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This is our first interview in the Side Hustle Interview Series. Once a month we will post a video or blog post interview with a side hustler so you can learn more about the different side hustle interview options available to you. If you have a side hustle you want to suggest or if you want to be interviewed click here.
I’m all about cutting expenses, but if you really want to accomplish your financial goals you need to increase your income.
First up in the Side Hustle Interview Series is LaShaun Coronel. LaShaun is the founder of the personal finance site Divas R Frugal and she runs Chic-N-Five. LaShaun has mulitple side hustles but she is telling us all about her jewelry side hustle today.
The research she performed before joining an multi-level marketing company
Why she was willing to try a side hustle that was similar to her previous business
Why you need to chose a side hustle you love
How you can start for less than $100
How to make your side hustle work with a full-time job
The tools you need to get started today
ALANNA: Today, I am here with La Shaun Coronel. La Shaun runs the personal finance site, Divas R Frugal and she also runs a business called Chic N Five. I wanted to bring her to talk to all of you today about side hustles. I want you to know about the different options you have available because when I started side hustling, I only knew of a few. La Shaun, thank you for coming today.
LA SHAUN: You are welcome.
ALANNA: So... Tell us a little bit about yourself and tell us why you started Chic N Five.
LA SHAUN: Okay. I'm La Shaun. As Alanna said, I run the blog Divas R Frugal and we I talk about personal finance. Part of my personal finance journey has been side hustles. I love jewelry, so I've been dibbling and dabbling in jewelry for years now. Selling hand-made jewelry on Etsy and to my coworkers. I loved making hand- made jewelry, but in my day job, I'm a social worker and it can be very stressful and I realized that a lot of times, I'm too stressed to be creative. You have to be really creative when you are hand making jewelry when you are doing your design. It can be really stressful, I wanted to keep doing it but then I also wanted to start buying jewelry wholesale and then reselling it. Well around that time, I kept hearing about Paparazzi. I went to the website and didn’t like what I saw but I kept hearing people talk about it. They were talking about how much they love the jewelry and the price of it. I kept looking into it and I was like, you know what, I have a lot going on I'm still doing what I do with Divas R Frugal and that's my main thing. I said you know what, I still like jewelry, so why not just try this out and see if it works and seeing what all the hype is. So I did some research on the company, I was reading the by-laws and everything because it is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company and we know that most of the time, they don't have good reputations.
ALANNA: That is true.
LA SHAUN: So, I wanted to make sure that it was something that would make sense for me. I did a lot of research and just looking online, asking people and just remembering those conversations they would bring it up and say, “You know I like this, this is why I like it” and I tried it. So now I have been doing this for a little over a year. So that is how I got into it. I was like you know what, I want to start my own business, I wanted to do wholesale but it is a lot (of work) trying to find vendors that are legit. So, I was like, you know what, let me test this out and just see if it is something that I want to do, why not start with Paparazzi and in the future, I may still go in to having my own jewelry company.
ALANNA: I like that, especially the fact that you talked about doing the research because I've been a part of a Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) before, and I can tell you I did not do the research, it wasn't a bad experience but I have heard of others experiences and they haven't been that great, not with Paparazzi, another company. But I think it was great that you spoke about that just because I know MLM (in general), have a bad reputation and it was great that you did the research and that will help others to know that they should do a research on the company before they actually sign up.
LA SHAUN: Yeah! It is like you really doing it and you asking those questions and really looking into like the by-laws of these companies because I was thinking about joining another MLM, outside of this one but when I really looked at everything, this one made more sense, as far as money. So, I went with Paparazzi but I've been in another MLM before too and it wasn't a horrible experience but some of the limitations that they put on their consultants; I didn't like that. Now I see that the company has loosen some of their rules, but at the time, the way that I wanted to do business, I could not do it with that company without the fear of, being shut down and the oh you can't do this or whatever. Although I liked that company, it did not make sense. Even down to like the starter kit, it was like okay, give me this, yes, I’m paying a small amount to get started but the inventory you are giving me, doesn't make sense for my target market at all. Verses, with the jewelry I mean its jewelry, the lowest you can pay is $100 at a start. You get this jewelry and you have jewelry for yourself; if you like jewelry because I like jewelry, so I'm going to keep it, give it as gifts or I was going to sale it. And so, I said, Okay let me be safe and I will just do $100 and I did it and it's no lie when you say that you will sell out of that box because I was like oh okay, this is really working. It’s really good to do the research financially. Is it something that you can do and keep up with without going in to debt and is it something that you like at the end of the day because you are just doing it for the money: then you are not going to stick with it. You will have to keep the inventory up. If it is not something that you can do financially, and something that you like doing, it probably won't work.
