Making the Gig Economy Work for You with a Side Hustle

About the Episode

Did you know that 40 percent of Americans have a side hustle? Side hustles are widely considered to be an effective way to turn your interests into a profit, and Gen Z is starting a new trend of taking advantage of that fact. To kick off the new season of Making it Count, Cristina and our new co-host Randy interview an Addition Financial employee who used her passion for popping pimples and makeup to make a side hustle of being a professional aesthetician.


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All About the Hustle


Cristina asks Question 1: "What is a side hustle and how do you make up a gig economy?"

Valerie responds: "Definitely a side hustle has to be something that is separate from what brings you your main bread and butter. So, something that can give you either a little bit more money on the side that you're looking for to complete bills or get to your goals, whatever you're looking to do, or even just pursuing your passion. Let's say you're good at one thing, but you also have a passion for something else — that is something that you can convert into making actual money instead of just doing it for free. That for me is a side hustle. Finding how to make those ends meet like Gen Zs are doing right now."


Randy asks Question 2: "Can you tell us a little bit about your side hustle journey? Like how did you decide to start working as an aesthetician and what does your day to day look like?"

Valerie responds: "Definitely. I would say I started when I was a little kid, when I always used to love to pop pimples. It really just started when I was young. I didn't think you could actually make money off of popping pimples, to be honest. Like my friends would tell me all the time in high school, 'stop touching my face. Stop doing this. Stop doing that.'"

"But really, my first passion was makeup. I used to just love doing makeup, going out with my friends. And my best friend and my sister were like, 'You need to pursue this.' Like go get a makeup license or do something and make money off of it. So that's what I started to do. I did makeup like freelancing, and there is no license for makeup. There are certifications, but you're not licensed to be a makeup artist."

"So, when I decided to do it and I first started working in Addition Financial, I was like, you know what? I'm going to go ahead and try to find something else just in case. I went for a makeup certification, and in order for me to be able to do that, I had to go take a skin course. I had to get my license for financial aid and for things to get paid. So, I was like, okay, what the heck, I'll do it. Once I did that, I did makeup as well, but then I fell in love with skin in the process. I had a great teacher and I was like, 'Yo, I can pop pimples for a living and make money online.' And I could tell people for real how."

"I could help people get their skin where they want to get to, not only enhancing their beauty with makeup, but making them feel confident with their actual skin. That's where it really came to me. Like that feeling of seeing that change for someone and somebody listening and taking the time and you seeing a difference in their life. It just got the ball rolling and I was like, 'I'm in there.'"

Cristina follows up: "That's amazing. That sounds like the perfect fit for you, especially since it's something that you've always been passionate about. Knowing you, you love to help people. So it's like the marriage of these two things that are perfect for you."

Valerie responds: "Yeah, it's most definitely. I try to balance it between work because like I said, it’s seasonal with makeup and skin care, sometimes it's good, sometimes it's not. But bills keep on coming."

"And so I'm just like, I have to do something else just in case. Instead of doing the regular shmegular or other ways to make money, I was like, 'This is how I can make some money.' I have my daytime job, and I work my schedule around it, so it really helps out. I have loyal clients that really do come to me and understand what I'm doing and they support me. I just work around my day-to-day job and it helps out."


Cristina asks Question 3: "What would you recommend to others that are listening that maybe want to do a side hustle or are thinking about it? What advice would you give them to find their perfect side hustle?"

Valerie responds: "Find your passion, do something that you love, something that you actually enjoy doing. Because if you're just doing things because it's the hot commodity right now — everybody's doing real estate. Everybody wants to be a lash brow, everybody wants to do this. But what happens is you do it and then you're like, 'Oh, maybe I don't want to do this.' And you just wasted all this money to get licenses, to get all this stuff that you're really not passionate about, and then you lowball yourself. A lot of people come into certain industries — 'Oh, let me get you with this discount. Let me do this.' And then you lowball your opportunity to really make money and learn education-wise.


Cristina asks Question 4: "Obviously your circle of friends is your first group, but how do you do that without feeling uncomfortable about charging your friends for a service that would probably be expensive? Like, how do you have those conversations?"

