Have you ever wanted to make money through your favorite hobbies? The Leadership Institute hosted their very first Chapter After Workshop of the semester, "From Hobbies to Hustle," on Thursday, Oct. 22. Students got to hear a panel of guest speakers describe how they turned their passions into a streaming income.
The workshop started with a brief introduction of exactly how to turn an extracurricular activity into a job on the side. This can mean anything: sewing, photography, podcasting, filming, blogging, vlogging, writing or starting a small business. As long as a person has the right tools to market themselves to potential clients, then word can spread around about their passion and clients or audiences will recommend their work to others.
Some tools discussed during the workshop include business accounts on social media (i.e. Instagram, Facebook) and websites, to provide hubs for all things related to that side hustle, as well as track analytics. Some may want to showcase their photography skills with pictures of their clients or sell products from a small crafting business to get their merchandise out to the public. It is also important to network with fellow influencers to help promote the business, have specials on certain products or host a giveaway to increase engagement with customers.
Yohanny Capellan, a senior at Kean studying graphic design, talked about her skin-care business, Silken, which she started during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her business is dedicated to providing a natural body moisturizer that is healthy and not toxic to the skin.
"For a lo ng time, I have always had people ask me what I was passionate about. It took me to reflect back on some experiences I had that impacted me personally, which created a passion within me," said Capellan. "If you are in a place where you're figuring out who you are, or if you know you want to be your own boss, just think about what really motivates you to have a passion for something you are dedicated to...I recommend that people have something that will make them stand out from others to market those skills."
Mary Lanae Linen, a Kean University alum who graduated in May 2020, talked about her clothing business, Cut 'N Curated. This is a clothing store that makes thrifted clothing seem new by redesigning it, to conserve resources and protect the planet. Linen also described how important it is to know the target audience for a specific brand, whether it be for clothing or any other area. It helps create engagement as well as exposure.
Linen is also a photographer and a filmmaker. She described how she made herself an active social media influencer to promote other brands on platforms such as Instagram.
"You literally can make a business out of anything and everything. If you love to do it, you can do it," said Linen. "When something is important to you, it shows through your work. It is very important to have pride in what you put out, so if you want to have these side hustles and businesses, you need to think about if you would buy your own product the way it is. Everybody loves a story they can relate to. Your 'why' is going to keep you going."
Building a side hustle or a small business is time consuming and it takes plenty of dedication. However, if students are interested in building a broader, new life for themselves, or just want to make some extra money on the side, they can put themselves out there and start right away. Something small could become very successful in the future, opening up doors to other opportunities. All it takes is a single step.
For more information about the Leadership Institute and their upcoming events for the rest of the semester, check out their page on Cougar Link for details.