9 Mar 2021

Balmanno is a sustainable sportswear brand (the clothing brand pictured)

Having a business on the side, often called a side hustle, can fulfill a creative urge as well as increasing your overall income. 

REDnews spoke to three people employed in day jobs, who are making money on the side with an extra-curricular passion.  

They shared their tips on time management and why they love their side hustle. 


Zach Stephenson, creator of Balmanno sustainable sportswear 

During the day Zach Stephenson is an Innovation Process Lead in local government, but over the past year he has created and launched a sustainable sportswear brand on the side. 

“I studied performance sportswear design in the UK, and I realised how bad the fashion industry is for the environment while working there. 

“I wanted to create performance wear that’s sustainable and this gives me a creative outlet outside of my tech-based day job,” he said. 

So, how does he balance his schedule? 

“I usually work from 6.30am or 7am at my day job and then work on Balmanno three hours a day from 4pm, Monday to Friday.  

“On weekends I work around five hours a day, but I can work while also watching TV with my partner or before he wakes up on weekends, so I still have a good work/life balance,” he said. 

“During the week I work on social posts, create content, send out orders and answer emails from manufacturers.  

“On weekends I work on marketing plans and speak to influencers and brand ambassadors,” he said. 

Stephenson creates his sportswear with fabrics made by Repreve – a manufacturer of fibre made from recycled plastic bottles. 

The process of making this fabric emits fewer greenhouse gases and conserves water and energy. 

Stephenson will also be releasing a collection of casual wear made from organic cotton, which is produced without using chemicals such as pesticides or fertilizers. 

The online store was launched in November and he’s already sold 50% of his first collection of stock, meaning he will soon reach a point of profit. 

However, because he lives off his day job salary, all profits will go back into Balmanno to grow the business. 

The 26-year-old Westpac business customer advises others who want to start a side hustle, to always make sure they retain a good work/life balance. 

“Don’t just concentrate on work, make sure you’re still social and that your side hustle is something that you’re passionate about, otherwise you’ll end up hating it and it will become tedious,” he said. 


Odessa To’o, Les Mills Grit Strength and BodyJam Instructor 

Odessa To’o (pictured) is a Les Mills Grit Strength and BodyJam Instructor

Monday to Friday Odessa is an Events Specialist and co-chair of a Cultural Employee Action Group (EAG) at Westpac. 

But for the past four years she's also been a Les Mills group fitness instructor, teaching Grit Strength and BodyJam classes in Auckland. 

“I also film BodyJam for Les Mills International and teach at quarterly workshops for Les Mills NZ. 

“My current BodyJam class at CLM The Bays on Fridays is a 45-minute class, and it takes me 30 mins to prep, but I usually do that on the way there in my car or while I’m on the train during the week.  

“I’ve danced for a very long time, so it means I can prep without having to actually do it physically,” she said. 

Odessa has always added more to her schedule outside her day job, so juggling her time schedule feels natural. 

“However, I have pulled back my hours teaching this year to only once a week because I have some other goals to tick off in 2021,” she said. 

Her fitness side hustle grew out of passion rather than monetary goals and she loves to motivate others through her classes. 

“I do it because I enjoy it.  I know that I’m talented and I don’t want to waste it by not doing anything with it. 

“Having a side hustle has made life much more fun and keeps me on my toes which is what I like – my day job stimulates my brain in a completely different way to when I teach group fitness. 

“I still have time to hang with friends, see my family and rest, which is really important when juggling multiple jobs.  

“I’ve also learnt more about boundaries over the last few years and how important it is to say no to protect your own wellbeing,” she said. 

Odessa recommends giving a side hustle a go. 

“The worst that can happen is you don’t like it,” she said. 


Gaya Haridas and Krishna Priya, creators of Sattika Sarees 

Gaya and Krishna created a Saree business on the side

Gaya and Krishna both work in technology jobs during the day, but during lockdown 2020 the friends started Sattika on the side – a business selling Indian sarees through Facebook. 

"Due to the sudden halt of global travel, we saw a gap that needed to be filled, and we had a desire to keep our traditional culture alive.  

“We work with saree weavers in India to provide good quality sarees at affordable prices.  Our customers can find traditional sarees without having to travel to India. 

“We help our customers find that perfect saree based on their individual preferences and have recently ventured into other Indian attire and accessories,” they said. 

Between the two friends they have five children and maintain their Monday to Friday day jobs, so how do they manage their time? 

Krishna says the time difference between New Zealand and India works in their favour when it comes to emailing suppliers overseas. 

Gaya works on the business after her children go to bed and it’s something the friends wanted to do for themselves as a creative outlet, as well as for their families. 

“I'm from Malaysia and my mother was a dancer, that’s where I found the love of sarees,” Gaya said. 

“She passed away a few years back and she had always wanted to start a boutique but never did, so this business has helped me keep her dream alive. 

“I work after my little ones go to sleep, that’s when I upload items to the online store, we work around family and our day jobs,” she said. 

“I didn’t start the business just for extra income.  I wanted to do something aligned to my passion and my Indian roots and this has also helped me expand my community in New Zealand.  The extra income is just an added bonus,” Krishna said. 

“There is also a great sense of satisfaction when customers tell us how much they love their sarees and recommend our services to others,” they said. 

Krishna recommends that unless you have a passion for a side hustle, don’t spend your time and money on it, otherwise you might burn out. 

"We've had ups and downs over the past eight months. What has kept me going is my passion, I like doing it, it’s not because I'm trying to make money out of it,” she said. 


Employees should always check their employment agreement before engaging in a side hustle, to make sure it's not a conflict of interest or potential reputation risk for their employer. 

Secondary tax implications would also apply to extra income made. 


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