Turning your hobbies into profit: Rockford residents share their ‘side hustles’

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Money has been tight for many people during the pandemic. Some Stateline residents have turned their hobbies into a lucrative business. We caught up with a few residents who shared how it all started.

With a stroke of his paintbrush, Pablo Korona puts the finishing touches on his canvas. However, he wasn’t always an abstract painter.

“I never did abstract painting before this year,” Korona explained.

When many people started purchasing his paintings, he didn’t expect his newly found hobby to turn into a ‘side hustle.’

“When this all started happening, I did a project which was a storytelling series. I do video and little documentaries and the funding for that fell when COVID hit and I didn’t know what to do and just started painting,” Korona said.

Tamica Fricks picked up not just one side job–but two. Her daughter is serving as her main driving force in developing Kendel’s Kreations.

“Event planning, decorating even though with everything going on and stuff being shut down–people still want to do something small. So, I’ve set a couple of tables for thanksgiving and a couple to do for Christmas,” Fricks said.

“I’m a travel agent as well and that’s called ‘Traveling with Tamica.’ So, that goes hand-in-hand with the wedding I’m planning next year. I’m also planning their honeymoon,” she added.

Fricks also joined a Facebook group, which helps women entrepreneurs network, collaborate, and expand their business.

Esther Inman, the founder of My Virtual Assistant, says this pandemic is a perfect time to learn new skills or pursue something you’ve always wanted to do.

“I think people are surprised how successful their side hustles get and that’s how businesses get started very successful businesses they usually all started as a side hustle,” Inman said.

“Side hustles can be way more lucrative I mean you can be at a corporate job making 20 per hour as an admin assistant you learned to code on the side and now you’re making websites charging 3-400 grand per website,” Inman added.

Korona and Fricks say they hope they can continue these side hustles for the long term.

“This time has just been very crazy for everyone and I know a lot of people are trying to find different ways to make it happen for themselves,” Korona said.

Korona recently took part in an art show with two other artists Carrie Johnson and Drew Eurek. For those interested in checking out the paintings, check out his website .

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