Psst….hey you. I see you over there at your desk working the daily grind. Sure you’re there physically, but mentally you’re somewhere else. What are you fantasizing about? A new job? Switching industries? Starting something on your own? Don’t despair! Gone are the days where people are defined by one job. In our hyper-connected digital world, the more you do, the more you are. Forget the one title on your business card and strive to be a multi-hyphenate. Enter stage right, “The Side Hustle.”
Jessica Abo author of Unfiltered: How to Be as Happy as You Look On Social Media, helps people identify their pain points and provides action plans, expert advice, and personal anecdotes to help people get from where they are to where they want to go.
THAT MOMENT WHEN YOU REALIZE THAT YOUR’E NOT LIVING YOUR BEST LIFE: Jessica Abo warns, Remember when you go online, you’re seeing people’s curated highlight reels and people don’t always share the years of blood, sweat, and tears that went into their success. That said, if seeing other people’s social media posts about their office view, promotion or work family are daily reminders you’re not #livingyourbest life, Abo recommends, “The first thing to do is determine what is at the root of your rut. Do you need to pursue a new career path or simply bring more meaning to your life by pursuing a side hustle? People start side hustles for several reasons. Many people want to supplement their income while others want to test the waters before diving into their big idea.
When you are contemplating starting a side hustle Lapin suggests, Start by first writing down your skills, hobbies, or elements of big projects that you’ve done, and focus on the ones you’re great at (be honest!), but also enjoy. Once you’ve narrowed your list down, do a little googling to figure out a base rate earning potential for each skill set, be honest about the amount of time per week you have available, and make sure you know the initial investment needed. Are there potential side-hustles that would require you to purchase a lot of equipment but won’t make a lot of money? Nix those. Focus on the ones that have a low initial investment, yield good money for the hours put in, and could potentially turn into a career.
MONEY MATTERS: Heed money expert Nicole Lapin’s sage advise: Before you take your side-hustle gig full time, you have to consider: is your side-hustle something that is a career for other people? Does that career make enough money that you could have a similar lifestyle to what you have now? Do you have enough money for the costs it will take to turn the side-hustle into a career without taking on debt? Are you confident you can do the less exciting parts when turning it into a business (bookkeeping, etc.) day in and day out? Testing out your side-hustle while you have the safety net of a steady paycheck allows you to determine proof of concept with fewer risks.
NOTE: If you decide to embark on a side hustle always check your company’s policy on such endeavors and make sure what you are doing is not a conflict of interest. Also, always make sure to do the work for your side hustle after work hours so that it doesn’t interfere with your day job. Bottom Line: Your career is always evolving. Don’t give up on your passion for a 9 am – 6 pm job when you can do it all! It’s called a ‘Side Hustle’ for a reason, you have to HUSTLE. So power up and start living your best life!
SOME INSPIRATION: A Round-up of Fabulous Women Pursuing Their Passions & Crushing Their Side Hustles:
1) PETRA GUCUNSKI:
DAY JOB: Global Makeup Marketing, Assistant Manager at Clinique
SIDE HUSTLE: Founder and Company Director of Continuum Dance Co., a dance company for former dancers now working in fields unrelated to dance
THE GERM OF AN IDEA: I ran into an old dance friend on my bus ride home from work. We had both been working in the corporate world for about a year at that point, and were talking about how we felt like something was missing. Realizing that I wasn’t the only one that felt this way, I began to wonder why we felt like we had to stop. Who was to say that anyone past college had to choose between being a professional dancer, or not dancing at all?
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO START: It took me about eight months to get the company up and running. Learning about registering a business, getting commercial insurance, opening a business bank account; all things I had never done before (especially at the age of 24). I wake up every morning at 5 am to work on Continuum Dance Co. before my corporate work at 9 am. It’s now become an integral part of my day and my motivator to get out of bed early and dedicate those first few hours of the morning to my dream.
HOW DID YOU PAY FOR IT? I invested a large portion of my savings towards Continuum Dance Co. in our first season, but through monthly tuition from our dancers and profit made at our showcases, the company has now become self-sufficient, with even a little bit of profit in our second season!
IS IT TIME TO MAKE THE SIDE HUSTLE THE MAIN GIG? I love what I do in the Global Marketing field. I love being able to use my creativity to come up with new product ideas, my strategic side to evolve an idea to a real product with a story and timeline, and my collaborative side to work with an incredible team located all around the world. However, as passionate as I am about my corporate work, dance was my first love. This is why I chose to make my dance company a side hustle. It’s allowed me to bring back my first passion in life but continue to challenge myself in the fast-paced beauty industry.
HOW DO YOU MARKET IT? Social media has been the biggest lever for Continuum Dance Co.. I started a website, Facebook and Instagram, where I share content of our dancers and choreographers. Most of it is user-generated by our company members, but I’ve also been able to leverage my network of friends to get some stunning photos and videos done by those running their own side hustle (The Mango Studio).
DOES YOUR BOSS KNOW? My bosses know all about my dance company and have been so incredibly supportive. Any work hours I have to take off for Continuum Dance Co. get returned through late nights and weekend assignments because at the end of the day, I want to be sure I’m always providing the highest quality of work to my Clinique team.
