- The Hustlers
- #7: A life-changing side hustle of a Google executive
#7: A life-changing side hustle of a Google executive
Learn how Karthik built a sustainable lifestyle-based side hustle
Side Hustles have many upsides - from helping you create multiple income sources to enabling transition in your career. But, have you ever thought that it could change your lifestyle too.🤯
Karthik's side hustle started from his interest in sustainability. Now, "Yash Farm Stays" generates income for him on the side while also enabling him to enjoy the perks of a sustainable lifestyle with his wife.
🤩270+ paying guests
🌾3000+ people have taken the farm tour
✨Hosted multiple special occasions, photo shoots, day outings and zero-waste boutique weddings
A life-changing side hustle of a Google executive
Karthik Padmanabhan has worked at giant tech companies and even experimented with running in his career spanning two decades. But always felt constricted, like something was missing. He always thought that the corporate lifestyle is not sustainable as the earning potential goes away entirely if you fall ill or are not in a good mental state. Exploring the answers to a more sustainable life led to Yash Farm Stay.
A realization that sparked interest in "sustainable living"
In 2015, Karthik and his wife, Shyla, deeply reflected on their lives and realized their current lifestyle was not sustainable. With this realization, they embarked on a journey to seek a sustainable lifestyle. Sustainability did not happen by design but by chance. As they were finding alternative things to do, they came across sustainable living. Within a short time, the couple learnt about sustainable living through permaculture workshops. The quest to discover more about sustainable lifestyle drew them to Auroville, where they learnt about building houses on earth architecture. Karthik and his wife also volunteered on various farms at Auroville to learn more about living in harmony with nature - plants, trees and animals.
Diving right into the project with determination
Once Karthik and his wife got a little bit of hang of it, they got a one-acre land on the outskirts of Bangalore. They jumped right into setting up an organic farm that was based on permaculture principles. And very soon, they pivoted to make the farm based on natural farming, (a farming technique practised by our ancestors) as it is more suited to India. While they wanted to set up a full-fledged farm, it seemed complicated. Farming requires an integrated family and help; their kids were not into it. Also, they were setting it up with their full-time jobs, so time was scarce.
But they were determined and also took the Green Sustainability Pledge in 2016. Instead of a big farm, they decided to build a farm stay. A small house that could be sustained with the farm produce. Since then, their lives have changed significantly. Karthik and Shyla say that now they feel more centred and at peace with themselves.
Tapping into the network, Getting the first paying guest
The main house of "Yash Farm Stays" was completed in 2018. Since its completion, Karthik and Shyla have been developing the farm to make it a functional food forest that caters to animals' and humans' needs. Karthik has got a deep network in the tech community. As he started sharing the concept of Yash Farm Stays, his friends became intrigued and started visiting the farm stay. Friends and folks from his network started coming to help, stayed at the farm and eventually started paying. They loved the experience and started spreading the word.
Come May 2019, and the first paying guest checked in for a week-long creative workshop with their employees and associates. Since then, the couple has been super busy sharing, hosting and spreading awareness about sustainable living practices to families and groups. They have hosted over 270 paying customers at "Yash Farm Stays" to date, and around 3,000 people have experienced the Yash Farm Tour. Through "Yash Farm Stay", Karthik envisions building a community that practices sustainability because he believes that sustainability goals can't be achieved alone.
Also, he says that one doesn't need to do farming to lead a sustainable life; sustainability can be practised wherever you are. One of the starting points is to cut down on unnecessary expenses. He believes a sustainable lifestyle is all about managing our needs and not succumbing to consumerism.
Yash Farm was a passionate side project for him that now brings cash flow to sustain the farm property and gives the couple a tranquil oasis of their own in the middle of the urban jungle.
Hustlers Insights of the Week
Karthik's story is an inspiration that your lifestyle could also show the way to a side hustle that makes money.
🔍Reflect on your current life: One of the ways to find your side hustle interest is by reflecting on your current life. It can point you towards the missing piece in your life, and then you can explore different ways to find that missing piece.
🗣️Talk about your project in your network: Karthik didn't even know he could make money on the side with "Yash Farm Stays". Because he had shared the concept among his network, people started getting interested and eventually started paying.
💫Dive Right in: For most of the projects, we recommend that you start small, but sometimes if the transformational value of the project is massive, to make it a reality, you got to dive right in.
We discovered Yash Farm and Karthik's story as we tried to find a venue to host Build Weekend in Bangalore. We had a blast building side-projects at their farm stay for two days and learnt that side-projects could be anything, even a lifestyle change.
Did you learn something new about side-income reading this? If yes, share it with a friend to increase the surface area of knowledge so that more people can know how to make money.
Also, know anyone (who is making money while having a full-time job) we should feature? Let us know by replying, and we will get chatting!