ALANNA: Okay. Well you kind of answered my next question. I was going to ask you if it was easy to get started and it sounds like it was very easy for you to get started. What would be the process though if one of the people watching this video wanted to get started, what should they do?
LA SHAUN: Well, first; they should do research. I say do research, some people say jump in or whatever but do what works for you, basically. But you can go on my website, chicnfive.com and you can see the different packages that we have available. The lowest package you start with is $99, I think it is $99 to $299 and $399. When you go up to the $299 and $ 399, you get some extra big perks. We have a convention every year and receive convention ticket in those packages. But when you purchase your jewelry, you also get some promotional products like a planner which is actually very helpful and some other promotional materials. To get started and in your first package, you are paying a $100 but you are going to have I believe about $137 worth of profit that you can make. And of course, like any business, you do have to flip it but that’s how you are going to get started. Go on the website, check out the different packages; and look at the jewelry that is on the website. Search Facebook because you will see a lot of different people’s “lives” showing the jewelry and if you want to buy some, buy some off the website, see how it is, if it is something that you like, then go from there. And, if you know somebody selling, definitely ask questions and you can even ask them to do a basket party if you know somebody selling Paparazzi, they know what a basket party is, you see how quickly the jewelry sells. And when you see the pieces, you will say, “this is $5?” Like yeah that's just $5. So that's how you can get started.
ALANNA: Yes. Loving the price, I can cosign that the jewelry is definitely cute because I've bought my best friends some earrings last year for Christmas and they both loved them. It's definitely cute jewelry.
LA SHAUN: That's another reason why I did Paparazzi $5 jewelry and I'm all about being frugal.
LA SHAUN: Being frugal is just a part of what I'm about, a part of my brand. You know you don't have to break the banks to look cute and to get what you want. Basically, this price point is great. I used to be a Charming Charlie’s girl. Okay being in there all the time buying my jewelry but I knew when I went in the budget, it has to be straight because I might spend $50 and just walk out with couple of pieces to wear for an event I went shopping for. I might wear it again, I might not. With this Jewelry, honestly, it’s $5 and as a consultant, you get even bigger discount. And also, I forgot to mention you do get a nice profit. You get a 45% profit. So, the thing is you get in a good price point with $5 you can do a lot really quick. And then, with the jewelry, if you wear it again, so be it and if you don't, so be it. I mean it didn't cost you $40 to $50 for the same thing.
ALANNA: That is true because I have, I've been that girl, I have gone into another store and spend like $30 on a piece of jewelry I probably wore once and I tell you when I moved, I gave it away because I didn't wear it again. Whereas with $5, you are going to spend that randomly, you are going to spend it on food, chips, anything randomly in the store. Even when you are in like Target, you go to the dollar aisle, you will just spend $5, so it's not really going to break the budget. So how did you first market your jewelry business when you started?
LA SHAUN: I was just telling people. I made like this big post about it on Facebook letting people know that I'm a Consultant now and just telling people hey, this is what I'm doing or whatever and then some people asked to see the jewelry. And that was when I really knew like okay, I'm going to stick with this, because I was asked,” Ooh let me see your jewelry?” I had my box and I would just put the jewelry out and they were buying like 2 and 3 pieces just right there, and that was unexpected. I was expecting them to look at it and maybe get a piece here and there. But no, they were actually like “Oh! I want this piece!” Everybody always says “Oh! is this $5? Like is it $5?” I'm like everything is $5. We do have another one that is $25 pieces, but majority of our site is $5 but it is always fun because they will ask, "you sure?" I'm sure it is $5.
ALANNA: So that's good, it actually sells itself because I know sometimes people are worried and say things like, "Oh I'm not really good at selling.” They may want to do something just like you. They love jewelry and think that this is something they could do as a side hustle but they are worried about the actual selling price but it sounds like it sells itself.
