Sup folks & hope you’re having a good week so far! We’re slowly zooming closer and closer to the summer. Pre-corona, I had very big plans for this summer and there were a few countries I wanted to visit, however plans have of course had to change. That said, I still hope to take at least a week off this summer to enjoy the sun and enjoy life… corona-permitting, and I recommend you all to do the same. It’s easy to let many days off go a miss since we’re really just all spending most of our time at home – but resting up is as important as it ever has been.
Today’s blog was inspired by a post I saw on Beth Sandland’s website. The older I get – the more I think about what’s to come. What I actually want to do is something I’ve been pondering over quite a lot recently, where my talents lie and where I believe I need to start to double down. It got me thinking about all the side hustles and small jobs I’ve dipped my toes in so far in my 20 something years of life. I don’t have the most experience in the world – but I have definitely given a few things a good go…
My first side hustle
My love for all things “online” blossomed at the mere age of 9. I’ve told the story a few times – but one of my cousins from the states had learned about a website called “Freewebs” and helped me to create my own website. As the years went on, I found myself amongst a little community of other young girls who all also liked to make websites. At age 10, I taught myself basic coding by reading and learning codes from free website templates online. By the time I had entered teens, I was quite well versed both in basic HTML coding and also in webdesign with my trusty Paint Shop Pro that I still use today. I loved it. I would literally spend my entire weekends, morning to night, updating my website. At some point, a few other kids online around a similar age started to ask me if I would help them make their own websites, which I did. When I bragged about this to my family, they asked me what I was charging. And so, my first side hustle was born. You can still see it too – right here.
My services were exceptionally cheap – I’m talking around a tenner for a fully designed and coded website. The outputs were definitely not masterpieces, but they were certainly worth more than what I charged for them. Honestly, it was a successful venture for where I was at the time. I always had a queue of people waiting for me to “take their order”. Whilst cheap, as a young teen with my parents financing my life, a few extra quid here and there was not something I could complain about. I kept this up until I was about 18 and getting ready to go off to uni.
My first job
When I turned 16 my National Insurance Number arrived in the post and I was so excited that it was time – it was finally time for me to get into the working world. I created a CV which was a list of my GCSE results (literally), and I started shipping it around to every store I could think of. I’ve never worked in retail. None of the clothing stores I applied to ever got back to me. Tesco’s also rejected me. However, after a few dozen rejections I eventually shifted my strategy to focusing on local stores, I was sure they’d be getting much less attention than a River Island or a New Look in Bluewater would be.
I sent my CV off to a local cafe and they called me in for a “job interview” shortly after, but it was really just them asking me if I was okay with the pay. I think it was £4 an hour, and I ended up working there for a few short months when I was 17. I’d work every other weekend for a few hours and they’d take £20 out of the cash machine to give to me as pay. It was super low paying, but at that age, £40 extra a month, on top of the £20 per week (c.£80 a month) that I got from my parents honestly made a difference to my life and boosted my quarterly Primark and Boots shopping trips.
The job itself was horrific. The owner of the restaurant and his main man point blank did not like me and if I’m being honest, I think they were a little jealous of how good my GCSEs were. The “main man” in particular would always point them out if I did something wrong. Eventually I told them to suck it and left (well – not quite in those words), and they told me I was going to lose all my rights because I didn’t give them 2 weeks of notice before quitting. I can confirm all these years later these so called “rights” I lost did not impact my life even a smidge. After this job, my mum told me to give up on getting jobs and to just focus on my studies. I ended up making up for the lost revenue by…
Making money through my blog
Towards the end of sixth form, I started to make a decent amount of extra money from this blog right here. Actually, when I turned 18 it was that money that I was getting here and there from this blog that I’d use to pay for my bi-weekly clubbing nights (pre-uni). The money I was making at the time, and throughout a few years of this blog, was mainly from doing sponsored posts. This used to be through either adding a sponsored link to my blog posts or posting up fully written guest posts. Back in the day as a teen/in my very early 20s I would get anywhere from £50-150 for each of these, so two sponsored blog posts in two weeks was a very welcome injection into my account when I was a bit younger and quite frankly needed the money a lot more than I do now.
When I graduated and started working in a well-paying job, I stopped accepting the generic “guest posts” that would be shipped into my inbox and asked to be posted for the fee. I wanted to make my blog most personal, credible and cleaner… and had the flexibility to do so as I now had a full-time income.
I still do earn money from my blog and social media (from different types of sponsorships, including sponsored links in blog posts/work for brands here and there mainly) but it doesn’t really make a dent into being my main revenue stream.
Uni jobs – the era of the overdraft
- In my second year of university, I did a 1 year stint as a campus ambassador for The Economist. It was a commission based role so I got paid if I sold copies of their paper. Overall it was quite minimal effort, the commission was very decent if I remember correctly and I thought it looked quite nice on my CV. As you can probably guess, selling a 12 for £12 deal of The Economist at the London School of Economics wasn’t quite rocket science.
- I also did a very short stint working at Arsenal Emirates stadium as a… bettings lady? I’m not sure what you call it but I would go around before a match asking everyone if they wanted to place bets. It was around £12 an hour so not bad pay especially for a first year student. It was also very flexible/zero hours so you could sign yourself up to work when you wanted. I didn’t enjoy it (quite frankly I felt a bit silly walking around asking people going about their days if they wanted to take a bet…), so didn’t keep it up for too long. You could also stay and watch the Arsenal matches afterwards if it tickled your fancy but as someone who couldn’t care less about football, this was a perk wasted on me.
My first real internship
Zooming into uni – when “adulting” and living out begins. As is the case with many of us, for a number of years I spent uni living in my overdraft. After myself and my friends put down a deposit on our second year flat, I was so close to exceeding the interest free portion of my overdraft that I literally felt as if my head was just above water.
To get some funding over the summer, I checked my university’s career hub and applied for a 12-week part time internship. It was at a “commodities pricing” firm, which was essentially just a firm that provides detail and news around commodities markets for those who need it – for example traders. It was a short term, part time internship so whilst I wasn’t rolling in money, it kept me away from ever breaching that interest free student portion of my overdaft.
Starting my career
And now we get to current day! I am currently working as a full time Investment Banking Associate in Debt Capital Markets. I won’t get into all the ins and outs of my job, but I did first of all complete a 10 week internship at the firm that led to me getting the offer to starting where I am today.
The best piece of advice I got before I started my job was to… spend all of my money! Which may seem like reckless advice, but hear me out…
Work is forever. And honestly – it’s not easy. If you have some time before starting work (I had maybe 2 months), don’t already start to stress yourself out with savings, you’ll make the money back when you start full-time. Instead, spend that money to go abroad, spend that money to fund a business venture – just spend in order to take advantage of a certain amount of freedom with time that a full-time role will not offer you. When you start working, of course – saving and also investing are important, and definitely topics for another day.
Hopefully – for anyone young and just getting into the working world, or for anyone wondering what they can pick up as side hustles – this blog post has been both interesting and useful for you. There’s so much out there when it comes to full time work and ventures you can take on… you just have to do some digging. I’m still working through it…
Have a good week!
Honourable mention to 2 weeks of work experience I did in the eCommerce / webdesign team at Virgin Media way back when! Was lit