Name: Elizabeth Burns
City: Raleigh, North Carolina
Main Hustle: eCommerce Product Content + Search Analyst
Side Hustle: Interior Designer + Renovator + House Flipper
How did you get started?: I have a degree in Interior Design and have always loved making spaces pretty on a budget. However I graduated college during the recession in 2009. I couldn’t secure a paying job in my field after graduation, so with student loan repayments looming, I started working in a different industry. When my husband and I bought our first house a few years later, I was able to dabble in design and renovating again. We got so many compliments and enjoyed the process so much that we decided to keep doing it in our free time on other personal homes, flip houses, and occasional clients’ homes.
When/where do you work on your Side Hustle?: For flips we’re usually at the property after work demoing, tiling, painting, or planning. For clients’ homes, we’ll meet at their home once on the evenings/weekend to get measurements and photos, and then I’ll work on the design in our small home office at night.
What are the challenges of your Side Hustle?: For me, I often feel spread too thin. After working a full day at my main hustle, it can be exhausting to get right back to work without much down time. Another challenge is knowing what your time is worth and only working with clients and on projects that respect that.
What are the rewards of your Side Hustle?: So many.
I’ve always found the process of taking something that is worn and unattractive and bringing it back to life with design very satisfying. Those before and afters get me every time! And when the buyer of one of our flips is just so darn excited to live their life in that new home, it makes the blood, sweat, and tears we put into the project totally worth it.
Who is your greatest supporter?: I’m lucky to have a very supportive husband and family. I’ve also found a ton of support on Instagram—it’s an amazing space to find a community in your niche.
Who/what is your greatest source of inspiration?: I get a lot of inspiration from traveling to little old towns here in the Carolinas. I like to incorporate antique pieces into my design work, so I always feel the most inspired and energized after visiting these little towns where it feels like time has kind of stood still.
Have you received recognition for your work? : A few months ago, our personal home was printed in Better Home and Garden’s Do It Yourself Magazine, which was a bucket list item I never even dreamed of adding to my bucket list!
What is your dream for your Side Hustle?: I’m torn between wanting to do my side hustle full-time and wanting to keep it part-time, so that I have the freedom to cherrypick projects I enjoy and not feel the need to take them all on for the income. I try not to make too many plans for the future and just follow my gut.
Do you have any advice for others working on a Side Hustle?:
I think it’s important to find balance. I have a tendency to say “yes” to everything, but it turns out that is a recipe for quick burnout. I would advise to be selective with projects/clients and only devote your precious time to the things that light you up.