Inspiring Side Hustle Success Stories

Side hustles are a popular way for people to make some extra cash while pursuing their passions and hobbies. Over a third of people in the UK run a side hustle, according to research from Simply Business; their survey of 1000 brits revealing that most of these side hustles were set up during the pandemic.

But how exactly do side hustles play out? How are the successful ones started and where are they now?

As part of TechRound’s Side Hustle month, we’ve collected stories from inspiring individuals on how they started their side hustles and what’s come of them since.

 

Our Side Hustle Stories:

  • Farren Morgan – Founder of The Tactical Athlete
  • Libby Berman – Founder of Solvi Jewellery
  • John Isaacson – Photographer
  • Emily Mendez – Founder at Priceless Copy LLC
  • Lauren Eckhardt – Founder & CEO of Burning Soul Press
  • Meera Watts – Founder of Siddhi Yoga
  • Sarah Smith – Founder of The Dartmoor Artist
  • Callie Pettigrew – Founder & Creative Director of Dine
  • Katrina Borissova – Founder of Little Danube
  • Rachel Wilkins – Founder of Dinky Artist
  • Chourouk Gorrab – Co-founder and Head of Communications & Partnerships of The Spill (co-founded by Jennifer Hakim)
  • Awah Teh – Co-Founder of Rares
  • Meirion Jones – Founder of Illustrated Coaching
  • Edward Hancock – Co-Founder of Cheesegeek
  • Joanna Kim – Founder and CEO of Cyssan
  • Sophia Harding – Founder of Palm of Feronia
  • Desiree Pardo Morales – Founder & CEO at Tropical Fruit Box
  • Brian David Crane – Founder of Spread Great Ideas
  • Donna Marie Cozine – Consult DMC
  • Catherine Nikkel – Founder at Catherine Nikkel
  • Stacey Keller – CEO and Founder of Ponyback Inc.

 

For any questions, comments or features, please contact us directly.

 

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Farren Morgan

 

Farren-Morgan-Coaching

 

Company: The Tactical Athlete

Website: https://www.thetacticalathlete.co.uk/

 

“Every year the Army selects outstanding individuals for soldier of the year. Soldiers that are making a true and significant impact in the British Military Community. I was one of the honorary recipients to be nominated, and successfully win the award for my Tactical Fitness style & how I managed to train any civilian into a fully fledged soldier in a short timeframe (2020).”

“I was constantly asked by people outside of the military to provide fitness programmes and programmes to help any normal civilian from zero to hero as quick as possible. This is when I had the idea to set up Farren Morgan Coaching in the first lockdown 2020. I started off with my first E-Book The 8 week Tactical Training Programme. This programme can get any person ready for military training in 8 weeks if it’s followed correctly. This Ebook has currently helped over 500 people into the Military, police force and fire service. It was the first ebook to help the new intake of women get into the infantry. This is what gave me my perfect start and this was all carried out through Instagram with weekly live chats and motivational workouts.”

“Since the start I have now released 3 more Tactical Training E-Books and in 2021 I evolved my business which is now called The Tactical Athlete. I now offer a training subscription service delivered through an app. 5 sessions per week exactly how I train and it’s proving to be very popular.”

“As a side note, I completed the London marathon carrying a 75lb pack in military kit and I broke a Guiness world record 10km trail race carrying a 60lb pack. I have 3 more world records planned in for this year I’ve featured in Mens fitness numerous times, mens health & T3 magazine.”

 

Libby Berman

 

Libby-Berman-Solvi-Jewellery

 

 Company: Solvi Jewellery

Website: https://www.solvijewellery.com/

 

“Starting out as a creative outlet during lockdown, my small jewellery brand has developed to help fight the taboo surrounding mental health.”

“After losing my full time job due to COVID, I decided to embrace my creative side and test the waters of small business ownership. Solvi Jewellery was born as a way to introduce affordable, handmade jewellery into an industry known for incredibly high mark ups.”

“Fast forward a few months and Solvi was pushed into the public eye for the first real time. Sales were up, engagement was on the rise and interest was bubbling. But there was something missing.”

 

Solvi-Jewellery-Products

 

“On top of the day to day fulfilling of orders, marketing and finances I found you’re constantly competing against a range of brands with bigger budgets, more followers and – crucially – more time. I ended up going back to full time work and creating time for Solvi was becoming an even bigger challenge.”

