3 Tips for Starting a Side Hustle in Vancouver


3 Tips for Starting a Side Hustle in Vancouver

 by Yvonne Hanson

Vancouver is an extremely expensive place to live. As of February of 2018, the average rent for a one bedroom suite weighed in at a whopping $1,990 per month[1]. For young adults who are just entering the workforce, especially in low-wage positions, making rent is a constant concern. We may fight to raise the minimum wage, establish rent caps, and push forward affordable housing initiatives, but until these goals are adequately accomplished, many low-income Vancouverites must rely on supplementary sources of income.

1. Interrogate your skill set

Ask yourself what skills you have that could be remotely marketable. If you are a creative person, ask yourself what you could make that someone might want to buy. Could you make a set of things that could be sold together at a booth or on a page? Aesthetically pleasing objects with specific functions are often the easiest form of art to sell.

If you are a writer, consider writing for a blog or newspaper, or scoping out job listings online for freelance content creators. Many blogs will offer a set rate for each article, meaning you can work on your own time and be paid as soon as you provide the finished product. What’s on Queer offers $50 for blog articles for example.

If you have labour experience, consider doing repair work, minor house painting, or garden maintenance. These small jobs are easy to freelance, and you can usually charge a higher per-hour rate than you would for a larger-scale project.


2. Expand your social network

As unsavoury as Facebook’s corporate activities are, it is still an excellent platform to market yourself and network with potential clients and customers. Once you have selected a skill that you intend to market, join as many local Facebook groups as you can find that are related to that skill. Meeting other people in the same area of interest can help you learn from others and also expand your potential customer base.

You may want to create your own Facebook page with pictures of your work and a summary of your method and rates.

If you are selling something you have made or invested in locally, Facebook marketplace is a great place to list it for sale. If you have the time to invest in the world of online selling, set up a page on Etsy and take every opportunity to drop a link to it. If you haven’t already, you might want to start an instagram account dedicated to documenting your projects/ pieces, so that potential clients can browse your work quickly and easily.

If you are offering a service, create a paragraph-long message that explains who you are, what you do, what your rates and availability are, and how to contact you. Include a few pictures of your favourite projects at the bottom, and post it on as many groups, pages, and platforms as possible.

You may even want to go old-school and design a poster to stick around town, especially in neighbourhoods you’d like to work in. Be ready to answer calls, reply to Facebook messages and emails, and always check your message requests.


3. Select realistic goals and commit

Smart goals are Specific, Measurable, Agreed Upon, Realistic, and Time-Based (S.M.A.R.T). If you shoot for the stars but do not have a plan for how to get there, it can leave you feeling like your efforts have been a waste of time. Ask yourself “whats the minimum amount of money I can make at this and still consider it a success”, and set that amount as your starting goal.

As things pick up and your side hustle gets going, re-evaluate your goals and set slightly higher, yet still achievable targets.

If things fail to get off the ground, evaluate where you might be going wrong: is it the product? The advertising? The interaction with the client?  Adjust your goals to compensate for potential problems. Avoid biting off more than you can chew by starting slow and expecting the absolute minimum, letting things pick up at a natural pace, and taking on a workload that you are confident about managing.

Be sure to consider your own energy levels and availability while scheduling, and remember that your side hustle should not replace relaxation and leisure.

[1] https://blog.padmapper.com/canadian-rent-trends


Yvonne Hanson is a blogger, photographer, landscaper and activist living in the Lower Mainland. You can follow her @grow.over.it and @yhanson_photography and on her FB page.

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