Asking For a Friend | Chapter 24
Advice from Babe to Babe
In this week’s chapter of Asking For a Friend, our Advice Gurus walk you through the etiquette of launching a side hustle. From knowing when to tell your 9-5 about your new biz, to fending off unsolicited business advice, the gurus are here for you with sound advice and a trusty, “YGG!”
Ugh, it’s so annoying when you venture on your own and suddenly everyone’s pretending to be an entrepreneurial expert. I like to say: “I appreciate it, but I think I’ve got it under control! I’ll let you know if I need help with that.” Obviously stay polite—you really never know whose help you’ll need in the future.
Two words: Cool, thanks!
I’m going to go KonMari on you for a second. It’s kind of like when someone gives you a gift. They gave you the gift because they thought it would make you happy in some sense. That’s along the same lines of why they’re giving you advice. They’re trying to be helpful. Once said gift (or advice) has been given, they’ve done their part and achieved their goal. Therefore, whatever you do with it after that is up to you. Either display it, store it away or throw it away. But the only response needed is a “cool, thanks!” Even if it’s through gritted teeth.
When I first started my company a decade ago, people offered all sorts of advice. Some I took, some I didn't, and a lot I really wish I had. Looking back now, if I could speak the answer to this question to the young, eager entrepreneur struggling to make a name for herself, I'd say this: Look at the person offering those pearls of wisdom. Are they accomplished? Are they successful? Do they want the best for you? If the answer is yes to any of those things, listen. The people who have walked this before you have made mistakes and learned valuable lessons. The worst that can happen is you spend a moment receiving the sincere attention of someone who legitimately wants to help you. The best that can happen is you gain knowledge, perspective, understanding—and you grow.
As a new business, brand is so 👏important 👏. If you look legit, people will assume you’re legit, even if you’re just a girl sitting in her living room in her PJs working. Invest in a “starter brand” design package and a website that goes along with it. (I’m also a big fan of Rowan Made and Hello Big Idea.)
Once you have those established, invest in a good business card. I know it’s kind of old-school, but a good card speaks volumes. Look legit, feel legit.
Once you have this new look, make sure your social channels are tight. Instagram is one of the best ways to network for free and later.com has a lot of really helpful articles with hashtag guides for your industry and other great tutorials.
Start with those and see where it takes you. I’d personally never pay for networking (unless I was supporting a cause). But once you get a solid foundation and get groovin’, you can determine the next step. Best of luck!
I invested in brand design, and it has been huge for my confidence in posting on social media and marketing my services. The legitimacy of having a professionally designed logo/brand made it easier for me to market my services in a way I knew represented me. It basically made me feel like I’m not a fraud, and that makes all the difference. Good luck!
—THAIS LAGE, BABE #151
I’m hesitant to give advice on this one because it’s such a case-by-case basis that can turn into a sticky situation, but first and foremost: check your company onboarding materials/contract to see if there is any literature you signed which legally forbids you from pursuing other work and business opportunities. If you’re in the clear, it’s kind of up to you to feel out whether or not it would be a good idea to let others in your office know, especially given the business venture you’re pursuing versus the field you’re currently in.
For what it’s worth, my gut reaction is to keep things quiet unless it’s absolutely necessary for you to fill your supervisors and coworkers in, or if your business will at all affect your performance and schedule at work. If possible, keep things separate; leave your day job at your day job and your business at home. Otherwise, things can get tricky. (Trust me.)
—CHELSEA DUDEVOIRE, BWH FOUNDER + CEO
I’m an “honesty is the best policy” type-gal myself, but for this one I feel like you should keep it on the down-low. What you do in your spare time is your own thing, so it’s not necessarily their business what you’re doing. If you have coworkers you consider friends who you trust, I don’t see immediate harm in telling them. Just be aware that your coworkers and boss will recognize when you’re not 100 percent invested in your work. Be very particular about the time you dedicate to your side hustle, and make sure it doesn’t affect your work at your day job. It can be tough to balance multiple hustles, but the last thing you want to do is start slacking off at the place that pays the bills.
—MORGAN PURVIS, BWH INTERN
Until Next Week,
—THE BWH ADVICE GURUS
Asking for a Friend is Babes Who Hustle's weekly advice column that asks and answers the work-related questions on all of our minds. Looking for advice and guidance? Hit us with all of your questions below and stay tuned for next Wednesday's edition!