“That was when I realised that the brand I’d started no longer rang true to my personal goals. So, Solvi 2.0 was born.”

“After months of research, designing and rebranding, Solvi’s ethos evolved. Still with the original aim of providing affordable jewellery Solvi now focuses on tokens of self love, inner strength and empowerment. Alongside this, 10% of all sales now go to a UK based mental health charity that aids individuals struggling with depression, anxiety and PTSD.”

“Marketing changed into working with influencers and celebrities that supported empowerment, body positivity and mental health recovery.”

“Following this shift in direction support has grown and Solvi has now appeared in Country Life, Red Magazine, Fabulous Magazine as well as a mix of local publications too.”

 

For any questions, comments or features, please contact us directly.

 

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John Isaacson

 

John-Isaacson-Photographer

 

Website: https://www.johnisaacson.co.uk/

 

“In 2015 I worked in sports events and as one of the only people at my job that was in their early 20’s I was always forced into being the “social media manager” but I was always interested in photography rather than promotion and advertising. I wanted to be a sports & lifestyle photographer.”

“I knew I needed to learn so I begged for a job with the production team that ran tv for one of the events I worked on.”

“Eventually, they let me try out. I worked for free for a week, then took crap money on weekends (on top of a full-time job) until they finally agreed to hire me full-time 6 months later… As the social media coordinator… doh! I took the job because in this company there was an amazing opportunity to surround myself with photographers and camera operators. I bought a camera and off I went learning as much as I could whilst getting on with my day job.”

 

John-Isaacson-photography

 

“As my photography skills grew I found that the event teams were asking for more of my shots but at the same time the workload was becoming unmanageable and I ultimately left the company and decided to “go freelance”. This meant taking more PR work while I found photography clients. So I did. But this time I pitched “free content” with all of my PR packages and went back to shooting for free at parties, gyms, etc until one day I woke up and realised I was getting more requests for photography and video than anything else.”

“Today I am working full time in photography and still own a content marketing company on the side. I have two staff members and support myself fully as a self employed content creator.”

“The trick to making money from your side hustle is to make it a hustle you love. That way you keep showing up, keep doing it, keep getting better at it and eventually make good money doing the thing you are passionate about.”

 

Emily Mendez

 

Emily-Mendez-Priceless-Copy-LLC

 

Company: Priceless Copy LLC

Website: https://getpricelesscopy.com/

 

“I am Emily, founder of Priceless Copy LLC. I started my agency as a side hustle.”

“I began writing blog posts as a hobby. At first, I wrote guests posts for free for various sites to build my writing skills and portfolio. At the time, I was working as a mental health therapist, which had been my career.”

“Eventually, I joined freelance sites, including Fiverr and I transitioned from a part-time freelancer to a full-time writer. After some time, my clients started asking if I could provide related services like social media writing and graphic design. In order to provide these services and further scale my business, I took online courses to improve my knowledge and skills in these areas. I eventually got a certificate from Northwestern University in Content Strategy, which involved taking multiple courses in content creation. I also hired other contractors to help me with skills that I lacked.”

“Then, I transitioned my small business into an agency. My success came from treating my freelancing career as a bonafide business. This means creating a business plan, keeping up with bookkeeping, hiring accountants and other professionals, and constantly marketing the business. These things are all critical to going from a side hustle to a full-time business.”

Emily Mendez, Founder, Priceless Copy LLC. https://emilymendez.com/about/

 

For any questions, comments or features, please contact us directly.

 

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Lauren Eckhardt

 

Lauren-Eckhardt-Burning-Soul-Press

 

Company: Burning Soul Press

Website: https://www.burningsoulpress.com/

 

“I spent 12 years in the human resources field, chasing degrees, certifications, and promotions – always successful, but never fulfilled. I kept going for what I was supposed to have to elevate myself instead of what actually felt purposeful. Once my boys were born – my why – I finally wrote my first book and became an author, which had been my dream since I was six years old.”

“Once I became an author, other people asked for my help to write and publish their books. I started helping other authors writer their books and share their stories on the side, and every time I helped someone, my soul was lit on fire. A new dream emerged: helping people share their stories and overcome the challenge of writing about their own personal journey and struggles.”

