What’s your side hustle?

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My friend’s teenage daughter informed her the other day that she was enrolling in a nail technician class at high school.

The friend, who has been prepping her daughter for a good college education since she was a toddler, was less than thrilled.

“Why are you taking a beauty school class instead of an advanced placement academic class? Wouldn’t that be better for college?”

“MOM,” she said in an exasperated tone that only teenagers do perfectly, “Doing nails is my side hustle to help pay for college.  I can do it anytime, in the dorms, and there is a ready market if I need some extra cash.”

My friend went from worry to admiration for the enterprising spirit of her daughter.

We all need a side hustle.

If you are still working in a corporate job, a side hustle is a great way to test and try new business ideas. It can also be part of your backup plan in case you lose your job.  Examples of side hustles I have seen from corporate employee clients and friends over the years:

  • Web design
  • Home organizing
  • Writing and editing
  • Coaching
  • Computer maintenance
  • Massage
  • Tax preparation
  • Personal training
  • Yoga
  • Consulting
  • Catering
  • Photography

A good side hustle will have the following characteristics:

  • You like it
  • You are good at it
  • You are very clear who your market is (for example, if you are good with computers, you could offer your services to other homeowners in your neighborhood on your community bulletin board or in a newsletter)
  • You can generate a decent amount of quick cash in a short period of time
  • It does not require an extensive website or ongoing brand-building efforts like a more substantial small business. But more substantial businesses can and do emerge from side hustles.
  • It will not get you thrown in jail (dealing crack, while profitable and possible from your home, is not recommended)

The side hustle does not only apply to corporate employees, it can also be a great backup for small business owners affected by shifting markets or slow sales.

So what’s yours?

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117 Responses to “What’s your side hustle?”

  1. […] where the side hustle can come […]

  2. Brandy Nagel says:

    Pam, just wanted to thank you for the inspiration and let you know I quoted this blog post in my book, Digitally Famous: Visibility Campaigns for Job Seekers, published this year.

    excerpt: Use this free time to develop your side hustle. What is a side hustle, you ask? Check out this blog post from Pam Slim, author of “Escape from Cubicle Nation.” http://www.escapefromcubiclenation.com/2010/04/02/whats-your-side-hustle/ Remember, this is not the last time you will look for a job. A side hustle provides additional income and stability in your life.

  3. […] Recognize that self-employment can be a temporary option, to help keep you afloat between jobs. If you don’t look at yourself as an entrepreneur, or envision yourself starting a larger business, that doesn’t mean you can’t earn some income on your own either in between jobs or on the side to supplement your income. (Pam Slim is a great advocate of developing a “side hustle.”) […]

  4. […] Corporate Escape. I will share many of the experiences I have faced as I built my business as a “side hustle” while working my full time jobs. As I continue my new journey, I will share my triumphs and […]

  5. […] explaining how I do my work with Whiteboard. For four years, I have built this business as a side hustle and looked for ways to make the most of my limited time. Now that my full focus is on Whiteboard, […]

  6. My side hustle is my Stella & Dot business. It’s fun, I meet many clients for my coaching business, I get fabulous, hip jewelry…and it gets me out of my damn yoga pants and back out into the world! As the former SR. VP of an Investment Management firm (turned full time mom & life coach), it seemed like an unlikely direction…but the great jewelry and in-house coaching lured me in. Then, when I learned that Sequoia Capital invested $37 mil into Stella & Dot, that sealed the deal for me. Love being part of a supportive, fast growing company in fertile ground, and it nicely augments what I’m already doing. http://www.stelladot.com/style/trunkshow/e7bd69c6-8edf-11e1-ad30-005056b55330

  7. tyree morgan says:

    I am simply a street performer/musician/singer/song writer. i sometimes play in bars or for businesses in order to draw attention to a business. I also sell Cd’s of my original music for exposure while doing so.

  8. […] great to see an article on CNN that addresses the need for a side hustle although Thurman and other popular blogs have been addressing this issue for quite […]

  9. […] – you could start a business. Your business could be anything from blogging to graphic design, giving manicures and pedicures to importing products from China and selling them on eBay or Amazon. You could also head overseas […]

  10. […] Slim talks about having a side hustle. She explains, “If you are still working in a corporate job, a side hustle is a great way to […]

  11. […] Cubicle Nation and coach to a new age of entrepreneurs, thinks we all need a side hustle, and has a series of interviews in her blog with moving success […]

  12. […] immature professionals with a full work day and managing side hustles, blogs, and other online hobbies, we understanding with a fusillade of incoming and effusive […]

  13. […] are numerous ways you can have a “side hustle” as Pam Slim would […]

  14. […] One of my favorite people who explores this topic is Pam Slim over at Escape From Cubicle Nation. Not sure about starting your own business? Try the Side Hustle. […]

  15. […] list goes on and on. But none of those things prevent anybody from having what Pamela Slim calls a side hustle. If nothing else, your side hustle can provide a nice second income which will at least give you […]

  16. […] 75% of their income for the first ten or twelve of their earning years. Could you? Others have a side hustle going – they work their day jobs and work additional business ventures during off […]

  17. […] am all for making our lives as multi-tasking, side-hustling, family-having, professional women a little bit easier. If you have an iPhone, check out this […]

  18. […] Slim talks about having a side hustle. She explains, “If you are still working in a corporate job, a side hustle is a great way to […]

  19. […] in jail (dealing crack, while profitable and possible from your home, is not recommended) That post paired with this New York Times article on inventing the career you want based on what you like […]

  20. […] example would be sticking with a day job while you build up a side hustle or doing freelance work for a limited period of time, to prepare for a big life […]

  21. […] side hustle is a job that you can do in your free time to make a little extra money.  It should be something […]

  22. […] hand in the resignation but hang it in a place where it can motivate you to take action on your side hustle, small business, or networking activities. Enter your email […]

  23. […] more important today to help people develop alternative ways to generate income (such as a strong side hustle).After my session, I had a long talk with a woman who has a huge body of knowledge in a particular […]

  24. Greg says:

    After being frustrated in my job for years, I created my side hustle (consulting), and eventually grew it to where it’s been my full-time job for going on 3 years. Although starting my consulting business at first seemed unrealistic, I found that taking action was incredibly empowering, and starting and running my own business has completely changed my worldview. I feel much more in control, confident, and secure economically.

    Read more about my experience, as well as tips & tricks for creating a consulting business as a side hustle at http://www.StartMyConsultingBusiness.com.

  25. […] hustles (a term I first heard from Pam Slim of Escape from Cubicle Nation) are all the rage these days. A side hustle is anything you are doing […]

  26. […] Escape from Cubicle Nation: “What’s Your Side Hustle?” […]

  27. […] I have a side hustle because I enjoy working for myself and getting better on my own terms. […]

  28. […] in return help out someone in the community. The most common source, tutoring, has been my “side hustle” (http://www.escapefromcubiclenation.com/2010/04/02/whats-your-side-hustle/) , so that I can […]

  29. […] integrate related products and services into your offerings to moderate fluctuations in demand. See Pam’s posts in her “Side Hustle and Flow Series”.Royal guard – Marshall your helpers, […]

  30. […] if you created a “Side Hustle” by turning your passion into an income […]

  31. […] working on his creative gift as a side hustle (he sang evenings and weekends), he eventually was able to break into music as his full-time gig. […]

  32. […] Most students coming out of school aren’t looking to start their own businesses.  But I think some of the advice in this video fits with people entering the working world.  And hey, maybe you can apply this wisdom to your side hustle. […]

  33. Faria says:

    Not smart. They government counts the money you earn in high school against you in your financial aid calculations. The more AP classes you pass – the more free college credits you get and less credits you’ll have to pay for in college. Bad deal.

  34. She's Savvy says:

    My side hustle is retail. I work one day a week in a department store, not on the sales floor, and have been doing it for years. My schedule is flexible and I get a great discount on clothes, make-up, shoes, etc. I love it!

  35. […] Slim, author of the blog Escape from Cubicle Nation, talks about the concept of the side hustle. These are secondary jobs used to try new business ideas, or they’re the backup plan if a person […]

  36. […] and Flow Interview Series is designed to inspire hard-working corporate employees to either start a side hustle if they are interested in eventually starting a business, or to keep going with their existing side […]

  37. […] Engagement Pamela Slim, author of the blog Escape from Cubicle Nation, talks about the concept of the side hustle. These are secondary jobs used to try new business ideas, or they’re the backup plan if a person […]

  38. […] I’d been dancing around it for almost a decade, coaching as a “side hustle” as Pamela Slim would say. But deciding to do it “for real” – as in getting […]

  39. […] and Flow Interview Series is designed to inspire hard-working corporate employees to either start a side hustle if they are interested in eventually starting a business, or to keep going with their existing side […]

  40. […] EngagementPamela Slim, author of the blog Escape from Cubicle Nation, talks about the concept of the side hustle. These are secondary jobs used to try new business ideas, or they’re the backup plan if a person […]

  41. […] on a hamster wheel on your main hustle. Pamela Slim of Escape from Cubicle Nation mentioned about the importance of the side hustle to transition from corporate prisoner to thriving entrepreneur. Scott Young of Get More From Life […]

  42. […] and Flow series profiles real people who started their career in large corporations, and worked a side hustle until they were able to quit their job and support themselves full-time as an […]

  43. […] quick indicator of how critical it is to make short-term plans to leave a job, versus a much longer side-hustle […]

  44. Chuck Beretz says:

    My side-hustle is a dietary supplement I created for muscle cramps. Sorry ladies, not THOSE kind of cramps 🙂

  45. For many, side gigging or hustling is necessary and not just an option. Rising costs of living and debt levels, while wages not keeping up with the trend are forcing individuals to pursue alternative means to scour up cash. That said, this post nicely highlights getting involved with what you are most passionate about. When you do something you love, you never work even for a day – so they say at least.

    Side gigging is definitely the way to go – it is something I have always practiced and preached about.

  46. […] things I really enjoy. Writing has become one of those things, and I am actively trying to pick up a “side hustle” as Pam Slim refers to it. It’s like the little steps I’ve watched Chris take since we moved out here. Getting […]

  47. […] coaching or most recently the book – I have always had my main paycheck and my “hustle” […]

  48. […] of this is great news for me, and I really believe that I can turn what I had intended to be a “side hustle” into a full time career. I had never really considered working for myself until Chris & I moved […]

  49. […] of this is great news for me, and I really believe that I can turn what I had intended to be a “side hustle” into a full time career. I had never really considered working for myself until Chris & I moved […]

  50. […] looking out for the next assignment, the next gig, the next thing.  My pal Pam Slim recommends having a “side hustle” – that thing you have going on the side, that – if push comes to shove – you […]

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