The More You Slack, The Less You Stack

Welcome to Friday, hustlers :)

It seems Spring brings out all the hope and beautiful flowers out there, but it also brings out the ol’ entrepreneurial spirit too. As evidence of the 5+ lawn mower hustlers that have since knocked on my door these past two weeks – hah. But as my aptly titled post says today, the more you slack the less you stack! And the first rule of sales is that you have to *ASK* or it’s an automatic no.

And this week I was reminded of this in two ways.

The first, when I opened up my mouth and said “yes” to the 5th person who asked to mow my lawn for money.  Why would I do that now when I haven’t paid anyone – EVER – to mow my lawn? Because they caught me at a time that was most ripe: when I had a $hit ton of work to do and would rather spend my extra time with my kids that day instead of on the house. And I’m not going to lie, I actually enjoyed it :) A time freer-upper for me, and a financial win for my neighbor. And yet another benefit of having your money situated – you can splurge when you’d like!

The second time I was reminded of the power of the ask was when I almost hit “delete” on an email inquiring if I freelance write. To which the answer is usually a “no,” unless I have the gumption to ask for an over-the-top number just to see what happens. It worked once, so I tried again at $1,000 and was promptly declined. Only to be “negotiated” down to $750 ;) Which is a lot more exciting to write for than the typical $15-$50/post that us finance bloggers usually get pitched! And since it literally takes me 3-4 hours to write even simple articles like the one you’re reading right now (it doesn’t come naturally for me), I’m forced to limit my gigs. Which is why I usually just politely decline.

Now don’t be fooled into thinking you always get such a favorable response – I’ve been firmly rejected over a dozen times going this audacious route –  but the point is you might as well ask before shutting it down. Or in the case of actively pursuing clients like many of you are, making sure you’re shooting for a number that will not only excite you, but probably help you produce better work at the same time since you’d be paid a premium!

I literally had a blogger email me just an hour ago asking me this: “So I’m trying to make $100,000 per year (gross) with freelance writing alone. Do you think I’m crazy?” I told him no, I didn’t think he was crazy, but he’s going to have to ASK a crazy amount of times and hustle like he’s never hustled before to reach it, haha… And hopefully there’s a more motivating goal behind wanting $100,000 than just for the money alone (like going self-employed, paying off debt, saving for early retirement, etc, etc). The nice thing about hustles that have clients, though, is that you can slowly swap them out as time goes on for bigger and better fish :) At least in theory…

Point is, the doers win and the talkers don’t. If you want to bring home that extra money, get out there and start asking! It’s already a no if you don’t!

Here are 50+ hustles you can try out:

And here are two resources if you’re interested in the writing route: Five Figure Writer – a $19 eBook my friend Sarah put out showing step-by-step, and with raw data, how she earned $59,000 in her first year freelancing. And Write A Blog People Will Read  – a course on how to find your “voice” and write more interestingly. By fellow blogger, and professional journalist, Donna Freedman. (The course costs $147, but if you email her at you’ll get 20% off)

How the rest of my $$$$/Life went this week…

  • Digit banked me another $5.46. And also just raised $11.3 million in additional funding this week! If they pull off just a fraction of what they’re trying to do, the traditional banking world is going to be in trouble… And I’ll be reporting from the sidelines as I continue to help them ;)
  • Acorns threw another $6.36 into investments for me. Unfortunately it’ll never be too much more each week as I don’t spend a lot and thus they don’t have many transactions to round up for me, but at the end of the day of course that’s a good problem to have :)
  • Baby Nickel earned another $50.00 just from being born (birthday money – hah)
  • My change found per walk dropped from 2 cents/walk on avg to 1/2 cents :(
  • The amount I paid my neighbor to mow/weedwack my lawn? $20 bones.
  • And lastly, the amount I’ve kept in my bank since nixing daycare 3 weeks ago: $1,500.00. Almost as much as our mortgage! Now on the flip side this means my wife still hasn’t found a good place to put her PHD to use since that’s why they’re now at home, but I’m in no rush to get them back out of the house again… It’s nice being able to see them whenever I want :)

In other awesome/dumb news….

love 2 spend license plate

  • Which might as well have said this:

i h8 money license plate

  • (And the funny part was she wasn’t even ridin’ around in style! :))

Budgets Are Sexy Time Machine:

Some of y’all commented last week how you liked seeing my older articles, so thought we’d bring back this feature this week too. Here are the things we posted about on this same day last year…. and the year before that, and the year before that, and the year before that… We start with a GREAT one!

