Hi, my name is Evelyn Chick and I’m the Regional Beverage Director for the Donnelly Group, home to five stunning venues in Toronto, Ontario. Through this pandemic I’ve founded Evelyn Chick Projects, a creative hub for drink enthusiasts, so consumers can learn firsthand from an expert on how to curate world class cocktails, right at their own homes.
Through the shutdown of multiple dining and nightlife venues, I’ve had to take a brief pause on my job as a beverage director. There was a bit of a shift because when you’re in a corporate setting you’re so used to having a routine, a system and particular things to take care of. This pandemic made the uncertainty of the industry future a little bit more jarring and the position that you regularly hold previously may not be available once everything opens up. People’s dining, drinking, and entertaining experiences are going to look drastically different due to government spatial and social constraints.
So this is when I started thinking about what I can do to preserve the aspect of hospitality without a venue or an audience. The project contains a website, evelynchickprojects.com, that housed virtual tutorials, craft cocktail recipes, and low ways snack recipes that focus on one easy-to-find ingredient per week.
I also offer my services as an educator, by hosting online courses through various platforms, including my own. So now that I have a concept in mind, I started putting all that into a digital space. I was very ambitious and decided to go on Pinterest, YouTube, IGTV and build a website.
I was soon so overwhelmed and had to have a realignment with myself and drew up these five key points that consistently lean back to as anchors, so I can stay on track and ensure that this new venture adheres and aligns with my personal and professional goals. Dig into the purpose of your project and your expertise.
The reason behind you doing all this work should be clean and clear. You have to like it. Is it just a passion project, or are you trying to turn it into a side hustle? I always go back to my mission statement and remind myself why I’m doing this. Research your field and look at what others are offering and approach it in a way where you can take your specific skill set and make it accessible to as many people as possible.
Make sure that whatever you’re offering is something you’re familiar with. It’s honestly already so difficult to pivot to a virtual platform, so while you’re trying to master something that you might not particularly be good at, and make it digital in the same breath can be frustrating. It deters you from moving forward.
Number two is consistency. This is really going to help you develop your own brand. In creating content and branding, think about this as an image that you’re recreating for yourself, and something that you will have to stick with and hold on for a little while. Really think about what it looks like, from logo to look and feel for each post, to how you write, et cetera.
The branding should be a direct reflection of how you conduct yourself in reality. Number three; sustainability. Is your venture sustainable for yourself. Are you offering craft products? Are you offering virtual services? Are you aiming to make money? If so, how?
Think about how you can change and charge for your expertise and be firm with your worth. It’s not cheap to build anything, even virtually. Say it cost you 70 bucks for your web domain a month, your personal email link to that web domain, maybe a customized logo, material to teach, et cetera. That’s not even accounting for the hours you spent on it.
My rule of thumb is that you calculate like you would normally make per hour and look at the amount of time you’d spent on the project and try to put this time spent in dollar figures. Use social media to promote your brand, but have a landing page as to where you want it to direct your viewers to go to; your Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest whatever it is, make sure it’s a centralized location, so people don’t have to try too hard to find you. Using different platforms to promote what you’re doing and keeping your branding consistent throughout, and experimenting with what works for you.
You’ll get a much wider reach. Last but not least make mistakes and make lots of them. Remind yourself that you’re navigating new waters and every day is a learning experience. You will want to do everything and try everything that sticks. And that’s completely OK, too. But remember to go back to the purpose of your project and ensure that ultimately, it’s worth your time.
It’s OK to say no. And it’s OK if everything you’ve lined up for yourself doesn’t work out immediately. If something just isn’t working for you, (like my YouTube channel it’s a complete disaster), then hit a pause button and revisit it later. It’s definitely not going to go away. You can only work on it more and improve it consistently.
Making changes is always difficult during a time of uncertainty. But with everything changing in the world, and so many experiences shifting digitally during this time, there is a lot of room for growth. As long as you can get creative and think a little bit outside the box, your side hustle today may turn into your full-time job later.
I hope that this video has provided some pointers to navigating your own digital projects. Stay safe and thanks for watching.