Valerie responds: "When I first started, I did give lower prices. I had those introduction prices. I wasn't using the top-grade products. I wasn't using the top-grade equipment. I was just learning and my main job was helping pay for my side hustle. At that point I was able to do it, but as I started to progress and as I started to get my education, get certifications, get licenses, you have to pay for those types of things. So I started incorporating it within my price. And I met other aestheticians, other teachers, people that were telling me, 'Hey, you're charging $75 for a microdermabrasion. Those are like $100, $125.'"

You want to make sure that your first priority is pointing yourself right, get educated and talk to other people. A lot of people feel scared to talk to other people in the same field because they're like, 'they're going to make me feel like I'm competition.' And some people will. But if you're confident in your work and that person is confident in what they bring, then they're not going to not share the advice. Like if people ask me, I got you. This is what I did, this is how I do it. You know, you don't have to do it my way, but people are really more grateful because of it, because somebody is educating them.


Randy asks Question 5: "So once you take that leap and you get started, what are the best ways to go about growing it? Now you have your friends, you've got your price points, you've got long words Randy can't understand. What do you do to grow it past that point? And how do you manage your time with your regular gig versus your new side hustle?"

Valerie responds: "Well, you find programs. There are a lot of programs for the field that I'm in, like Booksy or Vargo or Square that give you an opportunity to have calendars and things like that. I do have a website where people can actually go book and they see the hours that I'm available, and I can put if I'm on vacation, if I'm here or anything."

"I work off a referral base, so I have a special location where I have my VIPs and they get a good price for it. And because they're coming directly to me, it's not the same as if you're in a spa because spas are more time-sensitive. You have to be here by this time. If you're not, you're cutting in your time. With me, you're getting that one-on-one."

"It's more personal if you're running off time. Like, 'okay, I'll let it wave.' I'm not going to charge you a fee. Now, if you're a person that's doing that all the time, then I'm going to charge you a fee. But there are certain things that you can work with people and you can talk to them. And it's that personal thing. They call me at 11:00 at night and or text me at 8:00 at night because you know their schedules. I know them and they're comfortable with me to ask me, 'Hey, this is going on, what can I do?' So I use those types of tools and my business pays for that so that I can keep myself organized."


Cristina asks Question 6: "What ways do you market yourself? I know you said referral base, but what advice would you give others that need to start branching outside to get more business?"

Valerie responds: "Definitely. The hot commodity right now is TikTok and Reels. People want to see things that are short and they don't want to see things for a long period of time. So people have asked me, 'Why don't you do YouTube?' And I'm like, 'I'm not on YouTube time.'"

"People want to see ten-second things and then they'll come and they'll ask questions. So I promoted myself with family and friends, referral-based, giving those types of deals.  But everything with VIPs is referral-base only; I have to know you. I have to know where you're coming from or I won't book you. You could book me and I'll refund you if I don't know who you are. "

"I do have a spa location that I work like four days out of the week, but it's on call. So basically, in order for me to work there, I have to get a notice at least two hours before I come in. If I don't, then I don't go in."


Randy asks Question 7: "Where are you doing these services?"

Valerie responds: "I have a spa location. I work with J. Sterling on OBT. And that is for people that I don't know, that I'm not comfortable coming to me and my personal space. At that point they just book through there. They get partial, I get partial. And it's beneficial because, again, I'm not using my products. I'm not using my equipment, I'm not using my location. So I don't have to pay for those things as overhead."

"And they work with my schedule; the manager that I know there used to work with me at Massage Envy, so she's just like, 'Come in, I got you.' You network. When you network and you're good with people, people are going to be like, 'Come with me. I got you.'"


Cristina asks Question 8: "So let's talk money and finances. What advice would you give to manage that cash that you get from the side hustle? And do you have a business account or do you use your personal funds? Like how do you start separating those things once you really start launching this business?"

Valerie responds: "To be honest, what helped me was COVID. Because when they started giving out those loans and they started doing certain things…In the beginning, I did it in my personal account and then I just had people Cash App me. But then that started to conflict when I wanted to know, okay, how much am I having come in? Where do I separate it? Where do I get money for supplies, things like that."

