The Freelance Hustle

The Freelance Hustle

By Alisha Tova
Creative hustlers share why ditching the 9-5 is possible, and awesome.

For go-getters who are embarking on their own creative journey, this one’s for you. Host and fellow creative hustler, Alisha Tova makes the daunting, doable. Each week, Alisha shares pieces of her story along with fellow hustlers, so you can run your own business like a pro.
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Tailoring your portfolio to get the clients you want LIVE at Hoxton Hotel!
Hello, we are LIVE from The Hoxton Hotel in Chicago IL! This was a pre-recorded speaking event I gave a few months back and I thought a LOT of what I talk about would be helpful for those of you reassessing your websites and portfolio.  If you'd like to receive the slideshow that goes along with this episode, it's $10 and you can Venmo @alisha-siegel with your email in the subject line along with 'Hoxton episode' and I will send it on over!  ENJOY! 
31:49
April 7, 2020
Holding true to your photography vision ft. Chellise Michael
Hi guys! Sorry for the wonky sound in the beginning, but I promise it gets better! I'm here with my photography MUSE today, Chellise Michael, and we talk all about her business. In this episode we break down: What is it about your work that you think has made you successful How do you mentally prepare before shoots, and wind down Do you enjoy the creativity side or business side more?  Growing a team - I think it's what everyone wants but no one knows how to get. What do you think made it work for you? How did you figure out how to incorporate film into  your wedding packages, and what value do you think it brings to you and your brand? What do you think is a boring part of the business that is also the most important From the outside world, it just seems like you have MADE it. Was there ever a time that you felt genuinely nervous about your business and everything that you were building? We dive into a lot of important topics in this episode and I am just so thankful that Chellise was able to join me on this one! You can find her work using the links below: https://www.chellisemichaelphotography.com https://www.instagram.com/chellisemichaelphotography/
32:16
March 30, 2020
Strategically building a Youtube channel with Eric Floberg
Eric Floberg offers us a dose of practical advise about growing your platform, whether that be on Instagram or Youtube. He's built a successful career out of being vulnerable to his audience, putting out content that is uniquely his, and sticking to his voice. Here is where you can check out more of Eric's work: https://www.instagram.com/eric.floberg/ https://www.youtube.com/user/edflobe https://www.patreon.com/ericfloberg Thanks for listening! 
24:27
March 24, 2020
How to bounce back after a layoff and evaluate your skillset in order to start your own freelance hustle Ft. Emily Moyer
Hey everyone! We are BACK with season 3 of TFH and to kick it off I have Emily Moyer on today's episode. We talk all about how to bounce back from a layoff and the steps you should take to get into that freelance career you've always wanted. Emily touches on unemployment benefits and how taking time off can actually be the best use of your time, clarifying your purpose, trying out new projects to open up your mindset and brain patterns, and how to functionally build a plan that will set you up for success.  You can get in touch with Emily though her website https://www.emilyelizamoyer.com or her instagram page https://www.instagram.com/emilyelizamoyer/. You can also listen to this episode from her page right over here.  Can't wait to share more episodes with you all soon enough!! Any episode ideas you might have, get in touch! We've love to hear from you. Hello@alishatova.com
26:24
March 17, 2020
How to get STARTED
