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Locals turn to side hustles for balance and extra income

Posted at 7:18 AM, May 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-25 16:18:05-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Michele Williamson is a full-time paramedic with Collier County EMS. She said after 25 years the job is starting to wear on her.

“There was a week I had four pediatric deaths that I ran calls on. That’s a lot in one week. That’s a lot in a lifetime,” she said.

James Shannon is a full time barista at Aravita in Cape Coral. He’s 20 years old, living on his own, paying back student loans and said his paycheck from this local coffee shop just isn’t cutting it. “There’s only so many people that will buy drinks. And there’s only so much that you can charge for that,” he said.

Williamson is well into her career dealing with some burnout, and Shannon is just getting started, but not making enough money. So, they both decided to join nearly 50 million Americans and get side hustles.

“My side business, side hustle is Breaking Bread Bakery,” he said. He caters local events. He even found a way to blend his two jobs, convincing his boss to sell his cupcakes at the coffee shop. They sell up to 50 cupcakes a week. That combined with his catering orders, he brings home roughly an $800 profit each month on top of his 9-5 income.

When Williamson takes time off from saving lives, she puts on gloves and makes soap! And business is bubbling — She even opened her own franchise shop in Cape Coral called Buff City Soap. “That’s my zen,” she said.

She said she’s not just looking out for herself when she retires. She’s made the business a family affair, hiring her daughter to manage the soap shop. “It’s going to help my kids have a future. I signed a contract for four stores,” she said, for each of her children.

U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics shows on average about five percent of Americans have side hustles to bring in extra income.