Finance Small Business The suprising ways working families earn money on the side
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The suprising ways working families earn money on the side

Tamed by Jane
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By day, Rebecca Griffen works full time as a single mother caring for two young children – but by night, she’s a dominatrix coach.

Open-minded and definitely not shy, Griffen opened her business, Tamed by Jane, which runs events for women who want to learn bondage skills, six months ago.

Griffen came up with the concept when she spotted an opportunity to liven up the market for hen’s nights and women’s birthday parties.

“It’s an area I have a personal interest in,” she says.

“I’m not shy, the 50 Shades of Grey movie is coming out in a year, [and] there’s been nothing new in the hen’s market for a long time, so it seemed like a good opportunity.”

Griffen is among a growing number of Australians who are starting up a side business to earn extra income and follow their passion, as the digital age makes it easier and cheaper to get a new enterprise off the ground.

Sally-Anne Blanshard, director of business and life coaching company Nourish Coaching, says that most people want to start their own business to “escape corporate carnage”.

“The typical client profile is in their early 30s, had a bit of career, experienced eight years or more of working life and it’s just not fulfilling,” she says.

“They are looking for flexibility and maybe some level of fulfilment that is self-generated as opposed to a full time job.

“They are looking for some form of freedom and they have an idea or a product, whatever that business might be, and they also still have a life and an existing work commitment until they have some runs on the board [with the business].”

Blanshard’s advice to people who want to start a side business is to maintain a professional commitment to your day job and to avoid telling your employer about your side venture.

“You can imagine you’d be sitting down and having performance or employment reviews and want it to be perceived that you are still giving 100 per cent,” she says.

Here’s how a business on the side can work.

Flexibility the key

newdaily_101314_janeWhen Griffen decided to leave her job in administration, she initially considered a starting a business focused on children’s parties, but her research indicated that the market was already saturated. She then turned her attention towards the adult market.

“I was finding it very hard to get the flexibility I needed … it was just getting ridiculous having to take time off all the time,” she says.

“There was no one else doing [sex workshops for hen’s days] yet and Tamed by Jane ticks all the boxes: flexibility, helps me pay the bills and I’m really enjoying it.”

Griffen’s plan for the future is to expand from a side business into a full-time operation.

“Even if I can’t make a living out of it, I’ve had a ball. I’m loving it.”

A couple’s escape

newdaily_070314_murder
Jonathan and Alexandra say working on Cloak and Dagger is almost like a date night.

Jonathan and Alexandra Sharp – a marketing business owner and Qantas procurement manager respectively – run a side business staging murder mystery parties.

Jonathan created Cloak and Dagger nine years ago, when he moved from the UK to Australia and saw there was nothing like the popular British game in his adopted home.

The couple, who have two children, see their business as an escape and a chance to spend time together. The money they earn, $1500 per party minus expenses, generally goes towards that too – a night away together.

“It’s fun, it’s a bit of escapism,” says Jonathan.

“It’s like walking into a pub and being someone else for three hours and … it’s almost like a date night.”

Putting skills to the test

Minos
Minos Paterakis bought an ice cream van for a personal challenge.

Minos Paterakis runs an ice cream van, I Serve Ice Cream, in addition to his day job managing 60 staff at information procurement firm SAI Global.

Paterakis admits that his full-time job is more than his bread and butter – it’s his passion – but that he wanted to find something else “totally opposite” to what he does during the week.

“I’ve done management for many years,” he says.

“I’ve always worked really hard for others and I wanted to apply a lot of the learnings to my own concept and it’s great.”

The resurgence of food trucks, the general appeal of ice cream across all age groups, a low entry point for price and the tidy profits earned from such a business were other motivating factors.

Launching last year, Paterakis’ skills in marketing, management and business operation have served him well – his van has been booked out from October until the end of March.

He earns $3,000-$5,000 in revenues per event and is using the profits for luxuries, holidays and the renovation of the family house.

He’s also made a commitment to fundraising, so fair making $7,500 for various charities – his way of giving back.

The cash cow

Friendi’s Beach House Managers provides Janita and David Friend with “pocket money” for family holidays overseas. They’re about to take their kids to London, Paris and Nice.

The side business started with the couple’s experience renting their beach house in Mount Martha on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.

“We realised that managing a rental business took up quite a bit of time to do properly – dealing with inquiries, marketing, booking, organising cleaning,” says Janita.

“We were lucky we had Deb, David’s PA, to help do this as we were very busy in our own businesses.

“We realised there would be other people out there in our position – wanting to make some income from their beach house, but with no time to manage it, so we started Friendi’s Beach House Managers.

“We’ve managed the homes of some private yet high-profile people, as well as lots of business people who just don’t have time to manage and market their beach homes – we love meeting them and getting to know them.”

Both entrepreneurs, Janita runs Best Friend PR & Marketing and David, a membership, merchandise and fundraising business, Shared Service Solutions.  

 

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