- Entrepreneurs Steph Gordon and Den Mathu have managed to increase their income consistently.
- Start with your day job. Can you negotiate a raise? Can you switch to a company that pays more?
- Next, think about the skills you already have and how you can use them to start a side hustle.
Steph Gordon, 26, and Den Mathu, 27, planned to climb the corporate ladder, gradually earn raises, and save and invest the majority of their salaries.
Their plan was putting them on the path to seven-figure net worths and financial independence, they told Insider.
But then, as their side project turned into a lucrative side hustle, they realized they might be able to build wealth faster by working for themselves rather than for somebody else. So, in 2021, they quit their corporate jobs to go all-in on making YouTube videos and building their brand.
In 2022, the Toronto-based couple earned up to $26,000 CAD (about $19,000 USD) a month creating YouTube videos and other online content, according to documents viewed by Insider.
Here are three strategies they’ve used to go from starting salaries of $38,000 CAD (about $28,000 USD) a year to earning nearly that same amount in a single month.
Start by with your current job: Can you negotiate a raise or land a higher salary with a different company?
Starting by evaluating your current situation, encouraged Gordon: “The first thing that people can do if they’re working a 9-to-5 is focus on: Can you increase that income? Are you making the most you can make from your day job? Can you negotiate your salary? Can you job hop?
Gordon, who graduated from the University of Ottawa in 2018, said the starting salary of her first job was about $38,000 CAD. It was a recruiting job at a smaller company in Toronto and she went into it knowing it was temporary, she said: “I just needed a job in my field. I knew it was going to be a smaller salary at first, but I also Knew after making some connections in the city and being able to actually interview in person, I could job hop to something higher-paying.”
That’s exactly what she did. After moving from Ottawa to Toronto for her first job, she started interviewing and landed a new job at a bigger company that paid $46,000 CAD.
Her next big salary leap came a year later when she interviewed within her company and got an offer from a different team. She wanted to stay with her same team, though, so she leveraged the internal offer to get a $14,000 CAD raise within her same role.
If you’re asking for a raise, start by doing your homework, advised Gordon. You can use sites like Indeed and PayScale to look up the average salary for someone in your industry or specific position.
Or, you can simply ask your peers what they earn, like Gordon did: “What I found really helpful was asking peers and friends in the same industry and really getting as much first-hand knowledge as possible.”
Then, when it comes time to actually negotiate with your company, “be confident in the information that you have,” she said. “If you know for sure — if you’re not doubting that you deserve to be paid more — it makes it easier to know exactly what you should ask for.”
Start a side hustle, anything from flipping products to making YouTube videos
Beyond asking for a raise within your current job, you can start to think about making extra money on the side.
Mathu has been side hustling since he was a teenager. He and his family emigrated from Kenya to Canada when he was six and they did not have much money when he was growing up. To afford to go out with his friends, he started “flipping” things like clothes, snapback hats, and eventually BlackBerry phones, which were super-popular at the time, he said: “I would find someone who would sell them to me for cheap and then sell them to other people for a profit.”
He and Gordon started their joint side hustle, which has evolved into a full-time business, in 2019. Mathu was working as a consultant at Deloitte, while Gordon was working in HR at PricewaterhouseCoopers. After work, they’d film and edit videos about navigating their careers and finances in their 20s and post them to YouTube.
By 2021, they were earning enough from their side hustle to take a chance on doing it full-time. They quit their jobs and are now earning more from their online business than they were from their Deloitte and PwC salaries.
When choosing a side hustle to pursue, think about the skills you already have, said Mathu, who’s always been interested in photography and videography: “It’s not like I was a crazy, great videographer, but I knew enough and was doing volunteer videography. “
Freelance videography could’ve been another side hustle, he noticed, but he chose to spend his extra time building the YouTube channel with Gordon.
Once you’ve honed in on a side hustle you want to try, “find some people who are already doing it and learn from them,” Gordon added. “That’s the cool thing about YouTube: You can watch videos about other side hustles that people have done before. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”
Don’t settle. Continue finding ways to evolve and increase your various revenue streams.
Mathu and Gordon believe in having multiple revenue streams. They don’t just make money from ads on their YouTube channel; they also do sponsored posts for various brands and affiliate marketing.
The bulk of their revenue actually comes from brand deals. They partner with financial institutions or affiliated companies with saving or investing and do sponsored posts for them across YouTube, TikTok, and/or Instagram.
In 2023, they’re focusing on increasing their ad revenue, since it’s more of a passive form of income than creating sponsored content. That way, they’ll have more time and energy to spend on growing their company and revenue streams even more.
The couple also released a 30-page ebook in late 2022. It was a lot of upfront work, but now generates passive income whenever someone purchases it.
While entrepreneurship can be challenging at times, they admitted, what they like about working for themselves is that “there is no cap on how much you can earn.”