The gap between me coming up with the idea to launch Career Queens Podcast and actually launching it, was 3 weeks. This kind of behaviour is pretty typical of me. Just this past week, I decided I wanted to start a Career Queens blog, and posted a call for contributors within the hour. And this afternoon I decided that TODAY would be the BEST DAY to publish the first blog post because… why not?! 😅 So, if you want to launch a side hustle, my advice is… Do it!
I’ve found that executing quickly has its benefits and downsides. On the one hand, there’s almost no time to talk myself out of doing something. On the other, it can be pretty stressful… Trust me!
Fortunately, I ended up NOT drowning in this particular ‘sink or swim’ situation, and I’ve learned valuable lessons about starting a side hustle with no prior experience along the way.
Here are 5 of them…
1. Start with what you know
I recorded my first episode with my best friend, Marcelle, who offered to be my guinea pig.
As it turned out, getting my first guest and recording the episode were the easy part… I still had to figure out what software I’d use to actually put the episode together! After searching online, and trying out different software… I realized that all of them were too complicated or clunky compared to Adobe Premiere Pro — a software I already knew how to use from past explorations into creating travel vlogs. So I decided to go with Premier Pro, and felt my decision was validated when a friend of mine (who’s a whizz at these kind of things) said he would have done the same.
I also leaned on my creative and marketing skills (e.g. graphic design, marketing communication, website creation etc). Having prior knowledge of these, gave me more time and capacity to figure out what I didn’t already know, or had limited knowledge of (e.g. podcast editing, SEO, software for scheduling posts etc).
Before starting your side hustle, start by asking yourself what skills and experiences will help you achieve your objective with less effort!
2. Turn to experts
About a day after deciding I wanted to start a podcast:
- I went on Amazon and ordered a mic and a book called “So You Want To Start a Podcast?” (Literally!)
- I listened to podcasts about starting a podcast (talk about META) and paid attention to what I liked/ didn’t like about my favourite podcasts
- Signed up for free webinars (the ones where they try to upsell you with their “only $999 per month, if you pay today!” digital product)
- Talked to a podcaster that’s been doing it for years (shout out to Pelo, host of She Brigade Podcast!)
- Spent a Saturday evening watching an online conference for people interested in content creation (where I found 2 future guests for the podcast!)
I’ve learned a lot. And I have so much more to learn! How will you go about learning what you need to know to start your side hustle?
3. Stay organized and adopt productivity hacks asap
Another expert I spoke to, specifically about organization, is Mel Carruthers of More Organised. A colleague at work organized free sessions with her for the team and, initially, I thought I’d chat to her about organizing my closet. That was until I thought to myself, “Who am I kidding? It doesn’t matter what Mel tells me about organizing my closet, because I just don’t care enough. A pristine closet will never ‘spark joy’ for me”.
One thing I was very interested to talk to her about, however, is how she would manage a side hustle on top of her full time gig.
As I outline in an Instagram post I posted shortly after speaking to her, Mel shared 4 tactics with me:
- Automate: I schedule posts using Planoly and schedule recording sessions using Calendly
- Delegate: I looked into virtual assistants, but decided it didn’t make sense for me as I’m not monetizing, yet! (the goal is to get sponsors)
- Habitualize: All my posts, podcast briefs and emails are now templatized; and I spend Saturday mornings planning and scheduling posts on Canva
- Ditch: Stepping down from other extracurricular commitments freed up time to focus on my new focus
My processes are not as streamlined as they could be, but they’re coming along.
4. Put yourself out there in whatever way feels comfortable to you
In my day job, I work on marketing programmes that help small businesses grow using Facebook’s platforms and tools. I know that it’s important to use Reels and IG Live for reach, and that people love seeing the person behind the brand. Still, I was determined NOT to do any of these things when I started my IG page. But… I knew I’d eventually need to. So I dipped my toes in Reels when I started using them for guest biographies (I figured this format would be more interesting than the usual text bios).
As I started to create and watch more and more Reels, the process became fun for me!
Similar to my skepticism around getting into Reels, I was not about waiting awkwardly for people to join me on an IG Live! But I decided to move in that direction when I realized that a virtual roundtable would be the best solution for 2 problems I wanted to solve:
- I wanted to have multiple perspectives on certain topics (e.g. salary negotiations, side hustles), BUT I didn’t want to change the format of the podcast
- I wanted to give people listening to the podcast an opportunity to ask their own questions live
From these experiences I learned that:
- While it’s important to put yourself out there and be “the face” of your project, you can always do it in a way that feels authentic to you
- You don’t have to do everything all at once
- Your motive for doing something can often push you outside of your comfort zone
5. Remember why you started once the dust settles
Or, start with why…
Yes, that Simon Sinek phrase has reared its clichéd head again! Not even because I’m running out of steam and want to end this blog post to eat a late lunch. But because it’s true!
I’m reminded of my “why” every time I read a review, comment or message that expresses how much someone loved/ learned from an episode or post. These love letters and words of encouragement remind me that I’m doing this because…
Getting career advice from mentors who have “been there, done that” is invaluable.
But so is getting advice from peers whose desires and contexts more closely mirror yours.
When I receive messages from folks that “get” this, it really keeps me going. And my next goal is to “share” CQP with other voices.
And, on that note! If you’re interested in contributing to this blog, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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