Events as a Side Hustle with Ellie Pilcher
By Michaela O’Callaghan
Ahead of Ellie Pilcher’s final #MarketYourMarketing event of the year, we interviewed Ellie herself to discover how she started these workshops, why, and how you can start running events as a side hustle!
What first inspired you to start your #MarketYourMarketing events?
I started #MarketYourMarketing in response to COVID-19 limiting work experience and internships for publishing hopefuls. To start with, I had three back-to-back workshops covering the basics of marketing, job applications and tasks. My initial aim was just to do those three events, but the take-up was so high that I decided to carry on with running fortnightly then monthly events.
What has been your favourite workshop to date?
I think the first workshop will always be my favourite. Over 100 people attended the live workshop to hear me talk about creating a basic marketing plan, followed by a Q&A. The engagement was so high, and everyone was simply lovely.
What skills have you gained running your workshops alongside your full-time role and other responsibilities?
My communication and public speaking have improved so much. I’ve always been a little strange in that I love talking to a packed room – but I’ve never had much of an opportunity to do so in my publishing roles. Now I have the evidence to back up that I can do it, and I’ll do it well (I hope!). It’s also helped me to grow my confidence when it comes to networking and chatting to people, not only publishing hopefuls but people I admire in different fields and above me in the publishing career ladder.
Do you have any top tips for early professionals or publishing hopefuls thinking of running workshops/events as a side hustle?
Know your audience. The events that have succeeded for me in terms of quality, engagement and attendees have been events that were tailored made for my audience, for example, job interviews and how to write cover letters etc. If you don’t know your audience, ask them. I regularly ask for suggestions, feedback, requests etc, and it really helps for me to stay on track and be of service to them – which is what keeps bringing people back.
How do you decide what to focus your workshops on?
I always ask people to let me know if they have any requests in my workshops and online. I also do one-on-one mentoring sessions with publishing hopefuls and these usually inspire me to create a workshop. For example, I had a lovely chat with someone who was working well over their contracted hours and feeling very stressed and not on top of things, which led me to organise a workshop on time management. Another time, someone came to me really worried about interviews and, as a result, I did a workshop on common interview questions and how to approach them.
Do you plan your workshops, and if so, how do you plan them?
Yes and no. Sometimes I’m super organised and I’ll plan 3 or more in advance. Lately, due to autumn publishing – which is always stressful – and my personal life, I’ve been doing it more ad hoc and organising workshops when I can. In the new year, I’ll likely get back to being super organised and having multiple workshops available to register to attend well in advance.
What are your plans for your workshops in the future?
I’m keeping it quite open at the minute, as I really would love to hear from more people about what they’d like to see on MYM (#MarketYourMarketing) now that we’re mostly out of lockdown. I’ve got one panel in the works which will focus on sales (international, digital and physical) which I’m very much looking forward to. But the rest of the year is open for suggestions…
We are excited for your next event on 14 December which will be an “ask you anything” style interview event! Could you tell us a bit more information about this event, and how publishing hopefuls can make the most of it?
Since it’s the end of the year and no one really wants to be thinking about job interviews and how to write a CV in the run-up to Christmas, I thought I would do an “ask me anything” style of event. For sixty minutes, I’ll be available for anyone to ask me anything about publishing, side hustles, writing…whatever it may be! This could be about where to find job notices in the new year, how to develop a side hustle idea, or where to submit their NaNoWriMo project. It’s a free-for-all, non-recorded event for anyone with a burning question.
Thank you so much for chatting to us, Ellie! We want to say a big thank you from all publishing hopefuls for running these valuable events that are free and accessible to people throughout the UK. We cannot wait to see what you have coming up next year.
To book onto Ellie’s final event of the year on the 14 December, click here.