Category: Money Matters
Chapter Select
Sub category: Saving
17 March 2021

Four people on what they learnt when they turned their passion into a profession

“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life,” Mark Twain once wrote. But with all due respect to Mr Twain, is that really true? The idea of turning your passions into a spiritually (and financially) fulfilling career is certainly appealing – but venturing out on your own can be risky (not to mention stressful).

To try and crack the secrets of successfully turning your hobby (or side-hustle) into a full-time job, we spoke to the owners of three businesses who’ve pulled it off: Sammy Clark and Alini Allen, co-founders of Anti Future, an independent screen printing studio; Tantri Mustika, the creative force behind Tantri Mustika Ceramics; and Joey Kellock, the founder of 1800LASAGNE, a lasagne delivery service and recently opened restaurant.

Here, our brainstrust shares what they learnt from the multitasking, risk-taking and energy-zapping-but-always-worth-it steps they took to build a career out of doing the thing they love.

 

You can learn (and grow) as you go

All three businesses started small, with deliberately low overheads and expenses. “At the start we took things day by day,” Anti Future’s co-founder Alini Allen recalls. “There wasn’t too much business planning. We bought the equipment that we could afford and used it to get by.” Sammy Clark, Alini’s business partner, agrees. “I can print with my eyes closed, but I didn’t really know how to run a business.”

It’s a sentiment that ceramicist Tantri Mustika echoes. “Over the space of a year and a half, I went from hairdressing four days a week and doing ceramics one day, to hairdressing two days and doing ceramics every other moment. It was a lot of multitasking and hustling, doing random things to make money so I could dedicate the majority of my energy to making ceramics.”

For Joey Kellock, getting 1800LASAGNE up and running was a matter of using what he already had at his disposal. “I was cooking at my tiny little home kitchen in Carlton for the first few years. I used to make lasagne and not leave enough time for it to cool before delivery, so I’d be portioning out molten hot serves into containers – just stressing. At one point I was delivering 180 a night,” he laughs. From that humble beginning, 1800LASAGNE has grown into a 120-seat dine-in bar (although you can still order lasagne to your door).

This sort of plucky approach helped all three businesses find their feet without overwhelming financial risk. “Don’t dump all your money into something if you can get by on a shoestring for a bit,” Tantri suggests. “You have to balance the risk and reward.”

 

Use your existing network

Similarly, leaning on your existing relationships can play a massive role in getting the ball rolling in your business’s early days. For the team at Anti Future, initial jobs saw them printing merch for friends’ bands and clothing labels – paving the way for the larger orders that followed. “Look at who you’ve got around you first,” Alini recommends. “You need to use your networks to get anything started.”

Joey subscribes to the same outlook. His distinctive 1800LASAGNE logo – featuring a skateboarding chef – was created by a close friend. “He knocked it out for me in an afternoon. It was pretty amazing,” he recalls. “I was lucky to get it – it’s become iconic.”

Tantri agrees. “Talk to people around you and ask for their advice. If you have a friend who’s a photographer, ask if they want to trade your time or skill or product for photos you can use on your website.”

 

Say yes to opportunities

When you’re launching a new business, opportunity can come in many forms – and not always with the best timing. For Anti Future, that sometimes meant accommodating big orders with rudimentary gear. “There was a lot of stress trying to get stuff working, and a lot of long hours,” Alini recalls. “But when we got that first big pay cheque, we didn’t run off and buy a car, we got a new machine that would make our lives easier. We’ve grown as a business, and our equipment has grown with us.”

Tantri’s decision to open a customer-facing shop in 2020 presented a calculated risk. “I had this idea that having my own shop would be cool, but it was a five-year plan,” she says. When the opportunity arose much sooner than that, she jumped on it. “I thought, I’m going to say yes and then figure it out. You have to be a ‘Yes’ person. You never know what an opportunity might turn into.”

 

Be kind to yourself

While many people would consider pursuing their passions to be the ultimate alternative to a nine-to-five, it’s important to acknowledge that every business has its less glamorous side. “There can be a lot of pressure to be positive all the time,” Tantri says. “But sometimes there are just bad things that need to be done. I just spent a week wedging stinky, mouldy clay to get things ready. I think it’s good for people to talk about that side of things.”

Joey stresses the importance of making time for self-care. “It’s about finding balance and doing the emotional housekeeping you need to not burn out,” he says.

Sammy subscribes to a similar philosophy. “You’re in control of your own destiny. If you need to take some time and get away to recharge, you can do that.” Still, pursuing his passion isn’t something he’s willing to trade. “The flexibility of doing what you want to do completely outweighs the stress that it brings along with it.”

ING does not endorse and is not affiliated with third parties mentioned in this article. ING is not responsible for any services provided by third parties nor does ING accept any liability or responsibility arising in any way from any products or services supplied by the third parties.

The information on this website is current as at the date of publication. Any advice on this website does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and you should consider whether it is appropriate for you having regard to these factors before acting on it. Deposit products, savings products, credit card and home loan products are issued by ING, a business name of ING Bank (Australia) Limited ABN 24 000 893 292, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 229823. ING Living Super (which is part of the ING Superannuation Fund ABN 13 355 603 448) is issued by Diversa Trustees Limited ABN 49 006 421 638, AFSL 235153 RSE L0000635. The insurance cover offered by ING Living Super is provided by Metlife Insurance Limited ABN 75 004 274 882, AFSL 238096. ING Insurance is issued by Auto & General Insurance Company Limited (AGIC) ABN 42 111 586 353 AFSL Licence No 285571 as insurer. It is distributed by Auto & General Services Pty Ltd (AGS) ABN 61 003 617 909 AFSL 241411 and by ING as an Authorised Representative AR 1247634 of AGS. All applications for credit are subject to ING’s credit approval criteria, and fees and charges apply. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement, Terms and Conditions, Fees and Limits Schedule, Financial Services Guide, Key Facts Sheet and Credit Guide available at ing.com.au when deciding whether to acquire, or to continue to hold, a product. Before interacting with us via our social media platforms, please take a minute to familiarise yourself with our Social Media User Terms https://www.ing.com.au/pdf/Social_Media_User_Terms.pdf.

Related articles

Money Matters
Loading...
Share
Loading...
XS
SM
MD
LG