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Your Side Project Is Your Next Big Win | Chase Jarvis & Tina Roth

By Kishore Sawh on January 13th 2015


Tina Roth is a serial successful entrepreneur, almost by accident it would seem, but is foremost a creative. As a designer, fresh from her degree, she landed in New York from Switzerland, and landed a job within 12 hours. While that’s impressive as it is, her words of advice, insight, and what she’s managed to do since exceed that.

Here, she speaks candidly about what it takes to excel in a creative environment, how confidence loses to enthusiasm every time, the importance of actual hustle and how creative employers recognize it, what the hard parts of being a creative mean and why you should embrace it, and much more. To further that, she discusses her experience in applying the above into the side projects she loved, and how they have blown up.

Of course, at the same time, we have Chase inputting his rhetoric which resonates particularly with us as photographers, and especially interesting as he has now taken on the role of CEO of CreativeLive. Between the two, they’ll help you ask the right questions about your day job and your side project (this could be being a wedding photographer as a main and a food photographer on the side, or graphic design etc); how to figure out if you, in fact, do love what you do, or how to recognize when it’s time for a change; the important factor Chase finds in all creatives he has seen that go on to do great and exciting things; the importance of humility in getting around the right people, and the list goes on.


To some degree, the title can be slightly misleading, as I’m sure it carries with it connotations of instructing you on turning your photography into your main squeeze. While this can certainly be true, it’s beyond that. This episode of Chase Jarvis Live is more a meta-philosophy on getting your creative side to blossom, often in the form of a side-gig, and how that just branches off into all sorts of positives in your life.

Don’t be put off by my phrasing and use of the word ‘philosophy.’ For some reason ‘philosophy’ tends to render in people’s minds as impractical theory that belongs in a classroom, and not in life, when, in fact, philosophy is about navigating life in the best way, for you. Anyway, you’ll need only to hear the first 5 minutes of this talk to realize just how real world these two photographers’ experience and advice are.


Something great about listening to people like Tina, or Chase, speak, is that their viewpoints are larger than the reality most of us live, and give insight into how that world works, which could help you in entering it, touching upon the type of work ethic they look for, the attitudes, the importance of personality, and community. They give an insight into how the top players work, and that helps judge future trends and so on. If you’re content with being a small town photographer, and there’s nothing wrong with that, you’ll still get lots of use, but if you’re looking to get an apprenticeship, or work in a major city under great photographers, then their insight is priceless.

Photographers often pigeonhole themselves as photographers, or even into a particular genre of photography, or style, or even medium, and that can have the effect of isolating you from growth, and the feeding of the creative facility. Isolation in this sense often means a static skill-set, lack of collaboration, and thus, a lack of evolving. Being good at one thing is ok, but is that fulfilling? It isn’t for me.


One of the things that resonated much for me, and I’m sure for many others, is identifying what the hard stuff means. I love it when Chase explains that the thing that’s hard, is there to keep everyone else out, but not you, and the realistic view they both take on the importance of passive income in fueling your creative endeavors, and how if you don’t know how to do that, just think of scratching your own itch – if you have a problem, lots of other people probably have it too – that applies directly to your particular brand of photography.

[REWIND: The Road Ahead – The Future Of Our Gear & Industry]

Anyway, there’s so much to be extrapolated from the video, it’s worth a watch. You can find more from Tina Roth and Swiss-Miss here on her site, and another great talk she gave for 99u. You can find more from Chase, well, everywhere, but here’s a good spot to start.

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Rafael Steffen

    I love his work. It is so inspiring the way he approaches image making!

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  2. Basit Zargar

    so awesome

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  3. Matthew Riley

    Great seeing someone do more than just one thing and succeed.

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  4. Brandon Dewey

    It looks like a good class.

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