How to Talk to Friends, Family & Colleagues About Your Side-Hustle

I totally get why you’re keeping your side-hustle a secret, or at least not being overly open about it. It’s scary because we worry about what others will think. We don’t want to hear the negative feedback that might fuel our own fears and we certainly don’t want people to think we’re being selfish or getting too big for our boots by pursuing a creative dream.

If you’re struggling to talk about your side-hustle with friends, family and colleagues, you’re definitely not alone. It’s a conversation that comes up repeatedly in my mentoring calls. But, by opening up about your side-hustle you can totally unlock its potential for growth. This is something I discovered back when I started opening up about my own side-hustle.

By opening up about your side-hustle you can totally unlock it’s potential for growth

How to talk to friends, family and collegues about your side-hustle , How to grow my side-hustle, How to market my side hustle, Making a marketing plan for my side hustle | Josephine Brooks

I kept my side-hustle secret for a long time when I was starting up and it took a lot of courage to open up about it. It wasn’t a quick process, it was a step by step process of opening up, first of all to the people who I knew would be supportive and building out from there.

The fear around opening up about your side-hustle is totally valid. Being visible with a new business is scary and you’re putting yourself into a place where people can judge what you’re doing. But often these fears can be amplified in our own minds, it’s that primal side of our brains at work again, trying to keep us safe.

What I found when I started to open up about my side-hustle was that, the response I got was more positive than I thought it was going to be, at work especially. Some of my colleagues became my biggest cheerleaders, asking how it was all going and ordering my products around Christmas.

Not only that but telling my friends, family and colleagues about my business kicked off some word-of-mouth recommendations. And, once my friends, family and colleagues knew about my side-hustle I felt completely free to market my business, not worried about who would spot my posts on instagram or find my website somehow and find out what I was doing. It opened me up to marketing my business so much more effectively.

Opening up about my business meant that I could start to market it so much more effectively.

In this video I’m talking about how you can start to open up about your side-hustle and unlock it’s potential for growth. I first recorded this video as an instagram live and it got such an overwhelming response that I decided I needed to dig a bit deeper into all of this.

So where do you start with talking to friends, family and colleagues about your side-hustle?

Start by talking to your most supportive friends and family. The people who you know will be happy and excited for you - even if they don’t fully get what you’re doing. Don’t feel guilty if it’s not your mum or your sister – start with someone who you know will be supportive and excited for you – perhaps someone with a side-hustle of their own or someone who has a creative hobby. Start there, and once you’ve told one person, flex that courage muscle again and tell someone else. Take it step by step and build out form there.  

What will everyone at work think? 

This is a fear that comes up often. Sometimes there might be a clause in your contract that says you’re effectively not allowed to work two jobs. Do have a scan of your contract and if there’s anything ambiguous in there or anything you think could cause a problem with having a business alongside your 9-5 try to speak to your boss or HR to get some clarity on it. But what I know for sure is that there’s nothing to stop you having your own creative project or using your own time to do something that makes you feel fulfilled. 

What I found with work was that they were a lot more supportive than I thought they would be. Knowing that they knew abut my side-hustle made it a lot easier to ask to go down to part time hours. The rule of thumb applies to work as it does with family and friends, speak to your most supportive colleagues first. Ideally see if you can find some one at work with their own creative hobby or side-hustle who’s more likely to get what you’re doing, and build out from there.

What about the negative feedback?  

At some stage you will get some comments that aren’t helpful or some negative feedback. What you need to focus on here is not letting someone else’s feedback de-rail your train, especially if it’s coming from someone who doesn’t really get what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re starting an internet based business or doing something outside of the ‘norm’, a lot of people will see this as a risky move or perhaps even feel threatened by you wanting to do something brave and new.

When you get unhelpful comments, it’s good to remember that other people’s feedback is always a reflection of their fears and their perspective on the world, how they see things. Often the feedback k you get will be nothing about you and all about them.

For example, perhaps someone says to you something like ‘you can’t make money doing that’ or ‘ahh you’re going to be pone of those influencers who does no work and goes on holiday for a living’. This kind of feedback is nothing about you, it’s all about them. Perhaps they grew up in a household where it was hammered into them that ‘you can’t do anything creative and make a living. Perhaps that believe that you can’t do what you love and make money while you’re doing it because they believe that making money has to be hard.

Again, talk to the people about your side-hustle who are going to be supportive and excited for you. And the people with the negative comments - keep their opinions at bay and if they ask how it’s going just say ‘really good thanks’ and change the subject.


I totally get that opening up about your side-hustle can be scary. Take your time, surround yourself with supportive people and keep flexing that courage muscle. I know that being able to talk about my side-hustle with others was so freeing for me, especially when it came to growing my business, and I know that it can be just as freeing for you too.

Going public with your side-hustle & why you need to, how to grow my side hustle | Josephine Brooks
Josephine Brooks