Side Hustle Highlight: Ashley Nealy
“Don't be afraid to push yourself and develop outside your comfort zone.”
Hello Pretty Bosses! Meet Ashley Nealy, a Web Team Lead/ IT Specialist in the federal government since August 2010 . When she’s not doing web and applications solutions for the agency, she is making money on the side with her web and graphic design business. #ThatsPrettyBoss
We sat down with Ashley to learn more about her side hustle and how she manages it all!
What is your side hustle? What made you want to start your business?
My side hustle is web and graphic design. I've been an "entrepreneur" since I was 18 years old but I didn't start my official business, Mindly Maven, until December 2013. I had been away from freelance web design since I started with the federal government, but I increasingly received more requests, which made me update my skills and launch my business to be in compliance with outside employment requests with my full time job.
What were the startup costs associated with your additional source of income?
The great thing about having a web and graphic design business is that your work is completely virtual so there are limited start up costs.The majority of my startup costs were for my own web presence so purchasing my domain name and website hosting. The other costs included graphic design software and eventually a new laptop with enough processing power, memory, and disk space to handle that volume of activity.
How do you manage work life balance?
I am fortunate enough to telework up to 80% of the week so that means I do not have to endure a long commute to start work on my business when I "clock out" for the day. I also have a compressed work schedule where I'm off every other Friday, leaving me lots of room on the calendar to tackle my projects.
In addition, the majority of my client meetings take place via email - phone occasionally - but rarely in person so that also saves me a lot of time and I'm able to get right to work on a project right away. I also control my client flow, and if there's a busy season (traveling, away from my computer, etc.) in my life, I will defer a project or extend the timeline of completion. In addition to working full time and running a business, I'm also involved with many community endeavors so my calendar is my best friend. I never try to over commit and I also carve out those weeks where I can sit back after work for me time, whether that's binge watching tv shows or going to the gym.
What advice would you give other Pretty Bosses looking to follow in your path?
Don't be afraid to push yourself and develop outside your comfort zone. There have been plenty of projects I thought about turning down because I didn't think I had the skill set to deliver what they were looking for. I had to take a step back, break down the deliverables, and carefully evaluate each component so that it was easier for me to manage and learn in the meantime. I am often surprised by what I can do and if I referred them to another designer, I would be losing out on potential clients.
We are so grateful that Ashley took the time to share with us what makes her #PrettyBoss. If you are a business or creative in need of web and/or graphic design, Ashley would love to work with you! Learn more about what she does, and you can reach her at the following handle: