30 Great Side Hustles For HR Professionals, While Working Your Full Time Job – Part 2 of 2

Featuring HR Side Hustles #16-30.

by Alan Collins

This is Part 2 of the HR Side Hustle series featuring side hustles #16-30.

You can find Part 1 of this series
featuring side hustles #1-15 HERE.

That said, let’s begin Part 2 with…

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HR Side Hustle #16:
Start your own podcast.

By day, Darrell James runs James & Jordan, a Houston based diversity and inclusion search firm.

On the side, he hosts The Influential Recruiter with Darrell James podcast. I was honored to be interviewed on one of his first podcasts when he was just getting started.

Since then, he’s wasted no time.

To date he’s grown it to 26 podcasts with featuring guests from across the globe.

His podcast channel focuses on helping corporate recruiters, HR and diversity professionals manage their careers.

Darrell isn’t alone. Podcasts are exploding in popularity. And, more HR folks than ever are diving in head-first into creating them.

To illustrate just a small sample of the podcasts out there, here are the 11 Best Human Resources Podcasts.

HR pros are doing them for lots of reasons. They are using them to:

-Position themselves as experts in their HR specialty or industry.
-Boost the exposure for their careers and businesses.
-Connect to leaders and influencers who can open up opportunities.
-Build their personal brands.
-Generate a side income.

If you’re interested in following in their footsteps, how do you start? 

It can be this simple:

Just begin small.
That phone in your pocket just screams portable podcast studio. You can use to record a podcast. Just go to a quiet place and write out what you want to record and read it through a few times.

Press record in the voice recorder app and you’ll have an MP3.
Then just take the recorded MP3 file and email it to yourself. Then import it into a handy free app like Audacity or Garageband.

Next, listen to what you’ve recorded. 
I know this is painful, perhaps even awkward and scary hearing yourself on a recording. You’ll get used to it.  How you sound isn’t the main concern at this point. The main point is that you are actually recording. That’s huge!

When you have three episodes recorded, you’re ready.
Ready for what?  Ready to submit your podcast to iTunes. Upon submission, it will take between 48 and 96 hours to be approved by an Apple employee. iTunes is by far the largest podcast search engine and directory in the world.

For the first eight weeks your show is live, concentrate on iTunes.
Those first eight weeks should get you maximum traction and exposure through iTunes’ “New & Noteworthy” placement.  New & Noteworthy can make or break a show.

Find a host and publish your podcast.
Anything that puts your podcast in front of people serves as a way of publishing your podcast. That being said, Libsyn is by far the most popular option for hosting your podcast. The cool thing is the basic plan is only $5 per month. But you don’t have to do that out of the gate.

Once you are set up with a host, you officially have a podcast. Now you can share your stories via audio to anyone around the world.

How do you monetize your podcasts?  

Here’s the truth. It’s tough starting out as a complete unknown and make any money at all from podcasts. It will take some time for you to get established and build a following.

However, it’s not impossible. Here are the best ways:

Use them to sell your coaching and consulting services. 
If you’re a coach, position what you do so that it revolves around your podcast. Your goal is to promote your services during your podcast and turn your listeners into clients who seek you out for more personalized help.

Use them to attract public speaking gigs.
Podcasters often get approached for speaking gigs. It makes sense that if someone likes what they hear on your podcast, you would most likely be a good fit to speak at HR conferences, workshops, webinars and other live events (and get paid to do it).

Re-purpose your best recordings and content.
You can take the interviews or recordings from your podcasts and transform this content into a brand new format like a book, short read or an audiobook that you can sell.

If they feature guests, you’ll want to get permission from them first, but recording and selling your exclusive collection of your best podcasts coaching sessions can be incredibly beneficial.

Attract sponsors & advertising.
Advertising and sponsorships are the holy grail of podcasts. They can be incredibly lucrative, but tough to get.  You usually need a audience of at least 5000 or 10,000 listeners per month to work with them.

However, there are several different podcast ad networks that can connect you with advertisers. They do all the work of finding advertisers, negotiating rates, getting the script, and more.