This is the FINAL episode of Season Two!! I thought hard about how I wanted to end this season, and I decided to end with me.  On this final episode, I'll be sharing my story of how I got started. I hope going back to the beginning helps inspire you and how you can get started on what you want to be doing. A quick preview: I'm giving you a little tough love.  Please enjoy this final episode and know I was where you were and I am thankful to have came through on the other side.   Thank you for being such an engaged community, and for finding this podcast and my voice useful. I'm always curious about what people are looking to do and how to turn doubt into growth.   Please share what you're up to and what you are building upon with me at hello@alishatova.com  Season Three will be in the works soon! I want to know what you want to hear, so feel free to email or DM me with feedback and suggestions.  Stay productive and go get em'!   SHOW NOTES: 2:08 - It all started in 2015, when I was laid off from my tech start up job.   3:40 - If I was going to take a giant leap, I needed to be 100% myself. I needed a reset.   4:54 - So, I went WWOOFing in Santa Barbara. These two weeks forced me to be in the present. And propelled me into my second phase of my career.   7:00 - Working on a farm cleared my mind and got me ready to go back to NYC. And to say out loud, "I am going after photography."   8:38 - My first photography shoot was a 10 day James Beard food shoot. Not Paid. But, it paid off.   11:18 - The trust I built on that first unpaid shoot was unparalleled to any other experience. And gave me the needed confidence.   12:48 - Whatever job it is, show up to the job, and do the best possible job.   14:50 - It's all small stepping stones when making a long lasting business.   16:10 - Limit your distractions to focus on tasks at hand.   17:22 - What I spent time on in my early days: Portfolio. Creative shoots. Website. LLC. Bank account.   19:00 - What I spend my time on today: This podcast. Emails. Portrait Sessions. Shoot prep.    19:45 - What I want to spend my time on in the future: Any associates out there?   20:20 - Distinguishing what is work and what is not work.    21:30 - Keep things to yourself to make joy. Be choiceful about what you share with the world.   Resources! - WWOOF: https://wwoof.net/ - Book: The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life by David Brooks  - Podcast: The Next Big Idea: How to make yourself indistractible (Wonderly)  - Book: How to Not Always Be Working: A Toolkit for Creativity and Radical Self-Care by Marlee Grace
24:27
November 12, 2019
How sustainability can make you rich ft. Healthy Soil Compost
I am SO PUMPED to have the owner of Healthy Soil Compost, Jonathan Scheffel, on today's episode! If you haven't heard of them, Healthy Soil is a hybrid solution to healthy waste for residents and business to start composting. Jonathan is a true expert and has a clear passion for transforming waste into something good - as he calls it "energy transformation." Even if you are not big on composting, it's more reason to listen. I learned SO much from Jonathan on the ins and outs of what it means to compost, how he got the idea to start his business and the hoops he's had to jump through to help Chicago compost. Jonathan literally went door to door to get his business up and running; he is the true definition of the hustle. Enjoy and hope you learn something new, and maybe even get inspired to compost.    P.S. We have just ONE MORE episode until Season 2 comes to a close! I want to hear what you think and what you want more of, so hit me up at hello@alishatova.com. Plus, a very friendly reminder to please review, rate and share with your friends. Much love!    Follow Healthy Soil's hustle:  http://www.healthysoilcompost.com @healthysoilcompost   Show Notes: 2:25 - How Jonathan got started + what is hydroponic farming.   4:20 - How Jonathan went from fired, to starting his business the next day.    5:30 - It takes just one simple idea.   7:00 - Financials, risks and demand.   8:00 - How Crain's and WBEZ caught wind of the business.    9:08 - What is organic recycling?   10:15 - Sweet spot of pricing.   12:04 - Educating people on what composting is, what it can be and why it's important.   13:00 - How he got into working with restaurants and hotels. (hint: talk to the chef)   15:22 - Why there is no clear incentive to compost for restaurants.      17:05 - How the business pushed forward after learning that Chicago classifies food waste as toxic waste.    18:46 - Which neighborhoods does Healthy Soil service.   19:20 - Jonathan's role as the company grows.   21:20 - The feeling of having a company that does good for people.    22:50 - Realizations as an owner and where he knows his own faults.
