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  • Writer's pictureLauren Leopold

How this teacher side hustles as an interior designer

Updated: Sep 30, 2022

Side Hustle Stories is my regular column about the lives of brilliant women who run side hustles alongside their 9-5s. Here, we meet my client Tara Smith, who’ s set up her interior design business Intara Design on the side of her teaching job. She lives just outside of Bath with her partner and dog. You can find her on Instagram @intaradesign.

Tell us about your career change journey so far

I'm currently in the process of setting up my side hustle for real. I've always been interested in interior design and have a BaHons in the subject, but after graduating I went and lived abroad to live my best life and fell out of touch with the career. I retrained to teach primary but have been desperately wanting to get back into design ever since. I’ve always been dabbling in and out of it, hosting various interios design workshops and design meetups but I kicked off the side hustle in 2020 when I created my website and decided to up skill myself. I’ve been running projects for my friends and family and now I’m well on my way to making it as a successful interior designer.

What were the challenges that drove you to make the change and how were they impacting your life?

I am and always have been a very free person but in my current job everything is very much dictated - my working hours, my holidays, even some of the lessons I’m creating. I like to be able to ‘do me’ so I’ve been feeling very confined. It’s time to set that creativity free.

How did you decide on the type of career you wanted to change into and what made you decide to pursue it?

I’ve always known that interior design was my passion, I’ve just struggled with actually making the jump. I think the pandemic has given me the motivation to make the change. I’ve never really had spare time before and during the numerous lockdowns I found I was designing to keep myself busy and this then gave me the motivation to think ‘Wait a minute I really should be making money out of this - I can do it! But it's something I have been thinking about for A LONG TIME!

How did you make the change?

Over the years I’ve joined various groups and workshops to try and get me on track but I’ve always felt very overwhelmed and gave up. However, this year I decided to try something new and purchased the Topology Designer’s Toolkit. I’ve always had a good relationship with the founder Athina and she’s always been there to offer advice and support, so I thought I’d give her new course a shot. However this time it included coaching from Lauren, who helped me set goals that had previously seemed out of reach, by breaking them down into smaller, achievable steps. She helped me get on track and realise what I really wanted and I truly thank her for that. I started by making my Instagram interiors focused and growing my following, I then created a website to reflect any projects I had been working on or to share my creativities.

How do you manage your time between your 9-5 and your hustle?

I think I’m slightly nocturnal as I seem to come alive at nighttime! Being creative actually relaxes me, so after work I find it's easy to sit down on the sofa and design. Throughout the lockdowns I’ve also found this as a way of keeping myself busy.

What's life like for you now that you're side hustling?

I feel so much happier now that I know I am working towards my ultimate dream. I’m excited to see what the future holds and am more determined than ever to reach my goals.

What have been your biggest achievements?

I would say my biggest achievement so far is people coming to me for advice. It’s so uplifting to know that people trust you and value the advice and designs you give them.

What are the challenges and how do you deal with them?

I’ve found the legalities and financial aspects tricky but I am doing my research and reaching out for help, I know that I don’t need to go through this alone and if I don’t understand something that’s ok. I don’t need to know everything.

What have you learnt along the way?

I’ve learnt that one of the biggest problems that was holding me back was actually myself and my fears of failure. It’s really important to reevaluate and change your mindset, as once that changes everything does.

What 3 tips would you give to people wanting to do the same thing as you?

1. If you’re stuck and need help, ask for it. There are loads of people out there that can help you. Athina and Lauren to name a few.

2. Anything is possible if you want it.

3. Set yourself a goal and don’t stop till you hit it.

How has having a coach helped you along the way?

Having Lauren there to listen to my worries and help me change my mindset was invaluable. I’d never really spoken to anyone before about my ‘irrational’ fears and Lauren helped me see that they were just that - irrational! She also helped me set goals and lay out the steps needed to achieve them. I was pushed out of my comfort zone but it was worth it!

Are you feeling like you need to unleash your creativity in a new career like Tara does? Or maybe you already run a side hustle or business and want to take it to the next level. Either way, book in a free discovery call to see if we vibe!

Meet Lauren

Career Change & Business Coach and Side Hustle Queen

Hi, I'm Lauren. I burnt out, hit rock bottom and used the experience to manifest my dream life. I now help passionate and ambitious women change career, start side hustles and grow businesses. I'm living proof that you can - and deserve to - have it all.

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