Creative Enterprise Week is UAL’s annual programme of industry-led events, talks and activities to help you to turn your ideas into a reality. We asked UAL student Elliott Nielson to write a blog about one of the week’s standout events…

How to Make Money from Your Side Hustle

If you’re an artist and reading this, chances are you’re working some kind of boring job to supplement your rent, until hopefully one day, that passion of yours that takes up every non-working moment, starts paying the rent for you.

Luckily for you UAL put on Creative Enterprise Week, so you could learn from a load of successful artists and entrepreneurs in the industry, to help you on your path to do so. Oh, you didn’t hear about the 30 talks? Not to worry. Here’s what I learnt from the final talk of the week.

The best way to understand your side hustle and just how you could market it, is to talk about it.

We were joined by Amos Eretusi from a social enterprise called the KUSP, and Tolani Shoneye, a former Buzzfeed writer who now collaboratively hosts a podcast called Receipts. The KUSP are ‘a gateway for the next-gen of creatives into the industry’, and Receipts sounds like a fun, modern and diverse version of Loose Women.

Amos the marketing whiz and Tolani, who started her podcast for fun, seemed well-versed in the process of bedroom creations to boardroom situations. Combined, they had the business and motivational strategy to help those in attendance understand their own side hustle a little better.

So, what did we talk about?

The phrase that was chucked about all night was “find your secret sauce”. I know, what does this mean?

Your sauce is your zeal, your zest, the essence of you! That which others can sense when they’re around you.

Tolani’s secret sauce, as she puts it, is her ‘sheer cockiness’. When creating her podcast, her purpose was to be who she is when with her friends. Confident, well-spoken and straight up honest. Being true to her sauce undoubtedly led to her success as a podcaster. Receipts was the first podcast made by BAME women to reach No.1 on the podcast charts.

Tolani’s career highs and lows peppered the conversation; the driving force for her successes? The woman herself! She is her own PR. Just as a note, if I had to summarise Creative Enterprise Week in one phrase, it would boil down to ‘be your own PR.’

All the advice points to your self-belief because as Tolani puts it: “if you don’t believe in yourself, how’re you going to get anyone else to?”

Tolani turned down a job at the Daily Mail after working for Buzzfeed, for the sake of her moral sanctity. We applauded this wholeheartedly. She thinks it’s a good idea to ask yourself these four questions before embarking on a job, shopping trip, quest etc:

What are you doing?

Why are you doing it?

Who are you doing it for?

What will be the outcome?

The conversation then moved around the room a bit more. A few artists were unsure of how to present themselves online. The various methods of marketing were proving quite daunting for a lot of people. Unsure of whether to share their secret sauce with the world, or master their craft to perfection behind closed doors.

Amos’ advice is that maybe it’s best to put it out there and get some feedback. You can then utilise that to alter what you have by refining your work to how people feel about it. Remember brands are steering away from the typical, so if you’re seeking sponsorship or want a brand to buy your ideas, use your sauce!

A very interesting possibility raised in conversation was that of creating a social enterprise – a company that operates for social purposes. If you have an idea to help other artists, or provide art therapy for example, there are people that will sponsor your brand, so that customers won’t have to pay, or at least will be subsidised.

To round off the top 3 tips from Tolani then:

  • Consistency – If you start something, have the sauce to back it up.
  • Self-Care – Vital if you’re to come across confident and happy.
  • Be Your Own PR – No one knows you like you do, show it!

The number of self-employed artists in the UK rose from 48,000 to 67,000 in one year. So, there’s a lot of us and the good news is, it’s possible to register for all the benefits of self-employment and have another job that keeps a roof over your head.

There’s never been a better time to start being your own PR, so off you go and remember to believe in your sauce!


By Elliott Nielson