Over the last few months, I’ve definitely been seeing a lot more people using their time to launch little businesses or starting a ‘side hustle’. From clothing to jewellery, or freelance writing to launching a blog, it’s really great to see everyone’s amazing ideas. But what is the point of having a side hustle? In this post I wanted to share my own experiences and why I think side hustles are a great way to boost your CV and career opportunities.
So what makes me qualified to be talking about this? In my third year of university I started a small craft business, where I designed, painted and sold plant pots for small prices. It was not only a great way to pass the time in between lectures and deadlines, but it’s been a real positive for my CV and my overall skillset. Plus it gave me a bit of extra cash so I really can’t complain.
Pots of Love (I know, cute name) was a really great way for me to learn new skills, enhance my organisation and time management, and it was a nice stress relief. Painting and being creative is a wonderful outlet, and it helped me get through stressful deadlines and dissertation work. I didn’t make thousands from it but it’s given me opportunities and perspectives I didn’t imagine would happen when I started.
Not only has this taught me some basics of painting, I have learnt how to create a website, manage finances, really work on my time management, learn lots of new social media skills and more. All it took was some £6 tins of paint, a paintbrush and 85p pots from Homebase and I was ready to go.
As well as running a little business in my third year of university, I have also launched this blog a couple of months after graduating. Running across various social media platforms and building a website, I’ve learnt a lot about digital marketing, copywriting and growing a community online.
I’ve now been able to demonstrate on my CV so many new skills and achievements that I wouldn’t have had if I didn’t just start my Instagram and blog last year.
So, why is starting a business good for your CV and career prospects? Here are some of the key positives that I’ve taken from starting two side hustles:
(I will just state that these tips and advice may be more aimed at creative roles and may not apply to all roles. However, I really think starting a thing on the side is great for many industries as it shows your innovation and motivation.)
You develop confidence by starting a side hustle
Doing something for yourself is a great way to develop confidence. If it’s just you working on something, then you know that everything you achieve and do is from your efforts. So if it’s successful, even just slightly, that’s all your hard work paying off.
This should give you the confidence to back your skillset and worth within that industry. Of course, impostor syndrome can hit all of us at some point, and it can appear more frequently when you don’t have a whole team to support you.
When in an interview, having a side hustle should give you the confidence to say yes I can do that, as you can see here from my business… There’s no hiding behind a ‘well it was a team effort really’, it was all you so back yourself!
You can create your own work experience
Gaining work experience in an industry is often the best way to secure permanent employment. Let’s say you really want a job in a role that prefers to hire those with experience, and you’ve never had a job. Transferable skills are going to give you a leg up, and you can get those by starting a side hustle.
I didn’t start my plant pot business because I wanted to go into the crafts industry, I did it because I wanted to try my hand at running something myself. Along the way, I taught myself management skills, learnt more about social media, and a lot more that my degree didn’t show me.
Try something that gives you the chance to develop your communication, organisation, customer service skills, whatever it is. It gives you a great wealth of things to talk about in an interview.
My small business was the thing that landed me interviews and job offers within marketing, that I really don’t think I’d have got had I just applied with zero experience in the field.
Check out this article for more advice on how to get a job without direct work experience.
You choose the direction of it
You can dictate the direction of the business and where you want to take it. Whether you just want to keep it as a small thing on the side or if you want to develop a proper strategy to grow it into a money making business.
If you launch something, whether it’s product based or service based, you’ll probably want to get yourself on social media. Then, let’s say, you want to start applying for jobs that have a real focus on using TikTok, and you have no idea how to use it. You can add it into your strategy and get yourself some visible experience in it.
Wanna branch out into video content? You can. Want to ramp up on the email marketing? Go for it. You get to choose what you do and where you take it!
You could learn more than on the job
Following on from the point above, I think side hustles can sometimes give you the freedom to learn more than on your day job if you want to branch out more. If you’re in a very set role for your 9-5 and there’s little scope to do anything new or varied, then this is where a side hustle and online courses are great.
If you’re working in retail but want to apply to jobs in digital marketing – where can you learn and put those skills into practice? A side hustle!
You show that you’re willing to learn
Launching something in your spare time or to make the most of a bad situation (a pandemic that causes the job market to seem like the scariest thing in the world) shows strong initiative and enthusiasm.
This is really good if you’re looking to change industries too, it shows that you know a bit about the industry and you’re willing to go the extra mile to learn more.
Companies hire graduates as an investment in their business, so by showing your commitment to the industry and learning, they’re more likely to commit to you and train you up. It’s a great idea to show your willing through extra-curricular learning and side hustles.
So there you have a few reasons as to why I think starting a business in your 20s is a great way to enhance the start of your career.
Have you thought about starting a side hustle, or already have? Leave a comment below!