WHEN DOES THE SIDE HUSTLE BECOME A CAREER PIVOT? At the moment, I’m able to successfully balance the two and dedicate my time to each in a sustainable way. However, if Continuum Dance Co. were to grow to a volume of dancers that require a greater portion of my time and no longer allow me to be effective in my corporate career, that would the time to determine a career pivot. Once I feel like I can no longer be successful at both at the same time, a decision would have to made, however for now, I’m lucky enough to have both.
2) HILARY VANDERSCHAAF:
DAY JOB: Licensed Occupational Therapist
SIDE HUSTLE: Hil Hustles Clothing line
HOW IT STARTED: I realized I needed a side hustle and passive income as I was paying off my daunting student loans. I came up with the idea over a year ago, began getting my shirts made and wearing them myself. I hired a web designer to create my site and bring my vision to life. Since I have a decent following on IG, I have used that to promote and grow my brand.
SIDE HUSTLE TIME COMMITMENT: The time commitment has been MANY hours at a 24/7 Starbucks (since I work multiple jobs as an OT, I had to work late nights creating these ideas and building my brand and vision). I’ve invested money into my website, some advertisement, the shirts I wear and making the product once an order comes in.
DOES YOUR BOSS KNOW? Mostly everyone is aware of my side hustle and equally as excited about it as me. My bosses are inspired and supportive.
IS IT TIME TO MAKE THE SIDE HUSTLE THE MAIN GIG? The side hustle would turn into a full-blown career if my shirts take off and the brand grows. I have so many more ideas for other forms of apparel and merchandise and would really love for my brand to be a platform for people who support my mission: THE HUSTLE.
3) CHARLIE GROSSO:
DAY JOB: Founder and Executive Director for Hello Future, a nonprofit focused on bridging the education gap for adolescent refugees by providing hardware, connectivity, and on-site workshops to create a real learning environment for these at-risk students.
SIDE HUSTLE: Tinder Photography, a high-end, private client portrait service specifically designed for online dating/social media profiles.
HOW IT STARTED: My own story included eight years of online dating, and I couldn’t help but look at the profiles wondering if the message these photos were communicating were the user’s intent. A good photo is essential in our visual-based world.
IS IT TIME TO MAKE THE SIDE HUSTLE THE MAIN GIG? It might be unfair to put the two passions side by side and weight them. The work is different; the impact is different, albeit both important; each has their own challenges and time horizons. I love both. And since it is 2018, maybe it is okay for us to embrace our complexity and start to move away from the narrative of a singular devotion as the only career path forward.
DO YOU PROMOTE YOUR SIDE HUSTLE? I strictly spend my marketing and communications efforts on Hello Future. Tinder Photography, again, has an organic client-based, so I’m never in a networking situation where there would be conflict, and I have to decide which business I represent.
4) SARAH DION
DAY JOB: Financial coder for the Government of Canada (officially – Corporate Account Maintenance Officer).
SIDE HUSTLE: SarahSpeaking- A French tutoring business
HOW IT STARTED: While working for the government in finance, I was also providing French translation services on the side to other teams. Meeting people through my service, I quickly realized that there was a large market for French tutors in Ottawa (specifically regarding government language evaluations). I took it upon myself to start my side-hustle, SarahSpeaking.
IS IT TIME TO MAKE THE SIDE HUSTLE THE MAIN GIG? The side-hustle turns into a career pivot when you start to enjoy it more than your current career. It should become a career path if doing it every day would make you happier overall. Everything is about passion, and life is too short to spend it doing something we’re just ‘’good at’’.
DO YOU PROMOTE YOUR SIDE HUSTLE? I started by meeting people who expressed an interest in French tutoring services. I took these people on as my clients and created customized lessons for each of them, ranging from 2 weeks to 6 months. Satisfied with the results they received, my business began to spread by word-of-mouth.
SIDE HUSTLE TIME COMMITMENT: On average, I see two students a week, for about two hours each.
DOES YOUR BOSS KNOW? My direct supervisor knows about my business and even reached out for some help for herself. I would inform her of any situation that could impact my work
5) ALEXANDRA LEE:
DAY JOB: Head of Growth for Redscout, a brand strategy and innovation agency
SIDE HUSTLE: Advising female founders on how to grow/scale their businesses — primarily through providing senior-level operational support. I’m somewhere between a hired gun, active board member, and full-time team member.
HOW IT STARTED: I kept grabbing a coffee, or having dinner, and giving advice to these founders as friends or as a client.
IS IT TIME TO MAKE THE SIDE HUSTLE THE MAIN GIG? The side hustle has been great on this — spending a few years really listening to these founders express their greatest ambitions and anxieties — but it was clear for me just this past month that it was time to do more for them than just doing a bit of arm chair advising.
SIDE HUSTLE TIME COMMITMENT: Two hours a day after work and most of my weekend.
DO YOU PROMOTE YOUR SIDE HUSTLE? It’s been the whisper network of people telling others that I can be helpful, but that will all change in the new year.
LONG-TERM STRATEGY: I’m not thinking of building a team — but I’m modeling for a 5 year plan where I have a real team of experts that can help founders scale their business meaningfully, and am already focusing my network with a handful of ‘go to’ partners in market research, brand strategy, social / community strategy, and creative.