From Lawyer To Side-Hustler: Amy Nhan’s Tips For Getting There
Let’s say your vision is to build a successful career and a side hustle at once. How do you balance your time and energy between two seemingly different careers? In this installment of Member Spotlight, Amy Nhan, an Employment Lawyer and Founder of Art by Ames, tells us how she’s succeeded in keeping pace with her goals while making sure to prioritise her wellbeing. And she gives some amazing advice to those of us wondering how we can do it too!
Q1. You have such an interesting backstory. You started out in law, gaining traction as an employment lawyer, but you also have a strong creative pull that led to you start up Art by Ames. Tell us how you balance your time and energy to work on both at the same time. What does an average week look like for Amy Nhan?
Unfortunately, there is no average week due to the nature of both legal practice and the realities of running a small business in the midst of all that.
How I’ve managed my time and energy has changed over the last 18 months as I’ve learnt what works and what doesn’t. When I first started Art by Ames, like many budding entrepreneurs I wanted to do all the things yesterday!
As I was working closer to home at the time, I would use my mornings before work to mainly prepare social media/marketing content, use my lunch hours to respond to requests and orders, come home after hours and work on the weekends to fulfil those orders.
After 4 months of that, I realised that was not sustainable given the nature of my work and so I slowly stripped it back – I was still fairly active on social media most days of the week but would only be working on and in my business, 3-4 days of the week.
Nowadays, I’m working on streamlining my processes so that I can have less time in the business and more time to focus on my health and wellness, relationships, fostering my own creativity and growth in my legal career too – some of these things got neglected when my priorities got a bit out of balance.
"Instead of trying to live a perfect life, enjoy the adventure and follow those sparks of inspiration because you never know where they may take you!"
Q2. What’s your mission statement for Art by Ames? Where do you imagine taking it from here?
My mission statement has also changed and evolved over time. The little tag line that I started with and is still under my logo is “bringing hope and joy through modern calligraphy.” The simple hope I started with was that when a person looked at the product we created for them/their friends or after attending one of our workshops, they would get that sense of joy and delight from it and give them hope or encouragement for whatever they might be going through.
Another phrase that I developed to describe my business is that we “make your memorable moments magical through modern calligraphy.”
After 18 months, my mission is the same with a twist. My aim is still to bring hope and joy through my artwork but expand the mediums in which I do that in and following my intuition more. For example, I’m currently really enjoying floral line drawing and the word “Bloom” resonates a lot for me so I am preparing to do a series of products around that theme.
Q3. We love seeing how actively engaged you are within the She Mentors and wider community. Your energy and positivity is infectious. But what about those days when you don’t feel like getting out of bed?
Thanks so much for the kind words! As much as I would consider myself an introvert, I am passionate about relationship building and encouraging others in what they do.
I’ve now learnt to recognise that when I don’t like to get out of bed, something is out of balance i.e. I’ve overscheduled my life (happens often but slowly fixing that bad habit!) and I have been compromising my non-negotiables (eating well, going to the gym, sleep, time to prayer and journal in the mornings).
When this happens, I usually just clear my calendar, reschedule catchups, raincheck tasks that can get moved to later in the week/month and get my non-negotiables back on track because if you aren’t looking after yourself first, then how can you help others?
Q4. If you could mentor your younger self about the professional journey you will take, what advice would you give?
Great question! Two pieces of advice I’d tell my younger self: get the right people around you and embrace the process.
Get the right people around you: seek to have these three types of people in your life – people ahead of you (mentors), people who are beside you (your peers or people who are going through the same season as you), people behind you (people you can mentor even if you are just a few steps ahead). These people will help you navigate the highs and the lows that come with life and also give you an opportunity to give back and pass your knowledge onto others.
Embrace the process: There’s an old Yiddish proverb that I’ve come to learn is true: “Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” which means, “Man Plans, and God Laughs.” Despite our most careful planning, life is unpredictable (my legal career and the side business of Art by Ames is something I could not have planned for myself) and instead of trying to live a perfect life, enjoy the adventure and follow those sparks of inspiration because you never know where they may take you!
Q5. And finally, what are you most excited for in 2020?
I’m excited to be in a new season of growth. There were a number of projects that were on my heart in 2019 but I didn’t have the mental space or capacity to get them off the ground.
Now that I’ve (kind of) got a more of a handle of what my priorities are, I’m ready to launch into:
1. My new podcast: Live Life Well: The Podcast – The mission behind the podcast is to empower millennials to thrive and not just survive so that they can live a life full of purpose, joy and delight, launching 1 May 2020.
2. “Project Bloomful” – a branch off of Art by Ames focusing on creating artwork that inspires women to flourish and bloom in whatever season they are in
3. My new legal role – I start a new job soon which I’m really looking forward to (will have to tell you more about it once I’ve started).
Not a member? Find out today.
Discover more Member Spotlights