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Nisha Menon - Founder of Jack & Chill and lecturer in Marketing, Tourism, Events and Hospitality at London South Bank University - agreed to sit down with us and explore her business journey, how she manages a side hustle, and what her advice would be for new starters.

You can watch the full video or read the transcript below.

If you really have the passion, go for it. Do not wait for the perfect moment, but just go for it.

So Jack and Chill was launched in 2019, and because I come from Kerala in India, and there jackfruit is kind of the, you know, the fruit, that it's like a national fruit, actually. So I wanted everybody to see how naturally you can have vegetarian or vegan alternatives to your meat free days if you just want to cut down on meat.

I wanted to bring those curries and the Keralan dishes, which we have from my grandmother's recipes, and I wanted to show everyone how naturally, you know, clean labled the products can be.

What's the key thing to remember when starting a side hustle?

Running a business is never, ever easy. It's always a lonely journey, I say. And you think it's a straight journey, but it's always full of whirlwinds and ups and downs.

And then you go across.

What was your first BIG lesson?

When I started my work with LSBU, as a lecturer and I'm doing full time my business as well, the initial days was really complicated because I didn't know how to prioritize and how to manage both of them. Then I figured out if I mentally structure my day and mentally as well in my mind, if I think, okay, early mornings I keep for my email checking for my Nikasu or Jack and Chill emails and late evenings if I keep it for email checking as well.

If you really plan out and structure your day, things can, you can multitask and you can juggle, you know, your side hustles.

What is your key to success?

Resilience is the biggest word I would say I have acquired over these years and especially after COVID. And the toughest years in my life was 2020 and 2021.

How did you steer your business through COVID-19?

Because I wanted to do it for Jack and Chill I had to find a way what to do. Then I thought, okay, I had to start selling it out in small quantities.

And the other thing when I looked back, when I look back now, we launched our cookbook, Jack and Chill Cookbook. Because I had my free time, I launched my YouTube channel. I have a Facebook group where I support importers, and my YouTube channel has reached over 100,000 views now.

You need a reason, you need the passion, all your fire in your belly to get back on your feet. Only if you have the passion you will have that urge to get back.

So these are the things which I never thought would happen, and it was never in my bucket list, on my on my checklist, you know, to have a YouTube channel.

But on the other side, COVID hit, my business was affected, but I did have these extra things related to my passion, what I was doing. So yeah.

What other skills have you had to learn?

I wear multiple hats. Like I'll be the marketing person one day, I might be the delivery driver, one day I might be the operations. And I do the social media management.

Social media, I think is the most uncomfortable thing because it's the bit that I feel is more of a teenage millennial kind of thing and is not for me.

How have you embraced learning?

Because I had to run my own social media platforms, Instagram, I learned how to do that, and I know how to use, to find the Instagram insights in that. So how to find when the followers are active and how to do their social media content and how to, you know, find out the influencers, what is my micro/macro-influencers, how to contact them. So those kind of, I would say, social media skills and a bit of creativity, I must have improved.

Also because I was doing my own accounting initially as well I learned about the Sage software package. I learned how to do Xero software as well, you know, alongside and also selling, how to do your cold calling to your customers. What are the different type of marketing that you can do?

What's the biggest contrast between your two jobs?

The biggest contrast, I would say, is for a full time job, you have a guaranteed income by the end of your month, which you don't have for your business.

You are your own boss and you have your own flexibility around your working hours.

Where do your two roles crossover?

There is a lot of crossover, I would say, and I think it's a blessing now. I feel I have this 15 years of business experience because I am so pleased to be helping out the Business Management students with my practical experience. And I'm really proud that I have got these, you know, because they're facing the same sort of challenges you face a lot and you do make a lot of mistakes as well, which is which doesn't come from your theoretical knowledge so that I feel I can tell them how to face these.

There were students who said, "Oh man, I don't think I'm going to get my internship", but I was happy to help them out to find a way and navigate through what they have and then find an internship as well.

Where can we find out more about Jack and Chill?

The best way to do that is go to our website, JackAndChill, If you go there and you can put your postcode in the stockist page and if you put your postcode in, you can find who your local stockist is.

Any final piece of advice?

You need a reason, you need the passion, all your fire in your belly to get back on your feet. Only if you have the passion you will have that urge to get back.

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