I had the pleasure of interviewing Sydney Pincus, a physical therapy student who created and successfully runs a side hustle while in DPT school!
She shares how she started her side hustle, The Health Hangover, how she balances her time with her business and her studies, and what her recommendations are for other students looking to create a stream of income while in school.
Be sure to give this interview a read!
Can you tell our readers a little about yourself?
My name is Sydney Pincus, and I am a current DPT student at the University of Miami.
In my free time I like to visit small businesses, and create reviews to help support them on TripAdvisor. I love exploring new places, and with that comes a love for travel.
I am sure many physical therapists can relate, fitness and healthy eating is extremely important to me. I really enjoy cooking and meal prepping throughout the week. I have a blog, The Health Hangover, on Instagram where I post to inspire other people to also live healthier lifestyles.
I love spending time with my family and friends. I enjoy going for long walks around the neighborhood, hanging out by the beach, and my all-time favorite thing to do is go to brunch!
Can you tell us about The Health Hangover?
The Health Hangover is a little bit of everything wellness related. It started as a women’s health blog created with a focus on exposing the truth behind what is in the products that women use. Showing the ingredients in the food we eat, the skin care products we use, the tampons we use, and a variety of other items that are in our day-to-day life can be detrimental to our health.
I decided to go on a weight loss journey, and began sharing my journey on the page. People were very intrigued and interested in the recipes and meal preps I posted on the page.
Ultimately, my goal shifted to not only exposing the truth behind daily use products, but to show people the ease that can be associated with a life of wellness. The blog has now taken a turn and focuses a lot on food, small business support, and especially learning to love yourself and your insecurities.
I also have an Etsy page which is what this interview is really about. However, The Health Hangover is so much more than just oils. The Health Hangover is a place where people can ask their questions, find useful information, and share their stories with like-minded individuals.
When did you realize you wanted to start your own side hustle business?
I took a gap year between my undergraduate education and going back to physical therapy school. This decision was by choice due to the hardships I encountered during COVID.
I believed starting school during the peak of the pandemic would be too challenging, and I took the year to work.
I got a job in an outpatient neuro clinic, which happened to be in South Carolina, some place I never lived before. I had a lot of trouble adjusting since I couldn’t meet people with social distancing and mandates in place. The way that I began to feel in touch with different communities was by spending my mornings before work in coffee shops.
I didn’t have much work outside of my typical 11-4 pm working hours, so I spent my coffee shop hours browsing the Internet and reading. I began seeing people with various degrees, some without degrees, on Instagram selling things and educating people on different topics that were important to them. The more that I began to see that, the more I decided that this is something I think I would be great at, and something I think that the world would like to hear.
I decided to create my blog page, the initial goal was never for this to be my side hustle, more of an outlet to connect and educate people.
As my gap year progressed, I decided that having a steady flow income throughout school was extremely important. I wanted to find a way to monetize my blog, and ultimately, create a passive income there. From there I played around with a variety of different ideas before finding my true purpose and passion.
There are a few other questions where I’ll go into more details about that process, so keep reading for more!
When did you realize you wanted to make your side hustle business revolve around oils?
As I said above, I created my page to help women see the truth behind their products, and expose them to a lifestyle of wellness.
The decision to add a passive income to the page was an easy one, but one that took time to develop. Going to physical therapy school is undoubtedly expensive, and as someone who would like to own a private practice one day, it is important to be financially smart even as a student.
I began brainstorming ideas for what I could sell that would align with my blog’s purpose. Some of the initial business plans included selling workout clothes, sustainable pajamas, creating a private label of skincare, and even baby products. My mom owns a women’s clothing store and I thought these items would fit well with her brand and would help me get started.
I believe it is important for you to follow your dreams, and the money will follow. If you work hard and stay consistent you will eventually manifest all the things you are working towards.
Essentially, as somebody who struggles with major migraines, joint pain and anxiety, I am constantly trying to find natural remedies to help me get through the hard days without taking ibuprofen consistently. I could not find anything for my migraines that did not bother me. I stumbled upon the use of essential oils for nerve pain and migraines, but the blends that were out there actually made my symptoms worse or would irritate my sensitive skin.
