In 2015, Jamila Souffrant commuted about three hours where she lived in Brooklyn, NY to work in New Jersey every day. At the same time, she was about to become a mother of two. However, her job schedule gave her little room for respite and she began making moves for a flexible job.
“It wasn’t necessarily about just the commute, but I felt like that was the catalyst to make me feel like there’s something else out there for me,” Souffrant told BusinessInsider. “Because I don’t want to, like, have a family and spend most of my day just not completely fulfilled. There must be another way.”
The commercial real estate executive became fascinated with stories of people who retired early from traditional work on the back of their savings, investment and debt pay off. Inspired by such stories, she started a side hustle: blogging. She began writing about how she intends to accomplish her financial independence goals and create a community with others with similar goals. She would soon realize that she could generate some income from her blog. Blogging then became a side hustle for her.
“My first big money objective was to invest as much of our income as possible. We took a hard look at our expenses: Anything that did not allow us to reach our saving and the investing goal was reduced or cut entirely,” Souffrant wrote on CNBC. Within two years (2016 and 2017), Souffrant and her husband saved and invested $169,000 after creating a budget that focused on contributing the maximum amounts to her 401(k) and her husband’s 403(b) and 457 plans.
Accomplishing that goal helped her turn her blogging side hustle into a career she was so passionate about. Her blog, Journey to Launch, is now her full career. She runs the blog on a full-time basis and also has a podcast educating people on their finances and how to achieve financial freedom.
In addition, she earns money through coaching, working with brands, writing articles, and selling products and services. “Through trial and error, I’ve learned so much that has helped me during this moment,” she said.
In 2018 when she gave birth to her third child, she quit her job to focus solely on building her blog. She monetized her blog, including her podcast as well as building out her event and speaking income.
Souffrant hopes her readers will pick one or two financial tips on her blog to help them get out of debt or improve their credit score. One of her maxims is that to save more, it’s equally important to grow your income and that includes further education. 37-year-old Souffrant worked in corporate America since she was 22 before going back to school to get her master’s in real estate while working. The move, she said, put her at a different level where she could then apply for a job that paid more money.