Virginia: Brand Builder & Storyteller

Name: Virginia Beard

Age: 29

City: Charleston, SC

Main Hustle: Freelance writer and marketer. Yoga teacher.

My work shows up in all different forms—from social media strategy and blog posts to press releases and website work. I’m the Director of Communications at Launch Pad and Marketing Lead/Yoga Teacher at Charleston Power Yoga. So…I wear a lot of hats (and yoga pants).

Side Hustle: Brand Builder and Storyteller. Maybe you’re thinking, “So…what exactly does that mean?” It’s cool. I’m still figuring it out too.

Since hitting the real world after college, I’ve had a lot of different jobs and a lot of different side hustles. In my ripe old age of almost 30, I’ve found that the intersection between what I love and what I’m good at is helping people tell their stories—helping people get really clear on the mission and core of their work. Right now, this is my side hustle. I help people build their websites, write their brand copy, create customer/client-facing language and informational tools, and create social media content and imagery. Helping people infuse their brands with their personalities and passion is what lights me up!

How did you get started?: Both my main hustle and side hustle have evolved over the years into what they are now. I’ve been an unpaid intern. I’ve written many a blog post for free. I’ve worked at a desk job that didn’t do it for me. I’ve worked for publications that paid in peanuts. All of these jobs pushed me in the direction of my work now. In the middle of all that, I did my yoga teacher training.

Becoming a yoga teacher was a huge catalyst in this evolution. About 5 years ago, after finishing teacher training, I started to get really serious about saying no to work that only financially fulfilled me and yes to work that I could get excited about. It was my small side hustle-y jobs where I met the most awesome people and awesome brands that then snowballed into freelance clients who, eventually, made it possible for me to go freelance full-time.

When/where do you work on your Side Hustle?: At my little desk nook at home or in a coffee shop (preferably Muddy Waters, Collective Coffee, or Harbinger Cafe in Charleston).

What are the challenges of your Side Hustle?: Staying motivated to keep going when the results aren’t immediate or super perfect.

In this Instagram-heavy and like-button world, it’s hard not to get bummed when other people seem to be sitting at their beautiful desks in their all white homes with their impeccable wardrobes cranking out amazing work that looks tidy and on-brand and perfect. And here I am with messy hair in yoga pants trying to get things done on a deadline. I came across a quote recently (no idea who said it first) and it said, “I’m learning to love the parts of myself that no one claps for.” I’m trying to live like that. To love myself and my work for what they are—messy and imperfect and also awesome. Because the important part is the doing of the work.

What are the rewards of your Side Hustle?: Working for yourself and by yourself is really hard, but it makes the wins that much more rewarding.

When I launch something, or finish a project, or make someone happy, I can step back and be like, “Whoa, I did that on my own!” And that is really cool and worth all of the hustle.

Who is your greatest supporter?: My husband, Boykin, is the greatest human on the planet. Every slightly scary decision I’ve ever made, especially with my work, he’s been there to listen and really hear me and give me the push I need to actually do the thing.

Who/what is your greatest source of inspiration?: All my fellow yoga teachers at Charleston Power Yoga constantly inspire me. Especially recently, Sarah Frick, one of the owners of CPY, has been a huge source of inspiration for me. She started her own personal brand and style of classes called The Works, and she really walks the walk (or works The Works)! She’s real and raw and open and vulnerable, and that inspires me to show up and do the work every single day.

What is your dream for your Side Hustle?: I would love to see my side hustle evolve into more robust freelance offerings. I’m in the process of researching graphic design certifications, so I can handle both the design and the writing for client websites, etc. I want to eventually be someone’s one-stop-shop for building their brand.

Do you have any advice for others working on a Side Hustle?:
Find other people with side hustles that inspire you to keep at it. Talk to them. Get coffee with them. Ask them questions. Be side hustle buddies.

Unfollow people on social media who make you feel like you aren’t doing enough or aren’t cool enough or aren’t fill-in-the-blank enough. You’re awesome and your work matters, so don’t let Instagram make you think differently about your work.

If you work from home: put on a bra, put on some mascara, and sit in a real chair at a real desk. These are my three work-from-home rules, and they help me feel more pulled together and ready to take on the day.

Reach out to Virginia via email to connect or collaborate, visit her website to learn more about her branding techniques, or follow her on Instagram to see what she’s up to in Charleston!

Molly: Copywriter, Website Designer, Photographer

Name: Molly Ramsey

Age: 29

City: Charleston, South Carolina

Main Hustle: Editor and freelance writer.

