Brandeis International Business School

026: Own Your Side Hustle

You’re the only person holding you back from starting a side gig today

Ruby Lee is an online side hustle business coach who, after side hustling for almost four years, developed what she calls the Own Your Hustle Movement in 2018. People from all around the world seek Ruby out when they want to learn how to launch an online business, grow a personal brand on social media, and generate long-term diversified income streams, even while working full time.

From the Dorm Room

When Ruby got to university, she had no idea what she wanted to study – so she picked Business Commerce. She graduated after three-and-a-half years and then went directly into a job at one of Australia’s largest banks.

After a few years of banking, she went back to college to get her Master's in Human Resources because she wanted to shift her niche to something more people-oriented. From there, she started a long-term career in executive recruitment.

To the Boardroom

When Ruby first arrived at the bank, she thought she had finally made it – this was what she had worked so hard for in college – and then a manager looked her up and down and said, "You do realize that you're not going to be a manager in this place until you have a few grey hairs on you? So, let's just dial down that enthusiasm, and let's get you to work," and then she sent Ruby to start photocopying. 

It was a rude awakening – although, defying that manager, she did make it into management without any gray hairs – and Ruby says this is a misconception she saw a lot with college students when she was a recruiter. Doing really well in school is not a guarantee that you will get start your first job doing something that is exactly what you want, and you might need to spend a few years in a support role before you’re given more substantial projects.

Your day job also might not fulfill everything you’re looking for out of work. Ruby, for example, realized that she wanted the opportunity to be more creative. But, at work, it was often more about doing rather than learning. “And so, with all of that in mind, I recognized that I had to do something outside of work to quench that thirst. My employer wasn't there to fix that for me or to make that happen for me. I could actually become a co-creator in my own career, and I could actually make some of these things come to life.”

And that’s when Ruby’s first side hustle was born – and that’s also when she started to feel more happy and fulfilled. She had a thriving career, as well as her side hustle where she got to stretch those creative muscles in her own time. 

The Entrepreneurial Edge

Every week, we highlight one piece of advice for aspiring, struggling, and successful-but-want-to-be-even-more-successful entrepreneurs:

Ruby teaches us that you don’t technically need to be a full-time entrepreneur to be entrepreneurial. Whether you’re 10 years into a career or still in college, you can start today!

One of Ruby’s biggest regrets is not listening to herself when she wanted to start a YouTube channel. She was only 19 and she just questioned whether anyone would watch it or care. But looking back, it could have done a lot to help her find what she loved to do and helped her build a personal brand.

If she were able to go back and talk to her 19-year-old self, she’d say, “You're the only person holding you back.”

So, if there’s something you want to do, do it! Consider the things you do in your free time: What are you YouTubing? What blogs are you reading? What newsletters are you subscribed to? And why are these things sparking an interest in you?

Any great side hustle begins there.


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