Didn’t come across any cool companies this week, so instead, follow me EVERYWHERE or we’re not friends!

Because God forbid you miss out on a remarkable blog post I release into the world that forever changes your life – and your money – and then you swear off budgeting forever and go back to making license places like that asshat featured above! Egads!

Back to hustling we go… Remember: The more you slack, the less you stack!

I should note I’m not nearly as clever enough to come up with such a genius line like this. But I was genius enough to snatch it from and continue passing on the good word ;)

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  1. Emma | Money Can Buy Me Happiness May 8, 2015 at 5:45 AM

    Just the kick in the arse I needed. Woke up this morning with toothache (think lots of $$$$) so I’m going to have to hustle extra hard over the next month. But I really hate asking for business, it’s hard. Especially for an introvert. I’m going to concentrate on building a client facing website over the next week, then the clients will just come to me in droves, that’s how it works, right? ;-)

    1. J. Money May 8, 2015 at 10:51 AM

      Hah! hopefully there’s at least a big ask on that site or else you’ll be hearing crickets :)

    2. Sarah Greesonbach May 8, 2015 at 3:10 PM

      I can attest to the fact that this gets WAY easier with practice, Emma! I felt the same way before I was laid off… but now I can negotiate/ask for cash $$$ with the best of them, haha!

  2. Brian @ Debt Discipline May 8, 2015 at 6:19 AM

    I think you need to change the name of that Rap song. The B word you have listed doesn’t see right. :)

  3. Brian May 8, 2015 at 7:24 AM

    I can’t slack this weekend…. eBay hit me with a promo where I can list 2000 items with out insertion fees. While I will come no where close to 2000 items listed, I am going to do as many as I can because it is shockingly easy to sell things on eBay (yes their fees stink, but so does wasting time with craigslist flakes).

    1. jestjack May 8, 2015 at 7:39 AM

      Just had a REALLY bad experience with an Ebay seller. True Craigslist “patrons” are “less committed” but lately Ebay has been a big disappointment and Ebay simply seems not to care about it’s customers….never good…

      1. Brian May 8, 2015 at 8:44 AM

        That sucks you had a bad experience. I personally do my best to make sure people who purchase items from me are satisfied.

        I have heard that eBay customer service is less than stellar… both for the buyer and the seller.

        1. J. Money May 8, 2015 at 10:58 AM

          Yeah, someone I met through CL actually told me he used to make like $50,000 selling old radios on eBay, and then they changed something which made it really hard on sellers and I guess not the best for customers either (forget what it was) and that it’s now not as good as it used to be as a whole.

          Still a kick-ass service and top places IN THE WORLD online, haha… (they only invested buying/selling on the web ;)) but is sad if it’s not growing better. I’m sure they’ll figure it out.

          1. jestjack May 8, 2015 at 12:30 PM

            J….My situation was crazy…My …”vintage”….(old) cell phone was acting up and needed a new battery. I went on E-bay and found a replacement. Paid with CC thru Pay Pal….seller claimed to send it out that day. Never rec’d it and when I inquired the seller became agitated and somehow it became my fault. The battery supposedly went to NY and the seller sent me some crazy “paper work” that the USPS could never substantiate. Seller offered to send another battery….but that never happened….meanwhile E-bay could care less and basically says if ya don’t get it in 2 more weeks let us know. The site wouldn’t even allow me to report the poor experience. So that 99% approval rating you see is crap… Meanwhile I don’t have use of my cell for over 2 weeks…WTFlip….Done with Ebay for a while. NEVER would have happened on Amazon!

