Ep 99

How to create motion design side projects that complement your day job

with Charli Marie

About this episode

Looking to pursue motion design side projects but unsure how to find balance with your day job?

In today’s episode Charli Marie explains how side projects can help motion designers to improve their craft and process.

 

About Charli Marie

Charli Marie is a Youtuber, podcast host and Creative Director at email marketing company ConvertKit.

Throughout her working career, Charli has always pursued some side projects outside of her 9-5 role. Currently she creates weekly content on her YouTube channel and podcast, Design Life, sharing insights into life as a professional designer alongside tutorials and advice on design tools and concepts.

 

It won’t happen overnight

Although Charli’s roster of side projects is extremely impressive, she urges listeners to remember that she didn’t go from zero to managing several content channels overnight alongside her day job.

Charli explains that she’s slowly reached where she is thanks to years of hard work and passion for her side projects. She says that once a project grows and develops, it will become easier to fit into your schedule and make time for.

For example, Charli has been running her YouTube channel since 2013. While it has an impressive 203k subscribers today, she explains that it took her around four years to hit the coveted milestone of 100k subscribers and a further three years to reach 200k.

 

Recognise how you work best

How does Charli stay motivated? For her it’s a love of what she does and also the knowledge that she’s the only person who can move her side projects forward – she feels she owes it to herself to make time for her side projects.

When working your day job, making time for your side hustles can be challenging but Charli believes it’s important to find what works best for you. After a full day of work, Charli wants to relax and unwind, so she finds it best to work on her side projects in the morning.

In her current role Charli is working for a US-based email marketing company called ConvertKit meaning her mornings are free to work on side projects. However, this wasn’t always the case and prior to this Charli was committed to working on her side hustles at less sociable hours.

Charli notes that how you work best will change. She explains that in her twenties she had boundless energy to work on side projects, but as she’s gotten older, she tries to find balance and enjoys taking time away from work. Now Charli aims to take one day at the weekend off doing any kind of work, but ideally aims to take the whole weekend off.

 

Find the right tools

Juggling lots of side projects can be an admin headache, so finding a planning system that works well for you is important. Charli uses a combination of both digital and analogue planning tools to help oversee her day-to-day and big picture plans.

For high-level content planning, Charli uses Notion however when it comes to daily to-do lists she’s all about pen and paper, especially to-do lists and using a bullet journal.

 

Why pursue a side project?

In Charli’s opinion there’s two reasons why you may look to have a motion design side project. The first is that it will fulfill you creatively in a way your day job is unable to. For Charli this is her creative desire to create content and teach others. Although she is able to dip her toe into this at ConvertKit, the bulk of her job is design – which she loves – but she notes that it’s her desire for other work that makes her pursue side hustles.

The second reason is that side projects can go a long way in building your professional reputation, be that as a freelancer or when applying for new jobs. However, Charli explains that this shouldn’t be the sole reason you start a side project, as they take a lot of work and motivation and without passion, are likely to fail.

 

Find a niche for your side projects

Charli knows this is advice that everyone gives, but she truly believes finding a niche helped her side hustles significantly. When she first started on YouTube, Charli was creating all kinds of content from DIY tutorials to fashion. However as she started to naturally move away from this more general lifestyle content and become more focussed on design, she started to see her channel grow more rapidly.

Alongside her growth trajectory after niching down, Charli also noticed a change in how people described her. Initially, she would find herself described by others as lots of things such as fashion YouTuber or makeup artist, but after she focussed on design, Charli found herself constantly being referred to as a design content creator.

 

 

Hiring when you have a side hustle

Over time Charli started to find herself in the position where her side projects were earning money and demanding more time on tasks she didn’t enjoy. Naturally she decided to search for support, mentioning on Twitter that she was looking for a Virtual Assistant (VA), and that’s how she found Chloé, who took the initiative to send Charli a cold email explaining her skill set and how she could help.

Charli notes that it’s important to understand the difference between a VA to a Personal Assistant (PA). She explains that with a VA you’re hiring someone to help with specific tasks, whilst with a PA you’re hiring someone to help with whatever you should need.

For Charli, hiring Chloé on a contract basis for her side projects has been a great way to grow her projects without hiring a full time employee. She recommends this approach as it’s a great way to dip your toes into the water of hiring, without becoming an employer.

 

 

Do you have side projects? Or are you looking to start a new one? Let us know more about your motion design side projects in the comments section below!

