So Many Side Hustles

December 27, 2021 at 9:17 pm (Uncategorized)

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a person under forty with an interest outside of their career must attempt to make a living from that interest.

Leaving aside a discussion of that tragedy, here are some of my side hustles, and two central hustles as well.

Central Hustle #1: My family.

This is a Christmas photo featuring my daughter—and, in the background, my nephew.

It is fairly obvious that a fair chunk of my mental and physical energy goes directly to my family. As it should.

Central Hustle #2: Writing

This is a pretty arrangement of my magical steampunk trilogy (done by the publisher, Odyssey Books):

And this is my kids’ fantasy trilogy. The third cover may change, as the book isn’t out yet. NEARLY though.

Plus of course aaaaalllllllll my interactive fiction, which now outnumbers my regular novels.

This is my ‘day job’. I’m not well enough to work full-time, but when I feel guilty for not doing my work, writing is usually what I should be doing (or cleaning, but… well… cleaning, ugh).

Side Hustle #1: Shooting Through escape rooms.

This is somewhat… quiescent at present, due to several factors. Covid is one, my health is another, and the fact that I don’t have a place to put it is a third. Ideally I’ll hire someone to run it for me (and store it for me). But, you know, later.

Side Hustle #2: Murder in the Mail/Magic in the Mail

This was/is an interactive story system I invented, and it’s the reason I set myself up properly as a small business (which paid off big time because I received JobKeeper last year). Technically this side hustle is retired, but I still have a lot of stories to sell (and they’re all physical, and taking up space). The typical response from customers who stick around long enough to hear how they work is, “Oh, that’s so cool” and then not buying any.

Side Hustle #3: Aspergirl Adventures

This is a new one.

After paying off a particularly heinous debt (thanks to early withdrawal of my super due to disability), my family is going to go on some epic holidays to celebrate before buckling down to be responsible again (yay, adulthood). I watched a lot of YouTube videos to help me decide the best way to see the Great Barrier Reef (with my mental and physical issues, and two autistic kids), and it was often difficult to find the information I wanted. So I decided to do my own video series as we travel, and call it “Aspergirl Adventures” to represent Lizzie and I (since Chris and Tim are really not into taking photos and videos the way Lizzie and I are). In this one, I tested the wheelchair accessibility of Jillabenan Cave (one of the Yarrangobilly Caves in Kosciuszko National Park) and it was much more difficult than you would think—so I ended up providing valuable information to full-time wheelchair users.

Taking photos and videos and making each outing into a STORY helps me deal with issues as they arise, makes me more patient with the kids, and helps me deal with the very-predictable pain and injuries that are likely to happen pretty regularly for anyone with my chronic illnesses.

Will probably never make a cent.

Side Hustle #4: Babysitting

Every so often, I do a teensy bit of paid babysitting. I can cope with three hours pretty well, as long as it doesn’t happen often.

Side Hustle #5: Recumbent Bike hire?

We live right next to a funny little section of bike/walking track that is 300m long—perfect for someone learning to ride a bike. And we’re also less than 50m from a small nature reserve—perfect for someone to get some pleasant regular bike rides in. Last year, a disabled friend ‘lent’ (and later officially gave) me a recumbent trike with a pedal assist motor. I was extremely doubtful—I didn’t even own a pair of pants!—but once I got the hang of it I fell in love. When the weather permits, I typically ride 5-10 ks two or three times a week. Recumbent bikes are EXPENSIVE but a lot of people are curious about them, so I’ve had the idea to hire my bike out to people who want to know if it’s something that might work for them. Haven’t actually done anything about it, but will probably post something in a local facebook group or two (I’m in several) once 2022 arrives.

Side Hustle #6: Castle of Kindness Refugee Sponsorship Group

Not exactly a hustle since I’ll never get paid for it, but still absolutely a hustle as I’m constantly fundraising. The web site is here and the ongoing GoFundMe is here. And yeah, I’ve made several videos about refugee sponsorship too (the organisation that guides us, Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia, asked us to provide footage where we could, and even provided a quick tutorial). That’s what really got me into making videos.

Side Hustle #7: Art by Qusay Fadheel

One of the refugee we mentored is is a talented artist, so I run an Etsy shop for him. It’s here (prints and postcards only, since he’s moved to Sydney due to having a better support network there).

Side Hustle #8: West Belco Food Pantry

I started running a food pantry on my porch during the first Canberra lockdown, and about fifteen families regularly come and get some food now. I buy lots of fresh milk each week (my pantry has an outside fridge and freezer) and also shop at a different (church-backed) food pantry each week, so it doesn’t cost me much to keep it stocked (including meat, and usually fresh fruit and veggies). I go through milk pretty quickly, so I check the fridge at least once a day to see if it needs replacing (I only put out one bottle of milk at a time or I’d run out and/or have to go shopping almost every day). People often make donations—fruit and vegetables from their own gardens, gifts of toys and random pantry items, leftovers from Hello Fresh, etc—and I regularly take items from the pantry for my own household (eg today we cooked risotto and when we realised we had no home-made stock we took a liquid ‘Thai noodle soup’ stock carton from the pantry—delicious). It’s quite fun, although it does cost a fair bit in both money and energy.

Side Hustle #9: Platypus Playgroup

I have friends with small children (and the isolation that comes with that), and the local church (Kippax Uniting) does a whole lot of great community things, but their excellent playgroup space fell out of use during covid lockdowns and then they couldn’t afford to pay a supervisor to get it going again. So I stepped in (unpaid), and between my friend Clarissa and I, we run a playgroup two mornings a week during school terms. Luckily I’ve found a volunteer to take the ‘first thing Monday’ shift, because two days in a row was too much for me!

This is the only hustle that doesn’t involve money at all.

Side Hustle #10: The Castle

Before I was able to form the Castle of Kindness, I dreamed a large and complicated dream.

I want to help design an enormous house that looks like a castle (basically a square, with towers and crenelations and a flat roof) that has one giant room on the bottom floor (for events and for emergency accommodation for disabled/autistic people), and adjustable living quarters on the other two floors (so various combinations of people can live there, eg 2 singles and a 3-kid family; 5 singles; etc). It would be accessible for wheelchair users as well as people who are Hard of Hearing or have Low Vision or temperature sensitivity or smoke sensitivity. It would have Aboriginal art inside and out, and facilities for cooking lessons or big movie nights, and maybe even an inside pool and/or spa (gentle exercise and/or pain relief). It would have solar power including a battery (so it was insured against power outages), and be as bushfire and storm safe as a house can be.

I reckon it would cost about 2 million to build, plus about a million just for the land. Because ideally it would be near my house—a great location for disabled people, as the Kippax shopping (and medical) centres are close by, and there are several great local community organisations here too.

This hustle has a building designer on board, and that’s about as far as I’ve gotten (not nothing). But it’s something Canberra needs, and whoever manages to build it will make a massive profit from renting both the living spaces and the conference spaces (the lower room and the roof—and presumably the yard too). It would be a great place for disabled refugees to live—within a mini community that could hopefully help one another (and they could also be hired as event organisers, cleaners, or gardeners—or they could run cooking classes, art exhibitions, etc).

So that’s my two life hustles and my ten side hustles. Yikes.

Here’s a cat—a blond ragdoll named Snow.


  1. Neil@kallaroo said,

    Loved your Aspergirl video. What a great idea!

  2. New Media Works said,

    LOL, no wonder you seem to have no single “about” page 😉

  3. Hustling | Felicity Banks said,

    […] long ago, I wrote about my two main hustles (my family, and my writing) and my ten side […]

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