Is Your Side Hustle Working For You?


More and more people are opting to add a side hustle to their resume, not just to make more money, but as a way to pursue a passion.

Side hustle income can help you pay down debt, contribute to your emergency fund, save for retirement, or allow you to take the vacation of your dreams. There are literally endless possibilities for ways to make extra income, so I won’t get into that here. Instead, I will focus on strategies for how to build the perfect side hustle for you and make the most of your efforts.

Decide What Kind of Hustle Works for You

Whether it’s blog writing, freelance photography, or flipping furniture on Craigslist, there are many ways to find the perfect side hustle for your lifestyle. Creating a hustle out of what you love is important because, even though it’s extra money, it’s also extra work. Think about what your hobbies, interests, and talents are. Next, consider what you want out of it. Is your goal to build a substantial second income stream, or are you more focused on just making a small profit out of a hobby or interest? Do you have plans to eventually pursue this full-time or will it always be a side hustle? Do you have time to commit to a regular schedule or will it be occasional work when you have time? These are all things to consider when determining the right side hustle for you.

Determine Your Source of Business

In order to make money from your hustle, you’ll need to find people to pay for your products or services. First, identify your target market. Are you selling directly to consumers or do you plan to freelance for other businesses? Next, identify key ways to market your business. Whether it's building a social media presence, using Craigslist ads, listing your services on freelancer sites like Upwork or Fiverr, distributing flyers, joining an industry network, or depending on word-of-mouth referrals, consider which marketing methods will work best for generating leads.

Taking the time to develop a strategy will help you reach your goals and achieve success sooner.

Talk to Others

Reaching out to others – whether it’s a friend or a stranger in the business – for advice can really affect the success of your side hustle. Take the time to reach out to people who can help you – you might be surprised at how willing people are to offer advice and lend a hand.

Start Small

Whether you plan to eventually turn your side hustle into a full time income stream or just make a little extra money on the side, it is important to manage your expectations. Remember that no business finds success overnight! Be prepared to start small. As you gain experience and learn how much you can realistically manage, your business will evolve in a way that fits into your life.

Consider Working for Free

Even though you want to generate a secondary source of income, you may want to consider starting off working for free. This will allow you to demonstrate your talent to new customers, build up your portfolio, give you a list of references and contacts, and build up your experience. A side hustle is an investment of your time and skills, and you should consider focusing on building your business the right way – even if it means not making money right away.

Starting a side hustle is bound to have a few bumps along the road. And managing your 9-to-5, your family, your house, you social life and a side hustle can be a lot. Using the above tips to help you get started will help you ensure the success of your side hustle and help you to enjoy its ups and downs.

7min read

The Middle East And North Africa Are Brimming With Untapped Female Potential

Women of the Middle East have made significant strides in the past decade in a number of sectors, but huge gaps remain within the labor market, especially in leadership roles.

A huge number of institutions have researched and quantified trends of and obstacles to the full utilization of females in the marketplace. Gabriela Ramos, is the Chief-of-Staff to The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an alliance of thirty-six governments seeking to improve economic growth and world trade. The OECD reports that increasing participation in the women's labor force could easily result in a $12 trillion jump in the global GDP by the year 2025.

To realize the possibilities, attention needs to be directed toward the most significantly underutilized resource: the women of MENA—the Middle East and North African countries. Educating the men of MENA on the importance of women working and holding leadership roles will improve the economies of those nations and lead to both national and global rewards, such as dissolving cultural stereotypes.

The OECD reports that increasing participation in the women's labor force could easily result in a $12 trillion jump in the global GDP by the year 2025.

In order to put this issue in perspective, the MENA region has the second highest unemployment rate in the world. According to the World Bank, more women than men go to universities, but for many in this region the journey ends with a degree. After graduating, women tend to stay at home due to social and cultural pressures. In 2017, the OECD estimated that unemployment among women is costing some $575 billion annually.

Forbes and Arabian Business have each published lists of the 100 most powerful Arab businesswomen, yet most female entrepreneurs in the Middle East run family businesses. When it comes to managerial positions, the MENA region ranks last with only 13 percent women among the total number of CEOs according to the Swiss-based International Labor Organization ( publication "Women Business Management – Gaining Momentum in the Middle East and Africa.")

The lopsided tendency that keeps women in family business—remaining tethered to the home even if they are prepared and capable of moving "into the world"—is noted in a report prepared by OECD. The survey provides factual support for the intuitive concern of cultural and political imbalance impeding the progression of women into the workplace who are otherwise fully capable. The nations of Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Jordan and Egypt all prohibit gender discrimination and legislate equal pay for men and women, but the progressive-sounding checklist of their rights fails to impact on "hiring, wages or women's labor force participation." In fact, the report continues, "Women in the six countries receive inferior wages for equal work… and in the private sector women rarely hold management positions or sit on the boards of companies."

This is more than a feminist mantra; MENA's males must learn that they, too, will benefit from accelerating the entry of women into the workforce on all levels. Some projections of value lost because women are unable to work; or conversely the amount of potential revenue are significant.

Elissa Freiha, founder of Womena, the leading empowerment platform in the Middle East, emphasizes the financial benefit of having women in high positions when communicating with men's groups. From a business perspective it has been proven through the market Index provider that companies with more women on their boards deliver 36% better equity than those lacking board diversity.

She challenges companies with the knowledge that, "From a business level, you can have a potential of 63% by incorporating the female perspective on the executive team and the boards of companies."

Freiha agrees that educating MENA's men will turn the tide. "It is difficult to argue culturally that a woman can disconnect herself from the household and community." Her own father, a United Arab Emirates native of Lebanese descent, preferred she get a job in the government, but after one month she quit and went on to create Womena. The fact that this win-lose situation was supported by an open-minded father, further propelled Freiha to start her own business.

"From a business level, you can have a potential of 63% by incorporating the female perspective on the executive team and the boards of companies." - Elissa Frei

While not all men share the open-mindedness of Freiha's dad, a striking number of MENA's women have convincingly demonstrated that the talent pool is skilled, capable and all-around impressive. One such woman is the prominent Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al-Qasimi, who is currently serving as a cabinet minister in the United Arab Emirates and previously headed a successful IT strategy company.

Al-Qasimi exemplifies the potential for MENA women in leadership, but how can one example become a cultural norm? Marcello Bonatto, who runs Re: Coded, a program that teaches young people in Turkey, Iraq and Yemen to become technology leaders, believes that multigenerational education is the key. He believes in the importance of educating the parent along with their offspring, "particularly when it comes to women." Bonatto notes the number of conflict-affected youth who have succeeded through his program—a boot camp training in technology.

The United Nations Women alongside Promundo—a Brazil-based NGO that promotes gender-equality and non-violence—sponsored a study titled, "International Men and Gender Equality Survey of the Middle East and North Africa in 2017."

This study surveyed ten thousand men and women between the ages of 18 and 59 across both rural and urban areas in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and the Palestinian Authority. It reports that, "Men expected to control their wives' personal freedoms from what they wear to when the couple has sex." Additionally, a mere one-tenth to one-third of men reported having recently carried out a more conventionally "female task" in their home.

Although the MENA region is steeped in historical tribal culture, the current conflict of gender roles is at a crucial turning point. Masculine power structures still play a huge role in these countries, and despite this obstacle, women are on the rise. But without the support of their nations' men this will continue to be an uphill battle. And if change won't come from the culture, maybe it can come from money. By educating MENA's men about these issues, the estimated $27 trillion that women could bring to their economies might not be a dream. Women have been empowering themselves for years, but it's time for MENA's men to empower its women.