 

ln this episode

  • An introduction to Charli
  • Charli’s side hustle journey
  • Managing your time
  • Using the right planning tools
  • Reasons to start a side project
  • Choosing a niche
  • Hiring for your side projects

Quotes

“One important thing to note, when we think about how I juggle my time is that I didn’t go from zero to how it is today.” [3.13]

“I don’t think I would be happy just working my full-time job.” [5.25]

“For my own things I need to do each day, I’m all about pen and paper.” [09.20]

“I think there’s two reasons to have a side project/ creative project outside of work. One is that it will fulfill you creatively. Maybe at your full-time job you don’t get all of your creative fulfillment needs met.” [11.13]

“If you’re going to have a project on the side, like running a YouTube channel it cannot be just for the reputational side of things.” [17.31]

“Everyone always says, ‘pick a niche, go after a niche’ and you’re like ‘yeh, yeh, yeh I get it’ but I’ve seen firsthand the power that it had.” [19.34]

“A VA is different to a PA, as with a VA you’re hiring someone to help with specific tasks. With a PA they’re there to help with whatever you need.”  [26.42]

 

Links

You can find more information on all of Charli’s side projects on her website.

Listen to her newest podcast Inside Marketing Design here.

Find out more about ConvertKit and access our affiliate offer here.

Transcript

Transcript:

Charli Marie (00:00): Yeah. I definitely think that you can’t consider management as the only path to growth I really saw is taking on a management role as really being able to have an impact on a certain group of people, right. And help them with their careers, which is what I do through my side hustles or my YouTube channel. But by managing a team, I can have this like one-on-one relationship with people to be helping them impress in areas that they want to move into.

Hayley Akins (00:25): Hey hatchlings, welcome to the motion hatch podcast. I’m your host, Hayley Akins.

Hayley Akins (00:33): Hey hatchlings. And welcome to episode 99 of the motion hatch podcast. I can’t believe that the next episode is actually episode 100. We’ve got a really fun episode coming up for you with lots of contributions from listeners, which I’m very, very grateful for. So please make sure you subscribe and keep an eye out for episode 100 today on the show we have Charli Marie. Charlie is a YouTuber podcast, host and creative director at email marketing company convert kit. We actually use convert kit at motion hatch, and we really do love it. If you want to check out convert kit, go to motionhatch.com/convertkit. You can get a free account up to 1000 subscribers. This is an affiliate link. So if you do happen to reach 1000 subscribers and pay for the platform, we will receive a small commission, but it’s no extra cost to you. And it does help support this podcast. Charli and I spoke about how to create side projects that complement your full-time gig, how to manage your time. So you don’t get burned out, which I know is very, very important and how to hire people when you have a side hustle. So I really love all the content that Charli is putting out in the world. And I think that you’re going to be very inspired by this episode, so let’s get into it.

Hayley Akins (01:50): Hey Charlie, thank you so much for coming on the show.

Charli Marie (01:52): Yeah. Thanks for having me here. I’m excited to talk to you.

Hayley Akins (01:55): So do you want to start by telling the audience a little bit about yourself and what you do?

Charli Marie (01:59): Yeah, so, I mean, I always find introducing myself really hard because there is how many things that go into like who I am, what I do, but I’m the creative director at ConvertKit. We can start there. So that’s where I work full time I lead the brand team. And then on the side I have a YouTube channel called Charlie and re TV, have a couple of podcasts, design life and inside marketing design a blog, a weekly marketing design newsletter. I’m currently writing a book about marketing design. So you can tell that I’m a little obsessed with, you know, marketing and brand design in general.

Hayley Akins (02:30): Yeh. And I mean, the reason why I wanted to bring you on the show was because you’re doing so much and I’m like, how’s Charli doing all this stuff. It’s pretty incredible. I’m like telling me all your secrets.

Charli Marie (02:41): Yeah. I wish there was a secret that would be, I feel like I could charge people for that. You know, if there was an actual secret to it, maybe that could be a good moneymaker.

Hayley Akins (02:50): Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Let’s all know about that, well, so yeah, I wanted to say that I’m just really impressed and especially the fact that you obviously have a full-time job and you do your YouTube channel and then like two podcasts and all of this stuff. So would you mind sharing a little bit about how you manage your time and how you kind of juggle all that together?

Charli Marie (03:12): So I think one important thing to note when we think about like how I juggle my time for things is that I didn’t go from zero to like how, how it is today in, in an instant, you know, these are all projects that I’ve slowly like added to over time and like some projects have come in and faded out.

