Speculandra


Leave a comment

Dave Culligan Gives 4 Ways to Work the Millennial #SideHustle

A recent CBC article broke the old news that although a university degree improves the chance of landing a job, ‘The millennial side hustle,’ not stable job, is the new reality for university grads’.

“Hustle” is a dance, a strategy, a tactic, and a command. “Let’s hustle” means “let’s hurry”. In billiards, hustling is tricking a less skilled player into playing with a highly skilled player. The Millennial side hustle however, is a competitive career strategy that upstarts use to cover their butts in the long and short term. It might mean working several jobs at once, but the side hustle is a large part of building a sustainable career.

VhbKrgkM

I spoke with Hali-famous videographer, Dave Culligan, about four concepts he used to move his hustle from social media consulting to a career in videography. Before leaving his job as president of BeHuman Clothing Co. Dave already had videography contracts waiting for him. “I was running a clothing company, making my 365 videos every day, running an organization called StartUp Grind as the chapter director, consulting for startups and digital strategy, and I was also taking large scale video contracts where I was traveling to sites to film and edit.”

The method he used to scale back his workload to full-time videography involved four simple concepts: side hustle, community, working for free, and reaching out.

1. Have a Side Hustle

The millennial hustle is the thing you do for money — working multiple jobs, taking small contracts, temporary work terms, or paid internships— the millennial side hustle is doing the thing you love until you prove you’re one of the best people doing it. Eventually, your side hustle becomes your main hustle, and you’ve created a job or started a career. By the time Dave Culligan was ready to leave the clothing company he was working with, he had video contracts waiting. “I’d spent long enough generating interest and business that I was able to leave and feel safe in the video world”.

When Clair Parker was interviewed by CBC about her side hustle, she told them that between her political science degree and public relations certificate, she hoped to grow along with the restaurant where she bartends. The main hustle is her bartending job, while the side hustle is the prospect of customers and her current employer becoming her first contracts as a media professional. Like Culligan, Parker tries to build connections in her job that will be waiting when she starts her career in a different field.

For Culligan, working several side hustles got him to a point where he was getting so many offers to do video production “I couldn’t say yes because I didn’t have the time, and then I decided I would rather say yes to those offers than running a clothing company.”

2. Bring Something New to your Community

Nova Scotia is a small province with a small, aging population. If someone in San Francisco is filming their day for 365 days and posting it on Instagram, you can guess no one is doing it in Nova Scotia. That’s what Dave Culligan thought when he used his iPhone (and later a camera drone) to start a year-long film project featuring Nova Scotian locations, while he also worked as a freelance social media consultant and president of a clothing company.Around here I had to convince people that social media was important and that building their brand was a real thing. But everywhere else, people know the value of social media, they know the value of bloggers and influencers. Nova Scotia and Halifax are behind the times in a lot of senses, but you can complain about that or you can look at what people are doing in bigger cities, learn how to do it and bring it here” said Culligan. 

Halifax blogs, for example, feature local hustles and side hustles. “Built Halifax” has less than a thousand followers on Twitter, but in Nova Scotia that is a successful blog. Written by an amateur architectural historian, the site recently drew attention to a court case that was revived by an Africville descendant for compensation. The blogger used a mapping tool to document Africville land titles he found in the Public Archives. Mapping tools can be found for free online.

3. Work for Free

I think people get caught up in saying “I’m not going to do free work” but who is anyone to say that when no one is offering them money?”

Working for free means learning how valuable your experiences are to others. If you’re really brave, you can build a portfolio by offering your time to a business or organization lacking expertise. According to Culligan, “you can go to a company, literally show up at their door with a resume and a business plan and say ‘hey, I’d love to take over your social media and do some consulting for you. If you see value in it after a month, then you could either pay me or refer me to a friend’.

At the same time, don’t work yourself beyond a comparable standard of self-care and mental health. Donating time doesn’t have to be a sacrifice, it’s meant to prove your skill is worth paying for.

4. Reach Out

Social networks are super social! If you reach out to someone who does what you love, they might actually respond, and often do. If you’re thinking about starting a website, use LinkedIn to connect to website designers. On reaching out, Culligan says it’s important to remember one thing:

“you’re reaching out to someone who’s busy and ambitious and has a lot going on. You can’t just say ‘can we talk’ or ‘can we get coffee’. You’ve got to have some kind of value proposition, like ‘I’d like to help you with this project that I see you’re working on’. I’m at the point now where I get a lot of invitations to coffee, and I hardly have enough time to grab a coffee with my best friends! Unless there’s something that’s gonna move a needle forward, it doesn’t make sense. I sound like a know-it-all, but I didn’t know any of this 8 months ago, or a year ago. But that’s why I’m so passionate about saying it. I’d rather save people from doing all the dumb stuff that I did.”

Read the entire interview about Dave Culligan’s journey and why he quit his job running a successful clothing company.

Follow @dave.culligan on Instagram


Leave a comment

Dave Culligan on the Millennial Side Hustle and Why he Left BeHuman Clothing Co.

I helped plan a regional youth gathering as part of an internship with the provincial government, where we invited Social Media Strategist and videographer Dave Culligan to share how he got Halifax buzzing about social media. When he started his 365 day videography project, he hoped to convince local businesses that social media mattered in Nova Scotia. Now on day 287, he’s in such high demand for video production that he has to turn down jobs. By the time I spoke to him on Sunday about the presentation he gave on Friday, he had quit his other jobs, made his side hustle his main hustle, and became a full-time videographer.

A recent CBC article reported that ‘The millennial side hustle,’ not stable job, is the new reality for university grads’. I saw a connection between that and your presentation. Can you explain the millennial side hustle?

If you have a job that isn’t what you want to be doing, like if you’re working as a bartender but you want to work in public relations, or if you’re working a labour job but you want to work in marketing, you can’t just go home and have a beer and watch TV and think that’s gonna happen. It might suck, you might have to sleep four hours a night for a couple months, and you might have to work really hard, you might have to sacrifice your social life, but no one’s gonna give it to you. You have to figure out a way to get it done.youth_behuman_white_flat.png

When you get a contract, what exactly is the job?

I’m completing two contracts right now. One for a construction company, so I documented a video series on some of their big projects in Halifax, and I’m working on a contract for Dalhousie documenting their residences.

You mentioned that you also work with BeHuman clothing?

I’m done with them now. I was running that company, but I stepped down on Friday.

I’m curious, you were doing too much work for BeHuman so you had to walk away?

I was running a clothing company, making my 365 videos every day, running an organization called StartUp Grind as the chapter director, consulting for startups and digital strategy, and I was also taking large scale video contracts where I was traveling to sites to film and edit. It was all too much. I got to a point where I was getting so many offers to do video production that I couldn’t say yes to because I didn’t have the time, and then I decided I would rather say yes to those offers than running the clothing company. It was a great opportunity, but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to be doing. I’d spent long enough generating interest and business that I was able to leave and feel safe in the video world.

It seems like the side hustle can also be like creating a job that maybe didn’t exist before?

Yeah, in many cases. That’s just the way things are now. Traditional jobs other than accounting or law — and even sometimes in those cases — are disappearing because people want more efficiency. The market is changing.

You said that doing the 365 was sort of a way to prove that your other services were worth paying for. You were doing social media management?

I don’t really do social media management anymore, but I have. It’s not my focus, but I’ve done it.

Is it part of your ‘grand game plan’?

No, it’s something I know how to do and it’s something I think I do better than a lot of people around here, but it’s not necessarily what I love doing.

What’s your ideal, as far as making a living?

I like making video content, and I like doing it for brands that align with my values. Brands that I’m into and have money to pay well, and that give me projects where I have some creative freedoms, but also the ability to have fun making it. As of a few days ago, I’m 100% a freelance videographer.

You mentioned someone in San Francisco was doing a similar project, but no one was doing it here?