"So when COVID happened, before they even launched the PPE loan, I did my EIN. And when I did my EIN, that's when I was able to apply for certain things. I was like, “'I'm going to do a bank account, I'm going to do this, I'm going to separate it.'” If people want to pay me with Cash App, then I'm going to have a separate Cash App.. I divided everything up."

"It really helped me stay organized and then be able to apply for those things because now I know when I have to do my taxes, I can do my taxes as a business. I can do certain write offs. If I'm traveling — I also travel for makeup. If people want me to do a wedding and I have to go to, let's say, Jacksonville, I charge them, and now I have to calculate all that. And when I do my taxes it helps me out a lot for me to have a good AGI when I do my taxes. That way it shows more money, income, gross income."

"It's really important because it keeps you organized and it gets better opportunities in the future. People don't think about how you do your taxes this year, and how it can affect you in two years, when you're trying to get a loan. So let's say I get a house or if I want to use my business to get a personal loan with my bank or get something like that, they're going to ask me for those things and they're not going to take a personal account. They want to see, how is your business moving money? Like, how is all that coming in?"

Making It Count Essentials


Randy asks Quick Question 1: "How do you keep a balance between your work on your side hustle and on your day job?"

Valerie responds: "It's a lot. I'm not going to say that it's not. It's a lot. But keeping myself organized, having certain apps, things like that, I'm able to see it. I'm thankful for the spas that I work at. They have their own app, so I just get notifications. They have to send me a text message every day if I get something and  they have to confirm with me if I can go or not. People can't book with me unless it's 24 hours in advance and things like that."


Cristina asks Quick Question 2: "What is the biggest challenge that comes with managing a side hustle?"

Valerie responds: "The biggest challenge is not having enough time when you really want to do things. Because of the fact that I'm only really able to work evenings because my daytime job is the daytime, sometimes I do miss out on opportunities for me to be able to go to certain seminars or get certain certifications or network with certain people. And even getting people that want to come in the morning or come earlier in the day. So it's a hit or miss sometimes. But, you know, you take it as you want. When it comes down to it, you try to work around and if people really want to come, they'll come. Like, if people want to follow you, they'll follow you. If my hair lady ever moves to Puerto Rico, I'm going to Puerto Rico."


Randy asks Quick Question 3: "So what would you say to someone who wants to start their side hustle, but they're not really sure that they're ready to take that leap? What's your advice for them?"

Valerie responds: "Get educated, get as much knowledge as you can to see if this is really something that is your passion. And look at the pros and cons, how much people can really make. You know, I know that a lot of institutions make good money, have their own spas, have things like that. They always tell me, 'Why don't you go and leave your daytime?' I'm like, 'Because I like the security of it and the stability of it.'"

"COVID opened my eyes when we shut down for three months and the spa was closed. You know, I couldn't touch anybody's face. If I was just depending on that job, I would have been on unemployment, like a lot of people. So I was thankful that I was still at the bank and I had that essential job. Find something that if something was to happen, you have some money on the side to save until you're able to get back on your feet."


Cristina asks Quick Question 4: "If you could tell Valerie when she first started her side hustle to do something different to make your life easier, what would you tell that person that's just starting their side hustle to do?"

Valerie responds: "Get educated before anything. Go get certifications and learn as much as you can on what you want to do before you start trying to branch out your business. A lot of people go into certain businesses and then next thing you know it, they don't become successful. I think only1% of entrepreneurs make it past five years. It's very low. And that's because a lot of people get into stuff and then they're like, 'It's too hard. I don't want to do this.'"

"You're not going to only have good days. There are times I only have one facial for, a whole month. And then there's some that I have ten in a month, and that's good money. But really, get educated. The more experience that you have and the knowledge that you have is what's going to bring you the clients. Because if you're not confident, if you don't know what you're talking about, people are going to know."


You can find Valerie Filion on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook.


On this episode, Cristina and Randy shared a previous Making it Count episode called How to Start Your Career with the Best Foot Forward. Planning to start a new career can be an exciting yet stressful experience. In this episode, Jordan George from Addition Financial and Cliff Marvin from CareerSource Central Florida discuss the best practices of switching and starting new careers. Learn how to financially prepare for this transition and how to stand out in a competitive job market with the help of our financial experts. 

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