MY TIPS FOR FULL TIME CREATIVES WITH A SIDE HUSTLE
Before I launched Your Creative Start, I was working full time as a freelance Social Media Manager and travel blogging, hustling 60 to 80 hour weeks. I juggled two worlds - working for someone else and working for myself; it certainly didn't take long to realise which I preferred.
What may come as a surprise for many who know me from This Wkndr is that the blogging route was never a full time interest for me. And it was only until last year when I decided to launch Your Creative Start that I properly began to realise this. Travel blogging has been fun - I mean, who wouldn't love travelling the world for free, and sometimes getting paid to do so! But it's not what I loved wholeheartedly. It took me a while to realise but what I love is helping people reach their infinite potential. I love helping brands become known for their something. I love helping creative kick start their brands.
It wasn't until I lost a contract role early last year that I decided to take that leap of faith - quit working for someone else and start working for myself. I launched Your Creative Start with nothing more than an idea and a website I built myself using Wordpress. At the time I had a small amount of savings to back me up if something went wrong but I didn't want to dip into it. I knew I could make it work if I hustled. You know, like really hustled hard. And that's what I did.
I wrote a list of all the people I knew who had brands or businesses I could see myself working with, I cold called, I sent pitch emails, I set up meetings and after a month I had secured my first two clients. I couldn't believe it! Fast forward almost 12 months later and I haven't looked back -it's been amazing because I have finally found what I love doing.
Even today a lot of people ask me how I managed to work full time whilst having a side hustle before I launched Your Creative Start. It wasn't easy, let me tell you. Lots of sleepless nights, solo brainstorms, self doubt and goal setting. But if I did it - so can you. With this in mind, I thought I would share a few tips for all of you creatives working full time and juggling a side hustle. If you use these tips as a guide, I promise you'll soon be working on your creative side hustle full time!
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 full time 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. This is what I did when I juggled life as a freelance Social Media Manager and blogging - it was awesome!
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. Your customers are also the same. When it comes to creating something for your clients or customers, make sure you're putting them first.
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, it's that simple. By doing what you love, you'll attract the right customers and clients. In order to thrive in your side hustle, you need to do what you love without worrying about anything else. Focus on creating great work, content, websites or art, and the rest will follow.
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 none of my clients battered an eye lash. 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 healthy breakfast whilst catching up the news. 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!
GO ON AN INFORMATION DIET
I preach about this alllllll the time. 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. Stop checking Instagram 50 times a day and allocate two times a day to check up on what's been happening. Stop watching the news and instead ask your friend to fill you in every couple of days. Switch your emails off when you work. In fact, only check them once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Get my drift? Going on an information diet leaves so much more time to create!
This wouldn't be a blog post from me 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.
Words by YCS Director, Jaharn Giles