Guest Post: Finding and balancing your side hustle

Hey there! I’m Ashly, a 28-year- old millennial just living the dream, or at least trying to. Even at the end of my twenties and a lot of years after college, I am still trying to figure out my big girl dream job. My upbringing was probably similar to yours; get good grades, go to college and find a great job. It’s the American dream, right? For many that works, but I quickly realized that this life was not for me. If you have ever wondered if there is more than just a nine to five I promise there is. Take it from me, a girl whose years of experience in finance blossomed an interior design hustle.

The Beginning

I grew up in an average middle-class family in California not far from San Francisco. Growing up I was a nerdy kid who loved history and thought she would teach school one day. Boy, was I wrong! I put myself on a road to success, took the right steps, got a great job and went to school. I got my first “big girl” job right out of high school working for a local bank. It was a great way to transition into the real working world. Over the next five years I grew immensely, made great friends and graduated college. I still thought I would pursue that teaching degree. Quickly I realized that a teaching degree would cost me my job and put me in a mound of debt. Those banking years taught me that being in the red and broke was a really bad thing, so I chose against it. I kept working for the bank, married my high school sweetheart and thought life would just continue in a similar fashion.

The marriage didn’t last long, I found myself living with my mom and totally unhappy with what I was doing in life. Soon after I had the opportunity to move to Dallas and I jumped on it. My mom’s job was going and I found out that my position at the bank was being eliminated through the whole region. I was fed up and out of options. The Bay Area was just so expensive and at 22 I didn’t think I could make it on my own. I packed up my life and moved to Dallas. Life’s path is so unexpected. Dallas ended up being great and what I didn't know at the time would be the foundation to my side hustle.

Finally, Discovery! ...I think

Life was going great, I had a good job working at a wealth management firm with benefits and 4 weeks of vacation. Woo hoo right? Not even close. I was good at my job but I was bored out of my freaking mind!! To keep myself busy I began searching Google for just about anything to keep myself occupied. One day it hit me. Growing up, my mom was always involved in a project around the house. She did all the physical work, and I helped pick out all the tile, paint, etc. I loved every moment of those projects and decided to start looking for a class in interior design. All the official degrees took place during the day and there was no way I was going to be able to take them working my full-time job. To say the least, I was deflated. After hours of research, I found a program online called the Interior Design Institute. I got through about half the program and decided I hated school and I would much rather learn on my own.

After doing some research, I found out hiring an interior designer was still a luxury and was not affordable to most people. There were a few emerging companies but I felt like they were still so impersonal. I wanted to provide clients with a service that was cost efficient and still felt like a luxury service. The world today is such a busy place, clients don’t have hours to spend on meeting with you or picking out pieces for the home and I wanted to bridge the gap. So, A Bright Designed Space was born.


Balancing Act

I was so excited to begin my new side hustle and helping others see their dreams come true. It is truly amazing to do something you love and get paid for it. Working two jobs is not easy, and not for everyone. When you are passionate about a hobby, or side business it doesn’t feel like work. The only thing that changes when you turn that hobby into a side hustle is that deadlines arise. Currently, I still working my day job but there is light at the end of the tunnel. You are not going to build a large business overnight, if you do I don’t see how it would be sustainable. These things take time and a lot of hard work. Dedication to yourself and to your clients should be a top priority. At this point you are probably asking, but how did you really do it. The answer is simple but the action can be difficult. I consciously made the time. I went to the store picked myself up a pretty agenda and began blocking out time. When I was first getting started, I had zero extra cash and built my website from scratch. It took me an hour every morning before work. I watched a Youtube video and put into practice what I learned. There were many times in the beginning and even still today where I just sit down and have a good cry. I am a girl after all, emotions are hard! The reward, however, trumps it all. The point is that you need to create a plan. Figure out how you can work your side hustle into your schedule and just go for it! I had my first client in the fall of 2017, almost a year after starting A Bright Designed Space and hustling my services. It wasn't an online product but a real live client, and I was so excited! It boosted my confidence and gave me what I needed to move forward. I joined online groups with other entrepreneurs and started learning the ins and outs of how to better market myself and my business.

To this day, I religiously use my agenda to schedule my week and figure out what needs to be done. My suggestion to you would be to create a 90-day plan and back into monthly, weekly and daily goals. From experience, it truly will set you up for success and help you
balance the extra work load.

Continue The Journey

This article is my story. Maybe you can relate or maybe you can't. We all have different lives and paths. It is what makes us unique and what brings the special sauce to your business. Each of us has something special to offer and share with the world. Creating a side hustle is hard, and you need to choose something you are passionate about; even if it's not what you do at that 9-5. Who knew the girl from the bank would also have a growing company in the world of interior design. Clients always ask about what I am currently working on and what else I have to offer. People are interested in what others are passionate about. If you have been thinking of a side hustle, have no idea where to start, or feel like you need to throw in the towel please don't. Everyone has a happy ending. If you're not happy it's not the end.

Continue your journey.

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Ashly is a Dallas based interior designer, focusing on e-design and home staging. She lives in the heart of the city with her two dogs Charlie and Cooper. When she is not designing she loves to spend time with her boyfriend grabbing brunch on a patio, mimosa in hand. If it's winter and too cold for the patio you can probably find her at a Stars Hockey game.

If you have any questions about her story feel free to pop her an email at

Jessica MurkoComment