3 Tips To Start Your Own Side Hustle

Hey Aerie girls, me again! It’s Jenna Kutcher over here waving at you in her yoga pants and hustling behind the keyboard, but that’s what life looks like these days — but it didn’t always look like this! Today? I get to serve the world as an #AerieREAL Role Model, through The Goal Digger Podcast, my online education, and the platforms I’ve built with encouraging messages, marketing know-how, and strategies that can help others get paid to do what they love! I used to dream that I’d wear power suits and have a corner office with windows but when I found myself in a stuffy windowless office at the age of 22 with a mountain of paperwork and lurking anxiety, I knew that the ladder climbing life wasn’t for me. I started to dream of ways I could escape the corporate hustle and when I dream, I don’t dream small. I should have known, the girl who would host lemonade stands on her country dirt road that saw maybe 10 cars a day would turn into an entrepreneur but I never thought that I could truly make a go at it…. the leap felt too big, too impossible for this Midwest girl who had landed what she thought was her “dream” job out of college.

3 Tips To Start Your Own Side Hustle

By chance, I stumbled upon a camera on Craigslist. It cost $300 and at the time, I was planning my wedding and knew I wanted to document some of the processes. It was my first “big” purchase I made with my corporate salary and I quickly fell in love with photography. Having never taken an art class, I found myself trying to learn all the funny dials and numbers and would wake up wanting to take pictures. I soon after started a blog and started to share my snapshots and what was going on in our lives as we got ready for our upcoming wedding, I shared my photos on Facebook, and soon I started to get people asking if I could take pictures of their kid or their cat or basically anything. I said “YES!” to everything and couldn’t believe someone would actually pay me to do what I loved, even if it was only $20!

I shortly after realized that my time was valuable and that there was true potential for me as a photographer. I set a goal of “retiring” from corporate America within one year’s time and I hustled…. I hustled hard. I hired a designer and got a logo made, I got asked to take pictures at my brother-in-law’s wedding in Jamaica and I went big! I didn’t want to throw away that chance so I studied wedding blogs and did the best I could. Within a year I had booked enough weddings to leave behind my salary and jump into a life of full-time entrepreneurship. Fast forward to 8 years later, I’m still an entrepreneur (though it looks drastically different than those early days!) and I’ve been able to build a multi-million dollar company from my small town in Minnesota.

So maybe you’re wondering, “Wait, how did she go from a $300 Craigslist camera to a 7-figure business?” Let me tell you: it was a lot of work, a lot of time, and a lot of passion. First things first, it all started with a side hustle. What is a side hustle? It’s not your primary income, often times it’s a passion project or an idea that you’re trying out or considering pursuing as a business. The beauty of a side hustle is that you don’t have the pressure of having to make big profits (which can quickly crush every ounce of creativity) but you can slowly focus on building it into whatever your vision is for it.

I’ve had a lot of side hustles over the years:

– Photography was my first side hustle when I was still working my corporate job!

– I started teaching online education as a side hustle to my booming wedding photography business.

– I started the Goal Digger Podcast as a side hustle when my education business was thriving!

All of these started out of pure passion where I took an idea, put some time into it and I was able to just test things out without the fear or the pressure of them having to be successful! So maybe you’re wondering, where do I begin? I’d challenge you to start with looking at the things that you’re passionate or curious about (no matter how obscure or random they may seem) and just pursue them in a focused way! What would it look like if you just worked on those passions a few hours every week for a month? You might discover you LOVE it or maybe a new idea will come to you!

Next? Focus on what you’re naturally good at. Too often, we’re so close to our genius spots that we don’t even realize that they don’t come naturally to others. What do people always ask you about? What advice do you find yourself giving over and over? What are you known for? These things can help you to determine a potential side hustle that could not only set you up to excel but also allow you to help others! Lastly, take your time. For me: I couldn’t just jump and hope the net would appear, I needed to make sure I had a plan that was sound and stable so that I wouldn’t totally fall flat on my face. There is absolutely no shame in having your side hustle be just that: a side hustle. When I was transitioning from my 9-5, I used every extra penny from that job to fund my dream and it was the best thing I did to set myself up for success.

So I want to know: what is your big, scary dream? If you could do anything in the world, what would it be? I’d love to read your comments below and be able to cheer you on! This entrepreneur life isn’t always glamorous, a lot of times it’s long days in my sweatpants behind a computer but I honestly wouldn’t change it for the world!

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Feeling REAL good in your bra with Jenna Kutcher

Let’s be honest, going bra shopping hasn’t been at the top of our list of “fun experiences”…. but that? That’s a thing of the past and now shopping for bras doesn’t have to be this daunting experience where you leave frustrated, insecure, and empty handed…. because if we get down to it, it’s not even really about the bra itself but how you FEEL in it and Aerie is making sure that you’ll leave the store feeling real good.

