The Side Hustle

The Side Hustle

Listen to Ruth from The Happy Saver

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I thought I would conduct a small experiment in the month of February. Get a job AND create a side hustle. I thought everyone knew what a side hustle was but my sister did not, so there are probably others equally in the dark.

Side Hustle: When you find ways to earn an extra dollar outside of the usual way you earn a dollar.

So, if you work a job at Quickie Mart by day you might deliver newspapers after work, create an online yoga retreat, sell cars or even start a camel trekking business. You keep your day job but explore other things you are interested in and make money while you do it. Your options are endless!

I had to leave my “proper job” back in March 2016 because both of my parents took ill and needed me. That’s when my income stopped and apart from relieving work here and there from about July last year my job life (I hesitate to call it a career) has been on pause. I’m not complaining, taking time out to focus on family has been a worthwhile experience (when it wasn’t incredible stressful that is). But both of my parents are more settled now and since Christmas I have been needed less, thanks largely in part to the help of my siblings. Since January I have been at a bit of a loose end. I have been tidying a lot, which is a bit of an indication I’m bored. Mr Happy Saver’s head popped up above his computer monitor recently and said “Ruth, you need a job!”

I miss the interactions that a job brings. I’ve also missed contributing to my family finances and although we continued to save on one income, two would be much better.

So at the start of February I decided to put the feelers out for a job AND create some cash flow while looking. Job hunting in a small town does not involve LinkedIn! Instead you rely on networking in such environments as:

  • Bumping into a business owner you know in the wine aisle at the supermarket and having a chat
  • Falling in step with another acquaintance while walking the dog in the forest and having a natter
  • Just generally putting the word out to friends that you are looking. I have received many tip offs about available jobs. This has been great because this small town constantly surprises me with the range of work available. From shearing gangs to a satellite data company - we have it! I’m qualified for neither by the way.

There were also a few jobs in the paper I applied for and my ‘company research’ included talking to those mentioned above and asking them “Do you know XYZ… what would they be like to work for…?” The job interviews themselves were equally low key. I used to find looking for work nerve wracking but I’ve have actually found the whole thing really enjoyable this time round.

SO, while that pot was cooking all February I was focussing on my side hustle of bringing in some income and I set myself the goal of conjuring $1,000 out of the ether by doing things I enjoy all month.

My main side hustle is this very blog. It is something I’m trying and testing with the long term goal of turning it into a career. My only business cost is my time. Right now though it is all just good fun for me as I establish my ability to string a few words together and find my audience. Hello YOU!

We have a friend with a day job and her new side hustle is a sport photography ( business which brings her in some income, more on this another day soon. Another makes High Vis Merino running tops outside of his current job (I will give you a link when they go on sale). I listened to a great podcast yesterday and she had a full time job and on the side was building up a business making bras. Comfortable ones! Another had an online workshop to teach people about personal finance. A lot of people start a side hustle as a way to test a market and try something different, alongside their current job. Their intention may be to then pivot their career and head down a new path but because they have been trying it on the side they know if it is going to work before they chuck in their main job.

My interpretation this February has been to do a lot of different things for a bit of fun that bring in some cash, 80% of which will be stashed into savings. Here is how I got on:

  • Sold retro wool wall paper, kids school chair, giant military shell casing (random!) to antique shop - $230
  • Sold chicken self watering system to friend - $150
  • Sold posts and wire to same friend - $50
  • Sold chicken feeder to random person (who it turns out I knew when he turned up anyway so let’s call him a friend) - $50
  • Temp work at a business in town - $510
  • Tried to give two old cups to someone and then insisted on giving me - $10!
Retro wool wallpaper

Retro wool wallpaper

Chicken self watering system

Chicken self watering system

It is the easiest money I have made and it feels like a bonus. All it took was a bit of effort, go out and work some hours when called upon and to finally drag stuff out of the attic, tidy things up and post them on FB. I still have a bit more stuff to move on BUT as an ongoing income this is not going to be overly sustainable. Once you have sold all the excess crap in your house then that income stream is gone and you need to find another way to fill that gap... I also still have one 1972 Land Rover for sale if anyone wants it!

I’ve made a few quick bucks in other ways in the past six months:

  • I made $100 for test driving a brand new car for a paid research company ( in case any of you are interested in signing up). I worked in sales/account management for many years so this was a dream gig for me; asking all the curly questions, fishing for responses and driving a beautiful car. The brief was very clear when it said “DO NOT BUY THE CAR”. I was tempted.
  • I also got paid $80 by Gareth Morgan Investments for answering questions about finance. I could do that all day too.

If you, like me, have a complete chicken self watering system that you no longer use then why not turn it into cash? What’s your side hustle, either real or imagined? There is such great opportunity out there but it is up to you to kick it off and make it happen. We all start from zero so what have you got to lose? February is drawing to a close and I have reached my $1,000 target easily. Picking up extra work hours really helped to push me over the line which is awesome. I have really really really enjoyed it and have been surprised at how easy making extra dollars was.

And as for the job I hear you ask? Things have worked out well on that front too. After a few job interviews around the town I was delighted to be offered a role in the very place I have been temping. This came out of the blue but is the absolute perfect fit for me (and for them hopefully). I thought my constant chatter and trying to fob off my husbands baking as my own might have put them off. Clearly not. It is part time too so I can now work a bit, go running a bit, be there for my daughter a lot and focus on building my most enjoyable side hustle yet... this blog!

Keep the feedback coming, you can comment below or flick me an email. I love hearing from you.

Happy Saving!

The Happy Saver podcast recommendations

Here is some Side Hustle inspiration for you.

I also came across Side Hustle School which has nice and short stories of people who are creating their own unique side hustles:

KiwiSaver Switch

KiwiSaver Switch

Kids vs Money

Kids vs Money