One of the largest ad networks is Midroll, another popular network is Authentic, and many of the podcast hosting companies have their own networks as well.

Seek donations.
It works for public TV and also for podcasting.  If you can’t find sponsors and want to build your audience, you can set up a button on your site that informs the prospective audience that the show will available to them for a donation.  You won’t make a lot of money this way, but you will get people to see what you have to offer.

Want more information about podcasting, check out these links: Learn How To Podcast and 4 Ways To Start Your Own Podcast.

That said, let’s shift gears and move on to…

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HR Side Hustle #17:
Offer career coaching, Q&A style.

As a career coach, you help your clients assess and identify what they want from their career.

And, then you help them achieve it or to balance it with the other parts of their lives.

This is different from providing resume coaching (HR side hustle #3) or interview coaching (HR side hustle #4).  However, those can be included under this broader umbrella as well.

Career coaching focused on a much wider variety of complex issues.  For example, it includes offering your clients advice in successfully:

If you already have experience as an HR pro working with clients on these issues, then there’s a huge demand in the marketplace by others willing to pay for your help too — making this an ideal side business that you can fit in around your day job.

Make no mistake about it, if you’re skilled coach at helping people find gaps in their thinking, helping them think bigger or get results faster, you can excel at this side hustle.

What makes this even easier is that you can literally set this up today.


By structuring things so that you
simply answer career questions
submitted by your clients!

That’s it!

It’s called Q&A style career coaching. Your coaching program consists of clients sending you questions related to their specific situation and you answering them back.

There is no curriculum needed.
No materials to put together.
No content to prepare.
No calls to organize.
Nothing for you to create prior to launch.

You simply offer your career advice in a chosen field in a “question and answer” format.

An experienced and savvy marketing career coach I know uses this approach in operating an “Inner Circle” for her clients…who are Marketing and Sales managers.

They get to email her ONE question per day, Monday-Thursday.

And they pay $197.00 per month for this privilege.

Starting this as a side hustle, she now has 50 members in place, that means approximately $10,000 per month in profit. That’s well over six-figures per year for answering a question each night, four nights per week.

Obviously, it’s taken her years to build up to this level and she’s an exception.

So let’s get realistic.

My guess is this: if you had 60-90 minutes to invest each night in coaching, had just 5 clients and followed her model, that wouldn’t be a bad use of your free time.

And, remember, this is only Monday-Thursday! 

All you need to get started is to write up
a description of what you offer and
set up Paypal to process payments.

Again, you can have this up and running today if you want.

You can market this service by sharing your advice in articles, on a personal blog and becoming a career coach on platforms like The Muse and Coach Me where there’s already an existing audience of people looking to make a move in their careers.

From there, keep your focus on helping people get real results, building a track record and eventually charging more for the results you’re delivering clients.

However, there is an important initial decision to make.

It involves whether you work as a generalist career coach or whether you choose to specialize in a certain professions (e.g. HR, engineers, sales, IT, managers) or industries (e.g. technology, financial services, manufacturing, health care, retail).

In any of these cases, you’ll need to be aware of current events facing your client’s profession and industry. And, to be prepared to stay current and do in-depth research as needed.

That’s what makes for an effective career coach.

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HR Side Hustle #18:
Host your own paid Mastermind Group.

Imagine being the host of a private, invite only event for trusted advisers…who meet on a regular basis to help each other solve their biggest HR, leadership, career, business or on-the-job challenges?

That’s what a Mastermind group does.

Running a Mastermind group is like providing your members with access to their own “personal board of directors.”

Mastermind groups have been around in HR for decades.

Erich Kurschadt (pictured above with his group) runs one in Chicago for HR professionals as his side hustle.  He calls his the HRHotseat and he has expanded to well-over 1000 members in three years. His mastermind groups help their members solve their most vexing on-the-job HR problems and build their personal networks.

Sana Rasul runs a mastermind with a similar objective as part of her HR Girlfriends cohort.

