All hail the side-hustle—the art of pursuing a passion project even when it's not the only thing on your plate. Here, the second part of our series on talented woman who are getting it done, even when there's a lot to do.
Name: Courtney Halverson
Full Time Gig: Film and TV Actress
Current Side Hustle: Fashion Blogging over at Pretty Little Fawn.
Elevator Pitch: I'm a bit of a hodge-podge, but I think in the best way possible. Because I started as an actress when I was young—I started in film when I was 13—it made the side hustle of blogging a lot easier. I was already comfortable(ish) with a camera, so the only thing that was hard was learning how to express myself rather than a character. I still find myself posing a little too much, and keeping my reader's at arms length because I'm so used to hiding myself behind someone else's words. I've had to work hard to break down the barriers and share as much as I can. I think I'm getting better at it the older I get—probably because pretending is exhausting!
How you balance the two: I started blogging a few years ago when I was in between filming, and to be honest, when I was bored. It helped me through a slower patch in my career and gave me something to remain focused on. Now that I'm busy on both sides of my career, the balancing has become more important. As much as I love blogging, I have to remind myself that acting has always been and will always be my first love, and that blogging is something I do for fun. So sometimes that means skipping out on a blogger-party in favor of working on lines, and remembering to not wear things that are too 'fashion-y' to an audition where I'm supposed to be an average college student.
Name: Natalie Alcala
Full Time Gig: Senior Editor, Racked LA
Current Side Hustle: Founder, Fashion Mamas
Elevator Pitch: Fashion Mamas is a members-only network for local moms who work in the fashion industry—designers, editors, stylists, models, publicists, bloggers, etc. This influential group meets often for playdates and other outings to discuss work, share baby stories, swap style notes and seek non-judgmental support, all while watching our little ones grow together. Fashion Mamas LA launched December 2014 with 10 members, and we're now nearly 100 members strong. Next up: Fashion Mamas NY!
How you balance the two: Organization is key. I toggle between my two inboxes all day long, side by side, and place items in their designated folders as they come. Also, being an early bird helps, because I'm often up and ready for the world by 5am, plowing through my work before my son wakes up at 6:30. Having a child really tests both your productivity and efficiency. You know that old saying, "You have as many hours in a day as Beyonce"? I get it now. You'd be surprised how much shit you can get done in 24 hours!
Name: Kaitlynn Carter
Full Time Gig: The Western Wild
Current Side Hustle: Foray Collective
Elevator Pitch: Western Wild is my lifestyle blog, where I talk about everything from what I'm wearing, to dating advice, to the chia breakfast parfaits I made this morning. Foray Collective is the new fashion e-commerce site I've developed with a friend, which serves as a venue for emerging designers and style influencers to come together so consumers will have a uniquely curated shopping experience.
How you balance the two: Western Wild is my day-to-day focus and something that I am constantly coming up with new material for and being creative with. Foray Collective is what I see as a long term project. I'm passionate about both so it's easy to balance the two! As long as you love what you're doing, there's always time.
Name: Marah Lidey (left), Director of Mobile; Naomi Hirabayashi (center), Chief Marketing Officer; Chloe Lee (right), Jr. Software Engineer, all at DoSomething.org
Current side hustle: Co-creators of Shine
Elevator pitch: Shine is a daily text to help you slay the day. 1 in 2 working women say that they struggle with issues of self-doubt or feel a lack of confidence at work. We want to use technology to change that!
How you balance the two:
One of my very best friends passed away last year, and I always used to ask her the same thing. She’d crush her full-time job and have 2-3 things going on the side at the same time. She inspired me in so many ways and made me realize, that I myself feel more balanced and creative when I have a full plate of diversified projects. While I don’t believe being ‘busy’ should ever be a point of pride, I love the feeling of being mentally stimulated throughout the whole day—and kicking my boots (hi Fall) off at the end of the day, knowing I crushed multiple projects across totally different verticals.
Like with other passion projects, when working on Shine I am able to start my day by thinking creatively about something personal that I care about, and at the same time be hyper-organized, passionate and on-my-feet in my day-to-day role as Director of Mobile at DoSomething.org, where I work on a lot of exciting cross-functional mobile projects. I’m loving getting to pursue two passions at once.
