Side Hustle Platform Ideas

Side Hustle Platform Ideas

Instead of getting back to business as usual, people have been searching for a new way forward. Oftentimes their new path includes either becoming an entrepreneur or developing a side hustle (or two).

There are so many new digital platforms that enable people to earn a livelihood that I’m excited to share a few more. Li Jin, investor and expert in the “passion economy” is committed to talking about (and investing in) companies that help lower the barrier to entry to earn money. She’s inspired by the possibilities created by the digital platforms that are helping people monetize their unique skills and she shares new products and platforms on her blog.

So yes, it's easier to get started. You can start a newsletter business with a few clicks on Substack. You can start a subscription business on Patreon. You can start a content subscription business on OnlyFans. You can sell things on Etsy. But getting to scale, getting to success, and making it your full time income is still really challenging.
Li Jin

Here are a few tools to make earning money a little less challenging.

Flexible Selling Opportunity: Upcall: Outbound Call Center for Marketing Sales Automation

If you enjoy the thrill of landing business, using upcall might be exactly what you need. Fearless cold calling is involved and you’ll be given a script by the company that chooses to hire you. They base their success on data and the best times to call a potential customer. It takes under 5 minutes to sign up for this platform and people earn anywhere from $500 to $3500 per month.

Matching System for Freelance Gigs: Worksome - Hire and manage your freelance talent like never before.

Worksome connects skilled consultants and specialists with companies that want flexible talent to solve their business issues. It makes companies’ recruitment quick, and efficient by matching talent and skills with a companies’ demand. They screen and gather the best talent in all of the knowledge-heavy fields such as developers, graphic design and digital marketing. It’s easy and free to create a job post. They use a rating system that ensures high quality for both the company and the specialist. Worksome’s digital recruitment process delivers flexible labor smarter, faster, and cheaper than traditional analog recruitment solutions. They also provide an all-in-one solution that takes care of contracts, billing, and payment, so the company and the specialist can concentrate on the work.

Build & Deepen Your Relationship With Your Audience & Get Paid: Norby: A tool to build your brand, grow your community and activate your audience.

Norby was launched in 2020 and I learned more about them on product hunt (which I highly recommend checking out frequently). If you already have an event, how do you get people in the door? Norby solves this problem. They believe that when creators own the relationship with their followers, they are incentivized to build on those relationships and make meaningful content. Platforms, on the other hand, are incentivized only to keep people's attention for as long as they possibly can, regardless of the net effect on people's lives or livelihoods. Norby helps creators and community builders reclaim the relationship with their audience and create experiences that meet people where they are while retaining the control and ownership creators need to survive. Norby is a one-stop shop for building and managing creator and brand communities. It has all the tools you need to get started, from your link in bio, signups, and landing pages to your SMS campaigns and email newsletters. It has tons of integrations and you can use it to host events on any platform, create personalized experiences, track follower analytics, and more. Check out their events here.

Knowledge is power, and knowing your skills as well as all the different kinds of platforms that are available now will not only help earn money but it will also help gain more tech knowledge about these “all in one” platforms. There are several holes in the world right now that need filling. Perhaps your skill set can fill a few of them.

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Why Is No-Code Such A Big Deal?

Why Is No-Code Such A Big Deal?

Yesterday morning I was excited to speak with Lacey Kesler, Founder of Women in No-Code. We met via Twitter because I wanted to learn more about her courses. She’s also the Head of Education for Adalo (a no code platform to create apps). No-code is a method and a movement of programming that does not necessarily involve writing code but instead works with GUI (Graphic User Interface) tools. No-code technology has one objective: to find a way to get the most work done and deliver the most functionality in the smallest amount of time. The most repetitive, manual tasks that take up your time can be automated with no-code. 

Lacey and I talked about how people in technology and startups share no code tools they’re using on social media. Non technical founders “build in public” and share how they’re using no code tools to gain an audience and revenue. Her belief is that the people who are exposed to no code opportunities are relatively small. Even the term “no code” is not familiar for a majority of people. 

