Show Some Hustle!

I first encountered the term “hustle” while playing tee ball as a seven-year-old. “Hustle up!” my  middle-aged coach would yell between innings of the game. My teammates and I would push the brims down on our emerald green mesh ball caps, grip our mitts tighter, and sprint to the dugout.

“Hustle! Hustle!” he yelled again to us down the first base line as we tried to outrun the throw to first.

“Show some hustle!” he yelled to me at practice when I chased a ball into the outfield and threw with all my might to the pitcher.

By the end of that tee ball season (a championship season for us Indians I should note), I knew the meaning of hustle. It meant hurry up, run, go after it, beat it and win all in one word.

Now that Andy and I have our actual number for our down payment savings goal, I’m finding new ways to “show some hustle.” One of those ways is working as a personal shopper for Shipt.

Shipt is kind of the Uber of grocery shopping. Members order and pay for groceries online and then request a delivery time frame. Shipt shoppers are then notified when an order has been placed and can claim the order. Once a shopper claims the order, he or she then has access to the member’s order and delivery instructions. The shopper goes to the store, shops for the requested items and delivers the order to the member within the requested time frame. Shoppers are then paid $5 per order plus a percentage of the order total plus tips.

Because Shipt shoppers make their own schedules and determine how often to work, Shipt seemed like a great way to earn some extra money. However, it has not been as reliable a source of income as I would like. For example, sometimes I put myself on the schedule for 9 am to 2 pm and am offered only two orders. My hourly rate is also significantly influenced by whether the member tips or not. On average, I would say that I earn $10 an hour working as a Shipt shopper.

On days when I have busted my hump to shop three orders in four hours with intense accuracy and efficiency, I may only make forty dollars. I get discouraged wondering if I could have spent those four hours doing something more productive and lucrative. I start wondering how much money will eventually be taken out of my pay for taxes, which are charged at a higher rate as an independent contractor.

But that’s why we call it hustle, right? Hustle is hard. It requires grit, intensity, perseverance, and a lot of energy. I am realizing that hustle requires pushing myself harder than I’ve had to for a while. It means going out on a Sunday afternoon to shop orders when I would rather be relaxing at home with my family. It means pushing fully loaded, left-veering shopping carts through sideways rain in the parking lot. I’m learning that hustle means saying no the pleasure and ease of the now in order to get the reward in the future.

If Shipt isn’t the best fit for you, here is a list from Dave Ramsey’s website of other potential side-jobs for you to get your hustle on.

Calculating our Down Payment

Thanks to an ice storm in San Antonio this week, Andy and I had some extra time at home to sit down and do some calculations for a down payment. The calculations were simple, and it provided us with a real number, a real goal for our savings sprint.

Why 20% Down?

As I mentioned in this post, Andy and I have decided that we would like to put 20% down on a house.  Our main motivation has been to avoid having to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) once we buy a home. But I was pleased to read about three other reasons for a 20% downpayment in Egypt Sherrod’s book, Keep Calm, It’s Just Realestate. Sherrod is a real-estate agent who has been in the business for over fourteen years, and she is the host of HGTV’s Property Virgins. Here are the other reasons that Sherrod lists for putting 20% down on a home:

  1. Buyers with a larger down payment are viewed as less of a borrowing risk for lenders, which can then result in a lender offering a lower interest rate. This is very important in our situation with a zero credit score, because lenders will look for indications other than a credit score to determine our borrowing risk.

2. A larger downpayment requires buyers to borrow less money which then equals a lower monthly payment.

3. Putting 20% down automatically gives us more equity in our home. More equity could make it easier to refinance later, should we want to do so.

Doing the Math

So, we confirmed that our goal is to save enough money for a 20% downpayment. Now we needed to calculate how much money that 20% would actually require. To do so, we used this handy worksheet from Dave Ramsey’s website.

After about ten minutes and some simple math, we had our downpayment savings goal.

“Whoa, that’s a lot of money,” I murmured. My head bent over the worksheet on the desk while my detail-challenged brain tried to absorb the naked reality of the five-digit number. The space heater rattled, filling the silence between us as we both stared at the number.

“Yah, it is,” Andy replied. He stretched his long, lanky arms and shook out the chill in the air. “We will probably get some wind falls in the next couple of months- tax refund, cashed out vacation time. Plus, we’ll see what my first pay check at the new job looks like.” I breathed in. Even with those extra money sources, I don’t know how we could get to the number on the page. I sighed, folded the worksheet and slid it into my prayer journal.

So, our sprint to our 20% downpayment now looks like a marathon. The 400 meters has become 26.2 miles. It’s time to lace up the running shoes, buckle down our budget and chase after our audacious savings goal.


The worksheet above came from a series of emails about buying a home that I signed up to receive from Dave Ramsey’s team. Click here to sign up for the five-day email series that is chockfull of tips to save for a down payment.