Did I mention, these are side hustles? Oh yeah, I did.  Intrigued? Want to follow in their footsteps? Here are tips for launching your own.

#1.  Start by picking what kind of group you’d like to start and the focus of the group. There are lots of options. Here are three of the most popular ones:

A profession-focused mastermind group.
Examples: A group for HR professionals. Or HR VPs. Or HR entrepreneurs.  Or Corporate recruiters. Or HR side hustlers.

Industry-focused mastermind groups.
Examples: A group for folks in Financial services. Or Technology. Or Manufacturing. Or Education. Or Government and Politics.  

Career or Network-focused mastermind groups.
You could launch a group that’s multi-discipline or multi-industry.

Whatever model you choose, make sure everyone is open to sharing their ideas with others and buys into the objective of the group. Here are a few example objectives:

(a) To help each member identify new income-producing or entrepreneurial opportunities.

(b) To provide members help in navigating their own career advancement or job search issues and dilemmas.

(c) To share HR, talent or workplace ideas that each member can take away and implement to improve the success of their respective organizations.

Whatever model and objective you select, make sure you are excited enough about to commit to for 2-3 years. You need to allow sufficient time for things to jell.  Most mastermind groups take three to six months to hit their stride, where everyone understands everyone else’s situation and personality.

#2.  Determine the size of the group.

I’ve seen Mastermind groups range from 2–50 people. But the best groups are made up of 6-8 people.

With a smaller group, you have more time to focus on individual issues and you can meet and discuss things more frequently, or casually offline.

They can be larger, but you’ll need to split them into multiple concurrent conversations of 6-10 people each.

#3.  Set a schedule (weekly, bimonthly, or monthly)

Having a set schedule sends the message that this is something to either take seriously or not at all. If you have to reschedule it frequently to meet everyone’s agenda, it will fall apart.

#4.  Ask members to invite others who fit the criteria. 

The idea is that you keep expanding the group for each new event. Erich Kurschadt has followed this model to grow his Chicago HR Mastermind from a few handful to over 1000 members.

#5.  Find a gathering spot. 

You want this to be a place where you and your members can interact. This can be online or offline. You can meet at a bar/ restaurant to start off.  Or If you can meet at one of your offices, even better. With the pandemic, you could also meet remotely through a Zoom call and maintain connections through a Facebook group.

There are three options for charging for your mastermind group: 

Hour-based Fees

The first way is to simply calculate the total number of hours you’ll spend each month working with the and charge the group for your time.

For instance, a former HR VP colleague who is now a consultant, runs a private mastermind group for African-American and Latino HR VPs.  They share ideas for making a bigger impact and difference in their organizations. She spends about 5 hours a month in meeting time, organizing events and setting things up.  Her group consists of 6-8 members, with each member paying $300 per month.

This is great for the members, as they get to build relationships and work together in a mastermind group setting — getting ideas not only from her, but others at a similar level in their organizations.

Low Monthly Fee

The second way is to charge a low monthly fee ($20 – $50 per person per month) and have larger groups. Unless they are well run, large mastermind groups are a poor investment on the part of the member.

The beauty of a mastermind group is that everyone gets time to bring forward their personal challenges, decisions and situations. This can’t happen in a large group because you simply run out of time. What’s the point of a mastermind group unless all members get to give and receive in each meeting?

To make huge groups work, have people breakout into smaller groups for masterminding and appoint a skilled facilitator leading each discussion. The value won’t be as high for the members if you’re not part of each group, but then again, they’re getting a lower fee to compensate for that.

If your goal is to have as many people as possible in your mastermind group, then setting the fee low will attract more members.

Value-based Fee

The third way is to charge based on your value and the value of the group.

There are some mastermind groups that charge $15,000 – $30,000 a year, and include one or two weekend events that are free as part of the fee, plus weekly phone meetings, special guest speakers, discounts on the mastermind group facilitator’s products/classes, etc.

If you are a senior HR professional with a high profile brand,  you can charge more for your mastermind group.

