best side hustles

The Best Side Hustles for Creatives

Working as a creative is incredibly rewarding, but that doesn’t mean you’re always raking in the cash. It’s hard to get a freelance career started, especially if you’re fresh out of school or haven’t had your first client yet. But obviously you still need a cash flow.

Instead of picking up shifts at the local Starbucks that eats into your precious empire building time, these side hustles will help with your financial stability until you start killing it with your new company.

1) Selling Stock Photography

I have a background in photography so this was a natural side hustle for me. There are a couple of ways to sell your images, depending on what kind of photography you’d like to sell and your audience. If you’re a die hard photography fan, you can sell to sites like Adobe Stock or ShutterStock. When you’re selling a niche type of photography, like styled stock images, you can start your own Etsy store. If you’re looking to make a little cash off of the gorgeous pictures you’ve taken with your iPhone, you can upload them to Foap, an app that allows amateur iPhone photographers to sell images to stock buyers.

2) Surveys

An easy way to make a little bit of cash is to answer surveys for money. The best place to do that is at Opinion Outpost. You can earn points that you can redeem for cash or gift vouchers to popular brands. Not only is it easy to sign up, but it’s also free. There are a lot of other survey companies out there, but be careful, there are some that can be pretty scammy.

3) Ride Sharing

This is an obvious one and has been around for a while, but if you want to get out of the house and maybe network a little bit and meet some new people, you can start driving for Lyft. There are obviously other ride sharing apps that you can work for, but Lyft is my favorite. The great part about being a pseudo taxi-driver is that you can make your own hours. This is incredibly beneficial for creative entrepreneur’s because obviously your hours are crazy anyway.

4) Task Rabbit

This one has also been around for a while, but Task Rabbit is a great place to put your basic skills to good use. Some tasks are more fun than others, obviously. But you can get paid to help someone hang pictures or put together furniture. Or if you have specific skills, you can sign up as a personal assistant. You set the amount you charge and can accept or deny jobs at your discretion.

5) Start A Blog

This is more of a long term side hustle, but it can be extremely lucrative. Use BlueHost to host your website and they will help you get all set up with a domain name, hosting, and whatever else you need. Use the blog to spread information about your brand or services, use affiliate links and display ads.

These are just a couple of side hustles that will help get you through a work slump in your creative business slump. Do what you gotta do to keep your dream alive.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a little kick back.

Great Design Resources

4 Great Design Resources

I love design. I love putting pretty things together and making everyday things beautiful. As much as I would love to create every aspect of my design, from the photography to the fonts, it’s just not feasible. There are some incredible design resources out there. These are my absolute favorites:

1) Etsy

Etsy is my favorite place for a lot of things, but I buy a lot of amazing design assets there. You get a lot for your money and I love that I’m supporting small business owners.

One place I’ve gotten a lot of cute vectors and patterns from is GraphicRain. They have a huge variety of products. She has the greatest pack of digital confetti, and I bought some perfectly illustrated flowers that I use in everything.

I’ve used illustrated doodles from daroom in a lot of my previous blog posts.

And if you’re looking for some simple and cute styled stock photography, my Etsy store, the chaotic creative marketplace, has got you covered.

2) Pexels

Obviously, I’d love if you went to the marketplace for all of your stock photography needs, but I’m fully aware of my limitations. Another great stock image resource is Pexels. And the best part? It’s free. They have compiled stock photos for almost everything. They are easily searchable and all under the Creative Commons Zero license so they’re completely free and clear of any creative licensing and the user doesn’t need to attribute to the image to the creator. It’s the best.

3) Coolors

Sometimes picking the perfect color scheme is so incredibly daunting. Coolors will generate a random color scheme for you. If you don’t don’t like the one it generates for you, you can either have them keep coming up with completely new ones or you can lock certain colors you like, and it will pick colors that work well with the ones you choose. If I’m being honest, I sometimes just go on this site to look at pretty colors even when I don’t need them for a project.

4) The Noun Project

This is one of my newer design resources. I use it a lot at work. The Noun Project is the perfect place to find icons. You can find an icon for almost anything. You can download the icon as a .png or an .svg file for free, but you must give proper credit. Or you can buy a license and use the icon without crediting the creator. If you decide to pay for them it’s only $1.99 for one icon or $9.99/mo for unlimited icons.

