Locality Studio began as an art studio, primarily on Etsy and in-person shows. At the time, I was working a full-time urban planning job and created it as a fun side project to further my creativity. It can be tough starting a passion project, side hustle, freelance business, etc. when you’re working a full-time job. I’ve come up with some easy steps to follow to finally start that project or business!


What and When

The first decisions you need to make are:

Once you have a concrete idea of what your project is going to be, you can better estimate the time and other needs it will require from you. Using Locality Studio as an example, I knew I wanted to create a small business that was art-related. Since I was new at this whole business thing, I wanted things to be as easy as possible. This prompted me to make decisions regarding the types of art I was going to sell and how I was going to get them to the customer: art prints sized 8×10” or less so that I could print them at home and shipping would be simple.

You don’t have to put too much thought into the what but you do need to put in some parameters like the above! Of course your business will ebb and flow and evolve as time goes on (look at Locality now!), but having a framework to work within is a must to get you going.

Now that I knew what I was going to make, I needed to decide when the best time would be for me to work on it. Roughly 8:30 am to 5:00 pm were out of the question. I knew I was exhausted after work and just wanted to relax, and I was typically busy on weekends, therefore I probably wouldn’t have the motivation to truly get started. So I decided before my full-time job, and at night if necessary, would be the ideal time for me to work on my business.

Locality Studio started in my home and a local Starbucks when it was still dark outside. I’d work on it from about 5:30/6 am to 8:00 am before I headed to my job. Crazy, right? But I knew if I truly wanted Locality Studio, this was my only option.


Light Branding, Heavy Digital Presence

Those early mornings began with branding and grabbing the social media handles I needed. When I settled on a name, I picked up the Instagram and Facebook profiles for it. Choosing a name isn’t easy, and while it can change in the future, it’s probably best and easiest if it does not.

I used the following questions to decide on the name Locality Studio:

You don’t need a logo upfront. You don’t need a website upfront. Choosing a name and setting up whatever digital platforms you’re interested in is easy and free! See how easy it is to start?

I would recommend, however, before you sell anything, registering your business name and yourself with your state. For a long time, I had a DBA (doing business as) name and was registered as a sole proprietor business in Missouri.


Get Creating

Whether or not your new side business is creative, get making. If you’re selling art, start making it. If you’re offering services, contact friends and family to do trial projects for your portfolio. Find online prompts with fake briefs for design, business needs, whatever it is you’re wanting to do. Of course, if you already have things made or examples to use, you’re ahead of the game! One of the free online services I used was the Thirty Day Logo Challenge.

Spread the Word

Use those social media platforms, both your business and personal ones! Let people know what you’re up to. Share your work. Chat with friends and family. Send a cold email or two to potential clients. Start conversations on Instagram or Facebook. You’ll be surprised what happens.

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