Managing a Side Hustle With a "9 - 5": An Interview with Tamara Marbury of Tamara Marbury Photography

Managing a Side Hustle With a "9 - 5": An Interview with Tamara Marbury of Tamara Marbury Photography

BY: Derika “Dee” Crowley

I can’t attest to the rest of the world, but it seems like pretty much everyone has a side hustle these days. It’s like a new epidemic. Everyone wants multiple streams of income, and I honestly can’t blame them (I personally want two or three).

I came across this blog post a while back that offered tips from three women who are successfully balancing having a 9 – 5 and a side hustle.  They offered advice like, “stop procrastinating”, “planning ahead,” etc. and it made me wonder if it really was that simple.

Tamara Marbury is a lawyer/blogger/photographer/superwoman in the Washington, DC area. Her blog, Blitz & Glam, was created to share two of her favorite things – football and fashion. Since her blog's growing success, Tamara was ventured into a new hobby - photography - and has taken beautiful images that have been recognized throughout the nation.

If anyone knows about how to manage both a side hustle and a traditional job it's her! For that reason, I sat down with her to pick her brain more about how to handle both a full-time job and a side hustle.

TS+B: What is your official “9 – 5” work title?

TM: I’m an attorney in my 9-5 life. 

What got you into this career field? 

When I was younger I had an interest in politics and one day running for Congress.  I had an interest in the law as well and I knew a lot of politicians were lawyers, so I decided to go to law school.

What inspired you to feel like you wanted to something in addition to your 9 – 5? Did you feel like something was missing from your life? Or was it more so just wanting another creative outlet? 

Being a lawyer isn’t always as fun as it looks on TV. Actually, a lot of the work is very boring. I had a real need for some type of “work” that was fun. Since I didn’t seem to be getting that fun in my 9-5, I decided to start a blog about two of my favorite things, football and fashion. After about 4 years of blogging and working with photographers to get great images for my blog, I decided that what I really wanted to do was learn how to take my own amazing images. And honestly, looking back, I’d had an interest in photography as well for quite some time, but just never really pursued it.

As far as keeping your “9 – 5” and side hustle separate, how do you manage both professional titles? 

! am actually pretty lucky, because with my 9-5 I set my own schedule.  I typically try to work Monday-Thursday so that I can have Friday “off.”  I recently told a friend that now “Fridays are for photography.”  It works great for me, because I find that most people want to shoot on Fridays or the weekends.  So, during work hours during the week, I’m focused on the 9-5 and in the evenings, Friday, and weekends, I can focus on photography.  

How do you write out what you’ve accomplished through your side work on a resume? 

Since my two jobs are vastly different, I have my legal resume for my 9-5 and my portfolio (i.e. Instagram and website) for my photography resume. 

Do you feel social media can help or hurt you expand your personal brand? Do you feel like there is a way to seamlessly integrate your “traditional” and side hustle into one social media profile? 

It seems like the birth of social media is what brought about the birth of the “personal brand.”  I’m old enough to have experienced adulthood prior to social media and you didn’t really hear people talking about their “personal brand” the way that you do now.  Now, everyone is a brand.  So, for me, my brand is everything that I am and that’s what makes my personal brand different from the next person’s personal brand.  I am a lawyer and a photographer who loves personal style, minimalism, travel, going out with friends, reading a good book, staying informed about what’s happening in the news, catching the latest movie, or binge-watching a new show.  So, you’ll see a little bit of all of that plus some on my social media. 

Does your employer know about your side hustle, or do you feel like that isn’t something you should have your employer know? 

Hmm...Does my employer know about my side hustle?  Honestly, I’m not sure. Lol. It’s not something that we talk about, but if anyone at work has ever Googled me, then I would say, yes, my employer probably knows about my side hustle. As long as my side hustle isn’t a direct conflict with my 9-5 (it isn’t), doesn’t affect my work performance (it doesn’t), and isn’t anything shady or questionable (it isn’t), then I don’t see why it’s a problem for my employer to know.

What does a typical week look like for you? 

In a typical week (Monday through Thursday), I spend the majority of my day at my 9-5. In the evenings, I can plan and schedule social media posts for my photography business for the week, answer emails, and do any other “office” work. Friday and Saturday are when I do shoots for clients or just shoot around the city with photographer friends. I strongly believe that even though I now get paid for photography, that I should still have personal photography projects. I’m always aiming to get better and try new things. I also usually edit photos right after a shoot, because I’m usually on a bit of a high right after shooting and can’t wait to see the finished product. Plus, editing is something that can take quite a while and I don’t want to get behind in editing. I like to take my time to get it right and don’t ever want to feel rushed to get photos to the client. 

Who would you NOT recommend have a side hustle? 

If you’re not into hard work or spending your “free time” doing more work, then a side hustle probably isn’t for you.

How much time would you recommend to dedicate to your side hustle? 

Dedicate as much time as you can. Hopefully, your side hustle is something that you’re passionate about, so when you’re pursuing your hustle, it won’t feel like work. But also remember that you do need a break sometimes. You must remember to rest, relax, and have fun outside of your passion. 

What advice would you give to a young woman who tells you she wants to have a “side hustle”? 

Do it. While it will take resources and planning, don’t spend forever planning because you need things to be perfect. As a high school teacher used to stress, you can’t aim forever; at some point you have to fire. 

You can check out Tamara's personal Instagram (@blitzandglam) or her photography account (@tamaramarbury).