In partnership with Ford
Millennials have been accused of many things in recent years (too addicted to avocados to get on the property ladder being the go-to), but we definitely can’t be accused of lacking enterprise. Yep, just call us generation side hustle, with an estimated 1.1 million people in the UK currently maintaining a second job or freelance career alongside their bread and butter.
Recent events have only exacerbated our commitment to following our passions: with a record number of start-ups – 407,510, to be exact – launching amidst the turmoil that was 2020.
The secret to side hustle turned start-up success? “Don’t be too rigid or stuck to a particular idea,” says Grace Beverley, who, at just 24, is the founder of fitness app SHREDDY and sustainable activewear brand TALA. (Not to mention she’s built an Instagram community of over 1 million followers, and was name-checked on last year’s highly sought-after Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list.)
“You have to keep your business agile and flexible, and assess what works and what doesn’t. Once you’ve done that, make sure you keep replicating what works,” she adds. In Beverley’s case, this is two successful businesses that put sustainability at their core, and a personable, engaging social media presence.
Thinking of finally taking the plunge? We asked Grace for her top tips on starting out, standing out and staying ahead of the curve as you grow your side hustle.
Picture credit: Joseph Sinclair
“Before I founded TALA, sustainable leggings were at a price point of £100, so options were limited,” says Grace. (The brand’s planet-friendly workout leggings currently retail from £32.) “I wanted to create alternatives: competitive substitutes and high-performance activewear that was attractive to the consumer on a sustainability, production, inclusivity and affordability level.
“Before TALA’s launch in May 2019, there weren’t many activewear brands that I could comfortably support. Taking a deeper look at the industry, I realised there was a huge gap in the market both commercially and morally for a company that matched the prices of similar activewear companies, but were also sustainable and ethical.”
In short? “Think about what your business is in just three words,” she advises. “Make sure this is at the forefront of everything you do, create and produce. This will allow you to communicate your brand message to consumers in a strong and clear manner. Whether you are at the start of your business journey in year one, or you’re in year ten, the principles remain the same.”
“Strong branding is vital and will help you stand out from the crowd by being direct and memorable. So use social media if you can,” advises Grace. (She would know, given that she’s been sharing her fitness journey with a devoted – and ever growing – following since 2017.)
“Having an online platform is an incredible tool and helps to develop strong, authentic relationships with your customers.
There are many ways to engage with your audience aside from promoting and selling your products. Examples of this include day-to-day insights, behind the scenes content, and Q&A’s with the Founder and team. Feel free to be creative and authentic, but these are great places to start.
“Remember: it’s free to start an account and organically post on all major platforms.”
“Being switched on all the time doesn’t mean you’re being productive, and working 24/7 doesn’t either,” says Grace, who’s become something of a burnout agony aunt thanks to both her book, Working Hard or Hardly Working, and its spinoff podcast of the same name.
“So, firstly, make time for yourself and take effective breaks. This looks different for everyone. [Ask yourself] what can put you in a better place? Reading, socialising, being around nature and animals, exercise – these all sound cliché but it’s important to understand what ‘rest’ really means for you, and how crucial it is.”
#4: Invest in people
“It was difficult to consider bringing other people on to help scale [my business],” admits Grace. “Outsourcing felt like it would, perhaps, make my business less legitimate. But it’s really important to trust other people’s capacities and expertise. Behind every great business there’s an incredible team of people.”
In a nutshell? Collaboration is key.
And finally, says Grace, it’s OK to reach out to those who have done it before you for guidance. “Don’t be scared to collaborate with other brands who are also trying to grow. If there’s a brand which is morally and ethically aligned and compliments yours, it’s a great way to mutually grow in terms of customers, data and awareness.
But, she assures: “The entire process will be a huge learning curve, so don’t be scared if you don’t know the answers to everything. If you can, find a trusted mentor who can help guide you. And, as I mentioned, be open minded to all ideas and customer feedback – learning is a life-long process!”
Grace’s top tips for start-ups don’t just apply to small businesses, though. Large companies are taking note of our collective need to do better, too. Case in point: Ford’s commitment to help solve the problems of – and defining a solution to – reducing car emissions. Ford has an exciting range of electrified vehicles, from the Ford Puma MHEV, Kuga PHEV to the All-Electric Mustang Mach-E meaning the switch to electric has never been easier.
So what are you waiting for? Head to Ford.co.uk to find an electric vehicle that’s right for you.