It’s funny, because around here I had to convince people that social media was important and that building their brand was a real thing. But everywhere else, people know the value of social media, they know the value of bloggers and influencers. Nova Scotia and Halifax are behind the times in a lot of senses, but you can complain about that or you can look at what people are doing in bigger cities, learn how to do it and bring it here. People might be resistant, people might not understand the value, but you can’t just complain about it. It’s up to you to demonstrate the value. Whether that takes time or money of your own, you don’t really have a choice.

I’ve noticed an opportunity for great impact with a small population like in Halifax, because a trend can be started with just a few hundred people. Have you noticed that?

In the city there’s a bit of a glass ceiling because there are only so many people. So you’re not going to become a billionaire here, but in terms of reaching the masses and hitting a critical mass where everyone knows what you’re working on or has heard about your project, it’s so do-able. It’s do-able within weeks or months, as opposed to somewhere else where it might take years, or it might never happen.

Working for free is pretty straight forward, but can you give examples of ways to work for free and how it pays off for you?

If you say “hey, I’m a social media strategist” and no one wants to pay you to do it, then you can go to a company, literally show up at their door with a resume and a little business plan and say “I’d love to take over your social media and do some consulting for you. If you see value in it after a month, then you could either pay me or refer me to a friend”. I think people get caught up in saying “I’m not going to do free work” but who is anyone to say that when no one is offering them money?

But you don’t want to overwork yourself either, right?

Well, there are very few people who are actually there. It’s frustrating and it can get difficult, but the only way you’ll figure out what’s too much, and what being overworked feels like, is to get there and then pull back. You’re better off going a bit overboard and then dialing it down, than living your life in fear of working too hard.

You told us that you once randomly reached out to a professional you read about in a magazine and made a connection that way. How does that work?

The important thing about reaching out is that you’re reaching out to someone who’s busy and ambitious and has a lot going on. You can’t just say “can we talk” or “can we get coffee”. You’ve got to have some kind of value proposition, like “I’d like to help you with this project that I see you’re working on”. I’m at the point now where I get a lot of invitations to coffee, and I hardly have enough time to grab a coffee with my best friends! Unless there’s something that’s gonna move a needle forward, it doesn’t make sense. I sound like a know-it-all, but I didn’t know any of this 8 months ago, or a year ago. But that’s why I’m so passionate about saying it, because I’d rather save people from doing all the dumb stuff that I did.

I think it’s important for students to know that they can’t just get their degree and graduate if they want to start a sustainable career.

In fact, I think you’re much better off with no degree and having done this work, than getting a degree and not having done the side work.

Follow @dave.culligan on Instagram

*Correction: “In the city there’s a bit of a class ceiling” was changed to “In the city there’s a bit of a glass ceiling”.


Leave a comment

#HaliLadyCab asks women to offer rides in wake of Al-Rawi acquittal

When Judge Lenehan acquitted taxi driver Bassam Al-Rawi of sexual assault charges despite DNA evidence and a police witness, a concerned citizen started #HaliLadyCab to raise awareness and support for people trying to get home safely.

The hashtag started trending on Twitter until Judge Lenehan released his full decision, saying ’clearly a drunk can consent’. Public outrage then prompted The Crown to appeal the decision based on six grounds of error in law, while Alana Canales campaigned for women in Halifax to offer each other rides. “The length of time and final denial of presumed justice led me to some introspection. What can I do, and what can I do right now, to help these people that I care about? I thought of a friend of mine that I know has been sexually assaulted, and I knew I would do literally anything if it would save her. The least I could do is offer a ride to anybody that knows me.”

IMG_1251

The head of the Halifax Taxi Association told Metro there is a one in five million chance of sexual assault by a taxi driver. Canales was suspicious of this claim, saying “I suspect Halifax’s record lately would stick out like a sore thumb, but also, the statistical likelihood of being assaulted doesn’t come to mind for the individual who may have had past trauma and has just recently seen the news that being caught by a police officer with DNA evidence on a cab driver’s face is not enough to convict. This is deeply troubling, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest that cab drivers now have the knowledge that even if caught, panties in hand, they still may not be convicted.”

CBC News reports 12 cab drivers in Halifax have lost their licenses in the last 6 years and there have been 14 reports of young women being sexually assaulted by taxi drivers since 2012.