Coincidentally, she met with her manager last week regarding the need to expand their audience to people who are life learners who could also benefit from knowing about no-code opportunities. She believes the greater population has no idea these tools exist. To be fair, no-code tools are relatively new and they’ve gained tremendous traction during the pandemic. There are also new products that have launched within the last year. Lacey said she wants everyone to know about these tools since it democratizes the ability to build a tech product and earn an income. Oftentimes people who don’t have a tech background are at an advantage when it comes to creating something innovative using no-code. They’re starting with a fresh perspective and recognize an opportunity, trend or a pattern sooner than people already immersed in technology. It was a great conversation because when I meet people who are passionate about teaching and helping others (especially about earning money), I tend to fall in love. 

“No-code is creating a new revolution in tech (and the world) because it's giving the power of software development to the masses,” 

                           Lacey Kesler, Head of Education at Adalo and Founder of Women in No-Code.

Tara Reed is another leader to watch in no code. While she worked for Microsoft full time as a Marketing Director, she learned how to build an app using no-code tools and created Kollecto, a personalized art app that she was later able to sell. Now she offers courses on how she did it and asks her students three questions in order to figure out what kind of app they should create:

  1. What do you do for work?
  2. What do you spend time/effort on at work?
  3. What alleviates that stress?

Once those questions are answered, she digs into the responses further to gain clarity and figure out if your app idea is a viable product. She has over two hundred thousand YouTube views and is now the Founder and CEO of Apps Without Code, a startup school that offers webinars, coaching and an intensive boot camp. She helps entrepreneurs turn their app ideas into viable businesses. Tara shared success stories from some of her students. One example was a music teacher who sold his app to schools to help alleviate music budget cuts and is earning over $30k per month. Tara emphasized that selling the app to an organization instead of direct to consumer may be a more lucrative option. Your app could also be “white labeled” with another company’s logo on it which would garner even more revenue. 

It is the best time to jump on to no-code train now. No-code is the future. If you become an expert now, you will be one of the most in-demand people in the future.

                               Arun Saigal, Cofounder and CEO Thunkable

Check out the resources below and try out different tools and watch different tutorials. So many people are taking advantage of no code who have zero experience building a tech company. Also, Lacey Kesler will be our guest on the illume hire happy hour on June 17th at 5pm PST so I hope you can join us. Space is limited so please reserve your spot soon. 

Reviewed & Recommended:

No-code represents a huge opportunity, but few understand what it is

Why Low-Code Automation Is The Tech Of The Future Low-code/no-code

Makerpad: Build & operate businesses without code

No-code workflow automation platform I Advantage of using no-code workflow

E1148: Apps Without Code CEO Tara Reed teaches how to bootstrap no-code startups to profitability

3 Tips to Overcome a Bully in Late Career

3 Tips to Overcome a Bully in Late Career

Chances are, if you’ve worked or volunteered on a team, you’ve witnessed someone being bullied (or been on the receiving end of it). Criticism is a normal part of work life but criticism meant to intimidate, humiliate, or single someone out without reason is considered bullying. The Muse defines it as “a repeated health harming mistreatment of one or more people. It includes verbal abuse, intimidating, threatening or humiliating the target. It can, and often does, interfere with the target’s ability to get their work done.” When bullying happens, it throws us off. Our brains go haywire because it’s unexpected and typically we’re unsure how to respond. According to The Balance, more men (70%) are bullies and women are the most frequent targets of bullies (60%). Female bullies most often target other women (80%). And if you think you’re off the hook because of working remotely, bullying has actually increased from 30% to 47% during virtual meetings in 2020 according to the Workplace Bullying Institute.

A few years ago, a friend told me about an unsettling meeting she’d had with her manager and team. The discussion was about how their compensation was structured. The conversation wasn’t about salary - it was focused on how people were incentivized. Her new manager didn’t understand why a salesperson would push revenue to a month where they needed to achieve their number. As my friend started to explain why it’s beneficial for a salesperson to move revenue to a different month (hint: they get paid more), he became extremely agitated. He threw up his hand in her face and yelled, “I did not give you permission to speak!” What? Everyone was stunned and silent. She asked to speak to him privately after the meeting and never reported him to his boss. Why? She was 54 and was concerned about being retaliated against by him and she was concerned about finding another full time job. She knew his behavior had more to do with control and a sense of power than anything she said.  She learned some valuable lessons that day. Here are three tips on how to respond.

