Start me up podcast 1: The call of kombucha
Start me up is our series of stories about the side hustle, dedicated to those brave entrepreneurs who left their job to follow their dream.
On the advice of a witch she met in the Nevada desert, Gina Geoghegan quit her job in advertising to start a whole new ‘side hustle’ business – brewing kombucha tea. She’s now making, bottling, distributing and selling the popular fizzy drink.
Listen to Gina’s podcast for the full story, and read her advice for other small businesses just starting out.
What’s the best thing about having a side hustle?
At the moment it’s really stressful but I feel really alive. The best bit about having kombucha as part of my life is that I feel it’s allowing me to explore parts of my life where I can’t BS. I was in advertising and that’s all about talking your way out of things, talking yourself up. But I can’t do that with kombucha, because then nothing happens. So in a sense it’s forcing me to be a better person – sounds pompous but it’s true.
Does everyone have a side hustle in them?
I think everybody has a passion, and they should follow it, but that won’t necessarily turn into a business. A hobby is a sort of side hustle, even if it’s not intended to make any money. I think people need moments of flow, and you get that in times when you’re totally engrossed in something and I think people are happier when they’re totally engrossed in something.
Have you ever thought there were any obstacles that were too big to overcome?
Not yet. Though I do have to figure out how to bottle 9,000 litres of kombucha. I can’t do it by hand, so I’ll need to buy equipment. It says ‘hand-crafted’ on my bottle and it is quite literally crafted by my own little hands. So that needs to be figured out and it’s quite nerve wracking because I really don’t want to get it wrong.
Is it better to start a business on the side of your main job, or just quit and go for it?
It depends, and starts with the question, ‘how much money have you got?’. Most people can’t take time off work because they don’t have a dad with a credit card or loads of funds. It’s probably quite good to keep in touch with reality while you’re setting up your business, but if you’ve got a really good idea and it doesn’t cost that much money then just go for it.
Is it better to start a side hustle for love, or money?
Love, 100%! I don’t believe that you’ll work 14 hours alone six days a week for months on end with no end in sight unless you’re absolutely besotted with something. Even if you hate it sometimes.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Just go for it, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes! There’s no point in regretting stuff – if you’re on the verge of doing something or not doing it, you should always just do it. You don’t want to lie on your deathbed and wish that you’d done something – much better to try, even if you fail.
How vital is your mobile to your business?
My mobile is super important. Being able to go online and respond to people any time of day, find new customers and ingredients, bottles, whatever I need, I don’t know what I’d do without it. I spend more time on my phone and my laptop than with anyone else in my life.