When I sat down with the Aerie team, recounting awkward dressing room experiences and frustrations that left me wondering what was wrong with my body or squeezing into bras that just didn’t fit right, I realized that many other women probably have shared similar experiences. Ladies, we are not alone in the fact that finding the best fit for the “the girls” isn’t an easy task – but now? It’s one that can leave you feeling powerful, happy, and REAL.

At the shoot, we quickly discovered that pregnancy had already changed my body (and cup size) a lot, so there I was, standing in a dressing room saying a silent prayer that I could find something to fit my changing body. The Aerie team got to work finding new bras that fit me amazingly and I let out a “sigh” of relief knowing there were options that could accommodate my changing “girls” that left me feeling powerful and confident. Dressing room nightmares, be gone, because Aerie’s changing the game once and for all.

So let’s dive on into what’s new at Aerie and I’ll share my personal experience (candidly) about each collection and how they made me feel!

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To kick off the collections, let’s start with the “Real Me” line, which feels almost like a second skin. The new Real Me Full Coverage Push Up Bra has a great amount of lift and boost, and I’m drawn to wear this bra in my everyday life the most because it feels like an extension of me without feeling like too much.

The “Real Happy” is named that for a reason, this collection is known for all the right options in all the right places and let me tell you… the Real Happy Full Coverage Lightly Lined Bras has the most cup coverage of all the options and reinforced straps. Since my body is a changing being pregnant, this one makes me feel the most secure of all!

3.jpgNow, let me tell you about the “Real Sunnie!” There’s a reason this is the #1 tee shirt bra for Aerie, it’s soft, stretchy, and supportive and amazing for under just about everything. It comes in many options from lightly lined to wireless, so you’re sure to find the best fit! Seriously, from strapless to push up, there’s a Real Sunnie waiting for you!

The “Real Power” lives up to its name with a plunging neckline and convertible straps – not to mention a convertible amount of boost in the form of a push up. It can be your secret power for the next time you need a little extra something! The lace options are TO-DIE-FOR and probably my personal favorite from this collection!

Regardless of which you choose, it’s all about how you F EEL – from the experience of shopping whether you’re in a fitting room or the comfort of your home, we want your Aerie purchase to be made with total confidence (and it can, because returns? They are on us!) Now? I’m excited to purchase new bras because I know that there’s a size for me and everybody and options for every occasion. Trust me, when you focus on how you feel, everything changes!

 

 

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Get to Know #AerieREAL Role Model Jenna Kutcher

Jenna Kutcher has always been #AerieREAL, but now – she’s officially an #AerieREAL Role Model!

You could say Jenna’s new title has been a long time coming. This entrepreneur, podcaster and girl next door ALWAYS keeps it #AerieREAL, and she’s been part of the Aerie family for as long as we can remember. Read on to see how Jenna has grown with Aerie and why we can’t wait to see what else she has to share as our newest role model.

 

You’ve been part of the #AerieREAL family for quite a while, what are you looking forward to sharing with our community as an #AerieREAL Role Model?

Let me first say: PINCH ME. I am so, so thankful for this opportunity and yes, it’s been years in the making. As a Role Model, I want to empower women to know that they are never alone and always enough. If a girl living in small-town Minnesota can “make it” as an entrepreneur, a dreamer, and now an AerieREAL Role Model, so can you. At the end of the day, I’m just a normal girl with a mission to change the world and I sincerely pray to provide a relatable example for women while always promising to keep it real. Life isn’t always perfect, self-love isn’t always easy, but there is so much power in simply showing up and I promise to do that!

Get to Know #AerieREAL Role Model Jenna Kutcher

Entrepreneur, podcaster, boss babe – you keep busy! How do you do it?

It takes a village! Can I just say that I have the most amazing team of women surrounding me? Over the last seven years I’ve grown a business and a brand that serves hundreds of thousands of humans every single day and I could never do it alone. I’m always dreaming, always thinking of ways to serve others, and I have the most amazing community around me helping make it all happen! What started as a means of escaping a windowless office corporate job at the age of 23 has turned into an empire with so many different facets. It’s such a gift to wake up and do what I love every single day!

Get to Know #AerieREAL Role Model Jenna Kutcher

What’s a typical day in the life of Jenna Kutcher?

Should I really tell you? You’re going to think I’m the most boring person on the earth, but here goes! We wake up with the sun (no alarm clocks for the Kutchers) and usually lay in bed and talk about how cute our dogs are…. yes, they sleep with us. Drew (my husband) and I head to the gym or I’ll go on a walk with the dogs and listen to the podcast. Then I get to work for the day either at a local coffee shop or from the couch! We try to break for lunch together and for a midday dog walk, working from home is such a blessing. Then Drew will make us dinner (thank goodness I married a man that loves to cook and clean) and we will snuggle up on the couch and watch a little riveting television. We are obsessed with shows like The Bachelor, MTV The Challenge, Project Runway, hilarious TV shows that are so far from our real life. We walk the dogs before we head to bed and then read before we fall asleep. Our lives are simple and slow but I love it, it’s either that or I’m traveling the world for work and so they balance each other out quite well!

