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What exactly is a #sidehustle

Abigail Diaz


“The dream is free.

The hustle is sold separate."



- Unknown

In the last few years the term #sidehustle has taken a life of its own. What once was a term used to make a little extra cash on the side, is now a prevalent  topic in many industries. From podcasts, books, to blogs, vlogs and even merchandise, this term is growing into helping people generate strong profitable businesses. 

So what exactly is it? If you google the term, a slew of websites pop up from books on how to start a side hustle, to articles on ideas for your first side hustle. However, the most basic definition of what a side hustle is; something that brings in cash other than your main job. If you were to ask me when I started side hustling, it was probably around the age of 16. My first real job was at 15 working in a coffee shop. All the money I made went straight to my mom and so I never really saw any of it or spent it myself. So my mom and I essentially made a deal. Whatever extra cash I would make I could use that for myself. So the babysitting and cleaning peoples’ houses was the start of my side hustle. By the time I was a senior in high school, I had three homes I would clean weekly to pay for my first trip to Europe, in addition to my coffee shop job. I just knew at a young age I loved to work and I loved being able to pay for what I wanted. 

1. In college I worked as a Red Bull wiiings girl where I met my best friend Chandni pictured. 2. Working alongside my friend Danielle, who happened to be a single mom and going to school. 3. Even when I had professional career, I would work events to help promote the product I was selling. 4. Pictured is Ahrif, business partner and friend, Claire, and me at a Better Together speaking event hosted by Kit & Ace. 

So how do you know you have what it takes to start a side hustle? First be honest with yourself if you even want to work the extra hours. If you love your free time and weekends then the answer is probably no, which is totally okay.  The side hustle lifestyle is not for everyone. But, if you are at a place where you want to make extra cash and you have the drive to do it, then you should probably do it. The beautiful thing about a side hustle is, that you have the flexibility to do it on your own terms. 

Pictures 1-3: Pictured are a few shots from the first Aces of Taste. We rented out our friends Air BnB & worked along side Chef Mike Potowski from Benjy's. It was a very hectic day, but that dinner sparked a level of self confidence I never knew I had. Pictures 4-6: A little over a year later, we partnered with Sugar & Cloth to host our first blogger / influencer pop-up dinner. The level of execution and our partnerships were growing as we had hoped. 

How do I decide what side hustle I want to do? Are you good at something, do you have a passion for something or do you have experience in a certain area that’s a good start. In college I was the side hustle queen. I had two main jobs, in the morning I would work at a high-end retail store, go to school during the day and at night go work for Red Bull as a wiiings girl. I repeated this for two years and never took a break. But during the holidays and weekends I would coach summer league, private swimming lessons, bartend events and work at the school. I would take advantage of any opportunity if I could make some money. 

When do you decide if your side hustle could be something more? If you are at a point that you may want to leave the security of your job, then this is the time to assess if your side hustle is something you want to dive into for a long period of time. Most of the time, when people decide to start a side hustle, it is in a field or hobby they love. This makes the transition even easier, especially when the money is matching your professional income. But you have to remember to plan, I can not stress this enough. 

1. My first cotton candy machine was purchased from Amazon from China, the level of excitement was a little unreal. 2. Before I launched Lush Puff I tested it out with close friends. Pictured is me at Myth & Symbol, where I made cotton candy on a fold up table and an hour later, the machine over heated & I had a mini breakdown. 3. My first social media client was a nail salon, I created a vision board for her first nail shoot. 4. When you can't afford models, you volunteer to be one, hence the start of my hand model career. 

Finally, remember to have fun. The part I love about a good side hustle are the people I get to meet. Many of my opportunities have been based on engaging with others and someone remembers to tell someone about me. My expectations are set low in the beginning and I take it as a learning process. This is a marathon not a sprint and no one gets it right the first time. Trust me, I have a slew of stories about that. However, I am like a sponge and I am always learning and trying to get better. That should always be one of your goals, to do better the next time. 

The beautiful thing about living in a time like this is that #sidehustle is a term people are embracing and there are so many opportunities out there to start somewhere. Freelance writing, photography, blogging, fitness, dog walking, being an uber driver etc. The list goes on and on. The opportunities are endless, you literally just have to start somewhere. I would encourage you to try it if you are curious, you never know where it could take you. 

This is what it looks like a year after leaving a corporate job.

Abigail Diaz


“Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.”