LA SHAUN: It does, but you do have to work with any business or whatever you do. You do have to be consistent and that is one of my goals. Sometimes I'm like, yeah, I'm going to do it this day but I will do it that way and I will see the difference. When I'm consistent, I’m in peoples’ faces that means I’m on Facebook, I’m posting. They may not need jewelry the day they see me on Facebook but they may need it a week later. And like, oh yeah let me head back and see if she got this. You know you will have to stay consistent and stay out there. This is selling without selling. I think when we hear, “Sales is kind of scary” or “I’m not a sales person.” But I’ve learned that even in social work, we sell in everything we do.
ALANNA: That is true.
LA SHAUN: At the end of the day you are selling. And that is just how it is. So, it is more or less of learning the art of selling but I mean we do it every day in whatever job you have, you selling something. So, you are trying to sell something whether it is a service, if you are supervisor trying to sell some process to your people, you supervise and you are always selling in some way. So, I think we always kind of learn how it works but with this business, you have to be consistent and you have to just put it out there. If people don't see you, they don't know. And that is one thing you’ve got to remember, if they don't see you, they don't know. Like maybe, is she still selling? But it does start to work because I have changed positions at work and even with that, people were like Oh yeah, she sells jewelry, do you have something in mind?
ALANNA: So, if you are not really paying attention, I want to say the first thing is that when La Shaun is selling on Facebook, she is on Facebook live and so just think of QVC like she is running a Facebook live, I think it is really dope. She is actually giving you an opportunity to also shop the replay because she leaves the video up so even if you are not available at that moment, you are able to go back, watch it, and ask her if she has it available. Even if she doesn't have available, here you can go directly to her site to buy it. And then also, she makes sure that people at work are asking her which means she keeps her product on hand. I think that is something that some people who sell actual physical products, they don't always hold it or have their items on hand, so just make sure you keep your items on hand.
LA SHAUN: It is so funny with that. So, I got caught sleeping one day and it wasn't even for someone else, it was for me. We are out of the house and I did not have earrings on. I didn't realize it until I got, I think half way to work and there was no turning back. And I was like, how can the jewelry lady be caught without no jewelry, how did that happen?
ALANNA: By keeping it in the car. You can have a simple pair of jewelry in the car.
LA SHAUN: You mean I keep my jewelry in the car; but you know I stay in Georgia and it gets hot. But I won't do that again, so I do keep some with me at all times, my personal stash and then some for other people because you know when somebody will say, “I need to go get this or you know I need this for tonight,” or like I had a co-worker the other day, she left her earrings at home. She was like, I need some earrings. You know it's a simple thing you don’t want to get caught out there without your product. Whatever that product is, you don't want to get caught without some on hand.
ALANNA: Exactly, so tell me, you already mentioned that you are a social worker and how you have your jewelry at work but how do you make time for your side hustle?
LA SHAUN: How do I make time for it… Well, when I'm at work, well I don’t want my Manager thinking I am out here selling jewelry at work.
ALANNA: Right! We are not doing that. [LAUGHTER]
LA SHAUN: Lunch time, before work or after work if somebody want something than they can see come see me. I just try to keep it at just those times at work and then at home, I have to plan when I'm going to go live, and so even with that I have to prepare so you can’t just, maybe some people can, say Oh! I’m going live right now, I have to be prepared. So, I have a day to prep, like okay, today I might take 10-15 minutes, these are the items I'm going to show, let me go ahead and set the room up like I want it to be and then the day of the event, I would just be able to do my show and get off. So, I just make time, just put it on a schedule basically and sometimes it easier said than done but I just try to definitely keep it in my schedule and say okay, this day I'm going to do this kind of prepping for whatever I had to do or get done. Even when shipping things out, it is easier for me to go live on a certain day, so that way I say like “Hey! You order by this time, I can get it out to you the next day.” Then I don't have to worry about, oh you know I'm working late or whatever, I'm not going to the post office. I have it set up, well okay, if I do it on certain days, I can get it to the post office in time.
ALANNA: Okay, La Shaun is also really good about managing her time because I've seen her on Facebook Live before work. Which is impressive to me because I'm normally rushing out the door but La Shaun has put in that work and got online before she went to work.
LA SHAUN: Oh yes girl. I've done that and that was because I was determined to get it done, I need to get it done. When am I going to have time to get it done and so I was like no way, I got to do it and so I got to do it before work., With “Lives”, sometimes I have couple of people listening and sometimes I have no people. But you may look at others and say, they have hundreds of people or whatever but with me, I would be on "Live” and then I’ll get a text whenever I go off and it will be somebody I didn’t know that was watching me but they want something. So, you will never know. Sometimes I would be on air early in the morning and I’d get home late at night and that is not always good for me because I always try to sleep. I don’t want to be tired on the “Live” but you know I have done that before when I needed to get it done. I went “Live” in a hotel room, just out and about or whatever. I've taken a break for the last couple of months because I was doing something with my other business but I will be getting back at it in January.
