Pick Yourself and Try Again

Notice: I wrote this article a year or so ago, but I still think it is worth sharing. Around this time, I had just started to get back on my feet after getting my full-time job after a season of uncertainty. Let’s take a jump into November-December 2019.

Okay, first off let me start by saying I apologize for going MIA. I have just been overwhelmed by the number of changes that I have occurred in my life since August 2019. Most of them really good except for the fact I damaged my big toe (it no longer bends anymore and got a cyst on my shoulder (which is so ugly to look at), I am trying not to stress over it. I will be honest those two things are making me really sad. However, there has been some good news.

In case you are wondering where I have been the last four months. Here is what I have been up to:

1. I got my First FT job

Ya’ll I got my first FT job. I got this job back in August right when I was planning to move back to SC because my job search was proving to be unsuccessful. At the very last minute, like I was literally coordinating with my parents my trip back home, I recieved an email stating that I got the job meaning that I could spend more time in Dallas. YESSSSSSS! God came through. So I am still getting used to my new job and adjusting to the culture but I am so thankful to have this opportunity,

2. I work two jobs

I currently work at my FT job (during the week) and my part-time job at a retail store (on the weekend). It is a lot but it makes me feel secure financially just in case something were to happen. Initially, I only planned to keep my part-time until my probationary period ended for my FT job. However, I realized that having the part-time job can provide me with some extra income to meet my financial goals. So ya girl is managing the two job life. (In reality, the two jobs are managing me.)

3. I got my first one-bedroom apartment

This is by far the new change to my life that I am most excited about. I have my own apartment all to myself. I wish that I did not have to handle this rent bill all by myself but I guess I will take. The apartment search was a thing but now I have an apartment that I can decorate and turn into my safe haven which is pretty great.

4. I GOT RID OF MY CREDIT CARD DEBT

Honestly, I do not know how I racked up about $2,000 in credit card debt but I did in such a short amount of time. So, when I got my FT job eliminating my credit card debt was a must because paying interest is a no, like a HECK NO. So I recently paid that off in November and I couldn’t be happier. Now, the biggest challenge is to not let that happen again.

Creating Monthly Financial Milestones Will Keep You Motivated

In April 2020, I started creating monthly financial goals to accompany my budget to help me stay motivated. There is something about being able to cross out the goals that you have achieved at the end of the month.

The reason creating these goals can be super beneficial is because it gives you something to strive for. When you create a budget, it is easy for that information to become just numbers on a page. By creating these goals you can accomplish by sticking to your budget it switches something in your brain and makes your budget more meaningful and tangible.

Over the past 11 months, I have really come to the understanding that getting your finances in order takes a lot of mental work. It’s not the math that we get stuck on but our emotional relationship with money that causes us to make poor decisions or stay in the same cycle.

The Importance of Creating Financial Goals

By creating financial goals on a monthly basis it gives you a way to give yourself a pat on the back. You will have all of these goals that you accomplished or came close to accomplishing written down that explicitly shows how your budget has helped you make small strides to reaching your overarching goal.

How to Create Financial Goals

For instance, if you want to travel to Africa in the next 10 months and you know that it will cost $2,000 for the overall trip then you will need to save $200 a month. So every month you can write on your monthly goal I need to save $200 for my trip to Africa. Everytime you successful do this check it off on your goal for the month.

And your goals do not have to be specifically tailored to saving money. If you know there are some challenges to reaching that monthly savings goal like eating out. A goal for yourself for that month could be “I am not eating out for this month” or “I will only eat out a max of 3 times or spend a $100 on eating out.

I recommend that you create a max. of 3 goals so that you don’t overwhelm yourself. These goals should be your priority for the month. Anything more is extra.

My First Week as A Door Dash Driver

This will be my first week as a Door Dash Driver 01/31/2021-02/06/2021. It is a new side hustle that I am adding to my arsenal. Originally, I planned to use this job to make an extra $50 a month.

However, I am planning to do more than that. Depending on how my first week goes, I will try to make $10,000 this year through DoorDash. With this extra income, I will use a portion to fund the $50 investing challenge created by Invested Millennial, a portion set aside for taxes, tithes, and the remaining to pay extra to my student loan debt.

How I Plan to Reach My $10,000 goal

In order, to reach this goal I will need to make $150 a week. I have not decided what schedule will be, but I know working peak hours will be the best way to reach my goal. During peak hours, I can make extra money per order ranging from $1-3 an order.

The last time I looked at the app, it showed peak hours on the weekend only. I hope that they have peak hours during the week, so I can Dash after I get off my full-time job.

My First Week as a Door Dash Driver

Sunday, January 31, 2021

I worked peak hours for an extra $2 an hour from 5:30-7pm. The peak pay was being offered in a neighboring city so I went there to dash. I was able to get two orders totaling $15 in a hour and a half. It was not as much money as I thought I would make but I am hoping I get better with time.

Orders taken:

  1. Hard Eight BBQ Total: $5 (Base pay $3 + Tip $2)
  2. Whiskey Cake Total: $10 (Base pay $3 + Peak pay $2 + Tip $5)

The last order took me out of the area I was dashing in so I just stopped and went home.

Monday, February 1, 2021

After I got off work, I went to dash for two hours. I was able to deliver 4 orders totaling $36.02. I had one Wal-mart grocery order to deliver. What I learned about Wal-mart grocery orders is they give really good tips.

