The Art of the Side Hustle: Female Entrepreneurs at #AW

Photo by Stacey Salter Moore Photography

Side hustles, or freelance work–– are all the rage this year. New Harris Poll research found 66% of American women have or want a side hustle in the future. But what is driving The American Side Hustle?

The Harris Poll and Berlin Cameron joined forces to understand this workplace revolution and brought together a panel of female entrepreneurs at The Female Quotient (TFQ) Girls Lounge for AdWeek New York. Our panelists included Dee Poku, Founder of The Other FestivalMara Lecocq, Founder of The Secret CodeKristy Wallace, CEO of the Ellevate Network and Jen DaSilva President of Berlin Cameron.

TFQ CEO and Founder, Shelley Zalis, who started The Girls Lounge as a side-hustle, aptly kicked off the panel saying “thank god for side hustles, cause magic happens”

While new Harris Poll research found 75% of women take on a side hustle for the money, our panelists proved there is something more to the story that is centered around personal fulfillment. Here are four practical takeaways for aspiring ‘side hustlers’ from the entrepreneurial women themselves who have succeeded within and helped to galvanize the side hustle movement.

  1. Build Your Network

Kristy Wallace, CEO of the Ellevate Network, a global network that empowers professional women to invest in themselves, emphasized the importance of building a network that women can learn from, lean on and collaborate with when starting a side gig. Not only does Kristy sit at the helm of a global network of female professionals, she also has an impressive side hustle resume, helping to launch Zeel, the on-demand massage therapy app that revolutionized the home services industry.

2. Develop Resilience

Our research found that 48% of Millennial women want a side hustle in the future, but what is the best approach to get yourself out there? Dee Poku, a serial entrepreneur, said she approaches it how some men approach dating – persistency and resilience. Dee advised to “keep asking and don’t take rejection personally,” as well as extracting something positive from each rejection as a learning experience to nail it the next time. When asked about failure, Dee said she would fall back on her skills, leverage her network and embrace the change.

3. Find Your Balance

Our research found that almost one quarter (25%) of American women say their current day job is one of the biggest roadblocks to success with their second job. As a leader of a creative agency, Jen DaSilva is passionate about supporting entrepreneurial women in the advertising industry to rise-up together and even created “side hustle days” to empower employees to pursue their passion projects. Jen advises prioritizing daily between one’s main career and their side hustle, being honest with yourself as to what is possible and creating an open and transparent relationship with your employer.

4. Anticipate the Tipping Point: Side Hustle Take Over

When asked about launching full-time and taking the plunge, Mara Lecocq recommended building a safety net and setting a deadline in order to take a short sabbatical to get into the headspace of your idea. Before she launched The Secret Code, a startup that personalizes superhero children’s books to empower young girls, she took a two-month unpaid sabbatical which helped her dig into what she wanted to create.

Thinking into the future of this balancing act, Mara said “We’re a generation who doesn’t want or need a corner office. We just to contribute to the world. And if our day job doesn’t give us that, we’ll find our ways to make it happen.”

As the side hustle movement continues to churn out self-made changemakers, innovators, and visionaries determined to create successful and lasting change, companies will need to evolve to meet their new demands and keep up with the disruption – as an employer as well as a brand.

All Images by SSM Photography.