It’s been exactly a year since I submitted my two weeks notice on the balcony of an Air BnB in Mexico City. Where the week prior, I was in Seattle being told in a conference room with three individuals in upper management to either move to Dallas or essentially lose my job.  The truth was, that I had already planned to leave my job at the end of the year after despising the job I once loved, due to poor management.

So what does it look like to go out on your own and do your own thing? Well, for me it was a glorious bag of emotions and realizations. First, let's get the big question out of the way when it comes to finances. How do you survive when you are a single girl, with no inheritance or a have a partner to support you during this transitional time?  You hustle. Prior to leaving my job, I had started creating various streams of income for myself, which should be the goal for everyone in my opinion. Living off of one salary is great, until you lose your job and then you have nothing. I am a firm believer of the #sidehustle. So before I left my job my apartment was on Air BnB, I was managing social media for three brands, I had co-founded a dinner series called Aces of Taste and had Lush Puff my cotton candy mobile cart. All these streams of revenue helped me essentially stay afloat.

Within that time, I took a six month sabbatical to reassess my life. I took what many people would see as a setback as an opportunity to really go after my dreams. I didn’t have a mortgage, any children and I had my health.  In reality there wasn’t an excuse for me not to go after what I felt was my destiny, the only fear was fear itself.

Pictures from top left going clockwise. 1. After leaving my meeting from Seattle, I took a train up to Vancouver to reflect on the journey ahead. 2. Returning home to Houston. 3. The observation deck from the Newseum. 4. Girls trip to ATL, at Ladybird. 5. Snapped a photo of my mom in Tuscany, Italy during our pasta making class. 6. Attending a protest in support of the DACA efforts in Washington, D.C..

The following six months was a period of time working on my business plan, connecting with people I love, traveling and getting myself mentally prepared for the next chapter ahead.

On my return from Washington, D.C. I started working small gigs and saying yes to any job that would pay.  No job was too small and this was the time to put my ego aside. Once the new year started, I had secured a job with a local coffee company that gave me the “security “ of a regular job with set hours and pay, but as well the flexibility to pursue my goal. In my mind, I consider this the paid internship I never had.

So now I am a year in and although I have had to make major lifestyle changes I am actually doing as well as I was monetarily at my corporate job, but without the stress of being unhappy. It hasn’t been easy at times, but the payoff has been completely worth it.

1. My partner & co-founder of Aces of Taste Ahrif & I, visiting the University of Houston & speaking to the Hilton School of Hospitality about unconventional dinning & start up's. 2. My boyfriend Carlos & I creating his frame wall. 3. Celebrating the Houston Astros Championship with my friend Yari. 4. Coffee Training. 

My piece of advice is this: if you know you have the talent, work ethic and want to do something bigger than yourself- you probably should. Plan it out and be realistic with your circumstances. It’s always amazing to hear people leaving their job and going after their dreams, but there are a lot of moments where you will need the support of the people closest to you and to be ready for the challenge ahead.

Dear 30

Abigail Diaz

Dear Abby,

  Well you have made it to the Big 3-0. Bravo to yourself and all that you have been through. Growing up life was not the easiest, but you always seemed to look at the bright side of things. Here is a quick letter to remind you of what you have accomplished when you find yourself in the low. 

Childhood was daunting as your dad checked out, and your mom was left to raise four kids alone. With limited support, your mom made due. School was never your strong point as you were  struggling with dyslexia but you never gave up; you just learned to work with it. Relying on extra curricular activities to help you find a bright side to school, and to help grow your leadership and communication skills. Graduating high school would be the one time in your life that you felt you didn’t want to grow up.

Your early twenties were a challenge as you were broke, had a good twenty extra pounds on you and could not find a job after graduating college. But, you still could not shake the feeling that this could not be it for your life. A year would go by before finally landing a “real” job. You went from working at a car wash to teaching, all the while, never losing sight of your goals. At times it seems hard to envision your future, since you still don't know what exactly you want to do. But you do know the feeling you want to have when you wake up. Empowered, happy, and curious.  Now you work in a field you love and respect. You don’t see your job as a job, and you wake up everyday loving what you do and the people you meet.

My advice to you Abby, now that you are starting your next chapter: don’t loose the drive. Be even more intentional and direct with your wants and expectations. Remember you only get one life and time does not wait for you. Stay true to yourself, never alter your character, and always remember that everything happens for a reason. Now go be the women you know you can be and stay humble.



PHOTOS: Fredis Benitez