PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- When the sun goes down, homemade snickerdoodles and chocolate chip cookies start coming out of an oven at a rented church kitchen in Southeast Portland. The warm cookies are nudged into boxes and rushed into heated delivery bags and off to hungry customers minutes after they finish baking.
"If it's 8 o'clock and you are sitting down to watch a movie, the last thing you want to do is get up and go bake some cookies," customer Laura Robinson of Southeast Portland said.
Julia Baldwin and her husband Richard Kotulski knew that -- so when they returned to Portland after living on the East Coast, where late-night food delivery is common, they saw an opportunity and started After Dark Cookies.
This is their side hustle. It's fun for them because Baldwin likes the baking and her husband likes the marketing.
"I like the operational part," Baldwin said. "Getting 13 orders out the door before 8 p.m."
"A lot of responses from first-time customers is 'Why didn't I think of that?' or 'I thought of that and just never did it,'" Baldwin said.
Their timing helps: "We also have a number of customers who are partaking in marijuana," Baldwin said.
A side hustle should be simple
Portland-based author and host of the daily podcast, "Side Hustle School," Chris Guillebeau, is teaching people how to do quit their day job and follow their passion. He profiles people who have started a business, from stumbles to success.
He said first, your idea should be simple -- a product or service, even if it's already out there.
"I think people focus too much on trying to be unique," Guillebeau said. "You can think of 5 ideas, one low risk, that do not cost a lot of money, that you can start quickly and are excited about -- why not do that one?"
He said your side hustle will likely come from something you're already good at.
"What is the knowledge, the experience, the skill I have and what is the logical product or service for that?" he said.
A t-shirt became a business
It took 2 years of nightly doorstep deliveries for After Dark Cookies before Baldwin was able to quit her day job, but for one group of young men, things took off quickly.
Four former University of Oregon baseball players coached a kids camp together one summer and after they went their separate ways, people kept stopping them to ask about their camp T-shirts with the word "baseballism" on them.
"We printed 48 shirts and said let's go sell them at a batting facility," Baseballism co-founder Jonathan Jwayad said.
Those shirts sold in a week and then with a Kickstarter campaign for cash, they were off and running. Now they've turned their Portland Baseballism brand into a multimillion dollar company with retail stores around the country and 175 products from gloves to backpacks.
"There's gotta be competition, there is worry about that, but if we stay super authentic and do everything the right way, the customer will see that," Jwayad said.
Not all side hustles turn into that kind of success, and they aren't necessarily supposed to, according to Guillebeau.
"It's about taking whatever free time you have and building something for yourself," he said. "If you really want to be successful, it's not about the money, it's about what you are passionate about."