BOISE — In this week's Life in Balance, we explore the business of side hustles. Local Instagram influencer Diana DeJesus tells us how she's turned her passion into profits and how you can, too.
"I just started posting about things that look pretty," Diana said.
Diana had just moved to Boise from Florida. At first, her Instagram posts were a way of visually capturing her new experiences in Boise. She posted as she checked things off her list of new things to do in a new town.
"My brother said, 'Since you like lists you should call it Bucket List,'" Diana said.
And with that, Boise Bucket List began on Instagram, introducing other newcomers to the new sights and sounds of one of the fastest growing cities in the nation.
The more she posted, the more likes and followers she got on Instagram. Boise Bucket List now has more than 30,000 followers. It's Diana's side hustle.
An estimated 44 million Americans say they side hustle, according to Bankrate.com. (Source: https://www.bankrate.com/personal-finance/smart-money/side-hustles-survey/) From dog walking to Uber driving to social media influencer, side hustles are any type of employment or work in addition to one's full-time job.
Diana's full-time job is Associate Director of Admissions of the University of Idaho College of Law.
"There is a joy to speaking to someone who's from a potato farm and no one went to college in their family and they want to go to college," Diana said.
Diana believes it's that same love of human connection at her day job that's helped make Boise Bucket List so successful. She says passion is a must for anyone looking to side hustle.
"Use social media as your creative outlet," Diana said. "If you paint, showcase that. If knit, showcase that, do an Etsy page. You'll start seeing revenue coming in because you're sharing something that speaks to your soul. And people are going to notice that."
It didn't take long for Instagram to notice Diana.
"I noticed people were like, 'Can I just hang out?' I get direct messages like, 'I'm going to be in town, can I meet you?'" Diana said.
That gave Diana another side hustle idea - event planning. On her Instagram page, she invites other newcomers, young professionals, recent grads to meet up, have fun, and unwind.
"So my first event was a bike bar," Diana said. "I was like, 'You know what Joe, my brother Joe, I'm going to have a bike bar.' I bought it up front, the seats, and I sold the tickets. Sold out," Diana said.
Businesses started to take notice of her large Instagram following. Many businesses now pay Diana to promote their products or services on her page.
But don't be fooled. Diana's side hustles take a lot of work. Her advice to other side hustlers: have patience when building your side hustle. She says It takes time to build your brand.
"Also, don't compare yourself to others," Diana said. "That sets you up for failure. If someone has a page of 2,500 followers and you feel like they're selling all these things, don't compare. Focus on your own brand. And you won't fail."
Diana also believes confidence is key. Have confidence that what you're doing as a passion can be a profit.
"It's just that initial confidence that they have to overcome. And once they do, the world is theirs," Diana said.
Also make the commitment to "engage, comment and like" on Instagram every day to build your side hustle brand. She says the Instagram algorithm will reward you.