MY TIPS FOR FULL TIME CREATIVES WITH A SIDE HUSTLE
When I first started Mister Weekender I was working full time, hustling 60 to 70 hour weeks in public relations. I worked long days from Monday to Friday, and would come home and work on Mister Weekender for at least another three or four hours every evening. Come the weekend, I wasn’t out with friends having brunch or at bars in the evenings; I was hustling and spending every single spare moment I had on Mister Weekender because I loved what I was doing and it didn’t feel like work. Over the course of the first three months, I started to receive a few opportunities. My first and most memorable to this day was with STA Travel who flew me to New Zealand to explore the South Island. After this trip I decided to take a leap of faith, quit working full time and see where Mister Weekender would take me. At the time I didn’t have huge savings to back me up if something went wrong. But I had the confidence in knowing I could make it work. Plus if it didn’t work, I always knew I could jump back into public relations – but the very thought sent shudders down my spine because I didn't love that job. So I knew I had to hustle hard to make this work.
I know what you’re thinking – if I didn’t have lots of savings in the bank, where was I getting an income from? I still needed regular work to pay the bills and was able freelance three days a week managing social media for several clients. However as I was freelancing, I wasn’t getting paid when I travelled – of course. And often my trips are unpaid because brands spend a lot of money putting a trip together, so I have to be very selective with the trips I choose and make sure the destinations are interesting to my readers - you guys!
Blogging for me is all about my readers and inspiring them to travel the world. When I discovered a podcast called Being Boss by boss ladies Kathleen Shannon and Emily Thompson, and a magazine called The Collective edited by another boss lady, Lisa Messenger, I had finally found my tribe. However I knew I had to step it up so I started creating travel guides, photography cheat sheets and work life balance tips sheets, which readers could download and print for free. I wrote my first eBook “How To Create A Successful Instagram”, which sold out in a week! I also started coaching other bloggers, and I regularly host workshops.
Fast forward to today and the journey hasn’t been without a tonne of sweat, blood and tears. A lot of people ask me how I managed to work full time whilst having a side hustle, and even now I wonder how I was able to recently launch my own creative agency and still commit to Mister Weekender. It’s been very busy, let me tell you. Lots of sleepless nights, solo brainstorms (yup!) and meetings. Even now I battle moments of self doubt, but if I can do it so can you. With that in mind, I thought I would I share a few tips for all of you full time creatives with a side hustle. It's important to me to help you guys along the way by sharing all my learnings. I hope you get a lot of enjoyment and motivation from them!
My workspace is my sanctuary and includes artwork I have collected over the years. They mostly all have a reference of the outdoors, of course!
GET STARTED The secret to getting ahead is getting started. Just go for it. Start reaching out and telling people about your side hustle, set up a blog or website, secure your social media platforms and pitch new business. The start up phase is such an exciting time – you just need to keep hustling, don’t let self doubt sink in and never give up.
GET A RELEVANT JOB Don’t waste time putting bread on the table for a job you don’t love. Start working a day job that is relevant to your side hustle so you can skill up. Consider working part time (four days a week is a great start!) so you can invest more time in your side hustle.
BE SELECTIVE When I first started blogging, I worked with a couple of brands that weren’t a great fit for my readers. But I was just so happy someone wanted to work with me. Big mistake. My readers come first, always. Instead of brushing the situation aside, I learned from it. So when it comes to working with clients and brands, be selective. Build your own dream clients and watch more dream clients follow.
TAKE ON GREAT GIGS Take on the gigs you really want to be doing! I’ve seen time and time again in some of the PR agencies I’ve worked at, take on bad gigs and clients because they needed the money. I would prefer having a business with fewer great clients, than a business with lots of bad clients. Yes there are times when you need to take what you can, but I have found the more selective I am, the better clients I bring on board and the better brands I get to work with.
DO WHAT YOU LOVE Do what you love, and make sure you keep your eye on the prize - work life balance. And yes, money is great but in order to thrive you need to do what you love without worrying about the money earning potential. At my workshops, many of my students ask me about money, money, money and I tell them that money was never a motive of mine when I started Mister Weekender – it still isn’t! Instead I focus on creating great content I know you guys, my readers, will love.
KNOW YOUR VALUE On the subject of money, it's so easy to undervalue your worth when you're starting out and have a side hustle. I've been there, done that. I've undercharged to get my foot in the door. I was worried if I charged too much no one would want to work with me. Big mistake. And you know what? It didn't feel good because I knew I was undervaluing and undercharging. So I learned from that experience and changed my rates. However it wasn't until I read Money + Mindfulness by Lisa Messenger where I realised I had low financial self-esteem. She read an article by Forbes financial reporter Kathy Caprino, where she recommends entrepreneurs who suspect they're undercharging should add 20% to their fees - right now. So that's what I did. And you should too. Because if you don't know and value your worth, who else will?
HAVE A MORNING RITUAL I cannot stress how important a morning ritual is. It puts you in a great mood and increases your creativity. My morning ritual is to get up early and exercise, followed by making a homemade banana smoothie whilst catching up the news and reading my favourite magazine, The Collective. After I’ve had a shower I am then ready to take on the day and tackle emails and my To Do List, which I usually write the night before so I don't go to bed thinking about what I need to do the next dat. Your morning routine may involve sleeping in, walking the dog, yoga at the beach, grabbing a coffee after a run – whatever it is, a morning ritual is super important for us creatives with a side hustle.
CREATE A BEAUTIFUL WORK SPACE When I first quit working full time, I decided to create a beautiful work space that would motivate and inspire me to hustle hard and work hard. I went to Ikea and bough a desk and a chair. I raided Officeworks and bought pens, scissors, envelopes and paper. I went to Harvey Norman and bought my first printer and scanner. The initial investment was about $500 but it was worth it, and I was able to keep the receipts and claim it at tax time. Aside from all the bells and whistles, creativity requires space so remember to keep a clean desk as it will clear your mental space as well. Unless you love working in chaos, which is also totally ok! So to give you a little inspiration, I organised for my photographer friend Brynn Chadwick to come over last week and take some photos of my work space at home. As you can see my space is neat and has lots of references to nature...more on that below.
GO ON AN INFORMATION DIET Your time as a full time creative entrepreneur with a side hustle is more valuable than ever, so consider going on an information diet. This is something I learned from a book that changed my life, The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris.
GET OUTDOORS A blog post on Mister Weekender wouldn't be a blog post on Mister Weekender if I didn't tell you to get outdoors! Working full time and having a side hustle takes up a huge amount of time and effort, so make sure you leave plenty of time to get outdoors and go exploring! It will do wonders for your creativity.
HUSTLE HUSTLE HUSTLE My final tips for those of you who are working the 9 to 5 daily grind and have a side hustle, is to have a plan, set goals and achieve them. Give it everything you've got, turn off distractions, take risks and trust your instincts, don't compare yourself to others, never assume (something an old boss told me when I started my first full time job and I've never forgotten it), learn from your mistakes and never, ever give up.
Ever since I discovered The Collective, it's the one magazine I rush down to the newsagency for every month.
A sneak peek at a few of the books that inspire me to keep hustling and are also a great read for you guys!
Plants, I have to have lots of greenery in my workplace as it makes me calm and more productive. I've even blogged about how plants improve productivity!
My most treasured book, and not just because one of my photos features in it. Although I do consider myself one lucky girl!
Do you have any other tips for those working full time and a side hustle? If so, I'd love to hear them so please feel free to comment below!