            1. Warren Lee May 8, 2015 at 6:52 PM

              Jetpack, Ihad one of my best friend tell me a horror story about a similar situation with Ebay afte he paid money for a couple of popular video game, I’ve been wary of ebay ever since. It’s a shame because I work through Amazon now, but I don’t like the interface as much.

              1. J. Money May 10, 2015 at 2:56 PM

                Another reason I tend to stick to Craigslist! Doing transactions face to face :)

  4. Kalie May 8, 2015 at 7:28 AM

    It’s so interesting to hear more about how your writing career grew, and how hard you work at it. I love to read about writers and writing, especially because good prose reads so easily but is so hard to create. Thanks for the writing resources, too.

    1. J. Money May 8, 2015 at 11:00 AM

      It’s rather interesting to me too considering that writing is one of my least favorite things to do, and yet here I am doing it every day haha…

      I am proud of myself for paying attention to grammar now and trying to have a “point” with my articles unlike when I started :) it’s pretty funny to go back in time and read them – I just didn’t give a $hit, hah. And the other half of me misses that – used to take 1/10th of the time to produce!

  5. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life May 8, 2015 at 7:54 AM

    I’ve been taking the more audacious/ big ask route when it comes to my freelancing these days too. Like you said, you just have to keep asking to find the right “yes” :)

  6. Elise @ Simply Scaled Down May 8, 2015 at 8:32 AM

    Awesome motivation. It’s funny how when you need a boost in motivation it comes along right when you need it. I was up late filling etsy orders last night and thinking I should put my shop on vacation because I was getting tired of all the work…but now I’m motivated to keep hustling and earning those Benjamins!

    1. J. Money May 8, 2015 at 11:02 AM

      There you go!

      But I encourage you to take an hour or two and really think about how you can keep it up – and grow it – in a much more efficient route if possible so you fix the problem of it being so hard. It’s one thing to hustle and make money, but a whole other to streamline the hustle and make money with less work. The whole “work smarter, not harder” route. Only problem is it’s a lot easier to say than to figure out – hah.

  7. maria@moneyprinciple May 8, 2015 at 9:07 AM

    Thanks for the reminder J$. I’m in a ‘slack’ mode lately, it seems; still, I prefer to think of it as ‘intellectual relaxation’ or ‘learning’. Will be springing into action though :).

    1. J. Money May 8, 2015 at 11:05 AM

      Well as long as you’re actually learning something I’ll still consider it hustling! Just hustling for the brain until it’s time to take action and put all that good knowledge to work :)

  8. Will May 8, 2015 at 9:08 AM

    I think it’s an old Chinese proverb: No one who can rise before dawn 360 days a year fails to make his family rich.

    I think it would be pretty awesome to run that experiment in ’16.

    1. J. Money May 8, 2015 at 11:06 AM

      oh damn – that would be an excellent experiment.

      I did that unintentionally all last year when our baby was born – hah.

      (only that took away $$$ from the wallet ;))

  9. John @ Frugal Rules May 8, 2015 at 9:13 AM

    We’ve moved heavily to the higher ask approach as well. It helps on a number of levels – it makes sure we’re not hair on fire busy and we find that it helps us find the work we really enjoy doing. Of course, it can shoot up that rejection rate but that’s just a part of the game.

  10. Kayla @ Femme Frugality May 8, 2015 at 9:18 AM

    That is a terrible license plate slogan. It’s basically telling people to break into her car because there’s probably good stuff in there to steal… Just sayin’!

    1. J. Money May 8, 2015 at 11:07 AM

      Didn’t even think of that!!

  11. mobilehomegurl May 8, 2015 at 9:25 AM

    Great post about asking!

    I think as writers and authors sometimes we shortchange ourselves. Or, we ask too little only to find out later the other person was willing to pay more. Guess you live and learn!

    p.s. Nice find on the license plate! And, I definitely fell for the “Money me” comment. :)

    1. J. Money May 8, 2015 at 11:08 AM

      I was thinking of buying it and putting something funny there, but looks like someone had beaten me to it :) (only without the funny part)

  12. EL May 8, 2015 at 9:31 AM

    Yes no slacking in spring, its best to slack in summer when its 90 degrees. HAHA. One thousand a post, dam is inflation getting out of whack, I thought $250 per post was high. Your right though you gotta ask or you wont receive.