Side Hustle: Content creator.

I use this term because it’s all-encompassing. Some days this means designing customized Squarespace websites for small businesses, other days it looks like curating content for a brand’s Instagram account, and other days still it takes the shape of photography.

How did you get started?: I’ve forever been a fan of writing and the written word. I attribute a lot of that to having speech impediments as a child—while verbally expressing myself was tough, writing was a glorious land where my Rs always sounded like R’s and my S’s didn’t have a lisp. I graduated college with a degree in journalism and moved to Charleston for an editorial internship in the magazine publishing field. From there, my career advanced pretty linearly; I worked my way up from editorial assistant to assistant editor to editor, all within the same company.

This past summer I left my full-time role at the magazine to pursue a freelance career in writing and editing. I remain editor of a health and wellness magazine (I’m constantly inspired by the field of wellness), regularly contribute to a cache of local magazines (writing about home and event design, businesses, cool movers and shakers, and on), and taking on new work from national brands (like Fodors and Menasha Ridge Press).

While I consider writing and editing to be my “main gig,” I’ve used the newfound flexibility in my schedule to pursue projects that let me flex my storytelling and brand building skills in new ways. I’ve customized and written copy for a few small businesses’ websites; I’ve managed Instagram and other social media accounts; I’m taking on marketing and public relations projects for companies; and I’m exploring the world of photography—all of which, for now, I’d consider side hustles.

Through my work as a writer I’ve interviewed and learned the stories behind so many brilliant brands and people. These side hustles are my way of helping people share their stories and passions with the world. They also let me continue learning and growing professionally in a way I wasn’t able to while working full-time in magazine publishing.

When/where do you work on your Side Hustle?: The line between my main gig and side hustles is pretty thin and becomes fainter each month. So I work on both from home and various coffee shops, with my schedule and workflow changing from day and day.

What are the challenges of your Side Hustle?: While my career in magazine publishing prepped me well for many aspects of my side-hustle projects, they also require a good bit of self-teaching, which is a slow process that can be riddled with self-doubt. Speaking of self-doubt … the whole promoting/marketing myself thing is a real struggle. I can promote the heck out of a brand I’m behind or a team I’m part of, but now that the brand is myself and the team is me, I find it challenging at times to market my skills and services in a way that doesn’t feel icky.

An amazing curveball is on the horizon for my career, too: my husband, Will, and I are expecting our first child in June! TBD how becoming a mom will change the scope and trajectory of my current side hustles; I know it’ll shake things up in huge and wonderful ways.

What are the rewards of your Side Hustle?: The ability to pursue new projects and work with new people has inspired and enlivened me. Also: while there are plenty of perks to working in magazine publishing, it’s a low-paying field that often requires lots of overtime. I cherish the control I have now over both my schedule and profitability.

Who is your greatest supporter?: My husband, Will, and closest friends helped give me the courage I needed to take the plunge into a freelance career and continue to support me as I work my various side hustles.

Who/what is your greatest source of inspiration?: The teachers at Charleston Power Yoga have impacted my life and career in ways I’m only beginning to understand. Also, podcasts are my jam. When I was considering my career change, I listened to The Tim Ferris Show, The Lively Show, and For When You by Jessica Kenny (a former CPY instructor) on repeat. My current go-tos are The Goal Digger Podcast, The Rich Roll Podcast, One Part Podcast, and TED Radio Hour. Though at times I want to delete the time-suck and comparison-monster that is Instagram and never look back, it really is a huge source of inspiration and introduces me to brands, people, and businesses I’d never find otherwise.

Have you received recognition for your work? If so, please toot your horn below so we can include these details in your profile.: Seeing my byline—whether it’s in print, on a business’s site, or on Instagram—is always a thrill. This year’s highlights including writing a Charleston hotel guide for Fodors (I remember buying their print travel guides when I traveled to Europe in high school!) and co-authoring my first book (a Charleston-area outdoor guide due out later this year).

What is your dream for your Side Hustle?: TBD! Perhaps choosing one side hustle to really dive into and become an expert in. Or maybe starting a blog or website that lets me put all my interests and skills into a brand created by me.

Do you have any advice for others working on a Side Hustle?:

I struggle with imposters syndrome from time to time—the feeling that what I’ve accomplished isn’t relevant or official enough—so I like to remind myself that literally everyone is winging everything in life.

Visit Molly’s website to learn more, follow her on Instagram, or reach out to her via email if you would like to connect or collaborate!

Featured Images by: Molly Ramsey