What It's About
This chart-topping hustle brings a whole new meaning to supply and demand.
Words of Wisdom
You really only need that one, right person to see your work and respond to it for something magical to happen.
Liz’s original plan was just to put up a personal website. Once she had it, she needed something to put on the website—which is why she began making her charts.
Notes from Chris
Episode 734In 2011, Liz Fosslien was in her early twenties, fairly new to the workforce, and totally unhappy at her day job. The life of an economics analyst is one of crunching numbers and data, not necessarily creativity and passion. She felt stifled and decided to channel that feeling into something creative. When it comes to creating anything new, it’s good to start with what you know. Liz was an expert at charting data in interesting ways. She decided to begin creating charts, graphs and diagrams that shined a humorous light on society and life. She took anecdotal data from everyday life and created her first few charts. Those first charts were published under the title "14 Ways An Economist Says I Love You” right before Valentine’s Day 2012. They included things like “How I Love You” in pie chart form and funny stock charts indicating explosive growth in the love markets. She decided to put them up on her personal website and shared them with her social network. The page proved a hit with her data nerd friends! Liz had successfully tested her work with a small audience, and that gave her confidence to show it to the wider data community. She emailed a few blogs that wrote about finance and economics. After all, what did she have to lose? A year into charting and illustrating, Liz had built an audience but still wasn’t making any money directly from her side hustle. But it did lead to other opportunities. In 2013, she landed a new job as Editor at Genius, a popular music startup. It was a more creative role, and the ease of transition was made possible by her side hustle. It proved to her new employer that she had creative talent and wasn’t just a number-crunching zombie. As 2014 turned into 2015, Liz kept illustrating and from time to time would land some paid work as a result of her illustrations. She’d built up a good social following by interacting as much as possible with anyone who showed an interest in her work. One day she noticed a particular account was liking every single one of her posts. She did some snooping and noticed the person doing all the liking was actually a book agent for authors of business-related books! Just like when she contacted those first blogs, Liz took a chance and sent an email. It took 30 minutes to type up and craft the perfect email, but it worked. A few weeks later Liz had an agent! This was a special moment for her. She felt it gave her some professional recognition, and that she had proof she wasn’t just doodling in a corner of the internet somewhere. From there, the chart of Liz’s rise was going up and to the right! Liz and her agent pitched a book concept to some publishers and received an offer. The book is called No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power Of Embracing Emotions at Work. It will be co-authored by a colleague of Liz’s and feature their take on well being in the workplace. Liz puts the successful pitch down to her building her own audience first and creating content that they love. But the best part of all was that the advance for the book gave Liz enough money to quit her job and focus on it full-time, for an entire year. She had to live frugally, but she considered it a small price to pay for creative freedom. From job to side hustle and back to full-time work. Sounds like Liz charted a course that’s just right for her.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Liz + Mollie: Liz's first book is launching soon! Learn more about it over on Amazon
- No Hard Feelings: Liz's first book is launching soon! Learn more about it over on Amazon
- Farm Certification Specialist Turns Pottery Passion Into Hustle: What if you have more than one passion? It probably means you’re normal. A California man integrates his love for agriculture and pottery
- Communications Teacher Turns Love of Journaling Into Etsy Shop: In her search for a side hustle, this college communications instructor turns to her love of journaling. She then learns to manufacture a custom product from overseas and sell it back at home
- English Teacher Turns Passion for Verbs Into Online Income: In search of extra income, an ESL teacher creates a game that shows students how to use phrasal verbs. Turn it up!
Download 2020 episodes: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP Download 2019 episodes: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC Download 2018 episodes: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC Download 2017 episodes: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC
Earn 50,000 travel rewards points (enough for 2 round-trip plane tickets or $625 in travel credit). You'll also earn 2x points on all travel and dining spend, with zero foreign transaction fees.
I use this card every day all over the world! ✈️
Want to build any kind of website for your hustle? If so, you'll need somewhere to host it! This is the reliable company I've used for my past 5 websites. It's cheap, flexible, and you can get support 24 hours a day.
Get your own hosting plan for just $5 a month!
Quote of the Day
Sponsors & Gratitude
Side Hustle School is brought to you by American Express.
No matter what you do in business, from working nine-to-five to working five-to-nine, it’s easier when you don’t go it alone. Get the powerful backing of American Express—don't do business without it! 💳
Side Hustle School is for you! If you’re enjoying it, please take a quick moment to leave a rating or write a quick review. It's really easy and it makes a difference! ✅
It also makes a huge difference when you tell your friends about the show. Remember, it's 100% free and listener-supported.
Keep in Touch
There’s a new story every single day on Side Hustle School. Episodes are produced to be short and to the point—I know you’re busy. Be sure you subscribe to get instant notification of the day’s broadcast!
To infinity and beyond,