Side Hustles – Distraction or Investment Vehicle?

If you are running a small business you have to get comfortable with the word ‘hustler.’ No, I don’t work at a white shoe firm but the important thing is that I make money. Besides practicing law I also have found it useful to generate income in other ways so that I don’t fall into the trap of running up a credit card bill in hard times. I have found that an occasional cash infusion from another source, other than my law practice Diana Mohyi Attorney at Law P.C., is less stressful than risking high credit card interest and a bad credit report. Some business people think that side hustles are below them. Sometimes you have to consider that humbling yourself may make the difference between having your own business and having a new boss.

The question does come up however, are my occasional side hustles a distraction from my primary business? Which side hustles can I be involved with which carry minimal distraction? I believe the answer lies in whether the side hustle ads value to your life and whether it can assist your progress. It is precisely the same consideration a business person should think about when considering a new client in their primary business. Will this client add value to my life in terms of money or other opportunities or increased experience in a particular type of project? Or will they be a pain in the butt. Here are a few side hustles you might want to consider:

FILM/TV EXTRA – I know. What am I doing offering myself as an extra when I have no plans–at the moment–of becoming a full time actress? Well it was fun and it helped me appreciate that running my business is fun too. In the spring I signed up for an appointment with Central Casting, a well-known casting agency with branches in New York and Los Angeles. All I had to do was show up, get my photo taken and sign common employment paperwork. I then waited for text messages to come to my phone asking if I would like to submit to various television shows. Eventually I signed up to be a gala guest on a well known series not available in a regular cable subscription. The benefits included two meals a day, getting my hair professionally done and meeting some interesting people from a different ecosystem than my own. After taxes I may walk away with a few hundred dollars. I loved this experience because it was interesting. I got to act and the experience helped me appreciate the opportunities my education and business have given me. For one, the opportunity to explore other realms which were unapproved of by my parents.

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing If you are a prolific writer you can sell your books without having to sign up with a publisher or get yourself locked into a self publishing contract for little or no royalties. All you have to do is create a pdf of your work and upload it. You can sell your books as Kindles exclusively or Amazon will print the book for readers who choose to buy a hard copy. The set-up is free and Amazon makes their money only when you sell books. They have different royalty programs depending on what you are comfortable with and offer paid advertising.

Ebay Sell things on the internet. If you are in a suburban town, you are comfortable with the idea of a garage sale. Sometimes people sell things at these garage sales which are worth alot more than what they are selling them for. Some examples are comic books and fine pottery or art work. The trained eye can spot such treasures. Sometimes you also have treasures hidden in your closet which you have neglected for years. Why not sell them and make some cash? If you sell second hand items the sale is generally not taxable. The set up is easy. Create an account, choose a category, upload photos and choose auction, best offer (if you are willing to allow buyers to haggle) or fixed price.

AirBnBThe world’s most reputable internet subletting community. Rent a room or a couch. If you have an extra bedroom or even a couch, you could make several hundred dollars for a basic apartment or many thousands if you have an upscale apartment. As long as the perspective subletters have several good reviews it is safe to allow strangers to stay with you or without you. You also get to meet some great people and who knows, a new client. I hear the experience is worth the minimal effort.

Side hustles can do more for your life than just add to your pocketbook. They help you see the world from a different perspective and may be a nice way to break up the monotony in your life.

Thankfulness as a Business Reflective Tool

As we exit the Thanksgiving Holiday and think about wrapping up the final quarter of the year we cannot forget to use ‘Thankfulness’ to evaluate our progress first. Of course every corporation attempts to use losses to their advantage as we approach tax season. That’s allowed but it should never be the first step in reflecting on your business. Otherwise it may depress you! I like to use Tony Robbins’ concentric method of thankfulness self reflection by starting with myself and then branching out to others close to me and further away to think of all the things I am thankful for!

Start by listing all the things you are thankful for in your own life. Did you get more educated about the law or your particular business? Don’t forget that includes lessons about what not to do. Be thankful that client tried to screw you out of the thousands of dollars they should have paid you for a job well done despite the circumstances — which were their fault. As a result of that situation, you know you cannot trust that client and that you should take even more steps to fully evaluate the truthfulness of what a client represents to you about their legal situation. Furthermore, you now see the holes in your retainer agreement or business contract. Experience taught you how you can improve it, which comes in handy when you have to use legal measures to collect.

Next you list all the people around you that you are thankful for. For example, that unhumble person you met at the networking event who seems to have had all their opportunities handed to them including their cushy job. Be thankful that your business struggles have humbled you to become a human being. You now can never look at another business person the same way again. In fact you respect them more and and they like you because they know you get them. Voila! rapport built and new client retained.

Next think about the world around you. For example, struggles sent your way due to an economic environment that disfavors small businesses because of massive city state and federal taxes — New York City. Be grateful that you have learned to be cognizant of all the different ways you can deduct your expenses for your personal and corporate taxes. As a result of feeling the heat you were motivated to attend lectures on bookkeeping and basic accounting held by the New York City Small Business Administration. You are now able to help your business clients navigate the possible mines of getting too creative with deductions.

I promise you that if you make it a practice to think about what you are thankful for first, in evaluating the progress of your business, your mood will be better and you will be better able to keep pressing forward!