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Students Learn How To Build a Side Hustle

May 2022
June 2022
  • Workshop participants and organizers at Polar Park.
    Workshop participants and organizers at Polar Park.
  • Jon Gold shares entrepreneurial advice.
    Jon Gold shares entrepreneurial advice.
  • Terri Rodriguez introduces Dr. Charles Steinberg.
    Terri Rodriguez introduces Dr. Charles Steinberg.
  • Steve Skillings presents at Polar Park.
    Steve Skillings presents at Polar Park.

In late April, QCC offered a free workshop series to students, Be Your Own Boss in Three Days (How to Grow an Idea into a Side Business) focusing on purpose, problem solving, and entrepreneurship. Twenty students participated in the three-day event. On Tuesday, April 19 and Wednesday, April 20, the workshop took place on QCC's West Boylston Street campus, and on Thursday, April 21, participants toured Polar Park and heard from speakers who have been successful entrepreneurs on a national scale.  

The impetus for Be Your Own Boss came from a call for proposals for the Innovation Grant, funded by the QCC Foundation. Director of Gateway to College, Marci Skillings, approached Assistant Director of Student Accessibility Services, Terri Rodriguez, and Director of Student Accessibility Services, Kristie Proctor (both are Life Design Catalyst Coaches who teach Design Your Life for Gateway), to brainstorm how funds could be used to impact students, building on the foundation of life design.

The training idea was formed using a backward design model in answer to the question, “What do students need to grow beyond their current circumstances?” 

Using Life Design, the workshop focused on how to create a “‘side hustle”’ based on doing something that students love and or are interested in, and can get paid for at the same time. Students explored their possibilities and interests, created a story brand one-liner, and discussed attitudes for cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset.  Students networked, offered ideas, and explored opportunities and obstacles each day. The featured speakers of the three-day event included: 

Licensed Mental Health Counselor Jon Gold along with assistance from QCC’s office of Counseling and Wellness, spoke on the second day. Mr. Gold’s side hustle began a few years ago, starting a podcast that explored the field of sport and performance psychology. Today he consults with athletes who are primarily baseball players. Mr. Gold stressed the importance of prioritization and flexibility. His advice to students was to be consistent in communicating with clients in order to develop trusting relationships with them. Also, he noted that to be an entrepreneur, one must have faith in a well-thought-out process.

Additionally, President of the Worcester Red Sox, Dr. Charles Steinberg, met with each student and told them his story of attending dental school, while still always following his passion for baseball, which led him to work for several professional organizations and to the present position in Worcester. Dr. Steinberg said he is extremely proud of the new Worcester ballpark, acknowledging Worcester, its community values, and the excitement of creating a family-friendly and accessible venue for guests.   

During the workshop, Steve Skillings, a recent Shark Tank contestant and inventor, displayed several of his inventions and explained the process of seeing a need and developing the idea through to production and sales. Mr. Skillings discussed how each job led to new experiences, leading to ideas, which he was able to leverage. He described bringing a product forward with hard work, perseverance, and investors who believed in his work. 

Student attendees had nothing but praise for the workshop.

“I’m inspired to take action now rather than later, learn more than I consume, and take risks getting my ideas off the ground,” one student said.

“...the best part was being surrounded by like-minded peers who want to make a change,” another participant added.

“Everyone inspired me to be a better person, and think positive that working hard, I will one day see the fruits of my hard work,” said yet another student.

Professor of Business Administration, Flo Lucci, also took part in the workshop, and was effusive in its positive effect on students. 

“Since COVID-19, students have had a very difficult time committing to programming outside of their coursework, and especially evenings, due to their work schedules. It was wonderful to see 20 students commit to and attend each session. They started out shy as usual and quickly became comfortable and fully engaged in the material. Entrepreneurship is up 35% since COVID-19, with many individuals taking funds out of retirement accounts to start businesses,” she said, adding, “Side hustles have now replaced traditional part-time jobs. It is critical that we provide QCC students with these core skills to not only survive their college years, but also live more financially comfortable as they enter and progress through their professional careers.” 

Ms. Skillings, Ms. Rodriguez and Ms. Proctor wish to thank Professor of Business Administration/Entrepreneurship/Small Business Management, Jean McLean, Professor Lucci, Mr. Gold, Mr. Skillings, Dr. Steinberg, and Life Design Catalyst Coach and Trainer  Bill Johnson, for sharing his materials and expertise in the development of this workshop. 

For more information on Life Design, email Ms. Rodriguez at trodriguez [at] or Ms. Proctor at kproctor [at]