Editorial: The therapy of a side-hustle

In the midst of balancing three jobs, a volunteer placement, and four courses, I’ve decided to allocate the remaining ten minutes of my week to a side hustle. 

You may or may not be experiencing whiplash due to aggressively shaking your head in disbelief at this point.

However, conditioning and molding polymer clay into earrings is cheaper than therapy and has even proven profitable.

It also makes binge-watching The Office for the fourth time slightly more justifiable when done simultaneously.

I could eloquently detail the ways in which I craved a creative outlet or how I was destined to craft statement earrings out of bake-able clay.

But the reality is much more uninviting, as it came to in the midst of my seasonal depression and was further prompted by my inability to afford those already on the market.

If anyone has ever been to an Etsy market in the Region, or even visited the site itself, you’ll likely relate to the ways in which your deepest desires are often at odds with the funds remaining in your account.

Thus, the hustle began.

I loosened my coin purse, downloaded the Michael’s craft store app, and filled my virtual cart with varying shades of polymer clay.

You can imagine this venture snowballed rather swiftly, as my total quadrupled in a matter of minutes.

I endlessly scrolled through Etsy, searching for cutters that would procure the most desirable of shapes, as the allure of my very own online shop appeared faintly in the distance.

I began following fellow clay connoisseurs’ socials, touring YouTube’s craftiest corners and throwing a swift elbow at my inevitable self-doubt.

With my tools in place, I began to marble my first batch of earrings.

Twisting a deep sienna into the creamiest tone of Premo, I began to admire the novel pigments it produced and pondered the endless possibilities that existed at my very fingertips.

My naiveté became evident as my nose met the potent odour of burning plastic.

My first batch came out burnt.

With any novice attempt, you’re bound to meet a steep learning curve and with the wealth of my clay collection too vast to give up, I slowly began to twist and mold the next batch.

As I tackled the beast that was my oven’s ability to reach temperatures far greater than the knob suggested, I continued to meet new challenges.

The clay was uneven. They snapped if you handled them too rough.

Air bubbles became my mortal enemy.

Yet with each challenge, there proved a solution. A clay roller, a delicate touch and baking the clay between two ceramic tiles.

After months of conditioning clay, forcing jump rings through tiny holes and finessing my grip on what felt like the world’s smallest pliers, I finally assembled enough to begin populating an Instagram page.

A side hustle can be many things, a supplement to your income or simply a passion project.

Either way, it requires work, dedication, and persistence.

The sales I’ve made thus far may have only managed to pay a phone bill or cover a lunch date, but despite my chaotic schedule, it remains one of the highlights of my week.

So, start a side hustle or don’t and just buy my earrings.

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