Do you have a hobby that you love? Is this pastime something you could monetize? Elementary education teacher Julie Shrum figured out how to turn her interests into successful side hustles—she has not one, but two businesses of her own. This hard working young teacher has great experiences to share about connecting with your inner entrepreneur. Affiliate links for the products she uses are included in this article as well. Should you click on one, I might make a little commission which helps my side hustle.
According to Julie, the best way to connect with a side hustle is to figure out your passions. After joining a sorority in college, she saw quickly how she could monetize her love of sewing.
“We wanted to get some shirts made with sewn letters on them,” she said. “The business down the road was charging $25 per shirt. I realized I could do it for much less.”
That lightbulb moment led to Julie’s first business called “Let Her Sew.” Armed with a Brother sewing machine, a rainbow of thread, and a stockpile of fabric, her work took off.
“This was my college side hustle,” she said. “I worked it in around classwork and social events—I sewed shirts between classes. If I didn’t have plans, I could make ten shirts on a Friday night.”
Julie kept sewing once she started teaching, but she slowed her business to the occasional set of curtains and pillows for clients.
“Trying to cut letters for teaching was difficult and time consuming. I was excited to buy the Silhouette, because it made these tasks so much easier,” she said. “I then took a year, tested what the machine could do, tried different materials and vinyls, then decided to start an additional business.”
She launched Tweedle last June.
“I bought of bunch of blank items to create. Another big-ticket purchase was the rainbow of vinyl I ordered from myvinyldirect.com,” Julie explained.
“I started with family and friends as customers because I knew they would be honest,” she said.
This feedback is important to hone skills and create a quality product that will sell.
Julie learned quickly that personalized products were incredibly popular.
“Customization sells,” she said. “Monograms, names, pictures—letting people choose what they want is a big deal.”
She then learned important lessons about pricing.
“Even though materials are cheap, your time is worth money,” she noted.
Now that her second business is up and rolling, promotion is another big part of her success.
“I use word of mouth and email, but Facebook and Instagram are important, too,” Julie said. “I try to post on social media once or twice per week.”
Julie keeps records of all her work.
“Always, always, always take pictures of everything you do,” she said.
Aside from the money, what other payoffs do side hustles afford?
“I love what I do!” she said. “Some people get runners’ high—I get crafters’ high.”
Julie also enjoys the affirmation from customers.
“It’s so great knowing that I have this creative talent and that people like it,” she said. “I love the conversations I have with customers—I love getting their ideas and improving them.”
Teaching is a big part of her creative outlet, but so is crafting.
“I need to have vision and creativity right at my fingertips,” she said. “This is a great outlet from education—I’m not just a teacher, after all.”