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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Brands We’re Crushing On: NUDESTIX

Brands We're Crushing On: NUDESTIX

We love NUDESTIX because they believe in your REAL beauty. Sisters Ally and Taylor, along with their mom, Jenny, make fun, wearable products to enhance everything that makes you, you!

Follow along as they show us a day in the life of girls who mean business!

Brands We're Crushing On: NUDESTIX

40+ NEW beauty faves from NUDESTIX are now online at Aerie.com!

Brands We're Crushing On: NUDESTIX

We love NUDESTIX’s Magnetic Eye Color collection. Treat yourself to an uber long-wearing eye shadow pencil that highlights, colors, lines and primes! They are easy to blend and waterproof.

Plus, NUDESTIX is preservative free, vegan and certified USDA organic. Brands We're Crushing On: NUDESTIX

Shop now: NUDESTIX Magnetic Eye Color in Gilt

Brands We're Crushing On: NUDESTIX

Each pencil comes in an eco-packaged tin with a mirror and sharpener. Take it to go or add it to your morning beauty routine!

Visit our Times Square store on Sunday, November 15th to meet the girls and get a free makeover. The first 200 guests get a free mini lip and cheek pencil, too!

Brands We're Crushing On: NUDESTIX

Show us how you work NUDESTIX into your beauty routine with #AERIExNUDESTIX!

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Follow Her Friday: Ashley Williams

We’re inspired each day by the stories you share that show how you’re #AerieREAL. This week we’re sharing the story of 26 year-old Ashley Williams, a graduate of University of Southern California who has used her focus in broadcast and digital journalism to launch her own inspirational social network, RIZZARR. Read on below to learn more about Ashley and to follow her journey!

Follow Her Friday: Ashley Williams

Meet Ashley Williams, our Follow Her Friday feature of the week!

Aerie: Hi, Ashley! Can you tell us a bit about RIZZARR?

Ashley: Rizzarr is based on the concept of the ripple effect… how one person can generate ripples of change in the world that can impact numerous people. RIZZARR is a news website that is combined with a social network and is targeted to Millennials. We have an editorial team but we also have a team that works on our product development and managing the social network element. Users can connect with, chat, and inspire their friends and other users from all around the world, but they can also post writing to their profile or submit it to the RIZZARR team to review, edit, and publish out to our main audience. I believe this is a new form of journalism that young people can take part in and really begin to take part in creating change that they wish to see and to disseminate changes or initiatives happening in their community.

Aerie: We love your entrepreneurial spirit. What is your ultimate dream job? 

Ashley: I think my ultimate dream job is doing what I am doing now, which is to own and manage my own company as well as to use it to inspire, empower, and uplift young people around the world. I would love to travel to different countries too as we scale to help with the company’s development. My other ultimate dream job that I wanted was to host my own show for a major news company. I am very thankful to have been given this opportunity early in my career and to been able to see that come to pass.

Follow Her Friday: Ashley Williams

Ashley loves to travel! Here she is in Egypt near the Sphinx. What a shot!

Follow Her Friday: Ashley Williams

Ashley in Spain during her study abroad experience in college.

Aerie: Do you have a role model? If so who is he/ she and why does he/ she inspire you?

Ashley: I do. For me, my role models are Sara Blakely, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, Chris Guillebeau, President Obama, and my parents. I really admire these individuals because they defied the odds and they stuck to their ultimate passions and dreams, despite all of the setbacks or situations they encountered. They never gave up on their dreams or what they believed in and they have led people to believe that anything is possible and that they too can put a dent in the universe. They just have to believe in themselves and never give up.

Follow Her Friday: Ashley Williams

Ashley and her BFF Anna visiting the Getty Museum in college.

Aerie: What does being #AerieREAL mean to you?
Ashley: It means fully and authentically embracing who you are, who you want to be, and who you will become while never allowing naysayers, doubters, or haters get in the way. Living your life to the fullest with no regrets.

Aerie: Do you have a favorite quote or mantra? Do tell!
Ashley: I do! It’s by Steve Jobs: “Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.’

And I just love the mantra of these:

“We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” –  Max Depree

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

really happy-favorite one

Thanks for sharing the #AerieREAL love, Ashley!

Follow Her Friday: Ashley Williams

Ashley loves mentoring young people. During her career, she often visits schools to talk about journalism and RIZZARR.

Aerie: We must ask – do you have a favorite Aerie bra fit?

Ashley: I like a couple of them. I like Jennifer Lightly Lined, Hannah in Strapless and in Multi-way, and Brooke! I think these all really help with elevating my body more and my curves. And honestly, they are just really comfortable and fit how I want to be presented.

Aerie: Last but, not least…do you have a secret skill or talent? Spill!
Ashley: I used to be really involved in acting and still believe it is one of my passions that I will tap into my later in my life. As a result, I can speak in multiple accents.

Thank you, Ashley! Want to stay in touch with Ashley? Be sure to follow her on Twitter and her network RIZZARR on Instagram!

xoxo,

Aerie

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