To Retire Early, This Millionaire Says You Should ‘Chill as Hard as You Hustle’

Sure-fire ways to make a million from someone who actually did.

In just five years, Grant Sabatier went from broke and living with his parents to millionaire status. Now, the founder of the Millennial Money blog has written a book that details how he saved more than $1 million by age 30 to retire early and live life on his own terms.

In “Financial Freedom: A Proven Path to All the Money You Will Ever Need,” Sabatier walks readers through seven steps they can take to reach financial independence fast. However, one of those steps played a particularly big role in his ability to walk away from corporate America in five years: side hustling.

“Without a doubt, side hustling really made it all possible,” Sabatier said. When he started down his path toward financial freedom, Sabatier was making $50,000 a year at a digital marketing agency. Even if he saved 50 percent of his pay, he calculated that it wouldn’t be enough to reach his early retirement goal by age 30. So he found ways to make more money outside of his day job — lots of ways. And he invested almost all of that side hustle income to reach his savings goal.

Here’s how Sabatier side hustled his way to early retirement — and how you can, too.

Get Inspired: 12 People Who Retired Young (and How They Did It)

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Figure Out Where You Are Now and How Much You Need to Retire

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Before you start searching for side hustles to boost your income, figure out how much money you actually need to save to retire early. In his book, Sabatier recommended saving an amount equal to 25 times your expected annual expenses. He figured that he could live comfortably on $50,000 a year, so he calculated that he would need to save $1.25 million if he wanted to retire at age 30.

Check Out: 101 Side Business Ideas and How to Start Without Quitting Your Job

That might not seem like enough to last for decades. But keep in mind that your savings will continue to grow if you invest the money, earn an annual return of 7 percent and withdraw only about 4 percent a year. The amount you need to save will depend on how much you already have and your own expected expenses.

However, Sabatier cautioned in “Financial Freedom” that you should consider how much you need to spend in a year in order to actually be happy. If you take stock of what brings you joy and how much money you’d need for that lifestyle, your savings number might be smaller than you think.

Look for Money-Making Opportunities Everywhere

On his journey to financial freedom, Sabatier earned more than $300,000 in one year by making money in at least 17 different ways, he said. “There are money making opportunities everywhere,” he said. “You can train yourself to start seeing them.”

Sabatier has made extra money by blogging, building websites for others, buying and selling web domain names, fixing up and flipping mopeds and VW campers and even pet sitting a neighbor’s cat. To find profitable side hustles, make a list of things you’re good at and love to do, then evaluate which ones overlap. If you can find ways to make money doing something you like, you’ll be more likely to stick to those side hustles, Sabatier wrote in “Financial Freedom.” And the more you side hustle, the easier it will be to identify other money-making opportunities, he said.

Try: Match Your Side Hustle With How Much Free Time You’ve Got

Maximize Your Side Hustle Potential

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Just because you don’t have a lot of time for side hustles doesn’t mean you can’t earn extra money outside of your full-time job. In fact, the best way to make money with side hustles is to hire other people to do the work.

“Try to be the Uber of your life,” Sabatier said. “All they do is connect people who need rides. When you’re a connector, you don’t have to do the thing.” The key is to identify what people need then outsource the work to fill that need — and take a cut of the pay.

Related: The Most Popular Side Hustles That Will Make Your Salary Soar

Or look for ways to make passive income so you don’t have to devote a lot of time to make extra money. For example, you could use your knowledge of a particular subject or topic to create a course you could sell online. Sabatier goes into great detail in “Financial Freedom” on how to develop and profit from side hustles.

The most important thing, though, is to invest the money you make from side hustles if you want to retire early. “I would say at least 30 to 40 percent of my net worth is derived from money I invested from side hustling,” Sabatier said.

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Consider the Trade-Offs You’re Willing to Make

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Making a lot of money to retire early does require trading your free time in the present to have the time to do whatever you want in the future. Even if you want to create passive income streams, it takes an initial investment of time to get them started. “I made a massive trade-off,” Sabatier said. “I gave up half of my 20s for this.” He said it was worth it, but if he could go back and do it again, Sabatier said he wouldn’t have pushed so hard to save so much money in such a short period of time.

If you’re already living a life you love, you might not need to give up your time to make more money. “Maybe you’ve already won the game,” Sabatier said. The key is to figure out what financial freedom means to you, how much money you need to achieve that freedom and whether the trade-off is worth it. “No matter how hard you hustle, remember that a pendulum swings both ways,” Sabatier wrote. “You need to chill as hard as you hustle.”

Click through to find out if you’re already wealthier than you think.

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About the Author

Cameron Huddleston is an award-winning journalist with more than 18 years of experience writing about personal finance. Her work has appeared in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Business Insider, Chicago Tribune, Fortune, MSN, USA Today and many more print and online publications. She also is the author of Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk: How to Have Essential Conversations With Your Parents About Their Finances.

U.S. News & World Report named her one of the top personal finance experts to follow on Twitter, and AOL Daily Finance named her one of the top 20 personal finance influencers to follow on Twitter. She has appeared on CNBC, CNN, MSNBC and “Fox & Friends” and has been a guest on ABC News Radio, Wall Street Journal Radio, NPR, WTOP in Washington, D.C., KGO in San Francisco and other personal finance radio shows nationwide. She also has been interviewed and quoted as an expert in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch and more.

She has an MA in economic journalism from American University and BA in journalism and Russian studies from Washington & Lee University.