works.

Riding it out. Accept that your (anxiety/loneliness/depression/fear/anger) may be PART of your life experience, but it’s not ALL of your life experience. It will pass.


Knowing the Difference Between Labor Day, Veterans Day and Memorial Day by Your Thirties

Hope your having a great Labor Day weekend! This is a post I wrote last Labor Day, but it’s still timely today. Relax and enjoy and learn about the holiday!

OMG I'm Thirty

Happy Labor Day! Today’s post is a repost from this past Memorial Day, but I thought it was timely. Hope you had some good barbecue and are enjoying every last bit of the summer!

Last year on Labor Day, a friend of mine was wondering whether or not to thank the military. (Short answer- sure, thank the military- but not because of Labor Day. Labor day has nothing to do with the military- it’s about American workers.)

Last Memorial Day, I overheard someone asking the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. This was not a child asking- it was someone in their fifties

So in case you’re not sure of the differences between the holidays, but are too embarrassed to ask, lets clear up the confusion right now, anonymously 😉

Memorial Day: Memorial Day is for honoring and remembering military personnel who died serving their country, particularly those who died in battle…

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New Online Dating Apps In Your Thirties

I previously wrote all about online dating apps (and online dating sites) in the post Online Dating In Your Thirties. In this post, I detailed the only four dating apps and dating sites that I’ve been -ahem- intimately familiar with (aka the ones I have used in the past). These include OKCupid (more of a website than an app but also an app), Tinder (ugh), Hinge (probably one of my personal favorites), and Bumble (which I never really used much because I learned about it last, but most people love this one right now).

Anyway, I’m not using any of these apps or sites anymore because I’m in a relationship! (OMG! But I’m going to leave you hanging there…that’s for another post 😉 All I’ll say is that I’m very happy!). So, because of my experiences with online dating when I was single for almost 2 years, I highly recommend dating online to my friends and many of my coworkers (haha, yep, my coworkers and I are very close). A lot of my friends are scared or averse to online dating, but I am a huge proponent of it for a few major reasons:

  1. It seriously opens up the dating pool (the sheer number of people you can meet online is amazing- and you really will meet people you would likely have never have met “in real life” – even if they were close by.
  2. When you meet up for coffee or a drink or dinner with someone who you discovered on an online dating site or app, it’s actually a date. (There’s no ‘is it or isn’t it?’ It’s a date…you met on a dating site. )
  3. It’s easier for busy or more solitary people to find dates. (If you work from home or you travel a ton for work but want to meet people in your home city, online dating helps. If you work with the same 10 people, and don’t usually talk to strangers on the street or in coffee shops, online dating helps. Again, online dating just ups your probability of meeting single people looking to actually date.)

The other day I was trying to help my recently single coworker find a good dating site or app to use, and we realized that there were a lot of new online dating apps out there (or at least ones I hadn’t heard of or wasn’t that familiar with). I recommended the usual Hinge, OkCupid, Bumble, and I steered her away from Tinder. But she opened up the app store and searched ‘online dating’ apps, and found some random new ones that seemed good/interesting to her. They included:

Clover ( – Described by Metro News as “Clover takes the simplicity of Tinder and combines it with!” And described by Clover as Clover= Tinder+Match+Okcupid+Zoosk+PoF and so much more.


Zoosk (– Apparently “Zoosk was named the best dating app of 2016” by Wallethub. And according to App Annie and Techcrunch, Zoosk is the #1 iOS app in all time revenue. At least that’s what it says in their app store description.


Happn (– I’d actually heard of Happn, but I heard about it very late…even after Bumble. I never used it, but it’s unique… Happn describes itself: “Every time you cross paths with someone in real life, their profile shows up on your timeline. You’ll be able to see the number of times you’ve crossed paths with someone, as well as the time and place of your last encounter.” Interesting…maybe a little much, but interesting. Kinda like Craigslist Missed Connections…but with much more likelihood you’ll actually connect.


Anyway, those are the new apps I’ve heard discussed recently. Have any of you had experience with them? What are your thoughts? Any singles reading this should pick one and give it a try and get back to us. 😉 Remember to set your goal as ‘I want to meet some new people and have fun’ and not ‘I want to meet my soulmate.’ I think things will be a lot easier that way, and then you’ll always win because you’ll always be meeting new people. As I said before in a previous post, with that mindset dating is NEVER a zero sum game.







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