Advice

Key Tips for Starting a Side Hustle From 7 Philly Entrepreneurs

They've all been there and share some pitfalls you should avoid.

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The grind never stops in Philadelphia, and with our new Super Bowl champion status, you might even feel empowered to work even harder. And right now just might be the perfect time to finally launch that side hustle you’ve had in mind. Whether it’s starting a small business alongside your regular 9-to-5 duties or picking up a new gig to make some extra cash, it’s clear the art of the side hustle is here to stay. We asked seven Philadelphia entrepreneurs to share their best advice on how to successfully pursue a side hustle while not quitting your day job in Philly. Here’s what they said:

Understand why you want it…

My best tip is to invest in yourself. If you want your side hustle to eventually be your job. The key is to invest in yourself and your side hustle so it can eventually be your job. -Lyonzo Vargas, Global Village.

You have to have a crazy obsession with your side hustle in order for it to operate. It’s so easy to get off from your 9 to 5 then head straight to the couch and watch T.V. until you fall asleep. You have to sacrifice your day-to-day living and work at least a six hour shift after your 9 to 5. – Josh Langford, BWC Garments.

As an entrepreneur I realized my largest asset was understanding how dynamic you have to be to be successful. – Jeaninne Kayembe, Urban Creators.

The obvious answer is you have to just love it. I had a corporate job, and I was a student. I was planning events in my basement and throwing shows for artists. I didn’t ever think of it as a job or as work. I was doing it because it was what I wanted to do and how I wanted to spend my time. You know it’s the right hustle when you do things because it’s how you want to spend your time. – Dave Silver, RecPhilly and Amplify Philly.

Choose passion over profit! Let your passion be the motivating factor for the business you choose to grow and/or the product you choose to sell. After that, the money will follow. – Jamie Cooperstein, J. Cooperstein Hospitality Consulting.

Organize your day…

Your 9 to 5 should support your hustle or your dream. It’s that simple. For example, if you were a rapper but you also worked a 9 to 5, you should use the money from your paycheck for your studio time. Complete a music project then sell it at your workplace, also to friends and family, iTunes, etc. – Mont Brown, The Kickback Foundation

Man, there were some long days, and it was non-stop. From a 6 a.m. wake-up call to getting myself prepared in the morning right into the corporate office. As soon as I was off the clock there, I’d walk from my corporate office right to my side hustle office, and start my day from there. I’d get off my job at 5 or 5:30 p.m., be at my office at 6 p.m. and be non-stop until at least 1 to 2 AM. I loved it. I love that grind. – Dave Silver

My work with urban Creators pulls at multiple layers of my identity, like being an artist and community organizer. So I find it still within my core values and time to teach art at after school programs for extra cash. A lot of schools and community organizations are looking for talented folks for two or three hours a couple times a week to teach their passions and skills to young people. If you’re looking for a few extra dollars for a semester worth of work, I recommend giving it a try. – Jeaninne Kayembe

The way I went about my 9 to 5 (actually my 1 p.m. to 3 a.m. on weekends) was to make sure that I was putting more hours and effort into my side hustle than my actual “job.” I was only working my job to fund my side hustle. Your 9 to 5 can be so draining that once you have free time you use all that time to relax or catch up with social engagements. The key is to make sure you leave fuel in the tank for your side hustle and to not let your job drain your energy. – Lyonzo Vargas

Watch out for these pitfalls…

It can easily become all consuming since there are not set work hours. You have to create boundaries for yourself so the job doesn’t become 24/7. – Jamie Cooperstein

Remember what and why you’re passionate about your work. I still enjoy being an Army Reservist because I still have a passion for the mission and the people. But as soon as I lose the passion for the work, it’s time to step aside. You should always try to take 15 minutes a week to ask yourself if what you’re doing is still adequately serving yourself. If the side hustle or the full-time job or the volunteer project or the religious group you’re a part of no longer fulfills you, why waste your time? – Will Woldenberg, Entegrit

If you don’t really identify with the school or young people that you’re hoping to serve it could do more harm than help. Make sure you really have a passion for everything being taught and the young people will respond with that same passion. – Jeaninne Kayembe

You have to find a realistic balance or else your mental health will start to become an issue. However, the most important thing is balancing your personal money and your side hustle money. The worst thing you can do is dive into your side hustle money then end up broke and not being able to pursue your passion projects. – Josh Langford