To stick your toe in the water first, do a pilot session for free. Then ask for in-depth feedback. Limit the group size to 4-6 members. It takes a lot of pressure off you to do it perfectly, and people love the opportunity to be involved with the birth of a new group.

That said, let’s now move to…

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HR Side Hustle #19:
Host your own local TV
or radio program.

Me, a TV or radio personality?

You’re kidding, right?

Seriously. No, I’m not!

Don’t scoff, this is no joke.

Yes…podcasts, cable news and streaming are the hot things right now.

But… old school, traditional media like TV and radio — especially at the local level in your own community — offers overlooked, but potentially terrific side hustle opportunities.

Let me give you two examples.

First is Bill Lowry.  Bill is the first HR side hustler I ever met.

He interviewed me for my first HR job that I landed at Inland Steel Company right out of college.  At the time, he was Inland’s Director of Human Resources & Recruitment at their corporate headquarters.

And, in my brand new entry-level HR job, I sat five levels below him on the Inland organization chart.

What I didn’t know was that Bill, while working full-time in HR at Inland during the week, was doing something entirely different on Saturday mornings.

He was hosting a weekly show on CBS-TV in Chicago called Opportunity Line!  

During his one hour program, Bill (pictured above) would interview corporate CEOs, job seekers and conduct roundtable discussions with hiring managers all over the Chicagoland area who had open positions to fill. 

That TV program was his side hustle.

The goal of the program was to match job seekers with employment and job training opportunities.

And, remarkably, it has been credited with placing more than 125,000 people in jobs in the Chicago area alone during the 24 years in which it aired.

Yes, you read that right!  125,000 jobs.

You should also know that Bill hosted Opportunity Line for 10 years by himself — and he won an Emmy and two Peabody Awards for his outstanding work.   

Yes, you read that right as well!  An Emmy and two Peabodys. Not bad for an HR guy.

Quite the side hustle!

Bill later went on to have a successful career in HR, becoming VP of Human Resources & Administration at the MacArthur Foundation and is enjoying retirement today.

Jeff Carroll is the second example.

Jeff today is an executive coach and Vice President of SuccessWise Consulting. He’s spent over 20 years in HR including stints as the VP, Human Resources for two mid-sized companies.

For years, Jeff side hustled in local radio.  He created, produced and hosted a one-of-a-kind radio show called, The Career Revival Tour, on WGN 720 radio (Voice of Chicago).

Jeff (pictured above) collaborated on the radio airwaves with Bill Moller, a well-known WGN radio personality.

And, as a duo, they’d field calls from frustrated listeners about their on-the-job and career dilemmas, while providing career advice, interviewing tips, personal marketing suggestions, and guidance on how to venture into entrepreneurship.

What made the show unique and truly one-of-a-kind was that Jeff mixed in rock ‘n’ roll music, lyrics, and inspiring insights from rock legends like Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stones — while he helped them solve their job-related problems and discover their career passions.

He credits his radio venture over the years as helping him to land numerous HR jobs, speaking, coaching and consulting opportunities.

Again, quite the side hustle.

Here’s what you can takeaway from Bill and Jeff’s experiences.  

Traditional TV news and radio talk shows in your community represent a potential goldmine of side hustle opportunities. With so communications platforms available, now more than ever, local media outlets are hungry to find experts and talent they can showcase for their audiences.

As an HR pro, if you have an interesting or unique angle on your HR specialty, you can get interviewed or perhaps even get a show out of the deal as both Bill and Jeff did.

Sound far-fetched and outlandish? Maybe. Maybe not.  You won’t know until you try it.

If you’d like to explore this idea further, here are some key steps:

Do your homework.  Tune into your local TV or radio programs on the weekends to get an idea of the types of programs offered and where you might fit.

Develop your show idea to pitch. No matter what your HR-related idea is, recognize that you’re expected to provide entertainment of value. Make your pitch one or two sentences. Have several good topic ideas ready. Solutions to common problems are always good.  Today, anything having to do with the pandemic is a hot idea and top of mind. Recognize that attracting listeners, viewers and sponsors who’ll pay dollars are the name of the game in local media.

