Okay, so the FI Garage has generated $7.74 in revenue, but our expenses are slightly higher than that – so I’m not going to say this blog is making us income quite yet. I told you about TastingBC, but it is only a few weeks old so I don’t expect income from it anytime soon. But I do have one side hustle that does make me a significant amount of money: charting college and NFL football games. With college football 27 days away the company I do this for reached out to me to let me know the pay rates for the upcoming season, this inspired me to write this post.
In 2014, I was browsing the internet aimlessly and I happened across a job advertisement a lot like this one I saw on LinkedIn a couple of weeks ago:
STATS is looking to add play by play reporters for the upcoming CFB, NFL and CBK seasons. Our reporters work remotely to record live play by play data points during games. If interested, please email email@example.com for more information.
At the time I was a huge sports fan and the idea of getting paid to watch a game was very exciting.
I sent STATS an e-mail and heard back quickly…I did some unpaid training (I was very apprehensive about this, but it worked out okay) and was working for them on a contract basis within a couple of weeks.
I made a few bucks over the course of 2014, but things picked up in September 2015 when I made about US$7,455 over 4 months. I worked my hourly rate out to be just under US$29 – more than I was making in my day job at that time. I did some live reporting, entering play-by-play in real-time, I assume STATS sent this data to services like TheScore’s app and the TSN ticker – but I didn’t really care I was having fun and getting paid for it.
Eventually, though, these live games started to feel like work. Instead of rooting for the team I wanted to win I was rooting for a quick game so I could finish my task and go enjoy life. There was also some stress attached to these assignments as you could not fall behind, and when you did you had staff at STATS contacting you my IM and phone asking what was wrong, could you catch up, etc., all adding to the stress.
Luckily, they had other tasks available that I had started performing in 2015: post-game analysis. These assignments have deadlines, but you can do them at your own pace. They are also interesting as they involve analysis, not just mindless regurgitation of the play-by-play. STATS recently posted an add looking for more people, I understand that they have had a significant response, but if you’re interested it is never a bad idea an e-mail:
STATS is looking to add to our pool of Film Analysts for the upcoming NFL and college football seasons. Our analysts work remotely to review video from after games are finished to collect a variety of data points. If interested, please email Greg Gifford (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Matt Roberts (email@example.com) for more information. #SportsJobs
The most profitable year I had was in 2016 when I made US$13,210 – mostly over the 4 month football season but with some earnings during the baseball season as well. My hourly rate has stabilized right around US$30, I do get more efficient, but they keep reducing the pay per assignment. I also reduced my hours last year and my earnings fell to about US$6,000.
I could make more money through this side hustle, but it would require some very late nights and probably some poor health outcomes. After finishing an assignment I am very ‘up’, which leads to sleepless nights and why I drastically reduced my hours in 2018.
I do enjoy the work though, and I learn a lot about football (100% of the assignments I now take are football-related). Although doing this work has definitely contributed to me being less of a sports fan, but that is a good thing. I spend less time watching TV and more time doing productive and healthy things.
How has this helped me on my way to FIRE?
When I found the gig back in 2014 I was looking to add income to my budget to cover my lifestyle. Since then I have smartened up a little bit.
In 2016 and 2017 my lifestyle was pretty much under control and I put all of my STATS income into my travel budget. This obviously didn’t help me on my path to FIRE. I got to see some cool places though!
What is my plan for this side hustle income now?
Now that I have my day to day finances totally sorted and I make monthly contributions to my travel account, I’m looking forward to putting a lot of these side-hustle dollars into my RRSP and buying some USD income-producing ETFs, specifically FDVV.
I’ve been lucky to have a few years of significant side-hustle income and I hope it continues for a while. My goal this football season is to make $5,000 which means about 50 hours of extra work in September, October and November and then a few more hours in December. This outcome is very achievable, even with the recent drop in payment rates and should get me about 150 shares of FDVV, which should pay out dividends of about US$200 in 2020.
Okay, it’s possible that I am going to be a little bit undisciplined and use some of this side hustle income to go cheer on Team Canada in Ostrava!
Turns out I’ve still got a little sports fan in me!