The Side Hustle Series: Michelle Rees
Welcome to the new side hustle series, I will be interviewing fellow #eventprofs that have taken the plunge into multi-faceted careers and run their own projects and business outside their jobs. Side Hustles have grown in popularity as the internet and ability to be efficient and flexible in our work/personal lives allows us to work on projects we feel passionate about not just the 9 to 5. The most famous example is Google allowing its employees to spend up to 20% of their time on side projects not associated to their role to encourage them to improve their creativity and skills beyond what they would be able to otherwise. Remember Gmail, Google Maps, Twitter, Slack, and Groupon all started as side projects, who knows where your's could take you.
I started my career as an events coordinator almost 12 years ago now, working my way through my career to my current role, Head of Events and throughout my career my ethos has always been the same... that we can do anything we set our mind to. We are cable of so much we just have to use our time wisely which is why I am a huge advocate of the side hustle and working hard to get what you want and where you want to be.
Hand on heart, I believe we can do whatever we set our mind to. I am lucky enough to mentor three people within the industry and I love seeing people thrive! I love teaching them effectively how I “get shit done”.
Side hustles are my thing – I have an exciting announcement to share at our side hustle talk in November that I think will add to the content. I really can’t wait to share my news....
Tell me about your side hustle(s), what it is, what you do, how long have you been doing it, why did you start it?
I have a couple of side hustles and they have become such a huge part of who I am that I don’t know what I would do without them in my life!
Kate and I started Eventprofslive just over four years ago now and it has gone from strength to strength, we started the group because we recognised a gap in the industry for a networking group purely for corporate event managers. Most of the networking groups in and around London are made up of PA’s, EA’s and agencies. We wanted to create a dedicated group/space for those of us corporate side and whilst we turn away potential members weekly who aren’t corporate (sorry!!!) – we think it is important to maintain the integrity of our group and our vision for it. This side hustle takes up a lot of time, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
I also support Eventprofs Partners – a dedicated corporate event recruitment business and, Event Consult which has been a side hustle for seven years now. I have private clients that I produce bespoke events and private parties for and I love this side hustle. I can fit it in on my weekends and there is nothing better than seeing an event come to life.
Why do you think side hustles have become so popular?
I think for two reasons side hustles have started to take off. I think some people have side hustles to top up their income and I also feel having a side hustle is the best way to dabble on what you want to do without having to give up the stability of your full-time gig. Working on your side hustle out of hours allows you to make mistakes and take chances without jeopardising your income so when you have learnt all of your lessons and it's starting to get to a place where you are making an income you will have the confidence to just go for it. I know I could take my side hustles full time and make a very good income however I love my role as Head of Events and my team so the balance I have works for me at the moment.
What advice would you give someone that was thinking of starting a side hustle?
Just do it – I get up earlier, work on the commute and work in the evenings – you can find the time if you want to do it.
How do you stay motivated to keep working on it alongside a busy career?
My motivation is that this is my own yet it helps support my career. My side hustles and my career run at parallels and each one supports the other. I am so lucky I get to do events full time and then in my spare time I do as well - my whole life is events!
Has your side hustle opened the doors to any opportunities you wouldn’t have had without it?
I think because my side hustle(s) all set in the events realm, I look for opportunities in each interaction I have. If I am running an event for my career I wonder would it work for Eventprofslive, or if someone in my network is looking for a new role, then I refer them to Eventprofs Partners if someone has a private party then would like to produce, I support them via Event Consult.
Has your side hustle helped you in your career? How?
I would say it has strengthened my network, I knew a lot of people before in the industry but now I know so many more – my network is invaluable and I love that I can use the contacts in my network in my everyday role.
What do you love most about having a side hustle? Are there any downsides?
I love that I am marketing, communications, digital marketing manager, event manager all rolled into one – it is teaching me so many new skills that are helping me in my role every day.
Eventprofs Live are hosting a live panel on building your side hustle as an eventprof, 4th November at Mortimer House. Tickets available here