One of the ways to make more money is to work while others are sleeping or playing. You don’t have to be smarter than anybody else. You just have to do things other people aren’t willing to do, like get up before the sun rises to work on your side hustle.
Because in NYC I was required to get into the office by 5:30am, or in San Francisco to at least be awake by 6am to get smart before the US stock markets opened, I’ve found it relatively easy to carry on an early morning routine since leaving my day job in 2012. My body is accustomed to about six hours of sleep. So no matter when I go to bed, I’ll wake up ~6 hours later.
One evening, after a particularly long session of tennis, I passed out on the sofa at around 10:15pm while watching the TV program, The Blacklist. Like clockwork, I woke up at 3:30am and decided to write a post until 5am. I then wanted to use this opportunity to see who else was up during the wee hours of the morning. The easiest way to find out was to simply switch on my Uber driver app and drive from 5am until 7:00am.
WHO GETS UP SO EARLY?
Besides an ex-financier turned personal finance blogger, here are the profiles and fares of the seven people whom I picked up before sunrise. I’ve always been curious to know where people drive to at this time of the day.
Passenger #1, 5am: A grandmother catching a 7am flight out of SFO back to San Diego. She said airfare doubles if she took at 30 minute later flight. She was staying with her daughter and son-in-law who is a doctor. They just bought the house for $1.85M (I checked it out when it was for sale in 2014) and have a couple kids, one and four. Race: Latina. Estimated age: 65+.
Passenger #2, 5:34am: A female pool rider, but I cancelled on her after waiting for five minutes because another pool rider was waiting. The grace period is two minutes before I can cancel and earn a fee. Race: Unknown. Estimated age: Unknown.
Passenger #3, 5:36am: A female pool rider who was opening up a Dick’s Sporting Goods store at 6am. I learned the pay for cashiers and grounds staff is around $8/hour, and up to $10/hour for a senior cashier. Race: Black. Estimated age: 20.
Passenger #4, 6:05am: A female rider currently a student at SF State opening up a Noah’s Bagel store. She says cashiers there make $12.25/hour. The baker gets in at 11:30pm the night before to make all the bagels. Race: White. Estimated age: 20.
Passenger #5, 6:21am: A grandmother visiting from South Carolina. She was staying at an AirBnB and taking a ride to her son and daughter-in-law’s one bedroom apartment to help take care of their three week old baby. Race: White. Estimated age: 65+.
Passenger #6, 6:29am: A female grandmother who was leaving her daughter’s 4,000 square foot home to go to work as an elderly care facility property manager in downtown San Francisco. Race: Asian, Chinese. Estimated age: 65+.
Passenger #7, 7:01am: A female who was leaving her apartment to go to work as a registered nurse from 7am to 3:30pm. She was running late. Race: Asian, Korean. Estimated age: 40.
What are the common themes?
- All seven passengers were women.
- Four out of the seven passengers were caregivers (two grandmothers, one elderly care property manager, and one registered nurse)
- None of the passengers made more than the median national income, except for perhaps the registered nurse, who probably makes around $91,000 compared to the median household income of $78,000 in San Francisco.
ANALYSIS OF THE THEMES
Seven passengers doesn’t make a trend, but in my past experience picking up riders in the early morning, the passengers tended to skew female as well.
It’s wonderful to have grandmothers come and help take care of their newborn grandkids. I also think it is wonderful those passengers who went to work were willing to get up so early to make extra money.
~$10/hour working retail is not a lot, but if you can make an extra $50/day and then go to school in the afternoon for three to four hours, why not? You’ll not only gain an appreciation for money, you’ll also develop a strong work ethic that’s void of entitlement.
I love working in the morning before the world wakes up. Why wait until you’re completely exhausted after a full day’s work to work on your hobbies? Pay yourself first! Just two hours a day of extra hustling for 2.5 years allowed me to create Financial Samurai into a site with enough momentum to let me leave my job. It is actually crazy about how much reward has followed since.
If you’re a night person, that’s great too. The point is to consistently put in the extra hours during the times when people are sleeping or playing to get ahead. That’s what Sean Cooper did to make an extra $40,000 a year freelancing on top of his day job to pay off his mortgage in three years.
It takes effort to see the sunrise. It doesn’t take much effort to see the sunset. Once you develop the habit of regularly getting up early, getting ahead becomes so much easier.
Here are a couple attributes of early birds:
- Tend to procrastinate less according to a 1997 study by veteran delay researcher Joseph Ferrari of DePaul.
- Tend to be happier according to a 2012 University of Toronto psychology paper.
Here are a couple attributes of night owls:
- More partial to bad habits like smoking, drinking, hanging out with people they shouldn’t.
- Showed slightly higher intelligence according to a 1999 study by Roberts and Kyllonen.
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