April 14, 2019

Danya Elsayed, Madison Furness,
Melissa Lopez-Martinez, Stephen Viti

Learn how to make your passion project profitable

There is often a separation between making money and doing what you love, but for the current generation, those two worlds are becoming one. The reality for students today requires them to overcome the pressures of school and financial instability, but this should not deter their drive in finding a passion and making it profitable. Side hustles can push these entry-level students to brand themselves and build a path towards their dream job.

In a survey done among 22 post-secondary students, 59 per cent said they currently have a side hustle. When asked what they value most in their future career, 90 per cent said it’s about loving what they do, while the rest said making money is more important, or both. Through this survey, it’s apparent that most students aren’t waiting for other companies or places of employment to make their dream job come true; they’re doing it themselves. 

What students value most from their careers?

  • Loving what you do
  • Making money
  • Both

Do students have side hustles?

  • Yes
  • No

We sat down with five “hustling” students and three experts about how others can learn to pursue a side hustle – and most of all – make it profitable.

1. Take advantage of available skill sets and resources

Pursuing a side hustle on your own from the ground up can be intimidating. Recognize the skills you already have and take advantage of the resources you have access to. According to social media strategist, Liz Enriquez from Ambitious Adulting, many students can feel unsure about pursuing their side hustle because they feel limited in their resources. “If you have an idea, don’t wait for your perfect moment, just start because you are never gonna have a perfect moment,” says Enriquez.

Being in school and using school resources will help in sparking some ideas for students, especially those at Guelph-Humber, says business professor Chris Pandoff. “I think that based on the courses they take, it might spring some ideas for companies or areas they might want to develop a relationship with,” said Pandoff.

2. Budget responsibility: time and money

Most people are familiar with warning not to mix business with pleasure. The same can be said when pursuing your side hustle. Keeping personal and business expenses separate enables students to fall back on a stable income for whatever challenge that may come. “You can take more risk when you have stability, and you aren’t working from a place of scarcity,” says Enriquez.

As for managing time, it’s not about how much money you have, but it’s how much time will you put into your passion project. No one expects you to hire a full staff and have a multimillion dollar company overnight; so take your time in planning your end goal.“It starts with what you can deliver, and your contribution is time,” says Pandoff.

3. Don’t over commit

Remember everything in life needs balance, which will keep you from burning out. Brad Zorgdrager, editor for Exclaim! magazine and content creator for BANGERTV, struggled to manage his projects after working full-time throughout his fourth year of university. He says it’s important to chase your passions but to understand it’s okay to take breaks. “Just keep doing it,” says Zorgdrager.

“But also don’t drive yourself crazy and if you’re feeling really down and you need to take a week off because your mental health isn’t feeling ok, don’t be yourself up for it that’s fine too.”

4. Build your brand/network

Building connections and gaining an audience is imperative to success. You might not see instant profit from your side hustle, but that shouldn’t discourage you from starting your brand. Enriquez wants students to understand that they shouldn’t worry about their credentials. “You can’t just expect people to pay you if you have no credibility, take what work you can and keep relationships strong,” says Enriquez. 

Pandoff recommends that although there might be people with similar ideas, your style and execution will differentiate you. “Rise above the rhetoric and voices of companies already having people wanting to provide services to the people who want these services.”

5. Recognize your potential

Several factors and challenges can stop you from reaching your end goal. The main factor that can pull you away is your insecurities. “It’s not money, it’s the currency. If you don’t work it, it doesn’t matter how much money you put into it,” Pandoff says. The sooner you recognize the potential your talents can get you, the sooner you will understand that there is an audience for everything as long as you’re able to put in the hustle. 

Take risks. As Zorgdrager put it blatantly; “You’re in school and you’re paying a lot of money for this why are you scared to go and do something else for free that could potentially make you money.”

Now go, find your hustle!

As students now is your time to take all the risks and make mistakes, you have nothing to lose.  If you can take anything from this remember; don’t wait. Take your ideas, plan out your goals and find your hustle!

Meet our five "hustling" students


To some, sneakers are seen as footwear, but for Ralph Noveloso they are a statement of fashion and culture. Since he was 15, Ralph has repaired and resold sneakers through Facebook pages, Kijiji, and word of mouth among the “sneakerhead” community. Ralph transformed his appreciation for something he couldn’t afford, to get the sneakers he wanted and a little extra. Now, at 20 years old, Ralph is currently pursuing his bachelor's degree for communications at York University and works at Nike as a sales associate.



Fed up with paying for expensive skin care products, third-year public relations student Erica Ramsammy found a way to make her own and help other students afford the luxury. Through trial and error and many Youtube tutorials, Erica created @ebskincare_, her own skincare line that includes soaps, bath bombs, and many other products at student-friendly prices.



With a passion for art, Olivia Mokrzyckis’ side hustle can be described as more of a purpose for life. Being the granddaughter of a music teacher, Olivia found her gift for art at a young age. Recently she began to seriously pursue her artistic career by selling her prints and performing at live shows under her stage name Sinkbug. She is currently working on her EP while studying at the University of Guelph-Humber as a visual communications student.



Driven by his love for the performing arts, Diego Williams has taken his passion and given it a purpose. The 20-year-old media business student at the University of Guelph-Humber has started his own online media platform called Blackbricksound. Diego's newest venture focuses on different auditory experiences from playlists to podcasts and hopes to shed light on the reality of up-and-coming Toronto artists. When he's not working on assignments, interviewing artists or curating playlists, Diego works as a part-time administrative assistant.



With a paintbrush in one hand and a cell phone in the other, Zoya created her own side hustle selling her artwork. The 20-year-old digital communications student at the University of Guelph-Humber grew up with a keen eye for visual art, but never believed she could turn it into something profitable. It wasn’t until a friend from high school asked for a spiderman painting, that she realized her own potential. By using social media, Zoya found her audience and gained paid request for her artwork. Now, Zoya regularly sells artwork, clothing pieces, and graphic designs on her Instagram account @zoyerss.


Tools to help with your side hustle

  • Upwork

    A website that connects freelancers with businesses who are looking for work to be done.

  • Etsy

    A creative marketplace that allows users to sell handmade crafts or vintage goods.

  • Skill Share

    Allows you to teach your skills to others and earn money doing it.

  • Kijiji

    Kijiji is the perfect place for you to sell your gently used or unwanted items. Simply put your ad up in the designated category, and watch the magic unfold!

  • Ambitious Adulting

    Liz Enriquez helps young adults take control of their finances through personalized mentorship programs, coaching from professionals, and online forums.

  • Side Hustle School

    If you need some motivation on people who have profitable side hustles, this is the perfect podcast for you to listen to! Available on Spotify, Apple Music and on the Side Hustle School website.