The side hustle.
Everyone seems to have one nowadays. So it shouldn’t come as a shocker that even the leaders of business in the community are taking on their own.
Are you a chamber professional with a side hustle?
If you are, you’re in good company. If you’re not, here’s a closer look into what a lot of your entrepreneurial peers are currently doing.
What is a Side Hustle?
A side hustle is a slang term for a “mini business.”
The position is elevated above a hobby because it’s designed to make money. It’s referred to as a side hustle because it hasn’t taken over as the primary means of income… yet. It’s not uncommon for people with side hustles to grow them into more lucrative businesses.
Side hustles aren’t exactly the same thing as a second job. A second job means another boss, another set of hours one works, and more regimented expectations.
A true side hustle is something you start on your own or with someone very close to you as an additional way to bring in money. It can be worked at your leisure and fit into your current schedule. It’s not the same thing as reporting for duty every day at 8 a.m.
With the advent of the internet and the ability to enter into business with very little upfront costs, many people have started these types of revenue streams on the side.
Have you considered it?
While the biggest differentiator between what’s considered a side hustle and what’s considered a business is generally revenue, many businesses begin as a venture on the side. It’s a great way to test the waters and your ability to make money in a particular area.
Some people start one to fund a particular aspect of their life such as a vacation every year. Some people aren’t looking to grow it into a business … they just enjoy the spending money that comes from it.
Here are examples of some of the most popular side jobs you’ll see today:
- Driving for a rideshare program
- Renting out your home to vacationers
- Pet sitting
- House sitting
- Selling handmade items
- Driving for a delivery service
- Working in a network marketing company
- Selling old items or buying things at thrift stores and garage sales and selling them online
Some people also choose to start a side hustle as an entry to a potential business. You can make a business out of any of the things mentioned above or try your hand at some of these:
- Freelance writing or editing
- Graphic design
- Social media marketing for small business
Chamber Pros and the Side Hustle
Side hustles can be quite lucrative and they’re often the type of revenue streams that you can do in your spare time.
That’s why it’s a tad surprising to learn that so many chamber professionals have one. After all, where do they find the time?
But they are often entrepreneurial spirits and so it shouldn’t be that surprising that they too want to try their hand at the very popular trend of having multiple revenue streams.
In this article, we will cover the benefits of some of the most popular side hustles for chamber of commerce professionals as well as the downsides and pitfalls you need to avoid.
Benefits of a Side Hustle
There are several benefits to starting your own deal on the side as a chamber professional. These include:
- Additional Revenue. Chambers are rarely the highest paying employers in the area. Some chamber pros have part-time positions. A side hustle provides a nice stream of revenue some of which can be steady.
- Lots of contacts. Chamber pros often have a very sizable network making it easy to start something and gain momentum through word-of-mouth. You may also be able to pick up some new chamber members through your side business.
- Flexibility. They don’t have to be worked 8 to 5. You can spend a little time on them whenever you have extra time. They can be a good space filler. This is especially important to the chamber pros who work part-time for a chamber. It may be difficult with your part-time hours to pick up another part-time job but you can always start a side endeavor.
- Fill your soul. Let’s be honest. There are parts of every job that can be grinding. Sometimes our chamber work requires us to spend a lot of time doing things that don’t fulfill us. With a side hustle you can strike a nice balance. Your chamber job feeds the family, while your side work feeds your soul even if it doesn’t make a whole lot of money.
- Expand your knowledge. You can take a side hustle in a different direction or use it as a test whenever you want to. Because it’s yours it’s extremely agile and flexible. You can easily change direction with a whim or a suggestion. At the chamber you have stakeholders to answer to and board members. Your other business can quench your thirst for excitement and trying something new that the chamber might not be ready for.
Cons of a Side Hustle as a Chamber Professional
Your position as a business leader in the community is a difficult one as people often associate you and your opinions as official words from the chamber. This can make a side hustling more difficult.
There are some things you need to be aware of when it comes to starting your own thing.
- Personal gain. If you leverage your extended network for your own personal gain, people may feel obligated to contribute but they may also resent it. Avoid the temptation of using the chamber mailing list to grow your side work. Let people who are interested come to you if they are chamber members or board members. approaching them directly could make them feel awkward.
- A blurred line between work and hustle. Many chamber pros have their own business or side hustle. You want to be very clear that when you’re on the chamber clock you’re not working your own business or hustle. Avoid the temptation to use chamber resources for what you’re doing on the side.
- Using your business for chamber needs. While it may be tempting if your side hustle covers something the chamber needs to insert your business into the entity to do it, you want to avoid this. For instance, if you’re having a speaker come in from out of town and they require a place to stay, don’t book them at your vacation property unless you are donating it to the cause. Keep in mind, even the appearance of placing your own personal interests over those of the chamber can cost you your position. And your on-the-side gig will quickly have to become your main source of income, whether you’re ready or not.
- Unhealthy competition. This is a difficult position to be in. If your side hustle puts you in direct competition with a chamber member or board member, you could have complications. Sure, many chamber pros have their own established business that is in competition with chamber members. But in those cases they often leave it to someone else to run like a spouse or relative. If the side hustle is legitimately yours and you’re not involved with anyone else, the competition between you and your member can become more vitriolic.
That being said, if you are still interested in trying out a side hustle here are some of the most popular ideas among your peers. The following list was compiled from responses in the Chamber of Commerce Pros Facebook group. You can follow the entire conversation here.
Popular Side Hustles for Chamber Pros
Please note: these positions are by no means an endorsement but rather things that other chamber pros across the country are currently doing on their own time in addition to their chamber duties.
- Travel agent
- Crisis management consultant
- Jewelry sales
- Sports announcer
- Fashion Stylist
- Entertainer including singing, impersonation, playing an instrument, or performing comedy
- Social media/ marketing
- Makeup/nails and skin-care sales
- Executive or life coaching
- Secret shopper
- Artisinal farmer
- Essential oils distributor
- Real estate sales or landlord
- Online course creator
- Teaching college courses or club organizations
- HR consultant
- Cookware sales
If you’re in the chamber industry and you’re considering a side hustle, you’re in good company. They’re a lot of chamber professionals currently making it work. With the internet and the ability to work any hour you have the inclination to, many professionals are finding ways to subsidize their salaries. There can be some concerns in overlapping work lives so be careful on how you arrange your work schedules.
As Yourself These Questions:
- If so many chamber professionals are taking on and thriving with a side gig, how does this apply to your current members?
- Are you reaching out to the side hustlers?
- What programs could you offer to attract them?
- Many side hustles will turn into lucrative businesses. How can you support that?