“So, I founded Burning Soul Press and now I get to pursue my greatest passion full-time. There’s something special about your company beginning as a side hustle – it grows organically (but don’t mistake that with “slowly”!), until you realise ‘wow, there’s really something here’. I started Burning Soul Press in April 2020 as a one-woman show and within months, it quickly grew to a six-figure company with an amazing team that supports all of our global clients in helping them reach their author goals.”

 

Meera Watts

 

Meera-Watts

 

Company: Siddhi Yoga

Website: https://www.siddhiyoga.com/

 

“I’ve always been very passionate about yoga. This hobby of mine turned into my career and biggest life decision and I’m extremely proud of it. But other than that, I did find myself dwelling more on writing. Being a founder of this amazing company, I was already very satisfied. But turning this hobby into something was always in my mind.”

“I’m very glad that I started writing blogs and articles on yoga. At first, I did it just for sharing knowledge as it gave me happiness. But later I started seeing the outcomes and the reason why I’m very grateful that I tried my hands on it. Later I was recognised in the Top 20 International Yoga Bloggers. My writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, times and other international magazines. And when I look back and see what came out of my small hobby, I just thank my younger self for giving it a chance.”

 

For any questions, comments or features, please contact us directly.

 

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Sarah Smith

 

Sarah-Smith-The-Dartmoor-Artist

 

Company: The Dartmoor Artist

Website: https://thedartmoorartist.co.uk/

 

“I’m very proud to have been included in the 2022 list of the UK’s Top 100 Female Entrepreneurs and celebrated this recently at the House of Lords.”

“However my business began in the most unusual of circumstances and far away from a glass of champagne at parliament!”

“I sneezed in bed one morning in 2016 and spent the next year on the floor. I prolapsed the discs in my lower spine & taught myself to paint during my recovery from spinal surgery in 2017. Having never painted before, finding it was like someone switched the lights on. Beginning in the most humble of ways, my business began with one set of watercolour paints, a mat to lie on and a determination to recover. That’s when my ‘side hustle’ began. Slow, steady but with bucketfuls (some might say tractor bucketfuls!) of determination!. You see it wasn’t long before friends, family and then strangers began to find my work. Encouraged to begin an instagram page, then a website, my business has grown exponentially and celebrates year 4 this year.”

“I began my work in 2018 with encouragement from family and friends and now have a thriving small business and a purpose built studio, which saw me move the whole operation out of the family home in 2020. Last year my business was also included in the ‘UK’s Top 100’ for Small Business Britain and I’m incredibly proud to have a business grounded in ‘simple joys and sustainability’.”

“I live and work on a Dartmoor farm and my work seeks to create beautiful thoughtful makes, with a nod to positive mental health and the belief that magic can always be found, even through challenges.”

 

Callie Pettigrew

 

Callie-Pettigrew-Dine-founder

 

Company: Dine

Website: https://www.studiodine.com/

 

“I’m an Event stylist and designer, with a focus on modern tablescaping – I’m obsessed with the act of dining and bringing both people and objects together to create one shared experience but during the pandemic I was inspired to make my own candles as a result of lack of events work – Being constantly on the hunt for exciting tableware and props it was something I’d always thought to do as a hobby, but never had the time for.”

“I decided to give it a go with a totally no pressure approach but it went so well that I ended up rebranding earlier this year and it’s become a whole extra side to my business, where I stock other modern tableware products from independent makers, as well as a monthly candle subscription service.”

“I love that now, whether you’re looking for someone to take control and set the scene for your special occasion (wedding, brand event, press launch, birthday, etc) or just a few modern pieces to take the stress out of hosting dinners at home, we can help!”

 

For any questions, comments or features, please contact us directly.

 

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Katrina Borissova

 

Katrina-Borissova

 

Company: Little Danube

Website: https://www.littledanube.co.uk/

 

“Founded in 2020 during the Covid-19 lockdown by Katrina Borissova, Little Danube came to be referred to as ‘the vegan soap brand born on the day Britain went into lockdown,’ but we are so much more than that. Inspired by her eastern European origin Nostalgia is at the heart of who we are at Little Danube and why we’re so inspired by the lives and stories of those we meet. Little Danube is named after the Danube, the second-longest river in Europe. For our founder Katrina, the name represents her journey from the east to the west and her cherished childhood memories.”

“Design thinker at heart, Katrina studied philosophy at university, where her passion for concepts and ideas first developed, before adopting practicality with accountancy studies later in the years. Inspired by her eastern European roots and childhood memories, Katrina embraced nostalgia while being ‘at the search of time lost’ by creating a brand, Little Danube, that crystallized her journey from the east to the west, named after the river Danube that flows through much of Central and Southeastern Europe.”