Networking My Way to a Job

My resume is updated and the job search has begun. In the last three months of my job search, networking has been the best method of job hunting.

At first, I looked for jobs online. My experience and training best qualifies me to work with children or in higher education administration, so I began my search by looking at job postings at local school districts and area colleges and universities. This method did yield a couple of applications and interviews, but most of the time, I felt like I was sending my resume into black hole after black hole.

One conversation at a dinner party changed my approach.

The Elevator Pitch

On a sultry September evening, Andy and I were enjoying hors d’oeuvres at one of his colleague’s homes. She is a lovely woman: gracious, hospitable, brilliant, yet humble. Her house reminded me of the home of a couple of college professors that lived in my neighborhood growing up: full of interesting travel souvenirs, walls of books and quirky yet attractive furniture. I usually feel out-of-place at these sort of gatherings, since I am usually the only one without an advanced degree or full-time employment. But tonight was different. Conversation flowed easily, and my plate was full of delicious food.

Then our hostess turned to me and asked, “Ginny, what do you do?” I explained that I spent the last eleven years as a stay-at-home mom, but that now I was looking for employment again.

Her face lit up, “What kind of employment are you looking for?”

I froze. My mind went blank. Her question caught me off-guard, and I did not have a good answer. I think I answered her eventually by saying that I wasn’t sure what kind of work I wanted. Then I quickly switched topics to talk about her dog.

On the way home, Andy gently rebuked me for not having a prepared answer to her question.

“You need to have an elevator pitch,” he said. “You know, like a sales pitch. A one minute answer about the kind of job you’re looking for and your qualifications.” He was right.

The Results

Since that night, I have written my one minute elevator pitch. It sounds very similar to the “objective” section of my resume, and now I am ready to deliver it when someone asks me about my job search.

I have also sent my resume to one of our pastors, a friend-of-a-friend, and an elder in our church. Though nothing has yielded a job yet, my efforts have yielded several leads that I continue to pursue. These contacts also provide clear means of follow-up.

How can you begin to tap your network today? Here are some ideas to get you started:

Write your elevator pitch, and practice delivering it in conversation to people like:

  • neighbors
  • other parents at your children’s school
  • people that you meet at the gym
  • social media
  • people at your children’s school
  • people from church or your place of worship
  • people that you meet at your children’s soccer games, dance classes, etc


Rebooting My Resume

I loved my full-time mothering years. Yes, they were exhausting days full of changing diapers, washing sticky floors and doorknobs, folding laundry, pushing swings, washing dishes and other thankless jobs. But they were also full of snuggling with sleeping infants, doing the funny voices of Dr. Seuss for toddlers, making Lego fairy worlds with preschoolers and realizing that taking walks in the sunshine of midday is one of the most therapeutic experiences in life.

Now my youngest daughter is in kindergarten, and we need more income so that we can buy a house. It’s time to reach into my dusty box of professional tools and see what skills I can market to the working world.

Updating My Resume

The first task in my job-hunting expedition was to identify those dusty professional skills and to update my resume. In doing so, I was pleased and surprised to discover how many skills I had acquired or sharpened over the last eleven years of motherhood. For example, I have always considered myself an excellent problem-solver. When I worked in student services at the collegiate level, I loved to help students and parents problem solve their way through tuition bills, financial aid packages and class registration. As a mom, I’ve had to trouble-shoot countless problems such as how to motivate a whiny kid to clean her room, how to move across the country with two young children, and how to feed a family of four 21 meals a week on a tight budget.

As a mom, I have had countless opportunities to care for children other than my own, including a two-year stint as a foster parent. These experiences have provided training in child development, behavior management, and care coordination. Those phrases now appear on my resume.

I was also surprised to discover skills that I wanted to develop further, but, until now, didn’t have the time to nurture; I remembered how much I love learning languages and decided that I wanted to learn Spanish. I realized that all the creative writing classes I took in college were going unused, so I decided to start this blog. Rewriting my resume has been like pulling out the box of summer clothes after a long winter. I’ve rediscovered forgotten interests and realized that I have some new skills to show off.

If you are a full-time mom looking to re-enter the professional world, take some time to sit down and think about the experiences and skills that you have acquired over your years at home. Then incorporate them into your updated resume. It took me several hours and some soul searching, but it was well worth my time.

Here are some questions to help reboot your resume

  • Look at your old resume. What skills have you further enhanced as a mom?
  • Do you have any volunteer work that you could list on your resume? What skills have you acquired through this experience?
  • As moms we often overlook training that we have received in things like basic first aid, child development, budget management, and meal preparation. What training, formal or informal, have you received since you have become a mom? What information, skills, or certifications did you receive as a result?
  • If you had to hire someone to do the job of a full-time mom, what skills would you look for in a qualified applicant? You probably have most of them!

Please let me know what skills you discover or rediscover in your brainstorming process by leaving a comment below. I would love to hear them all!