Professionals with a side job make it work

Sometimes a side job is the best way to pursue a passion.

Many people with day jobs in regular businesses harbour secret loves. Perhaps it's designing surfboards, training puppies or blending coffee.

Increasingly, people are finding ways to change their working lives to incorporate these passions without taking the full plunge into running a small business full time.

Take Melbourne woman, Vivian Nguyen, who had been working as a lawyer for seven years and recently went part time to pursue her passion for baking.

"I felt like I was really burning out and the commute for me was far, it's over an hour and a half each way," she said.

"I started out just baking for friends or family about four years ago and I started out pretty bad. But soon people started wanting to order from me and wanted to pay for it and so I invested a lot of time into learning and getting all the right credentials and insurance in place."

Side hustle evolution

After finally convincing the boss of her boutique law firm to move into part time, the business flourished and now Vivian not only bakes celebration cakes under the Yum-Mammas brand, but also teaches cake decorating to others on Saturdays in her home kitchen.

"I renovated the kitchen to accommodate the classes and it's been a real boost to business during the slower winter months," she said. "I'm probably drawing in about $5000 a month before expenses."

So is she worn out by doing three days a week at the firm and then around three more in the business?

"I don't feel like the baking and the classes are work so it really isn't too bad for me," she said.

Second job sympatico

For 31-year-old Sydney advertising creative Damian Damjanovski, giving lectures and performing his full-time job are all part of building a personal brand and network.

Damjanovski previously worked at international agency Ogilvy before co-founding his own firm, Common Ventures who deal with customers from Sony and Lendlease through to brand new start-ups.

On top of that demanding schedule, Damjanovski lectures at General Assembly, an education and training hub with campuses in Sydney's CBD, as well as Melbourne, Geelong and Brisbane.

"I think at last count I was one of the people who had lectured the most at General Assembly. I talk about product management, innovation and marketing and I fit that in around a 70-80 hour work week at the office."

But while employers would have discouraged this kind of extra-curricular interest previously, Damjanovski says he encourages his staff to pursue these avenues.

"We also encourage all our staff to get involved with places like General Assembly as much as well, for us it's a competitive advantage.

"The side project is the only way to get ahead. Learning more and more is the only way to get ahead. No one is going to hand it to you."


This article was originally published by the Sydney Morning Herald on 7 September 2016. It represents the views of the author only and does not necessarily reflect the views of AMP.

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