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New Kitchener event offers ways to help make your side hustle grow

Laura Hart and Lacey J. Heels.
Laura Hart and Lacey J. Heels. Makers__Collective / Instagram

If you made a New Year’s resolution to start up a side business or are looking for ways to make your business grow, you may want to attend the Side Hustle Starter Kit.

The Feb. 11 event, held at Kitchener City Hall, will include a workshop on the basics of owning a business in today’s digital landscape, which will be followed by a panel discussion including experts and side-hustlers.

There will also be an opportunity to sign up for speed coaching as well as a Side Hustler’s Starter Kit, which will include a workbook, resources and other goodies.

READ MORE: Have a side job? Make sure you’re really bringing in extra money after tax

The Side Hustle Starter Kit is the brainchild of the people behind the Maker’s Collective and the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre.

“Over the last two years, we did a lot of listening, a lot of learning about what people needed support on in this sort of gig economy space,” Maker’s Collective co-founder Lacey J. Heels told Global News.

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“And time and time again, we get those early to mid-size side-hustlers that are really great at their craft, but when it comes to Entrepreneurship 101, those business skills, that’s the challenge.”

Heels says they have shaped the event after listening to what participants in past events told them they were looking for.

“We’ve run a number of different panel events with Shopify in partnership,” Heels said. “Through that, we sort of really got to listen in on what people really loved about that event and how they would prefer to learn.

“So that’s why we’ve decided to shape it in this way.”

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Heels started the Maker’s Collective about three years ago with Laura Hart as a group for young, creative people who were starting businesses to share and learn from one another.

She said there were groups for people who had a singular passion like photography or painting, but nothing for people from different fields.

“We started it because I mean, personally, I was identifying a lot of need for community amongst multidisciplinary, multi-passionate, young, creative professionals,” she said. “The ones that are kind of navigating this new landscape of work.”

Easy side hustles to earn extra cash
Easy side hustles to earn extra cash

Heels says Maker’s Collective was quick to catch on in Waterloo region and now hundreds of people attend the group’s events.

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“So it really did start out of a personal need,” she said. “And then something really magical happened when it started to grow really quickly.

“It’s sort of like a community-meets-business hub for people to come in, get the resources, the tools and the support they need to grow a creative business.”

Heels says the Maker’s Collective plans to offer a number of different events throughout the year throughout the region.

READ MORE: Hot Jobs: How to make a side gig work for you — and keep the money you make doing it

In addition to the events, she started a podcast with Hart, who she describes as a serial entrepreneur, after a survey of people in Waterloo region came back with results in which people said this was how they wanted to learn.

”What we do on the podcast is two things,” she explained. “We discuss what it is to live a creative life and to build creative business.”

Side hustle ideas for moms
Side hustle ideas for moms

Heels said they also bring in experts to discuss different aspects on how to make a startup a success.

“Through that, we have these conversations that our community members can eavesdrop into and learn from,” she said. “And it’s just been so amazing because what we’ve really learned is that there is no one size fits all path for this.”

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Heels says the podcast now has thousands of downloads every time one drops.