How Bee Quammie became an accidental side-hustler
Meet Bridget ‘Bee’ Quammie
Bridget “Bee” Quammie is a healthcare professional, blogger, freelance writer, social media consultant, and speaker. With a degree in Health Sciences from the University of Western Ontario and Post-Graduate Certificate in Health Promotion from George Brown College, Bee has turned her passion for health into a career in mental health research, international health, and acquired brain injury work. Bee started her award-winning personal blog, ‘83 To Infinity, in 2011, focusing on areas around natural hair care, health & wellness, art & culture and more.Her freelance writing work can be seen in digital publications such as Chatelaine, UPTOWN Magazine, For Harriet and The Huffington Post Canada. Bee was recently recognized by Black Enterprise as one of the “most impactful and successful voices in the online space,” is a 2013 Canadian Weblog Award nominee, and was the recipient of the Best Blogger Award at the 2014 Black Canadians Awards. Bee has also taken her thoughts, words, and knowledge from behind the computer screen. She has been featured on Arise TV’sOur Take in New York City discussing international healthcare, and twice on TVO’sThe Agenda With Steve Paikin, speaking on education & employment options for Canadian millennials and the presence of women in media.
Her social media knowledge has enabled her to work with a variety of clientele to help maximize their digital presence, with great success. She was a has spoken at the 2013 Blogging While Brown Conference, 2013 Toronto Natural Hair & Beauty Show, and the 2013 Malvern Women’s Symposium, discussing global blogging, online resources for natural haircare, and personal branding through social media, respectfully. She also facilitates health and wellness workshops through the Have Faith In Healthy Living project funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health. For more details on Bee’s speaking, hosting, and other media features, see the Media + More page.
What motivated you to start your side hustles?
I sort of fell into side hustling by accident. I’ve loved writing since I was a child, and that translated into blogging for fun starting back in 2006. My blogs seemed to always fizzle out because I made them too narrowly focused, but I started my personal lifestyle blog ‘83 To Infinity in 2011 and just let it be a reflection of myself and my myriad of passions and interests. Blogging helped me to regain confidence in my writing skills, so I thought it would be great to get paid for what I love and I started freelance writing. From there, I had folks show interest in my social media aptitude, and turned that consultation piece into an additional source of income. The exposure through my digital media work attracted opportunities to be on TV, speak at conferences, and facilitate various workshops, so I just ran with it all! Though I didn’t start out with a master plan, I’m motivated to build this additional empire because it’s given me the outlet to truly explore my passions, create my own path, and do things that I’m unable to do in a regular 9-5.
What is the vision or big goal that you have for your side-hustle?
My big vision is to create something unique and sustainable – with the way society is, the loyalty and longevity that previous generations experienced with their careers just isn’t the same now. Entrepreneurship has its peaks and valleys as well, but I want to see the growth and success of something I created myself, and hopefully leave a positive impact on the world around me.
What is the toughest thing about side hustling and what has been the most rewarding?
Toughest: finding a good time-management balance, and also having my side-hustle collide negatively with my 9-5. Most rewarding: Those days when I think no one is reading my writing and I get an email that says I helped/motivated/educated someone. Those days where I get frustrated with financial expenses and consider hanging things up, then a new opportunity shows up and takes care of my concerns. Those days when my loved ones tell me they’re proud of me for taking the leap and achieving my goals.
How much should you tell your fulltime employer about your side-hustle? Do you think that it’s better to keep it to yourself or should you let them know?
I think it really depends on both your side hustle and the culture of your 9-5. Would your side hustle be seen as a conflict of interest or perceived as having the ability to negatively impact your productivity at the 9-5? I’d keep it to myself. However, if the skills of your side hustle could benefit your 9-5, it may put you above other coworkers when skill sets are reviewed. I personally was wary of letting my full time employer know about my side hustle. They found out about my blog anyways, and it set of a trajectory of negative actions which found me very close to shutting down my blog. However, the entire incident eventually made me value my side hustle even more, and I learned how to manage both safely and effectively.
What practices do you conduct to stay healthy thru your hustle?
Taking breaks – whether throughout the day or giving myself a day or portion of the day “off” from everything. When it comes to my writing especially, I need to live life in order to have inspiration. When it comes to speaking engagements, I’m naturally introverted, so I need breaks to recharge. I make sure to have healthy snacks at hand when I’m chained to my desk, and have learned to look at sleep as a necessary component of success, not an impediment to it.
“Trust yourself and follow your instincts. There will be many people who will want to plant seeds of doubt because they themselves couldn’t fathom being a side-hustler. Don’t let them stop you.”
What do you wish that you knew before you became an entrepreneur?
I wish I knew more of the actual legal/business aspects prior to. Like I said, I started doing things for fun, then started getting paid for them, then the next thing I knew I had a budding business. It’s very important to know your rights and the proper ways to go about things as early as possible to avoid unnecessary mistakes.
What has surprised you the most since you’ve started side-hustling?
How much personal risk can pay off, and how much of an effect you can make on others. Success through side hustling showed me just how much I unfairly downplay myself, and has given me more confidence. I’ve been surprised at how resilient I am, and it helps me to continue pushing through even when things get tough.
What is one piece of advice that you can share with current or aspiring side-hustlers?
Trust yourself and follow your instincts. There will be many people who will want to plant seeds of doubt because they themselves couldn’t fathom being a side-hustler. Don’t let them stop you.
Time Management is very important especially as a side-hustler. What are your time management secrets for productivity?
I live off of daily to-do lists, and use the Evernote app to keep myself in check. I also use my lunch breaks at the full time gig to knock off a few side hustle tasks before I get home.
I’ve also gotten real with myself regarding my ideal work conditions once I get out of the full time gig. I get easily overwhelmed when I feel I don’t have enough time for “my” stuff, so I have to make sure I maximize it. Sometimes music is distracting. Sometimes I have to put my cell phone on silent in another room. Sometimes I set a timer for myself and only allow myself a break when the timer goes off. You have to be real with yourself and try different things to find out what helps you to maximize your time.
When it comes to working on your hustle, do you consider yourself to be a night owl, early riser or weekend warrior?
I’m a consistent weekend warrior who tried to be a night owl and aspires to be an early riser! I used to work well until the wee hours of the night, but eventually noticed that there was a specific point in the evening when all productivity would be gone. Early rising makes me feel so incredible, because before 9am I’ve done an amazing amount of work before I even get to work! Problem is, I currently have a difficult time getting up when my alarm tells me to! Being a weekend warrior works well for me – I have a good chunk of time to really tackle things. With the birth of my first child coming in a few weeks, we’ll see how that readjustment period goes!
Did you know…
She's an award winning writer
Since starting her blog in 2011, Bee has received numerous accolaides for her writing including the Best Blogger Award winner at the 2014 Black Canadian Awards and was featured on Black Enterprise as part of Black Bloggers Month 2013, celebrating “the most impactful and successful voices in the online space.”