The Side Hustle Is Real

Are you ready to make the leap?

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Homemade blueberry ice cream on vintage light blue wooden background
Get the scoop on how to turn a side hustle into a going concern. / Copyright: Anna-Mari West

From the pandemic pop-up to the idea that’s been percolating for years, three sets of entrepreneurs share their advice on turning a part-time passion into a full-time gig. (Rule number one: Social media is king.)

Oh Golly Dumplings, Denver

Husband and wife team Sara Timmer and Ryan Van Splinter have a favorite food group: dumplings. Quarantine cooking and cabin fever led to an Instagram post promising free dumplings to the first 10 responses. The idea snowballed into delivery bonanzas, pop-ups at local bars, and a whole new business.

Just Do It

  • Phone a friend: Utilize your industry connections and don’t be afraid to reach out for feedback and advice.
  • It’s not just word of mouth, it’s word of social media. Engage with your followers; don’t just answer yes or no.

Afternoon Deelites, Aspen

What started out as a whim—buying an ice cream cart and giving out free treats—has morphed into sweet success. Couple Oliver Bacharach and Kayla Feld went from handing out Drumsticks to making and selling Feld’s small-batch ice cream by the scoop and half-pint.

Just Do It

  • Think about your logo. “Our first logo had a caricature of [our dog] Alfie. Everyone who bought it loved it, but they thought it was dog ice cream,” says Bacharach. “There’s a good lesson there.”
  • If you listen, good ideas come from critiques.

River Bear American Meats, Denver

Denver chef Justin Brunson has chased his love of cured meats for nearly two decades. Ever since launching Masterpiece Deli in 2008, he’s inched closer to creating his own super-premium, artisan meat company. In 2019, River Bear American Meats was realized.

Just Do It

  • You can make the best sauerkraut in the world, but if people don’t want it or they won’t pay for it, it doesn’t matter. Find out: “Is there a market for that?”
  • You gotta charge what you gotta charge. You’ve got to take the emotion out of pricing.

Talk to us! Email your experiences (and thoughts, opinions, and questions—anything, really) to askus@diningout.com

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