@lexniko: The perfect side-hustle

While the industry can be financially rewarding for some, like the Decoelis, Alexandra Nikolajev is hedging her bets. ”While I think the space can certainly be lucrative in Canada, it would mostly be for your top-tier content creators,” she says. “And the money can absolutely be fluid. Ine month you’re booking multiple campaigns and the next month you get a one-off.”

The 33-year-old, who has been blogging for the past eight years and considers herself one of the “OG bloggers,” knows this first hand. As the face behind @lexniko, a lifestyle and entertainment blog and Instagram account that reaches over 27.4k people daily, 33-year-old Nikolajev shares her favourite pair of pleather pants from H&M on her main feed or her unfiltered thoughts on the latest Bachelor drama on her Instagram stories. She’s built up a following as the “chatty best friend,” or your online GFF (Gossip Friend Forever).  “All that I feel like I’m doing is what you would be doing if you were sitting at home with your girlfriends,” Nikolajev says of her interaction with followers. “If you met every Monday and watched The Bachelor, you’d sit around and you gossip about it.”

In 2017, the Toronto-based content creator took the leap to full-time, moving to Los Angeles, shooting content and working on collaborations, but she says she missed the consistency of a full-time job outside of the industry. With her entire livelihood then riding on paid collaborations with brands, she says was pitching herself to any and every brand, regardless of whether or not they were a good fit for her or if she even really liked them.

These days, she’s back to content creation part-time. From 9-5, she works in integrated sales at Sportsnet, a job that, like blogging and content creation, appeals to her interests in understanding data and numbers. Using the few evening hours she has after work to hammer out content for her blog, I’m a Little, and running around Toronto on the weekends to shoot, edit and plan new content for her Instagram followers. All in between interviewing contestants from The Bachelor franchise and The Real Housewives. “With the exception of (one) year, I’ve always had a full-time job while blogging. So I am used to doubling down,” Nikolajev says. “You’ve got to treat some Saturdays or Sundays as full workdays for the blog, go out and shoot content.”

And, she adds, “I love [having] the ability to monetize my side hustle.”

Nikolajev points to a Valentine’s Day themed collaboration with dating app, Bumble. The collaboration required her to host a dating event and post a meme about being single, a collaboration that touched on two of her favourite topics: memes and singledom. “For me, I talk and joke about being single. I talk about relationships, so partnering with [Bumble] is such a natural fit.”

However, monetizing her side hustle is a lot of work. “[But] I mean, I don’t think anyone would say that it doesn’t feel good,” she says of her success. “I’m in shock a little bit that anybody would care what I have to say to the point where they’re like, ‘Why aren’t you live-storying The Bachelor tonight? Or I want your opinion.’ Sometimes, I’m baffled.”