JOB: wags by mags!
i’m going into my 5th year of more-or-less full-time self-employment with my dog-walking and pet-sitting business, wags by mags! i’m a one-woman show; i try to keep a mostly-full 9-5 weekday schedule of regular dog walking clients and then i supplement occasionally with evening and weekend work pet-sitting. actual hours worked can vary greatly from week to week, month to month; some weeks i might only clock 20-25 hours of actual work, others i might be pushing 80, particularly during busy holidays.
it’s actually the first time in my whole life that i’ve had something that even remotely resembled a “job” where i worked more-or-less set hours and had financial security of some sort from one source.
having said that, after 4 years of doing mostly one thing, i find myself missing some of the more creative “gigs” i used to do and so am trying to figure out a way to balance my life out more, working the “job” less and devoting more time to the “gigs.”
GIG: i’ve had a few different creative “gigs” over the years. i was a club dj throughout the 90s into the early 00’s, but was already easing into “retirement” when the levees failed and i relocated to kentucky for a few years. i haven’t even owned turntables or dj’d in public since early 2005. it never really made me much money (it’s expensive to BE a dj), but i loved the music and the creative challenge of it and it was a childhood dream that i managed to make happen. i miss it a lot and have just recently decided to work towards purchasing some equipment so i can perhaps get back to it at least recreationally.
i was also a music journalist for almost 20 years. that might count as more of a “job” since at times i was making more from my writing gigs than from dj’ing or any other side hustle but it was always freelance and ebbed and flowed in amount at any given time. i did for a few years serve as editor for a national dj/dance music magazine based in chicago but even that was more of a labor of love than a making a living situation, as it was a niche publication that didn’t make much money and i had to supplement with other freelance work and dj gigs, etc.
the other creative gig that has stuck with me over most of my adult life though i’ve started and stopped doing it a bunch of different times due to burnout is the making of art and crafty stuff, under the name art by mags! i’ve handmade and/or sold everything from silkscreen t-shirts to salvaged/recycled folk art since college. again, it was never enough to be my main “job” but was often something done in tandem with one or more of the other above “gigs” to piece together a living. i still tinker occasionally but haven’t been actively selling any art/craft for a while now.
HUSTLE: i think so much of how i live in new orleans is my “hustle.” i picked new orleans to settle in 1990, after graduating from college, because it was so cheap to live here and the city offered so much culturally. i always intended it to be my homebase while i went off and traveled the world but the traveling part never really materialized because as it turns out a bachelors in art history doesn’t really qualify you for many “jobs” and so my life here ended up being a series of “gigs” and “hustles” just trying to survive financially, with not much opportunity to travel. (have i mentioned i’m not so good with money?) but there’s still time!
before katrina, i never owned a car, just a bicycle, and i pretty much lived in the same square mile of midcity in various apartments, so i could get anywhere i needed via bike relatively easily. after my return to new orleans, i’ve become a scooter girl – still no car. i’m older and lazier so the scooter is more appealing and at 100mpg and super cheap insurance, it’s still very economical and gets me around town quickly and easily.
i’m also a craigslister, freecycler, trash picker, dumpster diver and thrift store junkie. and when i’m really in a bind, financially, i’ve been known to sell a thing or two on ebay and/or craigslist, for myself or for others, as a paid “gig.” it’s always seemed too complicated to make a business out of but it’s sort of fun to play the “what can i find at the thrift store for $2 that i can resell online for $20+?” game. and i’ve gotten pretty good at it over the years.