There are endless amounts of great design resources out there, but these have served me very well.

What are your favorite design resources?

|| the chaotic creative

Interview with a Freelancer – Tyler Hakes of Optimist

A lot of people in the creative industry are passionate about it because not only do they get to do what they love, but they also have the freedom to make their own schedule. Being a creative freelancer is something I know that I, and many others, have always aspired to. I wanted to talk to someone who has been in the industry to get to know what it really takes to not only be your own boss, but be successful at it. I interviewed Tyler Hakes who took his freelance work experience and created a content marketing company, Optimist, which is a collective of freelancers:

What is your line of work?

Writing is my main focus–both copywriting and content. But my background is in marketing, so, for many of my clients, I am actually managing content marketing as a service versus just cranking out words. 

Do you have any formal education in this field?

I have a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Iowa.

How long have you been a full time freelancer? 

I left my job to go full-time at the beginning of 2016. So, I’m approaching my one year anniversary. Before that, I had done a lot of freelance work on the side for a few years just for extra income but hadn’t really pursued it seriously. 

What’s your favorite part of being your own boss?

It’s really cliche, but it ultimately comes down to freedom. Not just being able to work in your underwear or whatever most people think of when they think of the word “freelance”, but having freedom over the work that I do, the people I work with, and also just my entire life trajectory. I can pack up and move wherever I want, whenever I want. I can take a Monday off if I don’t feel like working. I can fire a client if I don’t like the work that I’m doing or if I don’t believe in their mission. 

I get the freedom to align my work with my own values and not just work a job to pay the bills, but actually do things that give me purpose. I feel really fortunate for that. 

What’s the hardest part of being a freelancer?

For me, it’s probably shutting off work. I’ve always been a bit of a workaholic and even though I don’t have to work full-time hours at this point, I still tend to default to filling my time with something to work on. So if I’m sitting around at night watching Netflix or it’s the weekend and I have nothing planned, I’ll tend to catch myself thinking about work or even checking Slack or Trello all the time. 

One of my goals is to try to separate my life a bit more, get out from in front of the screen and capitalize on the free time that I have now that I am freelance.

What is your workspace situation?

I have a home office that I use most days. Sometimes I get a bit stir crazy and seek out a change of scenery at a local coffee shop or go somewhere to get some lunch and end up working there for a few hours. 

When I’m working on creative projects, especially, I find that getting out of the house can help me focus my thoughts and come up with better ideas.

How did you build your clientele? 

With a lot of luck, mostly. 

I started by using sites like UpWork and landed a few great clients from there, some of whom I still work with from time to time. After that, I started to expand my search and use things like Reddit’s /r/forhire and traditional job boards that have filters for freelance/contract positions. 

But I also hustled a bit and got creative. I set up Google Alerts for hosted job software pages (like that contained the words “freelance” and “writer”. I scoured sites like, which have listings for jobs, but sometimes have contract/freelance work. 

Now I pretty much have a steady stable of clients with most of the work being on retainer. So, I rarely look for new opportunities at this point. If I do, I generally use Reddit or UpWork. 

What is the most important information to gather from your client? 

As a writer, the most important thing is usually the voice and the tone of the writing. So, I try to really understand how my clients want things to “feel”. I’m a big fan of using either real people or fictional characters as a reference point. It helps me kind of “get into character” when I sit down to write for different clients. 

So, a few weeks ago, I had a new client and I proposed that we use Ron Swanson (from Parks & Rec) as the persona for their brand. They really loved the idea and we passed around clips for a few days. I love when I get to have fun with work like that. 

If my role is bigger and I’m managing content, then it really comes down to their goals for the site. Most people do content marketing because they want to grow traffic, but the way that you accomplish that can vary a lot depending on the kind of business it is, their target market, etc. 

Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview! Do you have any final tips for aspiring freelancers? 

My biggest tip is: Just do it. Take the plunge. I contemplated quitting my job to go freelance for 6-8 months before I finally did it. I thought it would be scary. But, I found quite the opposite. I’ve never been happier and more motivated in my life. And I think it’s hard to “build into it” in a lot of ways. At least for me, being in the do-or-die situation of having the hustle for work really motivated me and pushed me to make it happen. I didn’t have that same feeling when I was just freelancing on the side. It was always just something extra, so I didn’t have the same motivation. 

