A Single Woman’s Guide to Side Hustling

I am over the moon to announce my upcoming book “A Single Woman’s Guide to Side Hustling “. This was a year long project I’ve been working on and I’m excited to be releasing it with the world. Or, you know, a handful of readers. I decided last year to write something for all of my would-be side hustlin’ ladies and now that the project is complete, I cannot wait to share with you.

I get real about my life experiences, people in my life and what I’ve done/do to make my side hustles worth my time. I hope you’re able to purchase a copy. I’ll have an eBook and hard copy version available. And would love to hear your honest feedback once you had a chance to read it.

It’ll be published and available for purchase at the end of April. Yay!

Hard Work Ahead

Yes, there will be. That is, hard work ahead.

And short hours on sleep. Late nights working on projects. Negotiations with clients. Following up with clients and quality assurance. Marketing tactics and strategies. Growing pains. A shrinking social circle. A desire to sleep and stay in. Shorter sleep. Less personal time. Constant emails. Dozens of text. Scheduling of phone calls. Invoices and statements. The tracking of payments. Increased local travel. Brainstorming sessions. Conference calls. Website up dates. Ask for reviews and recommendations. Networking events. Handing out business cards. Follow-up calls. Thank you notes.

Yes, there will be hard work ahead. But, as they say. No risk, no reward.

You ready?

Working 5 to 9: Finding the Time

The biggest excuse among most of us is time.

“We don’t have enough time”, “we can’t find the time to do this or that”, “where did the time go?”  Time seems to be this invisible enemy we’re all racing against to get shit done.  Whether we’re just rushing out the door to make it to work on time or trying to see if it’s worth our time to run to the store today after work, after that client or sometime later this week.  And for our lady hustlers out there, finding time to meet with and work with clients, time is a b*tch! (Forgive my political incorrectness here, it just happens to be a part of my vernacular.  Sorry, not sorry).

Rather, the lack of time is a b*tch.

I don’t know if you’ve heard or read those memes where they name some celebrity (Beyonce comes to mind) and they compare the whole world to this one person (forgetting that high profiled celebrity has an entourage of people at their beck and call) saying that this person has the same 24 hours in the day as we do and they get their shit done.  Not too  sure if this is meant to guilty trip us or motivate.  It’s questionable.  And, yeah, that’s true.  But, like us too, many of those A-List actors and performers had normal jobs or normal lives prior to their current status and had to find time in their normal days to make it as big as they’ve become.

They too had to find the time.

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My dearest fried, Elissa, sent me this photo/ quote from a book she’s reading  few days ago.  And yes, shame on me for not asking what book this was from, I’ll ask her later, but as you can see she clearly circled a passage that talks about time:

Look for windows of time just for you, and use them in small and creative acts.  Get to the record store at lunch hour, even if only for fifteen minutes.  Stop looking for big blocks of time when you will be free.  Find small bits of time instead.

Time is no longer an excuse any more, unless we allow it to be.  You don’t need a lot of time to start and even work on your hustle.  Granted, a lot of time would be nice, but do know how much you could get done in 60 minutes versus 24 hours if you knew that 60 minutes was never going to come around again?  And essentially, it won’t.  Not those same 60 minutes.  Maybe not even those same uninterrupted 60 minutes.

You and your hustle or your dreams or goals or plans or whatever you’re calling it in 2019 can go far if you just find the smaller blocks of time and use them to your best advantage.  Going forward, I want Wednesdays to b about the work we do for ourselves, not our bosses, not again some time clock (another enemy) from the hours of 5pm -9am.

So, today or any other day this week, how will you use your small chunks of time to start your hustle or take it to the next level?

Side Hustlin’ Sunday: Virtual Assistant

I am unsure if I brought this up earlier, but I will expand on this further either way.

Virtual Assistant.

Now, I know of several companies that offer legit remote Virtual Assistant opportunities, but I feel like they all require you to get yourself or be vetted through the company you’re going through. I’m firm a believer that a side hustle shouldn’t be difficult to get started. So, if you found yourself in one these companies and had no luck getting clients, strike out on your own.

You can creat a website, Facebook page, a Craigslist posting or whatever it is to help you get the word out there. By all means, do so. But also narrow down your services and packages. I’ve done this in so many forms, I didn’t know what it was at the time, just that it paid.

How I did/do it – I still use this hustle from time to time – was simple:

  • List all the services I was willing to offer and complete. Nothing on the list could be something I hated doing. ‘Cause then I wouldn’t do it.
  • Have a fixed price for each service. I used a flat monthly fee. Example, my social media marketing service was $175. My research was service was $150.
  • Offer packages. Make it more appealing by offering some of your services together for a fair price. You can offer three services for $500 or something.
  • Make sure take a deposit up front. Keeps everyone honest and fills your pockets to help some of the cost, should there be any.
  • Offer payment options: Venmo, PayPal, Square app, cash, credit card, whatever you like and think your clients might use.
  • Get a commitment timeline from your client . One month is not a good show of faith for either you or the client. A 3-month minimum commitment is ideal.

