How to Build a Side Hustle [event recap]

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CTPA hosted its very first workshop of the year in March with the exciting topic of How to Build a Side Hustle! The workshop was completely full and gathered a group of talented professionals from various industries to share their side hustle journey.

Subagini Sivapatham, the Head of Marketing and Community Engagement at Futurpreneur Canada, moderated the discussion amongst our speakers.

Our first group of speakers included Arany Sivasubramaniam, Vineetha Sivathasan & Thiviyaa Sehasothy.

Arany Sivasubramaniam is a full time Masters student by day and the CEO & founder of Thanga Skincare Inc. by night!  Arany wanted to change the association of skincare with ideas such as “beauty, fairness and richness.” She discussed being aware of the high risk of going into the beauty industry, and being warned about the tribulations that could come along with it. Arany realized that when you tune out negativity and noise, compete with yourself and manage your own clock, it’s amazing what can bloom!

Vineetha Sivathasan currently works as an Intern Architect at Kohn Partnership Architects, where she is continuing her path to become a fully licensed Architect in Ontario. Her side hustle journey started with pursuing various projects as a freelance designer. Vineetha’s projects include visual, conceptual and 3D representation of clients’ intended ideas for the City of Toronto and exhibition visualization for various museums in Toronto. One of her tips on managing her side hustle is to master the art of prioritizing and the ability to say no, and to not feel guilty about it.

Thiviyaa Sehasothy is the founder of Art by Thiviyaa. She privately painted for 15 years and decided to apply to her first exhibit three years ago. From that point, she has exhibited her work in 13 exhibits, including Nuit Blanche. She has also been published in two books and creates custom paintings for corporate and private clients. Thiviyaa stressed the importance of absolutely loving what you decide to do on the side. Her passion for her work is what gets Thiviyaa through juggling a full-time job and her side hustle. Initially, she was nervous to take her work public, but it dramatically changed her life for the better and she has learned more about herself in the process.

The next group of panelists included Mayuran Ganesathas, Sarafina Bonsu-Akoto, and Niroja Arulananthan.

Mayuran Ganesathas is a Mechatronics engineering student and founder of SV Robotics Academy. Mayuran uses his skills from engineering design and his passion for education to create a new approach on how engineering education is applied, through younger generations. His vision is to give students an opportunity to create their skills and bring opportunities at an earlier stage in their lives. Mayuran’s advice to future and current side hustlers is to ensure that you genuinely love what you are doing, as it can be highly time consuming, so it has to be worth it!

Sarafina Bonsu-Akoto is a Business Development Manager with Futurpreneur Canada, supporting newcomers and Canadian entrepreneurs to start their business dreams. Her passion includes helping entrepreneurs succeed in their dreams of owning a business and she loves speaking to them about their ideas. Sarafina mentioned that side hustlers and entrepreneurs are essentially the same thing, but entrepreneurs are those who decided to go forth with their ideas as a full-time job, and side hustlers pursue their passion as a part-time job. Often times, side hustles can eventually turn into a full-time job. With her entrepreneurial background, Sarafina emphasized the importance of writing a business plan and creating a two-year model, before taking the leap to start a new business.

Niroja Arulananthan is a writer, strategist and community leader. By day, she is a manager in the public sector. By night, she is the Director of Business Development and Senior Ghostwriter for WritersBlok, an agency that creates effective content for clients across North America. Niroja’s tips for side hustlers is to take breaks, avoid burnout and ensure that you give yourself time to recharge your batteries! She stresses the importance of saving and investing your money, so that one day, you are financially secure enough to have the opportunity to pursue your side hustle as a full-time job.

In between the speaker sets, we had a structured networking session, where attendees were placed in small groups.  Participants were given the task of coming up with an elevator pitch for a new business idea, either a product or a service.

In addition, we had our Spotlight Hustlers, Reggie’s Rolls & Buttercraft.to who satisfied our cravings with their yummy crispy rolls and delicious cupcakes!  

We ended off the workshop with our final group of panelists, Dilani Rabindran, Vijay Setlur and Pranesh Kunhikrishnan.

Dilani Rabindran is a Strategic Portfolio Manager at Bell Media. She is also the founder and Managing Director of Viewfinder Film Consulting, an international firm dedicated to marketing, selling and producing quality, independent South Asian cinema. Dilani has consulted on over 40 films, including several Indian National Award Winners. Her love for her side hustle continuously grows, as she genuinely loves the uniqueness of her role. Dilani’s greatest fear is becoming stagnant in her career. She is much happier pursuing both her day job and her side hustle, as she keeps busy doing what she loves. Dilani’s advice to future side hustlers is to stay relevant in the industry you want to be in and ensure that you network within your field.

Vijay Setlur is a Marketing Manager with Woodbine Entertainment, Canada’s largest horse racing company. On the side, he is a marketing instructor and a sports marketing lead with the Schulich School of Business, York University. Vijay is also a marketing instructor at Concacaf, the governing body of soccer for North America, Central America and the Caribbean. He states that his schedule can get very hectic and in order to get through it all, motivation must come from within. Vijay’s advice to future and current side hustlers is to ensure you manage your health, cultivate your friendships and reduce your side hustle, if you feel that it is necessary. His tips are to read industry publications and to attend workshops to continuously learn and grow.

Pranesh Kunhikrishnan is a Health Benefits Specialist that found his calling in insurance. He started his career as a life insurance agent with a Scarborough brokerage. Pranesh is currently the President of Duralegacy Financial Services Inc., providing services with a focus on insuring lives and building legacies. Pranesh has a very packed schedule, and in order to stay on track, he starts his mornings off by listing out all his tasks for the day, and tries his best to complete his list of tasks. Pranesh says that networking should not just be with friends and family, that people should tap into different networks and learn from different professionals. He seeks advice from his mentors who have provided him with guidance whenever he needs it.

Overall, we had an amazing group of speakers who shared the highs and lows of their unique side hustle journeys. We hope this workshop inspired you and gave you the fuel to start your side hustle! Go for it!

Check out more photographs from the event here.

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