Side hustle has become a necessity. In fact, in Nigeria today, side hustle is one of the keys to financial independence. Most people already know its importance, but there are some who are yet to understand why they should have a secondary source of income. Among the people in this latter group are the civil servants. Though Nigerian Civil Service discourages civil servants from having secondary sources of income, except subsistence agriculture, there are, however, jobs and businesses that people can go into that will not affect their performance in their main job, nor make them compromise their positions in offices.
Several reasons abound why side hustle is important. One is that you won’t have to worry about when the next salary ‘alert’ will enter. Secondly, you can use the fund from the side hustle for the day to day running of your home and use the salary for major expenditures or investments. Thirdly, income from side hustles can be invested in your self-development (I love this part), which will in turn bring more wealth because you have the necessary skills and certificates that will bring better jobs or positions in the office. Besides, with side hustles, you don’t have to disturb your neighbours and ‘customers’ in the market because you want to borrow money or buy things on credit hoping to pay back when the next salary comes (this can bring down someone’s self image). And also, the country will benefit if civil servants have their side hustles because they will be happier workers and will not continue agitating for salary increase.
There are things you need to put into consideration before venturing into any side hustle. They are:
a. Time: You don’t have to go into something that will affect your office hour. So, target things you can do comfortably when you come back from work or during the weekends, depending on the type of work you do.
b. Space: Whatever you are going into should be managed within the space you have. I mean, you don’t have to rent a space for your side hustle. At least, not until you have established very well.
c. Capital: The things I am going to list do not require much capital. You know, civil servants aren’t rich, so it won’t be wise to invest your little savings, and maybe a loan, into something you are just starting. Besides, this is a side hustle for now.
d. Interest: Even if you don’t enjoy your main job, your side hustle should give you joy. So, I’ll say here, “Turn your hobby into a money machine”. Go for that thing you love doing. That way, there won’t be much pressure on you. So, if you choose one side hustle and you don’t enjoy it, drop it and pick another one (don’t worry about how much you make from it).
e. The 3Es: These are Effectiveness (should be able to solve a problem), Efficiency (you can do it very, very well) and Ease (you can do it without much stress, that is you can do it easily).
f. Problem Solving: Whatever you are going into should be the solution to an existing problem. Remember, people want solutions to their problems, not the descriptions of the problem.
Ok, so let’s look at some of the side hustles I know. These jobs I will list here are the ones I’ve had direct contact with those doing it. These people have their primary jobs and very busy work schedules, but they still make out time for these and they do very well. I’ll explain what I know about them. But if you have interest in any of them, you should carry out further research before venturing in.
1. Farming: Farming here isn’t about having a large expanse of land and planting different crops. It’s about going into things like vegetable gardens (that they maintain all year round), snail rearing, fishery and poultry. Of course those going into these will have enough space at their backyard or somewhere close by.
2. Digital Marketing: A lot of people shiver at this name but it is a very simple thing to do. In fact the one I have seen people do is so easy. All they needed were a large network of contacts, a good phone or camera and a good marketing skill. So, what they do is meet with business owners (say a fashion house, supermarket, school, etc.), strike deals with them (maybe percentage commission for each sales that comes through them), take captivating pictures of the business premises or wares, and then post them on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and others that they believe will attract sales. They will be contacted for details on the goods and maybe purchases. There are other forms of digital marketing, but if you have interest in this simple type, ask around and learn the intricacies of the job.
3. Estate Agents: These people usually liaise with the main agents and get their cuts for customers that come through them. So all you have to do is take down the phone numbers on the “To Let” or “To Sell” signs you see around your area and discuss with the principal agent. But, be careful about fraudsters who rent and sell people’s properties without the knowledge of the owners. So, take time to make enquiries before you get yourself involved.
4. Pastry Making and Catering: I know some people that use their weekends to prepare chinchin, peanuts, roasted groundnuts, roasted cashew nuts, cakes and so on. They package them beautifully and use their spare time during the week to supply them to shops. Those interested here should make their pastries unique so as to beat their competitors.
5. Event Management: A friend of mine into this said that what she does is get the contract and then use different vendors to supply the things for the event. Her job merely to supervise them. Another friend of mine partners with an established event planner to do hers – she gets the contract and the event planner manages the event while my friend gets a commission. So all you need here is a list of good vendors (such as caterers, bakers, rentals and so on) and the ability to deliver something unique. However, if you are good in any of the things for the event (e.g. baking), you can take it up while you sublet the others.
6. Tutorial and Part-Time Teaching or Lecturing: This one is not necessarily for teachers and lecturers alone. Only thing there is that the person must have the basic academic certificate and needs to be conversant with the subject area. A lot of teachers I know in Abuja use their income from tutorials to buy cars and pay their rents.
7. Content Writing: Those that love to write and have good writing skills can go into this. But you need to know what you love writing about – fashion, politics, hi-tech, education, gossip and so on. Look for blogs and websites that require your skill and start contributing to them.