If this is an appealing opportunity, find a way to make this work and even enjoyable for you.

Happy hustlin’!

Side Hustlin’ Sunday: Photographer

I think this is a side hustle I’ve been a little leery about sharing, not because I don’t believe it can’t be a lucrative side hustle, but because the market is so heavily saturated. I mean, I can think of five people I know personally who are self proclaimed photographers, regardless of how successful their hustle may be. And I love photography. I love taking pictures, even if it’s on my smartphone. I mean, there are dozens of apps out there dedicated to art of taking pictures.

But when people think of photography as a way to make money, they think photo shops, weddings, big production events because that’s where the money is. But how does one break into an industry where there is so much competition? Look for other niche markets.

Such as…?

Maybe you can be a business photographer. Companies need someone to professionally take of their business location for their website or social media. Or take pictures for a local digital magazine. Or…create your own.

Sites like Foap will pay you for your photos. In other words, in a market so competitive, find opportunities that aren’t. After all, the best side hustles are finding markets whose needs have not been met.

Stay hustlin’!

PTHS Tuesday: Division, Subtraction and Addition

Part Time Hustle Struggle: Time is the answer and equation involves division, subtraction and addition.

I find that the subtraction and addition become easier to pinpoint when I become more focused, but the division gets a little tricky.

It’s easy to begin to subtract what is not important in my life as I make more and more moves to become career independent and financially free. I know what I want and I direct my energy and my TIME to it. In doing so, I subtract people who fall in one of these categories:

  • Negatively critical – offer nothing constructive, because they have nothing going for them
  • Have nothing going for them altogether – when the goal becomes crystal clear, it becomes a chore to entertain people who aren’t on the same mental wavelength
  • Hot air balloons – people who keep offering their help but never produce any kind. Almost as if they’re waiting for you to achieve it before they believe it
  • Small dreamers – they got dreams but they’re small. And not because they’re potential is small. They just believe they deserve less or “enough”; they believe in false truths
  • Toxic people- the worst. Nothing they say is positive and nothing they do is positive. The world sucks they’re doing nothing about it, it’s not their problem

Subtracting these people is easy. Adding better quality like-minded folks, easy too, but takes time. They have to find you, you have to find them. Work is involved.

But when the clutter is cleared and we’ve aligned ourselves with the right people, dividing our time is the biggest x variable I know. Yes, I believe in doing only what serves me. But that includes maintaining and building relationships. Improving my health and wellness. Increasing my business/ my bottom line. Saving more. Earning more. Making smarter investments. And all they while holding down a full time job. And God forbidden the other life occurrences that love to surprise me.

Hats off to the people who have kids and do this, because I’m still trying to make it work.

I think that the biggest part time hustle struggle is how to best divide your time to live and grow the life you want.

PTHS: Time to Network

Tuesday’s Part-time Hustlin’ Struggles — finding time to network.  When you already work 40 hours a week, it can be hard to find time to work on your side hustle or business.  The best hours to spend making those important moves are given to someone else in a time block that is traditionally hard to break.  I guess that’s another reason why side hustlin’ is so appealing.  The practice of working on your own schedule frees you up to take care of the mundane but necessary life tasks; going to the bank, going the grocery store, picking up your dry cleaning and so forth.

But what about networking?  That too is a very big element  I’ve learned over the years.  And we have to make time to network.   And no, not just networking events, although they are becoming more convenient as they’re being held after hours on week days, is not enough.  Networking is relationship building and you’re not going to accomplish that in a few hours no matter how in sync you might feel with that angel investor.

You gotta make time to meet other like-minded people.

I met a woman, by the name of Keyna this past Saturday at a Starbucks near USC (USC Village).  And although we had talked on the over, exchanged emails back and forth, this was our very first in person meeting.  And it was nice.  The meeting was nice, getting to learn about one another was nice and finding a kindred spirit was nice.  Who is the Kenya gal I keep using the word ‘nice’ about?   She’s a broker and financial consultant and we initially began speaking through an email she sent regarding an event she was scheduled to put on but had canceled for whatever reason.  I had notice that her email signature stated she was a broker so I took the chance and asked her if her organization was in need of a Loan Signing Agent. She said no, but was able to put me through to someone who she knew frequently used notaries and the loan signing agents.  All three of us had a conference call one afternoon on my lunch break.  I later touched base with the gentleman again and he assured me they recorded my information in their system to use me for any doc signing opportunities in my area.  After that call, Kenya and I set up a time to meet face to face.

All of which may have taken place about 30 days ago or so.  Not within no 2-3 hours time span at some lavish event.

