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Chicago to California road trip + How to make an extra $2k to travel

Chicago to California road trip + How to make an extra $2k to travel

Have you ever dreamt of traveling but never thought you could actually do it?

I used to be that person; I thought that travel was so out of my reach because of all of my life expenses. "There's so much I want to explore but there's simply not enough money", I thought. Or maybe you have enough money to cover your trip & you're reading this article because you could use that extra 2k to add on to your vacation. Whatever the case may be, I'm going to share with you a simple, easy, and REAL way to make extra cash on your own time.

Crunching your numbers


Saving up money doesn't always mean sacrifice, it means learning how to spend and what to spend on. A good way of holding on to as much money as possible is to simply set up a daily budget for yourself. I personally use an app called Daily Budget, (I know right? Pretty straight-forward) this app gives you the ability to have full control on managing your finances. You can personalize what percentage of your income goes in to your savings. E.g. so if you want to save up 45% of your income each month, it will tell you how much money you would have saved by the end of the month; making it so easy to meet your yearly savings goal, and of course, save up for your next vacation. The app also takes into consideration expenses, such as rent, insurance, etc. it uses your income and expenses to calculate a daily budget for you.

My part-time hustle


I recently went on a month-long road-trip from my hometown; Chicago, all the way to LA without even having a full time job! So what was my secret to making so much extra cash?
Two words: BA gigs. Brand ambassador jobs.
You see, side hustles can include anything from raking lawns, to babysitting, to working your average part-time job. However, if you're like me, you want to get a side job that pays well without adding on all the extra stress of having a second job.

By the way, if you want to take a road-trip from Chicago to California like we did check out this trip that is already put together & includes all transportation, meals, and accommodation for one price.

So what is a 'brand ambassador' exactly?

A brand ambassador is someone who represents a brand, just as the name states. They are independent contractors who typically get hired through an agency to work various types of events. In the BA world there are different things you can get hired to do; there's street team, in-store demos, pop-up shops, festivals, costume character/mascot are some, to name a few. They have different duties:

  • Street Team - passing out flyers (usually in a group)

  • In-Store Demos- passing out samples at a grocery store with coupons etc.

  • Pop Up Shops- stores that are only open periodically and needs staff available during open days.

  • Festivals- ever walk around a festival that has different booths set up? Yup, the people working those booths are most likely brand ambassadors.

  • Costume Character- pretty simple, you dress up in a character suit. (Mascot).

What are the benefits of working these different type of events?


Well for starters they pay anywhere between $16-40/hr. (Typically, higher paying events are events where the BA is promoting liquor. 21+) But even if you're not 21 yet, the average for a brand rep job is around $20/hr & costume character roles usually pay more!
Also as mentioned above, the job duties for BA roles are anything but, rocket science. The hardest it gets is having to memorize a couple key talking points about the brand, pretty easy huh?

You may be wondering, what are the job qualifications and what's the catch?

Literally nothing. To apply for a BA gig you don't need to have experience, (although it is preferred) you don't need any need special skills, or even a degree. Literally all they are looking for is someone who can talk to people, be friendly, approachable, and reliable!

If you're wondering, "well why isn't everyone working BA gigs then? There must be a catch." Well the reason most millennials don't work brand ambassador jobs is largely due to the fact that they simply don't know that this type of work even exists! And that's why I'm here sharing it with you, because there are so many companies out there actively searching for people just like you, and I want you to actually take something from this post that is beneficial and will bring positivity into your life.

Something you should know, by the way, is that this isn't a 9-5 job. You will not get a schedule every week, if you want a full time schedule you have to apply to various events and have your calendar booked with promotions, or b.) work a long-term event. Yes, you can work as a brand ambassador full time, in fact, lots of people do. But when you apply to a gig that is all you are applying to, a one time event. So I wouldn't advice someone to quit their day job right away, unless they have applied to various gigs and have gotten booked for lots of upcoming events. Yes you are applying to work with a company however that company will not be your employer, instead you will operate as an independent contractor on behalf of that company. In fact most brand ambassadors rely on revenue from multiple companies and work for, often times, more than 2 companies to be making sure they are getting as much work, and money, as possible.

Now, don't get freaked out, working for multiple companies doesn't mean you will be bending over backwards for all these agencies, with no time left for you. The beauty of this job is that you pick your schedule. That's right, since you are applying to a gig, you get to pick and choose which ones you want to apply to, which gigs you are available for, are within a reasonable distance from you etc. This way you ensure you're making good money on your terms and on your availability. Since you will be operating as an independent contractor, you get that option, vs. an employee, doesn't.

The truth is that working in this industry will get you so much more money in a shorter amount of time, you just have to get a feel for the industry and you can totally rock it! Not to mention, all the freebies you will most likely receive. (Put your hands up if you're over 21 and will more than likely get to keep free liquor as a BA passing out samples!) I have gotten so many free things just from work like t-shirts, giveaways, & my best one was a Keurig coffee machine, worth somewhere around $200! And all I did was get paid to sample coffee at a store and after the event was over I got to keep the machine completely free! That's pretty awesome if you ask me.

One more thing, make sure to keep track of your miles driven for work; as an independent contractor all those miles are tax deductible at the end of the year. I personally use an app called Everlance, but check them all out and download the one that works best for you!


So, ready to get started?


You can find dozens of gigs available everyday on facebook! Go on the search bar and type in "brand ambassadors of (insert city, town or state here)". Request to join the group, a group admin will approve you, and that's it; you're in! Get ready to apply and search away!

Know of any underrated or low-key side hustles that can be useful to our community? Leave them in a comment down below. Let's make this a place where we can learn from each other and help one another grow. See you on my next post!

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What does it mean to be successful? Who defines the meaning of success?

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