 

Little-Danube-soap

 

“Since their initial launch in August 2020, Little Danube has gone on to be listed as one of the Beauty Startups to watch in 2022 and has partnered with the Greentech Alliance, a community of sustainable companies from all over the world with features such as in Forbes and the Sunday Times.”

“In the brand’s next launch, Little Danube aims to create all-natural, vegan, eco-friendly soap bars with allegoric scents that are nostalgic and imaginative, transforming your everyday shower routine into an experience you’re excited to discover.”

“To facilitate these sensorial stories, each Little Danube soap features a primary ingredient that builds the framework of the soap story.”

 

Rachel Wilkins

 

Dinky-Artist-Founder-Rachel-Wilkins

 

Company: Dinky Artist

Website: https://www.dinkyartist.com/

 

“I’m Rachel and I own Dinky Artist – a business where I turn children’s drawings into amazing unique, personalised gifts.”

“I worked in large corporate organisations in Marketing for consumer tech brands (Samsung & Dell) for over 15 years but I needed to get out of the corporate political rat race!”

“I set up Dinky Artist in 2018 but didn’t have any time to work on it as I was the Marketing Director for the UK at Dell Technologies which had all my time – I’m also a single mother to 2 children so leaving a full time secure highly paid job was slightly risky!”

“However, in late 2019/early 2020 Dinky Artist started to take off, I got accepted onto NotOnTheHighStreet and I started to show up more on Instagram so I decided to make a plan to leave my job.”

“I already had some savings. I saved up more during 2020 (we were in lockdown anyway!) and I reduced all my monthly outgoings so I could live off my savings whilst I built up the business. I needed to ensure my mortgage is paid, all the bills and that I could feed and clothe my children!!”

“I cancelled sky TV, I changed my car, I changed my mobile phone bills etc all to reduce my monthly commitments. I left my corporate job on the 30th April 2021 and it’s been the most AMAZING year! Already turning a profit and about to hire my first 2 members of staff!”

“It’s HARD work, relentless hard work but WOW it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

 

 

Chourouk Gorrab

 

The-Spill-co-founders
Chourouk Gorrab & Jennifer Hakim, co-founders of The Spill

 

Company: The Spill (co-founded by Jennifer Hakim)

Website: https://www.thespillmag.com/

 

“This has been a long time coming but it all fell into place in Autumn 2020. It started with a general annoyance at the performative allyship from the mainstream media past June 2020, and the events surrounding George Floyd’s’ death. As PR professionals ourselves, Jennifer Hakim, my business partner, and I – Chourouk Gorrab – saw the number of anti-racism and activism stories that didn’t get picked up past June 2020.”

“We were in lockdown, both of us pretty much glued on social media, and we kept reading posts from journalists from marginalised communities being rejected from big publications, whose ‘allyship’ clearly had an expiration date, and people being gaslighted for speaking up. That’s when the idea emerged. There was a need for not only a home for all these stories but also a place that would generate new work opportunities for them. We discussed the idea together and decided to just get started, step by step.”

“We made the conscious decision to only work with people from marginalised communities because they are the people we want and need to amplify. We launched January 1st, 2021 to turn a page and start 2021 on a positive note, it was symbolic. Since then, we have worked with several freelance journalists. Some of them experienced, others just getting a fresh start at journalism. We made our content accessible to people with blindness, visual impairments, and reading disabilities, through audio read and easy read content. We worked with brands to help amplify their work and stories, ensuring they align with ours. We spoke at events addressing topics aligned to our mission or directed towards people from marginalised communities. It’s been over a year now, and we are continuing our work, supporting our community, and working on new ideas for the future.”

 

Awah Teh

 

Awah-Teh

 

Company: Rares

Website: https://rares.io/

 

“My side hustle story started during the early phases of the pandemic when lockdowns were in place, and I was stuck at home like everyone else.”

“This was an unusual situation for me, as my then job at Data Republic required a lot of travel, so suddenly being stuck at home provided me with more free time than I had been accustomed to. In that time, I stayed in touch with my friends, catching up over Zoom and such and one of the things we quickly discovered (but hadn’t stopped in the past to think about) was a common love for sneakers. We are all sneakerheads and in particular, a friend of one of my friends had begun thinking about other ways to derive value from shoes – besides buying and wearing them outright. His name is Gerome Sapp and his idea was “what if rare, valuable sneakers (like Yeezeys) could be purchased more like a stock and allow people to invest in sneakers the same way they would a stock.” As the value of the sneaker increases, so does the value of the shares you own in that sneaker.”

