When many of us think of a side hustle or second job, we cringe at the usual options that might either be out of our comfort zone or totally outside our passions. The motivations for even pursuing a side hustle or job can often center on money and getting it by any means necessary---especially if the need for extra cash is immediate.
It's OK to bite the bullet, make sacrifices, and take on a side gig just to reach a financial goal, get out of debt, or upgrade your life, but why not work smarter versus harder? A good way to do this is to monetize what you're passionate about or good at and finding creative ways to do so.
Let me help you out sis. Here are 10 cool and fun side hustles where you can do just that:
1. Virtual Assistance
As black women, we are the highest growing population of entrepreneurs. Knowing that, you might guess that there is always a need for someone to come in and totally enhance the work life and organizational operations of a busy power woman somewhere around the world. The great thing about being a virtual assistant is that you can do it from practically anywhere, set your own hours, and work with who you want to. If you've got great project management skills, are good with technology, or have great experience as an assistant, this might be a great option for you.
2. Admissions Coordinating
So many parents are bogged down with simply making sure their children are safe, well-fed, and not about to ruin their lives that when it's time for college prep, things can get a bit overwhelming. You can step in---and actually charge a fee---to organize college tours, set up schedules to meet with admissions counselors, and assist with applying for financial aid. You can also help with researching scholarships, special programs, and finding program fits. If you're an administrative geek who loves being part of helping students reach their higher ed dreams---and helping take the burden off parents---this is a perfect side gig for you.
3. Event Planning
This is highly lucrative these days, especially when working with corporations and brands, and if you're savvy with organizing and coordinating all the moving parts of great ones, this is a sweet spot. Many event planners will agree that it's not all fun and games, but you can enjoy a good party more often than not.
If you love making key moments of people's lives the most memorable, this is the side gig of your dreams.
4. Mobile Beauty Service
More and more people are buying into mobile beauty services, from manicures and hair grooming, to waxing and Botox. Providing these might require specialized licensing, training, certifications and even insurance, but it's worthwhile if this is something you love doing. You'll also have the flexibility to make your own hours, choose who you service, and leave that booth fee behind. It's a good way to tap into your creative side if you find yourself happy but in a primary job that doesn't require that much.
5. Freelance Entertainment or Event Hosting
Knowing how to work a room, run a show, or make people laugh are actually money-making, marketable skills. Organizations and professionals oftentimes hire personalities to take their events up a notch, host fundraisers or lead receptions, and you can definitely take a Saturday or two out of the month to make a few hundred---maybe even a few thousand---extra dollars doing just that. If you have gift of gab, are known as a person who can give a great speech or tell a good joke, or you're just good a schmoozing, start using that to your advantage to make a few extra coins.
6. Wedding Officiating
In some cases, can get ordination for this online and get to marrying folk the same week. It's that easy. Just do your research for the state where you want to start officiating, and be sure you're in love with love. Once you figure out your style and get a good buzz going in terms of the service you offer, you might become that go-to person for different types or vibes of weddings. You can create a niche doing this, and again, you make your own hours and choose the couples you'll be legally bonding together in marital bliss.
7. Fashion or Shoot Styling
Are mood boards your thing? Do you love putting together a great look or vibe? Are you familiar with lighting, angles, fits, and aesthetics? This might be a match made in heaven for you. Making someone's vision come to life for a website, special event, social media platform, or publication is a unique skill set that is in demand.
This side gig also affords you the opportunity to meet new people, travel, and be active, especially if your first job is more stoic and stationary.
8. Interior Decorating
This can go beyond putting together the look for a new homebuyer. Realtors, theater owners, church leaders, and entrepreneurs often hire interior decorators to conceptualize spaces, shop for pieces, or stage rooms for marketing or selling purposes. Get creative and think outside the box if you're looking to take this on because, again, the need is there.
9. Travel Concierge Services
International travel has increased among our sister circles, and many of us look for experiences outside of the norm. If you find yourself always being the one in the group to know about some special concert, new adventure or locale, or just a super-planner, why not charge for use of those skills? Taking the stress out of planning the next big girls trip is something many professionals and entrepreneurs will pay someone top dollar to do.
10. Freelance Editing and Writing
Obviously, I'm a bit biased on this, but if you have expertise in a certain field, are great at putting words together that actually drive change and make sense, or you're an awesome grammarian, put those skills to use by taking on freelance projects. Sites like Upwork are your best friends, and businesses and orgs are always looking for someone to provide or tweak content. This also provides you the access and opportunity to attend events, travel and meet people you may not have previously had the chance to.
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What Are Intrusive Thoughts & How Do We Manage Them?
TW: some depictions of intrusive thoughts may be disturbing for readers.
Have you ever caught your mind drifting off to entertain the most disturbing scenarios imaginable? Maybe you can’t stop thinking of all the ways a loved one could pass away or worrying that you left every candle lit in your apartment to which you’d return to a home in ruins. If distressing ruminations like these have crossed your mind, you may be experiencing an intrusive thought.
What Are Intrusive Thoughts?