Charli Marie (03:31): Cause I think the once a project is like, maybe once you’re used to doing it once it becomes second nature and it’s like more mature in a way, it, it becomes easier to fit in the time for it. So I just want to clarify that, but it didn’t go from having no side projects to suddenly having a couple of YouTube channels, a couple of podcasts streaming, et cetera overnight. But the main way that I structure my time, because the company I worked for ConvertKit is a us company. So I find I’m working generally until like seven or 8:00 PM, most evenings, which is you know, pretty late for me here in Spain, but it does mean that I start my Workday later. So I have my mornings pretty free for like, you know, my own personal time doing workout, things like that, but also working on side projects.

Charli Marie (04:15): And even when I worked in an office, you know, back in the day before I was in this remote work life, I would still walk on my side projects before work. That was my habit. And my pattern that I got into back then, it meant getting up at like 5:00 AM to fit in a couple of hours editing before getting on the tube in London. So I’m thankful that now it can be a little bit more of a civilized hour that I’m working on my side projects, but that’s, that’s basically how it fits into my day is I make sure to dedicate an hour or two each day to the side hustles before I start my full-time job, because I find that afterwards I am exhausted and just ready to like make some dinner and sit in front of the TV for the evening.

Hayley Akins (04:53): Yeah. I just wanted to ask you about like, cause that’s so much time and effort to put in, you know, what, what kind of drives you to do this extra stuff, because I’m sure you could just be quite comfortable working at your job. You know, I use ConvertKit, I think they’re really cool company and like that’s also an exciting thing to do, right? It is. But yeah, like what drives you to do all of the, I guess the kind of extra stuff and how do you think that plays into your career?

Charli Marie (05:21): Yeh, I don’t know if this sounds bad for me to say that I don’t think I would be happy just working my full-time job. I just cannot imagine doing that. I ever since university. And even before that, maybe I guess like if I look back on my always starting up a project or another, it’s just second nature to me.

Charli Marie (05:38): I like I have to do it. I have to be building my own thing and like bringing my own ideas to life. You know, I am afraid, I don’t know any other way. And there is obviously times when the motivation dips and you don’t feel like doing the thing that day, but I kind of see it as like I owe to myself to work on this, you know, and to be moving things forward, even if it’s only a tiny bit each day, because I know that within me, like, this is what I want to do. And so I’m the only one when it’s my own project who can make that happen. And so if I choose to like be lazy and not work on it, then I’m only letting myself down really. And so I guess it’s part of that, what drives me. But also just, I just, I feel this calling to it, you know, I don’t know how to not be a creator.

Hayley Akins (06:26): Yeah, totally. I wonder cause I think many people listening to this show, you know, we’re always talking about work-life balance and stuff like that. How do you personally like negotiate that I guess. And, and do you try and make more time for yourself as well? And how do you get around that stuff?

Charli Marie (06:45): Yeah. I feel like when I was in my twenties, I had so much more energy to give to my side projects. I could do the early mornings, the late nights, the like working all the weekend and I was totally fine. And like, I loved it. I loved spending my life that way. Like prioritizing projects now that I’m in my thirties. Like, I don’t know if it’s just, I’ve been doing the projects for a while or if it is just getting older, but I definitely don’t have as much energy.

Charli Marie (07:12): I try to always have at least one weekend day where I am not even thinking about projects at all. I’m not even turning on my computer and ideally both days on the weekend is I’m doing that. It depends what I’ve got on. So I try and like make sure I’m fitting in the side hustle, work on the weekdays so that I can still have that weekend. And I think as I’ve been doing this more and getting older, I’ve learned what’s important to me, what I should prioritize. There were times in my twenties where I think I prioritized the YouTube consistent schedule above all else. And I would like choose to not go hang out with my friends that day, because I knew there was a video I had to get up and I had an edited again and I had to do it, which is really fricking sad, you know, to think about now.

Charli Marie (07:55): But that was how I handle things and you know, how my channel grew back then nowadays I would choose to go hang out with my friends and I would just skip the offload for the day. You know, swings and roundabouts little, all changes.

Hayley Akins (08:08): Yeah. So do you use, cause I saw that you did a video about notion basically size, wondering about, is that the main tool that you use to organize all of this stuff? Is there anything else that you use or would recommend for people trying to set up projects outside of?

Charli Marie (08:24): Yeah. I found notion works really well for me, but honestly, so does pen and paper. So every week I use oh, what’s it called? It’s called analog by alpha monkey. It’s this little system that audio listeners won’t be able to see, but video ones can that I’m holding up right now.

