The term “side hustle” is becoming more and more mainstream these days as a way of referring to a small business that was started “on the side”. And while I think this is great, I prefer to use the term “heart project” (did you notice the name of this blog? ;)). Why? Because I believe that most often, side hustles are born out of some kind of calling or desire to fulfill a dream, or to respond to the constant tugging you feel on your heart.
Workplace dynamics are changing, and people are looking for more, whether financially or creatively. Students in college/university and recent grads are starting their own heart projects because they are full of ideas and brimming with new knowledge and they don’t want to settle for boring admin jobs or working in retail just to make ends meet. Moms on mat leave are starting their own heart projects so that they can work from home and be with their kids, while still contributing to the family income. Even professionals are escaping the chaos of their corporate day jobs to fulfill their creative desires and wear yoga pants all day every day while they work from the comfort of their own homes.
And because of this, we’re starting to see more resources for people looking to branch out on their own, from books like Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days by Chris Guillebeau, to podcasts like How I built This with Guy Raz (both of which I highly recommend!). There are also loads of other easily accessible (and FREE!) resources available online, from blog posts to Facebook groups to YouTube videos.
So I’m here to tell you that if you’ve got an idea, or if you want to make some extra money, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t start your very own heart project TODAY!
If you don’t start, you’ll never know if you’ll be the next Phil Knight (founder of Nike), who, as a college grad with no money, started selling sneakers out of the trunk of his car. Out of his car!!! Today, Forbes estimates that he is worth 25 BILLION DOLLARS. I can’t even wrap my mind around that number!
If you stumbled across this page today, and you are considering it, chances are that you have some really great ideas that could potentially develop into an incredible heart project of your very own. Are you going to let your uncertainty or fear of failure stop you from making a potential $25 Billion?
If you’re still not convinced, I’ve pulled together SEVEN reasons why you should take the leap and start your very own heart project TODAY:
1. Make Some Extra Money.
This first reason is pretty obvious – most people want to start their own side hustle to bring in some extra cash every month. Whether it’s $200, $2,000 or $20,000, a little bit of cash never hurt anyone, and your potential for making money is unlimited. People say money can’t buy happiness but here’s the truth: more income = more freedom and flexibility. And who doesn’t love that?
2. Pursue your Dreams.
Have you ever felt that you have a calling? Like you are just meant to write or create, or you are compelled to start a particular project? If yes, you’re in luck! New studies show that people who pursue their heart projects lead more fulfilling lives. A Tel Aviv University study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology states that young people who pursue their passions or follow their callings are more likely to take risks, be persistent, and ultimately, find jobs in their chosen fields. And other studies show that people who engage in activities they enjoy are happier and less stressed. If you’ve always wanted to be a painter, writer, business coach, or whatever, why not go for it? Sure, it can be scary and stressful at times, but the beauty of pursuing your heart project is that it doesn’t have to be your main source of income, so you can afford to take some risks to pursue your dreams!
3. Diversify your Resume.
Looking to add new skills and experiences to your resume? What better way than to start your own business? If I’m interviewing you and I know you have your own side hustle, I will automatically assume that you have skills like perseverance, strong work ethic, communication, creativity, problem-solving, and decision-making skills, among others. Not only that, but you get to use professional sounding titles like CEO or President. Or if you want to stand out, you can use creative titles like Chief Happiness Engineer. So go ahead, get creative, and own it! And don’t forget to add this to your LinkedIn account!
4. Two words: Tax deductions.
That’s right- you get to deduct all sorts of business expenses when you start your own business, which can offset your income, lower your profits on paper, and reduce the tax burden. Working from home? You can claim a percentage of your hydro, gas, phone and internet bills. Not only that, but you can claim a portion of your rent/mortgage as well! Have to drive somewhere for your heart project? You can claim gas money. Need to buy supplies or equipment? Save the receipts, because you can claim those against your income as well! Now don’t get me wrong, income is income, so you must report it, no matter where it comes from (my accountant mama would probably roll over in her grave if I suggested otherwise!), and the rules may differ from country to country. And although I can’t claim to know all the ins and outs of doing your taxes, I do know this: when I was working 2 different jobs and running my own tutoring side hustle, I was able to deduct a number of expenses that ultimately reduced the amount of taxes I needed to pay every year. So even if I wasn’t making a ton of money from my tutoring business, I saved a lot of money on my taxes. And that, my friend, is SO worth it!
Want more info? Here are some little known tax breaks for self-employed people from Turbo Tax Canada.
5. Bragging Rights.
Building your own business not only helps you build new skills, but it also helps you become empowered and helps you to gain confidence. You have totally earned the right to brag about your heart project. And don’t try to downplay it! So many people, especially women, feel the need to downplay their ambitions. Harvard Business School put out a study that concluded that women downplay their ambitions and assertiveness for fear that it will ruin their chances of finding a partner. Isn’t that just the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard? I’m not denying it, I just think it’s SAD! Whatever, girl you started a business! That takes hard work, determination, creativity, possibly a lot of rejection, (see other skills mentioned in point 3). You deserve to feel good about what you have created!
6. Build Your Legacy.
Have you ever done the exercise where you write your own eulogy? If you haven’t, it’s a morbid, yet eye-opening experience. It basically asks you to take a hard look at where your priorities lie and where you’re putting your energy. Most people who go through this exercise discover that they want to be known for being a good parent, spouse, etc. Family is often priority #1. You rarely find people saying they want to be known for the 80 hour weeks they put in at the office. When you’re looking back on your life, somehow that just doesn’t seem very meaningful. However, people do want to be known for following their hearts and pursuing their dreams. They want to be known for the things they have created. It’s a way of subconsciously leaving our mark on the world even after we’ve gone. What’s important to you? What do you want to be known for? What do you want to create? If you know the answers to some of those questions, there is no time like the present to start building your future legacy!
7. Diversify your Income.
About five years ago, my aunt told me to always have multiple sources of income. This way, should you lose a job for one reason or another, you still have the opportunity to earn money from your other sources. You are, therefore, not dependent on any one of your jobs. This was one of the most valuable pieces of advice anyone has ever given me (Thanks Auntie Nancy!). Since then, I have always had at least 3 sources of income at all times. This is especially important for me since as a sessional lecturer at a university, I start a new contract every semester. Although I can assume I will be re-hired each semester to teach, there is no guarantee, and the number of courses I am able to teach often changes, which means my income isn’t always consistent. There are also some semesters that I don’t teach at all, so having other sources of income can be really beneficial.
Want to start your very own heart project, but haven’t quite figured out yet what it should be? There are literally zillions of ways you can earn extra cash on your own terms – you just have to START.
Here are some ideas to get you going:
- Start a blog.
- Do some freelance writing.
- Sell your artwork.
- Tutor neighbourhood kids.
- Open an Etsy shop.
- Join a MLM business that you love.
- Consult other people or businesses.
- Offer yoga classes or personal training sessions.
- Teach online courses.
- Become a wedding planner.
- Coach soccer or teach dance/piano/art lessons.
- Start a Fiverr page and creating websites, apps or jingles.
There are endless possibilities – you just have to decide what aligns with your passions, goals and dreams, and go for it!!!
Have any tips and tricks to share from starting your own heart project? I would love to read about them in the comments below!
With love and gratitude,