“At the time, I had several years of experience with FinTechs and as the situation would have it, had an idea of a patentable approach to a high velocity, fractional trading platform for alt assets that became the foundation for this – Rares (https://rares.io/). I am proud of where Gerome and the company have gone, as they both share an underlying belief on mine – push the envelope to solving the same problem others are trying to solve…but in a unique way.”

 

For any questions, comments or features, please contact us directly.

 

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Meirion Jones

 

Meirion-Jones-Illustrated-Coaching-founder

 

Company: Illustrated Coaching

Website: https://www.illustratedcoaching.com/

 

“It was while running a coaching session with the senior partner of a City firm that I realised words are over-rated. I’ve been an executive coach for over ten years, working with scores of corporate high-performers. Lately I’ve started to see that, sometimes, my clients’ highly articulate language, instead of acting as a tool for reflection and growth – as a means of unearthing nuggets of transformative self-realisation – can act a mask.”

“Their linguistic dexterity is rarely used deliberately to impede a breakthrough. But, even so, the beautifully crafted syntax often lies like a suffocating blanket over truths that are messier, more instinctual and less easy to rationalise.”

“Having trained as an illustrator and painter I knew the power of art for expressing ambiguity, and for wresting from it deeper meaning and understanding. So I decided to create a sideline to my main coaching business called, with Ronseal literal-mindedness, Illustrated Coaching.”

“In Illustrated Coaching, instead of asking a coaching client to discuss rationally the issues and challenges they want to explore, I challenge them to reframe the themes as a metaphor. Then I literally draw them out – capturing the descriptions in the form of vivid, sometimes, surreal, digital illustrations. Over time we explore the visual landscape of their metaphor, the picture evolving in tandem.”

“This approach doesn’t appeal to everyone but for those it does – those with a strong visual sensibility, those grappling with deeper questions of meaning and purpose – the resulting digital paintings present them with a powerful visual analog for reflecting on their themes. The response from clients to date has been incredible and it’s likely that I’ll be devoting an increasing amount of time to delivering coaching in this way.”

 

Edward Hancock

 

Edward-Hancock-Cheesegeek

 

Company: Cheesegeek

Website: https://www.thecheesegeek.com/

 

“There are very few people who enter the cheese industry from a non-farming or non-food background and the path from finance to cheese is relatively untrodden.”

“I spent over 15 years in fund management, moving from fund admin through to fund manager, becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst on the way. And whilst I love the world of finance, I love cheese more. So there was probably an inevitability about the transition.”

“But giving up a stable income and lifestyle is as hard to do as it sounds! So to get the business off the ground, it was very much a case of running a side hustle. I set up at my mum’s house, getting a huge industrial fridge delivered, which barely fit through her front door (I still need to repair that chip) and enrolled her in the business. I sensed it wasn’t how she had envisaged retirement.”

 

Cheesegeek-product

 

“I would cut cheese once a week — on a Thursday — at 4am in the morning in her utility room, before heading off to work. Admin was evenings and weekends. Back then, on a busy week, we would send out 20 or so boxes, and I would often find myself delivering them myself over the weekend.”

“We faced so many challenges in those early days. Couriers letting us down, cheese not turning up (or getting sent to our registered address which is actually our solicitors!) But problem-solving is the greatest asset an entrepreneur can have, and we worked through everything that has come our way.”

“Crucially, my experience in fund management and love of tech inspired me to create CASSIE (cheese allocation system), our proprietary tech stack which took over three years to build and can apply machine learning to make a huge number of decisions, instantaneously, enabling us to allocate, cut, wrap and despatch thousands of individually curated boxes of cheese every day.”

“Without CASSIE, my side hustle would have remained just that. However, fast forward four years, we’ve now sent out almost 100,000 boxes. And my mum is enjoying retirement a lot more!”

 

For any questions, comments or features, please contact us directly.

