How I went from side-hustle to full-hustle and tips for you to do the same.
Since we released my Babe Chats episode (building your brand strategy with Megan Raynor - get onto it here if you haven’t) I’ve had Babes asking me to share more about my journey from side hustle to full hustle.
I have to laugh a little bit because even though Brand Babes Studio is full-on, I still have a bit of a side-hustle. I think I might just be one of those people who is always busy and always adding to their plate from the joy of discovery and challenge. Or maybe I just need to find a new hobby!
Anyway, that’s not the story you came here to hear. So let’s get into my journey of going from side-hustling with Brand Babes to a full-time Director and word witch. I’m going to leap straight from Uni - skip the advertising career at TBWA - to working at a local boutique branding agency.
I have always been one of those career driven Babes, which interestingly became a mindset I had to tackle, but we will get into that later.
From the beginning I was the only one in my role, in fact they had created the role for me specifically. This meant that I had the benefit of getting to work with everyone, on everything, as well as DO everything. I progressed quickly, taking up responsibility and new challenges until I one day realised I was pretty much acting on behalf of the boss a good portion of the time. As the career driven Babe I mentioned I am, this was exciting and exactly what I had planned.
Pretty quickly I started to get approached by other agencies trying to poach me. Goodness me it felt flattering Babes! The first couple I turned down, but the last one I said yes to and signed on the dotted line. This didn’t end up going ahead but it made me ask myself why I’d been so keen for that. I decided it was a) money that put me up to the industry going rate plus some, and b) it was more creative and less admin.
This is how I started side-hustling, to add more of what I enjoyed about my career to my life, to balance out what I didn’t. I wrote articles - and still do - for magazines, I started approaching cool companies with marketing ideas for their biz, I approached Brand Babes Studio and started writing web content for their awesome clients.
I side-hustled for for about 8 months, working on my own work before I went to work, and then again when I got home. I didn’t really have weekends but I didn’t mind - I was used to that from advertising land! The only thing that mattered was that I was working with people whose values aligned with mine, to create work I was proud of.
When I started wanting to walk out of work and go work on my own projects, I realised that alignment the problem after all. I loved my clients but no longer felt I was at a company in line with my values. I also knew I didn’t want to keep being the boss without being the official boss and had become jaded, but there was no where else in my city that I could see myself working. What other option was there but to carve out my own path alongside another kick-ass Babe?
As I mentioned earlier I had to challenge my career driven mindset. It almost felt like I was forfeiting my career if I leapt out on my own instead of following the traditional ladder. Crazy right?! It was knowing that I didn’t want to keep building someone else’s dream, and that my gut was telling me to be brave and jump, that got me passed this.
I actually tried not to follow my gut and cut down to three days a week instead as an attempt to ease into it. It was messy and lasted a fortnight before I fully resigned. Babes learn from my mistake and always follow your gut. It will tell you if you’re not which is way less fun than just doing it in the first place.
If you’re still not sure if you should leap yet, here’s what I suggest you do:
Make a list of all the skills you’ve gained in your jobs so far. Are you great with people, can you quote, do you do the books well, even things like being awesome at staying calm when you’re in a pickle is a great one! Look at this list and then if you think there’s anything integral missing, go and learn that. I can guarantee you that your list will be more than enough to make the leap and will give you a boost of confidence.
Use your experience to work out what you don’t want to do. Yes being your own boss means you do have to do a bit of everything, but it also means if there’s something you despise in your current role you can stop it. If you hate doing quotes, stop quoting and offer set prices. Or if you hate social media, don't offer that as a service, offer something else.
Go and see an accountant. This was a game-changer for me. I had spent weeks, months, what felt like years searching all over the net about what I needed to know as a self-employed human. I was hung up on it and scared to take a step forward incase I got it wrong and ended up paying gazillions later. If you have any questions, any worries, go and see an accountant and get yourself started right.
Say hi to people! Talk, email, DM, call, coffee date with others who have done the same. Since I made the leap I have made so many new friends who have been through a similar process. It made me feel calmer, inspired, and excited knowing that I was actually part of such a great community and that I could ask them anything if I got stuck.
Make a budget. This harks back to the accountant point and is equally as important. Having a budget that outlines what you need to make to cover expenses, makes you see that it’s doable. It can be really empowering as you start thinking ‘how can I get there this month?’ as opposed to fretting that you can’t.
Start talking about it. Get on your socials, tell your family, contact people that you could work with, start a newsletter…all these things not only make you accountable to actually leaping but also give you connections to get work through. You got this Babe!
Adopt another dog. Probably not a tip for everyone but this was some extra accidental motivation for me as the new pup needed someone at home!
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If you have any questions, want someone to keep you accountable, or want to start you new biz branding on the right foot, contact us Babes! We love to empower others on this path.