  1. Take a Meta Moment: Pause and don’t respond at all - even if your heart is racing. When you DO decide to respond, do so in a calm manner. This not only reflects how rational you are - but it also tends to highlight how irrational the other person is being.
  2. Confront it Privately or Report It: My friend addressed it immediately and asked to meet him privately. Although she didn’t feel reporting his behavior would help her in any way, asking him directly why he reacted that way felt empowering. Taking this action also set a boundary so he wouldn’t verbally harass her again (and he didn’t). At the time, she felt reporting it to the HR department or to his boss would have exacerbated the situation. Whatever you decide, do something instead of nothing. If you don’t say anything, the power imbalance and bullying behavior will continue. The Muse suggested the following ways to address it:
    - Call attention to their values: Try “I know that you really care about everyone feeling valued, and when you do X, it undermines that intention. Maybe we could try Y in the future?
    - Explain why it’s a problem: Try “I notice you X, and when you do that it makes it hard for us to foster a team environment.”
    - Say their name a lot: “John, I hear what you are saying but John, I need you to stop doing X. I treat you with respect, John, and I need you to do the same.” 

    Side Note: Some people have questioned whether or not his behavior was legally actionable. It wasn’t. The law does not require that your boss or coworkers be nice or fair. But such harassment might be illegal if the harassment is based on an illegal reason or motive. It’s only if you can prove that the person singled you out because of age, gender or race that it would be actionable. This could be changing, however, with the Healthy Workplace Bill.

  3. Compassion Builds Resilience: One thing that helped her get through the hostile encounter was compassion. She thought, “Wow. Something is really off with this individual. Maybe his wife asked for a divorce right before the meeting or maybe he learned he has cancer.” It sounds funny but it was her way of reframing the situation because she knew it was about his own mental state and low EQ. According to an article in the Harvard Business Review “One of the most overlooked aspects of a resilience skill set is the ability to cultivate compassion — both self-compassion and compassion for others. According to research cited by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, compassion increases positive emotions, creates positive work relationships, and increases cooperation and collaboration. . .Compassion and business effectiveness are not mutually exclusive. Rather, individual, team and organizational success rely on a compassionate work culture.”

So if it happens, pause, address it and then reframe it. A few months later, that manager was fired. While it would be great if all bullies experienced the same fate, it’s always good to build resilience and be armed with different ways to respond.

Reviewed & Recommended:

Workplace Bullying: How to Identify and Manage Bullying

How to Deal With a Bully in the Workplace

Your Complete Guide to Dealing With Workplace Bullies

Nailing Your 60 Seconds: Elevator Talent Pitch

Nailing Your 60 Seconds: Elevator Talent Pitch

When interviewers or anyone in a position to hire asks, “Tell us about yourself”, many people either wing it and end up talking way too long or they only mention their job title and a few unremarkable things they’ve done in the past. In a workshop I attended recently, the instructors outlined the ingredients for a perfect elevator talent pitch. It’s an opportunity to give brief but powerful information with a few “wow” achievements. In a sea of job applicants and the need to impress connections, being memorable is even more important. Knowing your skill set, passion and the value you can bring to an organization will lead to an elevator pitch that’s natural instead of contrived or boring.

This can also be an opportunity to explain where you see yourself in the future and why, especially if you’re planning on pivoting careers. Explaining why you took the leap into a different field by talking about your transferable skills helps people understand where you’re headed. The first step is to prepare a short pitch about yourself that outlines three talents and ties them to the proof of your accomplishments. Keeping it to three skills is one way to keep it short and memorable. Second, practice it several times before your next interview. Try it on someone you know and see what their response is to it. My friend, JoAnne, was able to tell her elevator talent pitch to someone she met on a plane and landed a new job a month later because of her career storytelling ability. 

