Blogmas Day 2: Side Hustlin’

Good morning friends! (Or afternoon, or evening, or whenever you happen to be reading this!) For me, Day 2 is beginning, the coffee is hot and the early morning light is streaming into my eyes. It’s going to be a beautiful day! Today, I’m going to talk about side hustles and my experience with them so far. One could say that I’ve lived my entire life as a side hustle. But I digress.

For simplicity’s sake lets say that my full-time job is physical therapy. (Within physical therapy I do 3 things- home health, private practice, and teaching- all part-time and therefore “side-hustle-y” but while all are relatively steady sources of income, none have blossomed into the passion-fueled intensity that I so crave in my life!)

Mis-adventures in MLM

For the past few years I’ve been searching for something different. In 2013, I got started with a multi-level marketing (MLM) company called Young Living Essential Oils. Long story short, I didn’t end up doing too well, and although I still use the oils personally, I never made enough of a profit to continue. I did enjoy learning about how MLM’s work, and it pushed me to become more comfortable with sales and public speaking.

Jewelry making, yay!

My next venture was into jewelry making. While I still love jewelry making, looking back I see that I really needed something easier. But I just couldn’t bring myself to sell or re-sell cheap trashy throw-away jewelry. I wanted to make quality items that would last and not contribute to landfills. I took silver-smithing classes, bought expensive semi-precious gemstone beads, even a jewelry-making bench with all the tools. Problem is, the learning curve. As a beginner, and one-man show, I was spending so much time on hand-crafting beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces, I wasn’t able to sell stuff fast enough to warrant the time I was spending on making it. I kept wishing I could get a job as a bench jeweler working for someone else, so I could hone my skills. Unfortunately, these jobs pay little more than minimum wage. In the meantime I was still working physical therapy because it brought in the money I needed to keep paying my living expenses. This did not work out, and I ended up with my jewelry bench and supplies still sitting in my living room, my beautiful jewelry-making projects tantalizingly waiting for me to make the time for them.

Gettin’ real…

Well, with my more recent reality-check in looking at my finances, and seeing on paper how much time I would have left in paying off all my student-loan debt (3.5 years) IF I keep paying it off at the level I’m paying now, ($1500/month), LESS if I can pay more… I’ve found new ways to look at an old, sad, abandoned, side hustle.

Building an audience takes time

One thing I learned about side hustles is that if you want to sell something, someone has to want to buy it. And one has to be recognized and known for being able to provide such things- you have to have an audience. And building an audience takes time, at least it has for me! When I started jewelry making, I worked at making myself known to my friends as someone who makes jewelry. I made a website, took pictures, set up a facebook page and instagram, did a couple of shows. All this dredged up minimal interest and not enough $$$. When I quit making jewelry, I didn’t really tell anybody I had quit, so I still get the occasional request, and I found there were two things people wanted- a pendant I made with a glass cabochon and a pretty picture (could be any picture), and malas.

Glass cabochon pendant with Paramhansa Yogananda photo
Mala- shown here with garnet and onyx beads, used for meditation and prayer
Revamping a side hustle

The pendants are relatively easy and quick to make, now that I’ve done it and know how to source the supplies. The malas take a little more time, but I still have all the beads and string… All I need now is to create a new habit of stringing malas nightly and boom! A new side hustle created out of revamping an old side hustle! And I have a renewed sense of motivation around bringing in an extra couple hundred dollars a month – I can now truly see how much every little bit counts.

Thanks again for reading and I hope you get inspired by my stories! Let me know in the comments down below. I’d love to hear about your side hustle- failed or not! 🙂

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