Side hustles are good for the soul.
Written by Katie Bowman (aka Made by Bowie)
The day I sat down to write this post about “side hustles being good for the soul,” just happened to brilliantly coincide with my last day of working a full time gig in advertising. After 24 years of working full time, full throttle, I’m taking a step back to four days a week to pursue my passion for pottery.
To give you a bit of back story, I’ll rewind to last Christmas when my beautiful partner gifted me a rolling pin. Never in my wildest dreams did I think a rolling pin (a freakin’ rolling pin!!!), would change my life and later catapult me towards a successful side hustle.
The moment I clapped eyes on that rolling pin, I wanted to throttle him with it (he’s the cook in our house, FYI). It wasn’t until he threw a 2kg bag of clay into my arms that I realised he wasn’t suggesting I bake pies.
OMG pottery!!! Fuck yassssssss!!!
I won’t lie. When I first started out I was shit. Like every Gerard Butler movie of the last ten years shit. I could barely make an ashtray but didn’t care. All I knew was that every time I buried my hands in a lump of wet clay the happiness would wash over me like a mud tsunami.
For my 38th birthday my beautiful mum gifted me her old pottery wheel. You couldn't get me off the thing. From the moment I got home every night, to every second on the weekend, I wouldn’t come out of the garage unless I was getting fed or going to bed.
As someone who’s always thrown themselves face first into a career, the concept of extra work in my down time seemed insane. But there it was. A new passion. Something that didn’t feel like work and something that was making me truly happy.
The anxiety fumes I was running on from my 9-6 job were evaporating and I began feeling a seismic change in my wellbeing. I was bouncing out of bed each morning to show the day who’s boss, focussing less on everyday stresses and for the first time in aeons, life felt balanced.
As I slowly built my confidence and capability, the commercial possibilities began to dawn on me too. Could I turn this passion project in to a genuine side hustle?
I was nervous as hell when I started put my creations out there. But one by one, people who weren’t my mates began reaching out and expressing their interest. When the first bricks-and-mortar retail shop called to ask about stocking my pots, I leapt off the ground so hard I almost pulled a hamstring.
Within a few months the opportunities were piling up and with them grew my energy and determination. As a passionate maker starting out, I connected with other makers going through similar experiences. This lead to us getting together and launching our own makers market to share and showcase our wares with the world.
After more than ten years of doing the same job, I wasn’t learning new things as quickly as I used to. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy my job, but sometimes the corporate world doesn’t move as quickly as a world you build for yourself.
The journey hasn’t been without its overwhelming challenges but it’s still as full of possibility as the first day I picked up that rolling pin.
While I’m still quite a way away from quitting my day job and doing pottery full time, I’ve clawed back one day a week that I can supplement with my passion and this feels like a giant step in the right direction.
If you’re a reader who’s yet to find that ‘thing’ that blows your hair back and makes your face hurt from happiness, my one piece of advice is to not sit around thinking what it might be. Passion comes from within, so get out there and squeeze the marrow out of every opportunity until you fall deeply in love with something!
Here’s a few extra passion pointers you might like to try on for size. I highly recommend number 10!
1. Write a list of things you’ve seen in the last month that have inspired you
2. Go listen to someone who is able to follow their passion for a living
3. Talk to friends about what their passions are
4. Surround yourself with people doing sick shit
5. Don’t find excuses to not follow an idea
6. Take a walk around your city and pretend you’re a tourist
7. Write down the things that don’t give you joy (and avoid them)
8. Remember what you loved doing as a kid
9. Eat more cheese, cheese dreams are amazing for creativity
10. Ask your best mate or partner to buy you something random for Christmas ;)