New York, NY, USA

How to Create Multiple Income Sources and Turn Passion Into Business


Introducing a new weekly video series on my channel: Happy Hour Finance Fridays
I'll be answering questions here every Friday at 5pm so be sure to comment below with any questions you have so I can answer them in my next video.





When Did You Realize You Can Make a Living From What You Do?

We started Levitate Style back in 2014 when Instagram was starting to grow. Quickly we noticed the potential for a creative side hustle. Our first paid project was about 6 months into starting and it came from an influencer friend who was also doing marketing for a brand. The first year we operated like a startup company. Our focus was on building a following and getting my name out there. I was starting to get a few paid campaigns per month. On average, we were earning about $500 per project and bringing in about $1,500 a month. Bringing in this amount from a side hustle made me wondering what the potential was if I quit my full-time 6 figure job at Barclays Bank. Could I work worker on my side hustle if it was full time? Would I be happier making $40k per year doing this rather than $100k at my desk job?

We got a once in a lifetime influencer opportunity to travel the world for 5 months. When I got back in the summer of 2016, I decided to transition into being full-time on Levitate Style. So, it was 2 years into the side hustle that I realized it could be full-time. Alicia became full-time a year later around June 2017.

My advice is whatever the industry is, find someone that’s already successful/full-time in it and ask for their real life experience. When I first started Levitate Style, I tried to network with all the other bloggers. Once I built good relationships I was comfortable enough to ask how much money they can earn. This gives you a very good real life example of what to expect. Think of this as market research like Linkedin or Glassdoor. Also try to be as specific as you can - a photographer in NYC, a graphic designer in LA, etc. Cities, audience, niches all matter!


How Can You Turn Your Passion Into a Business? How to Get Approval From Your Parents?

I was the first in my family to attend college and studied Accounting to make my parents proud. The goal for my family and I was to have a good stable job immediately out of college. I’ve always had my hobbies and interests in photography, fashion and traveling. To turn your passion into a business you need to start a side hustle. There is nothing wrong with having a good stable 9-5 job while you build your passion side hustle on weeknights and weekends. Analyze how you are spending your time and find it to work on your passion. If it’s truly your passion, you should have no problem making time and effort. For example, Alicia and I didn’t watch TV or hang out with friends. We worked on building a website and networking on weeknights. On the weekends, we didn’t hang out with friends and spent that precious time to shoot content and work on the business at a cafe.

There’s no overnight success. You have to take each little baby step to build your way up and prepare yourself. Work on your passion, work on your craft, and improve day by day.

As an Asian immigrant, I went the traditional American dream route first. I studied Accounting and worked at Morgan Stanley, then Barclays Bank, and moved my way up to earning $100K. I’ve always been self-motivated and my parents were proud of that.

To get my parents approval I showed them my successes along the way as the side hustle was growing. Getting featured in GQ magazine was a big step to show them the potential of Levitate Style and I’ve always shown that I have a good track record of pushing myself and taking care of myself, especially financially. This way they came to trust my judgement and know I couldn't be making a decision to go full time into my side hustle if it wasn't going to be successful.


Have you thought of developing multiple sources of income?

All the time! My main income focus is my partnerships on Instagram. Over the past year, I’ve been growing my YouTube channel and most recently launched my own clothing brand, Levitate Collection. During this global issue, I’ve also been learning about investing my money in the stock market.

In the past when I worked in finance full time, I also had side hustle jobs on the weekends doing event photography.

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