6 Steps To Create Your Highlight Reel:

  1. Write It Down: Kerri Twig, a career story coach, recommends setting aside 5-10 minutes a day for a week in order to write out your most amazing achievements. This helps clarify which ones you want to highlight. She also recommends writing your own job description/ad that you want. Keep it to three talents at the most.
  2. Time Box It: Try two versions. One is 30 seconds and one is 60 seconds. It will come in handy when you actually only have :30 seconds to impress someone casually. You may also want to have a few different versions based on who you’re talking to at the time. It will be more relevant for them and because of that - will make you more relevant and memorable.
  3. What’s Compelling? Anyone can say they are awesome but few can prove it. Have one or two lines with the proof. Consider including hard numbers and goals achieved so the other person can visualize how you can contribute to their company or who they’d want to introduce you to in the future.
  4. You’re the Product: Treat yourself, business or product like a brand. What’s the one thing you or your business can offer than nobody else can? How are you different? Think about your unique value proposition and what you bring to the table.
  5. Keep It Fluid/Revise It: Your elevator talent pitch should be a living, breathing thing - just like your resume. As you learn more and upskill, it will evolve and become stronger.
  6. Add A Tagline: Including a phrase at the end of your elevator pitch can help solidify a positive first impression in the other person’s mind.  Examples could be the following:
    • Building X has taught me
    • Leadership has recognized X 
    • I help transform X
    • I’ve been passionate about X

Since your “loose connections” tend to be the strongest in terms of landing a position, it’s time well spent practicing your elevator talent pitch.

Reviewed & Recommended:

Kerri Twig is an expert in career storytelling and has recently written a book: The Career Stories Method: 11 Steps to Find Your Ideal Career—and Discover Your Awesome Self in the Process

Kerri also has a huge YouTube following with loads of content on career storytelling: Land a job without applying | Career Stories Live Episode 10

How to Answer Tell Me About Yourself - the opening line

What's Shame Got To Do With It?

What's Shame Got To Do With It?

Turns out a lot. Shame about age and being recognized as someone who happens to be older. If it’s regarding age and searching for a job – shame is especially egregious. What’s interesting is that we shame ourselves. When we admit that maybe age was the reason we did not get that interview or land that job, then we’re admitting that we are a victim. And being a victim is not who we identify with if we are ambitious and want to do interesting and challenging things even - god forbid - in our 50s, 60s and beyond. 

 It’s time to swap age shame for age pride.

                                                                            -Ashton Applewhite


A few months ago, I went on a hike with someone who had been looking for a position in marketing - for two years. She had an amazing background working for big tech companies in the Pacific Northwest. You know what else she had? Beautiful gray hair. Perhaps she’s a terrible interviewer or didn’t prepare well before speaking to a hiring team - but I doubt it. She talked about the shame she felt and the word “embarrassed” came up several times when friends would ask how the job hunt was going. When I asked several people if they’d consider signing up for a career matching platform for people with 20+ years of experience, their response was enthusiastic at first and then lukewarm. They did not want to self select as someone who needed help landing a job because of their age. 

When I went through Founder Institute last September, one advisor said after my pitch, “I don’t believe it. It’s not a thing. Ageism at the hiring level is not a problem to solve.” I could feel my face burning but since we were not allowed to respond to an advisor’s comments, I said, “Thank you for your input” while inwardly screaming. Which brings me back to denial and shame. My hunch is that she didn’t see it as a problem because a) She never experienced it and b) She believed it’s all about having a “growth mindset”. Growing, learning, falling down and learning from it are valuable lessons in life and I’m a big fan of Dr. Carol Dweck who covers this topic.  But this is different. It’s a societal construct that needs to be dismantled and it’s a damaging one at that. Since longevity and the 100 year life are here to stay, we need to make sure that opportunities exist to earn at any age. In fact, it’s so critical the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals calls for “decent work and economic growth” as their eighth initiative to be achieved by 2030.

We believe it’s time to lose stereotypes about people over 40.  We believe the hiring process is flawed and that age bias is all too common.  More than anything, we believe there’s an untapped market filled with amazing, talented people who can help companies excel and rise above the economic impact of the pandemic.

That’s why we’re building a pilot program for people with 20+ years of experience. We have 400 spots available and the deadline is May 14, 2021. Please review and share this link with anyone who’s interested in participating in our pilot program. There’s no fee to apply. Join us for positive change and an easier way to be matched with companies that know the value of hiring older job candidates.

Reviewed & Recommended:

Recruiting Actions Companies Need To Take Now To Improve Workplace Inclusion

Why Social Constructs Are Created

Ageism is a global challenge: UN 18 March 2021

Longevity & the YOLO Life

Longevity & the YOLO Life

Earlier this week, The New York Times wrote about a new trend. Apparently, younger workers are leaving their well paying jobs in droves. They call it the “YOLO economy” which stands for “You Only Live Once”. The pandemic has changed many people’s priorities and with so much time to reassess our values and figure out why some of us are so unhappy, it’s not a big shock. 

