The “side hustle” has been an increasingly popular term used to describe second jobs or “gigs” that people may pick up in order to make extra cash. Perfect for those who need to make ends meet or for the budget conscious who wants a bit more breathing room, a side hustle can be the equestrian’s answer to the omnipresent question of how to pay for the horse and all of its stuff.
Even if you work full time, it’s possible to find a way to squeeze in some extra pennies to pinch when you can. The most important thing to approach a new side hustle with is an open mind. If you adopt an opportunistic attitude, you might be pleasantly surprised to see some doors opening. But, just in case you need a jump start, here are ways to find and sustain the side hustle that’s right for you.
What Are You Good At?
Your side gig should be something you have some skill and efficiency in. If you’re not the best or quickest mane braider, maybe you could clean some stalls or volunteer to do night check at a local horse show circuit. Busy barns may also be looking for help hand walking or lunging horses, or even just filling waters or checking hay. These are opportunities that may not be the most glamorous, but the money can add up quickly as you build a clientele.
And don’t be afraid to look outside of the horse industry for ideas, too. Rideshare services such as Uber or Lyft, food delivery apps like Postmates or Instacart, or websites such as Fiverr and Upwork are all viable options, depending on your schedule. Of course, you need to factor in things such as car maintenance, mileage, travel time, and the take-home pay of each “gig” when determining whether or not it’s a good option for you. Taking the time to research opportunities outside of horses can pay off in spades, though, so it’s worth looking into.
Don’t Be Afraid To Suck It Up, Buttercup
As much as we’d love to tell you that life is full of people doing exactly and only what they love, that simply isn’t true in most cases. And that’s OK! You can still lead a sustainable, fulfilling lifestyle, even if that means sucking it up a bit to make that side hustle happen.
Your side gig will only be sustainable if you treat it like an actual, functioning business, however. This means keeping proper financial records, advertising your services, and conducting yourself professionally no matter what. So take a side job as seriously as any other job. Set up a business Facebook page so that you can post updates and acquire followers. Make a professional flyer to hang at shows, if applicable. Use your network to promote yourself, as word of mouth is one of the best marketing strategies out there.
Keep track of how much you are earning, too – this is key. You may find that some gigs are not worth your time. Maybe Uber isn’t a good option for you because you live too far from a central city to really make up for the gas you’d spend. Maybe you’re driving too far to the barn where you clean stalls, so it’s not as worthwhile. Beggars can afford to be choosers in some situations, especially when you are not working for what your time is worth.
Word to the wise: a side hustle will teach you a lot about work ethic. There will be plenty of times when you’d rather choose a nap over hammering out an hour’s worth of side work. You might have to skip on the team dinner at the show because you’re on night check duty. When it gets tough, just picture the new tall boots you’re saving for with your hard earned money for a little kick of motivation.
Don’t Settle for Scraping By
If you’re worried about the state of your savings account or the balance on your credit card (let’s not talk about it), you don’t have to succumb to hopelessness and worry. And we get it: you’re busy. There aren’t enough hours in the day. But if you sit down and really take a look at your average weekly schedule, you might just be able to find even just an extra hour a week that you could dedicate towards earning some side cash.
Don’t settle for just scraping by when there are so many opportunities available to supplement income these days. George Morris would definitely tell you that extra hard work is character building – in that clinic you’ll finally be able to afford thanks to your new best friend, the side hustle.