Charli Marie (08:38): It’s like a little note card that sits in this lovely wooden thing on my desk. And every week I write down a list of what does all the side hustle stuff I need to do this week. And it goes there and it’s sitting in front of me. It’s not hidden away in an app. Or, you know, it’s there and I’m looking at it every day. When I look at my computer, I also use a bullet journal every day to plan out tasks for the day. And I found that works better for me than a digital to-do list because I find the task get lost. If I’m not actively looking at the app, I’m going to forget to do it. So I love notion for like higher level planning of like a schedule of what video will go out when and what the script is for that video and to work with my VA as well, which maybe we’ll talk about later, but for my own like things I need to do each day, I’m all about pen and paper.

Hayley Akins (09:24): Yeah. Yeah. I agree with you. I think that because I interviewed Matt Ragland, which I know that you worked with him for a bit.

Charli Marie (09:31): He’s a big bullet journal enthusiast.

Hayley Akins (09:33): Yeah, exactly. And then I watched some of his videos and then I interviewed him and I was like, wow, now I’m going to do this. And it really helps to just like use the digital stuff, that kind of higher level kind of thing, like you were saying, and then have like your weekly task and then every day go back to them and like drawing little arrows to make sure that you’re putting, you know, I haven’t done those ones. I need to do them tomorrow and all of that kind of stuff. Like, yeah, I’ve started doing that too. It’s really, really helpful to make sure you get things done.

Charli Marie (10:02): Isn’t it so much more satisfying to mark something off with a pen, like cross it off the list rather than just like check and like click the little tick icon in an app.

Charli Marie (10:11): I don’t know. Maybe that’s just me, but I find it so satisfying.

Hayley Akins (10:15): Yeah, definitely. I mean, you know, in asana they do have like some sort of unicorn or weird thing that like goes across the screen when you take something off a lot of things off sometimes. So, you know, like I do want that to happen more in my life. Everyone’s going to be like, it’s not a unicorn. I know it’s not a unicorn. It’s something with the horn. And it said, I don’t know what it’s called, whatever it is. It’s satisfying. Yeah, exactly. But no, I agree with you doing the scribbling and I’m always like I’ve done that. Just scribbling out so much, especially when it’s been on your list for a little while. Yeah. That’s great. You know, I really appreciate you talking about this because I think that everybody listening is always asking about this, like how can we be more productive?

Hayley Akins (10:57): How can we do our personal projects on the side? And you know, how can we organize it and all of that kind of thing. So I wanted to talk about as well, like how important you feel it is for like you and other people to do these kinds of creative things outside of your work.

Charli Marie (11:15): So I think there’s two reasons to have a, like a side project, creative projects outside of work. One is because it will fulfill you creatively, you know, maybe at your full-time job, you don’t get all of your like creative fulfillment needs met, you know, like as part of my job at ConvertKit, I definitely get to do a lot of design, which I love. And it was really important to me in feeling creatively fulfilled, but I also really liked to teach. Right. and I like making videos and like making content, building an audience.

Charli Marie (11:47): That’s not really what I’m paid to do that ConvertKit, you know, maybe there’s a little bit of it now. And then I do run a podcast at work called the future belongs to creators, but I need to get that creative fulfillment from somewhere. And so it comes from the side projects, like I was saying, it’s just something that I need to do and that I need to exist, but another side to it. And I would not recommend this being the only reason you have a project, but it can go a long way in building your reputation. So if you’re a freelancer or even if you’re just trying to make a name for yourself in a certain industry to get a full-time job, having projects on the side of work can help showcase your skills. It can help get in front of the right people who might be potential clients or potential employers.

Charli Marie (12:31): And it can go a long way towards building a reputation. So you have more to you than just your portfolio in your CV.

Hayley Akins (12:37): Yeah, I think that’s true. And I mean, especially like with this podcast almost sometimes it’s just like, oh, the next case I can talk to people. But I mean, yeah, like after, I mean, where almost this might be episode 99 or 98, I’m not sure, but we’re almost going to be at a hundred. And I just think, wow, that’s like a hundred people that I got to speak to and build relationships with, you know, which I think is really important. Do you feel like some, well, obviously you do what podcasts and then you’ve got a couple of other ones. Do you feel like that helps you to build relationships with people and things like that?

Charli Marie (13:14): Yeah, for sure. It can like my inside marketing design podcast is when I started last year because I honestly just really wanted to learn about how other companies ran marketing design.

Charli Marie (13:26): I was like, who was on their team? How many people are working on a project? What timeframes do they have to work on a new, like web design? I just want us to know all these details and there’s no way you can find that out online. I believe me, I searched because all this was going into like trying to figure out my own team structure and how we should do things at ConvertKit. And so I decided to start this show and it has given me a chance to learn myself from people, right? Like these are calls I would love to be having any way and like questions. I would love to be asking people anyway, but I’m recording them so that I can share the information with others, you know? And maybe if there’s anyone else out there who was looking for the same information I was now they have the place to find it.

