The right way to Begin a Aspect Hustle and Make 6 Figures in Income

  • Alyssa Nguyen launched her aspect hustle, a graphic-design enterprise, whereas finding out at Princeton.
  • She focuses on working with manufacturers owned by girls of coloration and helps them construct their branding.
  • After reserving practically $170,000 in income final yr, Nguyen has plans to increase this yr.

In 2020, Alyssa Nguyen was despatched residence from her junior yr of school and notified that the advertising and marketing internship she accepted was canceled due to COVID-19, which made her one of many 5.4 million girls who misplaced jobs through the pandemic.

Left with out months of paid work, she launched an eponymous graphic-design enterprise that goals to work with firms owned by girls of coloration, who had been disproportionately affected by the worldwide well being disaster. Nguyen helps these entrepreneurs set up inventive instructions, construct model methods, and handle social-media campaigns. Nguyen booked slightly below $170,000 in income final yr, in keeping with paperwork verified by Insider. 

This wasn’t the profession path she initially imagined: She meant to check molecular biology at Princeton College however switched to English literature with a concentrate on race principle after realizing science wasn’t the proper match. That change set her on the trail for design and advertising and marketing.

“As a studio, we actually champion consciousness and social consciousness, particularly relating to race and gender,” Nguyen mentioned. “It is vital to me that each my collaborators and purchasers replicate all these values and might uphold them.”

Nguyen informed Insider how she turned a ardour right into a enterprise, grew her firm by way of COVID-19, and continued discovering purchasers who align along with her values. The interview has been edited for size and readability. 

Alyssa Nguyen

Nguyen taking private model photographs for Alyssa Nguyen Design.

Mathew Miller



Seeing a enterprise alternative in ardour initiatives

After I switched to English literature with a concentrate on race principle, I acquired concerned within the women-of-color entrepreneurship scene. Concurrently, I began working because the graphic designer for an on-campus job and a number of pupil teams. 

With none design background, I began out on Canva — a platform designers use to grasp layouts, coloration schemes, and fonts in a user-friendly method. Quickly, I used to be requested to create designs that required Photoshop or extra superior instruments. I hate being the individual to say, “I can not try this,” so I mentioned I may.

For about two years, graphic design was simply one thing I did for enjoyable and to make a bit of cash on the aspect. Ultimately, I took my ardour for feminine entrepreneurs and expertise in graphic design and began a enterprise combining the 2.  

Nguyen client work for Black and woman-owned company, Fitbeads.

Nguyen’s shopper work for Fitbeads.

courtesy of Nguyen


Set up your small business to guide purchasers

When COVID-19 reached the US, I started focusing extra on paid aspect jobs to make up for the cash and expertise I used to be shedding.

I began an Instagram account, marketed myself as a contract designer, and created a web site. Inside six months of deliberately constructing my enterprise, it grew to become so profitable that I wanted to set skilled foundations to guard myself.

After establishing these outward-facing elements, I created a contract and invoicing schedule, together with insurance policies and pointers for my enterprise to share with workers and potential purchasers. By the tip of 2020, I filed for an LLC. 

With out my portfolio of labor and my established enterprise, potential purchasers won’t have regarded me as extremely and determined to work with me. It is actually vital to take every of these steps to be absolutely rounded as a enterprise proprietor.

Constructing a group results in prospects

Alyssa Nguyen

Behind the scenes of Nguyen’s particular initiatives.

courtesy of Nguyen


For the reason that begin of my freelance work, I’ve relied closely on my group to search out purchasers. 

I used to be first linked with some Princeton alumni after making a profitable design venture for considered one of my pupil teams. The effort and time I spent on that piece actually paid off, which is why it is so essential for aspiring designers to create work they’re happy with that additionally aligns with the kind of work they need to create long run. 

Together with phrase of mouth, which sustained my enterprise for the primary few months, the web group may be simply as helpful. It is so vital to get on social media — that is the place the inventive group lives. To construct my group, I share my very own graphic work, publish photographs and movies with my very own face and voice, and promote further initiatives like my podcast and minicourses, which educate creatives learn how to begin a enterprise. 

Social media permits me to deal with every department of my enterprise underneath one roof, which has helped each develop. This yr is about setting myself up for a larger objective: to proceed rising, discovering alternatives, and changing into a well known studio by girls of coloration, for girls of coloration. Every of the steps I’ve taken to this point is in pursuit of that. 

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