6 Inspiring Side Hustles: Find Your Groove in CapNY

Few people are lucky enough to find a full-time job that perfectly combines their talents, personal interests, and financial goals.

Side hustles fill that gap, and CapNY is the perfect location to launch one!

Finding Success in a Side Hustle

When I moved here in 2004, I was just starting out as a freelance writer. The wealth of creative resources and connections in the area acted as a rising tide that lifts all ships.  People helped me find work, and I now help others get connected and follow their dreams. I’m far from unique in finding inspiring side hustles here in the Capital Region. The opportunities truly are endless. Let these six local entrepreneurs inspire you!

Jordan McClendon: Animation and Video Production

Jordan McClendon

By day, Jordan McClendon is a multimedia designer. By nights (and weekends), he’s a freelance animation and video production, producing content for local clients and studios as well as creating personal work.

“The region is great for creative work,” he said. “There are so many people and places to get inspiration from. There’s a robust artistic and musical economy to network and exchange ideas with.”

Jordan’s Advice: “Work on your craft, expand your knowledge and expertise in the creative field. If there is a technical skill that you’re not too keen on, dig into it, sponge up everything. And get out there. Network and connect with other local creatives.”

Aprille Tomlinson: Leatherworker

Aprille Tomlinson

Horsewoman Aprille Tomlinson brings her artistic talents to her passion for riding horses in her business Yellow Filly in Nassau. “There is a surprisingly large equestrian population in the area and almost no other leather workers… so I pretty much have the market cornered,” she said. “Plus being involved in a local show circuit I get to promote my work locally and have met a lot of people who also help promote it.”

Aprille’s Advice: “Make sure your side business is something you really enjoy doing, because if you are successful you will be doing a lot of it. I never thought my leather would take off so much… now I have orders coming out my ears. Thankfully I love doing it.”

Hajar Mantache: Soapmaker

Hajar Mantache

Six years ago, Hajar Mantache learned to make soap in Montréal. She was first inspired by Aleppo and Castile soaps common in Middle Eastern grocery stores. Then, she decided to create soaps with a sustainable twist. She cut out artificial ingredients, fragrances, and excessive plastic packaging. Now, she’s the owner of Baabda Botanical Soap in Albany.

“This area is a nice hub of makers. It makes it easy to collaborate and source some products, services, and ingredients locally,” said Hajar. “There are lots of people who are becoming more aware of what they are purchasing and how/where it is made.”

Hajar’s Advice: “Take your time to research, explore and learn about your craft, knowing as much as possible will save lots of time and errors later,” she said. “Do what feels right for you and your business.”

Sydney Reichert: Ski Instructor

Sydney Reichert

Snowstorms are part of life in the Capital Region. And, for many, skiing makes winter their favorite season of the year. Sidney Reichert loves winter, and working as a ski instructor at Gore Mountain is her beloved side hustle. The mountain is only 90 minutes from her family’s home in Saratoga County. 

“I met all of my closest, lifelong friends at the mountain. Skiing has become a huge part of me. It’s the best job (and workout) I could ask for. I never think of it as ‘work.’ It’s just what I have always loved to do!”, she said.

Sachi Vines: Yoga Instructor

Sachi Vines

Sachi Vines is the Director of Marketing for Athletics at RPI, with a yoga-instruction side hustle. “For the past 6 years, I’ve also been teaching yoga for athletes at RPI. I feel extremely grateful and lucky to be able to combine both passions,” she said.

Before the pandemic, she was teaching classes at two CapNY studios. Now, she’s transitioned to offering her own virtual Sachi Fitness classes until studies re-open. Additionally, she is a lululemon Athletica ambassador.

“Creating your own path and opportunities that benefit the community and help our students at RPI. I’m very fortunate, and it doesn’t get better than that.”

Sachi’s Advice: “If you’re passionate about it and you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like a job. Yoga, teaching and practicing is a huge part of my life and I’m lucky to be able to share the benefits of yoga in the Capital Region.”

The Barber Sisters of Washington County: Teenage Entrepreneurs

The Barber Sisters

 Adults aren’t the only ones who can enjoy a side hustle in the Capital Region. Washington County sisters Isabella, Amelia, and Emmeline Barber have each launched small home-based businesses catered to their talents and interests. Isabella has a woodburning business called Buckskin Tooling Co., Amelia created Yarn & Hook to Masterpiece. Emmeline is making dog and horse treats through her business, Emme’s Homemade Animal Treats. 

“Isabella started her business as a way to make money to support her love of horses. Then, the younger two wanted to do something too,” said their mom, Julie Barber. “They’re learning skills like marketing, creativity, design, money management, etc. It brings them joy to create things, and that make customers happy. Admittedly, I wasn’t gung-ho about it at first because I knew the amount of work that was going to go into it. But how could I discourage their drive?”

Written by: Katie Navarra

Katie Navarra is a professional writer based in the Capital Region. She has written for Popular Science, The Motley Fool Blueprint, Western Horseman, Horse & Rider and others. She is also a life and executive career coach who helps clients find clarity and success in and out of the office. Learn more at katienavarra.com.