What makes you #AerieREAL?

I’m not afraid to talk about the reality and the challenge of what it looks like to have to choose self-love every day – let me tell you, it’s not easy. I pride myself on not just showing the highlight reel but on keeping it real. The internet has walked through some of life’s greatest triumphs with us but they’ve always witnessed some of our greatest heartbreaks. I want to be a voice for women and someone that allows others to say, “me too!” Now, as an expectant mom, I am more conscious than ever at how amazing our imperfect bodies are, in the strength we possess, and in the fact that our bodies should be celebrated for all they can do. As we enter this new season after 2.5 years of fertility struggles and loss, I hope to share this journey with the world as my body changes and we prepare for our baby. Being #AerieREAL isn’t reserved for a certain body type or age or season of life, it’s for all of us. For me, it will always be real, not retouched.

Join the #AerieREAL movement! Share what makes YOU an #AerieREAL Role Model with us.

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Love the Swim You’re in with Jenna Kutcher

The adventure begins with you. #AerieREAL girl Jenna Kutcher shares her journey to finding rest, achieving self-love and body acceptance on the island of Maui.

“For the past six years I’ve spent hour after hour hustling after my dreams! After leaving my windowless corporate office, I’ve never looked back. Now a full time photographer, educator, public speaker, and podcaster, my life is filled to the brim with things that set my soul on fire. While some look at the life I’ve built and consider it a “success,” I measure success in terms of rest and presence. For so long I’ve worked from a place of hustle, a place of stress, and I knew that going into this year I wanted to focus on incorporating true rest into our lives.”

Love the Swim You're In

Shop Jenna’s Look: Super Scoop One Piece Swimsuit

“What did that look like for us? Well, it looked like a month long sabbatical in Maui. I’m sure you’re thinking, wait, what? A whole month? Yes. We spent 33 days on the island and it was as magical as it sounds. What people didn’t see behind the scenes was the work that went into making it all happen: my husband left his job of five years to start his own business, we worked double time in January to prepare, we had to kiss our furry pups goodbye, but it was our dream and we made it happen.

This trip to Hawaii was a redemption song for us. Just one year ago we found out we were expecting our first baby while in Maui and celebrated those blissful days on the island. One month after returning home we experienced a miscarriage and had to say goodbye to that life we loved so dearly. As a woman, it was such a painful experience. I hated my body, I felt outside of it, I felt like it had failed me – though I had this peace that there was a bigger story for us.

As we packed for our trip this time around, my suitcase filled with Aerie. I had to smile because just a year ago I was a part of this campaign and my images were from when I was pregnant. As I slipped into my one piece and hit the beach, I finally felt back at home – both in Hawaii and in my skin. I felt stronger, healthier, more emotionally present. Body positivity isn’t just about our outer appearance, it comes from within.”

Love the Swim You're In

“Our month on the island was a time for us to reconnect, to disconnect from work, to dream bigger, to sit on the beach, to explore each corner. It was a time for me to come back to this body that has carried me for 28 years and to celebrate all of the amazing things it can do. Aerie embodies all the things I stand for and in sharing my real, not retouched images I was reminded how important it is for people to take a stand for what they believe in.

I am always shocked at the response when I post things about my body. So may days I would see the images Drew took of me, my eyes would well up with tears about my size ten bod, I would change swim suits, be tempted to cover up, and would vow that I wouldn’t be caught dead at the pool…. But then I would think of you and why I couldn’t hide. 

You see, these images don’t do well because of me, it’s because of you. You see yourself in my jiggly thighs, you feel your fears in my cellulite, you hear the voice in your head when you see my extra loving love handles, you feel more at home in my wide hips, you relate to one boob being a bit perkier than the other, you feel the shame in oversized arms… BUT (and this is a BIG but) we are all so much more than all of that.”

Love the Swim You're In

“Maybe it’s simply refreshing to see a double digit sized body baring it all or just a body that isn’t retouched. Whatever it is, I am loving myself a little harder and praying that you’ll do the same! I am not a number on a scale or a size in my clothes, neither are you! 

Our time was incredible, SO incredible we ended up purchasing a second home on the island. It’s become a sacred place to us – a place of healing and rest. We are thrilled to get to spend more time in our bathing suits on the beach and are even more thrilled to open our doors to our friends, family, and followers and let them into our little slice of heaven. Oh, what an amazing redemption song it is.”