    1. J. Money May 8, 2015 at 11:11 AM

      $250 IS high!

      I sometimes get countered with that, especially from companies.

      I should have mentioned that companies pay much higher than other financial bloggers ;) For obvious reasons.

  13. Mistress Susan May 8, 2015 at 10:21 AM

    Gary Vaynerchuck is always talking about hustling is the key to getting what you want, and he is right. No stacks if you slack.

  14. Tonya@Budget and the Beach May 8, 2015 at 10:22 AM

    Here is what I have discovered this week: It’s a lot easier to ask for what you want when you are in a better financial position to not care if they say no…and I find the more you ARE in a better financial situation, the more they say yes. Go figure. Maybe your confidence somehow seeps through the email. I feel like I’m not in a position to do that but I’m working my way out of that so I am…so I can ASK for what I’m worth! :)

    1. J. Money May 8, 2015 at 11:20 AM

      That’s a good point actually. Much easier to do (or at least not stress out about) when your $$ is good. If I needed the money, I guess I would probably ask for $250 or $500 for better chances of getting a yes and at least a counter :) Def. a good point.

  15. Brent May 8, 2015 at 11:33 AM

    Love love love the time machine! Thanks for including my post about my days making cash from a shoebox!

    Great work on the $750 writing gig. Never huts to buck up and make a big ask! When you don’t need the money or the gig, it puts you in the driver’s seat to ask for a crazy number to make it worth your time.

    This happen to me this week when someone approached me to buy one of my domains. They offered me $200 for a domain I have no plans for. I didn’t need the $200 and I was fine sitting on the domain until I found a project for it or got a better offer. Go Daddy domain buying service (the buyer was using) suggested I counter at $400 and hope to settle at $300. I countered at $1,200 and we settled out at $900!

  16. Donna Freedman May 8, 2015 at 1:08 PM

    Thanks for the shout-out, sir. Remember: The better you write, the better your site.

    1. Sarah Greesonbach May 8, 2015 at 3:11 PM

      AWESOME slogan, Donna! I’ve followed your writing since GRS… so glad to see you put out a course!!

      1. J. Money May 10, 2015 at 2:56 PM

        Haha yeah, I like that.

      2. Donna Freedman May 12, 2015 at 12:10 AM

        Thanks, Sarah. Your book looks pretty inspirational.

  17. A Frugal Family's Journey May 8, 2015 at 2:50 PM

    So true…the message of “just go out and do it” and “make in automatic” is repeated over and over again in so many personal finance books I have read. If so many people, who have already succeeded, are telling us this is what you need to do. I suppose it behooves us all to listen and do it. :) Thanks for sharing and thanks for the reminder.

    BTW, I bet it is awesome to see the extra $1,500 in your pocket from nixing day care. I can’t wait for the day…unfortunately, I have about 2 more years left! :(

    Take care my friend. AFFJ

  18. Tawcan May 8, 2015 at 5:03 PM

    Love that time machine! Very cool that your writing career has grown over the years. Have a great weekend J. Money.

  19. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank May 8, 2015 at 6:02 PM

    J Money, I also hire someone to do house chores for me to either work on my side hustle or spend time with family or relatives. I think it’s best to do this when the reason of doing it is really worth it or can result in money profit/gain. That being said, I still want to find time to do it myself.

    1. J. Money May 10, 2015 at 2:59 PM

      yeah, my perfect world is just spending a few hours working on the blogs and then the rest of the day working on whatever else is of interest. My $$ isn’t there yet to be able to do that, but I actually do enjoy mowing the grass and getting outside. It’ll just be nice to do that whenever you feel like it cuz everything else is on lock :)