 

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Joanna Kim

 

Joanna-Kim-Cyssan-founder

 

Company: Cyssan

Website: https://www.cyssan.com/

 

“My life’s been a portrait of unconventional, and this is reflected in Cyssan. Before launching Cyssan, I’d moved around the world working as an English teacher, from Italy, to China to Switzerland. Wherever I lived, my attention was drawn to fashion, art and design, and to women – how they live, what they do, what they love. I’ve met many inspiring women, many inspiringly unconventional, and I’d always had the idea at the back of my mind to launch a business focussing on this kind of woman.”

“My passion for fashion, jewellery, and watches developed while living in Milan and Switzerland, but it wasn’t until we were stuck at home during the pandemic that I decided to start working on a side-hustle. I’d already decided on the name Cyssan because of its meaningful significance, and, with some creative and technical support from my husband, we began working on designing and creating a collection of women’s watches. Initially aiming to launch in July 2021 in time for International Kissing Day – I had my website and social media accounts all ready, but due to manufacturing delays, we launched in September 2021.”

 

Cyssan-watch-product

 

“Since then, I’ve attended workshops to learn about running my own business, joined different networking communities, and launched a YouTube channel to share short interviews with incredible women in a series called, Inspiring Women, and in a second series called A Woman and Her Watches – you always hear about men and their watch collections, but rarely women and theirs, so I wanted to raise awareness of women working in this field and their collections.”

“Cyssan is now stocked at Wolf&Badger, Immaculate Vegan, and soon on The Accessory Circle. In July, I’ll be at London Accessory Week, and I plan to do other pop-up events to raise brand-awareness and let people try on our limited-edition timepieces. While I’m still a long way from making this my full-time job, I have big plans for Cyssan!”

 

Sophia Harding

 

Sophia-Harding-Palm-of-Feronia

 

Company: Palm of Feronia

Website: https://www.palmofferonia.com/

 

“I started a small self-care brand, Palm of Feronia on the side of my full-time job in UX/UI recruitment back in 2019. I didn’t ever intend to start a business – I just began making my own skincare products as a result of my own adult acne, which grew into making products for family and friends.”

“It really did start as a “passion project” – making products that I wanted to use, with a focus on sourcing sustainably. I handmake, hand-bottle, and package every product myself and have bootstrapped the business – investing my wages from the job in recruitment.”

“As a result of the pandemic boom, with more people tuning in to their own wellbeing, and self-care becoming a priority, I was able to quit my job and went full-time with Palm of Feronia in November of 2020.”

“The business has grown year on year, and I’ve since been stocked in Selfridges and other major retailers across the UK, as well as now being available in stores in Japan, Taiwan, Australia, and the USA.”

 

For any questions, comments or features, please contact us directly.

 

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Desiree Pardo Morales

 

Desiree-Pardo-Morales

 

 Company: Tropical Fruit Box

Website: https://tropicalfruitbox.com/

 

Desiree founded Tropical Fruit Box (literally out of her kitchen) in the Fall of 2019, as a direct to consumer, home delivery service of fresh tropical and exotic fruits and roots not commonly found locally.

Interestingly, the pandemic came just after which propelled the business while we all stayed closer to home, but still presented challenges with supply chain disruption, transit issues, and more.

Today, Tropical Fruit Box are ripely stocked thanks to the family farms with which they collaborate in mostly Florida, South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. And, Tropical Fruit Box ensure ecofriendly packaging and materials to their customers, along with their freshness guarantee in the continental U.S.

 

Brian David Crane

 

Brian-David-Crane

 

Company: Spread Great Ideas

Website: https://spreadgreatideas.org/

 

“After having early entrepreneurial success, I made some mistakes and wound up close to bankruptcy. I decided to take a step back from launching my own companies and looked for a job with people who I could learn from. I moved to Silicon Valley and started at Inflection, where I met and learned from incredible mentors. It was while I was working there that I learned how to oversee the building and launching of digital brands, and it was also during this time that I decided to create my own side hustle, Spread Great Ideas. Spread Great Ideas started out as side project to invest in and advise e-commerce brands that promote ideas which are important to me, like personal sovereignty and individual rights.”

“Since launching my company on the side I’ve helped many e-commerce brands achieve success, so many that Spread Great Ideas went from being a side project to my main project. It’s also evolved into more than just a digital marketing fund and there’s now a podcast and blog. Though there have been some long hours dedicated to my side project, I’m happy I put the time in, learned from others, and can now dedicate myself to something that I’m passionate about.”

 

For any questions, comments or features, please contact us directly.

