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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Side Hustles

Since it's brief mention last week, I've been on the receiving end of a few tacit enquiries about the nature of the side hustle, mostly texts from friends and concerned members of my family wondering if I've lost my marbles. For those conclusion-jumping enquirers and my mother's peace of mind, no, calling it a hustle doesn't mean it has to be illegal, nor does it mean that I am planning to go on the game.

In a nutshell, the side hustle is what you do to bring in money when the fiscal glue that holds everything together starts to look less like Superglue and more like that vaguely tacky substance on the back of a Post It Note. The side hustle, while sounding faintly exciting, is not like The Sting. There will be no Robert Redford spouting encouraging, pithy epithets while you go on your merry way towards bamboozling a crooked businessman with a gambling problem - although there really should be a government bureau for bamboozling famous, crooked businessmen - just a thought. Nor is the side hustle boring. It's not your average part-time job. As a loose rule, the side hustle must be slightly entrepreneurial and an expansion on a hobby or interest. You like baking? Sell cakes to friends. Cordon Bleu in your spare time? Why not set up a guerrilla restaurant in your own home once a month? If you like music, then maybe setting up and promoting a club night or gig is for you.

If you have too many items of clothing in your wardrobe... you get the picture. With Facebook and Twitter, PR via word of mouth is a zero cost way to tout your wares in a friendly environment, and Paypal means that it's easy to extract payment from potential customers all over the world.

Every so often, whenever my father takes a breath in between queries as to why I'm not working for Barack Obama or Anna Wintour, he comes out with the occasional gem of wisdom. 'Diversify or die' is one of my favourites. What's the one thing that every rich person seems to have in common (apart from 'an embryonic, glassy-eyed other half')? Yep, that old chestnut, the portfolio of varied assets.

An apartment block here, an priceless masterpiece there; it's childs play for the Trumps of the world. For us though, it's a reminder not to keep all our eggs in one basket - we could well be using some of them to make fairy cakes for profit instead.