26:02
November 5, 2019
Everything you need to know about write offs ft. my accountant
We are BACK with another episode from our most requested guest (drum roll please) Karla my accountant! We are hear talking about all things write-offs and why they are so crucial to your business and can be the ultimate protector against the IRS. Karla as always gives some amazing tips as to what we can do to get better at write-offs, and tips and tricks as to how we can better organize ourselves. If. You want to hire Karla, her info is below for you! Karla Harrington, CPA at ShindelRock kharrington@shindelrock.com www.ShindelRock.com Show Notes 3:09 we dive into a conversation with Karla and she explains the overview of write-offs and why they are beneficial to your business 4:27 - Karla explains a few ways of how we can better track our write-offs. 5:30 - we break down receipts and why you may need or not need to keep them 6:30 - Auditing. Will the IRS find you??? 6:56 - write-offs are different from business to business 8:46 - we get into a few things in my business that have not been considered a write-off, and Karla explains why. 11:05 - Made a mistake with your write-offs? Karla explains how to fix that before tax season 13:25 - Vehicle write-offs and what you need to know about it. 15:40 - What are the consequences of not saving any records? 19:43 - Meals and entertainment and how you can write those off. 21:50 - We wrap up and I take you through what’s next with TFH!
23:13
October 29, 2019
Alisha takes on a LIVE SHOW! Ft. Shannon O'Brien & Emily Katz
This week, we're LIVE from Ipsento 606 in Bucktown with make-up artist Shannon O’Brien and hair stylist Emily Katz! I sat down with Shannon and Emily to talk about their personal stories of how they hustle and get real with how they started out on their own. Emily shared some BIG news about her next move and the process of deciding on this step. Shannon spilled her major business tips and how she is THE pro in make-up and all things glam for weddings. Shannon's husband Matt (@mattroan) joined us to talk about time management as a family and how they balance it all. At the end of the night we took some great questions from the audience about branding, knowing when to take the leap, pricing your services and more. What. A. Blast. If you didn't catch us live, don't worry we've got it all here for you on this episode. Check out @alishatova for photos and videos of #thefreelancehustle LIVE night. Follow Shannon's and Emily's hustle: @shannicat shannonobrienmua.com @emmykatzhair @goldustwoman goldustwoman.com Please say hi at hello@alishatova.com and I will answer on the show. Friendly reminder to please review, rate and share with your friends.
54:13
October 22, 2019
Alisha answers your burning questions
This week it's just me. I've gotten some awesome questions from all of you on the gram, in-person and over email and I'm happy to take this episode to give you the answers. Please take a listen as I go a bit more in-depth on my photography process and business.   REMINDER! LIVE SHOW THIS WEEK. Have you RSVP'd yet? Join me and special guests for a live show on Thurs., October 17 @ 7-9pm at Ipsento 606 (1813 N Milwaukee). RSVP via @alishatova. Keep those questions coming, hit me at @alishatova or hello@alishatova.com.  Your Burning Questions Answered:  2:20 - Which lenses do I use? And why I travel with two cameras, always.    6:06 - How do I have time for anything? I share more about when I am most productive, time management and outsourcing.   9:00 - How do I get couples to look so comfortable and confident? It's all about humanity and what I'd want if I was on the other side of the camera. I always walk my clients through the day and process and we don't get into shooting right away. We first have a drink .   11:09 - How many weddings do I have booked for 2020? I have 18 for 2020, and my goal is to keep it at 25. I have 35 this year for context. I want to slow down a little bit. But that does not mean I still don't need to work hard to get my goal of 25.   11:50 - Do I get an associate shooter? Great question. It's hard to get your clients to trust someone else. I am going through that process of deciding if it's right, right now.   13:05 - Yes, the accountant episode is coming!   13:34 - What was I doing before what I do now? I worked at Tabletop and Fab.com.   14:40 - What to dowhen I am not getting respected on the job? From videographers to parents, it's all about knowing how to work with various people and stay confident you are a professional. I now have a preferred vendors list I send to clients. Plus, listen to Chaz Cruz's episode, he has great tools on how to work with families and new people.    16:50 - Inspiration!  Book, The Second Mountain by David Brooks: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40642458-the-second-mountain Photojournalist, Andre Wagner, @photodre: https://www.instagram.com/photodre/?hl=en Go for a hike, get out of the city and turn off your phone!
