Women’s forum focuses on ‘side hustles’

Women’s forum focuses on ‘side hustles’

When Stacy Hodge started a “side hustle” selling and renting party supplies, she was working as a general manager and interior decorator. But eventually, her business, Party World BVI, became her main source of income.

Ms. Hodge shared some of the lessons she learned from this journey when she took the stage along with four other female entrepreneurs at the “Art of the Side Hustle” breakfast forum on Friday at The Moorings.

“Don’t do it just because you want to make money,” Ms. Hodge advised about 30 women seated around the room, which was decorated with supplies from her business. “Because I think where we go wrong is that the money is not going to come that easily; it’s not going to come that fast. It’s going to come slowly over a period of time.”

The free event was hosted in observance of International Women’s Day by Money Matters BVI, a financial-literacy programme operated by the BVI Financial Services Commission.

The other panelists — many of whom have more than one side hustle — were Rochelle Lawrence, Bianca Dougan, Janelle Jagdeo and Jehree Clarke. Cabinet Secretary Sandra Ward moderated the event.

Ms. Lawrence stressed the importance of market research in starting a business.

“People need to know their market,” said the entrepreneur, whose businesses include HR Solutions and multiple coffee shops operating under the brand Brew. “It’s one thing to do something and be passionate about it. But if you don’t have a market for it, you’re gonna have an issue.”

She added, “Another thing that I wish I knew sooner, although I have capitalised on this, is making sure that you hone your craft and become an expert in it.”

For Ms. Lawrence, that meant learning the ins and outs of the equipment that is used in her coffee shops.

“It goes just beyond the service and the product, but actually understanding your equipments when things go down,” she said.

All the panelists highlighted the importance of scheduling time well.

Ms. Jagdeo, a FirstBank branch manager who owns the Circle Café and other businesses, said that the additional work needed for a side hustle can be “daunting.” But with diligent time-management, she added, it is still possible to “enjoy life” and go on vacations.

She also advised deciding “how much time you want to dedicate to every side job.”

Investing in the future

Some of the entrepreneurs said they see their businesses as an investment for future generations.

“We are building the foundation so that when we pass on, they’re able to take up the mantle and to move forward with their business, and that too will become income for them,” Ms. Jagdeo said.

This investment can go beyond generational wealth.

“For me, the investment is not [only] my family and my children, but the community,” said Ms. Dougan, an Elmore Stoutt High School science teacher who co-owns Majestic Life Funeral Home and Crematory Services.

Other panelists echoed her sentiment. “All of my employees are a product of me and the company that they work for,” Ms. Lawrence said. “And even if they move on to another company, I have invested tools and skill sets in them that they will have forever.”

Originally Appeared Here