While living and interning in Nigeria, one thing struck me among my peers; everyone had a side-hustle. Cousins as young as 17 had hair businesses or online Christian bookstores, not to speak of my age mates who had successful clothing labels or accessories lines aside from their professional careers. It was inspiring. It struck me that the careers/ working lives in the West are far more linear. We are so focused on a singular aim, without much time or resources being invested in our other talents. See how I didn't call it a passion?
Dress : H&M | Shirt : M&S | Brogues : Miss KG by Kurt Geiger | Socks : M&S
I am sick to death of people forever spitting on the plight of professionals, placing creatives on a pedestal. We need to acknowledge that the success stories of the creatives would be mythical without the lawyers drafting the contracts, or the accountants managing the expenses, etc in the background. Let's give credit to whom its due. Back to the regularly scheduled programme...I promised to do one better than the mess that was Sophia Amoruso's #GirlBoss and genuinely share what I learned while surviving on the breadline for over a year, unemployed.
The Bloggers' Hangout Summer Party
SCALE OF SKILLS - First advice I will give is figure out what your talents are, and place them on a scale. The most lucrative will be the one that requires the least amount of effort, but flows naturally. For me, its styling and spotting fashionable pieces. I had always been the go-to girl for advice among my girlfriends when it came to style, so it was only natural that I took the talents I was developing from blogging, and profited from it through different means. The same could be said for my writing; although I find it a natural process to pen my thoughts & it seems to attract a positive reception from my readership, I find it time-consuming. So be sure to assess all sides of what you want to explore as a possible side-hustle before delving into it.
UPCYCLE - The second piece of advice is to work with what you've got! As a massive fan of thrifting, I fell into the Amoruso way of life almost by accident. I remember thinking up the idea of selling my things in University when times were hard financially in final year. That was the birth of blogger stores. As I was still building up my readership, I thought it might be better to advertise my items on my blog and social media, but list the items on eBay. I chose eBay because of its huge customer base, so I didn't need to spend time building a following. However, over the years selling random brick-a-brack and cross-promoting it on my social media paid off, because when the coin hit the base of the can & I decided to get serious about selling stuff again, I had a good customer base who were interested enough to pay attention when I listed new items. I learned the tricks of the trade fast, such as stating BNWT instead of 'Brand New With Tag' for items with tags unpopped, and the prime times for listing items i.e. late evening on a Sunday. Other technical tips include ensuring that your postage covers not only the postage costs of the item, but include travel expenses to the post office, admin charges, and not to forget notifying the buyer of all this in the description box. The key is to buy things in great condition for cheap, or gifts/freebies/testers you no longer want, and sell them at a hiked up price! Its a win-win!
READ ALL ABOUT IT - Keep up-to-date with what's popping in the scene of interest. For me, its fashion and beauty. For you, it might be something completely different. I have seen friend make successes out of the silliest things from slogan tote bags (great thinking in light of the mandatory 5p charge imposed in the UK last year) to natural haircare lines; I mean, we have used 'okumma' in our household for years, only for 'shea butter' to be all the rage for skin and haircare...just sell pre-existing stock online for a hiked up 'western' price, and perhaps look into better packaging. Again, another win-win.
SAMPLE RAMBLE - I have spoken about up cycling, but what I may not have mentioned is the possibility of selling on what you no longer want, or what you've got for free that is of no use in your collection/ wardrobe. For example, I searched high and low for the Ben Nye setting powders in Topaz and Sienna. I kept noticing that only tiny samples were available online, but for extortionate prices. That was until i spotted huge bottles on a US store. When the powders arrived, I soon realised that I would have to keep using it until my grave because the bottles were absolutely HUGE! So, I listed it online, and the first question was "Is this a sample size?", and the penny dropped. Why sell the bottle, when I could sell lots of mini samples, charge for postage, and make 20x more money than I paid on a regular basis? So I cancelled the listing, and resisted it as a sample, using the plastic casing of the foundation samples I had been using for a year (reference made in earlier #BrokeGirlsGuide) bottle. Thank me later.
"Things might come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle"
Abraham LincolnPlease note: I do NOT resell products sent from companies I am affiliated with. I see that as an indication of bad work ethic, and profiting from my position, which I am against. I would advise my readers to do the same, and would warn against this as it may otherwise be misconstrued as exploitation and may bar you from receiving products in future.