21 Jul The Wonderful World of the “Slash” Entrepreneur
I never set out to be a “slash” entrepreneur.
In fact, when I started, I had never even heard of that term!
It refers to someone who has an established career, and then launches and runs a separate business simultaneously, becoming, for example, a lawyer/jewelry designer, or an accountant/pet groomer, or – like me – a journalist/fashion designer.
I just knew that as a working newspaper reporter who often appeared on television and attended many work-related events, I needed a wardrobe that could go from board rooms to bar rooms to ballrooms. But I could never manage to find clothes that fit me properly, let alone reflected my personal style.
So I started utilizing the sewing skills I learned as a kid from my mother, a seamstress, and began making my own garments.
Within a few years my designs had caught the eye of my friends, friends-of-friends and eventually fashion industry professionals. Before I knew it, I’d launched a new business designing womenswear collections that were being featured on runways and in magazines. I never intentionally chose to become a fashion designer, but the fashion industry chose me. And I’m so glad it did!
But like many entrepreneurs, I soon began facing questions from friends, colleagues, family members and industry professionals alike.
“What will you choose,” they asked, “a career in journalism or in fashion?”
My answer every time: “Both!”
I love being a journalist. The challenge of taking on complex topics, telling stories about our world and the way that it works, and literally learning new things each day and explaining those things to my readers and viewers is rewarding and intellectually satisfying. But I also love the freedom and challenge of designing garments for women like me, who don’t want to sacrifice comfort and fit for great style.
Don’t get me wrong — if journalism wasn’t right for me I wouldn’t be afraid to walk away from it. After all, I went to law school and practiced as a lawyer for years before I realized that a career as an attorney was not my calling, so I left the law office for the newsroom.
And having a “slash” career isn’t for everyone, I know.
But for many people, juggling two careers isn’t just possible, it’s for best of both worlds.
If you’re thinking about launching a new venture in addition to your current gig, here are a few things to keep in mind based on my own personal experience:
- Be a planner. I utilize calendar apps for absolutely everything, scheduling my days meticulously –including rest and relaxation time. That way I can ensure that I allocate enough time to complete all of my work projects while still ensuring that I have a good work-life balance.
- Set aside time every single workday for both jobs. I know that may sound like a lot of work, but if you set aside at least an hour or two for your startup – even if it just means taking some time to brainstorm ideas – it will help you stay in the entrepreneurial mindset, and I’ll also keep you on track to complete your short and long-term goals.
- Follow your bliss. Don’t start a new venture just because you think it’s trendy or just because you think it will be a lucrative. If you don’t love what you do, especially if it’s your second job, it’ll feel like a chore.
- Don’t go broke! Funding a new venture is challenging in the best of times. Take time to seek out both traditional funding sources as well as crowdfunding and angel investors who believe in your business or product. Make a budget and stick to it. It’s better to keep your business small – and affordable – than to try to start too big and end up in the red. A big benefit for “slash” entrepreneurs is that you don’t have to rely on your new venture to pay your rent. Be patient.
- Believe in yourself! Then others will too!