Hayley Akins (14:03): Right. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I think it’s just so true. And especially of podcasts, I mean, I think you do get a little bit of that with YouTube as well. Like depending if you’re how much you’re doing collaborations and all of that kind of stuff. So yeah, I wanted to talk a bit about the channel because, you know, I think you’ve got about 200,000 subscribers now, which is amazing. Congrats. Thank you. That’s awesome. But I wanted to talk about like, when you first started and a bit about your mindset then and what you kind of, your expectations were from YouTube. So did you think that you would ever get to 200,000 and what goals did you have in mind when you first started out? If you can remember.

Charli Marie (14:44): I definitely remember because YouTube does this thing that you probably know about when, when you reach a hundred thousand subscribers, you get a silver button that they send you this little plaque and right from the start, like before I even had a channel, like when it was just an idea, that was my goal.

Charli Marie (14:58): I was like, I want that. So it will play button. That seems so cool. All the YouTubers I admire have one. And that just felt like that would be the height of success, you know, like if I could get there, that would be incredible. And I would be so proud. And so I definitely took YouTube. I took it seriously. I would say like, I, I was doing it for fun, you know? Cause especially in the beginning stages making zero money from it, you know, like the only reason to do it was because I wanted to be doing it, but I was also trying to make an effort. You know, I was really consistent with my schedule. I was trying to learn from like, oh, what’s the right way to run a YouTube channel. How do, how should you edit videos to keep people watching?

Charli Marie (15:38): And I was putting time into learning all that because I did want to build an audience on there. And so yeah, then I reached that a hundred thousand. I can’t even remember what year it was now a couple of years ago and got the silver play button. And that was amazing.

Hayley Akins (15:52): Yeah. So how do you know how long it took you to do that? Because I think I saw, you said you’ve been doing it for like seven years or something recently. That’s so long.

Charli Marie (16:02): I can, I can pull it up. So, cause I keep all these stats in notion. You see if, when I hit certain milestones on your ship. So it took me four years and nine months on YouTube to reach a hundred thousand. Yeah. And then another year and another three years after that to hit 200,000, because I’ve been doing YouTube for yeah.

Charli Marie (16:25): Eight years this month.

Hayley Akins (16:26): Wow. Well, congratulations. That’s awesome. I just wanted to bring that up because I think that sometimes people are expecting like immediate results from stuff and you know, even like when you’re maybe trying to reach out to clients or you’re trying to like improve your social media and like connect with people in there and all that kind of thing, I think everyone’s like expecting it to work like overnight, like, oh yeah. If I just put like three tutorials out, like I’ll get a hundred thousand subscribers. Or if I just, if I just like email three clients, I’ll get a job and you know, that kind of thing. And I just, I like to, you know, be realistic and talk to people about, well, you know, these people got to that place, but it did take them a long time and it wasn’t like an overnight success because I think that’s, you know, the worst thing, cause it kind of doesn’t really exist.

Hayley Akins (17:18): And even if it does, there’s usually some sort of like behind the scenes thing happened in like that person already had an audience or they did something before or you know, that kind of thing.

Charli Marie (17:28): Yeah, absolutely. And I think that’s why I say that if you’re going to have a project on the side, like running a YouTube channel, it cannot be just for the reputation building side of things. It is so hard to keep up with something consistently for literally years on end, which is what you need to do to have success on YouTube. If you don’t have a passion for it. And if you don’t just want to be doing it, I mean all power to you. If you’re able to push through that and do it despite not wanting to, but I just don’t see how it’s possible. And so that’s a really important part of the like side hustle formula.

Hayley Akins (18:01): Yeah. It’s really interesting because I think it just plays into this us making our personal projects as motion designers and stuff as well. And like we’re always trying to make these really long films and, and that kind of thing, you know, and it’s like it’s taken years and sometimes I always tell everyone to like, well, you should break it down, you know, into more, either easiest steps or maybe just smaller projects that you can eventually make into a bigger project and things like that. So I think there’s kind of ways around doing stuff to, to make it a little bit easier. So we don’t have to just sort of like brute force. So I guess, yeah, definitely. Yeah. So I want to know what you kind of wish you knew when you first started your YouTube channel that maybe, you know, now.

Charli Marie (18:44): I think that when I started on YouTube, I made content around so many different things.