Know who to contact. Go online or call the station to find out the name of the producer (not host) or research assistant of the show.

Email a proposal to the TV or radio program’s producer, along with an interview or a clip of yourself on video. Don’t have anything? Then create a short but informative “talk” on video, upload it to YouTube and send the link to the TV or radio program producer.

Tell them what the audience will gain from your appearance. List 5 topics on which you are prepared to offer comment and opinion. Again, try to tie in with something currently in the local, regional or national news.

Tell them what visuals or props you can bring: a book, slides, charts, music, graphics, posters, samples or photos. You don’t want to just be a “talking head.”

Finally, if you’re called for a pre-interview, GO! This is your audition. Sound sincere, knowledgeable and articulate. But most of all, be passionate and enthusiastic about your topic.  No one wants to be bored.  Let your personality show.  Personality and passion sells in the media.

The value of becoming a TV or radio personality is that it gives you brand recognition, and spreads your name faster as an expert in your specialty within HR.  It will open up speaking, consulting, coaching and other career opportunities as well.

That leads us to…

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HR Side Hustles #20 – #30:

The remaining 11 side hustles will be
posted here over the next few weeks
…a few at at time until the complete
collection is done. You’ll want
to bookmark this site and
come back to this space!

…Or if you want to be notified when a brand new side hustle has been added, make sure you’re subscribed to our free Success in HR newsletter. If you’re not subscribed, just scroll up to the Join Success in HR box in the top right hand corner of this site and drop in your name and email.

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Okay, let’s summarize.  

I believe everyone in HR should have at least one side hustle.

Besides some extra cash, a good side gig will enrich your career, unleash your talents and make you a better HR pro in your day job.

Plus they’re fun and can give you a nice change of pace from dealing with tough people issues all day. Hopefully, the ideas above will stimulate your thinking.

Again, these are the first 18 HR side hustles — 11 more are coming.

What are your thoughts?

Anything resonate for you?  What do you think? What questions do you have?  What’s been your own experience in side hustling?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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About the author: Alan Collins is Founder of Success in HR, Inc. and the author of ten best selling books for HR professionals. These include three resources for HR side hustlers, Your HR Goldmine, Write Your Own HR Book Fast and Start Your Own Awesome HR Blog. He was formerly Vice President – Human Resources at PepsiCo where he led HR initiatives and teams for their Quaker Oats, Gatorade and Tropicana businesses.

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3 Responses to “30 Great Side Hustles For HR Professionals, While Working Your Full Time Job – Part 2 of 2”

  1. Olusegun Kuye Says:

    Dear Alan,

    Thank you for sharing this awesome tips. Just a question, how does one go about setting up a mastermind that comprises of MD/CEO, HR Directors,Sales Head/Directors, Supply chain/Commercial directors? is it even advisable in the first place? What is your email address please?

  2. Alan Says:

    Hi Olusegun, on your question: The key in setting up a mastermind with the folks you mentioned is:
    (1) make sure everyone is open to sharing their ideas with others.
    (2) they buy into the objective of the group.
    (3) do they have anything in common?

    I would ask myself these questions first before determining if it’s advisable in the first place.

    Most of the masterminds I’m familiar with have the following as their objective (or some variation):
    (a) To help each member identify new income-producing or entrepreneurial opportunities.
    (b) To provide members help in navigating their own career advancement or job search issues and dilemmas.
    (c) To solve problems or share HR, talent or workplace ideas that each member can take away and implement to improve the success of their respective organizations.

    Finally, as I mentioned previously in the article, whatever model and objective you select, make sure you are excited enough about to commit to for 2-3 years. You need to allow sufficient time for things to jell.  Most mastermind groups take three to six months to hit their stride, where everyone understands everyone else’s situation and personality.

  3. JC Says:

    All great tips! What if you are NOT in HR but are trying to transition into HR? Most of my experience is volunteer since I’m still trying to transition. Any thoughts?