Imagine that your dream career position posts online. You research it only to discover that it barely pays a little more than minimum wage. Nonetheless, you’ve been waiting for a opportunity like this for a very long time. Since there are not many HR openings in your area, as compared to surrounding states, you must quickly decide. What are you willing risk? What are you willing to give up? And if it is even worth it. What would you do?
A friend tells you about a wonderful HR leadership opportunity up north with his company that he thinks is a good fit for you. He discloses, upfront, that the position has a crappy pay range and benefit package, but believes that the experience will help catapult your career to the next level. Relocation expenses aren’t covered. The drive is more than three hours away. Still, he insists that you don’t pass on this “once in a lifetime” opportunity. He asks you to drive up in a couple of days to interview with the management team. What would you do?
Multiple streams of income is critical to success in human resources (HR) especially in the south, which is known for driving the low-wage economy. Several HR positions, for example, don’t pay anywhere close to a “living wage” in Arkansas. What is more, many HR pros are overworked, underemployed, and underpaid despite their experience, college degree(s), and professional certification(s). According to the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation’s Expect More Arkansas report, “nearly 70 percent of current jobs are low-skill jobs, most of which do not pay family-supporting wages. Only 30 percent require a postsecondary credential.” Although we Expect More in Arkansas, we don’t always get more. The struggle is REAL! Thus, a side hustle is an excellent way to supplement your income. Furthermore, in agreement with Alan Collins founder of Success in HR, it could help catapult your HR career to the next level.
Having a side hustle was definitely a lifesaver with my first HR job. While the role allowed for meaningful HR work that I enjoyed tremendously, the inadequate compensation and benefit package left me thinking of creative ways to supplement my income. Working a part time HR job was not enough to stay afloat. At one point, I considered resorting to selling lemonade in the neighborhood and at major events downtown such as Riverfest. I know this may sound “CRAY CRAY”, but people actually make good money selling drinks, food, and novelties at these events. Just think about it. When was the last time you paid $3 bucks or more for lemonade or some other drink at the fair, a game, concert, or special event?
Finding creative ways to make a dollar was much easier as kid. Those indeed were the days. It was different back then, as it really didn’t matter what the job was- all that mattered was getting paid or landing the quick sale for a little pocket cash. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of experiences that forced me outside my comfort zone. You see, growing up in West Helena, you learned quickly how to hustle to make a few bucks. I found the courage to go door to door, for example, to ask my neighbors to buy all kinds of things. I didn’t mind asking for their support especially if I wanted something real bad. I was hungry!
Therefore, when people ask about my first job, I always jokingly say I’ve been working since I was about 8 years old. My twin sister and I sold paint made out of magic markers. We came up with this novel idea to make a few bucks. We placed our color markers in some solution to let them soak for several minutes. Next we drained the paint into tiny containers and sold it all. People thought it was too cute. Some actually supported and encouraged our entrepreneurial spirit. Eventually, we were good at fundraisers: selling candy, wholesale jewelry, and other novelties at school, church, as well as in the surrounding neighborhood. Boy, I wish there was a Shark Tank back when I was little. Movin’ on….
Most of what we (HR pros) do can become a legitimate side hustle, which beats working for peanuts. Don’t you think? On his website, Collins gives practical advice on how to step up your HR career as well as on turning your HR knowledge into a second income on the side. If you really think about it, you have knowledge, skills, and expertise that others will pay you for.
“Just about any expertise you’ve picked up in your HR day job can be turned into extra income. All you need to do is to package your experience into a “product” and market it. This product could be one page tip sheets, a special report, a workbook, articles, instructor guides, paid presentations, webinars, workshops or at least 20 other things.” – Alan Collins, Founder of Success in HR.
It really doesn’t matter whether you start with writing books or ebooks, freelance consulting, coaching, speaking, training, or teaching classes. That’s entirely up to you. All that matters is that it’s an area that you have HR expertise, you are good at it, and enjoy it. Start with one area and go from there. You will be amazed at how much your gift benefits others. When you start this journey, keep in mind that a small business takes time to build. However, it’s worth the effort.
While I was working a full-time job in college as a nontraditional student, providing creative services help tremendously during my transitions. Unemployment income is never enough. Therefore, maintaining a side hustle is a great way to keep money flowing in transition. I used all of my combined gifts (all knowledge, skills, abilities, talents, and expertise) to start my small business back then. You should too. Why not start your own small HR business? Or tell me already then, What’s Yo’ Side Hustle? Until next time…
Can’t STOP… Won’t STOP…