Minimal, Botanical and Radical: A Beautiful Side Hustle.
Zaffrin O’Sullivan, the founder of Five Dot Botanics, the hottest new social-impact beauty business, speaks about how she embraced the side hustle 5-9 life to pursue her childhood passion.
A side hustle is the given name for a growing trend in the UK – those who are kick-starting a personal enterprise or micro business in their spare time or away from the day job. The side hustle trend is rapidly increasing in popularity.
New research released by GoDaddy and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), confirms that side hustling is a growing trend in the UK, rising by 32% in the last decade.
The UK’s side hustlers make a substantial contribution to the economy, with every 1000 side hustles creating 876 extra jobs.
Surprisingly, 44% of these side hustlers are busy parents looking to pursue their passions outside of work, while one in five side hustlers are under 30 years old.
Zaffrin is perhaps best known for her work as a media lawyer. Over the past 15 years, she has worked predominately in TV; making, buying and selling TV programs in a career which has seen her work for media giants including the BBC, Endemol and BT.
We sat down with Zaffrin to understand why and how she built the beauty brand side hustle in her spare time. So, ever wondered how you go from media lawyer by day to beauty seller in the evening?
‘Even though I work in TV, I rarely watch it now. A box set on Netflix would be 12 hours I could have spent on my side hustle’
She started by telling us how her side hustle started: ‘I got up and running by writing a blog focused on honey in 2015, originally wanted to set up a new honey brand (I did briefly sell honey to Fortnum and Mason). However, I become interested in beeswax and then started formulating natural beauty products from it, like lip balm. I thought we would become the next Burt’s Bees). But in the end, the idea evolved into a minimalist skincare brand – but we are completely vegan, so no beeswax!’
With the idea buzzing in the brain, Zaffrin was still working her day job and had to find the balance in order to juggle her time effectively between the two: ‘At the start I didn’t really talk about having a side hustle at work as I didn’t really think it was much of a big deal or even really a business – just some ideas and a hobby. I have been working on my side hustle for 18 months outside of work and now I see it as a viable business. But I don’t see it as any different to anyone else that had a hobby. My work colleagues now know that I have a side hustle and I post a lot on social media – so I am pretty open about it.'
‘I am also passionate that more people at work should have a side hustle as it is a risk-free way of exercising creativity without risking the day job. When I first started out, no one I knew at work had a side hustle. Today, so many people I speak to want to start a side hustle and that’s great!’
One’s side hustle tends to be a long-term passion project, and Zaffrin explains how control and self-discipline helps a side hustler: ‘As things started to shape up, I needed to get more disciplined. I do something every single day on my business, no matter what kind of day I have, no matter how busy it is. I will do 40 minutes – sometimes on my commute, but mostly late at night after I have put my kids to bed.'
Side hustles can result in long hours, so support from employers is also critical in Zaffrin’s opinion. Largely because It also goes a long way to support the initial business that they continue to work for. ‘Side hustlers are hugely beneficial for employers because outside of work employees are mastering new skills, building resilience, gaining knowledge and confidence that costs the employer nothing. Side hustlers then bring additional value into the workplace and again, costs the employer nothing. The benefit is huge. In my experience, side hustlers are highly motivated and happier as a result of mastering new skills from their side hustles.'
Zaffrin’s experiences will go a long way to inspire people to take the leap into side hustling, but an all-important rule of the hustle applies: ‘A fixed income is critical to my side hustle. My day job helps to fund my business. If I didn’t have a day job, I would never have had the guts to start my side hustle as it is a big bold move to want to launch an Indie Beauty Brand.'
In addition, Zaffrin praises the impact of digital technologies. ‘I am able to run everything from my smart phone. It is the key technology that I rely on. Remote storage is the other, as I can access everything I need wherever I am, and everything can be automated and scheduled.'
‘Social Media is vital – we have been able to create content for targeted customer segments and grow a small yet highly engaged following.’
And the biggest challenge she overcame? ‘The greatest challenge is time. However, developing absolute focused discipline has helped me to become more efficient and that has given me time back. When I first started, I used to get more stressed when things did not go to plan. Now, I have built a lot of resilience and tolerance.’
And the advice for those looking to set up a side hustle? ‘Start straightaway with the things that cost nothing. Buy a notebook and write all of your ideas down, create a vision board, and if you have ideas for branding then daydream about what they may look like. Don’t let the practical things way you down from the start.
‘As you start to refine your idea, research and talk to many people, try to ensure that you meet as many different types of people, go to events and get inspired by people. The information has so much free information, you can learn a lot at the start for free. Don’t spend money until you have more of a handle of what you really need.’
GoDaddy Side Hustle Report
GoDaddy has recently launched research into side hustlers in the UK. A full copy of the Side Hustlers report can be downloaded here.
Here's some quick snippets from the report:
- The most side hustle prone age bracket is 40-45-year-olds followed by 50-54-year-olds with 30-34-year-olds in third place.
- Almost half of side hustlers (48%) spend less than five hours a week on their side hustle.
- Only 6% of side hustlers have employees at their side business, suggesting that most side hustlers work alone.
The top three sectors with the most side hustlers were:
- Health and social work i.e. medical massage, occupational therapists and acupuncture.
- Education i.e. tutoring and personal training.
- Technical services i.e. specialist design services and photographers.