The first time I saw my student loan statement, I experienced a minor freakout. Fellow MBA candidates – you know the feeling: my carefully constructed budget, comprised of past savings, scholarships, and student loans that was supposed to be “more than enough!” was, um, less than adequate. Even though hosting onAirbnb (read my post on that here) helped a ton, the winter slowdown was affecting us (strangely, travelers seem put off by the idea of Chiberia in January).
So I needed some money quickly, but the idea of taking out additional loans was daunting. So I started thinking about this wonderful new sharing economy – what latent resources could I leverage to make some side cash?
I don’t have a car, so Uber, Lyft, Getaround were out. We already leveraged our home through Airbnb. I even thought about super-niche sharing companies, like renting my bike with Spinlister – but wasn’t sure that would be enough to move the needle. Finally, I thought – what about my intangible latent assets?
I spent 6 years working in the wine industry, accruing certifications, attending and hosting tastings, and researching categories, flavors, and trends. All of this knowledge was just sitting idle – hell, I couldn’t even afford to buy much wine on my own! But I realized that at B-school, I had pretty quickly become “the wine guy” to my peers, who craved a little more understanding of a fragmented category.
Enter Dabble – an online marketplace for teaching andlearning. One can “dabble” in activities from basic crafts (soapmaking, painting, etc) to Indian cooking, to off-the-wall classes like taxidermy or BYOB Knife-throwing (yes, really). Dabble provides the platform and does the marketing for teachers, and then just takes a small cut of the class fee. And it turns out, wine tasting was one of the more popular options!
I quickly put together a curriculum, testing it out by inviting a few classmates for free the first time around. Everyone had great feedback, and I soon listed another class. Now, I’m planning to host 4-6 classes per month of around 15 students – enough to help pay my way through school.
From the consumer side, it’s never been easier to find something unique to do on a Friday night. This weekend, I encourage you to Dabble in something new – instead the tired, old “dinner and a movie”, try a terrarium-building class while enjoying craft cocktails, or rekindle a lost art by attending a calligraphy class.
As a teacher, it’s never been so easy to monetize my hobbies. I can share something I’m passionate about, meet new people, and make money all at the same time.
What a wonderful world we live in. God Bless America.