  20. EJ May 8, 2015 at 7:25 PM

    Hi J Money

    I have been MIA for a while since having the second baby but I am now back reading your posts again and loving them :) Reading this article is definitely motivating me again. I totally relate to the childcare savings! I was under the impression that I was paying heaps for childcare and when I went over it with the facility I realised I had been paying too much, so thankfully able to redirect that cash elsewhere now. Child care in Oz is $80-90 a day for us. We have been a little slack with the budget ( yes I can hear you drawing in your breath sharply) but now we have potential unemployment looming for the hubby its back to being a bit more disciplined and doing the SAHM hustling thing again. I wanted to share with you something that has managed to keep us out of real trouble despite facing unemployment 4 times now. I enter (and win) competitions :) its been the difference between having an sizeable emergency fund and not. Last year I managed to bank $25,000 cashand this year will bank a MINIMUM of $12,000. #givinghopetotheunemployed :P Hope your kiddies are well

    1. J. Money May 10, 2015 at 3:00 PM

      holy crap – that is awesome! I’ve heard of people figuring out how it works and then hustling t heir tails off to win stuff, and sounds like you are one of these people – congrats :) And congrats on the new baby too! thanks for stopping by my friend.

  21. Claudia @ Two Cup House May 8, 2015 at 9:12 PM

    I laughed out loud when I read that “I hate money” license plate–that made my day! When I was thinking about slacking on dinner earlier and pushing the “easy” button, I remembered the title of this article and got back on track. Thank you, J. Money!

    1. J. Money May 10, 2015 at 3:01 PM

      that makes me happy :)

  22. Jason@Islands of Investing May 9, 2015 at 2:40 AM

    Great reminder about asking for what you want – and it doesn’t just apply to the freelance world either. I’ve had occasions where I haven’t been too pleased with my salary or bonus, and had a ‘difficult’ conversation about it with my boss(s), and have come away a few thousand dollars better off! You obviously can’t be asking all the time, and it helps to have a pretty solid case, but I’m slowly learning that the more you speak up or ask, the better your chances!

    And Elle! Amazing the places that share your content when you’re popular and doing great stuff! Nice work J-Money!



  23. Zee May 9, 2015 at 3:15 AM

    lol, how out of control was your lawn that 5 separate people felt the need to ask you to mow it for you??

    1. J. Money May 10, 2015 at 3:02 PM

      haha…. it actually wasn’t that bad. the funny part is that it’s been like 10x worse and no one stops to ask! I think it’s just the time the hustlers come out and start the season :)

  24. Fervent Finance May 9, 2015 at 12:04 PM

    Good job with the freelance negotiations. Have a great weekend!

  25. Even Steven (@EvenStevenMoney) May 10, 2015 at 8:58 AM

    $750, I know who’s buying the first beer at FinCon!!! Jk, sorda

    1. J. Money May 10, 2015 at 3:03 PM

      Sure, I’ll hook you up. The beers at most events are free ;)

  26. Quinny May 10, 2015 at 4:52 PM

    Love (to hate) that license plate!

    Saw a sign for a baby supply store this weekend… Buy Buy Baby. Almost started crying…

    1. J. Money May 11, 2015 at 8:49 PM

      Oh yeah! Didn’t even think about the meaning of that store before, haha…. Been in a few times – crazy expensive.

  27. BeSmartRich May 10, 2015 at 5:37 PM

    Another great article with lots of amazing information. Is Dijit going to be the future of bank? We will see. I can’t wait to see how this world would change in the near future.



    1. J. Money May 11, 2015 at 8:52 PM

      It’s the future of something, that’s for sure… excited to see how far it goes – it’s only been live for a few months and they’re exploding!

  28. Brittney @ Life On A Discount May 15, 2015 at 12:20 AM

    I agree! I used to be a talker for a while, saying I wanted to pay our debt down faster and save more money. Well, I finally put myself to the test and picked up two side hustles within the past year. I work occasional weekends for a consultant doing small tasks, organizing files and creating PDFs. I usually can work from home and it’s easy money. I also just started tutoring 1-2 hours a week for a first grader. He is a fun kid to be around and it’s also easy money. So far, I have made around $1,200 extra in the past year with very minimal work. It’s great to have the money to put toward date or for spending on vacations.

    1. J. Money May 15, 2015 at 10:04 AM

      Work it, girl! Gotta turn that debt interest into EARNINGS interest to grow that wealth :) And $1,200 is a nice chunk forward.