2 min read
A few months ago, I stumbled across this tweet from investor Ash Fontana:
Such a simple phrase – “oscillate until you resonate” – encompasses such an important idea. Work hard and move fast until you find what the world needs from you.
Looking back on the past decade, I can attest that this approach has been effective for me.
When I was a junior in high school, I thought I wanted to be an architect. So I took an architecture class. I was terrible at it. I didn’t enjoy it much either.
Fast forward to graduation. A family friend recommended I pursue actuarial sciences since I was good with numbers. So, going into my freshman year of college I declared my major to be actuarial sciences.
Then, as I read about the grueling exams and the long hours associated with actuary jobs, I switched majors to statistics. My goal was to become a data scientist.
Fast forward a few years. I had both my bachelor and master’s degree in applied statistics. I landed my first job as a data analyst. The work was interesting but I quickly discovered that I hated most aspects of Corporate America.
The daily commute. The pointless meetings. The subtle office politics. The performance reviews. The dreary cubicles. Would this be my life for the next 30 – 40 years?
So, I began to explore my interests outside of work. I looked for other lines of work, different ways to earn money, new avenues to pursue my creative itch.
Over the past two years, I’m happy to say that I have found success cultivating skills and experience in areas that actually pique my interest. I have done so by trial and error. In other words, by oscillating until I resonate.
Specifically, I have:
1. Found out how to tutor people in statistics for $40 – 50 per hour.
2. Started this site, developed a daily writing habit, and recently earned over $1,000 in a single month from blogging.
3. Cultivated a huge interest and a growing skillset in data visualization.
These successes did not come quickly or easily.
I used to sit in the back of classes and take online surveys for $1 or $2 each. This was my first side hustle attempt. It took many more failed side hustles until I discovered tutoring.
This is not my first site either. I started and quit at least 10 sites before this one. One was a music blog, another was a stats educational site, and the list goes on. It took many failed attempts until I discovered my love of personal finance and turned it into this blog.
In short, I have bounced around from one idea to the next, trying out many different paths until I have found a few things I’m good at that add value to others and result in income.
I still hold a day job as a data scientist, but working at a 9-5 for the next 40 years is not in the cards for me. I plan on continuing to grow my net worth and monthly side hustle income until I no longer need a day job.
My advice for anyone looking to earn money through doing things they enjoy:
Identify areas you naturally spend time reading or exploring outside of your day job.
Cultivate skills in those areas. Start a blog, a small business, or consulting service. Try a lot of different shit.
Accept that failures and missteps will occur. Keep following your curiosity.
Eventually you’ll hit upon ways to earn income through creating value for others by doing things you naturally enjoy.
Oscillate until you resonate.
Zach is the author behind Four Pillar Freedom, a blog that teaches you how to build wealth and gain freedom in life.
Zach's favorite free financial tool he's been using since 2015 to manage his net worth is Personal Capital. Each month he uses their free Investment Checkup tool and Retirement Planner to track his investments and ensure that he's on the fast track to financial freedom.
Although the bulk of his net worth is invested in index funds, his favorite place to invest in individual stocks is M1 Finance, a site that allows you to build a custom portfolio of stocks for free.
His favorite way to save money each month on his recurring bills is by using Trim, a free financial app that negotiates lower cable, internet, and phone bills with any provider on your behalf.
His favorite place to find new personal finance articles to read is Collecting Wisdom, a site that collects the best personal finance articles floating around the web on a daily basis.
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