Side Hustles – Are They Worth The Effort?
What is a Side Hustle?
Essentially, a side hustle is a project or business that you work on alongside your main job role to make extra income. You should choose something you’re passionate about (which will definitely help!), or something you’re good at, but ideally both! Let’s take a look at the different types of side hustle you could go for.
If you have an eye for design, you could use your creativity to craft a product you can sell to customers. This could be something simple like making labels or cards for other small businesses; there will always be business owners who either don’t have the skill or the right equipment to create their own stationery. If you’re good with your hands, use your artistic flair to create products customers will love, whether that’s your own jewellery, artwork or clothing. There will always be a demand for those types of products, it’s just about getting them seen by your target audience.
Use Your Skills
If you have a particular talent or skill, you could use it to start your own side hustle. If you’re a great writer or photographer, you can easily find some freelance work to top up your wages. If you’re a keen gardener, start your own garden maintenance business in your spare time. Can you play an instrument, like a guitar or piano? You could provide lessons to supplement your main income. Whatever your talent, hone in on it and figure out how you can use it to provide a service people are happy to pay for.
Become A Consultant
If you can’t see yourself creating your own products or providing a service, you could consider becoming a consultant for a larger business, like The Body Shop or Ann Summers, also known as ‘direct selling’. One perk with this type of side hustle is that you’re not responsible for making the products, so anything that’s defective can just be returned to the manufacturer. The downside is that you only earn commission on any sales you make, not the full profit made from the product.
The most long-standing of these types of businesses is likely Avon, who’s reps have been around since the 1950s in the UK, typically made up of stay-at-home mums delivering catalogues door-to-door. Nowadays, it’s more social networking than walking the streets collecting orders, but from personal experience I know my own mum still has an ‘Avon lady’ who collects her order once a month, so the old ways still seem to work for some!
Benefits of a Side Hustle
The most obvious benefit with any side hustle is the extra money it brings into your household. Whether you’re saving for something special, like a holiday or special occasion, or you’re just looking to top up your earnings to help out with rising living costs, using a skill or passion you already have is the perfect place to start.
Use Your Creativity
A side hustle can give you a creative outlet that might not be fulfilled by your full time role, whilst also earning you some extra pocket money. Crafting can also be great for your mental health and wellbeing – it’s known to help relieve stress and anxiety, and also boost your mood.
Develop Your Skills
You can also sharpen your skills through working your side hustle – whether that’s communication, social media, branding, or something else entirely! Working for yourself can give you the confidence to try new things and strengthen your abilities, giving you new expertise to take into your main job role.
After two years of keeping our distance and limited interaction, starting your own business or side hustle can give you the push to get back out into the world. You’ll meet new people you may never have come across otherwise, and hopefully enrich their lives with your products or services.
Downsides of a Side Hustle
Working Long Hours
Running your side hustle outside of your full time job means working in your spare time, be that evenings and/or weekends. However, if you choose something you enjoy or are passionate about, it can feel less like work and more like a hobby. Like anything, you’ll get out what you put in, so work as hard or as little as you like, but you can’t expect overnight success from working on your side hustle for half an hour a week, particularly when you’re first starting out.
When starting any business, there will always be upfront costs, whether that’s paying for a website domain, buying supplies to make your products, shelling out for insurance or the joining fees for direct selling businesses. Be sure to keep track of any expenses from a tax perspective, and also to make sure you’re making a profit.
Knowing Where To Start
Starting a new business, even just a small side hustle, can take some planning. There’s so much to think about, from a business name, logo and branding, to supplies, where you’ll sell your products and how you’re going to market them, not to mention tax and business regulations. It’s also important to set your goals up front, so it’s clear where you’re trying to get to. However, there’s plenty of information out there on the web to help, so don’t let it put you off, just do your research.
My Own Side Hustle Story
I was made redundant just before the Covid pandemic hit, and therefore wasn’t working during the first lockdown. As much as I enjoyed reading a whole series of books whilst lounging in my sun-drenched garden, there’s only so long that kind of activity level can keep my brain occupied. I needed something to focus on, and an opportunity to join the Scentsy family cropped up at just the right time.
Scentsy products are mainly home fragrance items, so it was one of the few businesses that continued to thrive throughout the pandemic as everyone was spending A LOT more time at home. It was hard going to begin with, as these kinds of businesses are built through word-of-mouth and great customer service, and at the time we were barely leaving the house. Social media was (and still is) a godsend for me; I continue to use Facebook and Instagram as my main customer communication channels, and I’ve recently branched out onto TikTok as it’s key for the younger demographic. I’m now almost two years in, and I have a solid group of regular customers who continue to support me and my little business, some of whom I would never have met had it not been for my side hustle.
These types of side hustles seem to have a bad rep, as they all seem to get tarred with the same ‘MLM’ brush. Claims of unachievable sales targets and low earnings, and the constant pressure to recruit new consultants. My experience as a Scentsy Consultant has been the complete opposite. I joined an incredible team of super supportive, strong women, all looking for an additional income and/or hobby to get them through the seemingly never-ending lockdowns of the past couple of years. We share ideas and raise each other up when needed, and there’s no pressure to sell but I do make a healthy side income most months. That said, not everyone’s journey will be the same, so just try to keep an open mind and don’t be disheartened if you don’t become a millionaire overnight. Even Del Boy got there in the end!
I’m lucky to work at Embryo where side hustles and interests outside of work are supported. After all, my side hustle helps me to develop my communication and branding skills, as well as my social media marketing prowess. It allows me to channel my creativity when it comes to building my own mini brand and creating themed goody bags for my customers. From a personal perspective, I’d encourage anyone to try doing something for themselves, as it’s pushed me out of my comfort zone (which was very firmly buried in a book, avoiding people, for a long time) and helped me feel more like my old self. Yes, it can be stressful at times – for me, this is usually November when I create my own advent calendars for my customers, every year promising myself I won’t do it again – but I wouldn’t be where I am without it.
*Shameless plug* – If you’re interested in safe home fragrance (no candles or open flames), take a look at my Scentsy website here.