Hayley Akins (18:49): Like you would go on my channel and you might find a video about design, which was like the reason I started the channel in the first place, you’d also find fashion videos, maybe me talking about makeup, maybe me sharing a recipe, maybe me doing a DIY project. Like there was a lot of different stuff on there and I don’t regret that. I think I needed to do that. Like that was what I was finding fun in the early days was making all those different types of content. But I really did notice a like steeper growth curve, I guess. Once I committed to the niche of design and once I focused on making design videos, so maybe that’s something that I would go back and tell myself. I mean, I don’t know if I would’ve listened to though. Cause everyone always says like pick a niche, go after a niche.

Charli Marie (19:34): And you’re like, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I get it. I get why it’s important. But I’ve seen firsthand the power that it had right. In committing to a niche, it changed not only my growth trajectory, but also my reputation and the way people would describe me, you know? Which is essentially what your reputation is, right. It’s like, how would people talk about you if you’re not in the room? Because beforehand I was seeing people talk about me as a fashion YouTuber, as a vlogger, as a DIY YouTube era was a bunch of on a bunch of DIY panels at video events as well. But after I made this change and it took a while to filter through, but now I get talked about as a designer or as a design content creator specifically. And it took that niche focus for me to make that happen.

Charli Marie (20:17): Even though I was always a designer, I was always a design content creator, but that’s just not what people saw me as, because I was also making this other types of content. So maybe I would try and like drill that into my early self sprain to like, not be afraid to make that commitment to a niche earlier on.

Hayley Akins (20:31): Yeah. I’m always wondering, like, if you feel like, oh, you’ve seen examples of people do it the other way around as well, because you know, say like for example, this podcast, you know, it’s very like focused on the business side, emotion design and stuff like that. Like eventually I think, well, I would like to help other people cause a lot of people like graphic designers and illustrators, I know listen to this show and then they email and say, oh yeah, it’s like still applicable to us because it’s mainly about freelancing and business and that kind of thing rather than about just motion design, like we’re not talking about, you know, what we’re creating on after effects or whatever.

Hayley Akins (21:09): So I just wondered from your point of view, whether you’ve seen a lot of people do it the other way round as well, or, you know, instead of going really broad and then niching down or like niching down and then using that and why doing oh, does that even make sense?

Charli Marie (21:26): Makes sense. And I think that sort of a thing that you earn the right to do once you’ve already built momentum, you know, it’s kind of like, like now I can post, I don’t know. The other day I posted a very, just chatty random update video about my summer. And I was like had my cats in it and things, it was not really providing design value, but it got a lot of views and a lot of comments and people enjoyed it because they’re my audience. Right. so you can definitely open, open things up.

Charli Marie (21:52): But I think often people look at, I would say it’s the exception rather than the rule though, to be able to have fast growth and like build a reputation while still being super wide. I think a niche can really help make things easier for you. And with your case, I mean the opening up you’re talking about doing isn’t really that far removed from, you know, the initial thing. So it’s kind of different compared to like maybe if you would’ve stopped posting fashion videos on the channel, things will be a little different, you know, and maybe that would be a broadening up that I wouldn’t recommend.

Hayley Akins (22:26): Yeah. True. Yeah. Yeah. I don’t, I’m not going to start doing something crazy like that for sure. No, totally. That makes loads of sense. I just find it really interesting. We’re always talking about niching down on this podcast and everyone’s always like, no, I don’t want to do it.

Hayley Akins (22:40): I’m so scared. I’m scared that if I do that, I’ll lose like, cause it’s mainly about niching down when it comes to clients and things like that and being an expert in a certain area, but they’re scared to like lose the clients that currently have. So did you feel like that applied to you when you were maybe creating lots of different videos and then you’re like, oh no, but if I just do design stuff, maybe like at least some of my audience or something like that.

Charli Marie (23:05): Absolutely. I did. Yeah. That was why I put it off for so long. Honestly, I was like, but I know that people are like coming for the diy videos. That was the main one that I was like afraid to drop off, but I just didn’t feel the passion for that anymore either. I was like, I don’t want to be doing this long term.

Charli Marie (23:24): And so it’s like, okay, well I use so afraid of losing out in the section of your audience that you want to keep doing something that you don’t enjoy and that isn’t your true passion just to keep the audience or is it better to commit and like, you know, believe in yourself that if you go all in and the thing you are passionate about. So in the freelancing case, in the type of work that you really want to be doing and that you feel you’re really the best at, if you commit to that the audience and the clients will be replaced eventually, you know, because of the reputation you’re building. So it’s sort of like, maybe there’ll be a short term loss, but it’ll help you get much higher gains in the long-term.

Hayley Akins (24:04): Yeah, definitely. I agree with that. And I think that Def, I mean, just as a side note, when everyone’s starting out you know, in an industry or something like that, I think it is good to try different things.

