Robyn Majuary's, a full-time educational assistant, Cricut designs for makeup holders and a potted plant, for her side hustle business, New Look Crafts. Photo credit: Camryn Majuary

During the COVID-19 pandemic, some people have started creating freelance jobs on the side to generate more stable sources of income.

For some, like Lindsey Cybulski, a personal support worker alumni at Algonquin College who works full time at a local pharmacy as a home health worker, she has also invested in a craftier side hustle.

“I can make custom designs, pigments and colours. My most popular product is dog tags, but I also make ashtrays and earrings,” explained Cybulski, who is the owner of The Real Dog Mom Designs. “I use silicone moulds to pore epoxy resin and a hardener mix in.”

For Cybulski, her side hustle is mainly just a side job right now. “But if I’m working split shifts that are made into A-day and B-day and I’m only working certain days due to COVID-19, then it’s something I could do on my days off,” said Cybulski. “I also wanted to do this to help with my mental health during the winter and have something I enjoy doing.”

A lot of self-created jobs and hobby ideas are inspired by the popular social media app TikTok.

People are sharing what they create and as a result gaining a strong following for that hobby.

The more likes, shares and follows there are, the further the reach of sparking interest in the crafts that are being created. “I love TikTok and I found the idea from there,” said Cybulski.

Another way that students can create a side hustle, is to invest in a Cricut machine, a computer-vinyl cutting machine that creates different prints and stickers. It can also be printed on other materials such as paper and felt.

The stickers can then be used for a variety of objects it can cut and print out different stickers to put on a variety of objects like glasses, ornaments for Christmas or clothing items.

Arman Ahmed, a former business management student at Algonquin College, for instance, created an “escape from the monotonous 9-5 lifestyle.”

Ahmed started this side job at first to help with income alongside his main job but now has made it his top priority and only place of work.

His e-commerce-based business, called MillierNorth LLC, has a team that spans across multiple cities in Canada. “We have partnerships with many leading public and private companies like Footlocker, Nike, Michael Kors, and many, many more,” explained Ahmed. “I duplicate, grow, and expand their market.”

Ahmed built his business in 2019, right before the pandemic. “I mean, that’s what really got me through it right,” said Ahmed. “Just because I had a source of income that I could rely on.”

Side hustles have become a trend during isolation. Some have used their side hustles to gain an extra source of income. While some have used it to relieve their boredom.

“Sometimes you really don’t know until you actually give it your all and try,” said Cybulski.