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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Chen

my first time as a "speaker"

Updated: Sep 6, 2020

So I was selected to be one of the panelists for a series called Local Talks. This month's focus was "Balancing Your Side Hustle When You Have A 9-5" and I couldn't be more fit for the chat.

Among the panelists for this talk were some fantastic women who all had a different perspective on "the hustle" - but there was one common thread among us all. If you know you're not happy where you are, then make movements to change. You don't have to know where you're going, just start moving because no reason to stay is all the reason to go.

There was Genevive Savundranayagam, co-founder of The County Wine Tours, a cycling tour actually, through Prince Edward County. Also, she doubles as a boss lady at TD Bank. She spoke a lot about working as a group among various partners and making sure everyone got together and got shit done. In contrast we had Cassie Drake, who owns the blog An Architect Abroad, who frequently has to pitch stories to brands, but has been able to hold her own freelance work where she's been able to live life her way. Hosted by Gabriella Sormon from 88 Agency, a communications firm focusing on helping local start-ups, she was the perfect fit to spark up conversation. PS she was preggers at this time and was still kicking ass after 5 o'clock - what a woman.

And then there was me.

Back story - I actually was doing this full-time a couple months ago. It was not cool. I was so done with my last job and had no motivation to pursue another similar path. So I started my new venture with Salty Paloma and quickly watched all my money drain, realizing how much my lifestyle depends on a pretty cushy-income job. I went back into the workforce after a 6-month hiatus and was pretty relieved to feel like an independent person again.

This is when I had to admit to myself that my business isn't at a level for full-time entrepreneurship.

At this point in time I was juggling a not-so-9-5 job (it was more like 9-7 plus weekends) and then rushing home to literally create and package product for orders at Salty Paloma. Not only did I literally just start my job (within the 3 month probationary period) so I had an impending need to show value, this was also my first holiday season with my business and I was completely unprepared for the month.

"What's a regular day for you?" was one of the questions asked from the audience.

I responded, "Well today I took an Uber at 8AM to drop off product at Kensington Market, then headed to the office, scrambled to leave at 5PM and mission it over to Queen West in order to be here for this talk. Then I'm going to go home and finish fulfilling the rest of my order that's due tomorrow."

What truly touched me was how many people came to talk to me after the talk to just thank me for sharing such an honest story about my business and how inspirational tonight has been for them.

Right at this moment I've pretty much created a net-new product from scratch and managed to get them sold across various independent retailers in the Toronto core, as well as partner with spirit companies in various campaigns. And now I'm talking about how to do it all? I literally haven't taken a minute to sit back and think about how I even got here.

Sometimes you forget that what you do on a daily basis is truly amazing. However big or small your achievements may feel like to you, there's always a bigger picture.

And obviously Salty Paloma was on the rim of these fabulous spiked hibiscus lemonade drinks, with our friends at Nutrl Vodka. This is actually a fantastic vodka and very reasonably priced, plus they're from our friends in Vancouver!

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