And although I do enjoy the process, finding time to connect like that isn’t easy.  I have to make myself available hoping it fits whenever the other party is available.  And if not, I hope that whenever we do connect it’s not overly long as I’m probably only on a 10 minute break.  In which, I don’t want to rush someone off because then I come off as aloof and uninterested.  Emails turn into to calls, which are either, again, on my lunch break or after I get off of work.  Calls turn into meetings, which are, again, after work or on the weekends.  Which means any errands I had planned for the weekend gets shifted to an earlier or later time to accommodate this meet and greet.  And this is a cycle I go through with per person.

It’s a time consuming process for someone who always feels like they’re pressed for time.  But it’s just one of many elements I feel like I’m always pressed for time trying to take this hustle to the next level.  But nonetheless, very important.

PTHS: Not Enough Time

Part-time Hustle Struggles: Not enough hours in the day

I think one of the most challenging things I find about hustling part time is not having enough time to get everything I want done. Of course, people will say if you want it bad enough, you’ll make time. True. To a point.

And then there those memes that say Beyoncé has the same 24 hours in her as I do. Well, Beyonce isn’t also trying to pay off student loans. Hell, show me one loan Beyoncé had before she blew up big that she struggled to pay off (granted, I don’t know that much about Beyonce’s finances pre-fame).

Let me not side track to what Beyoncé has and what I do not.

Point: it can be challenging to make the serious moves and commitments you need to make when you’re still punching in a clock and on someone else’s schedule.

Anyone disagree?

Side Hustlin’ Sunday: Graphic Design

Now, graphic designers are becoming as ubiquitous as real estate agents.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t make a good side hustle or even a good living being one.   And we all know that the more you do something, the more you practice at it, the better you become.  And the better you become, the more you can charge.

With free sites like Canva.com, you can begin to teach yourself the basics about graphic designing.  It’s no PhotoShop, but hey, eveyone’s got to start somewhere.  And once you’ve nailed resizing, duplicating and choosing the right font, maybe you can go ahead and invest in learning PhotoShop and other tools of the trade.

Much success!

Thursday Thought’s: Side Hustle vs. Use of Time

First and foremost, let’s welcome in March!  It’s the top of the bottom of the first quarter of the year (I said that to deliberately confuse you). We are blowing through these months in 2018, aren’t we?  My mom was right.  As you get older, time just seems to speed up.

SLOW DOWN, 2018!  I’m trying to enjoy the year. I have plans!

Side hustling plans, obviously.  Speaking of side hustle, I had a short enough conversation with a coworker on the way down in the elevator one day leaving work realizing something interesting about how single people and “our time” are viewed.  My coworker had asked what was in the heavy bag I was carrying as we left work and I explained to her it was a project I had finished for a real estate client and I was dropping it off to them.  And then she tilted her head as if to say ‘what’.  I then quickly stated that I do work “on the side”.  And she then replied, “Oh.”  Oh.  Oh, as in, how wonderful it was that I really didn’t spend all my single free time do absolutely nothing.  [frowns face].  But if I wanted to, I surely be entitled to it.  After all, it is my time.

Now, this coworker of mine is my age, recently turned 33, acts a little older. But that’s because she has two young kids, her oldest is 3 and her youngest is 17 months.  She’s married to man who seems to constantly be in between jobs, so her salary supports all four of them.  And she commutes from Palmdale to LA five days a week for work.  Her plate is full, to say the least.  And for someone whose plate is so full to look at me, a person whose plate isn’t as full — oh, so she may think — and to know I do more with my time than just come to work almost validated my existence.  Again, the assumption that single people are lucky and have it easy.

I so do not agree with that, but I’m also a side hustler who keeps her plate full by choice.

Her validation of my “extra-curricular activity” wasn’t made because of the activity itself, but because I actually had one.  I was doing more with my time than Netflixing.  Forget the fact I am on path to position myself to be self employed.  I’m doing more than what I need to with my life.

Over it.  So over it.

Now, I like this coworker, but I will be damned before I apologize for my life choices or hers.  To each their own.  And I made this decision years ago that success would be a priority in my life.  A good friend of mine used to tell me all the time, ‘the more you have, the more you have to give’.  Damn straight!

I don’t want to be like everyone else.  I don’t want to content with mediocrity and the hum-drum of every day life  Low or status quo expectations are not for me.  I want more because I need it.  I need to know that when I leave this earth that I used every ounce of potential that was gifted to me.  I need to know I tried every avenue to live the life I see for myself in my head.  That doesn’t include kids before I’m ready.  Or a deadbeat husband.  Or even average friends.

So, yes.  I spend my time doing bigger better things (within my limited scope and reach) because I want bigger better things for myself.  That is the declaration I made to myself for myself.

To all side hustlers out there, you are validated in every thing you do, not because of the expectations that are placed you on and you exceeded them.  But because of you and all efforts.  You could have given up.  You could have realized “this” isn’t working and settled for what you have right now, hoping it might get better on its own.  But, no.  You decided to make it better with your own two hands.

You are the shit.  In case you needed reminding.