by Sara S
Dave Ramsey introduced me to the idea of a side hustle years ago. Since we got really serious about tackling our debt last year, I’ve tried out five side hustles and kept three so far. Plus I find I’m constantly scheming new ones. I’m pretty introverted and not much of a natural entrepreneur, but paying back excessive student loans can be really motivating.
The problem is that my energy level and my mental space for adding new side jobs just ain’t that much. Between helping run our business and mommying, I only have so much left in me for extra jobs. But I really want to chip away at our student loans, so the ideas keep coming.
My latest side hustle idea came to me as I drove by a beloved donut shop. This shop is a major local favorite. Their donuts are delicious and fairly priced, and their online reviews are amazing. Inside the shop, it’s clean and simple. There are glass cases full of donuts and a few chairs, and it looks nice.
But outside of the shop? It’s surprisingly shabby.
About a year ago, they moved from a newer strip mall to this small, freestanding building just down the road. When we first went to see them at their new location, we pulled into the parking lot and I kept checking and rechecking the address. There wasn’t a sign in sight, the windows were dark, and there was broken glass, some dying bushes, and tall weeds all over. I thought for SURE we were in the wrong place.
Nope. They were open.
They’ve since painted some friendly-looking donuts on the window and added a sign at the street, which helps a ton. However, the trash, weeds, and sad shrubs remain. Some of their reviews mention the rough exterior, but most of them just rave about how tasty their confections are. Clearly, their donuts are so good that people don’t mind.
As a nerd that loves gardening and weeding, I’m sure I notice it more than others. But as a fellow small business owner, I can’t help but wonder how many more new customers they could get if they upped their curb appeal.
I’ve thought about pulling a few weeds as I walked back to my car. Or casually picking up some of the trash as I walked in. But then I thought, “What if he hired me to help clean up out here?” It’s so easy to grow stuff here in the Northwest. I could plant some foolproof perennials or add an easy-to-care-for planter, and then come twice a month to weed and trim bushes.
I have no idea what to charge, but it would be a job I’d feel excited about. Small business owners have a lot on their minds, but I believe curb appeal could help their business grow. Of course, it would also help us get that much closer to paying off our debts.
And maybe—just maybe—he’d give me a free donut every once in a while.