Girl on a mission: making my 'side hustle' the main event

Last month I told my boss to stuff his corporate copywriting job and I announced to the world that I was going to make a career out of Celebrancy - something that had, until that point, been my much-beloved ‘passion project’.

Since I graduated a decade ago (GULP), I’ve been scrambling around looking for work I was interested in, or a job I was passionate about, because life is too short to be spent on work that doesn’t make your heart sing (no matter how great the money)! So when I became a Celebrant at the beginning of 2017 - and absolutely LOVED it - I had an inkling at the back of my mind that I would really quite like to make this love story lark an actual career.

Anyway, fast forward twelve months of dithering and procrastinating and general handwringing: 30 January 2018, I FINALLY got my shit together. I sacked off the day job, turned my back on a regular income and flung myself into the unknown, determined to pursue more of the work that I love! This all sounds very courageous written down - like it was done in a spectacular blaze of glory - but I was actually incredibly anxious about the decision. 

It just felt momentous and very overwhelming! I made a lot of calls to my mum...

Katie Matthews humanist celebrant

Pretty much everyone I know is running a side hustle business these days. The trend is to be a multi-hyphaenate-slashie-whatchamacallit and have your fingers in all the pies. PEAK MILENNIAL. But I’m hearing less from the people who want their fingers in one big pie (!) and are in the process of transitioning their side hustle to make it the main event. As that is exactly what I’m doing with my business, I thought it would be worth sharing my thoughts/ feelings/ fears as I take on my big mission, in the hope that some of it might resonate with those of you that are doing the same… or are thinking about taking the plunge at some point in the future!

So… this is where I am right now, one month in…

·      I sort of miss the freedom that comes with running your business as a side hustle. When you have a main source of income, you feel less weighed down by expectations. You can rise above criticism, you can afford to be blasé when prospective clients choose to work with someone else. You can stay in your own lane and experiment and be totally prepared to fail. All that has temporarily deserted me because I now need this to be a success.

·      When I was running my business as a hobby on the side, I was keeping it small. Not intentionally – I just didn’t have the time to make more of it. But it was under the radar. Now, one month in, I feel as though I am slowly becoming more visible…That's obviously good but, equally, if people don’t like what they see...? Well, that’s a slightly intimidating prospect. Even though, rationally, I know I am not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, which is absolutely fine, the mad woman inside me is shouting WHO WILL BOOK ME? WHERE’S THE MONEY COMING FROM? HOW WILL I EAT? 

·      However, I also feel proud of myself for what I have achieved so far. I’ve been able to put much more time into writing my ceremonies and developing the super-personalised experience I want to provide my customers. I’ve finally got around to setting up my new website. I’ve written blog posts - hey! I’ve made new connections with people in my industry. I’ve booked some wonderful new clients. I’ve had more ideas in four weeks than I’ve had in the last two years, and I’m excited to see how these come to fruition and the impact I can have.

·      More importantly, I don’t have an excuse NOT to make this a success anymore. Before, when I had a day job keeping me busy, I would complain about how little time I had to think, to create, to get myself out there. Blah, blah, blah. That's a story I really can't get away with telling myself now. I have all the resources I need, it’s just down to me to get out of my own way... and GET ON WITH IT.

·      And that’s sort of marvellous and absolutely fucking terrifying, all at the same time!

I'd be really interested to hear from you! Are you trying to do something similar? Have you any pearls of wisdom to share? Let me know!