From lockdown hobby to side hustle

Using social media to start your business

Do you have a hobby? Do you have a passion? Is there something you really enjoy doing? Maybe you’re good at sports or excellent with cars. Perhaps you love cooking or are really into game design. Everyone has something!

Well, personally – I’ve always been a creative person. From writing to painting, I love activities which allow me to take the ideas that are in my head and put them down on the page.

This aspect of my personality has definitely impacted my career path, which has led me to my current role at Digital Innovators. However, this article will be delving into how social media allowed my lockdown hobby to turn into a side hustle business, which in turn helped me land my current job!

Where did it all start?

So, as the world fell into chaos with the advent of COVID-19 and the UK entered the first lockdown in March 2020, I was working as a Cultural Intern in Marketing, Communications and PR. My internship then finished at the end of March and the potential jobs I had lined up were cancelled as a result of the pandemic.

Finding myself unemployed, I was completing online courses to boost my CV and applying to job after job. This was a very uncertain time and I found it difficult to be without a stable income or structure, something which many can relate to. So, to structure my days and have a practical hobby to keep myself occupied during lockdown, I decided to pick up a paintbrush for the first time in years and started painting again.

What began as a creative outlet, painting things I could see from my window or in my garden, developed in to doing paintings for my family and friends. With their wonderful responses and encouragement, I set up an Instagram page where I began to share my creations…

As I got more and more engagement on my Instagram page, I found that people responded really well to my paintings and were willing to pay for them! So, I went from documenting my lockdown creations to selling customised paintings, the most popular being pet portraits. I would share my latest commissions as well as reviews from recent clients, who would tag me on their own profiles – which would raise awareness of my small business, resulting in more orders.

This was a great way to keep busy during lockdown and earn some money whilst I was looking for full-time work, something which I continue to do alongside my day job at Digital Innovators.

How did my passion project impact my job search?

Speaking of my current role – during my interview for this job, my now-colleagues asked me how I had spent my time during lockdown and what steps I had taken to develop whilst at home. Whilst being able to cite many online courses, I was also able to describe how I had rediscovered a hobby and used social media to turn this into a small business venture.

After finding out that I was successful in this interview and had landed the job, my colleagues informed me that this was a contributing factor in them making their decision to hire me – due demonstrating resilience and determination, as well as integrating creativity and social media marketing.

My aim in telling you this story is to show that you never know where your passions will take you. It has been nearly a year since we entered the first lockdown and I picked up that paintbrush. I didn’t imagine that setting up an Instagram page to share my creations would end up in the development of a side hustle business through which I can exercise my passion, as well as helping me gain full-time employment.

So, what is your passion?

Do you want to start your own business or side hustle? Think about what you enjoy doing, what you are good at, the ways in which you could develop this into a side hustle, the skills you would be harnessing along the way… You never know where it might lead you.

The Digital Innovators Skills Programme is a great way to develop your skills whilst at home, including harnessing your entrepreneurial and digital abilities, and incorporating these into an 8-week live work project with leading employers. Find out more here – discover how we can help you develop your business ideas.

Click here to download our Side Hustles and Passion Projects Vision Board to help you envision your potential project ideas and how you can go about developing them.

This article was written by Bronia - Communications and Business Development Assistant.

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