Time For An Extreme Pivot?

The desire for a YOLO lifestyle is trending for older professionals as well. People in their 40s, 50s and 60s are deciding to exit long term careers, downsize earlier than planned, and do life differently as a result of the pandemic. They are seizing the day and reimagining their futures. Some older professionals believe now is a good time to make a career pivot and explore more meaningful options. A woman I know decided to leave a hospitality design firm and start a clothing line (targeting older women) using recycled cashmere. Another person I know is making plans to leave her tech job and become an organic farmer in France. They’re both in their 50s and although they have savings, neither of them are wealthy. Both of them evaluated their current situation and felt inspired to make enormous changes. With work from home technology advancing rapidly, it opens up so many opportunities for everyone. 

Others are leaving because their companies want them back in the office full time. The remote work genie is out of the bottle and when companies insist on being in an office, it feels a bit like big brother is trying to gain control. I don’t know anyone who likes that feeling or believes that will attract and retain talented employees - no matter what age you happen to be. Many employers realize it’s going to take more than a $50 Amazon gift card to keep their talented staff from leaving.  In fact, The New York Times wrote, “A recent Microsoft survey found that more than 40 percent of workers globally were considering leaving their jobs this year. Blind, an anonymous social network that is popular with tech workers, recently found that 49 percent of its users planned to get a new job this year.” The Microsoft survey was conducted with all different ages in the workforce.

On April 12th, 2021 in response to the YOLO trend,  @analogbath responded on Twitter:

“This is 100% a thing and has been for the last year or so. I have a handful of 

friends who have left their jobs from IT executives to lawyers jumping in 

a car and living out of it while working remotely. I’m fucking 40 years old.”

- Dee Rock

The Resilient X Factor

Older generations have seen economies crash and have weathered storms in the U.S. such as the gas shortage in the 70's, recession in the late 80s, 9/11 attacks and another slump in 2008 thanks to the financial crisis. My friend, Jim who is in his 60s said, “Bring it on, global pandemic. I’ve been through it all and COVID will not bring me down”. Maybe that’s one reason why they’re doing better psychologically during the pandemic than younger generations. “Older people have been through more. They show more resilience and emotional intelligence and fortitude than any other generation” said Ken Dychtwald, the founder and CEO of Age Wave. Gen X, born between 1965 and 1980 are often referred to as the “sandwich generation” because many are caring for children and older parents. They’ve also been the generation of “latchkey kids” being left alone after school since both parents went to work. The theory is that because they were left alone at home for years, Gen Xers have adapted more easily living in isolation.

The Reality

While the YOLO economy sounds aspirational and exciting, we realize that some older professionals have either been pushed out of the workforce or they simply do not have the means to take the leap. And many of them are forced into early retirement as a result of the pandemic. According to the Pew Research Center, “In the third quarter of 2020, about 28.6 million Baby Boomers – those born between 1946 and 1964 – reported that they were out of the labor force due to retirement. This is 3.2 million more Boomers than the 25.4 million who were retired in the same quarter of 2019.” And we all know that getting back into a full time job with fabulous benefits is more difficult for many older professionals and we all know the reasons why. The most sage advice from coaches and future of work specialists we’ve had on the illume hire webinar has been consistent. Whether or not you plan on being in the tech field, learn more technology. Make it a goal to learn about trello, airtable, loom, miro, crowdcast and so many amazing (and easy) tools.

If you’re rethinking your life purpose and crave the idea of disrupting yourself to achieve a YOLO life, having a game plan and asking these questions might help before taking the leap.

5 YOLO Questions to Ask:

  1. If I don’t do this, will I regret it?
  2. What’s the worst thing that could happen? 
  3. Can I live with that worst case scenario?
  4. Have I mapped out the next year or two?
  5. Do I have a plan C?

Since you only live once, why stay at a job that makes you miserable?

Separately, if anyone is interested in joining a community talking about the future of work and different opportunities that exist for professional “olders”, please send me a note at Make it an awesome week.