Oh, and raise your rate. Seriously. You probably aren’t charging enough. 

I don’t know about you, but I found this interview incredibly helpful. I think all aspiring creative freelancers should take his advice. Check out Tyler Hake’s new content marketing company, Optimist!

What are your favorite parts about being a creative freelancer?

|| the chaotic creative

The New Year is Time for New Goals

Full disclosure, I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. Making a resolution never sticks. And setting giant, unattainable goals are never going to get met. The New Year is a good time to reevaluate what you’re doing with your life, plan for the future and set some attainable New Year goals.

This is going to be an interesting and exciting year in our house. My husband is going through an enormous career change, including a 5 month unpaid training period, so that will take up a good portion of the year and then he will be looking for someone to employ him, and actually pay him.

Instead of starting the year focusing on upcoming events and trips like I usually do, I’ve decided to make this the year of internal growth. This year I’m working on bettering myself from where I stand now. It’s going to be a year of building on the foundation we’ve worked so hard to create. I’m going to spend the year supporting my husband in any way I can, because I know how stressful it’s going to be for him, and taking the time to really dig in and figure out what is working for me and what isn’t.

I read this great article on planning your best year ever, and it really got me in the right mind set to start off the year. I am not making resolutions but I am setting goals that I know I can stick to. The trick is to just putting a little bit of effort into it.

Here are some Very attainable New Year goals I’m setting:

1) New blog branding

2) Create 5 new styled stock images for my Etsy store

3) Get 1,000 followers on Instagram

4) Finish almost everything I start

5) Redo

6) Learn something new every day

7) Exercise at least 3 days a week

So, here’s to hoping 2017 goes a little more smoothly than 2016, and to sticking to our very attainable New Year goals.

What are some of your goals for the year? Or for life in general?

Happy New Year everyone!

|| the chaotic creative



3 Tips For A Successful Creative Break

This time of year can be incredibly difficult for even the most sane of people and sometimes a creative break is necessary. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and under stimulated in your work. I know for me personally, it’s hard to get through the holidays emotionally. I pretty much run on anxiety and caffeine (per the usual.) And with everything going on I have completely lost the desire or drive to create anything. There are some times when being create isn’t an option, and that is okay. Creativity can be fickle and that’s okay. Sometimes you just need a break. It will help rejuvenate and refresh you so you can get back to doing what you do best. Here are a few ways I’ve found that make taking a creative break much more successful:

1) READ. Read everything.

I don’t know about you but I’ve noticed that if I haven’t read for a while, I honestly feel dumber. My mind works slower and I have trouble finding words. Books are also an escape. No matter where you are physically, books can take you out of your present and into a different reality where your creativity will thrive. One book I suggest right now is Creativity, Inc. It’s really inspiring to hear about Pixar’s trials and tribulations. It’s nice to hear that no one has success overnight. But read whatever you want – just read.

2) Travel

Traveling is the best way to find inspiration. Even if it’s just somewhere for the day. Drive up to the mountains or out in the middle of nowhere. Fly to Europe and backpack for a week. Rent an Airbnb down the street or even pop a tent in your backyard. Whatever you can afford and are willing to do, do it. Get out of your own space and go into someone else’s. While you’re traveling take as many pictures as you can, but make sure you’re still living in the moment. Take note of all of the special things you’re hearing, smelling and seeing. Keep a travel journal. Then come back, sit your ass down and get some work done.

3) Sleep & self care

The best thing you can do for yourself is to take care of yourself. Catch up on sleep. Get your hair cut. Get a facial. Do all of the things you’ve been putting off forever. You can’t create beautiful things unless you’re okay. You won’t be okay unless you sleep and maintain your body. Even with all of the coffee in the world, you won’t be awake enough to function. Melatonin helps me fall asleep when my mind is running a mile a minute, which it usually does when I’m trying to sleep. I’ve also heard great things about spraying lavender on your pillow. I also use these face masks a lot when I’m treating myself to an at home spa day and I love them.

I know taking a creative break from work can sometimes be very intimidating and can seem impossible. But it’s incredibly necessary and this time of year is probably the best time to do it. This year has been rough for everyone. So take some time with your family, relax and get yourself ready for the craziness that is going to be 2017.

Take care of yourself and have a happy new year!

|| the chaotic creative