As well as learning to cross-stitch ‘I Am bOrEd’ and developing a deep appreciation for literally anyone but our roommate, this pandemic has given us a chance to remember what we’re actually passionate about. With 49% of you in the US and 71% of you in the UK experiencing a drop in income last month, there's never been a better time to turn those things into a side hustle.

The Penny Pal told us how to. Trust us, she’s nailed it.


The Penny Pal grew more than 18k followers in a year. It wasn’t my first attempt though, it was my third. I’d say it was less ‘third time lucky’ and more ‘third time, you know what not to do’. TL;DR if your heart’s not in it, nor is the money. Here’s the real stuff – struggles and successes.

WDYM $28 TO MAKE A CAKE?

My first personal project was a baking blog. I was in college, I liked cooking, and I loved cake. What I didn’t love though was the ridiculous amount of money that it took to make anything relatively blog-able. Sure, there are hacks, but it’s also way easier if you can afford a baking tray, you know. What did I learn? Act within your means and be realistic with your goals – when you’re a student, chances are you’re not gonna have a kitchen packed with utensils

GROW MORE THAN YOUR BANK BALANCE

1 out of 4 people are now said to have taken on a side hustle, and a main attraction seems to be something that you can’t technically buy – skills. It’s a statistic that reflects the millennial need to be flexible. Of course, we want a little extra income, but we crave productivity and side hustles are a massive doorway to personal development and networking. When I initially started @ThePennyPal on Instagram, I was teaching myself how to use Adobe Illustrator, endlessly watching youtube videos on how to grow your Instagram and creating content, all while working a 9-5.

In the end, the skills I bagged by doing my side hustle have actually ended up making me money outside of it – from growing that platform, I learned a lot about social media marketing and branding that I now use to consult other small platforms, which is actually what brings in the most monetary value for me.

DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT

There are now more than 100 million users on instagram and 500 million blogs online. To really drive a successful side hustle, you’ll need to want something a little more than “some extra cash” to help you stand out in the crowd. That doesn't mean making people out of fruit, or knife juggling – it means finding your niche and owning it. Every human is different, so the best way to find your niche is to find what makes you genuinely tick.

PEOPLE WANT HELP

Have you noticed that the most successful businesses solve a problem?. Let me give you some examples:

  • IFTTT (If this then that) - This service solves the issue that all devices connect to the internet, but none of the apps connect with each other. IFTTT merges the apps actions e.g. It can save a daily weather report to your google calendar every morning
  • Amazon - Right, so the reason you have likely used Amazon is that they have mastered the art of speedy delivery. Millennials and Gen Z are widely known for having little patience. Amazon capitalized on this as the USP for their brand, Amazon Prime.
  • Deliveroo - Long gone are the days of sifting through multiple restaurant menus from the kitchen draw, this service solves the issue of having to look across multiple different takeaway apps and menus and houses them all under one roof.

The key with all of these apps is convenience.

CHOOSE YOUR FIGHTER: BALANCE OR BURNOUT

In my experience, the type of person who starts a side hustle whilst working full-time is not usually the kind of person who prioritises ‘balance’. This doesn’t mean you should stop trying for balance, though, especially since the opposite can often lead to things like burnout — which is bad for you, and bad for business.

Buzzfeed recently reported millenials are the burnout generation. Simply put, burnout is a state of prolonged exhaustion — and it appears we are experts in it. The most damaging aspect of burnout is that it takes things that we should enjoy (for example a passion project) and flattens it into a list of tasks, intertwined with commitments from work and general life admin. I reached the burnout stage just before The Penny Pal hit 10k followers and, as a result, I took 2 weeks off from posting. This did more damage to the account than if I was to have just spent a little more time relaxing.

IF YOU CHOSE BALANCE…

Utilising your time is key. It sounds simple enough but scheduling and planning often gets missed or lost amongst our weekly tasks. By investing 10-15 minutes into thinking through your week right at the beginning, you can save up to 100 - 120 mins per week.

take inspiration from every aspect of your life. Be a sponge and absorb inspiration wherever you are and always have your phone or notebook ready to note anything you are inspired by. For example, I frequently note interesting conversations I have with friends about money and the problems they’re facing. I keep up with what is happening economically and I use my time on social media intentionally to see what kind of content is the most engaging.

My third piece of advice is to make time for the things you enjoy and don’t forget to relax! If you haven't realised already, I am a big fan of being productive and using my time effectively, simply because I love to have my evenings and weekends to myself. Money is great and all, but don’t forget about other needs you want fulfilled like finding purpose in your job, having freedom to explore and the space to be creative.

THAT’S IT FROM ME

On a last note, if you are considering starting a side hustle then be rest assured that there has never been a better time to start. There are so many free tools and resources on the internet that can educate you on just about anything so do not let them go to waste!