A bit on the side?

18 January 2019

Turning your side hustle into your main event.

Side hustle. You’ve heard the term, right – doing work outside of your main job to bring in some extra money? We’d be surprised if you hadn’t, because a huge 40% of us have one.


They seem to fall into two broad categories:


One, a side hustle is a symptom of (wider, socioeconomic) low-wage working conditions that force you to work the hours you’d rather spend putting your feet up or hanging out with friends.


Or, two, a side hustle is a proactive way to use your down-time by doing something you love, improving your skills, and making a bit of money whilst doing so.


The first one is obviously pretty shit. The idea of having to sacrifice important down-time to earn enough money to get by is a sign that something somewhere is broken.


The second, whilst an improvement, still has its problems. After all, wouldn’t the ideal scenario be that your job hones your skills and fires your passions, so you can avoid working an extra 10-15 hours a week and swerve the UK’s burnout epidemic?


Well ,we reckon there’s a third way (as some awful politician once said and to whom we won’t directly refer here).


Model with paint on her face to symbolise creative side hustles


More than something we merely choose to dabble in or use as a quick fix to make a bit of extra dough, we see side hustles as key to nurturing skills that benefit both employee and employer.


That’s why we encourage our people to work on their side projects during normal working hours.


Yep, that’s right, we give up a chunk of those oh-so-precious billable hours every week for our colleagues to work on their personal projects. Whether it’s a bakery blog, a beautifully curated Instagram profile, a WIP novel, or even their own start-up, we pitch in to help them out.


But why? we hear the managerial classes cry.


Simple – because a happy and inspired workforce is almost always one that creates better work. And the best way to inspire people who follow creative pursuits (copywriters, designers, photographers, etc.) is to allow them to follow those pursuits at work.


Employees that feel appreciated and who are given reign to follow their passions have a greater desire to give back to their employer. And they might want to hang around longer with us rather than just move on after a year or two (a problem so many agencies face).


This third way is about accepting that our employees are interested in something other than our work and helping them follow those interests as much as we can.


The obvious question: doesn’t that compromise your client work? Far from it. In fact, by fostering an environment that stimulates personal as well as professional creativity, we find that client work is actually more inspired, more successful.


Main with silver foil wrapped around his face to show a creative mindset


It boils down to workplace culture. The better the culture, the better the output, and if that means giving up a few hours to motivate creative minds to new heights and give them time to relax instead of burning the midnight oil, then that’s what we’ll do.


Instead of hiding their projects away on an incognito tab or taking surreptitious calls in the hallway from freelance clients, we encourage people to discuss and work on the things they do outside of their Turncoat projects.


Instead of obsessing over time-tracking and squeezing every penny out of every hour, we make the time to chat through people’s ventures and help them improve their skills – and pick up a few tips and tricks from them at the same time.


Whether it’s booking out time during work hours for personal development, using our equipment, or just being there as a sounding board for ideas, we do whatever we can to help them succeed. Hell, we’ll even help them promote their talents to the wider world (so we can bask in their reflective glory, naturally).


Essentially, it boils down to this: we think it’s right that we help our colleagues hit the heights they dream of.


When people can be transparent about what makes them tick and get the right help in making them turn their side hustle into their main event, the result sees them positively oozing with creativity and producing amazing work, both for our clients and for themselves.


And, who knows, when they’re all big and famous, they might chuck us a royalty cheque or two…