ALANNA: So that means I need to look out for La Shaun in January because she is coming with the” lives” for you. Okay, so if I'm new and I'm just starting out with selling jewelry what tools do I need?
LA SHAUN: You need yourself, you need a smile, you need your personality, and you need your phone. We all have phones right, so it’s like making money from your phone and I’ve used this meme before, you want to make money from your phone. Because I mean it is really all you need. Yes, we have props and things like that or whatever but you really don't need that to get started, I got these items along the way. When I’ve makd money, I put money back in in different ways, or whatever but you really don't need all of that. You just need the jewelry, I sold my jewelry out the box. We are all on Facebook, we are all on Instagram and different sites. So, all you need is your phone and then you prop it up. You don’t have to have a tripod if you don't want it. I do have a tripod over here, but you don’t have to have it. I had that tripod before Paparazzi. You can just prop your phone up on the book or whatever and you just go live and you show what you have. Of course, you want to have lighting in the room when you go “live” so in order to do that, just go “Live”, during the day, and just sit in front of a window so that they can really see the pieces in their entirety because honestly sometimes, the way the pieces look online, on the website, and on Facebook Live is different than how they look in person.
LA SHAUN: And so be mindful of that. But just try to get it to look exactly like it does. You just want to make sure you have the lighting and that is it. So, all you need is to put that $100 down and then when you get your package, just get on the phone and go on “live”. When you first order your jewelry, you have got your package and they don’t send you any pictures of the jewelry. But from that point on, they will send you a copy or you have available a copy of every piece of jewelry on the picture. So, you can put the pictures on Facebook also and people will buy from the pictures.
LA SHAUN: But you don’t need to go live at all
ALANNA: So, if maybe there’s somebody who maybe is a little scared to get it on “live” but they can sell at work or to their friends’, maybe I should say after work, what are other ways that you have sold your jewelry?
LA SHAUN: I have done basket parties which I mentioned before which is basically where I give my jewelry to you “hey this is the amount I’m giving you, you sell it and then once you’ve sold a certain number of pieces, you’ll get pieces for free.” I have done that and my mom, I gave her one and she became a consultant. I’ve done a couple of vending opportunities in the past and I like it because it is quick money. You can get a couple of hundred dollars depending on the event and how many people. You can make some money with that and really quick because people are out there and they want the jewelry and that can be kind of hard to get some time with vending because everybody is vending but if you can get a vending event, it is profitable. But with that, you must stay out there, keep the word out there and whatever that you do, be on top of things and you will get sales and you’ll make money. I’ve been to an event where I think I probably made the most out of everybody and I was doing nothing but just setting up jewelry and people were buying it. What other ways? Using Facebook albums; if you don’t want to get on “live”, you can take pictures and you can post them and people often will buy from the picture and with that, it can be creative where majority of our pictures, except out peak collection which is the pick that are $25, aside of those pieces, every other picture that you have, you can make collages and do all of that and put it out there and people will buy from pictures.
ALANNA: Okay, so that’s good. So, you don’t just have to sell online, there is different ways you can make money.
LA SHAUN: There are different ways you can make money online its advertisement. It’s a free commercial. That’s why I said nobody’s watching you is fine because the people who are watching may not say nothing. If you are afraid of it, you can definitely use other ways to get it done and like I said even with working, as long as people know after work, before work, during lunch time, you can sell jewelry at those times and even after or outside of work, if they know you do it, they’ll call you. They would say “hey, I need xyz, do you have it?”
ALANNA: Alright, which is actually good, because at least back in the day like when I was going out and trying to find a piece of jewelry and New Year’s Eve coming up. You want to have something quick and you can’t find it, then call your friends, then jewelry first, and they got you, they took care of it.
LA SHAUN: You don’t want to be out of here paying $20 for a necklace and I have a similar piece for $5.
ALANNA: Exactly. I would be so tight if I see that, so you don’t want to do that. You already mentioned you’ve done MLM before in the past. So, how many side hustles have you had?
