Creativity is a big part of my identity. As a child, I spent my time writing, drawing, taking photos, and doing crafts. As a student, I went above and beyond on the visual aspects of projects and presentations. And when it was time for me to choose a degree to pursue in university, I chose media studies because it opened my options for a creative career.

My career after university landed in marketing, which I loved. I liked the combined strategy and creativity of it. And yet, I still found myself wanting something even more creative, something that could just be mine. It was then that I started a photography business.

Running my own photography business has brought many lessons and friendships, and has become a wonderful hobby/side hustle. Here’s what I learned from launching a creative side-hustle.

6 things I learned from launching a creative side-hustle

firstly, you can absolutely launch a creative side-hustle

Before starting anything, it’s natural to have doubts. You might ask yourself “can I actually do this?” I want to tell you that yes, you absolutely can. You are capable of so many things, and starting a creative side-hustle is one of those things.

If you’re scared of starting your own side business, know that is normal and okay and expected. But don’t let your fear stand in the way of you trying something new, or living your biggest dreams.

you have everything you need to start

When I started my photography business, I had one camera (my first ever, a gift from my parents for my high school graduation) and two lenses. I didn’t have the latest equipment. I didn’t have lighting. I didn’t have a full kit of gear. I didn’t have a studio. All I needed was that camera, and the dedication to learn that thing inside and out.

I remember reading a piece of advice that said “the best camera you have is the camera you have.” What’s the camera you have in your side-hustle? What you already have is more than enough to get you started.

you’ll never be totally “ready” to do it

One of your doubts might be about how ready you are to launch your own side business. The truth is, you will never be “ready.” There will always be more you can learn, more you can prepare, more time you can spend waiting.

So, now knowing this, please remember that you’ll never be 100% ready. One of the best parts of starting a side-hustle, and about life in general, is that the learning and growing is ongoing. Enjoy the process.

you’ll figure it all out – and it doesn’t need to be right away

With the help of Google, and because you want to, you will figure it out. Whatever it is. You’ll figure out how to buy a site domain, get web hosting, build a website, register your business on Google, create a logo, take Instagram photos, edit those photos, set up an email list, send invoices, and find tools that keep you organized.

It sounds overwhelming, but take it one thing at a time. You don’t need all of these skills right away.

it’s okay to pivot – after all, it’s your business

For the first two years of my photography business, then called In Your Wild Photography, I photographed everything. I didn’t have any kind of niche – I just wanted to take photos.

And then I realized something: I don’t really like photographing everything. What I really love photographing is women-led businesses and brands. So, after building a client base who was used to me photographing everything, I pivoted to personal brand and small business photography for women. And my client base is still excited to work with me, just in a different way.

It might take some time to figure out what it is that you really want to do with your creative side-hustle. Don’t fear the change that might come, pivot right into it.

you will build strength, resilience, and confidence

Pursuing photography on the side has made me more confident in my craft. But even more importantly, it’s made me more confident in myself. I have seen how I can be resourceful, how I have become more business savvy, how my nerves have lessened with each photoshoot. I have grown in a dozen different ways, and I’m proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish. I have built strong friendships through my business, and I’m thankful for those who have supported me and encouraged my growth.

Launching a creative side-hustle will make you learn more about you. The journey is the best part, and you’ll become stronger with every road traveled.

If you’re on the fence about launching a creative side-hustle and need that final push to get started, please let it be this: I know you can do it, you have what it takes, and it will lead you on an incredible adventure.

Tell me – if you have a side-hustle, what has been your biggest lesson? Or, if you’d like to launch one, what would your business be?

2 thoughts on “6 things I learned from launching a creative side-hustle

  1. Mel, I loved reading your takeaways from your side-hustle journey! I definitely resonated with the idea of pivoting.
    I think as we start out (especially as we start before we’re ‘ready’) it can be hard to determine what direction we want to go — or more importantly what work we *LIKE* doing (and what we don’t).
    Running a business definitely involves a learning process.
    Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Thanks for reading, Sam! 🙂 And you’re absolutely right – you don’t have to have it all figured out before you start, but knowing how to pivot once you’ve learned more about yourself/what you want to do is a great skill 🙂

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