20:41
October 15, 2019
Life of a mural artist ft. Ellen Rutt
This week we have a VERY special guest on today, Ellen Rutt! I sat down with Ellen on a recent trip to Detroit and we chatted about her life as an artist, how she got her start with murals, what's been the most challenging part about pricing yourself, and how to incorporate activism into her business and brand. We unpack a ton of stuff in this short 28 minute episode and I hope you enjoy listening!  Ellen Rutt makes bold mixed-media paintings, murals, installations and wearables. Her abstract vocabulary of layered shapes and primary colors is applied to a variety of media to facilitate a conversation between materials and movement, places and process. As a multidisciplinary artist, her distinct style is recognized internationally through public murals and her studio work. Rutt has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from University of Michigan School of Art & Design. She has exhibited work at MOCAD, PLAYGROUND DETROIT, Red Bull Arts Detroit, Heron Arts. and painted murals in Detroit, New York, Chicago, Canada and France. Remember that we are having a LIVE show on Thursday October 17th at Ipsento 606 in Chicago IL. We hope to see you all there!!  Here is a short breakdown of what we cover in this episode: 1:25 We talk about our roots and how Ellen discovered her passion for art 4:44 Ellens touches on when her skills caught up with her drive  5:30 We break down how to get started with Mural painting  11:40 We learn more about how Ellen broke away from smaller jobs and started to see her full time career take storm  14:45 I ask Ellen about money and how it affects her stress and fear within her work  16:25 Ellen offers advice to people who want to get started with murals 19:19 Ellen opens up about how she prices herself as an Artist  22:00 We touch on climate change and how it's deeply rooted in Ellen's work and brand Thanks for listening everyone! You can find Ellen Rutt on instagram at @Ellenrutt, and see her recent work at www.ellenrutt.com
28:21
October 8, 2019
How to hustle as a wedding photographer ft. Chaz Cruz
On this week's episode, I am bringing on another photographer! After lots of thought, I am so excited to have wedding photographer Chaz Cruz on the show with me for multiple reasons, which I get into. Chaz is a photo magician and I've always admired his dope, individual style. Listen in as he shares how he accidentally fell in love with photography and turned his love for wedding photography into a business and personality based brand. My biggest takeaway from our conversation is learning about how he came into his own style and why it's so important to be true to you and not follow trends. We both share the same fear about becomming complaciant, which leads into the big announcement he shares at the end of the show. Enjoy! LIVE SHOW ALERT: Join me and special guests for a live show on Thurs., October 17 @ 7-9pm at Ipsento 606 (1813 N Milwuakee). RSVP at https://alishatova.com/podcast/. And of course please say hello and share any questions at @alishatova or hello@alishatova.com. Follow Chaz's Hustle: chazcruz.com IG: @chazcruz Show Notes: 5:12 - How Chaz saw his business come into fruition in his fourth year of business. 6:50 - How Chaz got that Chaz Cruz wedding style. 7:50 - Chaz shares what he thinks is important for photographers starting out and how he held true to his vision. 9:40 - How all of his personal work comes through in his wedding photography; why he goes extra lengths to set up an idea. 11:00 - Growing his business vertically and how he chose his people organically. 13:06 - Finding balance; the hardest thing is to ask for help, but why it's important. 13:58 - How to keep the work exciting and how he focuses on a new element every year in his work. 14:45 - More about Chaz's style and how he got it. 16:25 - Advice: Shoot shoot shoot. Study study study. 19:45 - Getting out of his shell to create how he wanted to create. 20:12 - Chaz's big next move!
22:59
October 1, 2019
Life of a web developer ft. Corielle Laaspere
This week, I chat with the amazing web developer, Corielle Laaspere, about the important tips when it comes to your business' website. Because having a good website is HUGE to growing your biz! You'll instantly understand why I love and trust Corielle so much. She truly has gotten my website to where I want it to be and could never imagine. Her expertise is exactly why outsourcing the crucial things for your business (like your website) is the way. Because being a business owner doesn't mean you should know how to make a killer website! Listen in as we talk about how to optimize your website, make yourself discoverable and credible, what's up with keywords and finding the right person you can trust with the face of your brand.    I want to hear your questions, comments! Say hello at hello@alishatova.com and I will answer on the show. Friendly reminder to please review, rate and share with your friends.   Follow Corielle's hustle:  @corielleworldwide // www.liftuplift.org  Show Notes:   4:30: How Corielle became so knowledgeable about building brand equity via a website. And why a website is your business persona.    6:00: Good vs. bad websites and what that means for your business credibility.   6:48: What is SEO how to make yourself discoverable and searchable.    9:20: Tips you can do on your own if you don't have a professional web developer.    14:36: Stay current and fresh. Act like you're an active business!    17:55: How we added a new podcast tab to my website.    20:00: Tools that can serve as an online home for your brand if you can't afford a web developer.   21:00: How to decide on a domain name.    23:07: Header tags and why they are important.   25:00: What to look for in a web developer and how to find the right partner.    29:50: We heart Corielle!