As someone with a degree in Microbiology and Immunology, I decided it could not be too hard for me to buy some high-quality oils and create my own blend to help myself. The very next week I began creating my own blends after extensive research on their uses, downfalls, scent profiles, etc. After much practice, I had created the perfect pain blend, which is now my best seller, The Pain Killer.
From there, I realized I could be helping people with a variety of different day to day health flare ups control their symptoms and just feel all around better. I created multiple blends that I feel target the main complaints of busy adults today. I get my oils from a family owned farm in New Jersey, and get the highest quality bottles, organic carrier oils, and labels on the market.
Essentially, I created a small business that’s products are made from materials from other small businesses for locals like you!
How long has The Health Hangover been in business now?
As of this week, The Health Hangover is one year old!
This has been a huge accomplishment for me. I have my oils currently being wholesaled to other Instagram bloggers, boutiques, estheticians, physical therapy clinics, massage therapists, and even local cafes and craft stores!
I also sell to the public on my Etsy shop and create custom blends for brands, bridal parties, teams, for certain health goals, etc.
I also have a Facebook group for local Miami people to share small business love and restaurant recommendations.
My Instagram now has well over 2k followers and is growing steadily.
I have helped many people get started on their weight loss journey by cutting out processed foods. I do not necessarily need the page to grow big quickly. I am happy with the community I have created, and the help I have been able to give people. Eventually, I would like to turn The Health Hangover into my business page where I will focus also on my private practice.
Ultimately, the important takeaway is that in a year I have not only created a website, Instagram page, Facebook group and Etsy shop, but I have created a brand and following around myself. This is the most important thing you can do.
You have to work hard to build trust around the people who are following you, and to help them in many different ways. This is what creates a strong, unstoppable business. People want to see the face and story behind the business. They want advice, they want a friendly interaction, and they want to feel special, and I want to give them that too!
How did you go about creating your own shop on Etsy?
Once I decided on creating a line of essential oil rollers, I knew I wanted to use the highest quality ingredients and try to support other small businesses.
It took me a very long time to find the right essential oils to create my blends. I have no problem with the big lines like Young Living and DoTerra, but I did not want to buy into a commercialized company or become a network marketing rep.
I found the family owned farm where I buy my oils from through Etsy. I correspond directly with the family and get the oils which my customers need. This place has 100% pure therapeutic grade oils which they create themselves. I get my amber oil bottles from another small business who works directly with brands like mine.
The labels and gift wrap on all of my orders are designed and made by me! I like these little added touches as they make the rollers more personalized. It took me a few batches of labels, a few printing company trials, a few different amber bottle and roller top trials to find the correct fit. As with every business, trial and error is a constant process.
I have definitely come to the point of perfecting my craft with the best ingredients, bottles and labels possible!
In terms of getting on Etsy, this was challenging. Initially my website was on Shopify, but with SEO and E- Commerce through Shopify being very intense and for mass sellers, I did not feel like this was the best place to sell my oils. I decided on Etsy because the platform is meant to be for small businesses and crafters to sell items to customers who are seeking out these type of items.
I love Etsy because there is definitely a niche of oil products out there, and a customer base looking for them. It was super easy to set up my shop, and optimize the key search words to get seen by users. I still use Facebook, Instagram, and other outlets to promote the oils because at the end of the day, you are the only person who can get your business up, running and continuously doing well!
Have you identified a specific segment of customers that most enjoy your products?
I would say there are a few different key populations of customers who enjoy my oil products.
First and foremost, the most sales I do are wholesale now, so I do truly enjoy helping other people build their brands and make money selling amazing, quality oils.
I have white label options where the clients can pay to have me create their own labels, and even custom made blends in order to sell them as their own rather than as “The Health Hangover”. Although this is not promoting my name, I truly enjoy helping these people with their startups and sharing these great products.
In terms of retail, I sell a lot of oils to chronic invisible illness patients. People who have been told by doctors that their symptoms do not add up to any conditions well known, and send them away. These people are always searching for remedies to just be able to do small tasks, and get through daily life. I can relate a lot in those areas, I think that is why my Pain Killer blend is so popular!
