It is interesting to note, how an entrepreneur takes his/her first step into entrepreneurship while still at high school/ university or working at a 9 to 5 job.

 Do you know what that first step is?

It is that side hustle and you are the hustler, of course an ethical business hustler.

The dictionary describes a hustler as an “enterprising person determined to succeed; a go-getter”. However, as slang it has a different connotation, it means a person who employs unscrupulous methods to obtain money.”

A little bit of cash can go a long way when you are still at school or university – doesn’t it? But what do you do when you are working a 9 to 5 job that barely pays your bills especially when you are just starting out?   That’s when the idea of a side hustle starts to float in an aspiring entrepreneur’s brain.

In Aubrey Drake Graham’s words, “Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination.”  So what is that journey in hustling? Hustling is about seeking opportunities, it’s about turning your dreams into reality, seeing and doing things differently to move and shake the ecosystem. Making sacrifices to get to the other side of the tunnel, namely success. Falling and rising, again and again, it is all a part of that success journey.

I started hustling since I was in high school, selling handmade greeting cards to my schoolmates. I didn’t become rich from selling cards but I knew I would one day become part of a hustling ecosystem. Since then I had failures as well as successes, mentored a start-up enterprise in their journey and shared in their trials and dreams. Yet I feel I have not reached my destination. I am still on the journey.

Bahraini hustlers, who start from school-age, tend to be more determined to succeed later as entrepreneurs, because they have already had a taste of success while hustling. I know a Bahraini “food hustler” who is still at school and doing very well (check out my interview with the youngest Bahraini food hustler in the next edition of this magazine).

What motivates a side hustler? It could be to test one’s passion in a viable small business, earn extra money, or maybe just for fun. A side hustle is the tip of the iceberg for starting on your own, it can teach you how to be lean and mean in your business planning, marketing, managing and so on, it is a testing period to see your dream turn into reality.

It takes determination to succeed and hard work to transit your hustle into a small business and grow it from there. Nearly most Bahraini hustlers either juggle between their studies or full-time jobs and family. It is not easy but if you are passionate about what you do, you will enjoy the journey with all its humps and bumps.

Hustlers are always on the lookout for the next great opportunity, they seek solutions to problems. Being a hustler requires you to have a strong will to succeed but you have to balance all the intricacies of your life as well as take care of yourself.

 I am not a perfect hustler, but my determination has not permitted me to give up easily.

 Here are my 8 tips to turn your hustle into a viable business:

1.     Passion – love for what you do will carry you through a difficult time.

2.     Discipline – lay out a plan for what you want to do in the next 1 to 3 years.

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3.     Personal expenses – separate your expenses from your hustle.

4.     Lifelong learning – update your knowledge even if it is not your hustle/ business requirement.

5.     Have a trustworthy mentor – who can be your ongoing resource for advice.

6.     Build your brand – laying the ground while you are still hustling will make the transition into a small business easy.

7.     Time Management – hustling between school/university/ regular work and family is not a joke; manage your time efficiently without forgetting your family.

8.     Work – Your employer is paying you for the job you do, give 100%, and don’t juggle your side hustle during your regular working hours.

 It is all about finding what makes you stand out from others and using that niche to your advantage. Go ahead do your side hustle! You never know where it will take you in your hustling journey. It is better to try and explore the depth of your passion rather than never try at all.

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