 

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Donna Marie Cozine

 

Donna-Marie-Cozine

 

Company: Entrepreneur

Website: https://www.consultdmc.com/

 

“In 2020 I published my first book “So You Want to Be a Superintendent? Become the Leader You Were Meant to Be.” My mission with this book was to help other people interested in moving from teacher to leader achieve their goals. I was fortunate to have many people mentor me on my journey and I wanted to mentor others. The book outlined my system for leadership development. I put together all the things that I felt helped me move from teacher to, eventually, charter school founder and CEO as well as what I had learned from coaching other leaders. This book was the start of my entrepreneurial journey.”

“My Leadership DRIVERS system enable me to work with leaders from different aspects of education with various levels of experience hone the skills and competencies they need to become the best version of themselves in both leadership and life. Since launching my company, Consult DMC, Inc., I have retired from my full-time job as CEO of the charter school I created and have served hundreds of leaders across the country as well as specific districts and charter schools. I absolutely love what I am doing now and through my work am still able to positively impact the lives of thousands of children and their families.”

“The biggest challenge I faced was learning the landscape of marketing. Having been a CEO of a charter school I understood the business aspects of launching a company but learning how to use marketing to get my message out took a little longer. Taking my side hustle to full time gig has enabled me to have more time with my family and friends. It is a journey that was not without challenges but was worth every step!”

 

Catherine Nikkel

 

Catherine-Nikkel

 

Company: Catherine Nikkel

Website: https://catherinenikkel.com/

 

“Writing has always been a passion of mine, specifically non-fiction. During my 15+ years in the social services industry, I noticed a theme; many people wanted to be heard. I learned that individuals could learn how to share their stories to make an impact with considerable guidance. For some, this impact could be personal; for others, the result could be on a large scale; either way, I could see that sharing stories is both personally cathartic and beneficial to business.”

“Learning and experiencing this, I began writing for people as a side hustle. At first, they were on off’ projects, and slowly, I started to gain more traction in the niche through referrals and releasing my narrative content.”

“So, in the summer of 2015, I decided to make a professional change and left my social work career. This was when my brand was born.”

“Since taking my side hustle to my full-time business, I have gotten to know dozens of entrepreneurs with brilliant stories. However, I found they were not sharing them with the world, at least in a way that would benefit their business.”

“I wanted to help change that. The brand was built on the core message of using your voice to make an impact. To do this in a clear, concise, and safe way, I used my counselling skills to help extract details and outline relatable stories that people can feel good about sharing.”

“Surprisingly, there are many parallels from social work to ghostwriting, and I was confident I could bring something new to the marketplace, and six years later, I believe I have.”

 

Stacey Keller

 

Stacey-Keller-Ponyback-Inc

 

Company: Ponyback Inc.

Website: https://ponybackhats.com/

 

“From July 2018 to November 2020, my free time was Ponyback. My side hustle was also my hobby. Luckily as a teacher, I was able to pour in lots of time during holidays and weekends on Ponyback. I am fairly risk-averse, and wanted to continue with the side hustle until I had proven product/market fit.”

“Doing both at the same time, was quite challenging, but looking back I would do it the same way all over again. September 2018 to June 2019, I was honestly kind of depressed. I was a full-time teacher and had recently taken a promotion at work as dept. head. I started to get burnt out because my job was demanding so much time, and I was frustrated I couldn’t spend more on getting Ponyback off the ground.”

“September 2019 – November 2020 I went on a leave of absence and also went on a leave from my headship. The pressure of being a mom of 3 boys meant I needed more space to breathe. On June 1, 2020 I started selling Ponyback online with preorders. I was still balancing the 1/3rd teaching and being a mom. This was challenging, but such a wonderfully exciting time to see my product on the heads of real people (the first shipment came July 16th to my garage and packed orders in my basement) loving it.”

“September 2020 to November 2020, I continued my part-time teaching. I knew it was a means to an end. Because of the pandemic our school board rearranged from semesters to quadmesters, which was perfect for me because I was able to teach my 1 course in 2.5 months, instead of over 5 months. By mid-November 2020 I was free to focus on Ponyback full time.”

“On Feb 2021, we went viral on TikTok! It was then that I made it to a 6-figure business – this was the validation I needed to give up my teaching contract completely. June 1st 2021, I moved the Ponyback headquarters out of my basement and into a 2000-sq-foot warehouse/order packing facility.”

 

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