Money·3 min read

How I Paid Off $40,000 Worth of Debt With Side Hustles

A photo of Daniella Flores
Design: theSkimm | Photo: Daniella Flores
March 9, 2022

Looking to up your income but not sure where to start? Meet Daniella Flores of the blog I Like To Dabble. They’re a side hustle pro who was able to pay off $40,000 in debt and now helps others start their own side gigs. We spoke with them about what it takes to become a side hustler, too.

You have my attention.

Flores has been side hustling since high school — long before starting their full-time job as a software engineer. They’ve done everything from selling clothing online to running their own income-generating blog, to selling products on eBay and Etsy. Flores said pet- and house-sitting through the Rover app is one of their favorite ways to earn extra cash. 

Though side hustles can be lucrative, they don’t always come easy. For Flores, it took not only time and skill, but also a balancing act to make it all work. 

Talk me through the pros and cons of side hustles. 

Flores says that side hustling isn’t always as cut and dry as it sounds. It can become overwhelming quickly and can be tough to balance with a full-time job. They recommend setting boundaries with both your day job and your side hustles to avoid burnout. 

But the pro is an obvious one: the extra cash. Flores says that the extra money they earned from side hustling helped them pay off a big chunk of debt — $40,000 to be exact. They used their side hustle money to kickstart payments on their student loans and credit card debt following the avalanche method. (Hint: that’s when you make extra payments on the debt with the highest interest rate first).

OK, I’m in. How do I start my own side hustle? 

Flores says that it’s important to prioritize your work and choose your side hustle wisely. They recommend making a list of all the things you genuinely enjoy doing. That could be dog walking, grocery shopping, writing — the list goes on. Then see what gigs are out there that pay you to do what you love. (Psst…the ILTD side hustle quiz can help.)

Their favorite side hustles right now? Freelance work, for anyone who has skills that transfer well to business needs. (Think: copywriting, social media marketing, SEO consulting.) And selling digital products online — everything from budgeting templates to design work can be sold on platforms like Esty or Redbubble.


Side hustles can be a great way to make extra cash. Especially if you have a financial goal you’re working toward. But they have to be done with balance. For Flores, finding the right side hustle meant doing something that would be sustainable, enjoyable, and rewarding — and not just in the monetary sense. 

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