NOEW 2018 Recap: The Side Hustle Economy

In March, we spoke at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week for the second year! This year, our presentation was on The Side Hustle Economy.  Whether your side hustle is a way to make extra cash, a passion project or something you hope to be your full time gig one day, the side hustle is becoming the new norm.

Missed our session? Don’t worry! We are sharing a full recap below.

If you are here on our site, you probably know us as Babes & Beignets. What most people don’t know about us, is that Babes & Beignets is actually our “side hustle.” We co-founded the blog a little over three years ago, but also both work full-time jobs that we are lucky to be equally as passionate about.

In this year’s NOEW session, we gave our personal insight into the challenges that we have faced, the best practices we have learned for managing our careers while having a “side hustle,”  and the amazing benefits of doing both.

DYK – More than 44 million Americans have a side hustle?

Some of you reading this may have a side hustle. If not, you have probably at least heard the term by now being that, according to CNN Money, 44 million Americans today have a side hustle. 

To put that even more in perspective, 1 in 2 millennials and 1 in 4 baby boomers have a side hustle. You probably could have guessed that millennials are dominating side hustle, but why is that? We all know millennials are notoriously glued to their smartphone (we know, so annoying), but having grown up in the Internet age can have its perks.

It’s the rise of the technology that is allowing regular people to turn passions into income right through their smartphones or computers. Perhaps even more impressive is that baby boomers, a generation that didn’t grow up glued to the computer, are doing it too. 

What is a side hustle and how is it different from a second job?

Yes, side jobs have existed for years – people picking up odd jobs like mowing the lawn, bartending or taking online surveys for cash, but the side hustle is a little bit of a new concept. There is some debate about how a side hustle is defined, but from our perspective, a side hustle is something you do to not only contribute to your income but  that allows you to exploit your talents and interests. For us, it’s not about the money, but a way to find more worth in our daily lives.

So, why do people have side hustles?

The reasons vary. From the obvious of extra cash to the wanting to change career paths, to having a creative outlet, or sometimes you just fall into it without even knowing why. For many, like us and our friend Mary Katherine, it’s a combination: a passion, a creative outlet and cash + perks outside of our  9-5 lives.  

While Mary Katherine’s job allows her to be creative, her side hustle, taking portraits that are primarily boudoir style and event planning,  gives her more of a human connection along with that creativity.

Of course, money makes the world go ’round and is the main reason people are turning to technology to exploit their talents. That doesn’t mean they aren’t enjoying it though. That’s the beauty of it. Someone who loved to cook as a hobby used to just do it to do it, while now they can be cooking and partner with brands on a recipe blog that they learned how to build online and make a profit, or freelance recipes or food photography to contribute to online media sites.

What are the challenges of a side hustle?

  • Time is the obvious primary challenge. There are only 24 hours in a day and our jobs will always come first so sometimes that means we can’t commit as much time as we would like to our side hustle.
  • Finding the resources to start up – It’s hard to put your hard earned income toward a side hustle especially when you aren’t seeing immediate results, but, newsflash: hosting and a beautiful WordPress website isn’t free. You’re usually going to need to put up at least some resources for your side hustle.
  • Knowing your worth – It’s easy to get talked into giving too much of yourself. Of course you should be open to doing some pro-bono work at first to help get your name out there, but it can be hard to know when you are being taken advantage of. It’s important to remember to know your worth, and be able to voice that to people when it’s time.
  • Marketing, spreading the word, and growing your side hustle. This also takes a lot of time and patience. It’s easy to get frustrated by a slow pace of growth, but you just have to keep believing and be persistent!

What are the benefits?

  • Making connections! Our side hustle has connected us to so many people in the community we would have never met without it. In fact, the jobs we both have today indirectly came to us through B&B. 
  • Learning –We have gained so many skills that have been applicable to real life and to our careers through our side hustle.
  • Productivity – According to, having a side hustle can even make you more productive at your real job by training yourself to take on more responsibility, and flexing your creative muscles that can spark creativity at your job where you may be feeling burnt out.
  • Create income protection
  • Sense of fulfillment – no more shoulda, woulda, coulda. Really, ya’ll, we’ve even read that there are psychological benefits.

Best practices for managing a side hustle with a career

So, how have we balanced the two?

  • Always be upfront – if your employer finds out from someone else that you are starting a side hustle, it could lead to a lack of trust. If you have commitments during work hours, be honest with your boss about why it’s important and how you will make up the time.
  • Is your side hustle competition with your real job? If so, What’s the company policy? Make sure to check your contracts and company policies for non-competes.
  • Be organized and set a schedule – Time management is key to successfully managing a side hustle with a job and not becoming overwhelmed by multiple deadlines. Especially outside of work hours, setting a schedule for your side hustle tasks is key. You will be way more likely to slack off since you are your own boss, but once you start seeing growth and feeling inspired you will be more likely to stick to the schedule.
  • Keep work and your side hustle separate. You should not be receiving emails about your side hustle at work or even checking them. You should also be careful of conflicts of interest. For example, we try to work with our clients on our blog. 
  • Take advantage of resources – email or social media scheduling services and other tools can be life savers for side-hustlers!

How do you start a side hustle if you don’t already have one?

  • Turn great ideas into action – Consider what’s best for you, and what your passions and hobbies are. What are you good at?
  • Create a savings account to be used strictly for the business when unexpected expenses come up.
  • Research, research, research how other people are doing what you want to do.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to them and ask to take them to coffee to chat about how they got their start.
  • Think about what makes your side hustle unique, and use it to build your marketing plan.
  • Be consistent – keep up with it! Or people will forget about you.
  • Bust your ass

The non-sexy things you didn’t think of..

How we did it

  • Tons of ongoing researchWe both already had a bit of a marketing background so we consider ourselves strong writers, creative and good with social media, but it took a lot of research to understand what we wanted to be and takes ongoing research to understand how we can always be better.
  • Support –  from employers, family, & friends. Again, being upfront with employers how our side hustle benefits us as people and them as a company goes a long way. We let others know confidentially what we were doing from the beginning so they believed in us. Of course, having this support system also comes in handy for things we aren’t so good at like legal advice and taxes. Thanks guy!
  • Being ok with working mornings, nights and weekends – for us , usually it doesn’t even feel like work so that’s definitely made things easier.
  • Networking has been so important for gaining an even larger support system of people who believe in us in this amazing community.
  • Stayed Open to taking what we learn from our careers and applying it to our side hustle and from our side hustle and applying it to our careers- perhaps even more, which has made us more successful in both.
  • Being realistic about capacity is one that we have had to learn over time. Even though we want to take on everything, we have had to learn that we can’t.

How to prevent burn out

It can be easy to become overwhelmed when you are working more than one job. 

  • Try not to overcommit – again, be realistic about what you can take on.
  • Take breaks – do the other things that make you happy whether that’s working out, socializing with friends, or spending time with family. It can be easy to get consumed by side hustle
  • Take care of yourself-  remember you only have so many hours in the day and if you’re like us, you also need your beauty sleep. Prioritizing your health will make you more productive in both your career and side hustle.
  • Ask for help – have a colleague or friend who shares a passion that you think you would work well with? Consider partnering with them on a side hustle, or finding a friend who also has one to sit down with at a coffee shop on weekends and get things done. Having a partner has been an essential component to our success and to preventing burnout. We share the workload, and trust each other to take care of things if the other is away or unavailable or just needs time to breathe.

View the full presentation here.