Building A Successful Side-Hustle with Amanda of Plush Content Co.
I found Amanda through Instagram. At first you wouldnt think that Plush Content Co was a side hustle. She does it so gracefully and she gives in it fully that you wouldnt think that something else, in this case a full time job in finance, took her time and attention. It just reflects her hard work and passion for what she does.
Plush Content Co is a photography business that offers styled brand & stock photos for influencers, entrepreneurs and other businesses. She nailed it when she said that quality photography is one of the most crucial part of your business because it's what attracts your audience and how people really judge you by them. First impressions last and these days, instagram is our business card!
In this interview, Amanda tells us about starting out, her transition from a blogger to an entrepreneur, habits that help her set up her business, marketing strategies, her role models and more! For sure, she's a woman to watch!
1. Tell us about the process of starting Plush Content Co! What steps did you take to get things going in the beginning?
I was actually made redundant from my job at the time and it was a terrible feeling that I couldn’t support myself when it came to basic living costs. That was the moment I knew I wanted to have my own business. I bought myself my first DSLR and started learning how to take photos and I guess the rest is history!
I think to get it all going planning was the biggest thing! I had a vision of how I wanted it to look and while my vision has evolved, it was definitely necessary to take the time to think about how I wanted to portray myself and my brand online.
2. How has your experience of being a blogger for your previous blog- the A&J Muse helped you in starting your business as a photographer for brands?
Oh gosh it’s helped immensely! It taught me A LOT about the online world and how big it is, but most of all, how many amazing opportunities are out there! Managing the A&J Muse taught me how to build a website, how to create graphics, how to market myself online, how to get people onto an email list etc.
Most of all it’s taught me that having a solid brand voice and personality that is 100% you is the most important thing. There are a thousands of other people out there doing the exact same thing that I am, but it’s who you connect with that truly matters. Building those connections is crucial if you want to be successful online in business.
3. Whose work has influenced you most? Who are your inspiration and role models?
There are 3 girls on Instagram that truly stand out to me and I follow religiously! Connie Chan (@whatshepictures) is a major influence for me. Her flatlays are out of this world and she always shows in depth behind the scenes on her IG stories. Not only that her blog is super helpful when it comes to photography tips!
Jasmine Dowling (@jasminedowling). I live for her stories! She also works for herself full time which is something I 100% aspire to be doing in the next few years. Plus her work is freaking gorgeous!
And last but not least Anne (@thestylevisitor). The creativity she shows in her photos is beyond amazing! And her editing skills are top notch!
4. How would you describe the difference between shooting products and shooting people?
People talk back? Hahaha. I actually love doing both as it’s nice to have some interaction when you’re shooting and I always have a great laugh with my clients. Shooting products though I can be a bit more creative in terms of styling. I shoot most of my product photography as well in my apartment so it also means I don’t need to travel anywhere or go out (I’m extremely lazy).
5. How would you describe your workflow when creating? What, in your opinion, is most important to consider when taking photos?
Planning!! I used to never plan photoshoots and I would always feel incredibly rushed and stressed when shooting. I plan a couple days before a shoot now and I’ll write descriptions down of images floating around in my head.
Basically though when I shoot a product, I’ll look at the client’s Instagram and website to get a feel for their branding. I’ll write down any props I need to buy or props I want to use for the shoot; how many photos are required; types of photos whether they are flatlays, close-ups, etc; and scenes. This way I know exactly what I’m doing when it comes to shooting day.
6. Which habits have you set up to help you show up better for your business everyday?
I always jump onto Instagram in the morning before I go to work. To me this is super important as Instagram is where most of my business is actually done. I always ensure I set my goals for the week as well each Sunday. Working a full time job, I do give myself a bit of leniency as I can’t always make time for things, even if I plan it. So, I’ll set a couple of goals I want to accomplish by the end of the week and work on those when I get time.
It’s also incredibly important to take care of yourself. I workout everyday, I take care of my skin, I eat healthy, I’m usually in bed my 9pm so I can wake up at 5:30am. All those things help me show up for my business and prevent me from burning out.
7. What are the products/tools/resources you cant work without in photography and running a business?
My camera, computer, phone, Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, Instagram, and my diary.
8. Which strategy has been the most effective when it comes to raising awareness for Plush Content and getting clients?
FB groups have actually been amazing for getting my foot in the door. When I first started I put a call out on a girls in business FB group asking if anyone would like 5 photos of their products done in exchange for a testimonial. The response was huge and I’ve actually gained some clients from doing that. When starting out sometimes you’re going to have to do things for free and it’s totally worth it! So I would say that strategy has been the best one so far!
That and showing up on Instagram each day and engaging. I’m fairly active on there and it definitely pays off!
You also have to be smart with the content you’re putting out there. You should never have to be salesy when it comes to your business. Instead, show people WHY they need your product or service, or why they need to read your blog. You need to make it all about them.
9. What are you looking forward to - business wise - for plush content? Do you mind sharing your future plans with us?
Definitely doing it full time one day! That’s the ultimate goal. At the moment I’m working on building up the stock shop (I got so busy with client work I’ve neglected it a little), and hopefully a stock shop membership at some point!
I’d also love to sell prints of my work, but that’s going to take a little bit of planning and working out the style of shooting for that and how to go about it.
And adding a few more personal things to my blog and get my Youtube Channel going! I’d love to share a bit more of who I am and what I love so people can get to know me more and connect with me on a different level other than my services. I guess sharing more of my entrepreneurial journey with my community that doesn’t involve just photography tips and my work but more so the emotional side, juggling a full-time job, and staying motivated.
10. What specific advice would you have for young women who would like to become an entrepreneur, especially in this digital age?
I know everyone says this and it sounds cliche but just start and go for it! I’m realizing more so now that life is so so short and it IS possible to live your dreams. If there’s something blocking your mindset when it comes to starting your own thing, work on that first.
Get yourself on social media, get yourself a website and focus on 1-2 platforms where you market yourself and share your business with others. Don’t try to do all the things as it inevitably leads to feelings of overwhelm and frustration.
Most importantly though, build connections! I’ve found the most supportive and amazing group of women on Instagram who are all so passionate about what they do and it inspires me every single day. Find your own support network (even if you have to build it yourself) put yourself out there each and every single day!
Find Amanda & Plush Content Co here:
WEBSITE → https://www.plushcontentco.com/
INSTAGRAM → https://www.instagram.com/plushcontentco/
FACEBOOK → https://www.facebook.com/plushcontentco
PINTEREST → https://www.pinterest.com.au/plushcontentco/
TWITTER → https://twitter.com/plushcontentco
YOUTUBE → https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqdXCEEhMzEFZ3U2cmorT_A