Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ask LBS: Turning Hobbies into Hustles

So lately I've been receiving a ton of questions from lovely readers like yourselves. Just a disclaimer, I'm not an expert in anything (yet) but I'm learning as I go along in this life. With that said, I'll be answering all the questions I get to the best of my ability. I even started a Formspring - Ask LoveBrownSugar - for Q&A! In the meantime, here's an interesting question I received recently...

Reader Lish asked,

I do have a question for you. I am slightly addicted to shopping and in this day and age everyone has small "hustles" here and there. In what way can I make my shopping and love for fashion and style into something that could become lucrative? 

With the pocket-draining holidays coming up, I’m imagining many of us will be in search of some lucrative side hustles once the new year begins. You know those inevitable New Year’s resolutions like: “I resolve to save money” or “I resolve to tap into my inner talents” etc. Here’s where the side hustles come in. In this day and age, it’s important to have your eggs in more than one basket. With unemployment running rampant and  layoffs happening everyday, it’s always a plus to diversify your portfolio and find ways to turn something you love into something that loves you back, monetary-wise.

Here are 5 different personality types, and ways to easily turn things you love into lucrative side jobs with little time and without sacrificing too much effort (or money)...

The Photographer

Nikole, MoptopMaven
Got your hands on a DSLR? The door is wide open for opportunity. If you've always loved photography and you finally got your hands on a professional camera, or if you've been technically trained but never had a chance to explore options - you can do it. Start off small with family events and private parties. Eventually, with a little word of mouth and an impressive portfolio, you can expand your scope and start up a small side job. The important thing is that you tap into people in your immediate network and branch out from there. For example, new families are always looking for photos. Find out who, in your immediate network, just had a baby and get to clicking! By this time next year you could be the go-to photog for holiday portraits.

Bonus Tip: If you have the ability, camp out outside of the tents at Fashion Week! Score contact info from a top editor you snapped a shot of, and you're golden.

The Stylist
Celebrity Stylist, June Ambrose
 “Girl, where do you find this stuff?”, “You have such great style!”. “You need to take me shopping.” – any of these phrases sound familiar? You must be the stylista of the crew. Ever have people stop you on the street and ask about your clothes, or friends who always ask you to take them shopping? Take them up on the offer! With a simple website and an inviting Craigslist ad, you too can have a budding personal stylist business going in your area. Start off doing it for friends, take lots of pictures and get testimonials from all your buddies on how great you took care of them. Once you have that, spend a little time developing a professional-looking site and you’ve got yourself a small business doing what you're already good at.

The Writer
Carrie Bradshaw, Sex & The City
You majored in journalism and/or communications and deep down inside, that’s your true passion. What are you waiting for? The amazing thing about this new digitally-driven world is that absolutely anybody with a little dedication and beginners tech-savvy can get their name out there and make an impression. How do you think LoveBrownSugar was born? There are amazing outlets for you to personally express what you feel is important via an online journal like a blog or even websites especially designed for guest posts like the Examiner. Don't be shy. Pitch ideas to publications you love, go to networking events in your area and intropduce yourself to industry folk, and just have fun exploring ways you can make your writing lucrative. Hell, write a book! I plan to one of these days...

The Social Butterfly
Left: Genevieve Jones, NY Socialite (kissing Damon Dash)
 You’ve always been amazing at making new friends. When you speak, people listen. They trust you. So what are you doing with a rolodex full of contacts and the know-how and savvy to sell just about anything to anyone? Freelance PR, that’s what!  Though public relations is overly glamorized in the eyes of today’s public (especially with TV characters like Samantha of Sex & The City representing the bunch) PR isn’t as hard to break into as people assume, especially if you’re doing it on a small scale. Let’s make this clear, you won’t be going from representing your little sister to representing Janet Jackson overnight. It just won’t happen. What you can do though, while you’re working on Janet, is represent small clients, from family and friends starting up small businesses or launching new public careers, or local talent that might need help. Again, Craigslist is your friend. You'd be surprised what launching a Twitter or Facebook accounts for someone can do.Educate yourself at sites like PRWeek and MediaBistro before you dive in head first!

The Fitness Guru
Celebrity Trainer, Jeanette Jenkins
You go to the gym religiously 5 times a week. You can run 5 miles in 15 minutes flat. Ansd you’re the friend that everyone wants to look like. “Girl, I wish I had calves like yours,"or "How do you get your arms so lean?”. If you have a knack for fitness, there is no reason at all you shouldn’t be getting paid for it. Though many private gyms don't allow personal training sessions outside of the professional training sessions they offer, there are no limitations on offering personal fitness consultations in-home, over the phone or online. With the holiday season coming to a close and the New Year upon us, you can bet you'll have plenty of potential clients come January 1st.

So Lish, here's my long exhaustive response to your question. What do you guys think? Any side hustles I forgot to include? Comment below - help a sister out!
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  1. Yeeesssss cause everyone needs a side hustle!! What better hustle than to do what you love : )

  2. I am def the writer, but i also love photography and interested in Pr work. Thanks!

  3. GREAT POST! Love your blog, it's super cute & informative - a great combo! ;)

  4. Christina you ROCK!

    Thank you so much for answering my question. You really went IN!! And I love you for it!!! You have me over here brainstorming...the wheels are turning watch out world!

  5. hay :) i just saw your link in IFB so i decided to drop by :) nice blog you have here. have a fabulous day/night!

    F. (opinionslave.blogspot.com) xx

  6. Such a great post! I always wonder how you can turn a favorite hobby into an actual career. It's so nice to hear other people's advice on how to do it.

    Great blog :)

  7. There are a couple of hustles I'm going after on your list! Fabulous roundup. Congrats on links a la mode btw!

  8. Great response! You thought of a whole ton of different skills she might have in addition to an interest in fashion. There are some really good suggestions in here too, and everyone should have a side hustle ;)

  9. This is an awesome post! One of my goals for 2011 is to turn my passions into profit!!!