By now we’ve probably all seen it: the lauded Squarespace Super Bowl commercial that reimagined Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” anthem with one for those with big dreams of “building a business from your know-how.” And while working at FIFTEEN is nothing like the monotony depicted in the beginning of the video, we can attest to its general sentiment: having a passion project provides a multitude of advantages, both during the regular workday and after hours as well.
For example, Graphic Designer Tim Martin, whose venture Ham Sub Club produces apparel and other branded merchandise, found that turning his hobby into a business is mutually beneficial. “I'm able to learn things while designing and producing Ham Sub Club items that I'm able to apply to client work, and the advertising mindset that I've developed from FIFTEEN has allowed me to project Ham Sub Club into a real-looking business,” he said.
Tim recently decided to donate 110% of the profits from the last two releases to charities and hopes to launch a website with e-commerce capabilities soon. “This has been something that I've wanted to do for a few years, but the pandemic and the slowdown that came with it has allowed me to focus my efforts,” he said.
Art Director Sarah Walczak started Good Company after receiving buying inquiries for the home goods and apparel items she made for herself. “I was really looking for a way to just make things that I wanted to make...things that were solely decided by me,” she said. Juggling a day job and her passion project after hours can have its challenges, she said, but the rewards outweigh the inconveniences.
“It’s hard to work after your work, but it’s a great feeling of accomplishment to have a random person text me a pic of something I made at their friend's house,” she said, adding the amount of support she’s found from other entrepreneurs has helped motivate her. “There’s a huge community of 5-9'ers who all support each other and it’s so welcoming.”
Graphic Designer Sam Lonczak said the fine art, smaller-scale design and furniture she creates is more or less something she fell into, but still finds immensely fulfilling. “I just like creating, no matter what the medium is,” she said. “I think of it as more of a hobby that I get paid for.”
Sam said the key for her is not to put too much pressure on herself, but self discipline and time management skills are also crucial. “It’s not hard for me to juggle both my responsibilities at FIFTEEN and my freelance work, because I only take on what I can handle,” she said. “If I’m making a chair for a client, I’m doing it because I have the capacity and want to do it. Being able to shut off the world and create is huge for me, and I find it helps me at FIFTEEN because it forces me to think differently and push myself further.”
While Tim, Sarah and Sam agree they more or less stumbled into their side hustles, they’re all grateful they get to enjoy the stability a 9 to 5 at FIFTEEN offers, coupled being their “own boss and climbing up that ladder” from 5 to 9.