30:56
September 24, 2019
Life of a restaurateur ft. Wade McElroy
This week, I sit down with Wade McElroy of Chicago hospitality group, Leisure Activities. He is one of the guys behind this city's most awesome bars Sportsmans Club, Estereo, Young American and more. In our conversation, we learn about how Wade got into the world of hospitality, how he hustles today...and I may confess my love for his bars. Wade shares a path that many of us freelancers have in common - going from corporate job to what we really love and finding a home in this creative community. Together, we dive into what brought him from NYC to Chicago, how he landed his first job in hospitality, why balance matters, value in building a lean strong team and his secret sauce to creating great neighborhood bars. Enjoy listening in on our chat and I hope you leave feeling just as inspired as I did. If you have questions, comments, want to just say hello, please email me at hello@alishatova.com - I will be answering on the show soon! And a friendly reminder to please review, rate and share with your friends. Follow Wade's hustle: @leisurelyexplorer @leisureactivies http://leisure-activities.com/ Show Notes: 9:00: Wade talks about how he had nothing to lose in starting a bar and how they got fortunate with their first bar situation. 11:25: Wade gets into the real hard part of starting a bar, cultivating an identity and what their identity was. 13:36: Wade shares more about when he and his partner officially went off into their independent projects. 14:40: We discuss how emotional value opens doors to financial successes. 17:30: Wade talks about his team and why he chooses to stay lean at the top and not go beyond their means. 18:30: Wade harps on his importance of balance, getting comfortable saying no and finding what gives you happiness. 25:00: Wade gives Chicago some love and shares why he believes there is so much opportunity for creative expression in this city. 28:00: We discuss going outside of your box and how New York left a serious impression on both of us and why we're appreciative. 30:00: We talk new projects for Wade and what's brewing.
34:27
September 17, 2019
How to hustle with client experience ft. Alisha Tova
I'm baaack! Welcome to The Freelance Season two where we dive right into it. On this episode, I break down how I've built my business centered around client experience and explain as to why it's been such a sustainable business model for me. This episodes breaks down into three parts: how I treat my clients before, during, and after the photo experience, starting with emails and ending with wrap up gifts. You'll get a whole lot of tips and tricks as to how to come across more professional and in control of your business, all while treating your clients like kings and queens. I promise. you, it will keep 'em coming back for more...and more...and more! 5:53 I go into email etiquette and tips for sounding more confident and professional with your clients 16:25 we talk about details and how it can value your own portfolio and in turn your work will be better and your clients will be better 24:40 we go into how I work on the actual wedding/work day  28:30 I explain why it's important not to be on your phone when you're on the job 32:41 lean into whatever YOUR style is
41:11
September 10, 2019
Erasing Doubt with Positive Affirmations ft. Ariel Upton
I am officially wrapping up SEASON 1!! For my final episode of the season, I decided to talk about something that is very real for anyone hoping to start something new or make a pivot in their career; and that is doubt. I talk about the doubt I've had along the way in my career, some pivots I'm going through currently, and getting advice and inspiration from the positivity queen, Ariel Upton. Ariel is the founder of an approach and writing journal called Today I Did It Right. The focus of Ariel's approach is designed to help you prioritize your energy and create and live the life that’s right for you. I left Ariel feeling inspired and a renewed sense of energy. I hope you do too after listening! To learn more about Ariels company, check out her website: https://www.todayididitright.com
34:35
March 20, 2019
From a college idea to an accessory empire; How DONNI got its start.
