Victoria’s Secret model Karlie Kloss likes to dabble in electrical engineering in her spare time, while Blake Lively perfected her culinary skills at Paris’ Le Cordon Bleu. As their combined net worth sits around the [US] $30m mark, we can safely assume that Karlie and Blake’s side hustles aren’t exactly financially motivated.
Does that mean we mere mortals should also consider launching our own passion projects? “Absolutely,” says UK journalist Amy Rowland, who launched her blog (A)my Space back in 2013 initially as a way to document her life in London. However, as an avid reader (she read 143 books last year alone!), the blog soon began to feature book reviews and interviews with some of her favourite authors more and more heavily. “Book reviews were merely a small part of the content but I found they were by far my most popular posts,” she explains. As Amy’s blog took a new shape, it began to soar in popularity.
“I don’t make any money from my blog – I do it simply because I love books and want to share all the books I read with other people,” says Amy, the Deputy Features Editor at Bella magazine. “I found I was reading so many good ones that when I’d finished my response was, ‘I need everyone to read this now so I can discuss it!’ The best way to do that was by starting up the blog and sharing the books I really liked across my social media channels.”
Indeed, be it born out of moral obligation, a quest for self-fulfilment or just a stress busting creative outlet, your side hustle doesn’t have to generate an income in order for it to be a valid use of your spare time. However, that’s not to say there won’t be other perks – developing ideas or dipping your toe in a new industry before taking the plunge entirely are all happy by-products of a side hustle. What’s more, without the added pressure of financial dependency on your project on the side, it allows a certain level of autonomy, which essentially means you can pick it up, drop it or even change it as and when you please.
“Advanced reading copies are by far the biggest perk,” says Amy of the many benefits her blog affords her. “I sometimes receive up to 10 new books a day – it’s like Christmas opening up all the packages! I’ve become friendly with a few of the book publicists too and they know my favourite authors and the type of books I like so I always get books that I love sometimes up to four months before they are released.”
Additionally, Amy – who was made Book Reviews Editor in 2015 – is invited to lots of book launches and was even asked by Penguin to host a Q&A with New York Times bestselling author Sylvia Day. As such, Amy’s side hustle has helped her broaden her professional experience while indulging in her number one passion – reading. “I read so many books, it really is my way of winding down and I get so much enjoyment and pleasure out of reading.”