Hayley Akins (24:16): You know, especially like you must have this too with like designers, right? Like you can be a designer of a lot of different things. People start out pretty general don’t they in like graphic design type things. And then, but now we probably, when you’re looking tired, people, you want people who are very specific in a kind of design type of area.

Charli Marie (24:35): Right. Totally. Yeah. And I think that’s a really important to have that early exploratory phase. And that’s why I don’t, I say that I don’t regret the way I started my channel, you know, and the fact that I did try all those things. Cause what if I discovered that actually design videos, weren’t what I was passionate about, you know, could have been away. It went, it could have went on a completely different trajectory, but that’s that initial exploration helps you figure out what you’re best at and what you enjoy so that you can feel more confident committing to it later on.

Charli Marie (25:00): You know, like if I think if I had entered the design industry and I’d started with web design and that was the only thing that I’d ever done, I might be wondering what else was out there, you know, and being like, oh, well, what if I focused on this instead? And so it paints to have explored other things in the early stages. Y.

Hayley Akins (25:17): Yeah, definitely. So now you’ve got a VA helping you with your side hustle, which I think is awesome. That’s really cool. So do you want to tell us a bit about like how you found her, how maybe how you recommend people might work together, if they could get a VA to help them with some tasks and delegates and stuff.

Charli Marie (25:36): So I actually put a call out on Twitter saying, I want to hire a VA. Like I think I’m ready to outsource some things.

Charli Marie (25:44): There’s a bunch of tasks to do with my like content schedule that I just like that drain me and that I dread doing and it’s making money now. I feel like I can afford to you know, invest in some help. And Chloe, my VA actually reached out to me. So she was like a cold email and it was the best written cold email that I’ve ever seen. It was super like personable. And I just got a good vibe from an email, which is weird to say, but we hopped on a call and she asked me really great questions about like what I was interested in outsourcing and you know, how, how she could help. So I think if you’re looking to hire a VA yourself, you definitely want someone who has VA experience and who knows how they can help you essentially. I think that’s better than hiring someone where you would have to tell them what you needed.

Charli Marie (26:34): And I don’t know, tell them how best to do their work. Cause a VA is different from a personal assistant in that with a VA you’re hiring someone to take on specific tasks with a PA they’re more like they’re to help you with whatever you need. So that’s a really important distinction to keep in mind as well. If you’re looking to outsource is knowing what it is you need. Do you need someone who can just be really flexible and jump on anything in the moment? Or do you need someone for a specific list of things done usually around a specific timeframe and they can just get it done really efficiently.

Hayley Akins (27:09): Yeah. That makes sense. I always think it’s best to hire people that they, they kind of really know their job and you don’t have to do too much training and things like that.

Hayley Akins (27:18): Cause sometimes you know, that can be hard. Like there are benefits of doing that obviously, of course as well, but especially if you’re like new to hiring as well. I think, you know, you want someone who can take control of that conversation and be like, Hey, this is what I’m an expert at. And this is how I can help you, which I, I really like that. And also I appreciate you making the distinction for everyone between Pm and VA. It’s like virtual assistant and personal assistant sounds kind of similar. But.

Charli Marie (27:50): one thing I’ll say too is that my VA is Chloe, she works with me on a contract basis, so she’s not a full-time employee. So I’ve, I feel like I’ve taken on very little risk in outsourcing and like maybe down the line, if my business is at a point where I want to commit to a full-time hire, that might be something I do.

Charli Marie (28:09): But for now I basically have this team of contractors helping me with the content uploading with editing and things like that. And that’s working out really well. And I think is a really great way to dip your toes into hiring without having to actually become an employer, you know?

Hayley Akins (28:24): Yeah, of course. Like I definitely started doing that and now I have like a mixture of like an employee and then like some freelancers that helped me on a regular basis and stuff like that. So I definitely think that’s the way to go is always go with freelances versus you can be like, is this right for me? I don’t, you know, it is scary. It is scary. And it is very hard. I’d say probably managing people I reckon is one of the hardest things to do in a business.

Charli Marie (28:52): Yeah. I mean, this I’ve stepped into a management role at ConvertKit in October last year.

Charli Marie (28:57): So I’ve been in this role for about a year now and yeah, it’s been a super interesting challenge, you know, definitely a fun one and I’m glad I took it on, but a challenge all the same to, to be managing people. It’s very different from managing projects. You know, people, people are people. And so just by the nature of that, there’s a lot more unknowns and unexpected things that you have to be flexible and like learn to learn, to manage through.