Orders taken:

  1. Ara Asian Cuisine & Wings Total: $5.25 (Base pay $3.25 + Tip $2)
  2. McDonald’s Total: $7 (Base pay $3 + Tip $4)
  3. Wal-mart Total: $15.77 (Base pay $5.77 + Tip $10)
  4. Freebirds World Burrito Total: $8 (Base pay $3 + Tip $ 5)
Tuesday, February 2, 2021

I didn’t go dashing right after work. I had a meeting to attend, so I did that and logged into DoorDash after that around 9pm. This day was not that successful. I was out for around 55 mins and I only got 1 order for $7. Dashing during the week or at this time may not be lucrative. I will have to take a few more orders to figure it out.

Orders taken:

McDonalds Total: $7 (Base pay $3 + Tip $4)

Thursday, February 4, 2021

This morning, I woke up early around 4:30am, so I decided to DoorDash. When I looked at the app, one of the areas near me was very busy. I decided to try it out.

It was a bust. I got there and I did not get any orders. I sat around for like 10 mins or so. When I went back to the map to see the business of the area, it showed it was not busy. I am assuming that on my drive over there was less demand.

So later that morning around 6:52am, I decided to try DoorDash again in my area. This was a lot more successful. My area was currently very busy with orders so I was able to complete four orders in a 1hr 30 mins. time frame.

  1. Denny’s Total: $4.26 (Base pay $3 + Tip $1.26)
  2. Chick-fil-a Total: $6 (Base pay $3 +Tip $3)
  3. Wal-mart Total: $3.50 (Base pay $3)
  4. Walmart Total: $4 (Base pay $4)

I took two Walmart orders today, I am interested to see if Wal-mart orders typically pay a higher tip. When I did a DoorDash order earlier this week and I got a $10 tip from a Wal-mart order. The tip for Wal-mart orders is not added until after the order is delivered.

Good news: I got a $7 tip for each Wal-mart order. I may have to keep taking these types of orders.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Today, I woke up really excited to do DoorDash. I took my first order which turned out to be a double order for Five Guys and Starwood Cafe totaling $12.

While picking up that order I had some phone issues. I forgot the day prior I had downgraded my phone plan to a lower data package and I did not think about the impact it would have on DoorDash. While picking up the orders, I had challenges with getting the delivery information pulled up. I was almost nervous I would not be able to drop off the orders but luckily I got access to wi-fi which helped.

After completing these orders, I decided to take off for the rest of the day because I did not want to have any more issues.

Orders Taken:

  1. Starwood Total: $6 (Base pay $2 + Tip $4)
  2. Five Guys Total: $6 (Base pay $3 + Tip $3)

DoorDash could be a good side hustle. I need to continue to do it a while longer and I will be able to bring in a decent amount of income. My plan is to continue to take Wal-mart orders if the distance makes sense because they seem to pay out pretty well.

Tips To Earn More Money on DoorDash

I have been watching a lot YouTube videos about how people make money on DoorDash. I have determined it all comes down to strategy or you could waste a lot of time. DoorDash is great because it provides the opportunity to make more money on the side and create your own schedule. However, it could also cost you more money than it’s worth if you are not strategic.

I have noticed the base pay for my area is $3. This means that most of my income as a DoorDash driver will come from tips. The sad thing is there have been plenty of times where I have received orders for $3 with no tip and on top of that the distance to complete the order would be 7 miles. This makes no sense. That essentially means I would make .42 cents per mile.

I am glad that I am taking the time to learn from others so that I can actually make money on DoorDash and avoid unnecessary mistakes. I have been able to put some of the tips I have learned from Youtube into practice. The Youtubers that have been most helpful are: Journey with T, DoorDash Dad, and DoorDash Diaries.

Lesson 1: Be selective about the orders you accept

Not all orders are good orders. I have learned that you should strive to take orders that average around $2 per mile. This makes sure that you are making a profit. However, if you are unable to get orders that average $2 a mile it should at least pay $1 a mile. Anything less than that is not worth it.

Note: There are not many customers that add tips after the order has been delivered except for Wal-mart grocery orders. I recommend you take orders for face value meaning that what DoorDash is showing you, is what you are going to be paid.

Lesson 2: Start Local

As a new dasher, the best place to learn how to use DoorDash is in your community. In the beginning, learn the do’s and dont’s in your area before venturing out. This gives you time to learn what to be aware of so when you try dashing in surrounding cities you have more success.

I have tried dashing in two surrounding cities during my first week of dashing. One of the locations was successful and I got orders, but the second time I did not get any orders.

I have come to the conclusion that I need to slow and stick to my immediate area. This will allow me to get to know my area better such as where is the best area to get orders and what are the best times and days to take orders.

Lesson 3: Track your miles

With DoorDash, you are an independent contractor. This means that you are responsible for paying for your taxes. They will not be automatically withdrawn from your paycheck. Therefore, it is super important that you track your miles because they are tax-deductible. This could lead you to owe less in income tax.

I use the app Stride to track my miles. This helps to make it a smoother process when I need to file my taxes.

Lesson 4: Try to stay in an area that has restaurants and demand.

When you are dashing, you want to make sure that you start in an area that will generate you orders, but you also want to make sure that you are delivering to areas that have restaurants near them.

This tip is super important because if you are having to travel to out-of-the-way areas you could be losing money. This happens because once you deliver that order you won’t get another order immediately because nothing is nearby. You will have to drive back or go to the closest restaurant until you can take the next order.

These are the most important tips that I have been using as a new Dasher. It has been really helpful in generating more money. I have definitely seen a rise in the amount of money I make.