When the pandemic hit, advertising art director Laura Woodside saw an opportunity to try something new outside of the work day. In addition to launching a custom T-shirt business with her husband, she now uses her creative arts background to freelance.
We reached out to Woodside to find out how she balances a full-time position at Southlake Style Magazine with multiple side projects, and her advice for other journalists who wish to explore a side hustle.
You handle working full time and several side jobs. Tell us a little about what you do in your work.
Woodside: In my full-time “day job” I am an advertising art director for a local, community magazine in Southlake, Texas. My husband and I also started a custom T-shirt business when the pandemic hit, knowing that was something we could do ourselves and do in our home. I also run a part-time freelance business myself doing web design, graphic design, social media management, WordPress website creation and management, among other things.
Among all that you do, how do you practice time management? Any tips?
Woodside: I do have a full-time job, which is my first priority as my salary is fixed. I certainly would not want my employer to think I am doing anything other than working for them for the 40 hours they have me a week. I get up earlier than my toddler and obviously stay up later than my toddler. Something that has really helped me is blocking out chunks of time. When I wake up in the morning, I make my morning social media post and then for 15 minutes I will do genuine, targeted interaction on Facebook. Then for the next 15 minutes I will do targeted interaction on Instagram. On Sundays, I take 1-2 hours (while the toddler naps or in the morning/evening) I use the notes app in my phone to plan out all my posts for the upcoming week, hashtags and all! It makes it so much easier to manage posting three times a day this way.
What are your top three pieces of advice for a journalist exploring side work right now? What do you wish you would have known?
Woodside: Understand that the potential earnings and actual earnings could look very different for different people who are pursuing the same venture. My story will not be the same as yours, so don’t compare them. I have watched my side hustle income increase with every week that passes, and I am grateful for every penny I get from my side hustle(s.) I think that maintaining an attitude of gratitude is so important. I think you should look at your skill set, see where you flourish, and look to see if you can find a side gig that will allow you to do just that. People who start a side gig don’t do it because they have more time, they do it because they want more time. I’d recommend starting a side gig that can eventually replace your full time gig, and hopefully it’s something you enjoy doing!
What are you doing to take care of yourself right now?
Woodside: I participate in self-care Sundays. For me, that means a facemask, a long bath (bath bomb required) and shaving my legs (sorry for the transparency, but true haha.)
I also make sure I wake up (and get up) early every day to have some time to myself. Whether that means a little time spent with my journal, or just sitting outside and listening to the birds, I find it very helpful to focus on the present and express my gratitude for being given another day to make an impact.