Intrusive thoughts are unwanted or distressing thoughts, images, or impulses that pop into your mind without your control or consent. These thoughts can be repetitive, unsettling, or even violent in nature, and can cause anxiety and frustration for those who experience them.
“Generally they're unwanted thoughts that come up in our head that interrupt what we're doing or thinking, and can feel very foreign,” says Adia Gooden, PhD, licensed clinical psychologist and host of the Unconditionally Worthy podcast. “It’s any thought that intrudes or interrupts what you are doing. They can be distressing and upsetting for us because it feels like we are not in control of them, and they're coming up out of nowhere and aren’t in line with how you normally think.”
What Causes Intrusive Thoughts?
Certain trauma or stress can contribute to the development of intrusive thoughts, so having a challenging experience from the past or current life situations may trigger them to form. “An intrusive thought could come in the form of a flashback, image, or a thought about something that's happened to you,” Dr. Gooden tells xoNecole. “When it gets to the point where you feel like you can't function or make clear decisions, that's when intrusive thoughts become really challenging.”
While some of the 1 billion videos found under the #intrusivethoughts hashtag on TikTok would lead you to believe that these thoughts are nothing more than casual displays of our imagination going untamed. Intrusive thoughts are more than sticking your hand in a soap dispenser, wanting to cut all your hair off at 3 a.m., or having a random impulse to eat fake bread in public.
The Anxiety & Depression Association of America reports that approximately six million individuals, equating to roughly two percent of the American population, encounter intrusive thoughts. Intrusive thoughts are often linked with obsessive-compulsive disorders, but they can also manifest in individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or anxiety.
Examples of Common Intrusive Thoughts
Because of the explicit nature of intrusive thoughts, they tend to cause shame and internal conflict in those who experience them. Although these thoughts can differ from person to person, these ideation can consist of:
- Violent or aggressive thoughts towards oneself or others, such as harming or killing someone;
- Sexual thoughts that are unwanted or inappropriate;
- Repetitive thoughts, such as a song or a phrase that keeps repeating in your mind;
- Contamination or germ-related thoughts or the fear of contamination and getting sick;
- Religious or blasphemous thoughts, such as questioning one's faith or having thoughts that go against religious beliefs;
- Doubts or uncertainty about one's own actions or decisions, such as fear of making a mistake or fear of not doing something right.
Intrusive Thoughts and OCD
That’s why Dr. Gooden encourages everyone to understand the difference between our fleeting thoughts and impulses and true, intrusive thoughts. “What level of distress does it cause and is it something you would never consider,” she says. “If you're finding that these thoughts are getting in the way of you living your life and that you're controlled by the thoughts, those are some signs that it would be good to get some support in navigating it.”
She also emphasizes the importance of understanding that while we may not always have control over our thoughts, we can control our behavior. “On TikTok, people are sort of blaming intrusive thoughts on their behavior, and our behavior is always a choice,” she says. “If we are in our right mind and we're not having a psychotic episode, our behavior is our choice — we are not obligated to follow any given thought that we have.”
Are Intrusive Thoughts Normal?
With intrusive thoughts, it’s natural to question whether these thoughts are “normal” to have. However, these thoughts are not meant to define who you are as a person but simply indicate that you have a functioning human mind with automated thoughts that you, or any of us, can’t control. These thoughts may come, but they don’t have to be acted upon, nor do they define who you are.
“I've worked with clients in the past who say, ‘Why am I thinking these things? What's wrong with me?’ But if you're not acting on the thought, then it's probably not a huge issue,” Dr. Gooden says. “If you are thinking a harmful thought towards yourself or someone else and you are making plans to act on that thought, then yes, we need to do something about it.”
How To Manage Intrusive Thoughts
If you are struggling with managing unwanted thoughts, Dr. Aida suggests taking these tips to help manage your mindset when they occur:
- "Recognize that it's a thought and thoughts are just thoughts. We often put a little bit too much weight on our thoughts, and that can create a lot of distress. But remember that thoughts are not facts."
- "Having a thought that's disturbing or upsetting doesn't make you a bad person, and it doesn't mean that you are suffering from a mental illness."
- "Sometimes the best thing you can do is say, 'Huh, that was an interesting thought. I'm going to let that go. That thought is not helpful for me right now."
- "Ask yourself: is this helpful? Is it helpful for me to buy into this thought and believe this thought? Asking that question can be really helpful because we are not at the mercy of our thoughts. If it's not helpful, you can let it go."
Intrusive thoughts can feel bizarre and foreign when they come up, but they aren't inherently "bad." Our minds can sometimes be filled with random and inappropriate thoughts, but that's what our stream of consciousness does: it thinks. Fortunately, we can release those thoughts at any moment; you don't have to follow through with them.
And ultimately, not every TikTok diagnosis is one that we should label ourselves with.
"It's important for people to acknowledge what they're experiencing but not run too quickly to diagnose themselves with some mental illness or disorder," Dr. Gooden advises. "It ends with confusion, and we miss the opportunity to understand the people who really do have that mental health challenge."
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