If you've felt challenged by the economy recently, you're not alone. In the face of skyrocketing cost of living and ever-climbing interest rates, it's hard enough to make ends meet, let alone get your own business off the ground and turn a profit.
That's why more and more young people are looking to side hustles to earn a little extra on top of their nine-to-five income. And if you dream of something bigger, it can be an awesome way to bring your business idea to life without giving up the stability, salary and benefits that come with your current job.
Futurpreneur, Canada's national non-profit organization dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs aged 18-39, is helping these go-getters with their Side Hustle Program. The program can support you in financing your project, accessing resources and finding a mentor to help you tackle any challenges you may face.
Whether you're looking to leverage your passion to boost your income or eventually turn your side hustle into your main gig, Futurpreneur's Side Hustle Program can help you achieve your business goals.
Want proof? Here are eight Futurpreneur side hustlers (and their six businesses) who've found success with the help of the Side Hustle Program.
LOTUS Sleep Products – Jon Piett | Saskatoon, SK
Jon Piett. Right: The original LOTUS Sleep Products weighted blanket.
Jon Piett's passion for sleep led him to create a new kind of weighted blanket in his very own garage using glass beads instead of plastic pellets. But in the beginning, Jon needed help. While looking for additional resources to grow the business, Jon stumbled on Futurpreneur's Side Hustle Program.
"LOTUS Sleep Products began with a humble $15,000 loan and just one product," Jon told Narcity. "We're proud to say that we now employ three staff members, and our extended team, working diligently to craft our products right here in Canada, continues to grow."
LOTUS Sleep Products has experienced 300% sales growth since its founding and now specializes in a range of sleep solutions, including mattresses, blankets and sleeping masks.
Terana Boutique – Grace Kyomugisha Perry | Kitimat, BC
Handmade scrunchies from Terana Boutique. Right: Grace Kyomugisha Perry.
Grace Kyomugisha Perry is no stranger to being her own boss. Before becoming a mom, she ran a hair-braiding business. When raising two young kids made it hard to stay on top of it, Grace pivoted and launched Terana Boutique from her home — inspired by her love for crafting and some well-timed advice from her sister.
"During the pandemic, my hours at work were reduced which meant that I spent a lot of time sewing and crafting," she told Narcity. "While on a Zoom call with my sister, she suggested that I should sell my ever-increasing inventory of my handmade items."
Opening Terana Boutique allowed Grace to transform her passion into profit, and she credits the Side Hustle Program's online and in-person resources with helping her master the basics, like how to write a business plan, get her brand off the ground and market her boutique.
Arbre – Kristina Knox & Stephanie Tien | Toronto, ON
Kristina Knox & Stephanie Tien. Right: Arbre sustainable and inclusive sunscreen.
Best friends Kristina Knox and Stephanie Tien started their side hustle Arbre — a sustainable and inclusive sunscreen brand — after a 2019 cottage trip left Stephanie with a badly burnt scalp. The pair realized there was a demand for a sunscreen that could offer protection, not make hair greasy and look good on all skin tones.
Futurpreneur's Side Hustle Program loaned the pair the collateral-free capital they needed to manufacture and launch their product and connected them with a fellow woman-of-colour entrepreneur who mentored them to think and dream bigger.
"My advice for someone who wants to start a side hustle is to just take the leap and get started! It may seem scary but you just have to take the step and get your idea rolling and out into the world," Stephanie told Narcity.
Robin's Hall Spice Company – Cyril Kolawole Coulibaly & Boyd Barrett | Winnipeg, MB
When the pandemic derailed Cyril Kolawole Coulibaly's dream of opening a restaurant, he teamed up with his brother-in-law Boyd Barrett to create a premium spice brand that combines the ingredients and flavours of their Nigerian and Jamaican backgrounds: Robin's Hall Spice Company.
"Futurpreneur loaned us $15,000 through the Side Hustle Program, which helped us hit the ground running," Cyril told Narcity. "We were able to get our product to market quicker than expected."
He also credits the program's mentors with helping the pair "navigate through a lot of the noise."
West Coast Willy's – Alex Gillard | Kelowna, BC
A West Coast Willy's donair. Right: Alex Gillard.
Alex turned his dream into a self-sustaining business with the help of the Side Hustle Program, and now he's busy spreading the joy of Halifax's iconic donairs throughout Western Canada.
Futurpreneur understands how hard it can be for young entrepreneurs to secure startup loans to launch their businesses, and the financial support was a game changer for Alex and West Coast Willy's.
"It gave me the working cash to combat every obstacle that got in my way," said Alex.
The most important things he got from the program, however, were time and money management skills. His Futurpreneur mentor gave him great tips for maximizing his time while focusing on the business, leading to more money at the end of the day.
Baseball Futures Canada – Dan Connerty | Toronto, ON
Dan Connerty's passion for baseball cannot be understated. He was both a professional and college-level baseball player in Canada and the US and worked for a baseball training centre for years.
Now, he's turned his passion into his very own business, Baseball Futures Canada, which provides high-quality baseball coaching to local kids at an affordable price for parents — something that was sorely missing in his community.
The most helpful tip he learned from Futurpreneur's Side Hustle Program was to grow his business gradually: "That conservative approach allows for the ability to scale up [...] rather than scale back," said Dan.
Since launching BFC at the beginning of the year, Dan's side venture is now the third-largest baseball training Instagram account and the fastest-growing baseball training service in the country.
Despite the 41% of Canadians considering taking up a side hustle to boost their income, there are very few options to help them launch or finance a side hustle.
Futurpreneur's Side Hustle Program is unique in that it has already helped so many young Canadian entrepreneurs get their side hustles off the ground and benefit from invaluable industry tips and advice.
Whether you dream of turning your side hustle into your main gig or just want to earn a little extra income, you can make it a reality with the help of Futurpreneur.
This content is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute financial, investment, legal, tax or accounting advice.