Wannabe on the Trail: Side Hustles & Small Business

Hey all!

I don’t know if it’s the millennial mindset or just the ADHD talking but I keep trying to find new ways to make my hobbies pay for themselves. I like hiking and thought taking photos and writing about it would be fun. Probably not a high paying niche but fun. Once I started doing it, I had some people ask where they could get my photos. My poems got some interest. Then the Pennington Book project popped up. I figured I’d try a few different things, self-publishing, blogging, Redbubble and Etsy stores to gage interest. All have low overhead and no horrible up-front costs.

Trying to create ad’s… not my best skill. Plus I’m not a good model…

I’m just out the time in most cases. I keep it very low key.

But every now and then when I self-promote myself I get messages from people I knew in high school. That haven’t really spoken with me since or in some cases at all, even when we went to school together.

“Oh you’re trying a side hustle– why don’t you try out these Essential Oils *or other MLM*? You can be your own boss and hustle! You will make money right away– can you say that with what your doing now?”

They also really pushed the messaging, or I at least noticed it more, when I was home on maternity leave. The amount of messages I got about how I should stay home and how *insert MLM* could be a dream come true for me.

Uh…my side hustle already lets me be my own boss… and I don’t have to pay to join.*

They also don’t understand the words “no,” “thanks any way,” or “that stuff gives me migraines.” They also don’t appreciate when you say, “it didn’t cost me anything other than time and equipment for what I’m doing now.”

They also don’t like it when you ask if it’s an MLM.

Which, it is and somehow even when you’ve said all the above they still try to upsell you into being a downline. Plus, the pitch to spend $45+ on a starter kit… and the need to spend x amount each year to maintain. It’s better than some but nah…

*Other than the camera I already paid off like ten years ago and my blog fees I’m not spending close to the $95 a year minimum to do a business in essential oils or other things with a higher cost. I also don’t want to spend the amount of time running leads and spamming acquaintances on social media.

I share a link every now and then to my Redbubble Store, Etsy page, and my tip jar and that’s about it… I might run an ad on Facebook and Instagram once in a blue moon but I don’t spend more than $30 bucks- $45 a year on that. If I really wanted to make money at this “side hustle” I’d be upping my social media game, running ads at a higher cost, and plugging myself more. And clearly making, uploading, and perfecting my content a lot more.

Trying to improve my photography and use logo’s.

For me it’s fun and might make me some money. It gives me something to do in my free time.

I have no desire to make a side hustle into a career at this point in time.

No, I don’t want to work from home. I about lost my mind teleworking through a pandemic. It was nice to wear “comfy” clothes and cook a hot lunch some days but no…I couldn’t “turn” work off like I can now.

No, I don’t want to be a #bossbabe or #bossmom.

I currently have a great job and I can grow a hobby into a possible business venture. If that hobby pays for itself great! If not, I’m only out the ad money.

I’m lucky with my job and life, but considering how hard they tried to guilt/upsell me on the beauty of being my own boss so I could stay home– I know why people go for it and then wind up floundering in debt.

While some MLM’s might not be as bad try out these options instead of signing up!

  1. Create a Redbubble shop and sell your art, photography, or sayings.
  2. Create a blog! WordPress has plans for what you’re trying to do. Start a blog and if you make enough of a splash you can upgrade to premium or business and get plugins or widgets to take payments. I currently have the premium which works great for my tip jar! It’s also my biggest expense yearly expense, unless I order a lot of canvas prints.
  3. Start an Instagram page showing off your photography– do business and sell prints off of PayPal or another format like Etsy. (If you hit up local craft fairs/or small business shops there will be more money sunk into this cost. A variety of prints, canvases, or digital markers are good to have on hand as actual inventory. You can find some wholesale printers for a decent base price. You can even have a “private” shop on Redbubble where you print your own items at cost. Decide your prices and sell.)
  4. Start your own house cleaning or home organizing business if that is your thing (this might be a job you wait until kids are older/in school or hire them as employees and do limited hours/weekends).
  5. Start a cooking/home centric YouTube/TikTok channel. Tie it to a blog.
  6. Pick up a part time job– I’d rather wait tables than pay to sell something but that’s just me.

You don’t have to buy special equipment for most of these– some don’t even cost more than $10 to do. If you build it they will come and in the long run these will pay off faster than an MLM.

Sorry for the rant.

Keep wandering,

BJ

P.S. Just take a hike!

Taken with an iPhone… seriously, you can do this to get started! Then buy the cool camera.

Published by BJ

I've always enjoyed the outdoors; I love camping, kayaking, and canoeing. However, I decided to break out the hiking boots for longer than a day or two and dive into the world of backpacking.

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