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Follow Her Friday: Jenna Kutcher

This week we’re inspired by photographer, girl boss and overall badass, Jenna Kutcher. Read on to learn more about how she quit her corporate job to fulfill her dreams and the secret to her success.

Three years ago you left your corporate job to pursue a career in photography. What advice would you give to someone who is considering taking the leap?

Know that your fears aren’t really that scary. I had sat in that windowless office until I felt like the life had been sucked out of me. Leaving a salary, a 401k, and benefits behind wasn’t a decision I took lightly, I planned and made sure the net was there before I took the leap. I had enough jobs booked to match my salary and had a business plan in place for how I was going to hustle to make sure that I wouldn’t fail. Life is short, if you don’t love what you do, you are spending your life not living up to your potential. I knew that if it somehow didn’t work out, I could use my degree and experience to land another windowless office job but thankfully I have never even thought about doing anything else with my life. To me success isn’t a corner office or a six figure paycheck, it’s yoga pants, working from the couch, waking up excited to work, sunny trips with my husband, daily naps with my puppies, giving back to others and educating others to go after their dreams.

Follow Her Friday: Jenna Kutcher

Get Jenna’s Look: Hi Neck Sports Bra | Aerie Logo Boybrief (Similar)

On top of wedding photography, you’re also a watercolor artist, blog contributor, business coach, and inspirational speaker. How do you balance it all?

To be honest, I don’t. I think balance is never achieved but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped trying. I love each aspect of my business and life that I couldn’t imagine giving any of it up. I do set aside intentional rest time in each season to make sure that I am caught up on good reads and Netflix marathons but to be honest, I am happiest when I am working. I absolutely love what I do so taking time away is nearly impossible for me but I’m learning to rest, to enjoy it, and to never forget the things I love outside of work (like my adorable husband or rescuing puppies!) My schedule means a lot of travel (I’m the queen of sleeping on planes) but I am thankful to be able to see the world as part of my work! I’ve been living with a “less is more” strategy and really focusing on quality work, quality clients, quality experiences over quantity and that has helped me so much!

What is your favorite inspirational quote?

A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. – James Keller

Oh man, this is so my jam. I think we live in such a world that talks about competing with others. We believe that we have to go it alone in order to make it and we are taught that her successes are our failures. That couldn’t be further from the truth! I seriously believe we rise in lifting one another up and when we start looking at each other as a community and not just our competition, our worlds will change. Some of my dearest friends are my direct “competitors” but I can tell you that this journey is so much better with them on the ride and when you start to believe that their success is a reflection of your potential, you start to see that the world is filled with beautiful moments and opportunities if you are looking!

Follow Her Friday: Jenna Kutcher We love your Immeasurably More Project! Can you tell our Aerie girls about it?

The Immeasurably More Project began when I was talking to a group of lady entrepreneurs. We joked that we never wear real pants or make up, that our lives look perfect and glamorous but the reality was we were living in yoga pants and feeling like we would never measure up. There is a nagging in my heart that tells me the world needs more rawness. I am not confident in my size 10 body, my face is getting wrinkles and zits at the same time (how confusing) I have cellulite and curves, my thighs always touch and I wonder if I will ever feel enough.

I am clinging to the truth that the Maker made no mistakes on me. I’m done tip-toeing around the fact that I look a lot like this everyday. I am done with the all the photos I see being retouched to perfection, bodies being changed, eyes widened, skin smoothed. I am done looking at them day in and out and hearing that little voice shout at me that I don’t look like them and I never will. The world desperately needs a movement, a reminder that the minute we open our eyes in the morning and draw our first breath of the day, we are enough. Whether we put on lipstick and heels for work or stay in our yoga pants in bed, we are worthy, beautiful, and capable. The Immeasurably More Project is a series of women who are changing the world, photographed with no make up, no retouching, and they are sharing their raw beauty and embracing the fact that their life is worth celebrating, no retouching necessary.

Follow Her Friday: Jenna Kutcher

Do you have a favorite Aerie item?

I would live in Aerie if it were possible! I am obsessed with the new swim line and am packing my bags with it for our trip to Hawaii! (I mean, c’mon, a one piece swimsuit that is adorable? Yes, please!) I also live in yoga pants and sport bras so their athletic line is my jam. I avoid putting on “real” bras and pants as much as I can get by with it so I love that Aerie focuses on comfortable, flattering, and fashionable styles that make me feel a little bit feminine and wildly comfortable.

What does being #AerieREAL mean to you?

Being #AerieREAL to me means accepting yourself for where you are at in this very minute. It’s seeing every day as a gift and a chance to be your best self (zits and all.) It is feeling worthy of being captured and documented in a way that is real and raw and in celebrating true beauty that radiates from the inside out.  #AerieREAL is a reminder that you were made to me you and that you are immeasurably more than the labels society gives.

Thank you, Jenna! 

xoxo

Aerie 

 

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