Taking on a side hustle can generate some vital spending money as inflation rages. Some can change lives.
Karen Golder, a trained teacher, was forced to reduce her hours to look after daughter Imogen, 18, who has rare seizure-causing disorder Rasmussen’s Encephalitis.
The 49-year-old mum-of-two now works two days a week as a special educational needs coordinator in a primary school, while husband Murray is a painter and decorator. Son Jed, 20, is at university.
As living costs rocket, finding an extra source of family income is even more important, and Karen turned to direct selling to pay the bills.
Now Karen tops up her salary by earning £500 to £600 a month with The Body Shop At Home.
The Body Shop at Home sells ethically produced “skincare, haircare, bath & body and self-love” products, sold online or in store by independent consultants such as Karen.
Consultants order the products for resale, demonstration or other purposes either through a new website or their personal websites.
Seven out of 10 consultants have another full-time or part-time job and Karen said: “It is so much more than a side hustle, it’s been lifesaving for me.”
She admits that sounds dramatic but adds: “I’m finally doing something for me.”
The side hustle allows Karen to work in a way that fitted around her family’s needs. “I can make a sale while stacking the dishwasher or waiting in the hospital car park for one of Imogen’s appointments.”
After spending so much time focused on her daughter’s medical rehabilitation, this has given her something else to focus on.
“It has given me my confidence back and I can honestly say it has saved my mental health. Plus of course, I earn useful additional income. This is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
Karen loves working for The Body Shop. “It’s a social selling company with a mission and I am really attracted to that. The brand fights for social and environmental justice.”
She bought her starter kit for just £30, which included many of The Body Shop’s best-selling products that I could use to demonstrate and give away as samples, worth more than £220 in total.
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“I hosted my first event in September last year as a hybrid event with two friends in my home and others on Zoom. We played games, tried products and generally had fun.”
She heold more events both online and in person and made £4,000 worth of sales by November. “It was really helpful for Christmas.”
Karen also spends time mentoring and training others in my team, usually online, managing a team of 16. “ I spend about 12 hours a week on my business but that is split into small bite-sized periods that fit around my life.”
She was even taken on an all-expenses paid incentive trip to a retreat in Tenerife as a reward for her hard work. “Consultants were treated to a catamaran experience, fun on jet skis, ate at a Michelin star restaurant, and it was all wrapped up with a Gala dinner.
“This has all happened in less than a year. The potential is huge if you put the work in.”
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As with any direct selling job, do not be misled by claims that high earnings are quick and easily achieved.
How much consultants earn depends on their skills, personal ambition and the time and effort they put in.
Karen says it has been “refreshing” to get her teeth into something, and the work seamlessly fits around her life. “I do my make-up in the morning everyday so I just make that into a live on social media. I’m showcasing the products while doing what I would anyway.”
She has the opportunity to grow her business when she has more time. “The flexibility and potential is really exciting, and this is just the beginning.”
Money will remain a concern as food and fuel bills continue to rise, while the Energy Price Guarantee will be less generous from April.
“Our household bills will increase and I can imagine that I may need to try and earn a bit more through my direct selling work,” Karen says.