All the Careerprenuers out there. One of the hardest decisions I have ever made in my career is whether to talk about my online fashion business StephanieAtieno.com at work.
At first I did not discuss it at all.
I thought that if my boss or colleagues knew that I had a business on the side:
1. They would exclude me from career opportunities.
2. Judge my performance and blame my side hustle for the slack.
3. Find some conflict of interest that would ultimately get me fired.
I said nothing. No one knew that I was building and creating a brand outside of work. This worked…..for a while.
The problem was I was being disingenuous and people could tell.
Boss: “What did you do over the weekend Steph?”
Me: “Oh I just stayed home” 😐
Knowing damn well I spend the entire weekend at a pop-up shop or drove to DC to do a fashion show or something or the other. StephanieAtieno.com literally takes up all of my time when I am not at work so its hard not to talk about it. It’s like if my colleagues omitted their families from their stories about life outside work.
So finally I casually mentioned it to everyone during lunch …
….and the response was so supportive!
Not only were my colleges impressed and surprised that I even had that skill and talent but my boss to this day still asks about my side business all the time. She is interested in knowing how my pop-up shop went over the weekend or if what I’m wearing is my own design.
So if you are unsure about how much to say at work about your side business. I’d start with simply knowing how comfortable you are with your boss and colleagues and letting that be the guide to help you decide what to share.
(The above applies only to if your side business and your day job are unrelated. If they are related keep your mouth shut and think seriously about leaving your day job as this could be a conflict of interest that results in a breach of your contract)