Founder, Alyssa Wasko, began making scarves in 2009 to cope with the death of her father Donald. Her friends began asking for them, and soon enough her fellow peers were selling the scarves on campuses across the country. The creative outlet grew into a full-fledged business, and she named it DONNI after her father, who always called her his lucky charm. DONNI scarves & accessories are made in Los Angeles by women who are like family to the brand. In Donald's name, the brand seeks to create pieces with soul: this begins by supporting the women who produce them, and concludes with a donation to a different charity every season. Listen in to learn more about Alyssa's inspiration, her road blocks, and successes along the way. 
31:44
March 6, 2019
How to be smart with your money
Todays episode I am joined with none other than the man who taught me...well...pretty much everything. My dad! He has been a guiding light for me in the early days of my business, and still helps me with decision making today. He comes on to talk about why you need to get rid of credit card debt, saving for your future, and the benefits of putting away a small lump sum each month. 
26:15
February 27, 2019
The importance of branding your business
Today I have Liz Grant, my graphic design artist on and OMG do I love her. She has taken my brand, look and feel to a whole new level and I wanted to have her on since dreaming up this podcast because I know she has so much knowledge to give. You can see more work and hire Liz from her website http://lizdesignsthings.com
26:11
February 20, 2019
Why I don't rely on Instagram for new business
In this episode I am touching on five questions that a fellow freelance artist wrote in about. The five questions involve social media, pricing yourself appropriately, when to phase out of friends/family discounts, work-life balance, and marketing your business properly. I get into each of these topics and what has worked for me personally within my own business. I hope you all find this episode insanely helpful and insightful! 
34:24
February 13, 2019
Working through grief with Daniel Kenner
In this episode we are joined by my good friend Daniel Kenner. Daniel is an actor, playwright and co-author of the newly published, Room for Grace. Through anecdotes and hard-earned lessons, his family tackles challenge after challenge and reframes daily struggles with a positive outlook allowing them to transcend and conquer mortal fears with dignity. Dan talks about turning his situation into a creative project and how that has allowed him to heal and continue to move forward. We chat about the struggles that come with freelance writing, as well as where Dan see's his career going next.  More information can be found at www.RoomForGrace.org
32:40
February 6, 2019
Everything you want to know from my accountant
In today's episode I'm joined with Karla Harrington, my trusted accountant! We go over different entity structures, picking the right advisor for your needs and how much it costs, if you really need a formal accounting system or not, what records you need to keep and why, and taxes other than income to be aware of. If you or someone you know is in need of an amazing accountant, feel free to reach out to Karla directly! Her email is KHarrington@shindelrock.com. Enjoy listening! 
39:34
January 30, 2019
Life of an influencer with Krystal Bick
In 2009 Krystal Bick was just your average girl working at Google in San Francisco while juggling a blog on the side not knowing if it would go anywhere. Fast forward to 2019 and Krystal is one of the leading influencers in the game. With 131k instagram followers, she talks about why she loves burning the midnight oil, what got her start, and why she continues to be the best in the game. 
30:51
January 23, 2019
How To Start Something From Nothing
On today's episode I'm joined by Albany Katz, a newbie in the photography industry who is trying to break out on her own and get her business off the ground. I walk her through some of my tips and tricks I had in those first two years of growth, as well as some advice for things you can do in the meantime even when you aren't getting those dream clients yet. You can follow Albany along on instagram at @albanykatz. Her work is sooooo dreamy you guys!!! 
34:16
January 16, 2019
Episode 1 - The Time Amy Schumer Photobombed my engagement session
In today's episode, Alisha talks through one of her biggest shifts in her freelance career: the time Amy Schumber photobombed her engagement session and it went viral. She walks you through her transition into freelance life, what eventually got things off the ground, and where she is now with her career. She also chats about future guests she's excited to have on the show. That's right folks, she's just getting started...
28:55
January 9, 2019