The ruling on Bassam Al-Rawi’s case has a program coordinator with the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre concerned about an increase in unreported incidents. “When we see cases like this that get so much public attention, we know that people are less likely to report [sexual assault]” Susan Wilson told the Halifax Examiner. A recent program evaluation from the centre estimates only 6% of sexual assaults in HRM are reported.

Canales noted several stories she heard from women interested in the ride share. “I did get a number of DM’s from people offering their own stories which ranged from inappropriate things like being offered the cab driver’s phone number, to being offered a free ride in exchange for sexual services. One woman said she actually jumped from a moving cab because of that.”

Canales says she started #HaliLadyCab out of concern for women, but added “I would gladly offer a ride to anybody who felt vulnerable”.

“The way HaliLadyCab works is if you’re in need of a ride, pop onto your Twitter account, and anybody you see tweeting, you can check if they have the hashtag in their bio. You can also tweet out with the hashtag that you are looking for a ride, and if someone replies to that, a direct message can confirm sensitive information such as the where/when’s. Phone numbers are not out in public, and there is no plan on that either. This is meant to be an additional option – not a guarantee, and certainly not a first resort if other options exist”.

The awareness campaign and ride share isn’t limited to downtown Halifax. “I live in Dartmouth, and two other ladies I know who put the hashtag in their bio are on the outskirts of ‘the city’ as well, Bedford and Herring Cove.”

I asked Canales what advice newcomers to Canada can use to make sure they get home safe in Halifax. “I have been a host family for 3 years to international students and there certainly are patterns. Don’t flash around how much money you have. Always bring a map in addition to technology that relies on battery power. For the first while, try to limit solo travel to daytime hours to help become familiar with your surroundings, how public transit works. Always have phone numbers of locals that you trust handy in both mobile and print version.”

*Correction: “The likelihood of being assaulted comes to mind for the individual who may have had past trauma” was changed to “but also, the statistical likelihood of being assaulted doesn’t come to mind for the individual who may have had past trauma”.


Leave a comment

Why is my hair conditioner in the diaper aisle?

Oh, February. The only month when I can openly complain about #blackgirlproblems on social media and gain followers. It’s also the only month when it feels appropriate for me to boldly address a long-standing injustice and drop the mic after shouting “African Heritage Month, niggaaas!” which is exactly how I felt when I submitted a long-repressed rant to The Coast for their Love the Way We Bitch column.

“African Hair, Don’t Care” was the culmination of several years of walking into drug stores and being turned away from the “whites only” section, otherwise known as the Beauty section, otherwise known as the Hair Care section (even though it’s not where all the hair products are).

Rather than going to the Hair Care aisle for hair needs, women with thicker, curlier locks look for landmark signs to figure out where they’re supposed to go. Is it in the First-Aid aisle with the Band-Aids? Is it next to the L’Oréal hair colouring kits? Sassy Smiling Black Woman can show the way — her face is plastered on shelf displays next to the diapers at the Shoppers Drug Mart on Quinpool.

I have a message for women with thick, curly or coarse hair: your hair is not unnatural. So when you boldly go where apparently no “ethnic” woman has gone before — the Shoppers Drug Mart on Spring Garden Road — and you find that there are zero aisles hosting Sassy Black Woman posters, just take a deep breath. You can still find your way.

You can go to the aisle where the Beautiful women go. You may feel lost, not recognizing any of the terms you’ve become so fondly accustomed to, but I promise you that white people seek answers to the same hair questions, and they put most of those answers in the same aisle. It’s all for hair, and it’s all for you. Whether you want to strengthen your hair, moisturize it, add shine, smooth it, cleanse it, define its curl, repair it, or protect it from heat, your ethnicity is a barely a side-note. It all comes down to the texture of your unique hair, which varies throughout every race.

Considering the booming black hair care industry in the United States, it’s likely that in your lifetime, drug stores will get their shit together and get your hair needs out of the diaper section. Until then, try visiting your nearest “white” salon. Ask them which of their products you should buy from the display case, and see if they turn you away.