Money, Money, Money

5 Houstonians With Cool (and Profitable) Side Hustles

Every day they're hustling. (Literally.)

By Laura Furr Mericas December 31, 2018 Published in the January 2019 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Sarah Bolton

There are ways to supplement one’s income beyond becoming an Uber driver (although you can do that, too). Here are four Houstonians with regular jobs who are also stepping out on their own to make their dreams a reality:

Ryan Teodoro | App and Web Development

Teodoro, a full-time web developer for a construction-supplies company, developed his first app, an aid for learning Mandarin, four years ago. Since then he’s continued developing his ideas, from a mobile-conferencing tool to a security alarm for MacBooks. The time he spends doing this side work adds an extra 5 percent to his income each year, Teodoro says, but he’s always looking for his big break. “The money is a nice bonus, but wanting to be able to express my creativity, and working toward the goal of having my own company, is what keeps me going,” he says. “I am constantly trying to find an idea that sticks.”

Daniel Martinez | Short-Term Rentals

Houston might not be a tourism hub, but locals can still earn extra cash here by renting their homes to travelers. After buying his one-bedroom Energy Corridor condo, Martinez, a real estate agent, renovated the place while living there, installing luxurious amenities—including a waterfall shower, coffee station, and sleek office space—to attract eyes and clicks on Airbnb. Then he moved to the Heights. Today he pockets an extra $500 each month from his condo after covering its mortgage, cleaning fees, and Airbnb’s share. “The ultimate goal for anything you want a side hustle in is for it to kick back some income on its own,” he says.

Blake Parker and Austin Darsey | Property Maintenance

When they aren’t at their full-time jobs in oil and gas, Parker and Darsey are pressure-washing buildings, striping parking lots, and painting commercial properties with their company, Arrowhead Asset Services, which they launched a few years ago to make extra money in college. The duo now devote lunch breaks, evenings, and vacation days to the gig, routinely putting in about 20 hours a week between the two of them. “We both have our day jobs, and we don’t hate them,” Parker says, “but it’s not the same as working for yourself, owning something, and having the ultimate say in what you want to do and how you want to do it.”

Sarah Bolton | Calligraphy and Art

In 2016 Bolton, a single mom who works in business development, started trying her hand at calligraphy, posting the occasional photo to Instagram. “When I started doing it, it was never with the intention of starting a business,” she says. “But it kind of became one, and I couldn’t deny that maybe it should be something that is out in the world.” Bolton now spends about 10 hours a week on the gig, making everything from coasters to customized books and putting the profits toward a master’s from HBU. “It provides a cushion,” she says. “But I would be doing it even if it wasn’t making me money.”

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