LA SHAUN: Okay, outside of MLM, well I’ve only done one of the MLM in the past. And that was when like I said before, I liked makeup. So, it was kind of like no brainer but there were just too many limitations for me at the time and financially it just was not making sense, so I didn’t do it but I learned from it though, but I’ve done mystery shopping which is very interesting. I’ve also taught English.
ALANNA: We going to have to bring you back for that one.
LA SHAUN: I have a certificate to teach English now. So, I had a lot of fun teaching kids in other countries English online. It was always online except for the mystery shopping. I did do that for a while, I stopped. I could pick it back on at any point, I have an email dedicated to just mystery shopping.
ALANNA: We all should.
LA SHAUN: Yes. Because if you use a regular email, it is just going to be too much. But in my area, there are not like a whole lot of shops. That is why I can’t go on and can’t do it for a certain amount of time. We have talked about other jewelry, the jewelry I make, so I’ve done that before and that’s about it.
ALANNA: Okay. So, see you don’t have to worry about doing different things. La Shaun has done plenty of different things. I have done different things in the past. You just get on your hustle because being on your hustle gets you to where you want to be, but it also gives you the opportunity to do the things that you want in life and not be stuck in a box. Okay, so what advice would you give someone who is watching this video and they want to start a jewelry business or start selling through Paparazzi?
LA SHAUN: You just do it like I said. Go ahead, go on the website; you can contact me, just start. If you like jewelry, and you know you like to play in it and you like to make money, then I would say just go ahead and give it a shot. That is really all you can do. Is just do it and if it works, it works; and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Again, the way the company is set up is not for you to fail. So, you are not going to get into it and then have like a million dollars of debt. You know it isn’t nothing like that but I would instead suggest you do your research and ask questions. If you want to get in contact with me, you can. So that way, you know I can answer any questions that you still may have. I would say just do your research and if you like selling jewelry and making money try it.
ALANNA: Okay, and before I have you drop your contact information, just to bring it back to personal finance because we have to stick there; tell me what has selling Chic N Five awarded you as far as like opportunities? What has it allowed you to do?
LA SHAUN: Well, it allows me to pick up couple of bills here and there. So financially, it does allow me to do that. I’m always reinvesting in the business but I am able to you know do that. Also going back, I know we talked a little bit about the different ways you can make money in Paparazzi; you can what I will just say survival on sale. So just selling jewelry and that’s initially what I came in to do, you can build a team and when you build a team, you get a percentage of the inventory that your team buys. You can get money that way and we talked survival on sale, building a team and your website. You will get a free website. The website that you have, like chicnfive.com, it is free. I don’t pay anything per month for that website.
ALANNA: Oh, nice.
LA SHAUN: If you go there right now you buy some jewelry, the company will package it up and send it to you. I will get my commission off on that sale. I will get my half or my portion of that sale. So, you don’t have to be in here and get a team if you don’t want to, but if you want to see more money, then you may want to build the team eventually but you don’t have to. There are plenty of people who started off just selling jewelry, that’s all they do and then they make their profit and then people could join their team because they see them selling, but those are different ways. I have made money because I do have a team, I have couple of people on my team. I’ve made a little change from that and then just selling jewelry allows me just, you know to pay bills, go out, do things that I know I want to do if I’m on vacation. If have had a good month of selling. I can use that money instead of using my hard earn money from my regular job or whatever. So that’s what it allows me to do, to have fun.
ALANNA: Exactly, the reason why I asked that question is because I’m all about having options and opportunities. I wanted her to share that with us because sometimes people hear about side hustle but they really don’t think about how it could give them an advantage in life and help them do what they want to do. Thank you for answering that La Shaun and before we wrap up, drop your contact information so that they can reach out to you if they want to sell Chic N Five or Paparazzi jewelry or just contact you in general if they have questions.
LA SHAUN: Okay well, I am Chic N Five on Facebook, and then it is email@example.com. So, you can contact me in both ways but if you go to www.chicnfive.com, my information will come up is one of the first things you will see. You email me on there and my phone number is beside it also. So, you can get in contact with me that way and I can answer any questions that you may have if you want to buy some products. You can buy it there also and you can also visit me on Facebook as Chic N Five and you will see items that may not be on the website. We get new inventory on our website, Monday through Friday. if it is not on the website, it may be on my page. So, all my personal that I buy is on that page also.
ALANNA: Alright, so make sure you reach out to La Shaun. La Shaun, thank you for taking the time to talk with us today and I will also be sure to drop her contact information, you will see it below the video. Bye