On May 23rd, YWiB Vancouver brought together a diverse and dynamic group of entrepreneurs for an invigorating conversation on a hot topic for entrepreneurs and freelancers—side hustles. The panel included fashion, lifestyle and entertainment blogger and vlogger Samantha Sito, food, nutrition, and health entraordinare Ana Arreola of Lola’s Churro Bar, digital tech and new media innovator Hamilton Ofiyai of Hypekraft and House of Gul, designer, developer, and real estate investor John Chan of Dayboard and 2x, and designer and ethical clothing advocate Kelsey Adair of Bare Knitwear. The side hustlers shared their stories and insights on launching their ideas, dealing with the highs and lows of running a self-started business, creating their own career opportunities, and more.
On Getting Started
It was our panelists’ passions for what they were aiming to create that was the prime instigator in launching their passion projects into side businesses. In Ana’s case, rather than the actual task of making churros, it was the purpose of bringing her grandma Lola’s recipes to fruition than fuelled her. For Kelsey, thinking about what she wanted do with her extra time in the week is what led her to begin Bare Knitwear.
Prior to launching a side hustle, John advises budding self-starters to ask themselves why they want to it, for having confidence in what you are good at doing and what you love to do will give you a strong base to build from.
On Finding Mentors
When embarking on new and uncharted paths, the panelists could not have navigated through without the guidance of their mentors. In Hamilton’s experience, forming companionships with people he meets along his career journey is the best course of action. He sees the value in listening to his mentors’ stories and absorbing their unique views in order to help him not only in his work, but in his life in general. He strives to develop balanced relationships instead of viewing mentorship as a give and take exchange. Similarly, John remarks on how people are generally very generous with their time, so making it a regular habit to maintain consistent follow-up throughout the mentorship is important to show respect for their given time. In terms of who our panelists call their mentors, Samantha’s best mentors are within her peer group, spanning from professionals in event management and entertainment reporting, as she believes friendships and mentors go hand in hand.
On Staying Motivated
Having a solid support network—of family, friends, partners, and co-founders—was crucial to helping them stay driven with their side projects. Ana relies on her support team of her family, her husband, and Vancouver’s maker community as she wears her many hats. Samantha gives credit to her support system for always bringing her back down to earth, as well as to her Google calendar for keeping her organized. Additionally, Samantha derives motivation from her side gigs to strengthen her diversified career trajectory. In her experience balancing her content creation projects with her 9-5 job, Samantha has found that that skills she has gained from having a side hustle helps her do better work in her full-time role, as well as makes her even more valuable to her employer and colleagues. Samantha feels it’s key to be a balanced and well-rounded person in order to stay happy and fulfilled and to ultimately have her business succeed.
On Dealing with Setbacks
Embarking on a side hustle opens you up to a world where obstacles are inevitable, mistakes are aplenty, and failure is always a looming fear. Despite this, our panelists offered much optimistic perspective when it comes to handling and persisting through challenges and hardships. Instead of allowing failure and the possibility of it to become part of your identity, John believes that deriving lessons from bad event is beneficial to the learning and growth process, as part of the journey is the side hustle of trying new things. John’s approach to handling yourself when the going gets rough is to not let the lows get too low, and don’t let the highs get too high, which is a perspective shared by Hamilton, who tries to maintain a happy-medium response to celebrating good times and overcoming bad times. For Kelsey, it’s important to look forward to the next season, to keep going no matter what, and to remember why you started in the first place, as that will be your compass. Samantha remarked that life works in weird ways to force you into low points so that you emerge with an evolved perspective when the next door opens up. For Ana, when it all hits the fan, she strives to keep composed, make the best of the situation at hand, and look for the light and laughter, which sometimes means putting on some gangster rap and handing it!
Do you have a side hustle or are planning on starting one? Let us know! To join us at an upcoming event, check out our Facebook page for the latest updates. We can’t wait to meet you!
Featured image by boxnotbox via Instagram
Elizabeth Rosalyn The is the Communications Coordinator for YWiB Vancouver's events team. Currently, she is the content & social media specialist at Rise People, a digital HR software company that brings HR, payroll, and benefits together in an all-in-one people platform.
A lover of stories, she lives to explore and write about the arts, music, entertainment, travel, and culture, all while sipping on a cup of earl grey tea. She is one of the founding directors for the pop culture & lifestyle magazine, The Hudsucker. Visit her personal blog at Elizabeth Rosalyn.