toyin Alli Interview

Lecturer at University of Georgia

What is your PhD about? 

I got my PhD in Math.  Specifically, my research was in high dimensional statistics.  Basically, I studied how to visualize big data.

What does an average day in the life look like for you? 

I usually start the day with stretching or going to the gym.  Then I go to my office by 10 am to prep for my classes.  I typically have a couple of meetings or workshops to attend.  Then I post something on social media for my side hustles.  Then I make a to-do list for the next day.  I try to leave my office by 5 pm to go home for dinner.  After dinner, I’m either at dance practice, small group bible study, or watching Star Trek Discovery with my friends.

What is your side hustle? 

I actually have 2 side hustles.  I know…I’m ridiculous!  Lol!  My first side hustle is The Academic Society.  Through The Academic Society, I help grad students with time management, productivity, and self-care.  I started this side hustle because I had a wonderful grad school experience and I know that that isn’t the case for most grad students.  So, I like to share my advice for grad students through YouTube videos and blog posts.  I also host a private Facebook group for grad students where I motivate them weekly and offer little workshops for them.  My second side hustle is related to my love for style and fashion.  Through Style by Toyin, I help professional millennials find their adult personal style after grad school.

What advice would you give others looking at starting a side hustle?

Find something that is so enjoyable to you that you would do for free.  Having a side hustle on top of a job in academia is a lot of work!  So you have to really be connected to the reason why you are doing it to make it worth it.  Or else, you will give up.

How does your PhD/degree help you in your side hustle? 

In grad school, I learned that I had a passion for teaching.  So that’s exactly what I do in both of my side hustles.  I can break down big ideas into small manageable chunks that are easy to digest and take action on.

How much did it cost you to get started?

Something you should know about me is that I love to learn.  So I have invested $3000-$5000 over the past 3 years learning about online business and marketing.  But as far as my actual businesses go, I pay for my websites through Squarespace as well as the email marketing platform I use (Convertkit).  So I spend about $60/month to run my businesses.

How does your personal brand impact your side hustle? 

I think my personal brand impacts both of my side hustles.  I like to model a “healthy” academic lifestyle which means that I work very hard to not be overworked, overwhelmed, or overstressed.  I share that I have hobbies outside of academia.  It’s a part of my life but not my whole life.

How can our readers find out more about your side hustles? 

You can find out more at theacademicsociety.com and stylebytoyin.com

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