Hayley Akins (29:24): Yeah. Do you have any advice for anyone? Because I think like the problem we have a lot is everyone’s like, okay, I want to do the work. And it feels like sometimes the growth race is like going into a more management position. Do you feel like I don’t know. You wanted to go in that direction. Do you feel like you’ve lost anything by not doing as much of the work anymore?

Hayley Akins (29:48): Or do your side hustles kind of help you do that? I don’t know. I just thought there might be something in there that might be helpful for people listening if they’re thinking about, well, maybe I want to be a manager, but I’m not sure. Yeah.

Charli Marie (29:58): Yeah. I definitely think that you can’t consider management as the only path to growth. I really saw it’s taking on a management role as really being able to have an impact on a certain group of people. Right. And help them with their careers, which is what I do through my side hustles through my YouTube channel. But by managing a team, I can have this one-on-one relationship with people to be helping them progress in the areas that they want to move into. And also having more of an impact on ConvertKit as a company, you know, in terms of strategy and, you know, executing on things.

Charli Marie (30:30): I think I’m in a really good spot at the moment because my role is a mix still of hands-on design and management. And that’s how I want it. Like I’m not ready to, you know, not be in Figma for myself. I still want to be taking on, on projects, but I also find a lot of joy in like art directing and in creative directing on other projects too. And where I can like set up, set the scene and watch another designer just like take it and run with it and bring their own ideas to the table is also really inspiring for me.

Hayley Akins (31:00): Yeah. That’s awesome. Yeah. I love collaborating. It’s really nice when you’ve been working on your own for a while and then you’re like, oh no, I get to like work together with people again. It’s certainly nice. Yes. So if someone was looking to get a job at a tech company, do you have any advice on things that they could look out for, or maybe things that they could try and do or anything like that?

Charli Marie (31:22): I would say that whatever you do tailor your application to the role because tech companies, especially remote companies, we get an extremely large number of applications for each role, especially any role that isn’t like a, you know, like a VP kind of role. It was kind of less for that, but yeah, senior roles, mid roles, junior roles, they all get a ton of applications. And so if you can show in your application that you’ve read the job description, like by calling out similar language that they used or particular things about it that excited you it’ll honestly go a long way and instantly make you stand out from the ones that have just done so many jobs approach rather than like a focused application on several. And I know there’s, I don’t know a lot of talk in the industry about whether you should have to do that or not, but the reality is you do, if you want to stand out, that’s just like, that’s the reality of it.

Charli Marie (32:13): So let’s embrace it and recognize that and it can be a way for you to get noticed.

Hayley Akins (32:19): Yeah. Just cause so you hired someone recently saw, I was like, oh, I bet Charli’s got some like good, good advice around, around that kind of thing. And I think it’s, you know, it’s definitely like an exciting thing to do now, like work for a tech company remotely and all that kind of stuff. So I thought it’d be good to help some people out if they’re thinking about doing that. So this is great just before we go, do you want to tell the audience where they can find out more about you or, or different channels that you want them to go to and things like that?

Charli Marie (32:47): Yes. I guess you can get links to all of the things at charlimaire.com. That’s my website. And if you have any sort of interest in brand and marketing design, then definitely check out inside marketing design.com.

Charli Marie (32:59): There’s links to all the videos of the episodes and the audio feeds as well. But yeah, that’s my current pet project that I’m very proud of. Yeah. It’s really good. It’s of exciting too. So yeah.

Hayley Akins (33:09): . And obviously we’ll put all the links in the show notes and everything as well, so you can all find them and, yeah, thanks so much for coming on the show, Charli I really appreciate it.

Charli Marie (33:17): Thanks for having me.

Hayley Akins (33:19): Thanks again to Charli for coming on the show. Remember, you can always check out all the links in the show notes at motionhatch.com/99. We would love to hear from you. Did you enjoy this episode? If you did, I’d love for you to message us or tweet at us or share it in a story. We are @ motion hatch on Twitter and Instagram and let us know what you thought of this episode. So it was great to get feedback from all of you and I really appreciate it. So you thanks so much for listening. See ya.

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About your host

I’ve spent the last 15 years working in the motion design industry. For the past 5 years I’ve been teaching and coaching freelance motion designers and small studios on how to start, run and grow their businesses. I started Motion Hatch in 2017 after being frustrated by the lack of information out there about building a successful motion design business.

Since then I’ve seen the most common challenges that hold many motion designers back. This has given me insight into what works to build a business that’s in your control and gives you the freedom choose how you spend your time.

From coaching and teaching motion designers and studio owners to build the business that excites them, I’ve distilled the best strategies I know down to create this program and help you to build a motion design business that experiences sustainable growth and feels authentic to you.