March 3, 2014

CS Presents : By Day By Night

On Wednesday, I headed along to Creative Social’s #ByDayByNight at DigitasLBi for a slightly different talk to the norm. It wasn’t about advertising, how the TV ad is dead or how every agency will need to change over the next 5 minutes and suddenly become agile/digital/flat structured (delete as appropriate). It was about passions and side projects – something that’s close to my heart too.

Alex Lemon, who ‘by day’ is a freelance writer, editor and content strategist, was up first. Her ‘by night’ is BISCU*TS (yes, all caps). They’re sweary biscuits that’ll tingle everyone’s taste buds. I mean, who wouldn’t want a biscuit with Wizard Tits, Jizz Cheeks or Rim Limpet on it?

Her recently launched ‘side project’ now takes up 2 days a week, but Alex raised many a good point:

  • Your hobbies will never pay as well as a day job. Your day rate vs your night rate isn’t even close. But you do it because you love it, not because it pays well.
  • Never set yourself a timing plan for your projects. Let life get in the way sometimes. If it’s a hobby, take the day off occasionally. Perhaps even go to the pub with your friends… enjoy life.
  • Use your friends. They have many talents. Let them help – they probably want to if you asked.
  • Fail yourself. Don’t let others do it. It’s your hobby, not theirs. Do what makes you happy.

Nick Farnhill by day is the founder and Managing Partner of POKE takes his 'by night' jobs to the extreme. There’s the Lovie Awards, Blank, 100 ProjectSpace Studios, Tech City Apprenticeships and Bird - to name a few.

He’s the master of time and actively promotes the day job as a 9-6, not one that drags on until the small hours. It allows him to do everything listed above as he has time to meet people for breakfast or at lunch. He can then do things after work and while on the move. There’s time and energy if you’re committed to your day job to squeeze everything out of those 8 hours a day and still do more.

In fact, he goes further than promoting a healthy balance between work and the like, by telling the crowd it is about “passions, not portfolios” before reeling off about half of POKE’s staff and their side projects. They include Plumen, TEDxBrixton and Guilty Pledgers to name a few. It seemed almost everyone at POKE had a ‘by night’ job. I’m sure that can only be a good thing though.

Plumen 003 | Plumen

By day, Aaron Child is a senior community manager at Lean Mean Fighting Machine soon to be VCCP. By night he’s a comedian. He learnt this while working on the Fosters account and went around the Edinburgh Fringe Festival getting tips. He now writes for the Huffington Post comedy section, helps out with and is involved with London Sketchfest.

By having something that makes him happy outside of work, he feels it feeds through into his day job. But to make time for everything he says you have to be selfish. It even helps you sleep better at night - especially when doing Taxes to Skrillex.

Tom Evans is the founder of Bleep Bleeps, a once ‘by night’ project that is truly all encompassing now. As we watched him talk over Skype to tell his story, he was about to talk to 8,000 people about Bleep Bleeps - so he must be doing something right.

They’ve just launched their first product on Kickstarter, which has already received four times the necessary funding and have plans to add to their family of products – just not with the ear thermometer as that requires the World Health Organisation to sign off their invention!

What Tom found tricky was designing for manufacture is a lot harder than expected. The hardware is hard and the soft ware is no less taxing. It now appears the new day job is turning into a night one too.

Finally we had Flo Heiss. His night and day are similar having taken a step back at Dare. He now spends his days doing the creative stuff that he wants and his ‘by night’ is now looking after his family and well, doing talks like this. He points out that there’s always time to be creative. He proceeds to show 5 photos of his driveway and then the last shot is of some flowers. With a bit of jiggery-pokery on the train, he’d created an album cover of a made up band. Besides, who said ‘by night’ was an evening thing…

If you take anything from this write-up, get a side-project. But one that makes you happy, not others. And if it makes you money, well then think about ditching the day job for it.

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