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Want a side gig? Find your passion

On Episode 5 of Ratehub’s Real Money Talk Podcast, we sit down with three ‘side hustlers’. Liz, Kevin, and Hernani, all started working their regular 9 to 5 jobs but felt they needed something more. Each pursued their passion, shaping it into a part-time job to earn a little extra income on the side. They sat down with us to share their experiences, provide some tips, and tell us how they made their side hustle a success.

Kevin | 9:5 Mortgage Agent | Side hustle: refurbishing cars

Kevin started his side hustle, not as a revenue-generating activity, but to avoid some costs and pursue a passion. Always the car fan, Kevin decided to pick up old cars for a good deal, refurbish them, and sell them after a year of driving and recoup his expenses. Although he doesn’t earn a huge profit when selling his car, he earns enough to pay his gas, car insurance, and maintenance, so he drives for free. 

I do believe you need to have passion for a second gig in order for it to not feel like a job… it also allows me and my Dad to bond together and work on cars together. At the same time, you’re meeting a lot of people.” 

Being passionate about your side hustle is number one for Kevin, but in his field, he feels that it’s key to find the best deals in order to turn a profit.

“You make your money when you buy it so make sure you’re looking for that bargain at the beginning because that’s when you’re going to make your money. Selling it should be the easiest part.” 

Liz | 9:5 Social Media Marketing | Side hustle: Personal finance writer/speaker/educator

Liz’s current 9 to 5 started off as a side hustle. Working as a Data Analyst for the provincial government, at night she began managing small businesses’ social media on the side. Eventually, she worked enough to quit her Analyst job and make her side hustle full time. After a few months of managing her own social media marketing company, she got the itch for another side hustle.

“I choose to work a second gig because I have a lot of creativity and a lot of energy and I need to have constant stimulation and do different things throughout the day in order for me to be fully creative and to feel fulfilled.”

The side hustle became Ambitions Adulting, which Liz started after buying her first house at only 24. Because people wanted to know how she got there, and as she has continued writing, she expanded to include workshops, speaking events, and a mentorship program. 

Although Liz finds her side hustles fulfilling, they come with some risk. “[the biggest challenge is] variable Income. I worked in the government for 6 years and had extreme security, and I let that all go to take this risk to run my own businesses. And it’s been working so far but some months are better than others so just being aware of that and finding a cash flow system that allows me to continue living my lifestyle has been a little bit of challenge sometimes.”

Even with these challenges, Liz loves the work she does. She believes if you’re passionate about your side hustle, it‘s worth it. “My biggest piece of advice, and although it’s so cliché and corny, just go for it. Because you can’t learn unless you try.”

Hernani | 9:5 Registered Nurse | Side hustle: Photographer, Dancer, Event Coordinator

Passion was always the motivation for Hernani when he started his many side hustles. Photography began as a hobby for him but quickly grew into a source of income and fulfillment. It gives me the ability to be creative, to be my own boss… with this I’m flexible I can meet new people, and also say no to certain clientele who would not make me feel good about what I’m doing for my business.”

Hernani was hesitant when first starting his side jobs, knowing that it would be a challenge to balance these against a full-time job. “It does become exhausting… you have to make sure that you have the dates lined up and the capability of providing that for your clientele as well as for yourself and there are many weekends and many weeks and days that I would be consistently working.” Despite this big workload, Hernani finds a lot of fulfillment in the projects he’s doing. His side hustles are really his hobbies, and it’s a bonus that he gets paid for what he loves. 

Hernani has two pieces of advice. The first is that a side hustle should support either your passions or career.  “Is this an opportunity for you that can excel in your own career? If not is it something that is therapeutic for you and provides you with something that relieves a lot of the stress that you already have?” If it checks off one of these boxes, then your side hustle may be worth the work.  

His second is he always makes sure he appreciates the projects he’s taking on. “A good friend of mine taught me the Three Ps… I need to have at least two of these: people, price, or project… so if the people are great and the price is great but the project isn’t good, well that’s ok… that’s something that made it so much easier for me to say no.” 

The bottom line

One strand that follows each freelancer is they’re passionate about their side hustle. Doing it just for the money can become tiring and lead to burnout.

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