The Side Hustle: The New Nine to Five

The Side Hustle: 

The flexibility to pursue simultaneous employment opportunities and, in the process, both increase yearly net income and have the ability to explore one’s passions.

I think it is safe to say that many people from my generation (otherwise known as “millenials”) are often not committed to a singular “hustle” i.e. one lucrative day job. The key word here is our definition of “lucrative”, because what a steady job can afford us today has drastically changed since previous generations. In a city where most of one’s earnings are easily consumed by basic necessities of living, it is hard to simultaneously enjoy a social lifestyle and get the bills paid. The average income for someone my age does not allow for much wiggle room.

Certainly money doesn’t buy happiness. Conversely, in the face of challenge and adversity is when character is really built. But in 2017, more and more people are opting to choose several separate employment opportunities to make ends meet, and eventually with some perseverance, allow themselves additional financial freedom. A “hustle” can entail almost anything, but especially in an era of DIY and the internet, accessibility to turn one’s passions into business is something that inspires me the most.  

As you may know, I started ARMED in 2011. Granted, it has taken up a significant part of my time in the last six years, but I have begun to itch for more. With websites like Etsy lending themselves to makers different and alike, platforms are provided for those looking to not only sell but to share their unique creations with interested consumers as well as other creators.  

Creator platforms aren’t the only place a side hustle can be born. Communities and networks in all sorts of niched industries are built on a regular basis and provide unexpected opportunities in places our parents’ generation never could have imagined. In fact, the other day, Sarah (my right hand woman), ran into an old instructor that we had met at a class. They exchanged details, and just like that, created a trade agreement that will allow Sarah to receive free classes in exchange for a skill that she has to share: swimming lessons! This may not ultimately add to her bottom line, but it certainly doesn’t detract. The gains go far beyond dollar signs here. We are a highly skilled generation and can chameleon into a number of different positions wearing all kinds of hats. Whether your side hustle is cultivating a skill for profit or not it is an opportunity that can lead to personal growth and new opportunities.

First step to starting a business: Harnessing your passions and matching them with your skills.

The idea behind this is to find something that aligns with what you already love and are good at.  Since you’re adding a side hustle to an already full schedule, it’s important that it is a skill that you naturally do and comes easily to you. For example, I love surfing the web and enjoy looking at new trends. I am that person all the way at page forty-nine when I’m browsing an online store like Amazon, scoping the market for cool ideas. In addition I also enjoy tasks that involve community engagement and building websites.  Right now my social landscape is all about weddings, even though I’m not getting married it seems to be a hot topic. These preexisting passions allow me to do tremendous market research without even really knowing it I’m doing it.  

Second: Find a NEED/WANT in the market you intend on filling.

Since I am in contact with so many brides and brides-to-be, I have a pretty great opportunity to determine needs or wants that they might have. Perhaps the current market has what they need, but not with all the exact criteria.

^maybe you can add to this thought? How do we differentiate a market having what a client needs but not the criteria?

Third: Asses the viability.

A full blown business plan may not be necessary, but certainly you want to be sure of your initial investment and avoid any unreasonable risk. A low risk opportunity might be starting a service that doesn’t need very much overhead cost. Perhaps you’re already into fitness and you have some basic equipment. Perhaps you can utilize what you already have, at least in the beginning, to avoid any large initial investments. Sometimes side hustles take time to get going, and in some instances never take off. That doesn’t mean it has failed, but rather that it’s a learning experience and an opportunity for growth. Another low risk opportunity might be selling a good that doesn’t actually involve anything tangible. This may seem unreasonable, but after speaking with a friend, she enlightened me on the sales of JPEG images over Etsy. Not only does she not handle any goods, she doesn’t have to worry about the cost or hassle of shipping. It’s genius, and my mind immediately went in all different directions thinking about intangible goods.

^Maybe here you should outline how you would go about making money with little overhead cost. Example 1: Selling a skill (fitness instructor), Example 2: Selling a digital item (JPEG images), Example 3: Selling a tangible item (~insert example~).

So what’s my next side hustle, you ask? 

I have a few up my sleeve, one of which includes a new Etsy shop, the other involves my alma mater: Humber College. I’ll keep you updated on my progress and I hope you do the same!

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