Side Hustle Diaries: I'm A Full Time Student, Artist, & Ebay Seller

 side hustle

Welcome to our Side Hustle Diaries series which is meant to take an inside look at women who are dabbling in or diving head first into working for themselves.  For more info or if you'd like to participate click here.

Meet Alicia, she's a full-time student but she also juggles a couple hustles. 

What are your side hustles?

I have two side hustles: the main one is my artwork! I am a full-time student currently studying Speech and Language Pathology, but I haven't quite gotten to the part where they pay you yet. So while in school, I draw commissions for various organizations/private parties in order to further my art and also make some money!

My second side hustle is selling clothes on eBay! My friend and I decided we needed another source of cash flow, so we went to the local thrift shops and cleaned out our closets. Anything that has a good brand name can be flipped for a little profit on eBay or similar sites, especially if it is in good condition, is vintage, is rare, or is 100% silk, leather, etc. If you have any gently worn shoes like Nikes or heels, those also usually sell quickly.

Do you have a website or social media? Shout yourself out...

Check out my Instagram for my art!! My handle is: @aliciacrismali

Why did you decide to get into your side hustle?

Since I am in school and also commute, its hard to have time for a regularly scheduled job. I gravitated towards side hustles that allowed me to work when I wanted to, or when I could find the time. And since school is already so expensive, I didn't want to be using loan money for living expenses.

Do you have a full-time job as well?

My full-time job is being a full-time student! I take 5 classes and commute 20 hours a week to get to and from school.

If so, how do you balance your day job and your side hustle?

It is sometimes hard to balance everything- not just school and side hustles, but also my activities of daily living(eating, showering, etc.), and my social life. Being so busy forces me to rely very heavily on my planner and lists. I have to manage my time carefully and make sure that everything will be done when it needs to be done, and done well.

What are your goals and dreams for the hustle?

I am always trying to grow as an artist. I am always looking for more opportunities within the art community whether that means a collaboration, an interview, a feature in a zine, etc. I want to eventually sell some merchandise like stickers and t-shirts, as well as continue to work on commission work. Hopefully, my art will someday become enough that I will no longer be flipping clothes (haha).

How do you organize your finances?

Managing time and money are similar when you don't have much of it: you really have to organize! A couple times a month, and especially at the end of the month I write down all of my credit and debit purchases onto paper. I organize the purchases into 5 categories with highlighters: "going out"(concerts, drinks, Uber's, movies, etc.), "food", "necessities"(gas, bills, anything that is pulled from my account automatically), "shopping", and "extra"(items that I usually wouldn't budget for like a birthday present). Then I add up each category and add up all of my income for the month and see how close to coming out on top I am. I'll use my credit card if I'm short on money, but as soon as I get paid I try to pay it off right away.

What are some of the challenges you face?

The challenges I face really depend on the day. Some days I have anxiety, which makes me feel sick to the stomach and can make it difficult to do what I need to do that day. Some days I am worried about a test or a quiz, and sometimes I just feel plain exhausted. It's hard to prevent these feelings because I think they are normal for a student. However, I try my best to live a healthy lifestyle(not eating too terribly, sleeping enough, managing anxiety, etc.) while being so busy.         

Describe your day from waking up to sleep:

Morning: I wake up with my little chihuahua, Ladybug(she likes to burrow under the covers). I check my phone and make myself a cup of tea, and then I get ready for the day. I like to listen to music or watch VICE news while I'm getting ready. I pack up my backpack and lunch and download some podcasts(probably 2 dope queens) while I still have the wifi at home. Then I start my drive to the metro train(50 min.). I always get to the train station early, so then I wait at the station and check my emails/respond to any if I can. Then once I'm on the train(the ride to CSULA is 1 hour) I will read a book or study if I have a test that day. Once I get to school, I walk to my classroom(usually I'm early because of the train schedules) and I will work on any drawings that I owe people.

Afternoon: In the afternoons I am in classes or doing my internship, which is assisting in therapy sessions at the clinic on campus. In between classes I talk with my classmates, eat lunch, and work on any projects we have together.

Evening: Once I'm done with my classes for the day, I head back to the train. I start the whole commute in reverse, and when I get home it's usually 8:30 p.m. Sometimes I call a friend for the drive because its a good time to catch up and keeps me entertained for the drive. Then I eat dinner, shower, work on any drawings I have lined up, and head back to sleep (with Ladybug).

What’s one piece of wisdom you’ve picked up along your journey?

I think one thing I have learned is to not be a hero. I am doing so much all the time, but still have the tendency to want to do more and to please everyone by taking every project I am offered, doing other people favors, trying to squeeze everything into one day, saying yes to every social opportunity, trying to hit the gym a couple times a week, etc. When I feel overwhelmed by the idea of everything I need to be doing, I tell myself its ok to not be a hero, and that its okay to say no sometimes.

If you're interested in participating in our Side Hustle Diaries Series, then click here for more information on how to submit your story.