8. Hair Dressing and Cutting: Men and women are known to engage in hair plaiting and cutting, so you can choose the one you like. You can either attach yourself to a salon, use your home or visit people’s homes for these services. I will also add wig making here. This is in high demand now.
9. Beauty Make-Over: There is need for you to go for some trainings before going into this. You can make fortune from this by dressing people up for weddings, birthdays, house warming, and so many other occasions. You can also attach yourself to photo studios so that you will be contacted when the need for your services arises. Aside these, you can organise training on beauty make-over. One thing that is so good about this job is that you don’t need space to set it up.
10. Dress Making/Tailoring: If you are a trained tailor and you love to sew, all you need is a sewing machine, a sewing kit and your expertise. You can use a corner in your house as your workshop. To get customers, wear your designs and be quick to tell people that you made them whenever they ask. That way, you may not have to pay someone to advertise for you. You can also make use of the internet to market yourself. A lot of workers are now into this.
11. Master of Ceremony (MC): This work doesn’t need any space, tool or training. All you need here is just you and your wits. If you are good in this and are wondering where to start, go to schools and sell yourself. You can also meet event planners and DJs to team up with them. Remember to bring down your price so as to make your offer attractive. Trust me, one good outing is all you need to sell. But remember that each occasion requires a different approach.
12. Mini Shop at Home: This is one area Nigerian civil servants are professionals (aside selling things in the office – I don’t really encourage this). You can have a mini business outlet in your house. Some have mini supermarkets in their home verandas (lol), but it is a good training ground for mega trading. You can sell household things like food items, snacks, kerosene, drinks and others. I don’t think it is wise for you to rent a shop for this type of business considering that you make sales only on weekends, before leaving for work in the morning and when you get back from work in the evening. But you need to be careful so your home doesn’t become a nuisance to neighbours and a target for hoodlums.
13. Consultancy and Repair: When people see that you are good in what you do they will consult you for your expertise at a given fee. You can also add repair charge if you are going to do that. I know people in the medical line benefit a lot from this side hustle but others can too. You can repair computers, cars, furniture and things you are good in.
14. Cab Driving: You can go into this if you have a car. If your car is good enough for Uber, register with them. If not, do the usual kabu-kabu. I trust Abuja residents for this. See, there is no shame in doing something that will bring better life for you and your dependents, so don’t believe that cab driving is too low for you.
15. Jewellery Making: Those that know how to make beaded jewellery are always making sales. This business can even turn you into an exporter if you know your way around. You can sell your wares to fashion shops or display them on the internet, or ask around for agents that will export them for you.
16. Airtime and Data Selling: These days, airtimes and data can be bought from individuals who buy in bulk from the service providers and then sell in bits to customers. When your customers pay you through bank transactions, you send data or airtime to them through the ‘Share and Sell’ services. So all you need here is your phone, initial capital and good marketing skill. Of course your integrity will also be considered because Nigerians are not yet comfortable with this business. But a lot of people are discovering about it. In fact, I have been buying data through this medium for more than three years now.
17. Arts and Crafts: People good in these are encouraged to go into them. Whether it is functional or aesthetic art that you can do, start up something. Art works are necessary these days – carving, sculpturing, cabinet work, graphics, clothe designing, bag making and design, sandals and shoes, you name it. I always believe that when you show interest in something and start looking for how to obtain it, you will find it. So, start now to find where your talents can be used and think of how to make fortune out of it. Allow your talents to pay your bills.
18. Gym Instruction and Sports Coaching: Those into sports can take up these jobs. A lot of gyms are springing up by the day and they need instructors. Schools also need coaches for their students during sports activities. The fortunate thing about coaches is that schools look for civil servants from ministry of sports or PHE teachers in public schools. So, here you go.
19. Joining Multilevel Marketing Companies: I have seen people going into things like Longrich, Forever Living Products, GNLD, and even Nigerian local multilevel marketing companies. Please, beware of Ponzi scheme as that will only end up giving you a heart break. However, find out the intricacies of this type of business before going into it. Then, obtain customers’ feedbacks about the company of interest before investing your money with them.
20. Trading: I didn’t want to include this one but I don’t have a choice because that is what most people have gone into. If this is what interests you, I’ll suggest that you look for something that is important but is lacking in the area. Find a reliable and affordable place that will supply you the goods. Then, package and sell. You can let your colleagues in the office know that you have those goods but, please, sell it to them after office hour. Or, better, make home deliveries. Things I’ve noticed that sell much in this type of business include food items (such as stockfish, crayfish, palm oil), clothing, and jewellery. These are things that people need.
Ok, so you have seen some of the things you can do as side hustles. There are so many other ones (such as statistical analysis, web developing, blogging and so on), but these ones are the ones I am so sure that can easily be done by workers in Nigeria, especially the civil servants, because they require less capital and space. Besides, they are jobs and businesses that have recorded great patronage. You can choose two or more of them as your side hustles, but be careful so that they don’t disrupt your major source of income.