Turning the things you enjoy into a money-making side hustle

Hobbies are a great way to build a business on your own terms and schedule, workshop participants hear
Photo: Zhiqi Zhou
Students with Stephen Gagne (middle, blue shirt) at the end of the workshop.

In a workshop organized by the Entrepreneurship Centre, students received tips and tricks to help them turn their hobbies into side hustles.

The event took place on Feb. 28 and coincided with Algonquin College’s mid-term break week, so only seven people attended.

Stephen Gagne, entrepreneurship officer at Algonquin College, said there are many students who want to build their own business, but they struggle with not having enough time.

“The whole idea of putting this session and sessions like this one together is to break the idea that entrepreneurship has to be a full-time commitment,” Gagne said. “If you have a couple of hours, you can build something in a couple of hours, and if you have 20 hours, you can build something in 20 hours.”

The good thing about a side hustle is that it’s less risky.

“What’s so nice about the side hustles is that the risks are so low. You may lose a couple of bucks and you’re gonna lose a few hours, but you can make that back,” Gagne said.

The workshop discussed turning problems into profit, getting paid to do what you love, executing the part-time hustle and finding the first client.

Gagne says the hardest part is actually getting the first customer. “It’s not impossible to do what you already love to do and have someone else pay you for it, but for a lot of people, that’s where the biggest challenge is,” Gagne said.

Rina Megia, a Level 1 baking and pastry arts student at Algonquin College, said she saw the event on the HireAC calendar and decided to attend.

“I’m hoping to sell my goods, but through this workshop, I’ve become aware of certain regulations. Perhaps that’s something I need to look into,” said Megia.

Abdu Zawawi, a Level 2 project management student who already has his own business, found the workshop helpful for those who want to develop a side hustle.

“This workshop gives me resources that I couldn’t have access to before,” Zawawi said. “It offers a startup perspective that guides me in presenting myself to clients, determining price points and how to deal with the first stress of starting anything.”

For starting a side hustle, Gagne’s advice is don’t make it your main career. If you want to start the program, then do it small.

“I wanted it to be something you can walk away from; however, if it is your full-time income, you can’t really walk away and you’re kind of stuck in it,” Gagne said. “Start with something that only takes a few hours a week to find out if you want to do this for money.”

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