I sell a lot of anxiety, fatigue and immunity blends to students. In college, both undergrad and graduate education, stress levels and exhaustion are through the roof. To be able to have a product like these oils to keep in your purse, backpack or car for whenever you need a boost is like winning the jackpot for students. I enjoy working with these populations as well because I am both a student and someone who struggles with a lot of pain daily. The best thing in my life is being able to help people like myself live a more functional life.
Out of all of the products you sell, which is your personal favorite?
In terms of what the products are meant to work for, I think The Pain Killer is my favorite!
The sleep blend, anxiety blend and pain blend all do very specific things, and work very well. However, The Pain Killer was my first blend that I truly felt like set my company apart from other companies selling oils, it is just that good! The combination of cooling lavender and peppermint scents mixed with woodsy and warm tones is an abnormal pairing, but works phenomenally well for pain.
In terms of scents themselves, I am a huge Lemongrass lover, so The Immune Booster is my favorite because it combines a Lemongrass and Eucalyptus combination that I just want to bathe in every single day!
Do you have any special plans on how to use that money?
I definitely would like to use the money I am making on my oils towards my future.
I obviously will have a bit of student loans to pay off, so it would be great to use the money there. I also want to open my own Women’s Health Clinic specializing in infant loss and high- risk pregnancies, so it would be great to have this money I have put aside go towards opening my clinic as well.
How do you balance running The Health Hangover with your coursework in DPT school?
Running The Health Hangover during school is definitely a challenge if I am being honest. Luckily, my PT program has Fridays free from classes.
I try to work on planning my posts for the week on Fridays and then posting them throughout the week with everything already prepared. I post stories throughout the week that are more candid for my followers to see what I am up to and to vent at times. Then my Facebook group runs itself with people starting conversations and sharing recommendations which I just moderate throughout the week.
In terms of the oils themselves, every single oil is made to order, so I am constantly making oils. Since my degree is in Microbiology and Immunology, I am able to purchase pipettes and other tools in order to make the filling process easier. Luckily, my campus has a post office as well, so shipping is typically seamless.
Overall, I kind of have an idea now of how things work. People usually get paid on the first and fifteenth of the month, so those weeks are my busiest with people deciding to restock or splurge, and during the off times I can get prepared for the crazier weeks, promote more, engage more with my followers and prepare new seasonal blends!
What are some tips you have for physical therapy students who would like to create their own side hustle business?
I could write a book to answer this question!
If you are in physical therapy school, and are looking to make some extra money, a side hustle is the way to go. Getting a job is obviously great for many reasons, but it takes up a lot of time that could be spent studying. Find a niche that you love and are knowledgeable about whether it is fitness for beginners, low impact fitness, vegan recipes, fashion, anxiety help, travel, etc. Create an account for yourself and start by creating a following around whatever it is you wish to post.
Eventually you will get an idea of what could sell on the page, and go for it. Take the leap of faith. Set yourself aside a budget you are willing to spend on starting up the company. Make yourself a spreadsheet of all of the things that you will need to buy in order to create your product from start to finish. Find wholesalers that you can trust with sustainable and ethically sourced materials. Promote the launch for the item on your social networks. Create a website with an about me page, information on your product, and an area where people can purchase the items.
Remember that the creation and success of a small business/ side hustle takes time. It is a constant trial and error process. Do not get down on yourself if things fail, what is important is you learn from your mistakes, and you fix them for the next time.
My best advice if you are dealing with hardship in your business is that you make the necessary changes for things to get better. If you do the same thing over and over again which is not working then you will never succeed.
Connect with your followers, have free resources around the products/ information you are presenting, use fun graphics and reels, utilize email subscriptions, and make your brand revolve around you and the things you love.
Eventually, the money and the success will follow. Consistency is key and being able to be self aware and change with the times and what people want to see is essential. Always be yourself, but also stay knowledgeable on hot topics. You’ve got this!
I am happy to help, so feel free to reach out to me on my Instagram @thehealthhangover and we can have a mini phone meeting to discuss how you can do this too!