What is a side-hustle?
It's really anything that you can do on the side to make money while pursuing higher education or employment. It may be a hobby you are trying to monetize for a little bit of extra cash, it may be a serious venture you are working to pursue but unable to generate an income from just yet, or it may be something you've already started that is producing some extra income for you.
Some qualified engineers take it a step further. Many understand that the traditional trajectory of getting qualified, finding a big company to fit into and staying there for 40 years is a thing of the past.
Some engineers are becoming part of the gig economy. The gig economy is a ‘labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs.' And some people have side-gigs to supplement their income while they continue to search for a more permanent position elsewhere. Prospective engineers are learning to become resilient.
Engineers are noticing that they can also create several side-hustles that generate money they can use to achieve even bigger things later on in life.
In the engineering world, the side-hustle usually culminates in a startup idea that requires the input of some like-minded team members. Nonetheless, when you pursue a side-hustle, it's important to make sure you still have the backup plan.
Previously, the backup plan might include a ginormous time investment of going to a brick-and-mortar tertiary institution and putting the side-hustle on pause. Starting a side-hustle while sticking to a strict schedule of classes and examinations is a tall order.
Early on, some engineers fail to realize that their engineering course may be teaching them the business principles they need to become an entrepreneur. Albert van Wyk is a South African industrial engineer. At the age of 22, he was already investing in property and building side-businesses that began generating an income. He became one of South Africa's youngest millionaires.
Albert went on to write a book titled: ‘How to become a Millionaire at 22.'
But it was the skills he was learning in his engineering degree that improved the business-side of his side-hustles. He has started a podcast named ‘Millionaire Insights with Albert van Wyk,' where he inspires like-minded engineers and entrepreneurs in South Africa, to become better businesspeople whilst upskilling and acquiring formal qualifications.
In the latest episode of his podcast, he said:
“I studied Industrial Engineering. I actually completed my degree in four years and became an industrial engineer. And then, I worked for one year in the industry as an engineer before I quit my job to become a full-time entrepreneur. One of the key terms that we learned in industrial engineering is called a value chain analysis. You take each process, each activity, in your chain of events that creates value for your business, and you analyze each of them.”
Industrial automation engineering can teach that, even in business, a person can produce an efficient chain of procedures that leads to the creation of a valuable outcome. But even mechanical engineers are obtaining their qualifications, then swimming against the tide.
Inaam Khan is a mechanical engineer from Manchester, Connecticut in the United States of America. His motto, and advice to prospective entrepreneurial engineers is: ‘Aim high, don't be shy.' He founded his own sock company after graduating. He aptly named the company I-Khanic. In an interview, he said:
“My parents have been very supportive, first of all. They never cared that their son had an engineering degree and was out there selling socks.”
Turning the side-hustle into the main-hustle takes grit and determination. It is recommended that students and graduates continue to upskill themselves — so they are job-ready and educated — while trying to be as entrepreneurial as possible.
Nyberg, Ann. “Manchester Mechanical Engineer Inspired by Social Media Launches Sock Company.” WTNH, WTNH, 14 Aug. 2018, www.wtnh.com/on-air/nyberg/manchester-mechanical-engineer-inspired-by-social-media-launches-sock-company/1366407095.
“Millionaire Insights with Albert Van Wyk.” Iono.fm, Https://Iono.fm/p/360, iono.fm/c/3590.