The other major factor that helps with balance is that all three of us work full-time at a place that not only encourages entrepreneurship and side hustle, but exemplifies it. Both our current CEO (who is leaving to rock another social change org) and our incoming CEO have created social ventures on the side that have a massive impact today. It’s been so inspiring to see two badass women lead a growing organization, and build new initiatives on the side at the same time.
Lastly and maybe most importantly, having a partner that I can rely on, bounce ideas off of and relax with has made all of the difference at this exciting time. My boyfriend is an incredible resource for me and he, along with some awesome friends, has made realize how important it is to have a strong support system when you’re pursuing multiple passions at once!
1. To balance both, you need to find your place and your people.
My place: I work at an organization that breeds creativity, entrepreneurship and hustle. The vibe of the DoSomething.org office feels way more Silicon Alley start up then not-for-profit org. When we hire, we look for three things in the new employee: will they hit a home run in 90 days, would you want to be in a bunker with them (DoSomething.org is a straight up family) and finally will they be doing something cool in five years? Doing cool shit is part of the DoSomething.org world and part of the culture that DoSomething.org leadership, Nancy Lublin and Aria Finger, have built: we move fast, we’re passionate, and we create.
My people: Remember that friend in high school (Hi, Jenni Bobbio!) that you would talk to for two hours on the phone with (high likelihood: it was the famed clear, plastic landline of the 90s)? You had just spent all day together but those conversations, covering everything from boys, to school stress, to your parents (they just don’t understand), etc., was pure elation. In Marah and Chloe, and in a different stage of life, the topics may have changed but the feeling is the same. I can’t get enough. Our conversations are full of honesty, vulnerability, and productivity and I love it. They’re my people and that matters a lot when you’re doing something on the side, getting less sleep, and working on something purely out of passion. Lastly, having a partner that gives me daily confidence, drive and inspiration makes all of this whole (Hi, Ruar!).
2. Side hustle is an advantage, not a distraction.
Ever heard of Le Pain Quotidien? In addition to having a killer happy hour deal (half off wine until 9pm, amazing), the friendliest staff around (shout out to the team at the Flatiron location!), and free wifi, LPQ (yeah, we’re on that acronym level) also serves as the unofficial Shine office.
At least twice a week, before work, we’re meeting to hustle away at Shine at LPQ. Usher confessions, yes, I have a lot more coffee and croissants in my system but getting a head start on the day with a passion project is addicting.
As a result, by working on Shine, my time management has approved, my creativity has improved, and my focus has improved. If the project is right, aka: you’re in love with it, side hustle isn’t a distraction from your full time job, it’s an advantage. Your knowledge and experience gets validated, you own something which makes you feel more confident, and that competency transcends to your personal and professional sense of self.
3. It’s easy to balance things you f’ing believe* in.
I believe in Shine. I’m obsessed with it. I believe in DoSomething.org. I’m obsessed with it. In the words of the great philosopher, Eminem, you only have one shot, one opportunity. I believe in the work I do. The growth and success of DoSomething.org and the growth and success of Shine result in, respectively, more young people taking action around social issues they care about and more women gaining confidence to own their day and their career. Seeing the big picture and being obsessed with the societal impact of your project / org’s success makes it very easy to balance.
By being involved in a project you’re genuinely passionate about and allowing for personal time. Shine is a project that I love working on and as an extra bonus, I’m fortunate to adore my friends who I’m working on it with. I feel lucky to be involved in a project with my best friends while having a blast and learning a ton. This passion and respect for your partners is key to balancing the two because then, it sort of comes naturally.
When the side hustle is something you find yourself prioritizing in your week, you know you’re involved in the right thing. Shine is a project that I love working on in my free time and it’s so important to me that I want to do my best work on it. I also know that I produce my best work when I have some me time, so in order to balance things in life, I prioritize Shine and other personal aspects of life, try to practice good communication, and am open to rearranging my schedule.
Communication is key for this, both with close ones you spend your time with and partners you’re working with. Luckily, I have the best people surrounding me both in life and Shine that it’s easy to be honest when anything has to give or take. Even more so, the support and enthusiasm about Shine both from Marah and Naomi and friends and family not directly involved (especially from my parents and my boyfriend) makes me work even harder around Shine.
Lately, I’ve been waking up early to settle into my day and work on Shine - it’s been a great way to start the morning with a project you’re passionate about and sets a great energy for the day. In fact, many of our Shine meetings are in the morning - there’s no better way to start off with best friends and positivity!