Jo Brigden-Jones is busy. She’s a part time paramedic, and 2020 has been a tough year for frontline healthcare workers. And she has also qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, now the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, in the K4 500m women’s kayaking event, and her training regime is intense.
But making it to the Olympics isn’t cheap, and a part time job isn’t enough when a single kayak can set you back $7,000.
Enter Jo’s side hustle and first love: baking.
“I’d always made cakes for family and friends, it was always just an unofficial love job,” she said.
“It was my first passion. I love seeing people’s faces when they get one of my cakes. I am always looking for ways to bake new cakes, and I am obsessed with cakes and sweets.”
The Olympic athlete says even her kayak is decorated as a sprinkled donut.
An ‘accidental’ side hustle
“I had always been the cake maker for special occasions for friends and family, and I started to charge people for my cakes eventually, and plenty of people ordered them, so it became an accidental side hustle.”
Bridgen-Jones has since started a small website, and charges around $150 for a cake. But after the cost of ingredients and around six hours’ worth of work per cake is calculated, her hourly rate is around $5 to $10.
Work smarter, not harder
“I knew I had to do something a bit smarter if I was going to turn this into a real side hustle, and make the sort of money I needed to stay a part time Paramedic until after Tokyo, and be able to prioritise training,” she said.
Following the trend of many of her favourite Instagram bakers who have their own line of branded cookware, Jo decided to make her own kitchen spatula set to sell online, decorating the spatulas with her favourite motif: sprinkles.
“I wanted to find a kitchen product that almost anyone needs in their kitchen, whether they are an amazing baker or not,” she said.
I ordered 150 sets for the first run, and priced them at $40 for a set of six spatulas. I wasn’t sure how many we would sell.”
But within the first week, Jo had sold 75 sets, and is now in the process of ordering another run.
“I am so happy that people order one set then come back and buy two more sets online as Christmas presents.
“We are a tiny operation: my mum and I tag, wrap, bag and address every set ourselves – so it is a true side hustle – but it means I don’t have to spend six hours baking a cake a few times a week, because at the moment I am training for five to six hours a day, six days a week, in the kayak, and working two 12 hours shifts as a Paramedic too.
“It doesn’t leave too much time for baking.”
Currently, she’s earning a small passive income selling the spatulas online, and that’s offsetting the cost of her current temporary relocation to the Gold Coast to train with the rest of the Australian women’s Olympic kayaking team.
“I’d like to sell around 20 spatula sets a week before Tokyo if I can. It could pay for me to stay part time, and that will help me concentrate on training, but I also just love seeing people get a little bit of baking joy out of my spatulas. It is a happy side hustle, it genuinely makes me really pleased.”
Are you a millennial or Gen Z-er interested in joining a community where you can learn how to take control of your money? Join us at The Broke Millennials Club on Facebook!